Friday, August 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Carnival Row' - Philo and Vignette's Initial Attraction on Tirnanoc Is Explored in 'Kingdoms of the Moon'

Amazon's Carnival Row - Episode 1.03 "Kingdoms of the Moon"

Once, as a Burguish soldier, Philo was tasked with protecting a faerish mimasery. While The Pact bears down on them, Philo meets Vignette and finds love in the most unlikely of places.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's Carnival Row.

"Kingdoms of the Moon" was written by Travis Beacham and directed by Anna Foerster

This was a vastly necessary episode. This hour helps put everything into context so that the audience can actually feel something regarding the central connection between Philo and Vignette. The drama has been somewhat of a scattered slog up to this point. It has had so much world building it thought necessary to do. But that didn't help the audience find a reason to care about these characters and their various plot concerns. And now, the show spends almost the entire hour in the past exploring what the initial attraction and connection was between Philo and Vignette. It was built up as this big thing that shaped both of their lives for the seven years afterwards. The audience needed to see more of them together beyond the almost kisses they have shared during the first two episodes. This hour can be very expositional as well. It highlights how the wolf curse can be used as a weapon during this war and infect those who come into contact with the creatures. It also explains that Philo and Vignette first connected over their sense of exploration and love of reading. The fae may have existed for much longer than humanity but they share so many traits and the need for a good story. Vignette is the protector of the sacred library on Tirnanoc. Philo stumbles upon it and is mostly just curious. It too features a confrontation between them that threatens violence. That's the way that they can express themselves in this world while trying to protect what they hold dear. And yet, it's not long before a romantic connection begins between them. It's easy to see why they fell in love and have put so much faith into this relationship. It's one defined by momentary pleasure though. The people they trust in this world don't see it as a connection that can realistically last. Philo and Vignette aren't focused on the future. They are staying in the moment exploring this connection. They want to understand each other. In the present, Portia hasn't been able to get many details out of Philo about his past. He doesn't feel comfortable talking about his scars. In Tirnanoc though, he feels comfortable and free to express himself with Vignette. He shares that he is actually a half-blood who never knew his parents. His wings were cut off when he was an infant. He never knew what it was like to fly. And yet, he can still feel those phantom limbs. He yearns for that connection. That may be what strengthens this bond that he shares with Vignette so quickly. But a war is still being fought in this world. The Burgue see themselves as the protector of the fae. They still wish to keep things in binary terms. It's an us versus them mentality. They accept the help from the people in this mimasery. But the two sides largely keep to themselves. Philo and Vignette are the sole exception. But everyone can sense that this is all going to end in tragedy. It doesn't matter that they love each other. They will still have to pick a side. A decision that could easily end in death either way. They could run off together. But that's no guarantee of survival. They could fight alongside their brothers and sisters. But that would separate them for good with no sense that they would find each other again. And so, Philo feels the pressure to make the decision to tell Vignette that he has died when the Pact arrives and begins their attack. It all happens very quickly. They are together one moment but their duties push them in separate directions. Philo made that choice and Vignette was left behind to grieve for seven years. She is rightfully angry and upset with him for making that decision. She will still reach out to him to tell him off in the present day. He doesn't know her in the same way that he thinks he does. They were more intimate and vulnerable with each other than anyone else. That may not be a strong enough foundation to strike up this romance once more though. However, that may feel a little inevitable. And yet, Philo is a broken man who is just trying to do his job without putting much effort into the rest of his life. That's depressing and Vignette can see that. She is fighting for something she believes in while in a world with few opportunities for her. Meanwhile, Philo continues to live in the shadows.