Queen Kane finds herself displaced in “Plastic”, while new arrivals and revelations threaten to upend already fragile dynamics.
This recap of See Season 1, Episode 5, “Plastic”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Ironically enough I saw the twist of “Plastic” coming about halfway through the episode, but it isn’t something I’d ever considered before. I’m not sure how I feel about it now, either. See Episode 5 opens with Queen Kane (Sylvia Hoeks) evacuating her dam palace as it floods around her, and she takes a moment to commune with the stone visage of her father, chiseled into one of the walls. Later, Maghra (Hera Hilmar) talks of her own father in much the same way. The parallels are clear and obvious and open up a new avenue of storytelling for the show to explore. It’ll be interesting to see how it navigates the bumps along the road.
Until then, another steady hour of careful development, though more happened in “Plastic” than usually does. The conversations felt more leaden with foreboding; the developments felt longer-lasting. Early on, Paris (Alfre Woodard) talks with Maghra and plants the seeds that perhaps she isn’t quite who she says; Jerlamarel (Joshua Henry) warned the shaman to be careful long ago, and it’s only now dawning on her that he might have been talking about his baby mother. Even now, she has sent her husband and children to retrieve what seems to be a mere trinket. Why would she endanger them that way?
It takes all of See Episode 5 for us to find out, but it makes sense once we do. Baba Voss (Jason Momoa), Haniwa (Nesta Cooper) and Kofun (Archie Madekwe) track the thieves who pilfered their belongings to an encampment comprised of twisty trash alleys, and Haniwa convinces the others she should sneak in and out alone. A tense sequence sees her navigate the grotty den until the camera lurches back and forth to reveal she’s being watched. Baba Voss and Kofun answer her cries of help and tussle with a big, masked bruiser who fights aggressively and well. Once he’s detained, Haniwa screams at Baba Voss to allow him to live. He’s branded with tell-tale marks — he can see.
Baba and the kids take their new sighted companion back to Paris and Maghra. His name is Boots. Many years ago, Jerlamarel has stayed with his people and fathered another child. In the prophet’s absence Boots had been treated as a slave, forced to steal and scrounge for his tribe. When the Witchfinder armies began moving through the area, they left him behind. Haniwa demands that her brother be brought with them, and he swears allegiance to Baba Voss.
A bit later in See Episode 5, Maghra asks Baba Voss why he didn’t forbid this. In a touching admission, he explains that at the end of this journey Haniwa is going to meet a new father, and it’s important to him that he gives her no reasons to want one. He’s scared of losing her. Unlike Kofun, who always understands their decisions, Haniwa is more independent, driven and ambitious. If he tries too hard to keep her close, he’ll only push her away. Boots tries to bond with Haniwa, explaining that she’s treated in the same way he was, but she explains to him the crucial difference: She has always felt loved by her family.
The B-plot of “Plastic” sees Queen Kane, now on the move and very much unhappy about it, get stealthily ambushed by the scouts of a tribe who take her to the so-called City of Worms, where their leader makes creepy comments about her fingers and the life cycle of silkworms. The show mines a lot of tension out of Queen Kane’s blindness when she’s captured, even if it’s silly that her other senses haven’t evolved enough to alert her of another person inches away from her face. But as the worm-loving leader can tell, she has been pampered and privileged, used to others working for her. The accent gives her away — it’s similar to that of the witchfinders who have passed through the area recently. Her new captor takes her for a noblewoman or councilwoman to the queen, but not the queen herself — not yet, anyway.
The finale of See Episode 5 holds the biggest moment. The raft is stuck, caught out by the receding tide, and the witchfinders have arrived. Paris and Maghra hide in a hollowed-out tree while Boots earns his keep by fighting alongside Baba Voss, Haniwa and Kofun. But Paris alerts the others that Maghra has vanished; she wasn’t taken but left of her own accord. We rejoin her as she confronts Tamacti Jun (Christian Camargo). He’s about to cut her down, but the tinkling trinket stuns him into silence. The episode ends with him and his men kneeling in tribute to Princess Maghra of the House of Kane.