Wow, it’s been awhile since this episode aired, but as Episode 2 is playing tonight, I thought I’d better get a summary down.
I covered the pilot episode of this post-apocalyptic, fairies-are-back-and-they’re-pissed, survival drama here, in case you’re looking to get caught up.
Previously on Ironwall:
- Shot of Sienna going all black magic scary in The Fairy Hill; children looking at her, horrified.
- Shot of Cam meeting his shoulder-fairy for the first time out in the suburban ruins. “I want to come with you!”
- Cam turning on Lennox in the cabin of the train. “Would you just back off?”
- The Duke of the Fairy Hill, talking to Joseph. “My goodness; you’ve gone entirely native, haven’t you?”
The camera zooms around the post-apocafunky island of not-Manhattan, showing us various settlements.
- Where Upper East Side is today, we see patrols along the banks, a guardpost at Hellgate Bridge and on Roosevelt island (the bridge that crosses the East River at the island is torn out over the island, so that people have to cross by dropping down to the island, going through the guards, and then back up). There’s also a ship dock here that we take a little time looking at, so maybe that’s important.
- Where the Upper West Side use to be, there are crumbling but well-maintained brownstones with anachronistically-dressed people (kind of feudal post-apoc chic) walking around the neighborhood, nodding and smiling to each other and looking secure.
- All around Grand Central (where the sign over the doors just says CENTRAL), a bustling town-within-a-city, with lots of activity – working machinery, construction, conversation… some electric lights flickering to life as a generator sputters to life and a small group of people cheer while JOSEPH (J. Rhys-Meyers OMG) looks pensive.
- We see the skyscrapers to the south end of the island, kestrels and other birds circling and nesting in the rusting framework. Most of the floors are open to the weather, and high up, a pair of watchers scan the horizon. One gets the others attention and points out to the sea. The second person pulls out binoculars, looks out to sea, and nods to the other, who goes over to the far side of the tower and starts ringing a bell.
We zoom back to “Central”, see Lennox (Viggo) turn toward the sound, looking first up at the iron towers, then in the direction of the sea. There are many buildings in the way, but by his frown and the look in his eyes, it seems he can see, or at least guess, what’s out there.
The camera zooms through those buildings (a big church, the NYC library, etc.) out to the sea, where we see a large sailboat, modern, but sort of gone primitive, with a kind of US gov’t emblem on the sail; again, a bit primitive. On the ship, in the prow, there is a woman in quasi-military, weirdly formal white attire, looking out at up at the city. The camera slows, starts moving more smoothly, pans around to look over her shoulder from her POV, and we see the City in silhouette as the sun sets behind it.
The silhouette goes black and we see it turn into the logo for the show as “IRONWALL” and the faun’s head fades in over it, the theme music fades in, and the OPENING CREDITS ROLL.
COMMERCIAL BREAK: Ironwall is brought to you – at least in my broadcast area – by Xcel Energy Wind Power, and the new Solarum hybrid from Kia. Someone got the word out that the show has a “you bastards blew it all to hell” eco-theme. Huh.
AND WE’RE BACK.
We start on the docks on Roosevelt Island, beneath the shattered span of bridge. All the key people are waiting for the woman in white to get off her fancy boat. Joseph (Rhys-Meyers) is there, but in the background: standing to the foreground of the crowd is the Old Priest and Lennox (Viggo). Our other principal actors are scattered around the crowd. There’s also a big fat man in a fancy coat and a lean, rangy looking guy, both standing next to the priest.
The woman in white looks too-clean white, and the first shot of her is almost upskirt, standing under a flag made by an aspiring Betsy Ross Jr. with old naval insignia and a couple of stars, maybe some stripes. Her first line is a little classic: “Don’t worry. We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.”
She smiles to show it’s a joke, but no one’s really laughing.
Oh, it’s Bridget Regan. She introduces herself as Elizabeth Montclair, and makes a speech(standing on a stack of old computer monitors): she’s an ambassador from Washington-that-was, and she wants to establish an alliance with the settlements of “your city”. (She doesn’t call it Ironwall, but she doesn’t say New York, either. It feels like she wants to, but doesn’t.)
The speech is followed by scattered applause – a lot of people turn around and go about their business without clapping, but some people (the fat man in front) are SUPER PUMPED.
The Ambassador suggests a more private place to talk with the Leadery-types, and leaves her soldiers (did I mention she has a bunch of soldiers on the boat?) on the boat and goes with the Priest, the fat man, the lean guy, and Our Heroes to talk at The Church.
The Church is a little weird. There’s aren’t a ton of religious trappings, and I feel like their pretending it’s one of the cathedrals in NYC, but it’s not one I recognize. Most of the iconography is missing, and the front doors just have these BIG iron spikes mounted on them, like it means something. Hopefully we’ll find out more later.
Right now, it’s not important: the Church is just the Scoobies’ Library for now.
Lennox and Cam (rawr) sit in the pews listening, JOSEPH (again, Rhys-Meyers) is up front next to Father Ezekial. Sienna the Spooky Witch stands in the back, looking through the modest library.
The Ambassador comes clean (right) saying that actually, she needs the resources of the city to track down a threat that has escaped from her own city and was headed here – is probably here already. She is chasing a traitor from her settlement who is some kind of ‘skin-changer’. A human, but one who can shapeshift – ‘co-opting the worst of fey magic.’ She wants to bring her people (did I mention the soldiers) off the boat and conduct the search.
“We have an excellent success rate in tracking down fey hidden within humanity.”
Which sounds about as creepy-inquisition as it should, I think.
The fugitive woman (name: Veronica Jacobson) has an ‘everyskin-cloak’. The Ambassador indicates that the ‘needs’ of the cloak mean that the woman is probably going to start feeding on the locals in some way. Maybe she has already.
“So she is human?” – Cam
“I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment anymore.” – Montclair
OUR HEROES look for additional information, some to avoid a witchhunt (CAM), some curiosity (SIENNA), some guilty consciences (JOSEPH), and to make sure who is really in danger (LENNOX).
The Ambassador mentions, during the questioning, that part of the reason the coat is important is because it includes not just the black magic of torturing animals, but also the skins (and thus, associated abilities) of the fey.
So, there’s… like… fairy parts in this cloak? Like… torn-off flutterby wings and such? Eww.
“‘Pensive’ is very big this year.” – Doyce, overusing the word.
“She’s an Ambassador. She’s here to Ambass.” – Doyce
“Snuffleupaghi?” – Tim, musing on the kinds of skins the cloak might incorporate.
Next, a MONTAGE scene showing posters going up, people being talked to, observations being made in whatever way is most appropriate to each character.
All this leads to someone getting a lead.
“Good news, we found her, bad news is, she’s taken Clemens.”
Right… who’s that again?
“We think we found her, but Clemens is missing…”
“…and there’s a lot of meat on Clemens.”
Ohh… Clemens (Gailard Sartain) is the fat man — who is also probably the guy in charge of the fancy Upper West Side people.
There is some planning about how to take this woman-monster thing down, which gave up a good line:
“You can’t go in loaded for bear if she’s going to be a bat.”
Anyway, Lennox (who apparently has Fey-dar) leads the way to a warehouse somewhere along the Hudson shoreline. The whole place is kind of boggy, because the Hudson has reclaimed a lot of the lower-lying areas along the southwest side of the island, but it’s not totally underwater.
So there’s a chase/fight in a warehouse. It’s dark and tense and everyone has crappy old flashlights that barely work (except for CAM, whose flashlight is awesome and can SEAR THE RETINA.
Now, here’s the thing; according to the Buffy Bible of Show Order, everyone should get their asses kicked by this monster, and only beat her in the second attempt at the end of the episode, but … no. The woman goes down without a huge fight. Sienna reminds Lennox he needs to +DESTROY+ her coat.
“I wouldn’t trust me with it.”
They pull the coat off the woman (which apparently REALLY REALLY HURTS), and then Lenn pours oil over it and makes sure it burns. It does, but it also writhes and screams while it does so… which is creepy.
Lennox is frowning – showhow, he thought this would be harder.
COMMERCIAL BREAK: Ironwall is brought to you by Kiva, who bought the whole 90 second spot so they could really explain the charity. Huh. Good idea; Ironwall is nerd-tasty, and Kiva is the kind of Charity nerds would probably like.
Sienna is with Father Ezekial and captured girl as they bind wounds caused by pulling the coat off of her skin. (Also: OW.)
“So, who do you think gave her the coat?” Sienna insinuates.
The priest demurs, noting they don’t have enough information to imply anything.
Sienna points out that if the girl was so good at the black magicks, there would have been a lot more in the way of, say, injury, let alone hot, crunchy death. Projecting much, Si?
The father points out the politics of it – that too sensitive a situation to accuse anyone outright, but that they should maybe… umm… hold the girl while they do a little more investigation.
Sienna agrees and offers to ward the room in addition to having the guard.
So… that’s interesting – she admits to a little bit of magic to regular people, at least, and the priest doesn’t bat an eye.
Lennox and Cam chat a bit about how easily the woman (they start calling her Veronica, so we know we’re supposed to see her as a person) was captured, and if it was that easy, how did she haul off Clemens-the-fat?
Cam goes to talk to Clemens, because he thinks there’s more information to be found in how he was caught by this wisp of a woman. After an argument with his SHOULDER FAIRY, he discovers The Ambassador has troops in the city – within the village of Upper West, specifically. After seeing the relative luxury that Clemens enjoys, he gets to the bottom of the situation.
Seems as thought Upper West has already been in talks with Washington, and drawn up some agreements.
Also, these aren’t the troops from the boat, these are OTHER troops – MORE troops – who marched up to the city overland (suffering some losses) and were let on the island over the Great Bridge (which Upper West is supposed to guard).
Lennox finds about about the new kids in town, and meets with Logan-the-Lean of Upper East to gain some kind of Solidarity.
Logan agrees, and comments says, “Wouldn’t it be a shame if the soldiers they brought accidentally ran across our `friends’ in the Ramble. Oh no, that wouldn’t be right.”
Lennox agrees. Is he agreeing that it wouldn’t be right, or that the soldiers should have an accident?
Yep, that was deliberately ambiguous.
Joseph has a high-larious moment in the church confessional with his Sekrit Ironwall Fey Contact, who uses the name “Joseph” like a weapon.
Sekrit Contact wants to know what Joseph wants to be, what he wants being “the Kerrigan” to mean. Where he wants to fit in. If he’s going to take on a role in the fey politics, how much self-delusion is he willing to give up?
Just as things start to get interesting, The Ambassador shows up to cop a feel on the local politics and starts insinuating things about our city, trying to draw Joseph out into talking about Our Heroes.
She doesn’t seem terribly impressed with Our Heroes. But she has noticed some “odd things”.
- One of the most senior borderer in your settlement (Lennox) failed to notice his own nephews had been replaced with Changelings?
- Cam doesn’t farm, yet he goes to the Park every night?
- Serena does magic? How? From books? We have many books, but none of our people can do what you say she’s done.
- Did you know that even the best-glamoured of the Fey still leave a tell-tale, no matter how close they come to appearing human? Something to give them away — a strange birthmark, perhaps, or unnaturally colored eyes, like yours, Joseph…
Yeah, she is not of the comfort-making.
Commerical Break: Ironwall is brought to you by the new Kodacell.
Sienna is in with the animal-skin woman, who wakes up while Sienna does magical stuff — draws wards or something.
“Your magic works?”
Sienna seems nonplussed. “We don’t burn witches here,” Sienna says, maybe over-hopefully.
The girl seems darkly amused – also, apparently, The Ambassador is her sister. The girl’s story is that she stole the skin-coat (part of a Washington R&D about working against the fey) in retribution for Elizabeth Montclair (the ambassador) having lost her moral compass, as well as the Program having devoured the rest of the girl’s family.
Not sure if “devoured” is literal or not.
Sienna feels the girl out to see if she notices anything about the magical wards or any magics around either of them.
Veronica gives no indications that she can feel anything of the sort.
The last visual of this scene is a pan back to see that indeed, the girl is in the middle of some nasty-looking wards, completely oblivious to that fact.
Thanks to Father E, there’s going to be a trial… a not-trial, to see if there SHOULD be a trial: if Ironwall needs to keep Veronica around to stand trial for crimes against the city itself before she is released to The Ambassador.
BEFORE THE TRIAL, CAM’s earring… erm, shoulderfey notices Joseph. The two have lots of side-whispers and facial gesticulation while Cam, Sienna, and Lennox compare notes. Cam and Joseph are sent to make sure that The Ramble (read: the Queen of Flowers, Cam’s Fey-with-Benefits) is alerted to the troops that may cross from Upper West and down to Central if the not-trial doesn’t go The Ambassador’s way. There’s some talk about getting those soldiers to disappear. Permanently.
Cam and Joseph head into the Ramble to make deal with the Queen of Flowers. The deal is voiced such that the QUEEN makes it clear that “If 30 men are taken care of, I will be owed 30 men worth of work.” Somehow, she makes it sound like a group sex scenario will be partial payment.
“She is surrounded by the scent of musk and elderberries and wine…” – Doyce
“You cut-and-pasted that straight from my forebrain…” – Tim
In the meantime, Cam’s “pet fairy” (who is NOT present) is mentioned and the Queen acts unconcerned the influence of pets against her and Cam’s… ugh… connection. Also, she makes lots of allusions to Josephe’s status as “Kerrigan” but nothing outright is said.
Sienna tells Lennox she’ll stand at the trial to say Veronica would only know black magic if it bit her (and at that, only if it wasn’t subtle) – to indicated that there’s no way Veronica created the every-skin coat on her own. But as Father E points out, they don’t have any reason to hold her in protective custody since there’s no crime committed here.
Thus commences THE NOT-TRIAL.
[The conflict at “NOT A TRIAL” is just to find out if they can convince the Board to keep Veronica in Ironwall, against MONTCLAIR’S wishes. MONTCLAIR stands up and defends self. The players get lots of black card failure. FAILURE brings out Veronica to her sister MONTCLAIR’s custody.]
And, again, the show goes against what you’d expect, and Sienna and Lennox lose the argument to the council, who votes to hand Veronica over to The Ambassador.
Lennox, who disagrees with the whole thing and thinks Ironwall should just tell The Ambassador to sod off, and is CLEARLY thinking about just jumping in and “fixing things”, still escorts the Ambassador and Veronica across city to the Q bridge and, from there, to MONTCLAIR’s boat. They get within sight of the boat, looking down on it from the bridge and BOOM BOAT EXPLOSION!
There’s a shot of Lennox’s face, and Sienna’s… and we’re pretty damned sure THEY didn’t do it.
So who did?
Next week, on Ironwall:
- A voice, to Joseph: “You did have something that would help you remember… but do you remember where it is?”
- Veronica, to Sienna: “You said you lost your child?”
- CAM: looks at Joseph “Your eyes seem different somehow.”
- Someone tells Lennox. “Some of the Board think you’re trying to pull off a coup.” Lennox doesn’t look like he’s denying it.
- “Did any of the Ambassador’s soldiers enter the Ramble last night? Four are missing.”