See: 1.08 House of Enlightenment
See serves up the final instalment of its premiere season and does exactly what I suspected it would. It advances the plot and has more going on than the entire rest of the season put together. Obviously it also contains some sloppy writing and plot holes galore, but that seems par for the course now with Apple TV+’s fantasy offering.
At the end of the last episode, everyone had split up and gone their separate ways. Baba Voss, Paris and the injured Bow Lion had been forced to abandon Haniwa and Kofun as they continue their journey to find their father alone. All of them also continue to believe that Maghra has been killed, when instead she has joined up with witchfinder Tamacti Jun and has rescued her sister, the absolutely insane Queen Kane. For the season finale, the writers choose to focus mainly on Haniwa and Kofun as they finally meet Jerlamarel, their biological father. This makes narrative sense as the whole season has been about their quest to find him and his sighted community.
Kofun has reservations about meeting his father after all these years, but Haniwa can’t wait and seems blinkered to all the warning signs. You would think that the artistically arranged corpses that lined the road to Jerlamarel’s enclave would have been enough. Also the fact that they have to come alone and abandon their adoptive father to his fate should ring some warning bells. Instead the siblings go on and finally get to meet the man who abandoned them before they were born. Again, Kofun isn’t completely accepting of their previously absent parent but Haniwa wants to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Jerlamarel’s so called House of Enlightenment turns out to be an old maximum security penitentiary. Following The Walking Dead’s lead, it seems that prisons are the default accommodation of choice in apocalyptic situations. It seems that Jerlamarel has been a busy man, as the prison is populated solely with his offspring. It turns out that as well as the twins and Boots, he has fathered many more sighted children as he spread his message far and wide. It doesn’t take long for cracks to appear in the far from utopian society that Jerlamarel has built.
Personally, I think that this section feels rushed. I would have expected several episodes of life in the sighted camp with Jerlamarel winning over Kofun, which would have made his inevitable betrayal much more effective. As it is, no sooner are the twins just settling in to life amongst other sighted people when things take a tun for the worse. Yes it seems that the father they’ve waited to meet their whole lives isn’t exactly the straight up guy they were hoping for.
Believing his gift of sight is a result of himself being chosen by a higher power, Jerlamarel has developed something of a god complex. He sees the blind populace as an aberration, one which he hopes to eradicate in time and replace with his descendants. However, no matter how much he eulogises about saving the world, he certainly isn’t the new messiah but, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, he is a very naughty boy. It is revealed that he is actually working for someone called The General and he has promised Haniwa to him. Kofun overhears this exchange and that’s when things really go downhill. Haniwa is summarily knocked out and taken away to be offered up as some sort of tribute. Jerlamarel pretends to let Kofun go, only to secretly order his guards to execute him with a shot to the head. Luckily Baba Voss comes to the rescue and quickly dispatches the would be assassins.
What follows is the sort of dubious thing that See always does. A fully sighted man armed with a gun fights a completely blind man with a knife and somehow comes off worse. Baba Voss takes on Jerlamarel in surroundings he is completely unfamiliar with, completely at a disadvantage and yet manages to prevail. At one point the writers try to even things up by having Kofun turn out the lights thus putting the two combatants on equal footing. Strangely, they also take this as an opportunity to have Baba Voss develop powers akin to The Shadow. His voice swirling from all around in the darkness, sowing confusion and fear in his opponent. The surround sound effects are striking but it does seem to imbue Voss with some sort of magic ability that isn’t warranted.
Amidst the fight between Baba Voss and Jerlamarel, the revelation is dropped that The General who has taken Haniwa is actually Voss’ brother. Who you may ask? I don’t recall it ever being mentioned before but apparently Baba Voss has a brother; not only that, he’s an evil brother. This is the standard I’ve come to expect from the writers of See and I’ll admit it did make me laugh outloud. Unfortunately with Jason Momoa already sporting huge facial hair, they won’t be able to go the whole cliche and have the evil brother rocking a goatee. Maybe they will, I wouldn’t put it past them.
Back with Maghra and company, there are a few double-crosses to deal with. Tamacti Jun is really not happy that Queen Kane has destroyed the home he and his army have been fighting to protect. Deciding the only way to stop his men finding out what has happened, he hatches a plan with Maghra to persuade the Queen to step down and have her sister rule in her place. Obviously the quite mad monarch doesn’t want this and in fact wants to embrace what she’s done and tell everyone the truth. So an alternative plan is quickly put into place where Queen Kane is to meet her maker.
As I was watching I was just thinking to myself that Tamacti Jun has become the most interesting character in See and that Christian Camargo plays him with a fascinating intensity. So of course in the very next scene, Boots decides to up the betrayal stakes and throws his lot in with Queen Kane. He stabs Tamacti Jun and See loses one of its most charismatic and interesting characters. Oh well, perhaps the evil brother of Baba Voss can step in to his shoes next season.
So it is left that Queen Kane now rules alongside her sister. Leading their army, along with Boots, they ride off towards the Lavender Road that leads to Jerlamarel’s home. They’re going to be very disappointed when they get there. They’re also just going to miss Baba Voss, Kofun and Paris who have gone in search of Haniwa. I almost forgot Bow Lion, the most underwritten character in recent memory. After being shot in the leg last week with an arrow she is unceremoniously dumped with a random village to recover. It seems the writers just didn’t know what to do with her character. They set up the idea of someone being able to move around completely unnoticed and then just dropped it. Poor Bow Lion, she came, she didn’t see and she certainly didn’t conquer.
So ends the first season of See. Badly written, poorly plotted and mostly forgettable characters. Sure, it looks good but that’s mostly the beautiful British Columbian scenery. For fifteen million an episode you’d expect it to be visually excellent but I’ve seen a lot better done with a lot less. However, I hate to admit it but the show’s makers have done just enough to ensure I’ll probably tune in to the next season. This may just be because I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic adventure stories, especially those filmed in beautiful locations. Hopefully they’ll tighten up the writing and iron out some of the inconsistencies before season two debuts. I personally think they should lean into the shows more fantastic elements more. I think this would alleviate having to suspend disbelief so much when blind people perform extraordinary feats. Paris already has premonitions and I feel this is definitely an area they should explore more.
Certainly not worth subscribing to Apple TV+ for on it’s own, See is definitely not the Game of Thrones replacement I suspect it’s makers were hoping it would be. If you can ignore its many shortcomings though, it is a somewhat entertaining slice of hokum.