Season 2, Episode 10: “All In”
Directed by David Solomon
Written by Heather Thomason
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “No North Star” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mixed Signals” – click here
In the Navy lab’s tank, Ryn (Eline Powell) swims in true form. She’s brought out of the water so she can be documented like a “zoo exhibit.” It doesn’t sit well with Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) or Ben (Alex Roe), watching on while people snap pictures and watch the mermaid transform painfully back to human form. The tail withers away bloodily. Ben and Maddie stop it all, refusing to watch her suffer. The mermaid only wants to help Elaine (Sarah-Jane Redmond).
Ben sees Decker was planning to start testing the mermaid cells on wounded veterans. They need more “stem cells” to start another trial. They’ve got to extract more from Ryn. She keeps insisting she’ll help. Ben isn’t willing to watch her deteriorate for his mother’s sake. All the same, Elaine is dying— and the mermaid can’t handle seeing Ben so sad, so she goes back to the lab on her own later.
Meanwhile, Rick (Brendan Fletcher) and Helen (Rena Owen) are at Bryan’s (Daniel Cudmore) place locked away in the basement. They’re let out to speak with Beth (Caroline Cave). She says there are things they need to know. She’s known about their mermaid lineage. Bryan is also one of the them, having ties back to the “Pownall Massacre” in Bristol Cove 150 years ago. Beth says their ancestors lived with humans on land, going into hiding after things went bad.
Nicole (Natalee Linez) calls Maddie to tell her Ryn showed up at the lab. Ben and Maddie go to their mermaid friend, concerned about her yet also grateful to have such a good friend. They’re not happy with Nicole, but they can’t discount the mermaid’s autonomy— she wanted to do it willingly, so, bottom line, it’s her choice. Nicole shows the couple around the lab. They see the results of cell extraction and Ben hears more about the sketchy process for “human testing.”
At the bar, Xander (Ian Verdun) wonders why Calvin (Curtis Lum) has a ton of cash lately. He and Janine (Hannah Levien) worry he could be dealing drugs or something else equally not cool. She tracks him down with a phone finder, locating him on the south side of the docks. Xander decides to go check on him.
Beth tells Rick their father knew the mermaid secret. It was just never a good time to let her brother know, given his many years of drug problems / other issues. Helen also sees a picture of a group— one of whom was her mother. A family mystery of her own. Beth says there’ll be a gathering of mermaids soon, so Helen can meet the extended family from their “limited gene pool.” There, Beth introduces Rick and Helen to everybody and the join together in saying a mermaid grace.
“Sistren of tide and time,
we gather in spirit of the Great Deep.
We ask our Mother’s blessings
on this bounty of sea and land.”
There are side effects to the stem cell process. Ben and Maddie go to the grocery with Ryn, letting her pick out food and push the cart. This puts the mermaid in a confrontation with a lady after banging her cart. The mermaid goes wild, frightening everyone, so her lovers must take her away, explaining that the woman wasn’t a threat.
They go home, where the thrupple climb in bed. Soon, Ryn starts to choke Ben— not in a sexy way. She squeezes his throat harder and harder until Ben and Maddie can get her off. It’s like she’s stuck between land and the sea after the cell extraction. It frightens Ryn as much as the couple. They decide to take her to the warehouse where she’ll be safe.
What about side effects for Helen? What might those be like?
Helen meets an older man called John (John Tierney). She talks about the “paradigm shift” of learning her true heritage. She hears of her mother Daphne (Shayla Stonechild) from John. She wants to know when Daphne left the group. The old man says it was around when her mother was 30. He also says it “wasn‘t right” what happened to her parents. This confuses her. Beth is quick to come interrupt.
What REALLY happened? There are dark secrets being kept.
At the docks, Xander finds a boat filled with people. He discovers Calvin playing poker in a backroom. A fairly high stakes game. Calvin tells his buddy to get out of there and not to make a scene. They meet outside. Xander’s worried about Calvin, especially considering there’s guns there. Calvin doesn’t have a job anymore after the boat sank, and even though it was Xander’s there was never much consideration for who else it’d affect if the damn thing sank.
Ben gets a call from his mother. She’s feeling better already. The whole painful process has at least had good results. They’ll still need more “magic cells” to complete the treatment. But right now, Ryn’s going mad. The extraction has made her more aggressive, more feral. She smashes through the tank, making a run for it out into the wilderness. Who knows where she’s headed.
A GREAT EPISODE! Aside from all the plot stuff, Eline Powell’s acting has only gotten better and better the more she lives in Ryn’s skin. Just a fantastic performance, making all the human emotion at the heart of a wild sci-fi series feel all the more palpable.
“Mixed Signals” is next time.