the rook

“Myfanwy, you still have a choice…”

The mysteries created throughout The Rook’s first season are uncovered as the penultimate episode of the show’s freshman campaign rewinds the clock one month as Myfanwy Thomas receives the prediction that will forever change her life.

It begins innocently enough. Myfanwy is making the case for Josie Fairborn, an autistic EVA whose prognostication gifts in stock commodities has gained the attention of the Checquy’s rook. Conrad and Farrier are dubious of Myfanwy’s idea to use Josie as an asset with Farrier becoming even more skeptical when Myfanwy shares with her Josie’s most recent prediction that “Myfanwy Thomas wakes in the rain.” That seemingly innocuous statement sets off Myfanwy’s instinctive anxieties and her attempts to discover who will attack her (“under the seas” is her only real clue), how she will lose her memory (another part of the prediction), and what she’ll need to do to stay ahead of it all.

After watching their interactions at the celebration, Gestalt’s anger at Myfanwy manipulating “them” becomes even more understandable…as does Myfanwy’s distrust of her closest co-workers.

Twenty minutes into “Prologue”, I wondered if an entire episode dedicated to what happened before was really necessary. At first, it seemed a bit much. Then the dominoes to all those questions created during the first six weeks started to fall in place. From Marcus truly being a good guy, Bronwyn’s determination to free her sister from the Checquy’s control and presence during the botched mind-wipe, Myfanwy’s sensual encounter with Gestalt at the Checquy founder’s celebration, even confirmation that Linda Farrier truly does care for Myfanwy; these revelations fundamentally change how we’ll now look at certain characters. “Prologue” does more than flesh out the players or clarify their motivations; it provides a foundational block of narrative that had been missing from the show and we didn’t realize how much we needed it until now.

From the beginning, The Rook has been a series that has improved each week. The tension-filled narrative has, thus far, relied heavily on Myfanwy’s—and by extension, us viewers’—uncertainty on whom to trust. Despite “Prologue” clearing up those particularly murky waters, there’s still enough intrigue as it relates to the Checquy, Lorik and his Lugat goons, and the biggest unanswered question—will Myfanwy’s memory ever fully return? Or how Monica will handle the truth about Marcus’s death?—keep the intensity at the highest levels. So yes, while much of the mystery has been revealed, there’s still ample drama yet to play out, drama that will undoubtedly fuel next week’s finale.

Up/Down the Exchange

  • Due to her sordid glances and entire persona that screams “I’m hiding things!”, Linda Farrier may have come out on top as the character “Prologue” helped most. Her conversation with Myfanwy, where she willingly lets go of her rook and surrogate daughter may be the most emotionally complete scene thus far. It erases the doubt I had about her motives. Even her decision to make the trade for Nazim comes from a relatively good place; as Bronwyn put it, despite the “internment camp” environment of the Checquy, it will be a much better place for the powerful EVA than his life on the streets. While I’m not yet willing to call Farrier an honest to goodness white hat, she’s elevated herself from the bottom rungs of the villain ladder, which is now held solely by Lorik, EVA trafficker and head of the Lugat.
  • Though Marcus’s role in Myfanwy’s abduction was all but confirmed last week when it became obvious that he partnered with Bronwyn, it’s spelled out even more clearly in “Prologue”. His death was unfortunate, collateral damage to Myfanwy’s powerful electrical blast as he charged to her aid. His entire split from the BVA and Monica was in an attempt to do the right thing and, for that, his death had meaning, even if with better planning it could have been avoided.
  • It seems as if the stress of having her memory wipe triggered an autonomic response from Myfanwy’s abilities. Coupled with the two instances where snippets of her memory returned, does this mean she’ll regain everything that was erased? And how will Marcus’s death affect her, knowing that, however unintentional it was, she killed someone who was there to help her?