In the final episode of this season, everything is indeed coming apart. But who’ll pick up what from all the pieces?
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
Right then! So this review is a tiny bit late, to my shame – but here it is. And the first thing I want to say is that I love the fact that my favourite Tremontaine writers all had a hand in this finale. After this, I can’t wait to see where they each go with the upcoming new season!
OK. There is so much going on in this last episode, and even after rereading it, my heart’s in pieces for certain characters. Let’s start with Kaab.
So much of her life falls apart in this finale, I can’t help feeling bad for her despite all of my misgivings where she’s been concerned. She made a mess of her spy work, with no tangible resolution to hand to her family despite actually discovering who’d been responsible for the thefts. Her romance with Tess fell apart. Even her plan to wash her hands of it all and return home didn’t work out, though to be fair to her, she literally misses her boat when she realises that, thanks to her own olive branch to Diane, the Duke is being shipped off to Binkiinha as well – and promptly drops everything to run and find Rafe, to tell him. They arrive back at the docks only in time to see the ship set sail, and now not only did she fail to help Rafe say goodbye to his love, but she’s stuck in the Land she can’t abide any longer. It’s a bittersweet thing when Rafe realises what she risked to come and find him, and decides to let go of his own anger toward her. It might be a small consolation, but I really hope that when Kaab is able to pull herself back together, she accepts the offer of renewed friendship. Goodness knows she’s going to need it.
Not least because, with the tragedy of Aunt Saabim’s sudden death post-childbirth to face, her responsibility now is to her family in the City. She’s got to take her aunt’s place as head of the family, thanks to being a first daughter.
That’s … going to be interesting. Oh, Kaab.
Obviously, I can’t help speculating about how well this will go for her. Kaab is NOT ready for a position like this, even if she’s showing an admirable willingness to finally accept the responsibility of it *looks to camera*. I can’t help wondering if Diane’s right in her assumption that Kaab as head of the Balam family will be a disaster for them – or if, just maybe, all that she’s been through and all that she’s lost will now mean that Kaab is at least cautious enough in her behaviour to learn the ropes, change her ways and do some good. To give her the benefit of the doubt, either outcome is entirely possible. Either way, I can’t wait to find out.
Speaking of Diane, her turn in the Chamber of Honour, facing off against Davenant at last, was a thing of simple, vicious beauty. Speed-recap: In order to repay her debt to Diane, Esha offers her some sneaky goods she pilfered from the Dragon in her time as his lover, which turn out to be proof, once deciphered, that Davenant’s been cooking the City’s treasury books. Now Diane’s got him by the coins (heh), nothing is standing between her and a unanimous vote. Davenant recognises the account book, albeit a forged copy, that Diane brings to the hearing with her, and honestly, his reaction made me cackle. I’ll say it – I’ve got no sympathy for him. The power-play tables have well and truly turned, from that opening episode through all his skeevy possessiveness and presumption, to now. Diane relishes the moment, and I do not blame her one little bit. This is one Dragon I’ll never be a fan of.
And for all that not a word of it is spoken aloud, Arlen clearly recognises that Diane’s got him beat and acknowledges that she has, indeed, impressed him by casting his vote in her favour. That’s all it takes, and now Tremontaine is hers. All hers.
Gods help us all.
Now let’s talk about the other woman of the hour, and I’m probably most intrigued by the changes to Tess, here – not to mention the possibilities for her character from here on out. After ensuring Vincent would survive his injury despite losing his sword arm, she nurses him back to health, all while nursing her own broken heart over Kaab and worrying about what might become of Riverside if it’s left up to the Council to deal with Shade and Florian. She steps up remarkably in each case. She rallies all of Riverside against the murderous Twins, very firmly showing Florian the door and reminding him that, for all of his assumption and arrogance, he’s not a Riversider and never will be. For Shade it’s different, and the stark fact of his absence from Florian’s banishment speaks dramatic volumes. I do worry that her actions might mean dangerous things around the corner for Tess, but nonetheless I loved this scene for the position of power in which it places her – and that’s essentially what this entire episode, if not the entire serial, has been about to me. Women in positions of power, and how they handle it. Diane and Kaab might be the most obvious examples, but they aren’t the only players. With Tess stepping up to cement her own place and her own power in Riverside – which is not to be underestimated if you ask me – and the arrival of Esha this season adding mystery and potentially upsetting the balance (she might be Diane’s ally now but let’s just wait and see), I really do feel sorry for anyone who crosses any of these ladies.
And I will say it one more time before I move on to Season Three – nobody better hurt Micah.