See: 1.06 Silk
The last episode of See was pretty interesting with a lot of stuff going on and a big reveal to finish. So it’s a shame that it is immediately followed by it’s worst episode yet. It’s not that Silk is particularly badly written compared to what has come before, more that nothing really happens. To anyone. At all. Maghra spends almost the whole episode sitting in a tent while Baba Voss and his team spend almost the entire episode sitting in a cave. Once again it’s up to Queen Kane to provide the most interest and she spends most of her time getting knocked unconscious. There are at least two betrayals so the episode has that going for it.
The big reveal at the end of the last episode was that Maghra has been keeping a big secret. It turns out that she is actually the sister of Queen Kane and, as we see in a flashback, the daughter that the dying king really wanted to take over his rule. Even on his death bed, the King (we don’t learn his name) is savvy enough to realise that the quite unhinged Kane is probably not the sort of person you want ruling a kingdom. Alas the king’s wishes are ignored and Kane becomes Queen.
This episode is quite heavy with exposition. Apart from the brief flashback scene, everything we learn is from lengthy dialogue scenes. Maghra converses with Tamacti Jun for quite a while, which is how we discover she called on him to help overthrow her sister but he refused. This led Maghra to abscond with Jerlamarel and eventually give birth to his twins.
It is with Jerlamarel’s other offspring that we get the first of this episode's betrayals. Boots tells Baba Voss that he has seen Tamacti Jun kill Maghra, which we know is a lie. He persuades everyone to follow him into a series of caves, where he then traps them in a cage. Locking the door on them it soon transpires the cage is an elevator and down into the darkness they go. Unfortunately because we only met Boots last episode, his betrayal doesn’t carry the shock value I suspect it’s meant to have. He’s hardly said a word and his one defining characteristic seems to be that he can see.
It soon turns out that there are people living down in the caves and one of them is Boots’ mother who he abandoned years before. She fills everyone in with more exposition that Boots was bullied when he was younger for being different and eventually got his revenge on everyone. Quite how the only person with sight in a village of blind people came to be bullied is a mystery and unfortunately we are once again only told not shown what occurred. I’m not normally a fan of flashbacks that solely serve to dish up exposition, but given the choice over watching dialogue scenes with characters you’ve only just meet, I’ll take them every time.
Having dialogue heavy episodes of a TV show isn’t a problem if your show has proven itself to have characters worthy enough to sustain the necessary level of interest and that you are emotionally invested in. See is definitely not such as show, not yet anyway. See gets away with a lot of its problems because it has some great action scenes and beautiful scenery to admire. When you spend most of the episode's running time sitting in a tent or sitting in a dark cave, talking it really shows up all the weaknesses. A lot of the characters are still badly underwritten at this point. We really don’t know a lot of their backstories or motivations other than those brought on by stereotypical fantasy tropes.
Bow Lion continues to be the most underwritten character on any TV show ever. It’s only when she suddenly chips in with a few lines that I even remember that she’s there. As her character is also a “shadow”, capable of making themselves completely invisible to all senses, I’m beginning to wonder if the show's creators have gone a bit meta in making her almost completely forgettable.
It’s at this point that I normally say thanks to Queen Kane for injecting some much needed insanity into proceedings but unfortunately this week she also gets short shrift. After her flight and capture last episode, she is still stuck with the silk weavers in Worm City. Displaying her usual lack of respect for any authority other than her own, she manages to get herself repeatedly beaten by her overseers. Befriended by Cora, a weaver who shows her the literal ropes, she quickly hatches a plan to overthrow her captives. Telling Cora her true identity, she hopes to cause an uprising. Unfortunately for Kane this is where the other betrayal takes place as Cora promptly gives her identity away to Cutter, the head of the silk operation. He decides to send a message to Tamacti Jun by cutting an amulet out of Kane’s chest to show he really has her. I don’t recall this amulet being mentioned before and it really seems like a lazy bit of writing when something was suddenly needed.
After last episode really seemed to open up story opportunities it is such a disappointment that Silk takes a step backwards. I was quite bored by the end of the episode, so much so that even the ludicrousness of Baba Voss climbing up a lift shaft roughly hewn from rock with just his bare hands hardly raised an eyebrow. I know Jason Momoa is a physically imposing figure and See has had its blind characters perform incredible feats before, but free climbing does seem over the top even for him. Hopefully next week's episode can get things back on track. Upping the action quota and having Queen Kane free to vent her displeasure on all and sundry would be a good start.