See: 1.05 Plastic
After the scene setting of the first few episodes, See settles into its groove. By now viewers will have either accepted the premise of the show or not. They’ll be enjoying the beautiful scenery and well shot action scenes or they’ll be scoffing at the cliched plot and sometimes risible dialogue. Personally I’m in the former camp. I’m well aware of the show’s many flaws but it is an entertaining show overall. Plastic is helped by it moving the plot along at a fair clip. There are quite a few things going on in this episode and it finishes with a major reveal.
One of the best things about Plastic is that the writers choose to feature Queen Kane predominantly. Sylvia Hoeks plays the delightfully delirious villain to perfection and putting her front and centre for a majority of the episode is a good choice. It could be argued that Hoeks plays slightly too broad in some scenes but See is probably the ideal show for a little scenery chewing. The other characters, especially our heroes, are all quite understated so having an over the top counterpoint is a nice touch. Things do not go well for Queen Kane this time out so Hoeks gets plenty of opportunities to wail and gnash her teeth.
At the end of the previous episode Queen Kane decided to end her reign and literally bring down her kingdom around her. After destroying the turbines of her dam-based palace, Kane barely escapes with her life. Debris cascades down around her as she and her handmaiden Nyrie flee in a horse drawn carriage. The townsfolk below are not so fortunate as the dam fails catastrophically and destroys everything in its path. The destruction is rendered magnificently, the shows producers have certainly spared no expense on the visual effects. However, as I have mentioned before, most of the characters in the show are so barely sketched in that its very hard to actually care about them when they reach their demise. I don’t recall that we’ve seen any scenes actually set in the town that Queen Kane presided over. When it’s destroyed I was left admiring the impressiveness of the effects and not thinking about the presumably thousands of people just killed. This isn’t helped by the decision to show the destruction from quite a distance with no close ups at all. You can hear screams of the dying people but nothing is shown. Maybe the fact that these are Kane’s people and presumably on the evil end of the spectrum, means we’re just meant to enjoy them getting their comeuppance.
The triumph of Queen Kane is short-lived as both Nyrie and her driver are soon despatched by some mysterious strangers and she is taken prisoner by the City of Worms. This small band of people are weavers who produce silk garments to trade. Kane doesn’t take too kindly to being enslaved by them and this produces some of her greatest displays of anger and disgust. Acting like a spoilt child, she is soon left humiliated and it will be interesting to see how far her spirit is broken and whether she can regain her lofty stature.
There is also a lot going on with Baba Voss and his band this week. After having had all their weapons stolen at the end of the prior episode Maghra implores them to retrieve her possessions which were also taken. Maghra, it appears, has secrets and won’t tell anyone why she needs her trinkets back so urgently. This leads to a lot of trust issues, particularly with Paris who is becoming increasingly worried about Maghra's behaviour. Hera Hilmar gets a chance to do some good work as Maghra in Plastic. She is obviously hiding a secret that she is willing to put her family in harm's way for, and it adds a dimension to her character that has been lacking so far.
We also suddenly get a new major character introduced with the arrival of Boots who’s the one responsible for stealing all the stuff. It turns out that Jerlamarel has been a busy bee and fathered another son and, just like Kofun and Haniwa, he can see. I was surprised to see another sighted character introduced as it takes away some of the specialness of the twins. I imagine though it makes it a lot easier for the writers to have their heroes perform complicated tasks if more of them can see. Hopefully though we won’t get too many characters with vision as that sort of defeats the object of the show.
Tamacti Jun and his witchfinders soon catch up with Baba Voss et al and a nice fight scene ensues. The makers of See certainly know how to stage an action set piece, which is now helped by having three sighted combatants going up against the blind hordes. Baba Voss’ technique of running his cleaver around peoples throats is particularly nicely done. Having all these fights scenes take place in the beautiful forests of Canada doesn’t hurt. The photography of See really is stunning and it’s always good when a production gets out of the studio. It’s always a look that can’t be replicated easily and really adds to the production value.
The episode ends with a major surprise as Maghra’s secret is revealed. It is quite a game changer and I must admit it’s nice not to know where the story is going from here. Combined with Queen Kane destroying her kingdom and her major fall from grace, Plastic does a good job of shaking things up. It’s refreshing and hopefully the writers can keep the rest of the season equally interesting.