Carnival Row – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

A Detour

In the wake of a lively puppet show, Episode 5 of Carnival Row begins with Moira approaching the puppet-master and telling him she loved the show. However, the Constable approaches soon after and demands to see his papers. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a licence and instead, is brought to the police station, where Rycroft tells the police that both victims had their livers removed. Regardless of whether it was a Puck who did the autopsy or not, someone wanted both people dead and it appears whoever it was, may strike again.

Soon after, Rycroft returns to the witch who shows him first-hand her powers of bringing back the dead. Seeing with his own eyes the mystical power of the dark arts, he tells her to put the creature out of its misery. Unfortunately, while Rycroft still breathes so too will the creature. Is this foreshadowing for a possible death in the future?

Imogen tells Ezra about her possible deal with Agreus and puts her foot down when he objects, telling him that while she draws breath she won’t let him put the house at risk. With Puck hostilities at an all-time high, the tea-party takes an awkward turn as silence descends and Agreus is left defending himself and his pride. As Imogen looks set to cave to societal pressure, Ezra heads home and warmly greets Agreus, prompting the others to look on in shocked horror.

Seeking answers, Rycroft heads back to the headmaster’s school where he looks around the eerily quiet rooms for clues. As he spins around the bedroom, he has flashes back to his own childhood where Darius pretended he could fly, while our half-fae Rycroft kept his identity a secret.

In the wake of her husband’s death, Longerbane’s daughter Sophie rallies the troops in the political hall and her speech about equality ends in rapturous applause.

Back at the Fae House, Rycroft arrives and asks who Costin’s girl was. The mistress tells him the girls were a cover-up to sleeping with another man. As he says his goodbyes, Morange hears his dog whimpering upstairs after an ominous bang. Heading upstairs, he’s thrown back down again by a dark, shadowy creature whom we see glimpses of but never in full flesh.

With little plot progression and an episode that doubles down on the politically charged statements about racism, Carnival Row delivers a bizarre filler episode here, despite an intriguing ending and a little progression in Rycroft’s investigation. It’s an odd choice, to say the least, and the glacial pacing does little to really keep you engaged in the episode. 

Of course, production-wise the series continues to excel, even if some of the scenes are a little dark at times and at least visually, Carnival Row continues to impress. Hopefully this is only a blip, with the episodes to come switching things up and doubling down on the plot itself.


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