The Dead Lands season 1, episode 2 recap – “The Sins of the Fathers”

January 24, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“The Sins of the Fathers” builds well on the first episode while developing a strong heroine at the show’s core.

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3.5

Summary

“The Sins of the Fathers” builds well on the first episode while developing a strong heroine at the show’s core.

This recap of The Dead Lands Season 1, Episode 2, “The Sins of the Fathers”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


It turns out that releasing the first two episodes of The Dead Lands at once was a smart move on the part of Shudder – with the bulk of the setup handled in the premiere, The Dead Lands Episode 2, “The Sins of the Fathers”, is free to solidify the relationship between Waka (Te Kohe Tuhaka) and Mehe (Darneen Christian), while also allowing the latter to develop into a more fully-fledged, self-reliant heroine.

This episode is also culturally richer and more thematically complex, dealing as it does with Maori family culture, obligations to tradition, and hierarchies of both age and gender which position Mehe at the bottom of a pecking order which would rather tell her what she can and can’t do than support her in her own decisions. Her martial training becomes a parallel of her embrace of free-thinking and independent decision-making; she learns to fight not as a display of physical prowess, but as a resistance to being told no. In doing so she’s also being pragmatic, learning to survive on her own, perhaps even without Waka.

The Dead Lands season 1, episode 2 recap - "The Sins of the Fathers"

It’s also a way for Mehe to regain her position in both her tribe and the show itself; the first episode suggested she would be an equal presence alongside Waka, but it’s The Dead Lands Episode 2 that really confirms it. Her arc is also that of “The Sins of the Fathers”; a gradual embracing of pragmatism over traditionalism, of taking what you want and need over what you’re told to accept.

While the zombie action continues here – a cave escape sequence is a particular highlight, as is a sprint through the woods during which Waka discovers Mehe’s capability for himself – it plays second fiddle to the bedding-in of the show’s larger ideas. This kind of thing would have muddied an opener, but it has space to be explored here, which is why it was wise for Shudder to double-drop its first two installments. Plus leaning on overly familiar zombie clichés wouldn’t help a show which is clearly attempting to be an atypical zombie show, among other things.

I like this The Dead Lands. Some inconsistencies in pace and acting aside, The Dead Lands Season 1, Episode 2 continues to build on an interesting mythology and round out likable characters. As long as their conflicts and culture remain at the forefront and aren’t overshadowed by the more played-out elements, there’s a good chance this show will continue to improve. Let’s hope so.


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