Mortel – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Hikikomori

Episode 2 of Mortel begins with Victor and Sofiane heading into a store where the latter uses his powers to steal food. It’s here we see that he needs Victor next to him to be able to use his powers. During dinner with his family, Victor realizes that he can also read people’s minds. With their newfound powers at hand, Sofiane decides to confront Rodrigue about his brother’s disappearance.

The next day, Victor visits the school counselor, where they discuss Sofiane’s influence and another student called Laurine, whom Audrey failed to help. After their meeting, she heads to a teacher’s meeting where it’s revealed that more and more students are suffering from mental illness and refusing to leave their homes. The art teacher then shows her that all those students have been drawing the same strange dark figure. One of those students, Modibo, lies in his bed at home, hardly moving.

As both boys head to the gym, Sofiane decides to challenge Rodrigue to a wrestling match. However, as he uses his powers to get the upper-hand, this causes Victor to rush outside where he’s sick. Luisa, who was also in the gym at the same time, follows him out and invites him back to her house to help clean up. As Victor comes face to face with Luisa’s Grandma, she sees straight away that a spell has been cast on him. He also sees a statue of a god there too who resembles Obe who, the Grandma explains, is the youngest of the gods and very deceitful.

After discussing art and his depression, Victor says goodbye to Luisa and finds Sofiane, who’s angry that he lost against Rodrigue. Victor explains that he heard something may have been going on between Reda and Luisa. This then prompts Sofiane to crash Osmane’s party later that night, determined to find out the truth about his brother.

At the party, Luisa breaks up with Bastien but when Victor and Sofiane arrive, they’re soon kicked out when they come across Osmane and his friends. Not giving up, Sofiane manages to find Luisa, who confides that she misses Reda and he was scared of someone. High on drugs, Victor creates a commotion downstairs and unable to control his powers, causes multiple electrical appliances to explode, resulting in a fire. After everyone escapes, Sofiane attempts to save Victor from the flames but collapses on the floor in the process. A shocked Obe arrives and grabs Victor, ordering him to save Sofiane. Victor then manages to drag Sofiane out and drives off on Reda’s scooter where we end the episode.

The second episode of Mortel slows down a little compared to its opening slice of drama, as it concentrates more on the various teenagers’ relationships. While this was still a pretty good episode and the story moved forward a little, I still feel that more time could have been spent showing the lore and mysticism behind the voodoo magic. We’ve seen barely anything about Obe, as well as the origin behind the boys’ newfound powers.

Still, there are some interesting themes here. In particular, the show mentions “Hikikomori”, which means withdrawn in Japanese. This word is used in reference to young adults who have become recluse from society and refuse to leave their room, which is very common in Japan. In Mortel, many students seem to have fallen victim to this and while it was briefly mentioned, it certainly had me quite intrigued. With just 6 episodes, it’ll be quite interesting to see if the show manages to keep the audience hooked and offer us something original or if it’ll fall in the same trap many other teen dramas appear to stumble into. Only time will tell.

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