So, Ben, Maddie and Ryn wake up all in bed together. Apparently they didn’t go beyond kissing because they didn’t know how far Ryn wanted to go - and Ryn is super super super interested in doing more which everyone is really happy and slightly embarrassed about.
They do belatedly realise that maybe they should discuss what sex actually means for humans and merfolk as well as sex without the aim for children. Oh and not only are merwomen violent but it is not unknown for them to kill their male lovers. So maybe some discussion first is not a bad plan
Which they kind of touch on but not really about the mechanics of sex or could Ryn please not break them with her super strength? Or hey what genitals look like for merfolk - how do they even have sex? Fish do not have sex remotely like humans do.
Instead they discuss how unequal merfolk society is and I get that they’re trying to say how bad this is while at the same time Maddie is trying to avoid being judgemental of Ryn’s culture especially since she knows so little about it - and she DOES say it is occasionally unequal on land. But wow that’s like something of a huge understatement and a lot of me cringes to see the woman of colour say “yeah it’s sometimes unequal on land” when the focus is how unequal sex in the water is. I kept expecting Maddie to just 4th wall turn to the camera and say “really”.
Also they’re talking equality and consent which is super nice but can we also talk about not breaking things with super strength oh and how sex even works.
Anyway they’re also spotted by Donna’s daughter Cami who is getting more conflicted and still really sad over her dead mother. Ryn tries to comfort her by taking her to her mother’s grave but that’s not much comfort to Cami (would merfolk even have a concept of graves?) who is completely focused on how humans killed her mother and how angry she is about this - and how she thinks Ryn is too human
Which I get but didn’t we just have the message a few episodes ago that merfolk move on and don’t hold grudges which is why Levi and Ryn don’t really understand why Xander is still angry with them? For that matter we have Katrina running around a great big simmering body of anger and resentment? I love building an alien viewpoint and all but it has to be consistent!
Speaking of Katrina, she’s all healed up and Xander still wants to make a deal with her - either way she goes out to try and recruit the others to leave Ryn and come back to the water: which starts with Cami (after Sarge says no).
Ryn does takes the idea of equality to heart and when Helen brings a little food she insists that the male merfolk eat at the same time as the women rather than waiting as they usually do. An lo, presumably generations of cultural norms are defeated? For that matter, if merfolk culture is so female dominated and in control shouldn’t that have stood out more in season 1 when Ryn’s main point of contact was Ben? When she started communicating more wouldn’t she focus more on Maddie? I love creating alien cultures - but make them consistent!
Our journalist friend is around to tell Ben that oil company is bad and doing more badness and it’s all so very bad. Xander catches up with Ben to tell him that he’s totally onside with stopping the badness and getting rid of the mermaids and telling them all about Katrina. I think this begins with his trying to get his hands on Levi but that kind of expands to genuine concern about the evil oil company which will destroy his livelihood as well
Oh and Ben decides to appeal to his dad to help. Shocking no-one, it turns out he’s on the side of the oil companies because of course he is.
Nicole is also still around and also still up to something nefarious
Helen, meanwhile is getting a thing going with older merman Sarge and still connecting with her long lost relative Rick. He’s more trusting of her - and reveals he has a sister. But she has a perfect life and they don’t get on: give there was a whole institution to hospital and there’s lots of ad blood. You know how families are.
Maddie checks on her mother and finds her bruised and coming down from her drug high. Maddie is very concerned and they have a hard talk - Maddie not accepting Sarah’s implied blame of Dale for leaving her alone, insisting Sarah needs to accept responsibility for her own actions. And she agrees to be honest about having a relapse and she promises to keep trying
Which I like a lot - she acknowledges she’s trying and that she may fail but she is going to try.
She also meets Ryn and we have the awkward introduction of a fake Finnish exchange student who wants to have a threesome with your daughter. Ms. Manners never included that (though I have to say Maddie was unreasonably mean there: her mother guesses Ryn is from Iceland… what you decided to pick another country just to make her wrong?). It’s luckily Ryn is visiting though as Sarah realises she has left her ring in her drug dealer’s hotel room. As he’s away she intends to go get it back
Maddie insists on going and Ryn joins in. Predictably Maddie run into the drug dealer and he attacks her… but Ryn is there and she defends Maddie. But Ryn doesn’t have middle gears - she breaks the man’s neck.
This is going to be awkward
Also awkward is Cami and Katrina confronting Levi to make him join them….