Amazon’s Carnival Row
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Gloaming”
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Travis Beacham
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The World to Come” – click here
* Season 2 already announced!
Quill (Scott Reid) is in the streets with Cabal (Theo Barklem-Biggs), where he beats a younger faun to death with a club. Cabal orders the corpse stripped. Are they leaving another corpse to pose as a murder like the others around the Burgue?
At the jailhouse, Vignette (Cara Delevingne) is found in her cell, dead. She hanged herself. Except she didn’t— it’s a moment of distraction to allow her time to try escaping. She gets a little ways out of her cell, but the coppers grab hold and beat her down.
Philo (Orlando Bloom) is with Chancellor Absalom (Jared Harris), awaiting a bullet. Absalom believes he killed Aisling. OH, SHIT— he’s Philo’s father! The truth finally comes out. Dad tells his boy about when he met Aisling. Even he didn’t know about his son until this moment. But if Absalom didn’t conjure the Darkasher, who did?
Agreus (David Gyasi) gets advice from his manservant, Fergus (Jim High), who’s concerned about people talking of his master’s relationship with Imogen (Tamzin Merchant). He isn’t worried so much. His servant implores him to think of Imogen. She isn’t as “well–acquainted with danger” like Agreus, and already has to contend with Ezra (Andrew Gower) snooping.
Absalom will help get Vignette out of jail. He advises Philo to keep letting people think he’s been executed. He’s happy to know about his boy. Particularly considering his current wife Piety (Indira Varma) has been manipulating him. She’s having a confrontation at home with Jonah (Arty Froushan). Her son has a stomach-churning revelation of his own, discovering Sophie (Caroline Ford) is actually his sister. YIKES! Apparently Sophie already knows of the affair between her father and Piety. YUCK!
Aioffe (Alice Krige) had a premonition of her own death at the jaws of the Darkasher. And it’s come for her. She quickly mixes a potion and drinks it down. She turns to face the creature. “I know know who you are,” Aioffe tells it. The thing opens its face, consisting of octopus tentacles and what could be a horse’s face underneath, its skeletal teeth bared to chew on the haruspex.
When Absalom is preparing to get Vignette out of a cell, hoping to begin a process of healing in the Burgue with this gesture, he finds a faun waiting at his side— it’s Quill, and he stabs the Chancellor repeatedly before screaming “Death to the tyrant.” Quill’s caught and the Chancellor pulls through. Yet Absalom must deal with a pissy Jonah, being twisted around Sophie’s finger. He continues to consider Jonah his son in spite of blood, no matter if his son doesn’t care.
you’ll live longer.”
At night, Imogen goes to the servant entrance to see Agreus at his house. He’s not thrilled by her showing up this way. It hurts her. He tries to be mean and drive her away, as if he didn’t enjoy their time together. Really, he can’t stop thinking of her. He simply wants to shield her from any potential harm that might come because of their affair. They again go to bed together, not knowing Ezra’s watching. He goes home to get a gun, confronting the lovers. Agreus is held at gunpoint until Imogen knocks the weapon from her brother’s hands. Things have gone violently sideways.
Word of Aioffe the haruspex’s death spreads around fast, reaching Philo at the Tetterey Hotel. He goes to the old woman’s shop, finding the results of the Darkasher’s brutality. He sees her liver wasn’t taken. And there’s life left in the haruspex, “suspended in the gloaming,” a space “between day and night,” between life and death. She sees everything come together.
We simultaneously see things piece together for Absalom, figuring out Piety’s grand scheme— she’s the one who summoned the Darkasher, having figured out the identity of her husband’s one true son, Philo. Goddamn. Absalom dies beneath a pillow, smothered to death by his angry wife. After that, she opens up one of his incisions to take out his liver, to find the last of his secrets. This leads her to Vignette.
Now that Absalom is dead, it also leaves Jonah as acting Chancellor in his wake.
Piety has taken Vignette someplace. She wants info on Philo. He’s down in the sewer tracking the Darkasher. Piety can see him through her beast’s eyes. The Darkasher gives chase through the sewers as Philo flees, just managing to get out of the sewer tunnel and trap the thing. He bashes on it, while Piety feels the blows in her mind.
The thing won’t die until she’s dead.
“His secrets are hers now”
Soon, Philo comes upon the gruesome workshop where Piety pieced together her Darkasher, littered with the corpses of various animal corpses. He finds the woman waiting, the creature not far behind putting a new head on its hideous body. Philo’s stuck trying to fight the thing off. It all ends when Vignette gets free of her bonds, stabbing Piety through the back of the head and putting an end to the Darkasher.
Jonah calls Runyan (Simon McBurney) in to read him a letter, written by Aisling, supposedly. Runyan doesn’t think it’s “her voice.” He doubts it would’ve come from her. Jonah now decides he’s promoting Millworthy to be his special adviser, due to the older man’s honesty. Runyan isn’t too excited hearing about a “radical organisation” of Puyoc, nor what it’ll mean for the fae.
At a train station, Philo and Vignette try to leave the city. They have to pass through a gate, where Vignette is denied. No “Critch” are being let in or out. Jonah has locked everything down. Imogen and Agreus got out to sea on a vessel before being stopped, hoping to get far away from the Burgue.
Jonah’s figuring out Sophie was the one who wrote that letter. She wants to create chaos and make a new society in her image. And he’s just confused enough to be manipulated by someone smarter than himself. They appear before Parliament as two parties coming together to face “threats from without and within. The city’s being turned into a fascist state. All forms of magic individuals are restricted, even those born in the Burgue. With the Chancellor’s party and the Opposition as one it can only mean terrifying things for all those vulnerable, marginalised communities. Like Vignette, trapped in the Row as Philo stands on the other side, helpless. He won’t stay there, aligning with the others, stepping across the barbed wire to be with Vignette.
“We do not know what the future holds”
A truly awesome Season 1. There are many plots and stories to be told for Season 2, and perhaps onward. What’s great is there’s a human core to everything, with the very premise of the series being focused on difference at an individual level and a societal one. Expect bigger, scarier, more compelling things next year. The struggle’s far from over for all the other magic beings fighting for survival in a world that loathes them.