“The Dinner Party” impresses in atypical ways, leaning on tense social dynamics and snappy dialogue instead of action.
This recap of See season 2, episode 5, “The Dinner Party”, contains spoilers.
Baba Voss and his family are finally reunited in “The Dinner Party”, which, weirdly enough, feels closer to an episode of something like Succession that it does See. Complex family drama, unique politics, war being planned here, a coup being planned there, and… incest? Well, why not, at this point?
See season 2, episode 5 recap
Perhaps a little earlier than predicted, Baba Voss, Paris, Haniwa, the Witchfinder General Tamacti Jun, and Compass warrior Charlotte, all find their way to Pennsa. After a quiet bit of surveillance, Tamacti disappears into the crowds to let the Witchfinders who remain loyal to him know of his survival, while the others head to the largest, most fortified building in town – Lord Harlan’s home – which is where Queen Kane has taken up residence.
After easily fighting his way through a couple of guards, Baba is finally reunited with Kofun and Maghra… and her new husband, Lord Harlan. I perhaps didn’t realize what a great job this season has done of establishing these characters until they were all in the same place at the same time. The reunion is touching and faintly desperate, all earnest hugs and tears; Harlan’s smugness is infuriating, for Baba most of all; and Baba himself gets some absolute zingers all throughout the episode. When Queen Kane interrupts, she immediately insists on a lavish dinner that everyone must attend, and it’s basically just an excuse for Baba to insult her guards, her Witchfinders, her, and Lord Harlan. Momoa does a great job here. His rage and frustration are barely contained, and his tightly wound physical performance is deserving of more respect than it’ll get.
But the writing is also stinging and clever. See is a show that is often content to communicate in ways other than words, and because of the closeness with which characters are forced to communicate, there have only rarely been conversations in the show involving more than a few characters. “The Dinner Party” really makes the most of this dynamic. There are such a range of backgrounds, motivations, and personalities at the table that the conversation really comes alive. It works in a way that the show hasn’t before and makes for a nice change of pace and tone.
But the scene doesn’t last long. There’s little action here, but the whole thing moves along at quite a clip, thanks partly to how many different dynamics are at play. Toad, the enigmatic Witchfinder who brought Kofun to Pennsa, is gradually being developed as an important side character; Kofun wants him to be his personal trainer, and Tamacti Jun still has his loyalty – he’s even willing to pass on a secret message to Maghra. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this guy.
His chances of survival, though, are slim, since the prospect of war is closer than ever. Maghra is able to finesse permission from Queen Kane to negotiate peace with Trivantes, despite the fact that the Queen is trying to pin the flooding and destruction of Kanzua on the nation. The Trivantians are a warrior people, not exactly given to diplomacy, despite Wren, though obviously for personal reasons, trying to convince Edo Voss that it’d be a good idea. Both Tamacti Jun and Baba Voss caution Maghra against this decision, recognizing that it’s probably a way for the Trivantians to stall and recall their armies from the Westerly war with the Ganites. However, she claims to have several plans in play; I’ll believe it when I see it.
One of those plans, of course, was Kerrigan, and let’s just say it isn’t going well. Late in the episode, Harlan receives a package that contains his brother’s severed head. As mentioned above, peace and negotiations aren’t things that the Trivantians are particularly into. And since the soldiers of Pennsa are loyal to Harlan, well… I think we know where this is going.
But “The Dinner Party” saves its weirdest scene for last. Since everyone else has plans, it’s only right that Queen Kane has one of her own – and hers involves Kofun. She has already expressed enough interest in and kindness towards her nephew that he’s quite taken with her, defending her actions to Haniwa, and sympathizing with her over the loss of her child. When she breaks that tragic news to him, though, it quickly turns into a religious experience, and we all know how Queen Kane prays. Given the fact that Kofun is just a young man at heart, the prospect of a handjob is a difficult one to refuse. From an aunty, though? It’s a tough sell, but I guess there aren’t many people around in this universe. Either way, the chances of him regretting this encounter seem pretty high.