Carnival Row: Season 1, Episode 1 “Some Dark God Wakes” [Series Premiere] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

A depiction of the war.
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Carnival Row may begin with a gorgeous, complex world with varied creatures, but the beauty fades when anything is put under a microscope.


Network
Amazon Prime
Creator(s) Travis Beacham, René Echevarria
Director(s) Thor Freudenthal
Writer(s) Travis Beacham, René Echevarria
Air Date 8/30/2019
Genre(s) Fantasy
Good If You Like
  • Shows With Large Worlds & Large Casts
  • Victorian Era Shows, With A Slight Steampunk Vibe
  • A Dash Of Romance, But It Not Likely Being The Selling Feature
  • Possibly Episodic Stories
Introduced This Episode
Rycroft Philostrate Orlando Bloom
Vignette Cara Delevingne
Portia Fyfe Maeve Dermody
Imogen Tamzin Merchant
Ezra Andrew Gower
Agreus David Gyasi
Unseelie Jack Matthew Gravelle

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Plot Overview

7 years after a war which ripped apart the world of what was once seen as fantasy creatures, we find ourselves in a 7th century, nearly steampunk world where creatures from centaurs to faeries intermix with humans. As you can imagine, humanity is not fond of the arrangement, despite their war causing the immigration into their cities, like The Burgue.

Yet, as tensions rise, one man, Inspector Philostrate, tries to actually keep the peace, hunt those who murder foreigners and be some sort of ally. But, with being a veteran of the war humanity started, and cop, many don’t take to him on first glance. But perhaps his biggest problem might be his ex Vignette who he left behind for reasons not yet revealed.

Review

Highlights

The World Building

The Burgue shown at a distance.

The world of Carnival Row feels massive! We have Tirnanoc, and all that continent could offer, the Burgue which, even with being a city, seems extensive. For whether we are talking about Carnival Row, where many fae creatures live, the racism that the city is dealing with, and the history of tension between humanity and fae, there is so much to unpack over the next 7 episodes.

There Is Something There Between Philo and Vignette

Bloom and Delevingne’s chemistry is undeniable. I’d more so contribute it to Delevingne, purely because I know her work better, and because she can bring both this playful flirtatiousness and lust to her scenes with Bloom. Making it so, while things clearly are complicated between her character and Bloom’s, seeing them reconcile and fall in love all over again likely is going to be the highlight of the season, if not show.

On The Fence

I Can’t Say The Majority Of The Characters You’ll Take A Interest In

With such a massive world being introduced, it is only natural that it is filled to the brim with characters to bring it to life. The problem is, no individual character really pops. I’d even submit the draw Delevingne brings has less to do with your interest in Vignette and more the persona she has in the majority of her roles, and what she appears to have in real life. Which creates a bit of fear for this is an 8 episode series, each episode around an hour, and with one, maybe two characters you love, and none which necessarily you love to hate, that may create a problem in the long run.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

All that Carnival Row needs to do is make it so viewers are just as enamored with the characters as the world they live in. For that seems like what will be the main, if not only, problem. Especially since there is so much to unpack. Hence a first impression which leads me to think you should watch this. Carnival Row may not necessarily be built to seem like a major epic that will be compared to, but it will have its place for fantasy fans. Particularly those who love rich lore, complicated relationships between characters, and factions, all of which will likely reach a fever pitch.

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Carnival Row Directory

Creator

Travis Beacham, René Echevarria

Character Guide

Created

Collected Quotes

Not Created

Current Status

Active

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Season Reviews

Season 1 (Storylines & Major Arcs)
Check Out The TV Series & Specials Page
Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 1, Episode 4 "The Joining of Unlike Things"As a name is given to the beast which haunts the shadows, Agreus makes a deal with Imogen and Vignette is put in a life or death situation.
Director(s) Thor Freudenthal, Anna Foerster
Writer(s) Travis Beacham, Marc Guggenheim, Peter Cameron
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ritter Longerbane Ronan Vibert
Sophie Caroline Ford
Hamlyn Dejan Bucin
Mima Sawsaan Mina Andala
  • A Life For A Life: Mima Sawsaan, Haruspex, Philo
  • It’s Politics: Piety, Jonah, Ritter, Sophie, Absalom, Imogen, Ezra, Agreus
  • For The Love Of You: Ms. Fyfe, Philo, Vignette, Tourmaline, Dahlia, Hamlyn
Season 1, Episode 3 "Kingdoms of the Moon"We come to learn how Vignette and Philo met, a grave secret he and Darius hold, and see the final days of the war.
Director(s) Anna Foerster
Writer(s) Travis Beacham
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Darius Ariyon Bakare
Mima Roosan Badria Timimi
  • The Young Woman Who Watches Over The Books: Mima Roosan, Vignette, Philo
  • The Secrets A Man Holds: Philo, Vignette, Darius
  • Was It The End Or A Long Pause?: Vignette, Philo, Tourmaline, Mima Roosan
Season 1, Episode 2 "Aisling"As a formerly famous pixie is found brutally murdered, Philo finds himself a new case as Vignette decides the Spurnrose household isn’t for her.
Director(s) Thor Freudenthal
Writer(s) René Echevarria
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Aisling Erika Starkova
Afissa Tracey Wilkinson
Absalom Jared Harris
Jonah Arty Froushan
Piety Indira Varma
Haruspex Alice Krige
Sylvanus Wil Johnson
Tourmaline Karla Crome
Dahlia Chlie Pirrie
  • A Missing Son: Absalom, Jonah, Piety, Haruspex
  • A Dead Pix: Aisling, Philo, Sylvanus
  • It’s Hard To Move Forward When You Keep Looking Back: Philo, Vignette, Ezra, Imogen, Tourmaline, Agreus, Dahlia
Season 1, Episode 1 "Some Dark God Wakes" [Series Premiere]Carnival Row may begin with a gorgeous, complex world with varied creatures, but the beauty fades when anything is put under a microscope.
Director(s) Thor Freudenthal
Writer(s) Travis Beacham, René Echevarria
Air Date 8/30/2019
Genre(s) Fantasy
Good If You Like
  • Shows With Large Worlds & Large Casts
  • Victorian Era Shows, With A Slight Steampunk Vibe
  • A Dash Of Romance, But It Not Likely Being The Selling Feature
  • Possibly Episodic Stories
Introduced This Episode
Rycroft Philostrate Orlando Bloom
Vignette Cara Delevingne
Portia Fyfe Maeve Dermody
Imogen Tamzin Merchant
Ezra Andrew Gower
Agreus David Gyasi
Unseelie Jack Matthew Gravelle
Season 1, Episode 5 "Grieve No More"The truth behind Philo’s parentage is revealed as things begin to come to a boil in Imogen and Absalom’s life.
Director(s) Andy Goddard
Writer(s) Ian Deitchman, Kristin Robinson
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dr. Mornage Gregory Gudgeon
Runyan Simon McBurney
Young Philo Ilian Gergisak
Young Aisling Veronika Mackova
  • How Low Our Family Has Fallen: Ezra, Imogen, Agreus
  • Never Underestimate A Longerbane: Sophie, Jonah, Piety, Absalom
  • A Mother’s Lullaby: Young Aisling, Young Philo, Philo, Runyan, Dr. Mornage
Season 1, Episode 6 "Unaccompanied Fae"Philo reveals a secret which will cause many, including him, trouble. Which coincides with Sophie revealing her secret, and Imogen coming to a realization.
Director(s) Andy Goddard
Writer(s) Stephanie K. Smith
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Quill Scott Reid
Cabal Theo Barklem-Biggs
Sargent Dombey Jamie Harris
  • Pity Those Who Underestimate Us: Sophie, Absalom, Jonah
  • A World Of Treasures & A Shocking Realization: Vignette, Imogen, Agreus
  • Be Wary Of Who You Trust: Ms. Fyfe, Philo, Runyan, Afissa, Sargent Dombey
Season 1, Episode 7 "The World To Come"Philo’s father has been revealed, just as it seems he faces death, and Imogen seems to have picked up her father’s habits in sympathy for fae.
Director(s) Jon Amiel
Writer(s) Peter Cameron
Air Date 8/30/2019
Introduced This Episode
Constable Berwick Waj Ali
Magistrate Flute Mark Lewis Jones
  • Watch The World Burn & Be Part Of Its Rebuild: Runyan, Sophie, Jonah
  • Beauty & The Beast: Imogen, Agreus, Ezra
  • Does The Truth Ever Set A Person Free – Outside Of Their Mind?: Philo, Vignette, Ms. Fyfe, Sargent Dombley, Constable Berwick, Magistrate Flute
Season 1, Episode 8 "The Gloaming" [Season Finale]In the season finale, the controller of the Darkasher is revealed, as well as who the real mastermind behind the events of season 1.
Director(s) Jon Amiel
Writer(s) Travis Beacham
Air Date 8/30/2019
  • A Love Like This Does Not Come Every day: Imogen, Agreus, Ezra
  • Many Secrets Revealed: Piety, Absalom, Jonah, Sophie, Philo, Haruspex
  • The Prophecy Holds True: Jonah, Vignette, Philo, Sophie, Piety

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