The Innocents lacks a real, and consistent, hook, but June and Harry’s relationship, alongside a character named Kam, pushes you to hope the season will get better as it goes on.
|Steinar||Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson|
|Runa||Ingunn Beate Øyen|
|Sigrid||Lise Risom Olsen|
|Shane||Andrew Lee Potts|
16-year-old June, while running away from her overprotective father, John, with her boyfriend Harry, discovers she is a shifter. A person who takes on the physical form of another person and leaves them incapacitated while doing so. This includes, as shown when June shifts into a woman named Deborah, even replicating their baby if pregnant. Which, as you can understand, freaks out not only June but Harry especially.
Yet, despite how young he is, and the many opportunities he has to just walk away, Harry sticks by her and even when it gets to be too much, he takes a breather and returns. But, what is a journey like this without 3rd parties whose intentions are murky? Well, some anyway. When it comes to people like Shane and Lil, the first people June and Harry meet in London, while they deal drugs, and drug Harry and June, they seem friendly. But then there are people like Kam and Ben. Two people who have selfish desires when it comes to June and don’t desire Harry to interfere.
Thus crafting a show which is very light on the sci-fi, doesn’t delve too deep into the mysteries, but tries to make the driving force this one relationship.
Episodes & Synopses
The Development and History of Shifters
When it comes to the show, the main thing you can say was consistently developed was the theorized history and current possibilities of shifters. For whether we bring up Kam’s belief that their people are descendants of Berserkers, or we dive into how powerful they get with each generation, that is one of the few consistent draws here. Especially when, like with Lil, someone is affected who you are actually given a reason to care about.
With what almost feels like an indie movie soundtrack, each episode delivers a song you want to look up on YouTube and save to hear again later. Pushing you to find a playlist on Spotify, or another website, just to have it all in one place.
How Most Relationships, Besides June and Harry’s, Are Handled
One of the things which disappoints the most about this show is it doesn’t take full advantage of any of the established relationships to create intrigue. Take Runa and Ben’s relationship. With Ben creating an environment which seems almost like a harem, which makes Runa insecure about their relationship, you’d think they’d dig more into how complicated their relationship is. Maybe push how Ben tries to balance keeping her loyal, her place in Sanctum, while he is also trying to maintain his influence over Sigrid and Elena so leaving is an option they never really decide to take.
Heck, considering how Sanctum is Steinar’s family home, you’d think they would build up why Steinar would let Ben use his land for these experiments. Much less, let Ben use his body, countless of times, for shifters to learn how to control their powers. Yet, instead, we just get Steinar talking about how Ben helped him when he was suicidal and that being used as the reason why he hunts June like a bounty hunter, looks away when he sees Freya being abused, and keeps all of Ben’s secrets.
Then, focusing on what happens in England, while John’s relationship with Ryan and June is established enough, Christine’s with her son, her husband Lewis, and whatever she has with Doug isn’t. Is it clear Doug and she had an affair? Yup. However, when it began and why? No idea. How she and Lewis got together and why? No idea. All we know is she works a lot and needed Harry to take care of Lewis for she can barely deal with seeing him in the state he is.
Which doesn’t push you to feel for her, having a catatonic husband and maybe feeling guilty she cheated on him. If anything, it either pushes you into indifference or, on occasion, with mixed feelings when you try to get something out of Marshall’s performance.
As noted, consistency is a big issue with this show and following that, the other issue is the show didn’t have a compelling villain. Now, on one hand, you have to appreciate that when a villain was introduced, they aren’t part of the government or what we’re used to seeing. However, Ben doesn’t make a good replacement at all. For with a dull as bones personality and the type of charm which may woo Sigrid and Runa, but does nothing for the audience, his turn seems logical for the story but doesn’t up the ante.
He doesn’t become the hook this show lacked for the entire season. If anything, he just shows how good of a central idea the writers had, in terms of shifters and everything which deals with that. However, as for how to craft villains, heroes, and their story? There were nothing but stumbles.
On The Fence
June and Harry’s Romance Doesn’t Get Pushed As Much As It Should
In episode 7, we get a small taste of when Harry met June but sadly don’t get to see everything which led to her trusting him enough to run away to London. Which was a problem for me since, as much as this relationship has cute moments, often times there isn’t that chemistry where you can imagine this boy sticking with this girl through thick and thin.
Particularly since the show begins pushing the idea this relationship was based on exchanging notes. Not from hanging out, conversations, or even dates, since John wouldn’t allow that, but passing letters back and forth. Which, don’t get me wrong, was cute. However, not getting to see them fall in love or the good times, it makes it harder to believe Harry sticking with June and coming back after things happen which would make the average person tap out.
What I’m trying to say here is, while you’ll like seeing June and Harry together, there is a stronger focus on testing their relationship than just showing them happy in it. So you, as a viewer, falling in love with the idea of them, being envious or in awe, you aren’t provided reasons or opportunity to do so often. You just admire Harry sticking around despite so many reasons not to.
It isn’t a ridiculous idea that a freshman series would have a major ending to push for a season 2. Especially considering, the two leads don’t have mainstream profiles and their biggest name is Guy Pearce. Who has classics under his belt, like Memento, but isn’t the kind of actor who could make this a huge hit.
Yet, I think there is a need to establish the difference from a big, shocking moment, and one which comes off desperate. The kind made to rile up the handful of people who did stick around so they can start social media campaigns. The kind which pushes the idea that, while the show isn’t a hit, it does have a passionate fan base. One which may not market the show for new viewers, but will selfishly command attention, in masse, to get another season.
I swear to you, I thought Kam was going to be this show’s messiah. Hardingham just has something about her which presented her as playful, wicked, and perhaps the villain the show should have introduced episode 3. However, Kam’s time with us is short-lived. She makes her impact episode 5, and then we just learn bits and pieces about her past from then on.
Which sucks for with her boyfriend, well ex-boyfriend, Andrew noting she is possessive, us seeing her become Harry and tap into his thoughts to drive him and June apart, that gave us something. She wasn’t some stooge like Steinar who couldn’t handle two teenagers. Kam was manipulative, needy, lonely, and we were presented with the idea she found something she has longed for. Making it where, as much as she could have been seen as a villain, you could understand she did what she did because there was strength in numbers, a curiosity, and loneliness which pushed her.
It isn’t too often we see actors like Ryan so there was this desire to see him play a bigger role. For while his connection to June made for an adorable brother/ sister relationship, with meeting Sam in episode 6, there was the possibility of seeing him with a love interest. Which, granted, would have nothing to do with the main story. However, Ryan’s growth from someone with agoraphobia to having a girlfriend, going out, living life, would have been a real highlight for the series.
That is, rather than his agoraphobia seemingly going away in the matter of days like it wasn’t a debilitating illness but just Ryan being difficult.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
The issue with The Innocents is it doesn’t play up any of the things which could make this a good show. June and Harry aren’t allowed to just be a cute teen couple half the time. Instead, there isn’t much in the way of downtime, like them sleeping in a playground and just walking about being cute. It’s Harry’s love for her being tested over and over, until eventually, he fails. Then with Kam, she presents the first character with something about them, a bit of wickedness, intrigue, but the ball is dropped with her. Yes, they reveal her past and her connection to Sanctum, but through 3rd parties. Taking away this almost villainous character’s ability to present herself as someone complicated. Who isn’t selfish just because, but due to the fact she is in dire need of connecting to someone.
And because of those reasons, among a handful others, is why this is being labeled as mixed. The Innocents is the type of show which seems like it can get better, but you have to bear with it working out the kinks. Which, judging by the final, included eliminating some characters who just, in the long term, wouldn’t bring what this show needed. Yet, with what happens to Harry, Kam still being alive, and the presence of shifters being known by multiple law enforcement agencies, if a season 2 is produced, while it may go down a well-tread road, it should also give life to a show which struggled in creating long-term interest.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?
It has been cancelled.