Episode 2 of The Nevers begins with another of the Touched losing control of her powers. With a hat floating around the store, Miss Cassini rushes off, clutching a poster of Lavinia’s sanctuary.
Meanwhile, Detective Frank Mundi begins searching the sanctuary, desperate to find Maladie. Amalia and Penance are questioned, with Mundi showing a picture of Mary Brighton to them.
Well, the Inspector is soon interrupted by Lavinia revoking his warrant, sending the defeated detective away. Maladie’s attack has severed chances for the Touched being a normal part of society, so it falls to Lavinia to try and bridge that gap.
This comes in the form of a charity fete where members of the sanctuary show up and perform, complete with blue bows and “controlled” bursts of powers. Among them is Penance, who oversees all of this take place. It’s obviously exploitative but they all grin and bear it.
An eye rolling bite of dialogue ensues during this time too, as we’re told those frequenting the party are “men of influence with wives of actual influence.” It’s shoehorned in and really doesn’t work.
Anyway, Penance and Augie wind up talking in private, with the latter admitting that he’s Touched. He’s also smitten with her too. After a lengthy chat, Penance heads back to the party. There though, Lavinia stops Augie. She tells him he needs to be careful and distance himself from her, given she’s a Touched.
Clearly rattled by her words, Augie bids farewell to Penance and tells her that their time there is done. Penance heads off alone, where we finally see Augie’s power in action. Watching her longingly out the window, we cut to a point of view shot from a bird flying overhead. Penance heads back into town alone, where she’s eventually grabbed and captured.
Meanwhile, Amalia meets Desiree Blodgett; the self-professed “diva of desire.” She’s on the verge of being killed and is in need of safe refuge. Desiree certainly has a way with words – and specifically in loosening the tongues of others.
Sensing an opportunity, Amalia visits Mundi with Desiree. After slapping him in the face, Amalia riles him up and manages to make the detective talk.
Mundi is in the picture with Mary Bright and clearly has feelings for her. When the effect of Desiree’s “turn” wears off, Mundi is not happy and threatens Amalia. However, she in turn admits that Mary has a siren song ability and is one of them.
Amalia figures out where Mary is bring kept – and where Maladie’s lair is. She creeps past machinery where Annie uses her powers to goad Amalia into confronting Maladie head on.
Well, it turns out Maladie is actually Sarah, Amalia’s friend from the past. Penance is used as collateral, strung up by a rope connected to Mary. With a gun in hand, Amalia is forced to choose between the two. Instead, she shoots herself in the stomach.
Maladie charges off, just as Penance is saved by Mundi and his men showing on the scene. As they free the girls from their predicament, Penance urges them to take Amalia to Dr Horatio, who patches her up. While she recovers, Frank tries talking to Mary. He asks to call her and she smiles warmly, eventually letting him do just that.
Elsewhere, Beth Cassini is captured and kept at the mercy of Dr Hague. Just before he’s about to operate on the girl, he’s called away. The visitor? Lavinia. She seems to be playing both sides of this conflict.
The Episode Review
The Nevers bows out another week with an episode that continues to pedal these parallel storylines, with everything converging together in a cartoony way at the end.
The whole female empowerment angle is still very much prevalent here but this episode is essentially won and lost with the party involving the Touched. Even the “Behind The Scenes” footage at the end of this episode reinforces that all of this is supposed to be done for entertainment. The bright, vivid colours and laughter from all involved only reinforces that.
Now imagine if that minority group were people of colour or Asians – or even the “freak show” of P.T. Barnham’s circus. There’s something really sinister and exploitative here and it’s a shame The Nevers brushed over the moral implication of it all. Instead, the whole thing turns into a bit of a joke.
The episode does do a good job progressing its plot lines but the Lavinia turn at the end is perhaps a little obvious – and undoubtedly murky too. While the questions around why this is happening will drive fans of the show forward for the week, the series does so at the expense of a story that really doesn’t have a lot going for it compared to others in this category.
There’s not a lot of originality in this, and the story does feel like a mish-mash of various different influences. Hopefully The Nevers can start to build on this.
Still, the episode does leave things wide open at the end and quite what direction this will take next, remains to be seen.