In this episode, everyone is behaving surprisingly uncharacteristically – and Reza makes a very surprising move on Diane.
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
Right, then. Let’s have a quick overview of this episode’s events:
- Tess persuades Reza to talk to Rafe about accepting Charlotte as a student at the Tielman Academy. Rafe agrees, persuades his fellow staff, and now we have girls going to school. The very idea!
- Davenant makes a move to take revenge on Esha by burning down her house, and as usual he is his very creepiest self about the whole thing.
- Kaab continues her mission to avenge her aunt’s murder and thwart the secret efforts to topple her family from their seat of trading power.
- Reza hosts a small soiree at Ambassador House, invites a group of remarkable artists and creators, all passionate about their art and/or work – and also invites Diane, who finds herself ‘manipulated’ into a confession…
Let’s tackle the ‘girls at school’ thing first, because aside from the fact that the arguments over the matter have the unfortunate side effect of upsetting Micah, which is never cool, I found the whole thing kind of amusing. Yes, fellas, girls have brains and they know how to use them. Whatever will you do? Apparently, if you’re Joshua, the answer is … chaperone the girls. With more girls. Because absolutely none of the problems you’re concerned about can be caused by boys, can they? Bless your heart.
Speaking of Joshua, he definitely owes Micah an apology for sticking his foot so deep in his own mouth here, and I hope we get to see him deliver it. For once, Rafe Fenton was not the biggest ass in the room! I know. I’m just as surprised as you are. What is the world coming to? (And on that note, I’m still bemused and charmed by the change in Rafe since he met Reza. Who is this considerate, self-aware and insightful young man? And what’s he done with Rafe Fenton?)
Also, I want to spare a moment to bask in the picture of Tess managing Reza’s own moment of “…but GIRLS!” here. Honestly, chaps, all that’s really going on here at this point is making the sharpening of girls’ wits official, with textbooks and chalkboards rather than, you know, their own wits alone. Reza, the Academy’s patron is the smartest woman in the entire damn City, and you’re wrinkling your nose about this in the presence of one of the sharpest knives in Riverside’s drawer.
SPEAKING OF REZA. We need to talk about that soiree, young man. That was bold of you, Reza. And let’s be honest, show of hands time – who saw that little twist coming? If anyone was going to be daring enough to drug Diane de Tremontaine, however mildly, into spilling her own deepest heart’s desire, did anybody think it would be Mr. Have Sword, Will Fight You?
… Then again, when I put it that way, perhaps a sneak attack sort of approach to getting to know Diane better makes perfect sense, with Reza. He is a diplomat, after all.
And oh, my heart. I CAN’T HATE ON DIANE NOW. Her ‘thoughts’ about her own true passions in that scene really blew me away, because I realised that I’ve always seen who she is, and her motivations for what she does, as ultimately selfish. It took this scene to show me that I had it wrong. I’ve been warming to Diane slowly but surely from the start, but this season of Tremontaine is being utterly merciless about showing a side to her that we haven’t gotten to see before, and now I’m eating it up. We are seeing more of what’s in Diane’s heart than we ever have, and at a time when the personal stakes could not be higher for her.
And yet. For all the integrity and warmth and humanity that we’re seeing in her now, I think it’s important to remember that she hasn’t gone entirely soft. She is still the Duchess Tremontaine, and let’s not forget how she got herself to that position. Fantasise all you want, Davenant; I still believe you’ve made the biggest mistake of your sad creepy life here.
God, I hope she CRUSHES HIM.
And speaking of people crushing other people! Let’s talk about Kaab. I … am really nervous for her. I won’t lie. The changes in her thinking, and her behaviour, so far this season have been impressive, and I am 100% behind her, but I’m starting to worry about her ability to stick the landing with this plot to foil her enemies. It relies so much upon Kaab’s ability to keep a cool head and keep thinking clearly, but the moment where she admits that she’s using the awareness of her own weaknesses (ie. her short temper and her hot head) against the Cocom is what’s left me nervous. On one hand, it’s a devious play and if she pulls it off, the poetic justice could be glorious. On the other hand, it’s a damned devious play and if she can’t pull it off, disaster awaits. I have never been more painfully aware that Kaab has consistently been frustrating to me as a character precisely because of her flaws; there is a good chance that she’ll fail here, and having read Swordspoint already … ‘Nervous’ is probably putting it mildly. I’m afraid for her now.
And yet. Yet, I sorely want her to pull it off. Can she? Will she? AAAH I NEED TO KNOW.