Friday, February 1, 2019

Siren: Season 2, Episode 1: The Arrival

The second season of Siren opens extremely strongly - because it does exactly what a second season is supposed to do - reminding us who all the characters and what they’re going through

So we have Ben, rock climbing alone (which is a bad idea) and clearly having a lot of difficulty with siren song still echoing in his brain. And this may be more troubling than originally thought - pathologist Wanda tells Sheriff Dale that Decker - who committed suicide due to siren song - had actual brain damage. Also his doctor thinks he has substance misuse issues

He tells this to Maddie who tries to pass the warning on to Ben - who isn’t really willing to listen. This is pretty much the core of the rift between them

And Maddie has other issues - her mother is back in town after several months of no contact (she didn’t know basic things about Maddie’s life). While her dad, Sheriff Dale, is happy to have her back in their lives. Maddie is less of a fan, she’s clearly been hurt by her mother many times before both with her leaving them and for much alluded to substance misuse. Things are tense.

Xander is also finding his place again - Maddie is still not happy with him over the death of Donna but seems to be thawing, especially as she needs a friend to confide in. He’s pretty eaten by guilt himself and sought Ryn out to apologise to her - Ryn doesn’t seem to exactly understand the concept but appreciates it anywhere, taking him to her sister’s grave. She says that in the ocean, everyone moves forwards. Which is an interesting touch of Mermaid culture but also I have to say rather easily gives him a get-out-of-murder-free card for killing her sister who she apparently cared about so much she was willing to follow her out of the ocean

And didn’t her sister go in for revenge last season? That’s not exactly moving forwards.

Xander is also being flirted with by new character Nichole who either really likes fishing boats or is into big hairy guys in cable-knit sweaters. I’m not judging. But option c is she’s actually an undercover agent spying on them which is troubling

And to round off the town drama we have the town council kicking out Sheriff Dale as he finds out his friends weren’t all that trustworthy. Of course multiple deaths, suicides and dramas which he kind of let go with a “it’s fine, trust me” probably didn’t help him much. He reminds the cops to come to him when weird stuff happens. Presumably so he can point and laugh.

I may be a little more petty than him.

But the actual drama… why Ryn is trying to adapt to human life with Helen’s help and doing rather poorly, she’s also lonely as a pack animal without her pack. But the new plot line hits - something terrible in the water. This isn’t just sensed by Ryn but makes whales beach themselves and freaks out the sea lions.

With the help of Maddie and Ben they go out to sea so Ryn can swim and see what’s happening - only to be driven to shore by a headsplitting noise. A ship is exploring for oil using a kind of sonar - and the noise is driving sea creatures out

Including mermaids… they find one mermaid dead on the shore, but a merman alive but injured, saved by Ben’s first aid skills. Back at Helen’s a whole shoal of merpeople have arrived much to everyone’s consternation. They’re led by the mermaid from last season who really didn’t like Ryn, who Ryn defeated.. And now she asks for help. It’s a definite ritual of supplication/submission and it’s clear everyone accepts Ryn as their leader after being astonished she’s still alive. They don’t make a huge over-explained issue of it but nicely show Ryn establishing dominance

Of course, they can’t stay in Helen’s house breaking things - but Ben’s family owns a cabin they don’t use any more so they camp there.

One of the meremaids is Donna’s daughter. For some more angst

I do like how this episode did an excellent job of setting everything out and, without the racial tropes of the last season, it also underscored just how any POC there are among the merfolk and the people of town. I am leery at the number of plot line hooks we have lying around but the orderly way they were all introduced gives me some hope