Carnival Row – Season 2 Episode 1 “Fight or Flight” Recap & Review

The Dead Seer

Episode 1 of Carnival Row season 2 begins with Vignette and the Black Raven cutting the barbed wires around the Row and flying out. They attack a soldier-manned train and steal medicine with a no-killing policy. 

Meanwhile, Philo fights in Boz’s fighting pit against other supernatural creatures. He wins a 3-to-1 fight and doesn’t take the money but instead asks for a favour. 

The Black Raven return to the Row which has been turned into a slum with most of the fae and fauns living on the streets. They head to the makeshift clinic run by Afissa the faun where several faes are suffering from Bas Dubh since they are not allowed to fly. Kaine the Black Raven tends to his mate, Oona who seems to be on the precipice of death. She refuses to take the medicine since there isn’t enough and she faints.

Vignette heads home which she shares with Philo and they hug. She is worried about him and the fighting and he says he is doing it for Darius, his werewolf friend. He on the other hand is worried about Vignette as the next supply raid could go wrong. However, their banter turns light as they then joke about Vignette needing a bath and they flirt.

Elsewhere, Millworthy is busy riding through the Burge and sees the economic crisis affecting everyone. He reaches a stage where Jonah Breakspear, the new chancellor guillotines the fauns who supposedly killed his parents. One of the fauns begs that they didn’t touch his mother but Jonah doesn’t listen.

Ezra enters the crowd and looks impressed while Jonah continues to give a dividing speech on supernatural creatures and humans which riles the crowd. He says he will never forgive the ‘Critch’ and Sophie looks proud.

However, Millworthy goes to him and requests him to see the miserable conditions at the Row and show mercy. Jonah is annoyed by the constant unrest and rejects the idea. He instead orders the heads of the dead fauns to be perched on the wall of the Row. Tourmaline witnesses it all and is aghast. Meanwhile, Sophie overhears the other ministers planning to hold re-election and take her place while badmouthing Jonah’s policies.

She goes to him and he feels miserable and dishonest as the guillotined fauns did not actually kill his parents. She says they need to stay strong as a Pact ambassador is visiting them while the ministers want to replace them. Jonah says he never wanted to get into politics but Sophie continues to support his position as she recalls the prophecy of the Breakspear son destined for something great.

Millworthy heads to the Row but his old acquaintances avoid him. Philo meets him and tells him not to keep any hope in Jonah. He hints at standing for Chancellor as the eldest Breakspear son and causing a scandal that would ruin Jonah. Millworthy calls his plan suicidal but agrees to help. He suggests outing himself at the state banquet for the Pact ambassador the next day. 

At that moment, Tourmaline sees some boys getting scared of a door and she slowly approaches it. She sees the dead Aoife with blue eyes and as she touches the door she sees Philo shooting at something that is targeting her. The spell is suddenly broken by some noise and she runs away. 

Kain tells Vignette that the rest of the fae are ready to honour her with Deagh nos, the Black Raven brand for the successful supply raid and she is moved. Dahlia, the leader appears at the last minute and brands her but warns her never to go behind her back again. Tourmaline then takes care of Vignette’s new brand and they catch up.

Vignette notices that something is wrong but Tourmaline refuses to say anything and leaves. While walking home, she suddenly loses her balance and finds everyone gone. She once again sees Aoife who emits a blue smoke that she ends up inhaling. She suddenly sees through the eyes of a creature who attacks Anders, a guard and when she comes to she sees that she has butchered a cat. 

The police take Philo without any explanation only for him to be dropped in front of his old friend, Officer Berwick. He shows him the murder of Anders who was on the supply train and hints that the Black Raven may be involved. He says that Philo is a good inspector and he needs his help but the former inspector refuses to snitch. Dombey turns up and threatens Berwick while sending Philo back to the Row. 

As for Imogen, she dreams of Ezra stabbing her in the stomach and then miscarrying. She gets frightened and wakes up in her room on a ship. As she gets ready, Agreus promises to spoil her with new clothes. She is happy on the ship but he says that he is tired of running. She says they are free on the sea and convinces Agreus to stay on the ship. At that moment, they hear a commotion and realise a Pactish airship will attack them unless they follow it.

The Episode Review

Well, the VFX budget has definitely been upped since last season from the out-of-scene Tirnanoc battle scenes. The bloody and gory scenes maintain the dark and political theme the show has been in favour of. The pacing is well done and quite crisp for once as all of the characters get their screen time and storyline. Hopefully, Carnival Row continue with this format instead of forgetting all about their other characters to solve their mystery. 

All of our favourite characters return including the ever-mysterious Tourmaline and the strong and steadfast Agreus. Vignette and Philo are still their overbearing, self-righteous selves but we just can’t help but root for them to get over whatever new hurdles the humans throw their way. Especially if it involves knocking down the annoying Jonah and Sophie a few pegs.

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You can read our full season review for Carnival Row season 2 here!

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