Season 1, Episode 6: “Showdown”
Directed by Martha Coolidge
Written by Holly Brix
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Curse of the Starving Class” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dead in the Water” – click here
While the rest of Bristol Cove is sleeping, Donna (Sibongile Mlambo) breaks into Pownall Seafoods. She’s hungry. And at the same time, Ryn (Eline Powell) tells Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) and Ben (Alex Roe) her sister’s hunting for food. She also gives us a bit of backstory, that her mother died and she was taken care of by her sister. A deep bond between sisters. There’s a deeper bond happening between Ryn and her humans, though. She’s getting more physically comfortable among them. She kisses Ben on the lips, as he’d just done to Maddie, and gives him an “I love you.”
Aldon Decker (Ron Yuan) has turned up in Bristol Cove, too. He’s tracking Donna, which leads him right to Pownall Seafoods. He investigates the warehouse, as Donna’s doing her own investigating up in Ted’s office. This is where Donna sees a picture of Ben, likely furthering her ill will towards Ben: not only is he the reason she’s not with her sister, she now might associate him with the nasty humans who fish the seas bare.
At her place, Helen (Rena Owen) still harbours Donna, knowing of the mermaids and their “mysterious habits” because she was, at one time, like them. I’m itching to know more about Ms. Hawkins, the character holds a lot of possibilities. Also, Rena Owen’s an enormous talent (if you’ve never seen Once Were Warriors especially – do it, now!).
Things with the mermaid sisters aren’t perfect. When Donna sees Ryn again, the two circle one another like predators about to fight. Ryn puts her head on her sister’s shoulder, pleading that they fight no more. However, Donna doesn’t look particularly sold. She doesn’t dig that Ryn seems cosy with the humans. So, Helen and Maddie give them time to hash things out amongst themselves. I’m curious about the mermaid relationships and their families, which is what we’re getting a new perspective on.
Xander (Ian Verdun) and Chris (Chad Rook) see Decker driving around town. This makes them wonder why he’s in Bristol Cove. They meet up with Ben and talk it over, and it’s clearly got Ben worrying; he knows there’s military interest in the mermaids. And Xander knows it, as well. At home, Ben and Maddie start digging into Decker, to find out his deal. It also leads to how Aldon asked Chris if the mermaid “sang” to him, i.e. the siren song of folklore and mythology. Ben tells Maddie he experienced it the first night he and Ryn met, how its effects were “like a drug.” Yikes, this is all starting to get very personally intense for the couple. They’ve only scratched the surface of the mermaid lore and how it actually appears in real life, now that the creatures are no longer just stories from books.
That evening, Ben and Maddie go to a big fundraising event thrown by the Pownall family. Lots of surprises there, too. Such as Decker ingratiating himself to Elaine (Sarah-Jane Redmond), which puts him next to Ben. He starts talking about powerful “stem cells” from the “marine creature” he recently discovered, naturally intriguing Elaine. But it’s all just sending up red flags for Ben. He then taunts Aldon about the siren song. Not a good idea, if you ask me. Regardless, he discovers a government plan to starve the mermaids to the surface, so they can trap and harvest them to their own purposes.
We see Donna tell Ryn about what she experienced, at the hands of humans, and this finally brings the two back together. Ryn says she’ll “hunt on top of water” for those who did those things to her. It’s all a dangerous game, because Decker is so close right now, lurking around Ben, and Ben’s so close to Ryn, that something bad will happen. Sooner or later.
Outside the fundraiser, as Decker grabs a big fucking needle, he’s confronted by Xander re: the mermaid, the government conspiracy. Aldon refutes that there ever was a mermaid, but Xander’s too smart for that, making the point that an absence of evidence does not mean there is none whatsoever. Mostly, though, Decker makes nasty threats backed by state power.
Suddenly through the crowds, Ben starts hearing the siren song, as does Aldon. They’re incapable of ignoring the sound, it permeates everything. This sends Decker rushing off, followed by Ben and Maddie. They’re all led out into the woods, seeking out the origin of the song’s notes. Aldon stumbles onto Donna in the trees, he begs for another chance to study her correctly. Then Ryn appears, and the military scientist’s got himself into some serious shit. She grabs him by the neck, threatening to murder him, just as Ben and Maddie show up. The only way Decker gets to live is if he calls off the government’s trawler plans. Problem is, the plan’s been set in motion.
And with that, the mermaid sisters are ready to kill. Ben tries to stop Ryn, which upsets her. She feels betrayed by Ben and his perceived protection of Decker, when it’s only morality pushing him to stop a death. She and Donna head off together. But they’re still not safe from the government and their plot to harvest the mermaids. Nevertheless, Ryn believes they ought to “kill the bad ones” but not the good humans, whereas Donna can’t accept that, and this perpetuates a divide between the sisters. Ryn’s not ready to condemn all humans after seeing up close the love and care offered to her by Ben and Maddie.
Down at the harbour, Donna heads for the water. Chris and Xander see her, so the latter runs down to try and talk to her. Instead, she jumps on in, transforming back into her mermaid form. Xander witnesses it all from up above. In the meantime, Donna’s headed right back into the clutches of the military if she’s not careful. Not to mention Xander’s determined to chase her.
Oh, and right as Ryn’s about to go after her sister, she’s found by the police. Whoa. A bad thing, and a good thing considering she won’t go back in the water and wind up in danger. This leaves us so much for next episode.
Loved this episode! Really pushes forward certain themes in Siren, as well as gives us more plot movement. Seriously a fantastic show. Not without its flaws, but those aren’t enough to kill it for me, at all. So much going on all at once.
“Dead in the Water” is next time.