Time for some more tours of the forest with Maddy and Ben being kind of close to each other and growing more so as they show the merfolk the forest - and it’s dangers. Including poison ivy and the idea that some plants are dangerous (Ryn is familiar with the concept of plants as medicine)
And another problem is the merfolk drive to hunt and when a deer arrives they all charge after it and run out into the road, nearly getting run down. Katrina challenges as usual
They try to talk to Ryn about not hunting on land and to make things more difficult Marissa, Sheriff Dale’s replacement, arrives to question Ben about his friends trashing the local shop. Ben tries to explain it away as partiers but it’s clear she’s suspicious and it’s also becoming more awkward to stay in the cabin. To finally push them out, Ryn is having skin issues again - she needs water. Only the oil company is going all out with their sonic thingy, now no water is actually safe. Worse, Ryn can’t show weakness before Katrina or she will attack her for leadership - and she’s quick to tell Ben to back off when he wants to interfere. That is not the merfolk’s way - she needs to do this alone.
Maddie goes looking for lotion to help Ryn and discovers they have a giant tank lurking in the back of a cupboard which is just what they need and is super convenient.
They move into the little shed but it’s only temporary - because Helen has her money! Yes Elaine was blocking it mainly out of spite because she really hates her but Ben goes to her and makes up a lie about Helen being really sick and needs the money… which obviously hits Elaine, who is disabled and we know has already struggled seeking for treatment, pretty hard. But she does show Ben the DNA test she has of Helen which shows a mysterious “12% other” which I assume means fishy person. But it also shows Helen has another relative
They tell Helen this who spares a millisecond to be angry about Elaine stealing her DNA but she’s super excited about this relative she’s never met. She goes to see him and he is super super super super shifty and she seems to be willing to overlook that in her excitement. I will put him down as sinister plot hook for now.
Another ongoing plot hook is Xander and the sinister Nicole. Xander continues to be all conflicted, hanging around the cabin and generally moping while Nicole occupies his bed and continues to poke the death of his dad - finally getting Xander to admit he was murdered. But not by fish people.
Next drama is Dale who is surrounded by people who want answers. Particularly Sarah who wants him or Maddy to open up about all the many many many secrets around her. Maddy shuts her down and Dale rather condescendingly wants her to just stop worrying and look the other way. She refuses and keeps questioning. But she also has her own sinister plot hook because everyone does now? She’s talking to someone sinister on the phone and seems very attached to them
Uh-huh I feel we have a rather excessive number of people with sinister secrets
Marissa also spots Dale is keeping secrets and is suspicious and is doubly wary of Dale refusing to go to psychological testing to get his job back. Dale is insistent that he needs to protect the town which he clearly sees as at risk - and he needs to be there for that. But it takes Maddy to point out
I think it shows Dale, a man who has always been in control, knows the world, his place in it and how he can secure it and improve it (really shown by how he kind of just rolls with Sarah coming back): a man of conviction, confidence and deep calm is now Officially Fecking Lost in the current situation and is somewhat flailing between wanting to do SOMETHING but not having a clue what to do.
Back to the merfolk. So after much shenanigans they begin to fill the tank with water to help Ryn and the others but Katrina notices Ryn is weak and makes her move. There’s some chasing and fighting and they both end up in the tank and transformed to mermaids and fighting - in which Ben intervenes after hearing siren song in his head. He doesn’t change things and gets hurt before Ryn defeats Katrina. Everyone kind of assumes Katrina is dying now but she’s still wandering off doing The Sinister Things. Because this show really really needs more sinister shadowy people running round
Ryn is also angry with Ben for interfering despite her saying not to. And I really really like this - because the sheer fact Ryn is a fish out of water (yes I went there) means we have a trope where she’s largely following Ben around, following his lead, obeying him, learning from him etc. And we tend to portray those things, sometimes wrongly, as submissive (I have a whole lot of thinky thoughts about how damaging the idea that teaching is authoritative and being taught submissive is to our culture but that’s another issue and too long for here). Ben is the authority, Ryn needs to follow him even if she is portrayed as physically stronger - her vulnerability and ignorance makes her dependent. But here we have a clear subversion (helped further by Maddy also criticising Ben for getting involved when Ryn told him not to) where Ryn is the authority and she snaps back, angry at Ben for disobeying her when she knew better.
Maddy guesses, righting, that the siren song is still messing with Ben and harming him and the three of them decide to sit down together to see if there’s something they can do to help him. A worrisome note here is how Ben seems to begrudge even thinking of the song as dangerous (Ryn refers to it as poison and he objects). They decide to record the song and look for comparisons so they can analyse it. Except Ryn apparently cannot sing unless she’s singing at a human - she can’t just sing - so it’s decided Maddie will sit there in noise cancelling headphones while Ryn sings
Yeah this may not end well. Firstly even just looking at Ryn while she sings seems to affect Maddy and compel her (and add to what some watches still call bisexual representation on this show which… no). Secondly, Ryn reveals she likes singing in slightly wistful tones which suggests that MAYBE siren song MAY cut both ways…. Just a little? Ben wants to hear it desperately… but with less desperation maybe Ryn wants to sing to im. And thirdly- Ben now has a recording of siren song to try not to listen to.
This will not end well