The Nevers: Ignition
April 25, 2021 7:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Penance creates an amplifier to spread Mary's song across the city - but first, Mary must find her elusive voice. As danger mounts against her group, Amalia propositions an unlikely ally and sets out to expand the Orphanage's reach. [IMDb]

Written by Kevin Lau, directed by David Semel.

"There are other series that work on a need-to-know basis — series that are enduringly enigmatic and series with protagonists who refuse to explain themselves and series that are always a couple beats ahead of their audience. But The Nevers wants to be all three. So far, that’s as frustrating as it is intriguing. After three episodes, the show is still insisting that there’s a larger story. It’s just not telling us enough of it."—Amanda Whiting for Vulture
posted by bcwinters (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yeah, pretty much. It felt like one of those classic "not sure about this episode so here's some boobs - xoxo HBO" episodes. I wonder if the Olivia Williams baddie reveal originally came later in the season? Some of the wheel-spinning in this episode would make more sense if the audience wasn't meant to know yet.

Also the Dorian Gray knockoff is perhaps too effective a villain -- or at least, an insufficiently charming one. He's so awful that I'm starting to wonder if he exists to tip us off that Augie is also terrible, because otherwise why would they be friends?

I'm going to keep watching because I still enjoy Amalia, but I'm not sure about the rest of it.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:02 PM on April 25, 2021

The pacing is all over the place. I liked the unexpectedly early reveal of the twist in the last episode, but it doesn't look like this episode built on it in any way -- we just got to watch the protagonists bumble around trying to find out something that we already knew.

There's also something weird about the way the character interactions are written that I can't quite put my finger on -- something lacking in the way that complete strangers become familiar with each other off-screen within the span of an episode. It feels very inorganic; as if the writers just couldn't be bothered to fill in these boring parts.

This also applies to some of the worldbuilding: we're getting these big emotional beats thrown at us that feel completely unearned. Are we supposed to feel moved and/or happy that all these people have shown up at the orphanage? It's the third episode! We just met these people! And we know for a fact that the main sponsor is secretly running the secret orphan-crushing machine!

Some of this feels like a distinctly Whedon failure mode -- it's reminding me of why I didn't like Dollhouse and never got into it, although Dollhouse had a lot of other frustrating issues that this show, fortunately, does not have. But so far it's as if I've been watching a sketched-out summary of a much better show. I wonder how much it's going to change post-Whedon (if it survives that long).
posted by confluency at 4:49 AM on April 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't know why I was surprised that a top-billed character was killed off this soon, I've seen this exact card trick multiple times from the same showrunner.

I wonder how much it's going to change post-Whedon (if it survives that long).

I'm hopeful that at the very least the crummy sexposition scenes will disappear when the second showrunner's episodes kick in. And there better be an appropriate writer on staff to tidy up all the gaybait that's getting littered around.

In the interest of balancing out the negatives (including the fairly critical quote that I pulled out for the post), I do want to add that the gun-arm guy's drippy bullets were a nice piece of body horror and the water-walking fight was really well done.
posted by bcwinters at 7:26 AM on April 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Amalia: "I woke up knowing things I shouldn't."
Mary: "You going to talk about those things?"

Writers: "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. Maybe in a couple of episodes. If you're lucky? Meanwhile, here's an underwater fight that doesn't really move the plot along but it's cool so we'll devote all our energies into that."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:13 AM on April 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

This may be getting to be a bit too much. I can barely keep track of all the mysterious things about Mrs. True. Then add in that Lavinia and Lord Massen and Hugo all seem to also have some big secrets and motivations. I feel like the show thinks it is so clever about keeping us in the dark and wants to have all these big, dramatic reveals about the answers, and I just don't trust that it will be well done or satisfying. And they did that thing I hate where 2 characters talk about something they know but we don't (True and the doctor talking about her "creating" Maladie) Either use the conversation to reveal something, or don't have them talk about it!

I thought the whole "auditioning" scene was pretty unnecessary and just kind of ...uhg. Which brings up another complaint, all the sex and nudity feels so forced and over the top. Like it was written for network TV and then got picked up by HBO, so they felt like they had to shove a bunch of boobs in. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
posted by Sabby at 10:07 AM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

This show is insanely grim. The last two episodes have ended on absolute gut punches.

The audition scene felt like a male-gazey commentary on how "nice guys" will absolutely use women just like their rapey friends do. It added to the overall grimness of the show. There are no good guys. I'd say that if Whedon had anything to do with that scene that it was not at all meant to be taken that way. Which makes it worse.
posted by M Edward at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2021

I believe Annie said that she was tired of dealing with riddles and I have to say hard same, Annie. I just want answers at this point and not more questions. All the characters seem a lot less interesting and their motivations are all over the place.

I agree with others that the pacing was awful this episode. I was so bored; everything was so slow and took too much time, even the water fight.

Way too much boob screen time.

Will I keep watching? Yeah, probably.
posted by wasabifooting at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I agree with everything written above, but I'm going to stick with it. I know it's weird, but I feel like stopping now means Whedon has won. FTG.
posted by Mogur at 4:54 PM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Choreographed scenes of women in Victorian dress beating the shit out of evil henchmen speak directly to my id, so I'm definitely going to keep watching. But also I'm going to complain. :)
posted by confluency at 5:21 PM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was just texting a friend how much i like Mary when within the next minute, she gets shot.

Ugh. So tired of the kill the girl for motivation trope.

Gun-arm-guy better be getting the Victorian equivalent of the Niska henchman in Firefly who got pushed into the engine.
posted by kokaku at 7:59 AM on April 29, 2021

So Amalia knows that society at large hates and fears the Touched, that she's alienated the Beggar King whose henchman just tried to kill her, that Maladie and her crew are still rampaging, and that mysterious forces are kidnapping the Touched for medical experimentation, but she still trots her precious Angel resource out to stand in the middle of a park, in the middle of the city, with no protection or defense set up. Um, okay sure?

There's a ton going on in the show, some of it is pretty enjoyable but none of it is emotionally affecting me the way it's designed to and a lot of bad stuff is just super off-putting.

For Whedon, making shows with supposedly feminist themes is just a way to center a ton of violence against women, who suffer prettily. I do hope the new show runner can pull out of the nosedive and that she dumps the Maladie character, because wow is that is a totally embarrassing stupid mess of ableism in Joss's usual mode of crazy victim fighter girl. They should also lose Lord Fuckboi and his sidekick, Birdboy, who is like a walking embodiment of Nice Guy .

Laura Donnelly is amazing to watch, and it's always fun to see James Norton and Olivia Williams. I am intrigued by Bonfire Annie. I dunno, I'm trying to be nice.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 8:08 AM on May 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, pretty much. It felt like one of those classic "not sure about this episode so here's some boobs - xoxo HBO"

When that came up I said to my wife: "HBO got to HBO". I rewatched all of GOT a few weeks ago and was surprised by how I enjoyed it much more as a binge than when it was released and that it actually held up pretty well but the boobs and rapes were even more glaringly awful, gratuitous and pathetic.

I'm not quite on board with this series yet but I did think the water walking fight scene was really impressive and I kind of tune out during most fight scenes these days.
posted by srboisvert at 7:02 AM on May 3, 2021

Jull Bearup, a theatrical fight enthusiast, has done some neat videos that break down movie and TV fights and explain why some are good, some are bad, and some just sit there and bore a person. I think she'd have fun with the water fight but find the other ones unremarkable.

Good fight: Mad Max vs Imperator Furiosa

Bad fight: Bulletproof Monk
posted by Mogur at 11:21 AM on May 3, 2021

sooo.... I think there's a good chance that they are all aliens from a distant galaxy.
posted by rebent at 8:17 PM on May 10, 2021

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