Betrayal is the name of the game in See’s sixth episode (“Silk”), as individuals — both past and present — seek to gain the upper hand on rivals by turning on them during their greatest moment of need. Clearly, the loss of sight hasn’t changed people’s penchant for looking out for themselves above all other concerns.
In the woods, Baba and his clan continue to fend off the Witchfinder General’s army, with Baba screaming for Maghra, who’s disappeared from the tree hollow she’d shared with Paris. Boots appears and informs everyone that he saw Maghra leave the woods with Tamacti Jun, and then die. We know this is a lie (the prior episode proved that Maghra is, in fact, the royal sister of Queen Kane), but it’s bolstered by Haniwa producing Maghra’s bag, stained with blood. While Kofun doesn’t believe this story, Baba, faced with immediate danger, opts to take Boots at his word and flee the area.
Back at Tamacti Jun’s camp, the Witchfinder General explains to Maghra that his orders are to find her children. She gives him different orders — to bring Haniwa and Kofun to her, unharmed — and in return, she’ll tell him more about what’s recently taken place. Tamacti Jun complies with this request (it’s apparent that they were once friends), informing her that he still knows who she fundamentally is, because “We are who we are. No amount of time can change that.”
Boots leads his new family through the woods to a well-hidden cave, only to lock them in a cage that turns out to be a mineshaft elevator. As Baba and Haniwa scream at him, he confides that there are too many of them to trust, and that he’s better off alone. Then he lowers the elevator into the darkness below. Upon reaching the bottom, Haniwa lights the letter she received from Jerlamarel for light, but it doesn’t last long, and they’re soon making their way through the pitch-black murk.
At the silk house, Kane holds one of the cocoons she’s tasked with handling to her ear, hearing the worm inside move around. A captive named Cora (Jessica Harper) cautions Kane that she must notify one of the Overseers immediately, and that Kane’s decision to stop working will not be looked upon favorably. Cora says that Kane isn’t the first woman of influence and power to kneel before the rack of Cutter (Timothy Webber), but that she should, since there are worse fates than living here, where everyone is fed, sheltered and not molested. Kane hardly views that as a great selling point for this outpost, and for refusing to get with the program, she’s roundly beaten by one of the Overseers.
We’re then treated to a flashback of Kane sitting at the deathbed of her father, the king. After pledging to do her best to preserve his legacy, Kane calls for Maghra, who’s only a young girl, and promises that, despite the coming changes to their world, “I’m going to take care of you.” Alas, no sooner is that oath spoken then it’s torn asunder by the king himself, who whispers in Maghra’s ear four words that will alter the course of the kingdom, and history itself: “You must rule… soon.”
Maghra recounts her father’s decision — which naturally ruined her relationship with her sister, and set them both upon their fateful courses — to Tamacti Jun. He responds by saying that what the king intoned was far less destructive than Maghra’s subsequent conduct. In their ensuing discussion, we discover that he’s referring to Maghra’s attempt, when older, to seize the throne from Kane, with the backing of most of the kingdom’s generals and half the court. Her failure, it turns out, was brought about by Tamacti Jun himself, who refused to go along with the scheme, believing Maghra too young for such a maneuver. Maghra was, and obviously remains, not happy about this, since even at a relatively young age, she knew what her sister would become.
See segues back to Baba and his troupe, who arrive in a chamber illuminated by glowing blue bugs on the ceiling. A woman is there, and they tell her they’ve arrived in this place only because of Boots’ betrayal. Before they can get their bearings, they’re attacked and knocked out. When they awaken, they’re in a locked room, and have been drugged with “queen’s stalk” (mushrooms to numb the senses). Paris explains that there are stories of clans that, in the aftermath of the apocalypse, took refuge underground. Basically, they’re prisoners of some mole people who don’t take kindly to intruders.
As if having Maghra try to steal her throne in the past wasn’t enough betrayal for Kane, she’s duped back at the silk house by Cora, who narrates her own life story — she was beaten as a child until she finally murdered her abusive father — as a way of gaining Kane’s trust, and learning her true identity. Kane not only tells Cora who she is, but talks a bit about the “stark, cold indifference” she felt from her own dad. It was then, she says, that she realized that “In this life, one must take the life one wants.” Cora informs her that there are roughly 30 workers and only four Overseers (as well as the Cutter), and that weapons are available to them should they choose to revolt. There’ll be no such revolution, however, because Cora promptly takes this newly gained intel about Kane and relays it to Cutter.
Dragged in to see Cutter, Kane vows to make him pay for his insolence. He’s not worried about that at the present moment, though, and instead decides to use her as a bargaining chip with Tamacti Jun, who he knows will want to secure Kane’s safe return. In order to prove to Tamacti Jun that he actually has Kane in his possession, Cutter slices out of Kane’s chest a royal amulet that’s implanted in each new monarch.
In their cave prison, Paris tearily apologizes to Baba for leading Haniwa and Kofun, and thus all of them, into this trouble, but he doesn’t accept her culpability. When a woman arrives, Baba grabs her and demands answers. She confesses that her name is Delia, and that she was also trapped in this place by Boots — who’s her son! Delia explains that Boots was horribly mistreated by their clan for having the power of sight, and that — with no father around, since Jerlamarel bolted shortly after the kid was conceived — he grew so angry that he slaughtered all of their fellow Opayol. Knowing her offspring is a rabid dog, she makes them swear that, if they escape with her help, they’ll find and kill him.
Delia guides our heroes back to the elevator, at which point she departs to hold off approaching enemies (by the sounds of her screams, that doesn’t end well for her). Since the elevator is controlled by a lever, Baba stays below and raises his clan to the top, only to be attacked by a number of faceless adversaries whom he murders in stunningly brutal fashion — highlighted by him impaling one guy and tearing another’s jaw apart with his bare hands (in extreme close-up, no less!). Making matters worse, when Kofun and Haniwa attempt to lower the elevator back down to Baba, it breaks, plummeting to the ground below. Consequently, Baba has to climb up the elevator shaft to reunite with his family — a sequence that generates a surprising amount of tension considering we know Baba can’t perish this early in the show’s run.
While Baba, Haniwa, Kofun, Paris, and Bow Lion trek once more through the forest, Maghra is reunited at Tamacti Jun’s camp with Boots. Unaware of his treachery, she welcomes him into her arms. Boots tells her that he doesn’t know the location of her family, whom he lost track of during fighting. And having seen Tamacti Jun kneel before her, indicating she has power, Boots makes Maghra an offer: He’ll provide her with assistance, and “make you strong,” so long as she agrees to treat him well.
Before she can give Boots an answer, Tamacti Jun receives Cutter’s message, and passes it on to Maghra, who’s convinced of its authenticity by the amulet that accompanies it. In light of this turn of events, Boots’ proposal sounds all the more enticing — especially given that he can see the two Shadows who delivered Cutter’s missive skulking around the camp. A final zoom into close-up concludes before Maghra can accept Boots as her new lieutenant, but the look upon her face suggests it’s already a done deal.
- Kane’s defiant arrogance may be a byproduct of her palace upbringing, but for a figure as supposedly cunning as she is, her gullibility and screaming-mad behavior in “Silk” aren’t exactly canny.
- Baba continues to prove his ferocity in battle. Yet one hopes that, at some point, Jason Momoa is given something else to do; for too many stretches, he’s reduced to being merely the troupe’s battering-ram muscle.
- We learn next-to-nothing about Baba and company’s subterranean captors, which feels like a missed opportunity to flesh out this ravaged world.
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