So it’s time for a new Tremontaine challenge, and it’s well timed: this week the TremonTeam was tasked to write up our thoughts about the story so far, as season two hits its halfway point. There have been surprises galore, both pleasant and not so pleasant. Characters new and old are weaving one hell of a tangled web, and this fly is still happy to be caught.
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
As I consider an overview of Tremontaine and its ensemble cast, one thing that’s struck me are the broader strokes of theme that interconnect them, even while their individual stories seem to be playing out separate from one another. Paths are crossing here and there, and of course certain established relationships/enmities are intensifying. But whether everyone knows everyone else or not, there’s a clear sense of what they all share. Every character who gets stage time here has something they desire, and their driving urge is to achieve it. Sometimes this brings them together, and sometimes it sets them against each other – or drives them apart.
Diane and the full power of Tremontaine. Rafe and the man he loves. Kaab and her family’s approval. (It’s dressed up as her daughterly duty, but I see her. I SEE.)
Tess and personal (and emotional) security. Micah and solutions to her endlessly confounding logical puzzles (oh, and her maths problems, those too). Esha and her independent living.
The most interesting thing about all of these people is that they’d have nothing in common if it wasn’t for their desire for some form of power. All of the things I mentioned above are the things that would give each of them a sense of being in control of something, of being certain enough of where they stand that they can move forward from there with confidence, whether it’s toward a better future or just on to the next step along their way. I could spend ages going into detail about every example, but that’s what my weekly reviews are for. What’s intriguing me in general is not where each of these people are going on their own, but where they’re going and how they might get there together. Some seem to be getting there as allies, some others as enemies, and yet others in ways that set them intriguingly apart altogether.
Take the most obvious ends of that spectrum: Diane, who wields her power by knowing what everyone around her wants and how to offer it to them; and Micah, who wants absolutely none of the things Diane expects people to want. You would think that nothing in this world could cause their paths to cross, and yet this season saw that very thing happen. Briefly and rather hilariously, true, but that one scene was one of the most deeply thought-provoking yet, for me.
Power comes in every shape and form, and everybody has some. What’s fascinating me about Tremontaine is that nobody is twirling moustaches and cackling about it. Some aren’t even aware that they have it, and yet their roles are still important. There’s no clear-cut good and evil here. Everyone is, in their own ways, really just trying to live their best life.
And that’s to say nothing of the wild cards in the mix, the ones whose desires aren’t so easily identified yet, and who might yet upset one apple cart or another and give our power-seekers new challenges to rise to, questions to answer and problems to solve. Arlen, and his pulling of Diane’s strings. Vincent and his murky romantic past coming back to haunt him. The Salamander, and whatever he (she? They?) are really up to in Riverside.
The best stories explore the full spectrum of morality, and if Tremontaine does nothing else well, it’s done that. Long may it continue.