Season 1, Episode 2, “Exposure”

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Image of Olivia Williams and Ann Skelly in HBO's The Nevers

Olivia Williams and Ann Skelly star in The Nevers
photo: Keith Bernstein / HBO

Who can the Touched trust? Nevers lead with this question in his first episode directed by Joss Whedon, and that will clearly be a recurring request as the second episode “Exposure” (also directed by Whedon) is built around this same idea. Maybe that was the point of this deluge of baddies in the pilot: Everywhere the Touchdowns turn (not meant to be a pun, my bad!), There’s someone nefarious waiting for them. Lord Massen and his cohort of government cronies. Disease, its hangers and its sycophants. Hugo Swann and his promise of female entrepreneurship. The Beggar King and his desire to cling to the underworld. And this mysterious doctor from the first, who is now revealed to serve a specific master: the very benefactress who supports the orphanage and employs Mrs. True and Penance. What the hell are Lavinia Bidlow and Dr. Hague doing?

Nevers has already provided material for this response. Dr. Hague is carrying out experiments on people – trephines, perhaps? – to try to see what is different in the brains of the Touché, and what could be the cause of their turns. (The “spark,” he calls it.) The result appears to be the creation of worker slaves on the one hand, and those who kidnap ghoul-like boogeymen on the other. The former are ready to dig up what I believe is the pilot’s crashed ship, while the latter are responsible for kidnapping other affected people from the London area for Dr Hague to open. And all of this is funded, I guess, by Lavinia, who in this episode insists that the Affected should engage in social civility – whereas in that final conversation with Dr. Hague, she says, “It’s not. not funny. It’s the war. »But she declares war at le Touché, or does she think she works with them?

I think Jane Espenson’s handwriting here is deliberately opaque, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that putting some fake flyers for the orphanage and using Ms. True’s face to lure in desperate people by just hearing that they look to Dr. Hague like lambs. for the massacre, is not particularly benevolent on Lavinia’s part. (Poor Mrs. Cassini. This chase scene, with its array of floating obstacles, was a little too Fantastic beasts, but Domenique Fragale’s terror at revealing her secret was entirely believable.) I think it’s only a matter of time until Mrs. True, or someone else from there orphanage, see one of these posters, but if they can connect them to Lavinia is up.

“Exposure” begins the day after the opera attack on Maladie. The city is at the forefront and Inspector Mundi sets his sights on the orphanage. His (failed) questioning of Mrs. True had a good pace – yelling at offended Penance “How wonderful are you not?” – and helped establish that despite being in Hugo Swann’s pocket for some reason, Mundi is not a complete idiot. “Do you often engage in public violence?” is a sarcastic question, but ultimately a valid question. Ms. True is a bit of a live wire, and the super strength, super-speed, and ripples provided by her turn seem to make her more powerful than almost any other member of the Touched.

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Except, of course, for Illness. Yes, she really is a villain in Whedon’s deranged Drusilla or Vampire Willow mold, and I admit that all of her whispers and whispers about God and the crowns of thorns and pain as pleasure have me. makes you wish I was just watching. Real detective the first season for the millionth time. But Sickness seems to operate totally outside of anything Lord Massen is trying to do with government control of the Hit, and anything Lavinia / Dr. The Hague is trying to find the source of the power of the Hit. She, as Mrs. True observes, is driven by this burning desire to please her God – and perhaps hurt Mrs. True? The conversation between them was hard to follow, but I think they knew each other as children, and Mrs. True (“Molly”) left Sickness (“Sarah”) to the bosses who ran their orphanage? Remember Mrs. True keeps saying she’s not “from here” – are she and Sick from the same place? And when Mrs. True apparently again abandons Sickness to save the captured Mary and Penance, does she endanger the Touches who are aligned with her more in danger? It doesn’t seem like Maladie takes this kind of rejection lightly. (She probably doesn’t like Bonfire Annie turning to her either.)

Questions, questions! Although Désireé’s intro, which forces the truth, means that we get some honesty from various characters this episode (Mundi and Mary were engaged, but she left him at the altar; Mary doesn’t know the meaning of the song she sings that only the Touched can hear; Mrs. True is overwhelmed with the responsibility of running the orphanage), we also, of course, have more uncertainty in the future. Who gave Mrs. True the “mission” that both constrains and frightens her? Is she referring to the “mission” figuratively, likening her turn to some sort of accountability to the rest of the Touches, or is she speaking literally? Augie, who reveals his passage to Penance, could he realize the harmful intention of his sister? Or will he take his (sectarian) decree to avoid Penance seriously?

Finally: what does Mary’s song say? “Hope” is a big concept and a vague concept. Hope for social acceptance, respect, solidarity, unity, what? The Touchdowns don’t function as a single entity, but Mary’s song seems to bring them together. It might scare people off: Remember Dr. Hague said to Ms. Cassini before lobotomizing her, “Maybe your darkness is part of her plan. I mean, hers, but she’s in on it. Lavinia seems to be “she” here, but who is “hers”? And did Mary’s song put a target on her back yet another villain in Nevers universe?


Erroneous observations

  • Laura Donnelly’s smirk while discussing “Curvy Wendy” should immediately be a gif.
  • Do we have an explanation of what “The Nevers” means in this episode? No, we don’t.
  • We already knew Lord Massen was a tough man, but mostly blaming the Swann family tragedies on Hugo? Even though Lord Massen was unaware of Hugo’s quirk (which I’m not sure he is doing), it’s still an incredibly cruel proclamation.
  • However: Does Hugo Swann look like a jerkoff scammer? Yes too. Two things can be true at the same time.
  • It is interesting to note that Lord Massen and Mrs. True both have this immediate dislike of Hugo; Remember she sarcastically describes him to Inspector Mundi as “the man with his cock out” during the opera performance. And it’s also interesting that Lord Massen seems to have some kind of reluctant respect for Ms. True, even as he targets her and the rest of the Touchdowns.
  • Augie hastily investing in Hugo’s sex club doesn’t seem like the best idea, I’ll be honest. That may not impress Penance much!
  • Do we hear “It’s just a prototype” again in this episode? We do! But certainly those MatrixThe explosive light-blocking style sunglasses were pretty good, and I’m sure we’ll see that goopy fire extinguisher come back up.
  • Desireé is my new favorite character, and “I’m a bit of a bitch, a bit famous” was delivered perfectly by Ella Smith.
  • Have we really determined all of Ms. True’s powers? She boasted to Beggar King that she was not her face; Sickness keeps calling her the woman who can “lose her skin” – which Ms. True isn’t exactly denying.
  • “How many nephews did they have to hire?” I love that nepotism even exists in this supernatural steampunk version of our reality!

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