See: 1.07 The Lavender Road
It seems the makers of See learnt their lesson from the last episode. After spending the majority of the previous episode with everyone confined to a cave, this time out we get some absolutely gorgeous shots of the Canadian wilderness. We are treated to many views of snow capped mountains and glacial rivers as Baba Voss and his family continue their journey to find Jerlamarel. Unfortunately, glorious vistas are one of the shows only positive features.
Characters continue to make inexplicable decisions and sloppy writing threatens to derail any positivity the show has built up. Maghra and Boots have thrown their lot in with witchfinder Tamacti Jun, while the rest of her family and friends follow the Lavender Road, unaware that Maghra is still alive. For her part, Maghra is also unaware that Boots is quite crazy and left Baba Voss et al locked up in an underground prison.
Tamacti Jun actually comes to the fore in this episode and again shows that the villains of See are far more entertaining than the heroes. After torturing and killing the people who delivered the ransom note for Queen Kane, he decides to mount a rescue party. He doesn’t really trust Boots which is understandable, as he says “I’m a witchhunter and he is a witch”. He does however let Boots use his sight to reconnoitre the silk farm where Queen Kane is held. It doesn’t make sense though to have Boots just come back and report as to where all the guards are. Why didn’t he just kill them all as he walked amongst them? Instead Tamacti Jun goes back and does it. Presumably the writers thought this would be more satisfying.
Meanwhile Baba Voss and company close in on Jerlamarel. The sweet smell of the Lavender Road soon gives way to decay as they find it lined with bodies. It seems the man they seek may have gone a bit mad. I hope this is the case as it might inject some freshness and energy into the show. The best part of this episode is the booby traps as they approach Jerlamarel’s home. Actually making use of the fact that almost everyone is blind for once, archers line a narrow mountain pass and fire instinctively at any sound. This makes for a pretty tense scene as our heroes try to slip through unheard.
It also gives the almost forgotten Bow Lion something to do for once. I’ve mentioned before how she is the most underwritten character on TV. Whilst watching The Lavender Road I hardly realised she was even in it until I noticed her just walking along behind everyone else with not a single line of dialogue. It was only when they reached the booby trap that I suddenly realised she was about to be useful with her skills as a “Shadow”, able to move unseen and unheard. Unfortunately it turns out she wasn’t even very good at that and soon gets shot in the leg with an arrow.
Another gripe I’ve raised before, but is highlighted repeatedly in this episode, is that if you have two people in your party who can see, don’t put them at the back of your group. It might look better visually to have Jason Momoa prod the ground with his axe as he slowly plods forward testing the way, but it makes no sense narratively. I also became acutely aware that after spending quite a while on world-building in earlier episodes, all that has been abandoned. Both Baba Voss’ village and Queen Kane’s kingdom have been destroyed and everyone is now just wandering around in the wilderness.
To be fair, the show does move along at fair clip, although possibly too fast for its own good. Only last week Queen Kane was captured and put to work in the silk producing factory. This week she is rescued and her captors slaughtered. As Kane has consistently been the best thing in See, it was good to see her back to being deludedly over the top and incredibly proud of the fact that she had destroyed her own people.
This fact did not go down well with Tamacti Jun, who has just spent decades roaming the land looking for witches and promising his men they could soon return home to their families. With those families now all crushed by the collapsing dam, I can’t see Queen Kane staying in charge for much longer. In fact with only one more episode left of this first season I’m not entirely sure where the story is going and I suspect things won’t be resolved properly. Particularly when the show has already been renewed for a second season.