“Well, things were different in those days, Inspector. Friendships between their kind and ours were not so…impossible.”
Coming closer to the end, Carnival Row’s 6th episode finds the series’ two protagonists—Philo and Vignette—remanded into the constabulary’s custody, while Jonah meets the real Sophie Longerbane, and Imogen’s first public appearance with Agreus throws the haughty socialites into a tizzy.
Still reeling from unearthing his past, a dazed Philo continues to search for answers about Aisling, in the hopes of discovering his father’s identity. Blame the shock of it all, but Philo ill-advisedly confides in Portia with all the sordid detail of his half-fae heritage. Her earlier professions of affection are quickly eradicated and his decision to share this was both unprofessional and idiotically insane, most likely overcompensation for his past emotional unavailability towards her. Darius is equally pissed at Philo’s decision here as, should something happen to him, Darius’s life is most likely forfeit. Darius’s concerns bear fruit when the crude and prejudiced Dombey interrogates Portia and she tells the copper everything. Adding together what they now know, Dombey and Magistrate Flute surmise that Philo has motivation for killing all three victims as they all were privy to his true heritage, thus sealing the truth with their deaths.
For the second straight episode, Vignette doesn’t get much in the way of a narrative. Early on, she shares a kiss with Tourmaline, a hint that their lost past romance could possibly be rekindled. But it’s her reaction to seeing the Treasure of Tirnanoc exhibit, one that includes the sacred library and books she once watched over, put on display for all to see. Her rage-filled explosion towards several women who come to see the display ends up getting her arrested. It should be a treat to see both her and Philo in matching cells, though there’s not much to laugh about regarding their individual circumstances.
With Philo and Vignette falling somewhat by the wayside, Imogen and Agreus are gems of “Unaccompanied Fae”. Unlike their previous engagements, the pair’s usual biting remarks are all but absent as Imogen looks to live up to her end of the bargain. For his part, Agreus displays a unique charm that the young socialite can’t help but find fascinating. With all eyes on them at the auction date, the two solidify themselves as not only being the talk of the town but also the potential for a future and no doubt controversial romance.
Though there are some good moments to “Unaccompanied Fae”, it suffers from a lack of cohesion. Vignette’s arc the last two episodes have completely halted her arc’s momentum while Philo’s decision to open up to Portia is decidedly out of character for him. Though the Breakspear narrative is decent enough, particularly Jonah’s conversation with the true Sophie, and Imogen and Agreus steal the show, “Unaccompanied Fae” is missing the emotional impetus that has been the backbone of the series thus far. With only two episodes remaining, there’s not much time to wrap things up and re-engage the ballistic momentum of “Grieve No More”.
Fae, Hope, and Love
- When Haruspex catches sight of her death, she mentions to her killer (the Darkasher) “I know who you are”. Is her knowledge of this limited to the moments prior to her death or will she be able to drop the truth to someone prior to her evisceration?
- During his conversation with Philo, Millworthy suggests that human/fae relationships have soured over the decades. He gives no explanation for this and it doesn’t make that much sense, especially considering the Burgue’s alliance with the Fae to oppose the Pact (another part of this world begging for a narrative expansion). I’ll choose to hold off on hypothesizing until we get a more accurate frame of reference, a prospect that will most likely have to wait until season two.
- It’s also quite interesting that, of all the high-society families, Imogen and Ezra’s father was Aisling’s benefactor. This reveal may also explain Imogen’s rapidly changing opinion of Agreus (aside from his charm and animal magnetism). Whether Ezra has the fortitude—I’m always expecting him to do something ill-advised—remains to be seen.
- Regarding Sophie, as distasteful as her façade is (her values on Fae run contrary to her father’s) you can’t knock the performance. Even knowing he may be in a pit with a viper, Jonah doesn’t turn away and instead becomes more intrigued by her cunning and the danger she may represent, not just to him but to his entire family. With only two episodes remaining, I’m not sure how deep a connection these pair will be able to make but her veiled suggestion that Jonah’s parents are standing in his way should have been enough to send him running. Alas, dear Jonah’s not thinking with his brain.
‘Carnival Row’: “Unaccompanied Fae”
6 out of 10