Amazon’s Carnival Row
Season 1, Episode 7: “The World to Come”
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Peter Cameron
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Unaccompanied Fae” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “The Gloaming” – click here
Inspector Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom) is led back to the station in handcuffs, derogatorily called “half–blood” and “Critch” then put in a cell. He did withhold info about the investigation, but did so because he knew what kind of climate exists in the Burgue, and what would’ve happened had he told the full truth. They put him a cell with hard men, hoping they’ll take out their frustrations on him. Also in the cells is Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne). She watches Rycroft, even offering him help to watch his back. Sergeant Dombey (Jamie Harris) assumes the half-fae copper will be bested, returning to find the other men beat up, moving Philo to a cell with the rest of his kind.
After their night on the town, Imogen Spurnrose (Tamzin Merchant) and Agreus Astrayon (David Gyasi) see there’s trouble. The faun leaves because of trouble at the Spurnrose home. Ezra (Andrew Gower) is losing his mind over the discovery their father sheltered a “pix tart.” He’s determined not to have a puck in their midst, whereas his sister reminds him: “Our fate is in his hands.”
Runyan Millworthy (Simon McBurney) bumps into an old pal, Horatius Symes, who’s seeking someone to help with Jonah Breakspear’s (Arty Froushan) education. Meanwhile, Jonah is busy fucking Sophie Longerbane (Caroline Ford) in secret. She’s telling him things about politics. He doesn’t care about that, whereas Sophie— both a woman and a politician’s child— knows it’s part of reality, right down to little moments between two lovers having sex in a carriage. Jonah doesn’t care about much. He treats his new tutor Runyan like an asshole. Ole Millworthy lays down the law about his sense of ethics, which doesn’t involve taking pay from a bourgeois snob to lie.
Philo feels guilty for lying to others, though he didn’t quite know his own history himself. Not only that, Vignette says his colleagues should’ve known his heart after working with him so long. This is where we see Carnival Row begin to deeply interrogate the divide that prejudice and racism opens up between in a supposedly civilised society.
Then there’s Ezra getting to know more about Mr. Astrayon. He’s looked into the faun’s background. Agreus was what’s known as a skipjack— someone who tracks workers that have run off. He hunted his “own kind.” Not so many choices for someone kept at arm’s length by society. He did what was necessary for survival.
At the station, Portia Fyfe (Maeve Dermody) inquires about Philo. Dombey gloats over them solving their case. Then she claims it was “a lie,” that she made it up to get back at Rycroft following an argument. Yet Philo refuses to turn his back on his own people: “I am what I am.” (Who knew we’d get an unintended Popeye reference?) After this, Dombey and others plot Philo’s accidental death.
“Yours was the piece
that made the puzzle”
Philo tells Vignette he believes his real father could be the killer, the one who conjured the Darkasher to protect his reputation in society. He also wonders why the beast didn’t kill him in the tunnel. Could be it didn’t know who he was, and that’s why it was taking the livers, to try and track him.
Imogen’s deliberately spending time with Agreus now, not going out on the town but helping him hang his new painting, The Rising by Augustus Hope. She talks with him about the meaning. Agreus gives a John Milton-ish answer about being “poised somewhere between heaven and hell.” The painting depicts a demon-like entity and a angelic lady pulling a human man in either direction— hard not to see it as a faun and a fae. Imogen interprets the faun man as “a rescuer,” just as she’s coming to see Mr. Astrayon, coming to rescue her from an ordinary bourgeois existence. Also, more of the steampunk world-building in Carnival Row: Agreus shows Imogen an electric lamp with a battery, using “water distilled from steam” and copper sulfate.
Afterwards, they fall into one another’s arms, becoming intimate for the first time.
Quill (Scott Reid)— the faun who’s fallen in with the religious Puyocs— is taking the next step towards his spiritual union with the Hidden One. This means a sacrifice. The leader, Cabal (Theo Barklem-Biggs), brings in the man who’d whipped the faun in the street not long ago. “Blood for blood” is their motto. Quill picks up a cinder block and bashes the man over his head, killing him as he begs for mercy.
Dombey and the others come to transfer Philo, though Vignette knows they’re going to kill him. They take the prisoner to a house, a bag over his head There, he meets Chancellor Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris). Hmm. An interesting turn of events. What will the Chancellor have to say?
Another spectacular chapter in the first season of Carnival Row. There are many plots, but they intertwine in such compelling ways. The Chancellor and Philo’s meeting ought to be something intriguing. Not to mention, the finale is next.
“The Gloaming” ends off the season. Father Gore already can’t wait for the next one!