Essentially a possession story, “The Myth of the Naiad” sees Refaat return to his hometown and science go to war with superstition.
This recap of Paranormal season 1, episode 4, “The Myth of the Naiad”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
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Refaat is going about his business in Paranormal episode 4, giving lectures to disinterested students, but he has two problems: One is that he keeps seeing the reflection and shadow of Shiraz everywhere, and the second is that he has left Huwaida for perhaps the wrong reasons, which Maggie arrives to berate him about. I hope a love triangle doesn’t develop here — I like the dynamic of these two being ex-lovers who have become firm friends; of Refaat having someone who will give him the unfiltered truth.
Suddenly, Refaat gets a call informing him that something may very well have happened to his mother, thus proving Louis’s Tarot reading correct. He and Maggie return to his hometown and are told by everyone they encounter of a naiad, which summons its victims and gives them hallucinations — Reda is already entranced and afflicted, banging his own head against the wall, but when Refaat goes to see a local doctor he has sketches taken from the driving licenses of all the naiad’s victims, all of whom look very much like Refaat.
The naiad is a siren, essentially; its call is hypnotic, but its intentions are murderous. Refaat is, for some reason, totally dismissive of the idea, despite the fact that he saw a giant magic gorilla in Libya. He calls the locals witchdoctors when he finds them surrounding Reda, but apparently, the only way to prevent him from disappearing like the others is a procedure called the Iron Rod that Refaat is reluctant to allow.
I understand Refaat’s desire to hang onto his scientific principles and to reduce mythology to more human proportions, but it’s also difficult to reconcile with the fact that he has explicitly seen unnatural events in the season thus far. It’s also difficult to tell how all this relates to Shiraz, which the show is making clear it does, especially since Taha continues to see her as well.
Eventually, Refaat, like Reda, falls under the sway of the naiad, which frontlines the women of the story to save the day, which is a nice change. It also gives Refaat and Reda the excuse to talk about their past and their relationship, or at least they do until Nagat, on the instructions of Sheik Salah, arrives with a hot poker, ready to shove it in Reda’s ear (this is, apparently, the solution — if you say so.) Refaat is able to lure her towards him first and disarm her, though. He then goes to Sheikh Salah’s daughter, Samar, accusing her of posing as the Naiad, while at the same time Maggie and the doctor discover that Samar’s twin sister was also supposedly summoned by the naiad. Samar has her twin’s rapist captive downstairs, who lays out some details. In the shame of the rape, Sheikh Salah killed his daughter himself, and since then her ghost has been haunting the men who didn’t help — she is the naiad. Salah removed Samar’s tongue so she couldn’t rat him out.
Refaat, flush with this knowledge, goes to the river where the girl died and jumps in, swimming down to her skeleton on the riverbed. As he tries to swim to the surface with the bones, Reda arrives under the water, having escaped from Nagat by using Huwaida as a distraction. There’s a tussle, and he sinks to the bottom of the lake, drowning. The Tarot reading came true in that regard — Refaat lost someone he loves.
“The Myth of the Naiad” amounts to a very melancholy chapter, with Refaat experiencing great personal loss but also having his most deeply entrenched beliefs proven false. There is more to the world than he believed, and the responsibility of that knowledge, along with a newfound responsibility to Reda’s children, finds him significantly changed.
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