Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sinbad Season 1, Episode 4: Old Man of the Sea

 Guess what? They’ve run out of supplies AGAIN. Someone needs to look at packing a bit more supplies since they do seem to stop to load up every other day. How far away is Barooq anyway? I’m Because the length of time they’re sailing and the number of times they have to stop for supplies makes me think they’ve sailed out of Basra and are heading for Australia.

They’re dehydrated, so much so that Cook is actually hallucinating. So, thirsty, hungry and hallucinating, Sinbad and Rina decide to row out to investigate a neighbouring ship because it has a spooky light. After all, it’s not like they’ve run into lots of mystical crap that might make you just a little leery of that and, maybe, want to wait until daylight.

They row through the dark and eerie sea, full of dead fish (and probably big neon signs screaming “you don’t want to go there!”) to the ship. The ship is silent, the sails are ragged and the planks rotten – even the neon signs yelling “go back you fools! Go back!” are flickering. Inside there’s a dinner table set for a wedding feast, covered in dust, spider webs and maggots. Faced with this, Sinbad and Rina agree to leave (yay sense!) the room and go check the hold for supplies (because the dust, spider webs and rot are so encouraging). And in the hold they find an unconscious man. Ah well , no supplies, guess it’s time to return to the Providence empty handed.

Hah, no, of course they bring the man back with them. Cook promptly, and sensibly, loses his shit over them bringing the only survivor of a deserted ship that may have been wiped out by plague onto the Providence. Cook also has a hallucination of the man with plague markings all over him.

Next day dawns and the ship is missing – though Anwar assures Sinbad it’s just a mirage and it’s still there. Gunnar checks on the unconscious man and he speaks “I see the blood on your soul” before falling unconscious again – which causes Gunnar to leave all freaked. He wakes to talk to Sinbad and Anwar, revealing his name is Anicetus, that he’s seen Sinbad before and avoiding all of their questions.

On deck, doling out the daily ration of water, Rina’s cup turns into a cup of maggots – as does the whole water barrel. Cook blames Anicetus. 

Sinbad and Nala explore her past – she’s running from her people because they believe she has an obligation – a force threatened her people and the elder’s struck a deal to stop it – but there was a cost.

More ominous crypticness from Anicetus about the value of life – and Cook well and truly loses it. More crytpicness, more reminiscing, more worry about dehydration and hallucination – and Sinbad sees images of his brother in the fire. Everyone’s freaked out and thinking about the people they’ve lost. That night they have nightmares and hallucinations, linked to their pasts, which make everyone even more on edge.

The next day, Ancetius touches the coverings on the hallucinating and unconscious cook – and a bright blue butterfly appears there. He’s just messing with their heads now. While Nala examines clothes she has packed and keeps remember her own wedding feast – which seems like it was laid out like the feast on the ship. She goes to Anicetus and he waves over the water – the ship reappears… then vanishes.

That night Nala and Anicetus talk and their history is revealed. A powerful people once enslaved and controlled Nala’s. Until a plague decimated their attackers – a plague sent by Anicetus at the behest of Nala’s people’s elders in exchange for a noble daughter’s hand in marriage. Nala was chosen and she didn’t want it, so fled with her father. It cost her father the love of her people, his position and, ultimately, his life. She feels he gave her so much and she gave him nothing – she offers to be Anicetus’s willingly if he will bring her father back – so long as he doesn’t harm Sinbad and the others.

Anwar is having problems. The butterfly symbolises death, the name “Anicetus” means unconquerable, the dead fish, the images of death they’ve been seeing, the fact an old man survives on a ship where no able bodied man did… as a man of science he has trouble accepting it but believes Anicetus is death. Or, rather Death. To which Sinbad thinks Anwar has lost it.

They return to the deck and find Nala on a boat with Anicetus going to his ship – and Anicetus has found a classic death cowl. Sinbad leaps to it being Death her people had a deal with, and Nala was the price and he and Gunnar dive in the water to swim after her.

On the ship, Nala gets everything all lit up and bright, the feast et al, while Sinbad and Gunnar see it dark and grim. Anicetus offers Nala a wooden wedding ring (cheap!) and to bring her father back – while throwing wind and insects at Gunnar and Sinbad (Gunnar is knocked clear out of the room and out of the scene while Sinbad isn’t). Sinbad protests that Anicetus is lying, it’s a trick, that no-one returns from the land of the dead – and that her father sacrificed so she could live.

Anicetus presents her an image of her father and says he has seen her pleas, her tears. Nala objects – she’s already said that she could not cry, that the way she was raised, a person of her position, she finds it hard to cry and she has been unable to cry for her father. She hasn’t shed any tears for her father to see. Anicetus angrily rages that her people struck a bargain – she rejects it, saying she never struck any bargain and rips off his face, causing him to dissolve into insects. He’s a load bearing boss, so his ship also dissolves. Gunnar and Sinbad swim and, of course, Nala sinks and Sinbad has to rescue her.

They return to the ship where Cook is dying – but then thunder rolls and it begins to rain. They are saved with fresh water.

In Basra Team Evil are meeting with the Emir congratulating Akbari for banishing Taryn, since Taryn was exploiting his pain for his own ends. The Emir, again, tries to encourage him to let go of vengeance and creation would be a better tribute to his son than destruction. The Emir seems more and more to be a genuinely good man – I’m surprised.

Taryn’s having none of this and goes grave robbing at Jamil, Sinbad’s bother’s grave. And then eats what she finds. This black magic stuff is really unhygienic. And a beetle crawls out of her mouth and flies off – damn, black magic gives you evil bad breath as well. The beetle does eventually reach the Providence.

She takes the good news to Akbari. Akbari tries to cling to the fact he has his brother’s love and support and doesn’t need vengeance, but Taryn says she knows where Sinbad is heading – Barooq (I wish I could find a spelling for that) – and hope for vengeance takes over Akbari again.

I’m glad we got some more back story of Nala – I think most of the characters are going to be fleshed out and given a history over the next few episodes. It was nice to see a bad guy with a point beyond “we need water, to land – oh look, evil people!” as well. Buuut, and yes there’s a but, the episode was pretty slow and I don’t think the ominous feel was really maintained as well as it could be – it was decent though and a distinct improvement.