Carnival Row: Carnival Row (Full Season 2)
March 3, 2023 6:49 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Lovers Philo and Vignette risk their lives to help the oppressed Faefolk of Carnival Row as international politics are set to undergo upheaval.
posted by porpoise (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I did finish season 1 although I can't remember much about it. The first couple of episodes seem to move faster than I remembered.

Gorgeous people, costumes/ clothes, sets, CG. It's all really easy on the eyes.
posted by porpoise at 6:52 PM on March 3, 2023

Is there any kind of satisfying plot resolution? They’re not coming back for a third, right?
posted by hototogisu at 5:27 PM on March 8, 2023

5 episodes have dropped out of 10. It's a weekly rather than a bingey.
posted by porpoise at 9:05 AM on March 9, 2023

I didn't finish Season 1, mostly because my wife bailed on it for reasons she can't even remember. But I recall liking the world-building and if the story gets resolved, I'm tempted. Beats tracking down the remaining episodes of The Nevers.
posted by Ber at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Well, I've just watched the whole thing, and I'm conflicted.

I'm impressed by the professionalism of the actors, who managed to deliver what I thought were very compelling and emotionally genuine performances in spite of some truly atrocious plotting and paint-by-numbers dialogue. The sudden and inevitable betrayals were so frequent, inexplicable and out of sync with each other that it was as if the characters picked allegiances every morning by throwing darts at a dartboard -- and I can only describe the epilogue as Underpants Gnome-esque given how much work that "many moons later" was doing.

How on earth did we get from "horrible murder of the head of state followed by a narrowly foiled Communist revolution and mostly not foiled bout of ethnic cleansing" to "yay, everything is great now and the post-racial utopia has arrived all by itself except that the government is still conservative and racist" within a couple of months? What happened in Tirnanoc? Did the two military powers just... quietly give up on re-colonising it?


This is not to say that I didn't like it. I think it falls squarely in the "so bad it's good" camp, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, even when I was yelling "WHAT?!" at the screen.

I thought it made an interesting contrast to the second half of what was mercifully the only season of The Nevers, which had a similar "pseudo-Victorian with fantasy elements" vibe, and which I couldn't stand. I thought that had much worse worldbuilding, and I didn't care about any of the characters and found their emotional arcs to be nonsensical and utterly unearned.

So, yes. This was extremely flawed, but I liked it, and I'm sorry that it isn't going to get another season. I think the setting would work very well as a tabletop RPG, and there actually is one, which is pretty cool.
posted by confluency at 11:59 AM on March 17, 2023 [5 favorites]

Flawed indeed. Chekhov's Gun was fired repeatedly in the later acts without having been seen on the mantle in the earlier acts. The biggest WTF moment was in Episode 6 (?): at one point, Imogen convinces Agreus to make his peace with being unwilling guests of New Dawn. Two minutes later, he is plotting their escape and she agrees. Nothing much happened in the intervening minutes. Everything problematic in Agreus' life can be laid at the feet of capitalism, but it's communism we need to watch out for.

I feel as if the writers put more pieces on the board than they knew how to manage, and just threw up their hands, leaving us with a lot of mumbled arguments about troubled relationships punctuated by massive plot developments that come out of nowhere.

Hototogisu, they wrapped everything up with a bow. This is the end.
posted by adamrice at 8:39 PM on March 19, 2023 [2 favorites]

I interpreted that scene as Imogen and Agreus putting on a performance for the handlers they knew to be monitoring their conversations. I did also think that Agreus' hostility towards the communists made perfect sense given the later revelations about his history -- after all the terrible things he'd done, and all the ways he'd betrayed people of his own class to survive and succeed within a system that he believed could not be beaten, the idea that the system could be overthrown through working class solidarity, and that everyone could just be given resources for doing nothing, was an existential threat to him. (Plus they executed all the officers from his ship and were about to do the same to him, which is the kind of thing that makes a bad first impression.)

But perhaps I'm being overly charitable; there were certainly many many examples of someone picking a side and then completely reversing course after a five-minute conversation, and then doing it again five more times.
posted by confluency at 1:09 AM on March 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I feel as if the writers put more pieces on the board than they knew how to manage, and just threw up their hands

So I think that a lot of what happened can be boiled down to the fact that the show was canceled before they made their second season, so they still wanted to do some of their cool plot points (and didn't want to do a total rewrite) but also were kind of hampered by having to wrap up everything in one season. And I think you can see some of the kind of clue-markers for how things *would* have gone if there were a third season in the stories.

So for example - early on, you see the polyamory of the Pix really focused, with the sick Pix who are down to 'just two'. I think that the *initial* way it was going to go was to have Philo, Tourmaline, and Vignette in a polyamorous relationship, and thus to have Philo striving for the chancellorship in a *much more visibly fae situation*. But with a shorter timeline, they didn't really have the time to build the audience up to a situation where they could accept a polyamorous relationship with Vignette, and so they had to choose which relationship, Philo or Tourmaline - per some hints from the director, it may have been the actress that chose to go with Tourmaline. And so with Vignette going off with Tourmaline, it leaves Philo as much less visibly fae and much more tame and unsatisfying as chancellor, which is why they noped out of that and also why it feels kind of unsatisfying as an ending. (It also could have been really interesting to see Agreus bucking for Chancellor with Imogen having ongoing communist sympathies, but again, alas, I think the compression really killed us there).
posted by corb at 5:34 AM on August 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

That finale was a terrible disappointment.
Why the fuck would Philo et al care at all about saving the Parliament - a bunch of racist oppressors? Just let them die, Let the New Dawn take over, it would be better for the fae by far.
Why was the New Dawn so willing to allow a bunch of non-combatants to be slaughtered to distract and kill a bunch of unimportant thugs?
Why did racist cop Sargeant have a turn of heart?
Why is Tormaline's sight suddenly not inevitable? And what happened to the perfectly good machine gun plan?
Why on earth would the racist parliament allow a half-fae chancellor? And why would Philo not use that position of power to make things better for the fae?

What a utter mess.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:53 PM on August 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

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