The Nevers: Undertaking
May 2, 2021 7:07 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

While Mundi seeks justice, Amalia and her most trusted advisers make a list of potential enemies. Harriet, Primrose, and the other Orphans attempt to decipher a message. Later, Amalia exposes an unexpected threat.

Written by Madhuri Shekar, directed by David Semel.

"Amalia isn’t alone, okay. Great! But who is she with? This mission is incomplete, noted. But what’s the complete mission look like? Every answer begets more questions, not because the world is getting more complicated, but because the answers are incomplete."—Amanda Whiting for Vulture
posted by bcwinters (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Amalia is an alien from the ship, right? That's what we were supposed to take from this? Some alien soldier hanging out in this woman's body? Thus the two souls thing, the "left with a mission" thing, the losing her skin thing, the "not my real face" thing?

She's basically the Doctor? An alien alone (or so she thought) and a long way from home?
posted by Bibliogeek at 10:14 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I have the same complaint I had last week. A lot of this would have more emotional impact much later in a much longer season, after more time had been spent on getting to know the characters. is a traitor? OK. We've known them for a grand total of four episodes.

I can't tell if this is badly written or awkwardly recut.

posted by confluency at 12:22 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Oops, I just noticed (belatedly) that I accidentally used formatting which was interpreted as an HTML tag. I meant "SPOILER is a traitor?".
posted by confluency at 12:37 AM on May 3


Why didn't SPOILER just…touch Amalia and kill her, instead of smashing crates and diving for the gun?

Amalia is an alien from the ship, right?

Just like the people of London forgot all about the alien ship after it passed by, they forget Amalia's weird conversational non sequiturs about being an alien right after she says them, apparently.

I can't tell if this is badly written or awkwardly recut.

Why can't we have both?
posted by bcwinters at 5:29 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Why didn't SPOILER just…touch Amalia and kill her, instead of smashing crates and diving for the gun?

Also, I missed the part where they explain why her powers stopped destroying things when she touched them. Does she have to will it to be destroyed? I thought she couldn't help it? Hence the story about her child?
posted by ishmael at 6:50 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I did enjoy Detective Mundi insisting on peaceful justice for Maladie after he'd bashed her head into a stone wall repeatedly until she lost consciousness.

Okay, so Amalia is one of the aliens from the ship that's buried under the city in Lavinia's mining operation. Maybe everyone of the Touched has an alien consciousness in them, but only Amalia's is the dominant personality because her body's soul drowned before the alien got in there? I'm assuming the unknown consciousness that's calling to Amalia is Massen's daughter? I just want to know what's up with Massen's daughter.

Maladie's speeches irritate me so much. Her entire character grates.
posted by gladly at 6:53 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


I feel the same about Maladie, but regret to inform you that I've talked to people who haven't watched the psychotic pixie dream girls of Firefly, BtVS, Angel, etc and they really enjoy her character. In fairness, the other obvious big bad in the show is the big table of villains, and they're even worse. The show has told us that the Touched are under attack from everyone, and that the cabal members already basically run the country. So what's the point of the shadowy back room? Either give the Touched a little more political cover to explain why an anti-Touched group would want secrecy -- maybe a member of the royal family is Touched? -- or show the villain cabal being evil in public. They don't exactly have to worry about a letter-writing campaign from steampunk Amnesty International.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:28 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


If Maladie knows about True's "shedding her skin" does this mean she's also an alien, but the two souls thing has driven her mad? Essentially The Master to True's Doctor?
posted by miss-lapin at 9:13 AM on May 3


I think we see Maladie being dragged out to the asylum wagon when the ship flies overhead, which would mean that she was technically mad before being Touched. Although we don't know what sort of mad or if someone was disposing of her that way. Being Touched hasn't done wonders for her mental health in any case.
posted by gladly at 12:05 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I'm still really enjoying Massen and True's interactions. He appears to be one of the very few men who actually *listens* to her. After which he lectures her, yes, but that first part is crucial. I stand by my earlier prediction - frenemies by the end of S2.
posted by Mogur at 2:23 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


I'm still really enjoying Massen and True's interactions.
Same! This is my favourite part of the show (OK, possibly tied with women punching henchmen a lot). I'm a sucker for this kind of antivillain / antihero banter. I really hope they don't kill him off. Still waiting for the telegraphed daughter plot twist.
posted by confluency at 2:38 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I would like to quickly note that Vinnie Heaven as Nimble Jack made a great first impression in this episode. Good energy and chemistry with Bonfire Annie.

[Note: unreleated wild internet speculation on another topic ahead]

In case you want to feel like you haven't been paying nearly enough attention to the plot of this series, there's a theory going around on Reddit that the murdered woman with the blackened fingers from the first episode is the real reporter Effie Boyle and the woman in the police station in this episode was an imposter (hence the comment calling attention to her clean fingers).

Commenters over there also noted that actor Margaret Tuttle has no other credits on IMDb and may have actually been Amy Manson—who plays Maladie! I went back through the episode (Effie appears at 14:40 and Maladie at 36:30) to compare them and I think I buy it?
posted by bcwinters at 5:33 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Effie & Maladie have radically different teeth. Hard to see how that could be faked so well in Steampunk Land, but what’s a little continuity between friends? Could be!
posted by prefpara at 7:13 AM on May 4


Looking forward to seeing more Nimble Jack. I really enjoyed their performance.

I'm sort of boggled that we now have more wacky plot gimmicks (Maladie/Effie Boyle) being crammed into an already crowded show that only has 2 episodes left for the foreseeable future. I know Whedon leaving and Covid had a lot to do with this, but maybe fewer showy rabbits in hats, and more concentrating on telling well-crafted episodic stories would be a good idea.

Very strong Travelers flashbacks for me when Amalia references not having time or land for funerals when she is from.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 7:18 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Prefpara, you might be interested to see that one of "Margaret Tuttle"'s very few Instgram posts, taken while the show was filming, is captioned "Candy teeth. Ugh. But aren’t you curious?"

There's also only one picture of her, in which she has a drawn-in tooth gap which neither Effie nor Maladie has. Her only followers (other than Redditors) are the main cast of The Nevers and the prosthetic makeup company from the show.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by bcwinters at 8:14 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


@See you tomorrow, I agree! The show has too many characters in too many separate subplots, and too little time to actually use them. They've easily crammed several seasons' worth of material into a very short half-season, so none of the plots and characters are getting enough screentime, which I think has contributed to my frustration with the weirdly rushed characterisation.

All of these things are supposedly happening at the same time, but it doesn't feel as if they're happening at the same time and organically affecting each other. We see a snippet of a plot and a particular set of characters at a time, and then we switch focus to something else, and the previous plots and characters completely vanish from the story for multiple episodes. It feels very disconnected and random. Most of these subplots could easily have been ordered sequentially rather than in parallel.
posted by confluency at 7:46 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


It's a fucking mess of a show but I will keep tuning in because I love Amalia, Penance, and Bonfire Annie. The characters are keeping me engaged even though the plot is a mess. I suspect that the second round of season one might straighten some of this out. Or rather, I hope.
posted by Ber at 9:10 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


So what's the point of the shadowy back room? Either give the Touched a little more political cover to explain why an anti-Touched group would want secrecy -- maybe a member of the royal family is Touched? -- or show the villain cabal being evil in public. They don't exactly have to worry about a letter-writing campaign from steampunk Amnesty International.

I think you're assuming the secret villain's cabal is more specifically anti-Touched than they actually are. My sense is that this was a pre-existing Illuminati, for whom the Touched are just the latest in a long history of "troubles" they needed to deal with For The Good of The Empire. They presumably prefer to remain secret for all the traditional reasons Illuminati-style cabals would prefer to remain secret - increases their effectiveness, puts them beyond reproach or reprimand, and lets the common folk foolishly believe they are ruled over by Parliament and the royal family, a situation those benighted, ignorant commoners prefer.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:08 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


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