Tremontaine S3E1: Ambition

It’s back! Season 3 of my favouritest serial from Serial Box picks up more or less where the end of Season 2 left off, and it looks like chaos is set to take over…

Let’s discuss Tremontaine.

Note: All of these reviews will be spoilerific. You have been warned.



Well! No one’s wasting any time here, are they? *Rubs hands together* OK, where to start…

Actually, I’m going to start with Kaab. Diane can wait her turn for this one, because there is so much going on with our lady pirate turned spymaster that I’ve got to chew on some of this for a bit.

Quick recap time! Following the Season 2 finale, Kaab has had to step into her Aunt Saabim’s shoes and take on the role of spymaster for the Balam, despite the mess she made with her investigation into the chocolate thefts, and let’s not forget the rest of the mess she left behind in Riverside…

I was surprised to see Kaab’s turnaround take effect so quickly in this episode. Season 2 showed us a very self-centred, infuriatingly oblivious side to her, however good her intentions were, and the end result of that was that I was dubious of where she might go from here, and how well she might handle all of the responsibility that she was clearly not ready to handle, the last time we saw her. But Kinwiinik traditions and family loyalty still mean as much to Kaab as they ever did, and so she has at least realised that her time for fun and games is over. She’s got to step up, and she’s got to learn, and learn fast.

With that in mind, I can admit I was impressed with how she proceeds. Rather than throw herself headlong at her problems and expect sheer force of will to overcome them, Kaab listens when she’s told that things like vengeance and bloodshed aren’t important here. She’s not in Riverside now, and that idea of problem-solving will not, in fact, solve any problems. She’s got to do things the diplomatic way, and even though the idea of Kaab learning to be subtle is a rather alien one, she is at least approaching it the sensible way.

Well. If you can call seeking advice on politics from Diane de Tremontaine sensible. Because let’s face it, if Diane doesn’t intend to take what Kaab’s told her, either literally or inadvertently, then something is very wrong with our Duchess.

On the other hand, while I am impressed with the way Kaab basically goes before the City Council and the Merchants and hands them a trader’s nightmare of an ultimatum, I can’t help feeling like she’s being a little too ruthless here. Don’t get me wrong – I loved seeing the complete turnaround she pulls, character-wise, and I enjoyed her ultimatum scene. But … getting the City Council and thus the Watch riled up and aiming them at Riverside is, as the final scene would seem to suggest, only going to end badly.

Accepting her role in the family is all well and good, but has Kaab really forsaken everything about Riverside? What about Tess? THIS IS NOT OKAY OH GOD WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?!


*Deep breath*

And now, let’s talk about Diane. Because if things are getting loud and out of control where Kaab and Riverside are concerned, then they are perhaps getting a little unruly, very quietly, with the newly minted Duchess?

Quick recap, part two: Duchess bested the heck out of Davenant in the last season’s finale, neatly side-stepping his clutches and securing her position as Duchess in her own right in one fell swoop, and oh, how I cheered. She got everything she wanted, and things are looking up for her.

Cut to this season’s opener, and … well, to all appearances, Diane is doing marvellously well for herself. But let’s not forget that her actions regarding Vincent and Kaab last season were not without their consequences. It seems Diane was unaware until now of Vincent’s ‘fate’ after the duel she set him up for with his own pupil, and though she covers her reactions well enough (but not entirely flawlessly?), it’s clear that this revelation has rattled her. Diane can brush it off all she likes, but the fault for what happened to Vincent has to lie, ultimately, with her. Will that guilt really hit home for her? Or is she going to be the ice-cold Duchess about it all?

Fact: this is a woman who will apparently willingly injure herself in order to extricate herself from a sticky social situation before anyone can see any cracks in her armour. (Note: this is really not normal behaviour, and it’s something I think we should be watching?)

Fact, the second: When she takes chocolate with Kaab and is offered a new and very special spice mix to add to her cup, Diane immediately assumes she’s about to be poisoned. This is not what you might call an entirely logical conclusion to jump to.

The Duchess is watching all her doors and corners already, and while I can’t blame her – after all, Davenant is still at large and probably very upset with her – this does smell of paranoia. Just a touch.

So there is a little something Lady Macbeth about our Duchess on this outing, and taken together with Kaab’s transformation, the brewing trouble in the City, and oh yeah, let’s not forget an angry Shade on the warpath and Rafe backsliding into his pre-Will promiscuity WITH FLORIAN LARUE, WHAT THE HELL RAFE ARE YOU REALLY SO DUMB – there’s the sense that everyone is sitting on a ticking time-bomb here.

… And we have yet to see any sign of Tess or Reza. Because things just aren’t angsty or complicated enough, amirite? WHAT ARE THEY UP TO?


At least Micah is still Micah. I didn’t think she could get more adorable, but here we are and she’s using the pattern on Diane’s foyer floor to help with her maths and HI MICAH I LOVE YOUR FACE.

Aaaah, my babies. My precious fictional heartbreakers. This season is going to be INSANE. I can’t wait.





8 thoughts on “Tremontaine S3E1: Ambition

  1. Diane has a consistent weakness of always assuming everyone around her thinks the way she does and will act the way she would. It’s there in Swordspoint, and it’s been there in the first two seasons. So, while it’s extreme even for her to assume Kaab is trying to poison her, it’s not coming out of the blue. But yes, that and the self-mutilation are definitely things to watch.

  2. Doors and corners. I see what you did there. Nice.

    Yes, I’m more than a bit worried for our Duchess’s mental health. Nothing about episode 1 was business as usual. I was having flashbacks to Annette Bening’s meltdown in American Beauty and the Marquise de Merteuil at the end of Dangerous Liaisons (actually, let’s take a moment here: Annette Bening as an older Duchess. HALLO WHY HADN’T I SEEN THAT BEFORE? )

    …and I like to think that while Kaab seems suddenly all grown up and plotterific that she – as usual – simply didn’t think through the consequences of her merchant rabble-rousing. Surely she can’t have -intended- to have all Riverside burnt to the ground to punish Florian and Shade? Surely?

    1. That’s a good point about Kaab – it does make more sense that she just hasn’t considered all the possible outcomes of the outrage she’s set her match to. As usual, Kaab simply does not understand City ways, or how things are done in Riverside – and there’s no way that the Riverside folk will take this lying down…

    2. I like the idea that Kaab wasn’t thinking things through because it walks a good path between the person we want her to be and the person we’ve seen her being. I really didn’t care for her idiocy in Season 2, and had reached a point where I wouldn’t have cared if she’d been written out. Currently, I do care, and I prefer it that way.

      1. Agreed. And I think we’ve seen plenty of occasions where she’s been taken by surprise by other people’s responses – empathetic she is not!

        …and now I’m wondering how aware she even is of what happened next in Riverside – I think her page-time has all focused on family matters? Or have I just blanked this? (clearly I need to do some re-reading!)

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