Freeform’s Siren
Season 1, Episode 2: “The Lure”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Eric Wald

* For a recap & review of the pilot episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Interview with a Mermaid” – click here
Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 1.54.05 AMOn the boat, Ben (Alex Roe) stops his old fisherman buddies from shooting at Ryn (Eline Powell) in the water. This makes them suspicious. He just wants to “protect it.” As a marine biologist that’s not exactly surprising. Then they hear the sounds of a mermaid crying out. Suddenly, Ben dives in. He finds a device on the bottom of the boat emitting the sound. Likely one of the many “scientific monitoring devices” floating in the ocean. Quite a coincidence. Maybe the military’s trying to draw back more of the creatures.
Naked Ryn walks into Bristol Cove freaking people out, so she grabs some clothes off the line. Perfectly, she takes a shirt with AMERICA across the front. She also nearly puts a steel rod through a woman.
Out in the woods, the cops have found the dead, would-be rapist. The only thing left as a hopeful clue is the small toy plane in the front seat.
Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 2.00.32 AMIn town, Helen (Rena Owen) gets a visit from Ryn. She tries to get some answers. She susses out that the young woman’s a mermaid, and that there’s likely “another one.” Which we know, of course. In that military complex, the other mermaid is under surveillance in her tank, trapped, experimented on. As the American government would be sure to do with anything foreign.
Ben shows Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) the video of Ryn as a mermaid. And the proof is right there for her. She can’t deny it. As marine biologists, it’s surely fascinating. The prospect of folklore and mythology becoming reality – flesh and blood – for people of science is endlessly interesting, and has vast implications for biology. Although they’ve got to contend with the military. There’s the danger of messing with the federal government, as well as the danger of these clearly defensive and powerful creatures.
In the meantime, Ben goes to his father Ted (David Cubitt) and asks him about the “real story” behind their family’s history. Dad admits there was possible “schizophrenia” and alcoholism in Charles H. Pownall’s life, culminating in visions of mermaids; thus, Bristol Cove’s own folklore. Yet I doubt that’s all there is to the story, and Ben seems too smart to believe that, too.
Maddie and Ben wonder why the mermaids have only just shown up now, if they’ve been around all along. Ben thinks it’s because they need a new food source, just as the sea lions they’re studying do. It’s all connected to the industry in Bristol Cove, the Pownall family, so on. Helen’s busy bringing seafood to Ryn, when Ben and Maddie show up on her doorstep. The old woman’s not keen on having them around, trying to hide the mermaid she’s got locked upstairs. Doesn’t help that Ben’s brought the military device. Its sound drives Ryn mad. She’s confused by the recording of the device, sad that it isn’t her sister.

 

“They’re highly intelligent. More so than humans.”

As we see Ryn flip out, we simultaneously see her sister mermaid being syringed by the doctors at the military complex. The sensor’s going off and sending Ryn into a frenzy. But it’s almost like there’s a shared pain between the mermaids. It’s interesting to see it as the shared pain of women: when one woman is abused, all women are abused, in a sense. The mermaids symbolise womanhood here, they’re symbolic of a history of misogyny.
I love seeing Maddie and Ryn together. Maddie’s indigeneity – her father’s of the Haida – is a great juxtaposition. She talks about certain things being “just stories,” yet she’s sitting there with a real life mermaid. She talks about the stories of the Haida – specifically this story – as if they’re pure mythology, when now, her entire worldview has to have shifted; even as a woman of science. If one piece of mythology and folklore’s proven real, it opens the doorway for others to be proven the same. That can be more scary for a biologist than exciting.
Ben’s busy with Xander (Ian Verdun) at the bar. He admits to having taken the device, which prompts Calvin (Curtis Lum) to start throwing down fists. He’s trying to do what he feels is right. Instead Ryn doesn’t want to give up the device, the sound of her sister. Eventually it works out.
Problem is, later on Ryn starts to wonder if maybe these humans aren’t just threats, that perhaps they aren’t helping her. She finds some of the pages of the local folklore; they appear frightening to her. There’s also a ritualistic-type knife that she’s got hold of, and that doesn’t seem like such a great idea. Not to mention there are already bodies showing up in town, courtesy of the mermaid, who’s now loose on the town by herself.
Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 2.39.19 AMScreen Shot 2018-03-30 at 2.39.57 AMA follow-up that’s totally worth it! Really enjoying how this is playing out, the first two episodes have really done well with not giving up too much mystery, as well as not tossing out a boat load of exposition. I enjoy a good slow build. Plus, there’s an enjoyable feeling to how the mermaid folklore/mythology is going to play out, as opposed to some of what we’ve seen before. Let’s hope. I wouldn’t mind seeing some women writers on this series, so we’ll see.
“Interview with a Mermaid” is next.

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I'm a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) graduate and a Master's student with a concentration in early modern literature and print culture. Although I've studied everything from Medieval literature onward, also spending an extensive time studying post-modern critical theory; I have a large interest in both Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard. I completed my Honours thesis on John Milton's Paradise Lost + the communal aspects of its conception, writing, and its later printing/publication. This thesis will serve as the basis for a book about Milton's authorship and his influence on pop culture (that continues to this day). My Master's program involves a Creative Thesis, which will be a full-length, semi-autobiographical novel. Author Lisa Moore is supervising the writing of this thesis. I'm already looking towards doing a dissertation for a PhD in 2019, focusing on early modern print culture in Europe and the constructions of gender identities. - I'm a film writer, author, and a freelance editor. My short stories have been printed in Canada and the U.S. I edited Newfoundland author Earl B. Pilgrim's latest novel The Adventures of Ernest Doane Volume I. Aside from that I have a short screenplay titled "New Woman" that went into post-production during early 2018. I was part of a pilot episode for "The Ship" on CBC; I told a non-fiction story of mine about my own addiction/alcoholism live for an audience with nine other storytellers. - Meanwhile, I'm writing more screenplays, working on editing a couple novels I've finished, and running this website/writing all of its content. I used to write for Film Inquiry frequently during 2016-17. I'm currently contributing to a new website launching in May 2018, Scriptophobic; my column is titled Serial Killer Celluloid. Contact me at u39cjhn@mun.ca or hit me up on Twitter (@fathergore) if you want to chat, collaborate, or have any questions for me. I'm also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fathersonholygore. Cheers!

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