Season 2, Episode 5: “Primal Instincts”
Directed by Ellen S. Pressman
Written by Liz Maccie
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Oil & Water” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Distress Call” – click here
Ben (Alex Roe), Ryn (Eline Powell), and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) are getting deeper into their thrupple. It doesn’t necessarily sit well with the other merpeople. Cami (Millan Tesfazgi) doesn’t dig the looks of a mermaid so entwined with two humans. She takes this opportunity, not being watched, to go out and call to the others, joining her sisters in the street. Could there be trouble? Meanwhile, Ryn expresses to Ben and Maddie she wants more between them other than kissing. She tells them, in their underwater society, “sometimes males die from too much mating,” so she has to learn about how men and women should act in an egalitarian society, and it’s an adjustment. “On land things aren‘t always equal either,” Maddie also tells her.
On the boat, Xander (Ian Verdun) tries to treat Katrina’s (Aylya Marzolf) wound, realising the healing powers of the mermaids is strong. They’ve got a tentative arrangement. Communication isn’t exactly easy. He wants to use her for revenge, and she’ll likely use him to regain control of her people.
One thing’s clear: shit is about to get r-r-r-rough.
Things in the mer-clan aren’t great because their usual societal rules have to change. Such as eating— there’s not enough for them all, so they have to share, and the men, who usually wait to eat, must dine with the women. Funny, while Ryn’s learning to “make love” like a human, her brothers and sisters discover the difficult aspects of life on land. Also sad to see their culture disrupted. Doubly sad to watch Cami mourn her mother. She’s taken to Donna’s grave by Ryn, to try and heal the wounds. Only it makes the grieving daughter angry once she hears it was a human that killed her mother. Might’ve been a bad move, Ryn.
At the research centre, Ben gets a visit from the reporter from Seattle. He’s able to use the journalist to discover more about the drilling, such as that it probably won’t be coming to a stop any time soon considering they’ve found oil. Later, he gets a surprise visit from Xander, meaning he’s got hide Levi (Sedale Threatt Jr) while trying to reconnect with his old pal. Xander tells him about finding Katrina. Sounds like he might be feigning interest in helping the merpeople back to the water while using it to track down Levi, yet both he and Ben aren’t happy about the local water being destroyed by the oil company. Can’t forget Nicole (Natalee Linez) is lurking, feeding info back to the military.
Simultaneously, Katrina goes to the warehouse, where Sarge (Hugo Ateo) is guarding the tank by himself. She tries to order him around. He won’t listen. He follows their leader. Will she be able to convince him otherwise? Maybe she won’t have to— he’s already lamenting human form.
Nothing’s easy. Helen (Rena Owen) has to keep the merpeople from wandering the streets. Across town, Maddie finds her mother Susan (Garcelle Beauvais) at home with a bruised eye. Obviously it’s that piece of shit Glen (Christopher Rosamond). Susan wants to admit to her husband she relapsed. She isn’t lying about anything. She’s hopes to “get better” but Glen won’t just disappear. At the moment, she meets Ryn for the first time, to interesting results, and we do see Maddie cares for her mother, despite all the pain.
Katrina goes back to the house where she finds Cami. She wants to convince the others to go back to the water. Seems like it’s working. If she continues to separate the merpeople from one another, there’ll be a mutiny on Ryn’s hands.
Helen’s told more info by Rick (Brendan Fletcher) about his life. He explains he has a sister, Beth, who had him “committed to a state hospital.” They no longer speak. Helen suggests he reach out to his sister and explain the truth about their bloodline. Would that make it better? Or make him seem more crazy to her?
Because of Susan missing her wedding ring, she, Maddie, and Ryn go back to the motel where she went with Glen recently. Maddie goes up to the room on her own, but the door’s locked. She sneaks a key from the front desk and goes back up. She searches for the ring, finding it on the bathroom floor. That’s when Glen comes back. He gets threatening, but Ryn stops him and snaps his neck. Goddamn!
On the water, Ben’s diving for a closer look at the oil company’s work, and Xander keeps watch up top. Bad news for Ben when he’s sucked away in an undertow after a sonic cannon blasts him through the waves. Afterwards, he and Xander witness his father having a clandestine meeting on the wharf.
Fantastic episode, again. This season of Siren‘s upped the game, in a lot of ways. Best of all, the character work is paying off all over the place. New developments in this episode are pushing things further and further. “Distress Call” is next time.