Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands , Season One, Episode Ten

Beowulf goes to see Rheda to tell her what Brecca learned about her brother.  Rheda immediately goes into a state of denial and decides that she is going to Bregan to question Abrecan herself. Yes, Rheda is now officially too stupid to live. It's one thing to believe her brother innocent and another to decide to ride into Bregan without a single person to protect her.  Slean offers to go instead of his mother but she turns him down.  Watching this scene, I couldn't help but think back to last week when Beowulf went to such lengths to warn Elvina that it was too dangerous to walk in the woods to get supplies.  What Rheda forgot in her zeal for the truth is that even if Abrecan was on her side, the surrounding area was still to dangerous for her to be riding off without anyone to have her back. Yes like I said earlier, far too stupid to live.

A conflicted Slean heads to see Kela and explains the situation.  He's afraid that if he tells the truth that his mother will never trust him again.  Perhaps he should have thought about it while he was flipping his position back and forth.  Kela tries to tell him that if Rheda dies it will automatically make him Thane but Slean has already walked out.  Slean takes comfort in his belief that Abrecan won't hurt his sister.  That makes so much sense.  Abrecan is willing to overthrow Rheda, but he is going to draw the line at murder?

Elvina wakes next to the mudborn and it shies away from her.  Elvina approaches slowly, touches its cheek and promises that no only will she not hurt it, she won't allow anyone else to hurt it either. Elvina makes her way through Herot and when Slean approaches, she explains that she escaped through the woods and that Beowulf now knows her secret.  It seems that Slean has known all along exactly what Elvina is.  When Beowulf sees the two together, he is not impressed and demands a moment in private.  Slean is determined to protect Elvina but Beowulf argues that even if Slean is the Thane's son, the people will still kill Elvina and then kill Slean for sleeping with her.  Slean is prepared to take that risk and questions how exactly the people will know, taking care to point out that the only reason Beowulf knows is that Elvina revealed herself in order to save Beowulf's life. When Slean threatens to bring Beowulf down with them if he talks, Beowulf consents to keeping silent.

Elvina then makes her way to Herot and finds Kela in her home.  Elvina promises Kela that she has nothing to fear form her because things are over between her and Sleen.  Kela suggests that they should be friends. If I were Elvina, I wouldn't drink or eat anything around that woman, particularly given that Slean told her not to kill anyone when he finds her in Elvina's home making potions.

Apparently, this flipping sides thing seems to be something natural to the people of this land.  When Saray welcomes Rheda to Bregan, Saray whispers into Rheda's ear that she should flee, thus confirming what Brecca warned her about.  Before Rheda can act, Abrecan takes her captive and demands that she sign over her position as Jarl.  Rheda is defiant, determined that she will do no such thing because it would be a betrayal of her son.  This is when Abrecan drops the hammer about Slean's duplicitous ways, saying that Rheda is too emotional to lead.  Yes, the sexism is strong with this one.

Saray tries to reach out to Abrecan saying that he saved her from the darkness inside her and that she is trying to save Abrecan from his darkness.  It seems that sending her to kill Aya, was no big deal but killing one's sister is a step too far.  Abrecan however is beyond listening.  Saray is further shocked when she learns that Abrcan has arranged an alliance with the Wulfling.  Saray responds by helping Rheda escape and covers her back by fighting Bregan's soldiers. It's awesome to see Saray fight but of course, since she outnumbered, she cannot emerge victorious.  Saray is taken to Abrecan and though she tries to defend herself, he quickly overpowers her and drives a sword into Saray's stomach.  Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands seems to have the inability to kill off any of its characters and so while I was really happy to see Saray survive, it didn't make any sense. Abrecan is a warrior and now he is supposedly so incompetent that he cannot kill someone by driving a sword through their stomach.

We have three episodes to go and Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands has several irons in the fire. There's the longstanding issue with the mudborn but it seems that at least some of the people of Herot have come to understand that they aren't all universally evil. When Vishka suggests that the reason the troll became violent was hunger, it seemed more than reasonable to me. It took Beowulf remembering Elvina revealing herself to save his life, to bring back the troll alive. I hope that there's further discussion about the colonialism involved in the actions of the humans and a further growth in the idea that the mudborn are not just simple savages who are stepping out of line.

I'm looking forward to seeing the duplicitous Slean gets his but given the previews for next week, I doubt that this is going to happen.  It seems that a big battle is coming but given that Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, doesn't like to kill off characters, not only will Slean not get his, he probably will survive.  There are only three episodes left to what I view as one of the biggest letdowns this year. The writers have let down this story and a beautiful set doesn't even come close to making up for the hot mess which Beowulf :Return to the Shieldlands has become.