It’s the final episode of The Nevers with Joss Whedon in charge, as Amalia True will finally get some answers on why the Touched exist at all.
However, the real cliffhanger is what will the show become without Whedon.
The half-time finale is not what people expected, but if you go through the end, it explains why Amalia was chosen. Too bad the show had to put several plots on the bench to do that.
The episode starts with what seems to be the Battle of Serenity Valley about a hundred years from now. Actually, it’s a battle between something called FreeLifers (sort of like the Alliance) and the PDC. In the middle is someone named Stripe (Claudia Black). She’s fought for a long time and is tired and losing faith. She talks to someone named Knitter about the war, and about the Galanthi, who seem to be mutant kaiju. It’s also explained that they release spores that helped the “Touched” there understand its language and tech. It’s hoped they will stop the war somehow and make a better world. Here, she is in probably the only place in FutureEarth where something grows.
However, the Earth is dying because the FreeLifers fear the Galanthi and the PDC hope they can save everyone
The FreeLifers nearly kill the Galanthi that is there, but kill a lot of the resistance. The alien winds up apparently leaving FutureEarth, sending Stripe into despair. She seems to commit suicide, but a Galanthi has other ideas.
Cut to Amalia’s earlier life as Molly, a baker who dreams of a nicer future. She marries, but he dies, leaving her in debt.
Of course, fans know what happens next: Molly jumps in the Thames just as that steampunk UFO arrives in 1896. It was sent by the Galanthi to save the world in the past. If only it knew its enemies.
Molly is sent to an asylum, where she experiences the first of her flash-forwards. It’s also apparent Molly has changed somehow, She wonders what kind of “sim” she’s in.
Yes, Stripe’s soul is now in Molly. It’s reincarnation in reverse. She also meets Sarah/Maladie (Amy Manson), who is less insane at this time. They talk about the strange ship no one seems to remember but she does. Here, Molly/Stripe seems to be the more insane because she can’t understand why she’s in 1896 and in a new body.
She later meets Dr. Cousens (Zakary Momoh) after she’s cut by another patient. Aside from seeing a sexy flash forward, she notices his fingers are suddenly glowing and healing. It’s not long before they find out the Galanthi made the Touched with its spores. Molly/Stripe is surprised the spores are creating people with special powers. Usually, it tells someone what to do to fix the Earth. Even if it did in 1896, would that person get through to people like the Beggar King or Massen? Not likely.
There’s already some rumors about people with special powers, even some in the asylum.
While Molly/Stripe slowly becomes Amalia True, it’s also revealed that she makes some unfortunate decision to stay alive. This episode shows Amalia is to blame for Sarah/Maladie’s abuse and insanity. That happens when Dr. Hague (looking more respectable than usual) tries to recruit Amalia and Sarah for his “research”. Amalia makes Sarah look more crazy than she looks to escape what Hague has in mind. This will tragically backfire.
Eventually, Amalia does leave the asylum with the help of Lavinia, of all people. She gives Amalia all she needs to give the Touched a refuge, although it’s later revealed she thinks their abilities are a disease. It’s interesting to see how Hague and Lavinia are saviors before their true natures are apparent.
Finally, the show gets back to 1899, and Amalia is able to dig her way to the Orb. She’s the only one there, though, which means she’s still unaware about who’s trying to dig it out. This leads to a very good monologue by Laura Donnelly, as she tries to get some answers. By this time, Amalia understands her mission: prevent the future by making 1899 London a better place. She’s still upset the Orb didn’t spell out her mission. Her frustration is obvious, as is the fact she still doesn’t think she’s the right person for the job.
Then the Orb rumbles, and she falls back, seeing flashes of her life so far. It includes her telling Penance who she really is, and how hideous the future will be unless they do something.
She also sees Myrtle (Viola Prettejohn) in future clothes, suggesting she also went to the past. That may explain her problems with words, but also how she was able to translate Mary Brighton’s song. She tells Amalia to forget this vision, but it’s not out of the question she may get a reminder.
All of the Touched reunite after their respective missions (Amalia to see the Orb, Penance to save Maladie). It’s also clear Augie (Tom Riley) has sided with the ladies after ordering birds to attack anyone threatening the Touched. This is a good move, and fans would love to see what Lavinia will think of this.
As the first half ends, the Touched realize they must make 1899 London better to hopefully prevent a bleak future, and the key is a race of aliens. Massen and Lavinia may call it war but they have no idea how inadequate their weapons are, or their attitude.
Amalia also reveals her true name: Zephyr Alexis Navine.
Yet, it has to end with a laugh: Penance disappointed with her Zepplin prototype flying away. Any chance it’ll wind up in Germany?
The episode did a good job explaining Amalia’s development from depressed widow to two-fisted heroine, and explaining what she meant when she told the Beggar King, “That’s not my face.” The mission is now revealed and understood.
But is it enough to get people to see the second half, which is expected next year?
At least there’s a few plotlines to finish. A confrontation between Amalia and Maladie is guaranteed. Massen and the Beggar King will stoke hatred for the Touched for power and profit. Lavinia might find out the Orb can’t be killed, but not what it really is. There’s also Hugo Swann, who uses the Touched in very special (and sometimes dangerous) orgies. If the Galanthi thinks it can battle bigotry, greed, sexism and perversions through people with special powers to save England, it may want to leave when things get worse.
It may be time for Massen to finally get pushed back for his “only I decide how the world should be” attitude. It’s been revealed the Galanthi spores killed his daughter. Couldn’t that be explored more to broaden his character? Having Lavinia learn the truth about Augie would also help, especially she has to consider her bond with him.
It also be needed to feature a main group of Touched in the overall plot. It may be a bit too X-Men for some, but it would tighten the story. Primrose should be more than just 20 feet tall, for example. Can’t she do more to defend them? Now that people fear them, she’ll be attacked, and will have to respond.
Let’s also have Mundi defend them more, too.
Of course, there are evil Touched. Could Maladie be their Magneto?
It may not be certain if the show will last past twelve episodes, but let’s hope new showrunner Philppa Goslett can make this show better and more exciting. Mixing Victorian times with people and aliens who were sent back in time to improve the past will be a tough mission.
By the way, Donnelly talks about the finale, thanks to Yahoo News and Esquire.