Carnival Row Review: Flawed Finale Wraps Series Run on Promising Note
After a final season filled with darkness, revolution, and atonement. Amazon's Carnival Row has come to a flawed but promising end.
This week Amazon's Carnival Row has come to an end with the last two episodes, "Battle Lines" and "Carnival Row," after a season of darkness, revolution, and atonement. I must say this show had a pretty amazing cast, wonderful visuals, and effects, and the plot is full of universally relatable subjects that make it a hit on so many levels: acceptance, racism and prejudice, LGBTQ, and Feminism. The show definitely picked up its pace toward the end and took us for a loop trying to figure out who was behind everything.
If you might have noticed, I did not get to review episodes 7 and 8 when they streamed last week, "Kindred" and "Facta Non Verba," which felt a bit underwhelming and incomplete, so I figured it would be a bit fairer to review after watching altogether. It felt like a lot happened, but at the same not as much. The pace picked up a lot at one point, it might have to do with Philo's (Orlando Bloom) incessant walking. I hope someone puts together a reel of just him walking, I wonder if he was able to get all the steps he needed. However, after giving it much thought, I managed to identify the weak points that consistently threw me off: dark scenes and dialogue. For some reason, it felt as if the show kept trying to throw one-liners that would cause some impact, but it just failed to make things believable even within the context of its own universe. And we have already discussed how much I disliked the moments when things got so dark it made it hard to make out what was going on. I still do not know what was on Tourmaline's (Karla Crome) face: was it blood for the ritual? Was it a makeup choice?
Anyway, there was something else that felt like a continuous thorn in our behind: Vignette (Cara Delevingne). The character could just not remain consistent even with her own beliefs. It felt like a selfish child bouncing back and forth, and she still left Tourmaline behind. I do not care if she came back; I think Tourmaline deserved so much better and probably would have made a cooler main character to focus on. On that same note, it might be an unpopular opinion, but Philo truly did not live up to the prophecy. It honestly just felt like his mission was to walk with a sullen face in all scenes. Another one that kept flipping back and forth like a pancake. Maybe he and Vignette were too alike for their own good.
Also, can we talk about how fast Tirnanoc was freed, how fast Philo was able to get a ship to get all fae to Tirnanoc, and how no one even thought this could be a trap? Like, I had serious flashes of Admiral Ackbar warning everyone this was a trap… Like c'mon, Philo and Vignette, seriously… not even an inkling? I was glad when the Black Raven showed up; for once, they made sense. Also, can we discuss how much faster than expected, they got rid of the Sparas and the New Dawn? I felt like all these grandiose moments just passed in a blink – although I was glad to see Dombey (Jamie Harris) put a bullet in that other cop leading the destruction of the Row. It was pretty gruesome to watch, to be honest. Like damn, did they need to get that detailed with the cutting of the wings at one point? Damn. It was a bit disturbing, to say the least.
The other point I wanted to address was Agreus (David Gyasi) and Imogen (Tamzin Merchant). I think Ezra (Andrew Gower) was actually right, and they were made for each other. I was not surprised to see how she killed Ezra. However, I think her little tirade about her being a woman and free was a bit hypocritical. I honestly do not see much difference between the two of them, especially after her reaction to what Ezra said, as it seems there was actually some truth behind it. I do wonder about her past now and her reputation.
Overall, I truly believe this show has so much potential, but I am not sure if it was the dialogue alone or if it tried to be so many things at once, but something just continuously threw me off. The cast was great, and I think most of the show rested on the shoulders of Simon McBurney, who was fantastic in the role of Millworthy. I think every scene with him automatically made everything better. I am glad, though, that at the end, we do see Imogen and Agreus still as a team. And even though I believe Tourmaline deserved better, I think it was a very pretty scene with her marrying Vignette. I am glad they did not tie everything up with a neat little bow and that it left things on a hopeful note. Though flawed, Amazon's Carnival Row is a universe worthy of revisiting at some point down the road.