Wish You Were Here
Episode 1 of Invisible City begins deep in the heart of the jungle. Birds caw ominously as the sticky night air paves way for a hunter called Mr Antunes to show. He shoots the bird down before realizing he’s not alone.
Dancing flames circle the hunter like a shark that smells blood, eventually stabbing this man in the back. As the tale of Curupira comes to an end, we pan out to a Brazilian party where this story is being told round a campfire.
A small girl called Luna notices those same eerie flames in the distance and heads off alone to investigate. Flames consume the forest as Gabriella, Luna’s Mother, races in to try and save her daughter. The villagers in Tore Village can only watch in shock. Eric heads up to investigate, arriving in his car, but he’s too late. Gabriela passes away after succumbing to the flames while Luna seems to be okay.
We then cut forward one month as Eric arrives at work. He’s an environmental officer and after what happened, is brought into Ivo’s office with big news. They’ve closed the fire case, with the cause still unknown as to what started this.
This grief-stricken Father is clearly struggling, seeing Gabriella in the mirror and finding it hard to connect with Luna. Even worse, he continues to have nightmares about the forest. Memories of his wife are everywhere; an echo of a life lost and a love unfinished.
While out for a run, Eric finds a river dolphin washed up on the shore. When he arrives to tend to it, the men and women around it seems to have disappeared. Eric tends to the dolphin while Camila, one of the women on the beach, heads up to see Ines. She nervously mentions how the officer is on the shore, bringing Camila there herself.
News of this spreads across Brazil as Eric and Camila drive back to Tore Village. On the way, Eric reflects on the last thing he said to his wife, as this mysterious case becomes ever stranger when they arrive.
Numerous fish are washed up on shore, as Camila and Eric watch these villagers squabble among themselves. Could it be a change in the water temperature? Contamination? Pollution? Well, these questions run rampant across the village, as things become heated between the different villagers.
Eric catches up with Mr Cico, the same man who told Luna about the story of Curupira at the campfire that night. Getting nowhere, Eric tries in vain to find a veterinarian to tend to the dolphin. Eventually he heads home, defeated, with the river dolphin still in the trunk of the car.
That evening, Luna reads a story from Brazilian folklore surrounding Saci, a mischievous boy with only one leg. Well, this seems to be eerily similar to that of the street kid we’ve been seeing through the episode too. Interestingly, his name is Isac which, of course, is an anagram of the aforementioned folklore name. As the car alarm wails outside, Eric arrives to investigate while Isac crouches behind the car.
Opening the trunk, Eric finds the dolphin has transformed into a dead human. For those unaware, this is the legend of encantado, which depicts a pink river dolphin becoming a man, impregnating young women in the villages. As the mystery deepens, it turns out the man in the car is the same one featured on the newspaper clippings Luna saw.
While Camila learns from Isac that Eric is closing in on the truth, our protagonist heads back to the Village with the body. He gives an anonymous tip to the police and hangs the phone up, leaving an ominous cliffhanger going forward.
The Episode Review
Invisible City gets off to an intriguing start as Brazilian fantasy mixes with a more conventional mystery set-up to great effect. Seeing more about these different legends and ideas is a wonderful touch, with the Curupira, Saci and encantado all mixed in together. If you’re the slightest bit intrigued by this set up, I’d highly recommend doing some research as the tales are fascinating and feed into this story nicely.
With each episode clocking in at around 40 minutes or less, this is a relatively breezy show to watch, with a good set-up paving way for some intriguing set pieces to come. So far this feels like a wonderful blend of Grimm, Green Frontier and The Outsider, all rolled up into one eerie and dramatic series. Roll on the next episode!