[Review] Tremontaine, S1E10: “Shadowroot”

ShadowrootEpisode 10 of Tremontaine sees some more romantic development/drama, which has led to a bit of a change of tune for me where a certain couple are concerned…

…Oh, and there’s a duel to the death. (Spoilers ahoy!) AND THERE’S ONLY THREE MORE EPISODES LEFT. I CAN’T STAND IT.

*Deep breath* Let’s discuss!


So in “Shadowroot”, Micah is finally faced with the fact that she belongs at the University and not wasting her genius on a farm. Rafe needs teachers for the school he wants to open, and of course Micah is the perfect maths teacher! Her nervousness over telling Reuben that she won’t be coming home after all was so painfully sweet – and endless points to Reuben for being awesome about it and encouraging her instead of being angry or upset!

NOTHING CAN STOP OUR GENIUS NOW oh and also, somebody get her a pet cow. My heart!

Micah will now forever be like a sweet, awkward maths Jedi Knight in my mind, and nothing and no one can take this image away from me.


AAAH SHE KILLED REYNALD. THAT DUEL WAS AMAZING. So damn tense from start to finish, and I love that even though she did her best with what Vincent taught her, it was her own native fighting style that saved her skin. That and that viciously clever mind of hers at work, provoking Reynald into losing his cool during the fight. That was dirty fighting, and I LOVED IT.

Good riddance to creepy rubbish. I shall not miss Reynald at all. Creep.

That said… this now means that there is less of a remove between Kaab and Diane in the whole spider-web political game they’re playing. After what happened last week I guess that this is well and good as far as Kaab’s plan goes, but it’s worth noting that she didn’t intentionally set out to find, duel and kill Reynald. She caught him following her, she confronted him without considering what it would lead to, and she got lucky.

Diane, on the other hand, is resting less easy after that ugly argument with Will – which I must say, surprised the hell out of me. I never would have thought Will was quite so aware of what his wife is actually like – and to see Diane so close to losing control of herself after he storms out? That gave me chills. This woman needs some serious help, but it’s sort of like having to give a cat medication. You know it’s not going to be easy. Or pleasant. Or safe.

And can we just talk for a minute about the solution she’s apparently settled on for “dealing with” Rafe as a romantic rival? SHADOWROOT IS A REAL THING AND SHE IS POISONING HER OWN HUSBAND WITH IT.


And Rafe! Rafe, Rafe, Rafe…

I mentioned at the start of this review that I’ve had a change of tune about the romance here, and the affair between Rafe and Will is what’s done it in this episode. Not only is Will finding his backbone and opening his eyes to Diane’s machinations and her nature (by the way, that line about her having clockwork lubricated with acid for a heart was just perfect and I loved it), but RAFE IS CONFESSING HIS LOVE. And not only that, he’s being an adult about it and insisting to Will that he needs to make amends with Diane! HE IS LEARNING TO GROW UP AND IT’S CHANGING EVERYTHING AND OH MY GOD YES PLEASE.

… It’s all going straight to hell from here, isn’t it.


So, OK. The implications. Diane is using a mind-altering poison, presumably to bend her husband back to her will by force since she evidently can’t use her wiles anymore. Given the excerpts from the “Almanack of Poisones” and what appears to be a historical text, we know that a) there’s apparently a precedent for shadowroot being used for someone’s political gain – notably a woman in what could be a position of real power; and b) no one seems to believe that shadowroot actually really exists, by that name or any other.

So, Diane may not intend to stop at just coming between Will and Rafe. The Duke is on the City council. Diane is his wife. If she can convince enough people that Will’s gone loopy and no one but her can hold his business together, she’ll have more political power to wield openly than she ever has before.

This is a woman who will hire assassins to hide her secrets and has a serious aversion to honesty in general. She can’t even tolerate her husband showing excitement when she’s the only other person in the room, for crying out loud. Every response and reaction she shows when Will is explaining the whole trade and navigation breakthrough they could make is calculated. Her mind is working at a remove from her feelings the whole time, and when she’s in danger of not being able to keep herself together WHEN SHE’S ALONE, Diane physically harms herself, however minimally, to force her feelings away.

These are not the actions of a mentally healthy person, and everything it could mean for Will, for Rafe, and even for Kaab is starting to terrify me. WHAT THE HELL WILL SHE DO NEXT? And is ANYBODY going to be able to stop her?

(My money’s still on Kaab. Bring on episode 11.)

(Also, bonus points to Joel Derfner this week for use of the word “yclept”.)





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