Season 1, Episode 10: “Aftermath”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Eric Wald & Emily Whitesell
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Street Fight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “The Arrival” – click here
Donna (Sibongile Mlambo) isn’t well, she’s slipping away, and Ryn (Eline Powell) is desperate to save her sister. This brings Aldon Decker (Ron Yuan) to their aid, after Ben (Alex Roe) made the last ditch call. Decker sets up a drip to try and help, though Donna’s freaked out when she sees him there. It’s clear Aldon wants to help, even if he’s only addicted to the siren song, worse than Ben. Everybody’s doing what they can, between Ben, Helen (Rena Owen), and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola). However, Maddie isn’t overly thrilled about any of it, including her father getting hurt in the midst of everything. She and Ben are tearing further apart.
Bristol Cove is covered in crime scene, after the merfolk attacked. A self-fulfilling prophesy in a town built on legends of mermaids in the surrounding waters. Ted Pownall (David Cubitt) gets word about the shots fired in the streets, and one of his and Elaine’s (Sarah-Jane Redmond) housekeepers says she saw Sheriff Bishop (Gil Birmingham) with a shotgun, warning everyone to get inside. Not a typical evening in their quaint town.
We see how obsessed Decker’s become with the siren song. He craves to hear it, asking Ben to talk to Donna. “I just need it one more time,” he says. Creepy. Meanwhile, at Helen’s place Donna is resting, trying to get better. Ryn only wants to help her sister heal. She holds her sister, soothing her with old stories of hunting when they were young together. Their relationship is so touching, given what they’ve gone through over the course of this initial season.
Xander (Ian Verdun) gets released from jail. He’s at a crossroads right now. No telling where he’ll go, but he’s going it alone. He wants to get some space from Calvin (Curtis Lum), and after the recent tragedy with his dad, it doesn’t seem healthy for him to be so isolated. Only he wants the space because he slept with Calvin’s girlfriend, Janine (Hannah Levien). Yikes. This is gonna push Calvin towards something else, doing something stupid to make money; something like, selling a mermaid story to a newspaper, maybe.
Things get worse for Donna. She’s wasting away. And so Ryn must do what she can to ease her sister’s pain, despite loving her deeply, letting her go. This really doesn’t go over well with Decker, who takes off. This leaves the others to grieve. Ryn says the others will not let Donna go back “as a human,” and Helen then tells them she knows of somewhere special.
We see Ted go to see Sheriff Bishop, questioning Dale about what happened. The Sheriff passes things off without much fuss, blaming some of it on Xander, rightfully, and some of it on the “opiate epidemic” all across the country. Mostly, Mr. Pownall is only concerned about commerce, y’know. Typical capitalist, titan of industry-type. At the same time, Dale’s just trying to keep a lid on the real mermaids and mermen in town. Eventually he has no choice but to try trusting Ted, confessing to him the truth of all the weirdness going on.
Helen takes everyone to a place, deep in the woods. Her family’s burial ground is there. She reveals to them all her family were not human. She tells about the merfolk in human form who came to die in Bristol Cove, as well as the connection to the Pownall family and the mermaids. Helen’s character, her history, and this speech she gives is emotionally charged, plus VERY IMPORTANT in a day and age where we’re trying to decolonise, both in reality and in fiction. Loved Helen from the start, this just makes everything better. Including the Haida connection, which is particularly awesome. On top of it all, Ben and Helen are related through the bloodlines.
“That may be what your colony believes, but that’s not what happened.”
Ryn tells Helen and Maddie about how she sang for Ben, after Sean’s funeral and the wake. This worries them, because though the song can provoke deep love from some, it can provoke madness and obsession and dangerous things for others. We’re not yet sure what it’s going to ultimately mean for Ben, unfortunately.
Speaking of, he goes to find Xander, who feels terrible for what happened with the mermaids. He regrets it, and worse when he discovers Donna is dead. However, Ben’s having trouble. He’s hallucinating, seeing Ryn across the bar when she’s nowhere near. The siren song is most certainly affecting him in negative ways. I guess it’s not as bad as Decker. He’s turned up, drowned, presumed as suicide. Sheriff Bishop contacts his daughter about this latest body in a string behind the mermaids since their arrival, and now Maddie’s even more worried about Ben than before. She and Ryn go to find Ben, but he’s gone in the boat, out on the open ocean “to clear his head.”
Out there, Ben hears the song calling him. He dives under the water, calling to Ryn. He swims down, deeper and deeper. Until he’s gone too far. He convulses and goes limp. From out of nowhere, Ryn swims, grabbing him and pulling up to the surface. After a while he comes to, confused. He’s scared by the song’s lure. Likewise, Ryn is scared, and she feels guilty for not knowing what the song could do to him. In addition to everything bad already, Maddie decides she has to take time away from Ben, despite loving him, because of their growing apart as of late. Not. Good. Throw in a phone call later from Maddie’s mom and the girl has got too much on her plate!
Ryn comes back to Ben’s place, finding Maddie gone, and she again feels guilty for causing trouble in their lives. She laments the power of her song. She says originally it made her “curious,” and she only sang again to help Ben. She believes she puts him in danger, believing it’s necessary to keep away, at least for the time being. She’ll go stay with Helen. Everybody is split apart. It’s amazingly heartbreaking, seeing how far they’ve all been scattered since the beginning of Season 1. Always a good sign for Season 2, anyway.
I really loved Siren. I was previously a fan of Dead of Summer, so I was rooting for Freeform to knock it out of the park and get more than one season out of this series. Great to know we’re getting more already. Makes losing other great shows feel less painful. Stick with me, we’ll keep recapping and reviewing next year.