The Nevers, S1E5: Hanged

There was so much that happened in this episode, I’d probably be a month late posting this recap if I took the time to cover it all. So, as always, I’m sticking to the plot points which stood out to me the most, the nice touches, and the amazing bits of dialogue which make this show amazing.

As always: enjoy.

Continuity Errors

There are a few major continuity errors which become readily apparent at the very beginning of the episode. For starters, there’s a rekindling of the romance between Amalia True and Doctor Horatio. I didn’t hate it, mostly because I’m secretly rooting for those two characters (for personal reasons I don’t care to discuss publicly). But the transition – or, rather, lack thereof – is abrupt and unexpected. Then again, this is one of the few episodes that was directed by Joss Whedon before his problematic behavior got him kicked off the show (and perhaps out of Hollywood) for good. So that could easily explain why episode 5, despite how good it is, is a less-than-perfect episode.

Another major continuity error that got on my nerves was the fact that all of a sudden, they’re talking about the Galanthi like they’ve been around for the whole series so far and the audience is supposed to already know what that word means. But we don’t! Although I was perceptive enough to pick up on it in episode 2 (and even wrote about it in my episode 2 recap), we didn’t even get their full name until this episode. So how are we expected to know who and/or what they are?

Diving into the issue a little bit further: specifically, in episode 2, True tells Desiree that “Mary is the voice of the Galan-”. That’s the quote she utters before she cuts herself off. But in episode 4, True acts surprised to learn that Mary’s Song was in the Galanthi language. This could be partially explained by the fact that True knows what the Galanthi is, but may not exactly speak their language. I would probably need to go back and watch episode 4 for total clarification, though. 

When I was discussing episode 5 with some friends the other day (before the mid-season finale aired), one of my friends said something that I was feeling in my heart and 100% agree with: watching episode 5 feels like there’s a secret episode 4.5 that we were supposed to have watched first, but completely missed. If this is the only time this happens in the series, I can forgive it. But please, show, I’m begging you: don’t make a habit out of this! It very well may ruin the series for me (and lots of other people, too).

The Mistreatment of the Touched and Modern Day Parallels

Subtitle symbolism is subtitle: obviously, like I touched on before (also in my episode 2 recap), the blue ribbons that the touched are forced to wear serve a similar purpose to real historical events. Even the most obtuse viewer can see the parallel between those blue ribbons and the Stars of David which Jews were forced to wear in World War II. And it does not bode well for the touched. 

Just enough chaos, racism, and false flags: In this episode, when Lord Massen meets with the Beggar King, he offers to pay him obscenely well to cause “just enough chaos” – and to do so in a manner that makes the touched look like they’re the ones causing said chaos – in order to turn public opinion against the touched. In military jargon, these are called “false flag” operations, and they serve that exact purpose: to turn public opinion against a perceived enemy so that when their antagonists violently attack their innocent victims, nobody bats an eye.

Do you know what else is going on in the real world right now which seems eerily similar to what is going on in this scene? The peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protests which are happening in the US, and the increasingly hostile narrative being pushed by some less-than-reputable news organizations that these protests are somehow “violent riots” and that this property destruction by the “antifa” and PoC boogeymen somehow justifies the murderous behavior of crooked cops across the country.

Granted, this is just my theory, but I’ve seen plenty of independently shot footage happening at peaceful Black Lives Matter protests to feel comfortable asserting this theory in a public space: I think at least 90% of the property destruction and rioting that major news organizations (most of them owned by the Sinclair Broadcasting Company, a notoriously right-wing propaganda machine) are blaming on “antifa” and other peaceful protestors is actually being caused by off-duty cops and white supremacy terrorist organizations like the proud boys; NOT the peaceful protesters who just want to make their voices heard and have the same human rights as anybody else.  Most of the cops and militia members who have a problem with black people being treated equally are either retired military, or military fan boys who like to dress up in costume and LARPing as soldiers even though those racist cowards never had the balls to actually enlist and serve their country. So it makes a lot more sense that they’d disguise themselves and go in under cover in order to disturb the protests than peaceful protestors losing their temper, shooting themselves in the foot, and causing their own destruction.

Passive-aggressive terrorism: So about the scene where True and Penance answer a knock on their door and are horrified to find rows and rows of nooses hanging outside of Penance’s workshop? It’s eerily similar to a news story from 2017 where a UPS delivery driver tied a makeshift noose out of packing material and handed it to a black man whose job was, among other things, to accept package deliveries for his place of employment. And it’s not exactly dissimilar from people burning crosses on people’s lawns during the Jim Crow era, either.

I Missed the Moonwalking Bear…Again

More than once during my multiple re-watches of episode 4 – and also during my first watch of episode 5 – I remember vaguely thinking to myself that Effie Boyle sounded almost exactly like Maladie – and my brain dismissed it immediately because it didn’t make any sense. I think I even thought at least once that Effie looked like Maladie, too – but, again, my brain dismissed it an instant later because it didn’t make any damn sense.

Just like when I first watched the moonwalking bear video.

I already touched on this in my episode 3 recap. The first time I watched that video, intent on correctly counting the number of passes on my first try, I did see the person dancing through the crowd of basketball players in a bear suit; but because my brain couldn’t make any sense of what my eyes were seeing, I dismissed it almost instantly. 

In this episode, however, when that shoe slipped off and revealed that the woman who actually hanged was Toes-y McGee (sorry, I can’t remember her character’s name for the life of me), and when the episode flashbacked to show how Maladie pulled off her deception, my brain slowly imploded in on itself. It was a truly brilliant move, and the storytelling was fantastic. I wanted to get up out of my chair and give the show a standing ovation.

Honorable Mentions

  • Choosing the right songs for the story: the song “Maladie” sings the night before her hanging is called “Unmindful of the Roses” by Christina Georgina Rossetti. But the last few lines of the second stanza really stand out, especially as it applies to the plot. I’ll talk more about how relevant these lyrics are in my next episode recap; but, suffice to say, it’s a brilliant little sliver of foreshadowing.

“While only one remembers

And all the rest forget,

But one remembers yet 

(but one remembers yet).”

  • It’s a trap, Augie: Oh, poor Augie in the scene with Penance in the workshop when he walks in on her while she’s bathing. She turns on a dime between accusing him of “sneaking a glance at what a husband’s supposed to see” to asking him, angrily, if her “naked frame is a source of dullness then?” He can only stammer and freeze in silence until True asks if she’s interrupting them, to which he enthusiastically replies “Yes, please!” Oh man, you feel for the guy – especially if you’re rooting for the Pengustus ship (Pengustus? Pengie? Do you have a better name? Hit me up on Twitter if you do). 
  • Mic drop line: “At least Maladie has a work ethic!” ~Lavinia Bidlow
  • Penance being Penance: “I have PRACTICED saying this, and I FEEL SWEATY!” This line is so adorably in character for her, but just as awkward and uncomfortable as she is in that moment. Such good writing. 
  • Double meaning: for people who aren’t native English speakers, the double meaning of the word riot might get lost on people when Penance answers True’s question about how her plan went with “It was a riot.” It was, in fact, a literal riot. But the way she delivers the line, it almost sounds like she’s trying to (sarcastically) imply the word’s other meaning, which is “uncontrolled revelry” or “an excessively good time”. Again, I love the writing on this show.