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Credit: Amazon Prime Video // Jan Thijs

Carnival Row Discussion: 'The World To Come' delights in chaos

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Sep 10, 2019

Carnival Row's penultimate episode sets up an explosive season finale.

"The World to Come" delights in its chaos as Sophie and Jonah plot to overthrow their fathers' regime and Philo is forced to come clean about his true nature. With just one episode left and about 1,000 storylines to wrap up, we're left wondering which mysteries might get solved and which will carry on to Season 2.

We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and we'll try to make sense of this crumbling empire filled with evil, carriage-humping busybodies.

Spoilers for Season 1, Episode 7 of Carnival Row within.

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Credit: Amazon Prime Video / Jan Thijs

Choosing Sides

Alyssa: After years of never really choosing a side, Philo has definitely come down on the side of the critch. After being thrown in jail and beaten within an inch of his life, Philo gets a shot at freedom after Portia feels guilty and recants her statement. She didn’t mean for him to get blamed for murder! She was just mad! So, Philo’s boss gives him the chance to recant and say that he’s not fae and it was all a lie, but Philo can’t disown his mother like that. He’s tired of running from who he is. It does not go over well with his fellow constables, but it goes over VERY well with Vignette.

Jessica: Speak your truth, Philo. I can get down with this being the reason Vignette gives the good detective a second chance. It took a lot of courage to come clean about his heritage to people you’ve known and worked with for years, especially when you’ve had an up-close look at how they’ll react to the news of your past. Captain Muttonchops was having too much fun sticking Philo in a cell and casually looking the other way as inmates assaulted him. Still, as lovely as it was to see Philo embrace his fae-side, I couldn’t help but feel this reunion with Vignette felt rushed and just a bit too staged to trigger too much emotion. There’s a lot to like about this show, but the romance between the two leads has been something of a let down for me.

Alyssa: That’s fair. They cram a lot into this show, and I think building up this central romance does get the short shrift sometimes because of it. Their little catch up session was pretty quick — “oh hey, sorry about your dead mom,” “sorry about your library” (I still can’t believe you thought Philo could be behind that!) — but I was still moved by his confession that he thinks about their time in Tirnanoc all the time and his admission that he never should have left her. Their lives could have been so different if his sense of nobility hadn’t been so misplaced! Regret over time lost together always gets me, man.

Jessica: I accept your shaming of me for that and I’ll bear my punishment with stoic grace. I still want to find out who stole from the library though, because that is a crime that just cannot stand. And I agree, the moment they’re separated when Philo just keeps repeating “Stay with me” truly broke me in ways I wasn’t prepared for. It felt like an even more emotional admission of guilt over leaving her in Tirnanoc than their quick conversation before the guards showed up. I knew this wouldn’t be the end for Philo — you don’t kill off Orlando Bloom in your first season — but I was heartbroken over their separation all the same, and more than a bit worried that Philo would have a noose around his neck in the next scene.

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Credit: Amazon Studios

A Little Bit of Chaos

Alyssa: Luckily for Philo, the Chancellor was being briefed on the whole murder situation and was visibly shaken at the mention of Aisling. Hello, Philo’s father! So he goes and breaks Philo out of jail but does not seem all that pleased with this reunion. However, Philo is not the son that he should be worried about. Jonah, the dumbest man alive, and Sophie are boning down in a carriage because getting it on with your political opponent is always a good idea and will never have any negative ramifications ever.

Jessica: Look, I love a good carriage romp as much as the next person but maybe park your buggies in a more secluded place? Like a park? Or an alley? I guess when planning a regime change gets you this hot and bothered, discretion just isn’t a priority? I admire Sophie’s cunning nature, and at this point, I suspect Jonah is woefully outmatched, but, oddly enough, I was not inspired by her promise to cause a little chaos and create her own empire from the ashes of what burns. And Alyssa, you know that is just not like me. I love some chaotic evil energy, especially in the form of an abused woman asserting power over spineless old men, but Sophie is rotten to her core and she has no issue with making life unbearable for those already suffering. My desire for anarchy can only excuse so much.

Alyssa: That’s the thing about Sophie, isn’t it? If she was hoping to make things better in The Burgue, I’d be on board. But no, she wants it all to burn so the connivers at the fringe can get their shot at power. I do find it interesting that this is the route that they’ve taken with this character, though. In pretty much every fairy tale iteration, the princess in the tower is gentle and good despite what the world has done to her and she is ready to take up arms against injustice the second she’s free. Instead, the isolation made Sophie bitter and hard. I kind of understand that impulse more, if I’m being honest. While we like to think that we’d want to make the world better after we’ve been wronged, a lot of times we lash out instead. I’m not saying that Sophie is right in any way, but I think it’s interesting that Carnival Row has gone this route. Women can be irredeemable villains too!

Jessica: Very true. I love a good villain, I just want to know what the plan is after the villainry. Maybe that’s my anxiety rearing its ugly head, once again refusing to allow me to just enjoy the spoils of war, but it seems likely that Sophie will get her wish. She’s already the head of the opposition and Jonah is poised to inherit his father’s seat. Plus, she’s a master manipulator, so I can’t see this system surviving her influence but where do we go once the place crumbles? Does she just want to rule for the sake of ruling? She’s already afforded considerable power and wealth because of her station, so I doubt money is the driving factor here. Is it just a title and the fear of the common folk that she’s after?

Alyssa: I think at this point she just wants power. That’s what she has been denied for so long because of her gender and her father’s desire to keep her hidden away. I’m not sure if it’s a desire to punish the world that has punished her or a desire to remake it, but either way, Sophie has big and dangerous plans. With Runyan inexplicably being brought into the Breakspear household as a new tutor for Jonah, maybe he can talk some sense into this hotheaded couple, but I don’t have high hopes for Jonah retaining much of anything.

Carnival Row Episode 7

Credit: Amazon Studios / Jan Thijs

A Forbidden Affair

Jessica: Runyan couldn’t even hold onto a handful of kobalds so I doubt he’ll be able to manage the dim-witted playboy son of a high-ranking politician. But let’s move onto more salacious pairings because Alyssa, it finally happened. Hoof Man and Fancy B*tch hooked up and I couldn’t feel more validated. Who knew a quick science lesson, some interior decorating, and a light bulb was all it took for Imogen to rip off those corsets and shed her remaining vestiges of racism to get down and dirty with Agreus?

Alyssa: It was hot. I was into it. Who knew those waistcoats were hiding a six-pack? This tension has been building up for A WHILE, and despite Ezra’s desire to keep his sister away from Agreus, he really ended up pushing them together even more. When he suggested that Imogen give up their ruse because Agreus was on his way to being accepted by other family’s, you could see the panic in her eyes. Somewhere along the way, this whole scheme became real for her. It wasn’t a game anymore, and she wanted to f*ck him in front of that painting that he had purchased because someone made fun of her. There are certainly worse fantasies to have! However, I think more than anything, Agreus has forced Imogen to stare down her beliefs in a very real way and realize that she hates living like this and she hates all of the people that also think this way. That’s a powerful truth to be confronted with.

Jessica: Even sexier than his horns and pocket watch is Agreus’ ability to see through Imogen. I think that calls to her as well. Living in a world where everyone wears a mask of civility and hollow affection, to finally be recognized for who she is must be liberating for Imogen. And the fact that it’s coming from a critch causes her to question her prejudice even more. I feel for Imogen because when you’ve been brought up a certain way, breaking free of that mold can be difficult — though it seemed like their father was down with the fae-folk so I’m still curious as to why they hated them so much in the beginning — but I respect her for going after what she wants, even if she’s still not ready to admit it to her brother. I also respect her for climbing Agreus like a damn tree after redecorating his living room. Get yours, Fancy B*tch.

Alyssa: Like. A. Damn. Tree. I worry about them in the long run, though. Ezra has proven that he is the whiniest of man babies when he gets his way, so I worry about what he’ll do when he finds out about them. And he will find out. They always find out. I think it will be interesting to see how Imogen reacts when there is actual pushback. Sure, she can ignore the gossip of the neighbors that she loathes, but can she sustain the ire of her brother? I’m really hoping that she’ll fully shed their awful belief system for good, but we’ll see. But you raise an interesting point: if their father was progressive in his beliefs about the fae, what went so wrong with his children?

Jessica: I think a good d*cking is all Imogen needs to crush her cretin sibling but I have no clue as to why either Spurnrose has such hang-ups about the fae-folk. Apparently, they didn’t know about Aisling or her connection to their dad, or the doctor’s connection to them both so it’s not like that strange experience influence them. Perhaps their mother was resentful of their father’s friendship with Aisling and used that to instill a message of hate in her children? I hate to blame the mom, but we also haven’t heard a word about her which makes me think she might not have been the nicest of ladies.

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Credit: Amazon Prime Video / Jan Thijs

What’s Next

Alyssa: The finale! They have a lot of ground to cover in this final hour, including who is running the dark asher and committing all these murders. Honestly, I’m more interested in the different duos on the show to get real about what they are to each other. I want Agreas and Imogen to admit that they’re in love. I want Philo and Vignette to keep being in love. I want Philo and the Chancellor to get real about Philo’s heritage so the man can finally get some answers. If they just happen to fight a sewer monster at the same time, so be it. Also, I would like Ezra to die.

Jessica: Ezra can drown at sea in his damn ship for all I care as long and Hoof Man and Fancy B*tch get their happily ever after filled with expensive paintings and electric mood lighting. I know Philo and the Chancellor are going to have a showdown, but I’m curious to see how they wrap all these storylines up. There are so many and they all diverge. Will they actually reveal the creator of the Dark Asher in the finale? If so, will Sophie be next season’s villain? How is Vignette going to play a role behind bars? There are a lot of loose ends to tie up before we’re done.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors', and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.

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