In this episode, we get to see the damage done (quite literally) as Reza finally discovers what happened to Vincent. This is the first of Tessa Gratton’s Season 3 episodes, and as I’ve come to expect, it punched me hard in the feels…
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
So, so much going on in this episode. But mostly I’m going to talk about Reza and his experience of Riverside as an outsider, and as Vincent’s grieving lover. Because hooboy, there is a lot to chew on, here.
First of all, a slight criticism, because I couldn’t help feeling that, for all my anticipation of more time spent getting to know Reza, we kind of get thrown in at the deep end with him, here – and it’s not exactly an ideal time for getting an in-depth look at his character, given that he’s up to his eyes in grief and rage, and nearly loses himself altogether in the desire for bloody murder that comes as a result.
Reza is clearly grieving, and is understandably angry given what we know of his and Vincent’s past, and why (he believes) Vincent chose to leave him. He came to the City to win him back, only to lose him to the life Vincent wanted more than he wanted to be with him. So yes, he’s angry, and he spends a good chunk of this episode taking all that grief and anger out on the people of Riverside. This is understandable, but it’s difficult to call it justified, and it paints a pretty grim picture of the man. Anyone who is willing to give themselves over to a killing spree is not what you’d call a very nice person, and I doubt it matters much what the circumstances are.
… On the other hand, let’s compare what we see of Reza here to what we know about Kaab, the only other foreigner to come into Riverside and mess everything up, regardless of their intentions. In Kaab’s case, the problem was that she couldn’t get out from under her own egotism. She wanted to have her cake and eat it too, and was thoroughly confounded when she was informed that she couldn’t have the entire cake, baked the way she liked it. In the end she washed her hands of the mess she herself had made, and never mind the notion that maybe she ought to try cleaning it up properly instead.
With Reza, it looks at first like the same thing might be happening again. He’s lost in his own head, and very much set in his own ways; this is, as I see it, something that contributed to the breakdown of his relationship with Vincent. If Vincent was too stubborn to change, Reza was too high-minded to understand that the differences between them were valid, and weren’t just a challenge to be won. Kaab thought she could sweep Tess off her feet, magically fit her into her own life among the Kinwiinik, and disregard any dissonance or discomfort Tess might feel in being outside of her own world, her own comfort zones. For Vincent in Chartil, I’m betting it was the same.
Cut to Reza, stuck in Riverside when the siege goes into effect, and now he has two pretty simple choices: continue as he began, taking everything about Riverside as a challenge, a personal affront and/or a mysterious nut to be cracked by force, or stop imposing his own will and his own life experience on people and seek the advice of someone who knows Riverside and loves it the way Vincent did. And the choice he makes is what (thank goodness) sets him in immediate contrast to Kaab – he takes option B, and by the end of the episode he’s by Tess’s side, observing instead of fighting and asking questions instead of imposing what he sees as order. Nothing in Riverside works the way he is used to things working, but for all of his grief and anger, he truly wants to honor Vincent; he just doesn’t understand how to do that, because he didn’t truly understand Vincent.
When my heart was done being broken into tiny bits, my mind got really stuck on his side of this story, and despite my initial criticism, I think it was handled really well. Hats off, Ms Gratton.
And all of this isn’t even touching on the fact that (yes I noticed) we don’t actually get to hear what Tess tells him, in answer to his question. What would Vincent want Reza to do, now? A better question might perhaps be, what will Tess tell him Vincent would want him to do? She might hate the fact that Vincent made her promise to tell his lie, but she’s done it nonetheless, and the fact that it’s broken a man’s heart didn’t stop her upholding the lie. I adore her, but Tess the Hand is not nearly as soft as some might think (yes Kaab, I’m looking at you), so I’ve got to wonder how she’ll play this one given all of the trouble that she and her fellow Riversiders are in right now.
Having a trained warrior and Very Important Person on their side can’t hurt, murder spree or no murder spree – and let’s not forget, either, that Shade is still out there somewhere and very angry with her. Maybe Reza can’t just walk up and cut him open, but if someone he’s protecting was to be threatened…?
And darnit all, I haven’t even touched on the deliciously outrageous flirting that goes on this week between Diane and Esha, at that art gallery. STOP MESSING WITH MY FEELINGS AND JUST GET ON WITH IT.