Carnival Row Season 2 Episode 4 Recap – why do Vignette and Philo break up?

By Lori Meek
Published: February 24, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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Carnival Row Season 2 Episode 4 Recap
Carnival Row Season 2 Promotional Image (Credit to Amazon Prime Video)


The most compelling episode of the season so far shows how terrifying the New Dawn truly is. At the same time, in The Burgue, Philo chooses to protect a (despicable) human against the Black Raven, to Vignette’s dismay. 

Carnival Row Season 2 Episode 4 is the most compelling chapter of the season so far and it is split in two. In the first part, the narration centers on Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) and Agreus (David Gyasi) in Ragusa and hints at how terrifying the New Dawn regime is beneath the surface.

While Agreus can see right through Leonora’s charm, Imogen is getting seduced by the New Dawn’s charismatic leader. She sees Ragusa as the only place they can live freely as a couple.

Back in the Burgue, Philo (Orlando Bloom) chooses to protect Seargent Dombey (Jamie Harris) from the Black Raven, which ends the relationship between him and Vignette (Cara Delevingne). The police raid the Row after Vignette attempts to kill Dombey, and she allows them to arrest her.

Carnival Row Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

After their absence in the previous installment, we have the pleasure of spending the entire first half of episode 4 in the company of Miss Imogen Spurnrose and her Faun gentleman friend, Agreus Astrayon. We first get a charming dream sequence of Agreus and Imogen celebrating their wedding with Ezra and the house servants before New Dawn soldiers shoot everyone down, including the blushing bride. When Agreus wakes up, he realizes it was just a dream, but the sobering reality of their nightmarish situation is just starting to set in.

Life under the New Dawn’s regime

Agreus and Imogen are stuck in Ragusa and forced to participate in daily life there. Before breakfast, Agreus meets a woman who claims the room he and Imogen are occupying was hers and her family’s before Leonora kicked them out because of them.

At breakfast, the two meet Castor, their new “block leader,” also known as the man responsible for spying on them. To Imogen’s shock, Castor explains that everyone in the New Dawn is expected to work, even the women.

At the factory, the New Dawn is making weapons to fight against The Pact. Ever the gentleman, Agreus decides he will labor on Imogen’s behalf. Castor spends most of the day getting under the Faun’s skin. He talks about how the crew deserved to be executed for using slave labor and taunts Agreus for his desire to fit in with the high-class human society Imogen was born into. When she’s refused lunch for not participating, Imogen eventually decides to roll up her sleeves and start working.

When the workday ends, Leonora – the New Dawn’s fearless leader – appears, and all the workers start chanting to her. To Agreus’s dismay, Leonora invites Imogen to her office but shows no interest in meeting him. We learn that just like Imogen, Leonora is also in an interspecies relationship with a human named Thomas.

The two women bond a little before Leonora warns that Imogen and Agreus’s life is in danger if he stubbornly resists the New Dawn’s way of life. After all, where else could the two live freely and openly like a couple?

Back at the house, Agreus is surprised to see the woman who previously complained to him about the loss of her quarters gone. When he asks Castor about her, the block leader acts as if the woman has never existed in the first place.

Little details like this are what make this show great. As someone raised in Eastern Europe, I’ve heard many first-hand stories about people disappearing without a trace during the communist regime. And if anyone dared to ask where they were, the reply from authorities perfectly mirrored Castor’s in this scene. 

Back in the room, Imogen seems to have fully drunk the Kool-Aid. She’s fascinated by Leonora and wants to live happily ever after with Agreus under the New Dawn regime. Agreus decides to finally tell what happened to his crew, but Imogen is unmoved and still wants to give life in Ragusa a try. 

Meanwhile, Leonora has a visitor. It’s none other than Ezra, who’s come to tell the New Dawn leader about the arms deal between The Burgue and The Pact. 

The Black Ravens attack Sergeant Dombey

The episode’s second half starts by showing us a different side of Sergeant Dombey. He’s not just a critch-hating, foul-mouthed copper but also a loving husband, father, and son. Before he can enjoy dinner with his family, Darius and Philo visit him. At first, the Seargent thinks the two are there to kill him but is surprised to find out they’re there to protect him from the Black Raven.

Vignette leads the Ravens to attack Dombey at home, but he manages to escape. A chase ensues, ending with Dombey safely reaching the police station. During the hunt, Darius gets pricked by the Pix’s weapon and turns Marrock before attacking Phaedra.

As Kaine and Philo are about to have a showdown, Vignette intervenes, and not a second later, the police arrive and arrest Philo, as the rest of the Pix manage to fly away. A grateful Dombey lets Philo go and sends him back to the Row.

Tourmaline visits Mima, who gives her a spell book on removing the dark magic from herself. Back at the magic shop, Tourmaline learns about Darius’s Marrok status. He tells her about the horrific experiments the Burguish army did on him, and instead of running in fright, she decides to help.

Why do Vignette and Philo break up?

At the bar, Philo and Vignette share a few drinks. He thinks she should run as the police know she tried to kill Dombey, while she thinks he’s in danger because now the whole Row knows he protected a human from the Black Raven. The two rarely agree on anything, but this time, they both know their relationship is over.

Unfortunately, there’s little time to process the breakup, as the police led by Dombey make it to the Row and start attacking every Fae in sight, trying to find out where the Black Ravens are hiding. Vignette heads to the church to warn them, but by the time she arrives, Dombey’s men are already shooting her fellow Pix.

To stop the violence, she confesses to being the one who led the attempt on Dombey’s life. The episode ends with Vignette’s arrest. 

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