Tremontaine S2E12: Smoke and Ashes

 

In the twelfth episode of Tremontaine, an important question that’s been asked since the story began is finally answered and I AM NOT OKAY.

Tensions are coming to a boil. The question now is, who’s going to get burned?

Let’s discuss Tremontaine.

 

 

As you might guess from that cover art, the question I was referring to is regarding Vincent and a certain crippling injury.

You guys. I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS.

So after his duel with Kaab, in which she cut him to make her defiant point, Vincent’s wound gets infected and …

And that’s that for his sword arm.

I was not expecting it to happen like this. In all the possible scenarios I’d imagined, Vincent was at least fighting someone for one dramatic reason or another. The last thing I’d considered was that it would be this simple, this devastatingly easy.

But then, I suppose I should have expected that. Sometimes, it doesn’t take dramatic circumstances to change someone’s life so dramatically, and that’s the real tragedy of Vincent’s situation. This wasn’t something he had any control over, and it isn’t something he could fight or defeat. We can’t even really blame anyone for it – though I confess I am very upset with Diane for not knowing better when she set Vincent up for that duel.

Diane de Tremontaine had a moment of weakness, and Vincent Applethorpe won’t be dueling anymore. And the hardest thing to accept is that Diane is not very likely to admit that the fault might be hers, when she hears about it. She can regret her lapse all she likes, but it won’t change the facts in that respect.

It does, however, raise an important point about the events that occur in this story and the way in which these characters drive them; nothing that happens here happens in a vacuum. This is a fact that I think all good storytellers bear in mind: every action needs to have a consequence. Major or minor, the scale doesn’t really matter so much as the fact that the consequences are shown. Diane might live in extreme privilege but she doesn’t live in a bubble. Everything she does affects someone; this time it’s landed closer to her own doorstep than she’s likely to expect. It’ll be interesting to see, regardless of my predictions, what she does about this.

Speaking of actions and consequences, let’s hear it for Tess finally stepping out from Kaab’s shadow!

When Vincent’s discovered, delirious with sepsis and fever, it’s Tess that the Riversiders who find him turn to in order to help him. This shows us what Tess has known, and been saying, all along: Riversiders are a family. Riverside might be full of thieves, conmen and killers, looked down upon and looking askance at outsiders, but they step up when one of their own needs help. Even when it gets ugly.

I was heartbroken by the scene where Vincent is taken to Butcher Lore, partly for Vincent’s sake but also because seeing Tess having to make this decision is a pretty brutal way to give her room to shine. But she handles it about as well as she could be expected to, and then some. She doesn’t flinch away from doing what’s necessary to save her friend, and in the end Tess is standing in a new, very formidable and very interesting light. She’s at a crucial pivotal moment here, especially when she learns from Kaab that the Balams plan to take action against Shade and Florian. Knowing what she knows about Riverside and how the Council is likely to respond to any trouble stemming from there, Tess decides it’s better if the matter is handled in Riverside, by Riversiders. Namely, by her.

I touched on this already this week with this post about my favourite Tremontaine women, and this is why Tess is one of them. Bring on the finale, and keep up this development! Goodness knows we’ve waited long enough for it.

Elsewhere in the City, others are at vital turning points as well. Kaab has, surprisingly regretfully, resigned herself to her failures and apparently decided she’s better off returning home. I’ve made no secret of my misgivings about Kaab, but I am going to be sorry to see her go.

If, that is, she does indeed make good on her intention to leave without something stopping her. We shall see!

Diane, too, is coming to the end of her tether in some ways. With the Council’s vote right around the corner and still no clear solution to her Davenant problem in sight, she pays Esha that visit at last and we learn what Diane’s other unlikely friend (*waves to Micah*) has to offer her: she’s been pilfering and forging potentially valuable documents and records from her lovers for a while, and Davenant was no exception. Esha’s got what turns out to be very damaging financial goods on him, when she turns over a ledger to Diane that the Duchess wastes little time in asking Rafe and Micah to decipher for her. This leads to the revelation that Davenant has very possibly been cooking the Treasury books, and also to this line which made me cackle out loud:

 

Oh, Dragon. Who would have thought that hoarding gold would be your downfall?

 

Yes. YES. Oh, please say she’s got him over a barrel now. Please let this discovery pay off. I mean, let’s face it – if anybody can use this to their advantage, even this close to the wire, it’s Diane de Tremontaine. GO FORTH AND BE YOUR VICIOUS SELF, DIANE. This has my blessing.

Davenant may be the Dragon, but in this instance Diane is a snake in his garden. A venomous snake that he tried to corner. Please, please, PLEASE let him find out exactly why that was a bad idea. Diane’s been itching for this opportunity to show him, and frankly, I’ve been itching to see it happen.

I cannot wait for Wednesday. Bring. It. On.

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