Orlando Bloom’s ‘Carnival Row’ Examines Racism in Black, White and Fae

For “Carnival Row,” a complicated world has been created which holds a social division in this Victorian fantasy world between the Fae and the humans, but human races are not a problem although that is only represented in black and white. By black, I use the British definition which includes some Asians, but not East Asians. East Asian seem incredibly absent, but that’s a topic I will take on elsewhere.

“Carnival Row” has beautiful special effects, but unfortunately hopes that some of its enticements will be the soft porn artistic representations of sex between fairies and humans (male humans to female fairies) and fauns (pucks) to female humans.

The series might be better served by focusing more on characterizations and the more nuanced social problems of race along with actual species.

Episode 1: “Some Dark God Wakes”

For ages, the homeland of the Far was a place of myth and legend. Until the many empires of man arrived and warred for control of its riches. Seven years ago, this Great War ended when The Republic of The Burgue withdrew abandoning the Fate to the iron fist of their rivals, The Pact.

A bloody hand belonging to a decomposing corpse in a contorted twist with his back on the barbed wire fence and his head hanging down with his eyeballs white with death and his mouth set in a ghoulish grin exposed by rotting flesh. He, like others around him, have fallen from the sky and remain caught on a criss-crossing of wires above the forest floor.

Now the Fae’s homeland is the hell from which they yearn to escape…

And we are in Pact-occupied Anoun, Tirnanoc. With rifles firing behind them, the Fae run. The soldiers have some vicious beast on thick leather leashes and harnesses. They are only sparsely furnished with fur, as if made for warmer more humid climates. A woman protects another from the dog-like beast and she jumps off a cliff and flies to a boat.

“Oy, I told you already, you get your cut after I get mine,” the captain claims and he explains, “You are our last sparrow hawk,” but the woman, Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne), refuses to leave the ship and the ship comes under attack by cannons. She has a large matchbook with the name of a hotel. In the hold, she reads a book and looks at an old photo that has a silvery gleam and touches the braid at the back of her head.  “He’s somebody I knew from the war.”

The boat suddenly bursts full of holes. The Fae panic but the hold has iron bars to keep the passengers down. The shattered boat leaves the passengers floating down to the bottom of the sea and we get a glimpse of the photo again. You’ll recognize it as Orlando Bloom The photo slowly melts to Orlando Bloom’s character, Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate, on a train that leaves him in a city that has humans and the Fae. The Fae are people with horns, or some with wings and even centaurs.

Philo is an inspector not well liked by his fellows and his beat is Carnival Row, an area where the Fae are allowed to live, but not always treated well by the law and certainly others. He assaults an officer for mistreating a young Fae.

The Fae are both black and white and a black middle-aged Fae woman has been assaulted and lies in bed. Philo asks her about her attacker, but she doesn’t have much information. As he leaves, she tells, him, “Mr. Philo, I can see you’re a good man; I hope you find what you lost there.”

A nanny Fae tells her kids to call the constables as they see the bodies from the shipwreck. Vignette is among them and she is holding a book and opens her eyes. Soon enough we’ll realize Vignette is exactly what he lost there.

At Balefire Hall, a governmental building of The Republic of the Burgue, the leader of the minority, Ritter Longerbane (Ronan Vibert),  declares, “The critch are swarming our city. They’re changing the very fabric of our society, and not for the better. They bring vices, wanton,  scourge of elixir addiction, worship of strange gods. Our streets are safe no more. Whole burroughs have become off-limits to decent citizens.”

And yet the government is led by “a majority content to do nothing.”

Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris), the leader of the majority, objects. He reminds them of the war. “It was a war we could have won. It was a war, we should have won.”

Longerbane reminds the men in parliament–mostly white men with a few black men, that the Critch are taking jobs away from the humans. “The Critchs do their job for a pittance.”

His wife, Piety (Indira Warma),  walks above, listening to the debate. They have a son, Jonah (Arty Froushan). “It’s your future that concerns me, Jonah,” Piety says as her wastrel son leaves.

The blue-haired Tourmaline (Karla Crome) asks Philo about the murders. “A racist with a hammer is beating us where he finds us,” Tourmaline says, and she doesn’t feel that the law is doing much to find the murderer, but Philo complains that the Fae aren’t forthcoming with details. They don’t trust the constables.

At the police station, Vignette is questioned by the constables because she was indentured to someone. The ship, Deliverance, was registered to Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower). He’s put all of his money on the venture, hoping to recover the funds with the sale of the Critch on board. The only one remaining, Vignette, becomes the lady’s maid for Ezra’s sister, Imogen (Tamzin Merchant). Imogen touches Vignette like a new domesticated animal, inspecting her nails and touching her long black braid. You might even suspect there is something sexual going on, but it’s more a matter of ownership.

The Spurnrose household is run by Afissa (Tracey Wilkinson), a faun or “puck” who gives this fairy or “pix” a few stern words. She runs a respectable household.

Imogen doesn’t realize that her brother, Ezra has gambled their whole fortune on the ship that sank. She does eagerly go out to meet the new neighbor who turns out to be a rich black puck, Agreus Astrayon (David Gyasi). Agreus knows of the Spurnrose family; Ezra and and Imogen’s father was a well-known watchmaker. Shocked that Agreus is the master and not the servant, she and Ezra  awkwardly leave.

Philo attends a rabble-rousing lecture against the Critch and finds that his fellow officers are there such as Sergeant Dombey (Jamie Harris).  Philo assaulted Dombey for making a remark about sex with the Critch. Philo might have lost a love in the war, but that doesn’t mean he’s celibate. The widow, Portia Fyfe (Maeve Dermody), who runs his boarding house, is sweet on him and they engage in sweaty sexy. Her breasts are bared and we see his butt crack.

You’ll get to see man and female fairy sex with the fairy, in this case Tourmaline, clamping her legs on the man, young Jonah, and taking him aloft. Jonah gets up for some fresh air and instead of displaying himself to the night air (we see him totally nude from behind), he is abducted. His puck servant Quill will pay (Scott Reid).

Back to the business of serial murder, at the police station, while talking with Constable Berwick (Waj Ali), Philo realizes that though he suspected Dombey because he wore a uniform and had those mutton chop facial hair, the murder takes place every three weeks which coincides with the regular schedule of the ships.

Philo and Berwick go to a bar on the waterfront looking for a left-handed man with a tattoo on his forearm. Philo finds his man, and gives chase, cornering him on a rooftop. Philo tells him his rampage is done. The man, Unseelie Jack (Matthew Gravelle), gives a warning: “Done? It’s just beginning…they come from a dark place and they haven’t come alone. They’ve brought something with them…Think I’m mad? I know darkness…You’re ill prepared for the hardship that lies ahead. There’s more here than you can fathom. While you go about your little life so sure that this world still belongs to you, some dark god wakes.” He steps off of the roof to die, broken and bloody on the ground.

Upset and bloodied, Philo returns home to find Portia ready and willing in his bed. She worries about him, pushing him to seek medical help, but he insists, “No doctors.” She tells him, “I want to know you, Philo.”

“And I’m telling you, you might be happier being in the dark,” and she leaves angrily bidding him to tell her when he’s interested in a quickie. Obviously, she’d like to be more than that.

The night isn’t over and Vignette, having learned from Tourmaline that Philo isn’t dead visits him, threatening him with a knife. She thought he had died; a mutual friend, Mima Roosan (Badria Timimi), came with the news of his death. He confesses that he told her to lie.  For seven years, she mourned him. She wishes he had died and leaves him disgusted and heartbroken. “I wish you had died.”

Elsewhere, another fairy, Asling (Erika Starkova), finds the photo of Philo that Vignette had. As she picks it up, humming a tune over and over again. From the dark tunnel underneath the city, a creature comes out and attacks her and drags her in.  As she dies, we hear the voice of Unseelie Jack: “While you go about your little life so sure that this world still belongs to you, some dark god wakes.”

Episode 2: “Aisling”

What we learned in the first episode was that the world of The Burgue is in the seventh century. The fairy women and men wear corsets mean to bind their wings to prevent them from flying. Flying by fairies is against the laws.

The episode begins the early morning hours;  a constable is checking the road, making sure all the shops are properly locked when he spies “a flyer.” Vignette has been spotted leaving Philo’s boarding house and returning to the house of and we realize how little freedom the Fae have.

When Philo sees Portia downstairs in the morning, she asks, “What are you hiding, Philo? Have you ever let anyone love you? What happened? Did she hurt you? Did you hurt her?” Philo has no answers for Portia.

At work, Philo and Berwick investigate Aisling’s death. She was eviscerated. When they take a look at her lodging, they find a old man hiding there.  He claims, “She was my friend from years ago.” He then adds,   “I just arrived back in The Burgue.”

The man, Runyan Millworthy (Simon McBurney),  tells him that once Aisling was famous and popular in The Burgue. He turns on a phonograph and we hear her singing a song that will haunt Philo. The man has a troupe of Kobolds, small gremlin like animals that are used as pets, or in the case of this man, as a performing troupe (instead of puppets). We’ll see him later with them performing in the park.

Philo asks, “Were their children to talk to?”

The man replies, “Her life was her art.”

Vignette is following Imogen for a walk in the park, Imogen declares, “It looks like it might rain, after all. Where’s my parasol?” That almost makes no sense because a parasol is for the sun, but Vignette is new to being a lady’s maid and has not brought an umbrella, “Sorry, Miss” is all she can say.

Imogen tells her, “You don’t know the first thing about being a lady’s maid. Run back and fetch it, right now.” As soon as Vignette leaves, it begins to rain.

Imogen is caught in the rain and the only person who will offer her the shelter of a shared umbrella is her neighbor Agreus (David Gyasi), a puck. Imogen is both grateful and embarrassed. She asks him if he doesn’t know better than to move into a human neighborhood and he replies, “I am quite aware of the reaction that my arrival in this neighborhood has provoked.”

She ventures out into the rain after further verbal exchange with him.

At work, Philo returns and finds Berwick talking negatively about a half-blood. Philo wants to get an autopsy on Aisling to help his investigation, but his superior officer tells him that the medical examiner is busy and, “I’m not going to waste his time on a dead Pix.”  Philo pays for a puckish butcher, Morange (Gregor Gudgeon), to do the job. Weirdly, not all her organs are there. She is missing her liver.

Philo might have seemed friendless, but on his daily visit to Bleakness Keep, Philo visits Darius (Ariyon Bakare), a man who served with him during his military career in the land of the Fae. He tells Darius of his current investigations, “She had a voice, haunting. Can’t get it out of my head.”

Downstairs at the home of Ezra and Imogen Spurnrose, Ezra attempts to tell Vignette that there’s a faster way out of her term of indentured servitude. She refuses his overture, but he then attempts to rape her, Vignette hits him with a plate and escapes.  Imogen and the puck housekeeper Afissa hear Ezra’s cries and Ezra claims that he caught Vignette stealing from a money jar on the kitchen sideboard, but Afissa notices that the jar is firmly shut. Imogen angrily tells Ezra they must report the theft.

At the police station, Imogen reports the theft and files a “writ of non-compliance.”  Philo hears and visits the Spurnrose home. Philo pays the 50 guilders to satisfy Vignette’s debt. Imogen can’t believe that on an inspector’s salary he has that kind of money to spend, but when she is gone, Philo tells Ezra, “The girl’s not a thief. Why did she run?” Seeing Ezra’s reaction, he replies,  “I thought so.”

After Philo has left, Imogen learns that Ezra has lost most of their monies. “Father left us 10 thousand a year, so you squandered it?,” she asks. Ezra claims that it costs a fortune to keep Imogen in the finest fashions and have fresh flowers every day. Unlike his father who made watches, Ezra seems not to have a trade. “I trusted that you had our financial manners in hand,” Imogen exclaims. When she learns that Ezra means to use their mansion as security on another loan, she tells him, “It is my fate, too, and I will have a say in it,” but Ezra angrily replies, “Now I am the master here. I will make the decisions.”

Vignette has sought refuge with her only friend in The Burgue, Tourmaline. She asks to become a prostitute, but Tourmaline feels it doesn’t suit Vignette. While Tourmaline had once been a poet, Vignette was an awful “fuck.” That really isn’t true and we will later learn that Tourmaline and Vignette had once been lovers. Instead, Tourmaline introduces Vignette to the black market and the underground world of Fae organized crime. To prove herself and mark her as a criminal, Vignette must step the flag from inside the police station.

Led by an angry female Fae, Dahlia (Chloe Pirrie), the Black Raven have severe punishment for those they feel might have betrayed them. When one, Wren (Sandra Veronica Stanczyk),  doesn’t have the right answers, she is tied up in a wing-binding corset and pushed over a ledge to her death.

If you are wondering about the fate of Jonah, his mother, Piety has brought a fortune-telling Fae, Haruspex (Alice Krige) to her home. She reminds her husband that “had she not seen you were destined for great things and your son, even greater,” they would not have been married.

Haruspex says that “a sacrifice is required.”  Her husband must sacrifice the bear but we also learn that Piety already knew where her son was and that Haruspex has lied. Piety kidnapped her own son and was quite glad to be rid of the poor bear.

The episode ends with Vignette confronting Philo before leaving with the flag. Tourmaline has provided a distraction, but Philo followed Vignette to the upper levels of the precinct. Vignette tells him that if he doesn’t let her go, she’ll reveal his secret.

Episode 3: “Kingdoms of the Moon”

In a flashback to the war, we’re in the Tirnanese Highland where a troop of soldiers march as the snow falls. They enter a holy place in Anon and per their treaty commandeer it for the war effort. Philo is charged with searching for weapons, to search for fairy guerrillas who might be on the side of The Pact.

While searching by himself,  Philo finds an entry to a cave that houses a great library protected by Vignette. She threatens him, “I am a sworn steward of this sacred library,.” Philo swears he won’t tell anyone but he reminds her that when his commander finds him missing, there will be a search. Vignette doesn’t want the library to be crated up for some Burgish museum as an exhibit.

Mima Roosan (Badria Timimi) tells Vignette to watch Philo to insure that the secret of the library is kept.

Darius reports that the telegraph line has been cut. Philo gets Vignette to help repair the line. Philo sets up guard at one point while Darius is at the other. Vignette flies from one to the other. Yet the group is being spied upon by a trio of men from The Pact. The men take off their uniforms and while totally naked, (We see their back sides.), they inject something into their necks. Philo orders his men to stay and climbs down and then up to where Darius was. It was, as Philo suspected, a trap. The men turn into wolfish Critches. Darius is bloody, but the blood isn’t his.

Philo kills one, but when another attacks, he is saved by Vignette. Darius claims to have killed another. They watch as one of the dying creatures turns back into a naked human. This is the kind of dog-like creature that we saw in the first episode, bearing down on a fairy that Vignette killed.

The Pact is infecting the soldiers with some kind of catalyst (whatever was in the metal hypodermic needles) that induces the change even without a full moon.

“Kingdoms of the Moon” is the name of the novel Philo’s favorite novel. He gives it to Vignette who then gives Philo a proper look at the library. In the library, she shows him a book about a man who was shipwrecked and ended up in the world of the Fae. He left but he left behind a child–a half-breed. Vignette believes there is some connection between this ancient story and the book that Philo reads.

As The Pact is about to attack, Philo goes looking for Vignette. And somewhat, despite the snow and stone, they are fine with stripping down naked and having sex on the cold stone. Yes, more fairy sex with Vignette’s breasts on full display. Later, the two are more sensibly in a cave, under fur blankets. Philo, we learn, is a half-breed. The scars that Portia first noted on his back were from wings that were clipped. He has phantom pains.

While Philo sees that the Fae have been around far longer than men, his commander tells him not to be seduced by their ways because “Yet their industry lags far behind ours.” There is a suggestion of Darwinian socialism. The Fae are not equal to humans, but lesser.

The full moon rises and Philo witnesses Darius running out into the moonlight and stripping down to answer the call of the werewolf viral infection. He turns into the wolfish beast, howls and, in the morning, awakes behind a stag that he has slain. Philo brings him his clothes.  Darius knows about Vignette but he will also depend upon Philo who makes sure that Darius isn’t killed.

As refugees arrive, Vignette is reunited with Tourmaline. Tourmaline questions her relationship with Philo. Vignette asks if she is some kind of “exotic fuck,” but Philo reveals that his wings were clipped while he was an infant, before he could remember. His affair with Vignette was like “coming home.” As a child, he was left as an orphan and he knows nothing about his parents though he longs to find them and know if they loved each other.

Tourmaline tells Philo that he, on his two legs, can’t outrun The Pact. But Vignette won’t fly away. She will stay even if it means her death. Tourmaline tells Philo that if he loves her, he won’t force him to make the choice between her life and being with him. The fairies flee ahead of the man. Vignette is charged with saving the library and Vignette insists that she will stay with Philo although he pleads with her to flee now. Vignette gives him a token of her vow to be her. Philo tells her he loves her and Vignette tells him she loves him. She leaves to protect the library, but Philo warns the people that The Pact’s blimps are upon them, armed with battling guns and bombs. Philo asks Mima Roosan for a favor.

Vignette seals the library off. Mima Roosan arrives with bloody hands and whispers into Vignette’s ear. As Philo and Darius flee on horseback. Mima Roosan, Vignette and another fairy fly away together.

Back in the present, Philo looks up at the Tetterby Hotel where Tourmaline is. Vignette comes down and assures him that she won’t tell his secret and condemns her for doubting their love. “It would have worked out,” and they would have had a reason to live.

“Not with me. I’m a broken thing,” Philo tells her. They part with Vignette sure that her place isn’t with him. Do you believe her?

Episode 4: “The Joining of Unlike Things”

The title refers to two different things and begins with a young orphan at Light of the Martyr Foundling Home. He asks the head master to go to the loo. On his way there, he hears the headmaster being savagely killed and pees on the stone floor.

The headmaster, who was quite old, was Philo’s childhood headmaster. In a carriage on a dark and stormy night, Philo returns. He recognizes one of the masters. Following the tracks that are oddly both hooves and troll, he goes into the underground sewer tunnels and meets a creature. It is tall with a tail and tentacles and although he shoots at it, the creature doesn’t stop or falter. Yet it suddenly disappears.

Philo asks for advice from Mima Sawsaan (Mina Andala) who tells him there is unusual power in “the joining of unlike things” and though she doesn’t venture into those things, but knows someone who does. The inspector ask Haruspex (Alice Krige) to make him a Darkasher. “I only require what would be your part in any creation…your seed.” Haruspex drugs Philo and he imagines that he is having sex with Vignette. He wakes up with his pants undone. She tells him to come back later.

Vignette (Cara Delevingne) ingratiates herself into the Black Raven and begins with deliveries, shadowing Oona. Vignette delivers contraband and elixir. In the daytime, she must leg it. In the night time, she can fly.  Someone, Bolero (Anthony Kaye),  has seen Vignette talking with Philo. Dahlia already suspects there is  “a cricket in our midst” that has been “chirping.” Vignette has to find out who in 24 hours or she’ll be mutilated or murdered.

Through Tourmaline who pleads with Philo, Vignette gets his name: Hamlyn (Dejan Bucin). Hamlyn was the fairy who told Oona, he meant to “fuck” Vignette. Hamlyn watched Wren die, but he knew Wren had been supplying bodies to Haruspex.  Hamlyn thinks it wasn’t the betrayal that caused Dahlia to kill Wren but her side action.

Dahlia tells Vignette to kill Hamlyn because “He who picks the groundlings belongs to the ground,”  and Dahlia doesn’t seem to really care who comes back. Vignette, due to Tourmaline’s intervention, is saved by Philo. He shoots Hamlyn and together they throw him down into the sewage tunnels. “At the end of the day, a man’s no better than the pain he’s caused the people he loves and what he’s willing to do to set it right,” Philo confesses. “I should never have taken it from you. Sorry.” Philo returns to the token Vignette had given him to declare his love.

Vignette brings Hamlyn’s wings to Dahlia and gets promoted to Hamlyn’s former position, collecting money for a lottery.

Philo has sent an invitation to Portia and he tells “Portia I do care about you. More than I’ve shown. You deserve better…I’ve decided to choose a world.” But he doesn’t tell Portia what he means. He takes her out to a meal and then he confesses, “It was me who hurt her,” answering the question Portia asked about before.

“Sometimes that’s harder to live with than the other way around,” Portia replies.

Back at the sinking social ship of the Spurnroses, Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) hatches a plan to help her brother and invites Agreus over to test the waters. She pretends that the front entry is being painted and so Agreus must come through the back. Agreus thinks she is playing a game and having him over just for sport so the interview ends poorly. Later, his servant Fergus (Jim High) asks around and learns that Ezra has been “casting around for a loan.” Imogen meant to trade–an introduction into society in return for generosity. Agreus goes to apologize but notices that Imogen is bothered by her neighbors watching. Agreus says,  “Imagine how they’ll stare when you’re forced to sell this house.” Agreus believes there can be an “accommodation” but the first step would be Imogen letting him through the front door.

Under the watchful eyes of his wife, Breakspear (Jared Harris) attacks Longerbane (Ronan Vibert) in parliament. He instantly regrets dragging the kidnapping out into the open but sends his guards after the Procter, taking him from his meal in front of his daughter, the cloistered and oozingly creepy Sophie.

Absolum Breakspear beats Longerbane. “Where’s my son, bastard?”

Piety goes to comfort him. She tells him he’s brave. “It’s not bravery; it’s that I have nothing to give up,” Longerbane tells Piety. Piety has not come to give Longerbane tea out of pity. She has come to poison him and then pretends to be shattered by Longerbane’s death.

“What is it? Did the demon speak?” Breakspear asks. Piety reveals where Jonah has been left. The constables arrive but no one is there. Jonah, once he returns home, realizes that it is his mother, Piety, who was behind the kidnapping.

The actual last scene is the dawn at The Burge. Vignette is still bloody and crying and Tourmaline comfort her.

Episode 5: “Grieve No More”

Runyan Millworthy has his troupe performing the tale of the murdered headmaster Finch and Aisling, wondering whether justice will be served. Runyan has his troupe confiscated by the constables who can’t decide if they are intelligent Fae or pets but they are mistakenly deported and Runyan has no other work.

Philo returns to Haruspex and sees the creature she has created. She tells him the darkasher has no intelligence of its own but can sometimes see what its master sees. According to Haruspex, the conjurer of the murdering darkasher has powers beyond her own and that darkasher cannot be killed as long of the person it serves lives.

Returning to the orphanage, Philo asks an old master if he recognizes Aisling. He remembers him bouncing on the beds, believing he could fly. We also see a young black boy, which one assumes is Darius (Ethan Kamula). Aisling’s melody plays in his brain. Philo remembers a young Master Finch telling him to pray to the Martyr to hide his Fae blood (“Ask the Martyr to protect your secret”). Philo remembers the Master Thorne (Ian Hanmore) told him “sins of omission are far more dangerous than sins of commission” because they are far more easier to get away with. The old master tells him that Finch frequented the house of ill-repute to consort with the Fae.

Imogen approaches Ezra, but he thinks she can only have idle chatter. Imogen tells him that Agreus, the puck across the street, seeks acceptance into their social circle. Imogen has already arranged a tea with prominent families. “Something that will cost us nothing but a measure of pride,” Imogen says because she won’t let Ezra put the house at risk as long as she draws breath.

The guests invited to tea include a black family, the Gilfoys, and a white family, the Pembrokes–brother and sister Louisa (Issy Stewart). Just when Imogen is ready to admit defeat, Ezra arrives.

Jonah (Arty Froushan) is told there will be consequences. Piety reminds Jonah of the prophecy and wants him to concentrate on his study and stay out of the public eye.

Quinn, who was let go due to the kidnapping of Jonah, has fallen on hard times and while in a food line learns about a radical group.

What Piety and her husband didn’t count on was Sophie who now out of her cage because her keeper is dead, wants to own the stage that is  Parliament. Ezra’s teacher takes Jonah to Parliament to learn about politics and Jonah sees Sophie dressed in black. His teacher explains that her presence is a mere formality, but Sophie isn’t willing to be a silent formality. She talks about The Burge and its values and how her family was consider an outcast because of the color of their skin. “The Fae are nothing like us. Our differences are more than skin deep,” she declares of the Critches. “Our Chancellor has turned a blind eye for far too long. But I will not. A great tide of anger is rising in our city.”

Jonah is captivated by her, “She’s the most magnificent creature” he declares.

Vignette is still staying with Tourmaline. She bumps into Philo on his way to interview the prostitute that the master saw. Master Finch was not meeting with two pix whores, he was meeting with a man. The man–Morange, is the doctor who performed the autopsy on Master Finch, Morange reveals that Finch knew Aisling.

The doctor returns home to his small white dog and remembers a baby and a surgery in which he cut off the wings. The baby screamed. But was that the doctor’s memory or Philo’s because the scene changes to Philo in bed with Portia. He wakes up from a nightmare but he hasn’t told Portia yet.

Philo takes to the street and returns to Aisling’s living quarters. He turns on the recording. As he listens the scene changes to the doctor who is drinking alone. His small white dog (a Westie?) is killed and the man is thrown down the stairs. The darkasher attacks him.

Back at Aisling’s living quarters, Philo decides to listen to another recording. He remembers himself hearing a fairy singing to “my child, my son.”  He sees hand prints and small wing prints. He comes to understand that Aisling was his mother and like the protagonist in the story “Kingdoms of the Moon,” he is left to search for his father.

Episode 6: “Unaccompanied Fae”

When the doctor, Morange (Gregory Gudgeon) is found murdered and Philo is told he never took any fee because he felt it was his civic duty. A constable (Doomby?) notes there were rumors that Morange also did illegal operations like abortions, clipping ears and shearing off wings. Philo thinks of the loss of his own wings.  Philo doesn’t tell the other constables that he already knows there is a connection between Finch and Aisling or him.

Philo realizes that the murders are all connected to him. Returning to the boarding house,  he reveals to Portia how the murders are connected that he is Aisling’s child, that the doctor removed his wings. He admits that his wings were shorn, but telling her the truth horrifies her. Portia tells him he must get out.

Philo goes to see Darius. Darius knew along but never said nothing. Darius feels that the Philo’s secret once out will not only destroy Philo, but also him.

At the police station,  Berwick discovers that Morange was at Carnival Row and Berwick looks into it, determined to find the link that Philo supposedly couldn’t find.

Jonah learns that the man who supposedly kidnapped him is lying in state. His father Absolute explains, “magnanimity in victory goes a long way in disarming one’s enemies.” Watching unseen, he learns that Sophie isn’t really the grieving daughter because when she asks for a moment alone (with only her lady’s maid puck) she laughs.  When Sophie learns Jonah has seen her, she also learns that he has come to pay his respect to her and not her father. “I suppose it was inevitable that our paths would cross,” Sophie admits. “No amusement but the litany of secrets” that came from the smoky rooms where the most powerful men of the city met.

Vignette (Cara Delevingne) and Tourmaline remember what it was like to be lovers, but before the kiss can go further, another prostitute interrupts them and tells them there’s been another murder.

On her rounds, Vignette sees a large poster on a grand museum: The “Treasures of Tirnanoc” will be put on display, but also  “No Fae Allowed.” Entering by illegally flying into the museum, she sees that the whole library that she was too guard has been taken and is now installed into the museum. In a glass case, she sees the very story that she revealed to Philo. She remembers both the war and her encounter with Philo.

Just how are The Burge and The Pact intertwined?  When she sees a group of humans visiting the exhibit, she attacks them.

In Carnival Row, Quinn has joined a group of puck who are flagellating themselves as a form of protest. A human tough begins to beat one of the puck and Quinn is told that “This is the truth. They will never accept us.”

Berwick discovers that Philo was already at the Tetterby Hotel and reports back.  Berwick is told to follow Philo, but Doomby goes to speak with Portia. Portia tells Doomby that Philo is half-blood and that his mother was Aisling and now the constables know the connection between Philo and Aisling and Master Finch’s death.

Philo goes looking for Runyan who recalls there was someone, someone she wouldn’t talk about. In ’06 or ’07, that Aisling left for months and when she returned she was changed. Sadder. “I’ll fly for you, my child,my son, my only one.”

Aisling stayed with a benefactor, in Crossling. He was the finest watchmaker in The Burge at the time. That, of course, means the father of the Spurnrose siblings.

Imogen received a lovely cranberry red velvet dress and matching hat. With her new dress, she and Agreus attend an art auction. Imogen introduces Agreus to Leslie Boythrone (Sam Hoare) who is with Louisa. Agreus buys the painting that Leslie has just told him he had his eye on. “I did it because I wanted to see his face…because he took it for granted that it should be his,” Agreus admits to Imogen.  Imogen finds it amusing.

Phil goes to speak with the puck housekeeper, Affisa, at the Spurnrose house. She remembers both Aisling and the doctor and always wondered if the baby survived.  The father of the Spurnrose siblings was “progressive” and times were different. It’s at the Spurnrose house that led by Doomby, the constables arrest Philo for the murders. Now knowing he is a Critch, they, except Berwick, beat him up before taking him in.

Episode 7: “The World to Come”

Philo must face the senior constable who calls him a “half-blood piece of shit,” and only Berwick seems to be troubled.

Doomby decides to put Philo in “with these fine gents” and he tells them that Philo has been passing himself off as a full human. Doomby then tells his constables to take a break, leaving Philo alone. Vignette is also in jail and warns Philo of a man coming behind him. Philo easily dispatches the bravest thugs and the rest decide the better of it.

Doomby is disappointed to find Philo alive and fairly unscathed and has him jailed with the other male Critch. Philo tells Vignette about Aisling, Master Finch and Morange. Vignette believes that the constables should know him having worked with him, but Philo says, “I lied to them. Sometimes there’s no coming back from that,” Philo tells Vignette.

Portia regrets betraying Philo and from Doomby she learns that it goes beyond the crime of “passing” and that Philo has been charged with murder. Philo is asked if he is “a man and not some lying half-blood.” Philo won’t renounce his mother, so he remains in nail.

Imogen and Agreus returns and Imogen finds she not only enjoyed herself, but that she doesn’t really like Louisa. Ezra drunk and upset–not only is Imogen being squired around by a puck, but a half-blood was arrested in his house and his father had given refuge to his mother, a pregnant pix.

Ezra finds out that Agreus once was a skipjack, a person who hunted down his own kind that had skipped out on their contracts and indentured servitude. Ezra hopes that his sister’s obligation will be fulfilled soon, but Imogen seems to be torn. She wanders by and helps Agreus find an appropriate place to hang the painting. Imogen wonders about the meaning of the painting.

Agreus says, “That we’re all poised between heaven and hell?” Is the woman an angel and the humanoid with the horns a demon?

Imogen suggests that the horned humanoid is “a rescuer” from “the ordinary.”  Agreus shows her another prized possession: an electric lamp.

“You are quite unlike anyone I’ve ever met,” Imogen tells him. Imogen and Agreus find themselves attracted and consummate their lust. Whether this is love is hard to judge, but Imogen definitely a willing participant. More nudity, with both chests and butts exposed.

Runyan runs into an old friend, Master Symes (John Comer), who helps him find work as a tutor for Jonah. Jonah has followed up his attraction to Sophie by having sex with her in his carriage. She tells him that although Jonah has no interest in politics, “Politics is the price of moments like this” and these are “moments that change everything.”  Sophie, like his mother, it telling him to look toward his future.

Runyan wants Jonah to look to his future as well. At first, Jonah looks at his shoes knows Runyan needs this job. “You’re in no position to insist on anything…You need this job, badly. Which means you’ll confirm my attendance to Master Symes and report that I’m making splendid progress.”

Surprisingly, Runyan says, “I know your type, skating around long on daddy’s wealth and good name….I’ve been brought in to equip you with a little wisdom to you’ll vaguely become a more tolerable human being…I don’t care about your father and I’m not afraid of destitution, but I think you are. So it’s time to look to your own future boy, if you are to have one at all.”

Jonah realizes, “You’re not like my other tutors, are you?”

Runyan replies, “If only you knew what I’d seen and done.”

Jonah also realizes that he is attracted to Sophie. Sophie tells him that “Chaos is a great opportunity for those of us in the shadows.”

Doomby questions if Philo doesn’t need to have his day in court because he could get shot in the back while trying to escape or hang himself out of guilt. He tells Berwick to “let it percolate.”

Philo wonders if his father is killing all these people but he wonders why his father didn’t come after him first…”unless he didn’t know who I was.” By eating the livers, the darkasher could read their secrets.

Berwick comes to warn him that he might not live to see a trial. “Sorry I could not do more for you, mate.”

Remember Quinn? He’s getting initiated into an order that declares, “Blood for blood.” The pucks use a carved heavy stone to kill a human.

Absolam learns that a half-blood has been arrested for the murders on Carnival Row, including that of Aisling. And that half-blood is in jail, telling Vignette that he wishes he had never left Tirnanoc. When the constables come for him, Vignette cries.

Philo has a black hood placed over his head and is take to a home in the country where in a room with hardly any furniture, he meet a grim-faced Absolam.

Episode 8: “The Gloaming”

“Pray that you head will be cleansed of all doubt,” Quinn is told. From one protest murder to another, in this case Quinn murders a uniformed puck. Absolam attempts to murder the man he believes murdered his first love. There will be more murders from unlikely suspects in this episode and more about forbidden love.

“Gloaming” means twilight or dusk. It suggests blackness, darkness and candlelight.

First, we look at old forbidden love. Philo is taken from his cell and has a black hood over his head as a carriage takes him into the country.  Philo finds himself before the chancellor who attempts to shoot him with a gun. Luckily, he fails.

Absolam was a college student and brought Aisling to his family’s summer house. His father discovered their secret; Absolam was brutal with brutal friends. His father threatened to kill Aisling. He didn’t meet Aisling the last time she asked to see him but now Absolam know Aisling wanted to tell him she was pregnant.

What unravels is this: Absolam is Philo’s father, but he is not the master of the darkasher.

“As far as anyone knows, you were taken to be executed. As far as anyone knows, you’re dead,” Absolam tells him. Absolam promises to free Vignette and hopes the two will be able to escape into a life together. That won’t be easy with the darkasher and its master lurking about.

At the Crossing, Imogen can’t resist Agreus and although Agreus has been warned by his man servant who is worried about the danger for Imogen, they have a sexual tryst, beginning in the kitchen where they are seen by Ezra. Ezra storms in and calls his sister a whore and threatens to kill Agreus. Agreus defends himself, but Ezra tells him he has done it. Imogen understand that if the police are called, they will arrest Agreus.  Imogen and Agreus board the Swan and the two lovers go “somewhere new, somewhere far away,” Imogen orders. “Surprise us.”

At the brothel, Tourmaline is trying to raise bribe money, 50 guilder, for Vignette’s release when Philo comes to the brothel to wait for Vignette. Thing are about to get complicated.

There are other kinds of forbidden love. Piety warns Jonah to stay away from Sophie. Piety says, “I knew her father even before you were born” and he could not be trusted. Jonah refuses and finally Piety reveals that Sophie is his sister.  Jonah goes to tell Sophie their kinship, but Sophie knew it was a possibility. Sophie tells him, “We are descended from emperors and pharaohs…do you really think this is the first time this happened in your family tree? This is how power is born.”

Jonah returns to him house and learns that his father is “likely to survive.” Jonah believes that Absolam always suspected that Absolam knew he wasn’t his bio dad and leaves. Absolam pleads for Jonah to return.

Absolam admits that he knows about what Piety only had known before: that he had another son, a real bio son. Absolam won’t tell Piety who his bio son is so she murders him and uses his liver to learn the identity.

To protect Jonah, Piety has already had Haruspex murdered by her darkasher, but only after Haruspex had taken a potion that leaves her suspended between the worlds of life and death. Haruspex tells Philo that Piety is behind the murders and now seeks to hurt Vignette.

Piety has Vignette taken out of jail and put in a carriage to a place where she can murder her because Piety believes that Vignette knows where Philo is, but she doesn’t.

Jonah is preparing for the future and summons Runyan because he found a letter from Aisling to his mother, Piety. Runyan believes Aisling didn’t write the letter because it was not her style. Jonah makes Runyan a special advisor to the chancellor because he needs an honest man. For the Fae, Jonah tells Runyan, that things will get worse before they get better. As he prepares to address Parliament, Jonah realizes that the blackmail letter sent to his other was actually written by Sophie.

Knowing that Sophie has caused the death of both his mother and father, Jonah addresses the Parliament about the murderous cult and announces, “It is not a war we asked for but, by god, it is a war we can win.” he continues, “We will hunt them to the very edge of the world” and that “we do not know what the future holds” and yet “divided we are weak; we cannot be weak; not today” because “today we have a common enemy and we must stand as one if we are to prevail.” Sophie declares that her faction will stand with the majority and that “together we have crossed a line in the sand and we can never go back.”

The lovers have to make their choices. As the city refuses the passage of the Fae out of The Burge, they also designate that all, even the lady’s maids, must stay in Carnival Row. Philo choses to embrace his Fae identity to stay with Vignette.

The murder victims:

  1. The singer Aisling: The mother of Philo.
  2. School Master Finch: The man who knew the secret.
  3. The Doctor Morange: The man who clipped Philo’s wings
  4. Haruspex: The conjurer who helped create the Darkasher
  5. Absalom Breakspear: The father of Aisling’s child, Philo.

Still mysteries:

  1. How will Philo become greater than his father?
  2. What will happen to Ezra now that his wealthy benefactor has left, scandalously with his sister.
  3. Who else knows about Jonah and Sophie’s biological relationship?

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