Friday, November 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'See' - Baba Voss Agonizes Over Which Tools to Give to His Children Who Can See in 'Message In a Bottle'

AppleTV+'s See - Episode 1.02 "Message In a Bottle"

A special gift for the twins sparks tension in the group.

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 AppleTV+'s See.

"Message In a Bottle" was written by Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence

The drama is still essentially in world-building mode. This hour does a slightly better job in examining characters and their motivations. But it also assures the audience that the storytelling will be more than simply Baba Voss, Maghra and Paris doing their best to protect two babies who can see from a tyrannical queen who is fixated on capturing them. In fact, this hour travels through time quickly. This community find a new place to build their home. They did so at the direction of Jerlameral. He is the one who presents as salvation but this community is devastated because they chose to welcome the pregnant mother of his children into their home. Everyone simply has to take it on faith that he offers some guidance and wisdom that is essential moving forward. He appears as this seemingly omnipresent protector and guardian. He saves Baba Voss when he is out in the woods with his children when a bear attacks. That is scary and perilous. There are far more threats in this world than the complexities and dangers of man. Queen Kane insists that vision is evil because it leads down to the corruption of the world once more. Humanity has existed for a long time without this core sense to guide them through the universe. It has made their devotion and faith to a higher power even stronger. The idea that they can regain the ability to see is heresy because it comes across as a vicious attack to the new world order. If people start questioning the function of the world, then that means those who wield power will be in jeopardy of losing it. And yet, the narrative keeps things very personal. It's understood that Tamacti Jun and his troops are forever searching for Jerlameral and the children. He is ordered to hunt down any witch or person claiming to see. He hasn't found this new village. Baba Voss understands that it's only a matter of time though. He knows that someone within this community may have sent word in order to ruin their perfect harmony. That is true. However, Gether's plan takes years to come to fruition. He sends messages in bottles. Even then, it's no guarantee that the queen's army will arrive and restore religion to these people. He doubts that Shadow can help him and his aunt get clarity on the mysterious inner workings of this community. And yes, Shadow is withholding information. She understands the power and danger that comes from sight. Paris knows that Kofun and Haniwa need to be armed with information. The leaders were given a time table for how to reveal the truth to these children. They stuck to it for years. However, that devotion is also questioned because of the strength of these bonds. Baba Voss and Maghra are terrified of what it means that their children will have to leave. Jerlameral promises a better future. It just seems destined to come at the expense of the world that already exists. The children are allowed to grow up and learn from all of the treasures left behind by their father. Paris ensures that that happens. She even convinces Baba Voss to lie to Maghra about it. That is going to create conflict later on. That appears to be the core source of the writing though. A lot of it is establishing conflict that will break apart this world and its characters at some point. This hour jumps through time. That may not be a consistent and major component of the show. It just ensures that the children have their own agency over their fates. It has become their choice over whether to stay or leave to build something better. Now, the show needs to flesh out the dynamics of this family further to showcase just how strong these bonds have grown over time to make it an even more agonizing choice. Paris is committed to the mission but Baba Voss and Maghra remain torn about it. It has the potential to produce great drama. It still just needs that extra push to really incentivize everyone involved. That will ensure that the decision is completely murky while leaving both the characters and the audience with the sense that no other choice could have been made. Everything right now seems manufactured to create a foreboding sense of mystique and danger.