3×07: “Northern Exposure”
Directed by Marita Grabiak
Written by Gavin Johannsen
* For a recap & review of 3×06, “The Island” – click here
* For a recap & review of 3×08, “‘Til Death Do Us Part” – click here
Ryn has found out Robb is actually a mermaid, and she’s suspicious of his presence, as are Maddie and Ben. Definitely a betrayal as far as Maddie’s concerned, having opened up about all her and Ben’s secrets while he was playing her the entire time. She was stepping out on the mermaid thrupple because she felt a connection, now it’s like it was all for nothing. Robb attempts to tell Maddie he was only being cautious after seeing the mermaid corpse in the freeze, planning on telling her eventually. He sits down with all of them, explaining his people are “isolationists” and stick to the waters around Alaska. He begs them to believe him, assuring he isn’t an enemy. And they do need all the help they can get going up against Tia. Because Tia’s building her army in order to use the collective siren song against humans on a large scale.
First thing’s first, Ryn has to get to Alaska so she can commune with Robb’s tribe. Thankfully the young entrepreneur has business connections that can get them access to a small private plane, avoiding any necessary travel items like an ID, let alone a passport. Bless Ryn’s heart, she plays the part saying she’s going on an “important business trip.” So sweet to see her experience flying for the first time. One of the major reasons Siren is such an interesting series is due to how it shows mermaids unlike we’ve ever seen them before onscreen, such as here when Ryn, an aquatic creature, gets to fly above not just the water but the earth itself, too. Beautiful moment.
At home, Helen’s watching over the merfolk and doing her part. She’s also unable to shake seeing Ryn’s dead sister Donna, like an omen that hovers over her no matter where she goes. Eliza drops the hard truth on Helen— Helen and Donna are, in a sense, bonded now, and until the former can help the latter’s soul rest they’ll remain that way. Xander also can’t shake his whole role in everything, continually being brought back into the mermaid debacle. The stakes are a bit higher for him these days, given the fact he’s training to be a LEO. He winds up running into a couple military officers looking to speak with Ben, obviously making him deeply suspicious.
Back on land, Robb drives his new friends through Alaska. Another first: Ryn sees a big bear in the road, fascinated by the animal’s size. Eventually the crew come to a frozen mass of water, where Robb tells his pals he’s stuck as a human, spending so much time on land that his body gradually stopped being capable of the transformation. Is there any chance Robb’s actually bluffing? Not ready to trust the man. Seems Ben is, and he goes with Robb to an ice fishing shack where they’ll hopefully entice the mermaids up to the surface with rainbow trout, a fresh water delicacy.
Soon the mermaids come up from below, taking human form to walk across the ice. Looks like Robb was telling the truth after all. He greets a mermaid called Yura, who quickly gets aggressive towards Ryn, but Ben steps in and Ryn settles down, calmly explaining what’s going on with Tia and her brewing war. Ryn asks Yura for help. However, the latter mermaid feels abandoned by Robb, who was meant to help father generations of mermaid children. This tribe has their own pressing problems related to survival. Also, the tribe’s got interesting sexuality and gender stuff going on here. Every member of the tribe is “born female” but can switch sexes for the purposes of reproduction— a tribe of transgender mermaids. Robb brings the others to see the pool where the mermaids change their sex, which Yura says has been damaged.
Some awkwardness later at the hotel. Maddie chooses to stay in Robb’s room, leaving Ben and Ryn on their own. Ben reveals to Ryn he’s been giving himself injections like they gave his mother. He tells her everything he’s been experiencing, and he says: “I feel closer to you.” She embraces him, only concerned for his safety above all. In the other room, Robb and Maddie share a bed for the first time, even after all the revelations about him being a mermaid. Convenient that he has to strip down to go to bed because of glacial water mermaid temperature issues. It’s all interrupted by some talk that prompts Maddie to figure out the problem with the Alaskan mermaids’ water: microplastics in the water have caused an increase of estrogen that’s preventing the mermaids from transitioning. Ben’s big brain comes up with a potential solution to help them pull the microplastics out of the pool.
There’s talk of boats being sunk lately and it gets Xander curious. So he heads home from the bar and starts digging into the location of shipwrecks recently along the coastline of Canada and up into the Arctic. Particularly he notices a pattern that’s all but heading in a straight line towards Nome, Alaska. Just great!
Is Tia going for a preemptive strike on Ryn? Or, is she headed for the icy mermaid tribe?
Another sweet sequence takes Ben below the water with Ryn as they gauge his newfound powers, to see if it’s possible for him to spend time with her underwater, not only on land. This offers great new possibilities for their relationship. At the same time, Yura has gone into the transition pool, emerging again in her male form. Yura agrees to join the fight with Ryn, seeing that Robb left their tribe in order to help ultimately save them. He offers Robb to come back into the fold. That means difficult things for his new relationship with Maddie.
Well, Tia’s turned up in Alaska and she’s brought one of those bombs with her.
She sets the bomb on the ice, detonating it. Oh, shit.
“She’s not at peace”
Crazy things are happening. The war’s ramping up.
“‘Til Death Do Us Part” is next. Only a few episodes left in Season 3.