“The Lavender Road” leads directly to Jerlamarel and possibly a new world, while alliances and faith are tested.
This recap of See Season 1, Episode 7, “The Lavender Road”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“The Lavender Road”, I suppose in typical See fashion, opens unpleasantly, with Tamacti Jun (Christian Camargo) torturing one of the Shadows who infiltrated his camp and were ratted out by turncoat psychopath Boots (Franz Drameh) in an effort to win the affections of Maghra (Hera Hilmar). He has indeed proved himself useful, though not without cost; Tamacti Jun has discovered Queen Kane’s (Sylvia Hoeks) whereabouts but also deduced that Boots has sight.
Thus begins an on-going theme of See Episode 7, which is a sudden, low-key depth and smug awesomeness that Tamacti Jun never seemed to possess before. He’s kind and respectful towards Maghra, one gets the sense not just because her lineage compels him to be, and later to Queen Kane. He’s torn between his duty – taking the Witchfinders and rescuing the Queen, leaving Maghra’s family to fend for themselves – and his loyalty to those he obviously cares about. He insists that Maghra comes along with him, since there are matters of the monarchy to attend to, but he does leave behind a small cohort of men to continue the search for her husband and children.
He also takes no sass whatsoever, especially not from Boots, whom he doesn’t trust at all. When at one point Boots thinks about confronting him, he’s quick to shut him down with some coldly honest tough-talk. Where has this guy been hiding for the previous six episodes?
More great Tamacti Jun shenanigans in a bit. First, though, “The Lavender Road” checks in on Queen Kane herself, who is being brutally beaten and interrogated by Cutter (Timothy Webber), who seems intent on dispensing as much of her backstory as possible. We learn of her violent temper and impatience and are reminded of the betrayal that fuels her mad crusade for witches. How Cutter even knows all this is anyone’s guess. Her cruelty precedes her. In truth, it’s easy shorthand for her inevitable usurpation; she’s a nutcase fanatic, while her sister is a kindly woman of the forest whom the Queen’s most supposedly devoted general obviously prefers.
Again, we’ll return to this in due course. Meanwhile in See Episode 7, Baba Voss (Jason Momoa), Haniwa (Nesta Cooper), Kofun (Archie Madekwe), Paris (Alfre Woodard) and Bow Lion (Yadira Guevara-Prip) are on their wilderness trek, but tensions are still high. Haniwa’s rebelliousness and trusting nature haven’t done the group any favours, and her eagerness to meet Jerlamarel seems misguided given that all signs thus far suggest he might not be the messianic saviour he makes out. Baba is grappling with two things: An unspecified, presumably worsening malady that makes him throw up blood, and the fact that on some level he knows that he’s very close to parting ways with his children.
Paris is, as ever, on-hand to dispense advice, but the best is Baba’s own experience with rebellion – he has to give his children the space and the comfort that Paris once gave him; the former to realize they can forge their own path, but the latter to know that they don’t have to do it alone. Their own path will take them to the Lavender Road, the episode’s namesake, an unusually colourful trail leading directly to Jerlamarel’s House of Enlightenment — a fittingly grandiose title for a would-be deity.
That self-appointed role as a minor god is confirmed with a rotten roadblock of impaled corpses boasting of new worlds and gods residing beyond. It’s hardly a good first impression.
But, as Tamacti Jun continues to prove in See Episode 7, you can never judge a book by its cover. Continuing his streak of no-nonsense awesomeness he sneaks into Cutter’s compound, stealthily eliminating his security, with the hope of retrieving Queen Kane before anyone is tipped off to his presence. It doesn’t quite go to plan, but luckily the queen herself had a contingency. Aided by Cora (Jessica Harper), she strangles Cutter during the commotion, this all apparently a part of a plan that began with her revealing who she really was.
But Maghra wasn’t a part of that plan. What would have once probably been quite an easy sell becomes a much more challenging proposition now that a kinder, fairer, and – let’s be frank – saner monarch is available. Queen Kane, confessing to the destruction of the dam, tired of the whims of its machinery, wants to propagate a new idea that divine intervention toppled the old kingdom so that the Queen could build another anew; spared divine vengeance, she can seed the ground with what’s left of the heretics her nebulous Gods deemed unworthy. The problem is that many of those heretics were the families and friends of the Witchfinders who have been crusading for decades on her behalf. As I said – it’s a tough sell. And Tamacti Jun makes it quite clear that perhaps her iron-fisted rule is at an end.
There’s no time to ponder that, though, as we return to the Lavender road and its deadly defences: Blind archers covering a narrow canyon, loosing arrows at any sound. With the help of Kofun, Baba is able to hammer-throw his pickaxe at one of them, sending him tumbling to the canyon floor along with his sword and bow, the latter of which Haniwa decides to retrieve. But barefooted Bow Lion signs that she’s the better choice for the retrieval, given her ability to move silently, but she’s thwarted at the last moment by a pesky twig and takes an arrow in the leg for her trouble. In the distance, another man emerges and helpfully announces that Haniwa and Kofun, the children of Jerlamarel, may cross the bridge into the House of Enlightenment – but only those two. It’s time, folks, for the inevitable tearful farewell. Momoa, constantly maligned as a one-note actor, sells it. But it’s Alfre Woodard’s Paris who leaves the strongest impression, urging the children to remember that their gift can also be a curse – “sight can be blinding” takes the top spot in Hokey Lines of the Week – and that their father, despite his claims, is not a god. And neither are they.
Nevertheless, Haniwa and Kofun cross the bridge, leaving Baba, Paris and Bow Lion closer behind than they think.