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Siren - Dead In The Water - Review: "Lost Soul" + POLL



This week’s episode was absolutely amazing. The attention was focussed on two stories; Ryn being questioned by the Sheriff and Ben at sea with Xander, Calvin and Chris.


What was even more interesting is where previous episodes have had the focus on two stories, but had smaller stories playing out in the background, Siren really was just about these two events this week. Whether you like Calvin or not, the focus on him allowed for us to get a bit more insight into his home life, and what’s driving his obsession with catching a mermaid, and of course resulted in his father’s death. Likewise the scenes at the station were all about Maddie and her relationship with her step-father. We got some more information on her mother, the bond she has with the Sheriff and he of course discovered the truth about Ryn.

Ben, Calvin, Xander and Chris taking the boat out to sea was always going to end in disaster. Since Siren began it’s been very careful not to fall into tropes.

Decker isn’t just some evil scientist obsessed with mermaids for the sake of plot. He’s someone who knows the actions he’s done in places has been wrong, has felt sympathy for the wrongs he bestowed onto Donna, but has had the deaths at the military base placed firmly on his shoulders, and believes that Donna betrayed him by pretending to share a bond with him. Xander isn’t just some fishermen who wants to go and kill all mermaids. That night on the boat changed his life forever. One of his best friend’s was placed in mortal danger, the military covered up events, and his attempts at going to Ben for help and answers has resulted in him attempting to stall Xander. As we also learn this week, he and his father aren’t exactly in a great financial position. They’re making just about enough money to keep them afloat, and at water, but Xander wants more. He wants to be the person giving the orders and bathing in the riches, instead of other people profiting off his work.

All of which is perfectly understandable. Preparing to attack the mermaids is a defence mechanism, based on the fact their last encounter ended extremely badly and Xander doesn’t want to be the next person carted off. Chris and Calvin join Ben and Xander on the ship, but both of them are extremely dubious of ben’s real motives. In all honesty I feel like Calvin was the one leading this. Since the pilot he’s had a strong opposition to Ben’s involvement in their affairs, whilst Chris hasn’t really had that much screen time with Ben to be so opposed to him. Either way Ben as always manages to shrug off their concerns over his involvement, and they’re soon distracted by the revelation Xander’s dad is on the boat with them.

He’s not particularly thrilled they’ve taken his boat out to sea. Ben and Xander have to plead with him to allow them to continue with their search. Amidst all of this, he admits he’s been sleeping on the boat as he’s been having some difficulties with his wife. I’m sure at some point his actual name was mentioned, but to be honest he is now dead and buried, his whole participation in this episode was designed to set up his death, so I’m not going to remember the name of a character that doesn’t really matter that much at all.


Out at sea it is extremely dark, murky and foggy, which adds to the tension wonderfully. Our characters can’t see anything around them, and we as viewers are just as blind. When it’s revealed that they’ve actually crashed into the military boat? It was obvious trouble was coming, but the way the show deal with it was wonderful. There wasn’t a sound to be heard. Ben, Xander, Chris and Calvin went about exploring a bloody ship with only their flashlights to guide them. Even without Ryn back at the station telling Maddie of her fears, we knew they weren’t alone.

Did that make the mermaid attack any less fabulous? Absolutely not. For a show on Freeform the effects were quite well done. Ben realized far too late that the military ship had been found by something, and soon they were all fighting for their lives, and losing badly since they couldn’t see where any of the mermaids were coming from. It’s this whole set-up, full of jump scares and a racing heart, that felt like something out of a horror movie. I love it when shows break away from their usual formula ala iZombie bringing us an episode that didn’t have a case of the week, and I love when shows can incorporate different genres and themes into an episode seamlessly. Having half an episode not only set at sea, but only really involving one of our core characters was a massive risk. Having a whole episode where our core trio Maddie/Ryn/Ben aren’t interacting altogether was a massive risk, but it works.

During the attack we get a glimpse of a mer-man for the first time. The casting had been known for some time, but it was still wonderful to see another mermaid after the introduction of Ryn and Donna. She also made an appearance this week. After leaving Ryn last week to return to sea and their clan, Donna was true to her word. She and the mer-man were on the defensive, doing all within their powers to protect themselves from the humans, which also involved using the sire song on Chris.


In my advance preview no-one guessed that Chris would be the recipient. It was an extremely surprising turn of events and something I didn’t see coming. He and Donna had previously spent some time together when they escaped the military, but I didn’t think that’d been enough time to form a bond. Not when he’d seemed perplexed by her behaviour and attitude as he didn’t know she was a mermaid. Yet here he was completely entranced by her song and it was left to Calvin to save him from becoming fish food. What I found even more interesting is where Decker and Ben seemed to be aware of the effect the song had on them, Chris seemed oblivious. It was like he didn’t know what was happening during it, and especially afterwards.

Where Chris was spared, Xander’s father unfortunately wasn’t. With the boys preoccupied mending the ship and thinking they’d fought off the mermaids, and heading back home, little did they know one still remained. It was excellent camera work here as the mer-man slowly appeared behind Xander’s father, and it’s another angle typically used by horror films. Xander’s father was barely able to let out a scream as the mer-man killed him, and the boys quickly rushed to his aid. Unfortunately it was far too late and he died within minutes. His death brought with it a terrible dilemma; did they get rid of the body or attempt to explain to people what’d happened? Chris and Calvin were very much up for doing the latter, but Ben knew that no-one would believe them, and Xander was soon siding with him again even if reluctantly. It was heartbreakingly haunting watching Xander put his father’s body overboard.

What probably makes his father’s death worse is it didn’t have to happen. If Xander hadn’t been so headstrong in flying out after Donna, then they never would’ve been at sea and his father would still be alive. Ben obviously had his reasons for tagging along so he isn’t blameless either. Whether his father’s death spears Xander on to be even more determined to catch mermaids is yet to be determined, but he’s certainly been left with food for thought.


The other storyline of this episode was of course Ryn and Maddie at the police station. I said in my advance preview that Ryn wasn’t the focus of her screen time this week, which did cause a bit of confusion. It honestly felt like the best way to sum it up though. Ryn didn’t get a lot of screen time, but her screen time was all about Maddie and her stepfather.

What I missed at the end of last weeks episode but this episode quickly filled me in on, was Ryn being arrested. We of course knew she was a person of interest in the trucker’s murder, and I had speculated some weeks ago now that the Sheriff would eventually close in on her. That came true in tonight’s episode and gave us a hilarious scene as the Sheriff attempted to question Ryn, whilst believing she was high on drugs. The replies she gave to his questions were obviously Ryn just trying to understand what he was saying, and repeating back some of the English language she’d learnt. To the Sheriff though it looked as if Ryn was playing games, and he wasn’t amused in the slightest.


That only escalated as Ryn revealed that Ben and Maddie had been helping her. Given Maddie had previously denied knowing Ryn, he understandably took this as meaning Maddie was an accomplice to a murder, and was soon having her brought to the station.

Before he let her in to see Ryn he did try to coax the truth out of Maddie, but she refused to reveal anything until he revealed that they had Ryn in custody. Finding out the circumstances to which Maddie’s mother first disappeared was interesting, as was the pact she and the Sheriff have of always telling each other the truth. It gave Maddie some more character development which is always a good thing, and explained why her lying hit the Sheriff so hard.

With Ryn informing them Ben was in danger at sea, and the Sheriff refusing to budge, Maddie was forced to reveal that Ryn was a mermaid. The scene in which she poured sea water onto Ryn’s hand was done brilliantly. I was surprised that she didn’t completely transform into a mermaid, and her hand turned back to human as quickly as it transformed. The show continues to drop crumbs on the mermaid mythology, and I will gladly eat them all up.


Thanks to their little ‘show and tell’ session, the Sheriff decided to let Ryn go much to his Deputies disappointment. It’s obvious she knows the Sheriff isn’t telling her something. I hope it doesn’t come back to bite them all in the bottom, and moving forward the Sheriff can be another good ally. That could possibly be asking too much, but with all the moving chess pieces this show has, Ben/Ryn/Maddie could do with someone on their side whose motives aren’t up in the air ala Donna & Helen.

She was missing from tonight’s episode which was understandable given where the story focus was. Decker was also missing from most of the action tonight. His brief appearances came in the form of having the siren song playing in headphones to help him get down to sleep, which was extremely creepy, and having his sleep then broken by the military. Admiral Harrison had of course realized that something very bad had happened on the ship. There were obviously no survivors and a clean-up job was already in operation by the time Decker arrived.

Harrison commented that Decker had obviously known something was going to happen, and that’d been the reason for his previous warning. He then attempted to blame the whole fiasco on Decker again, but this time he wasn’t having any of it and justifiably so. From the off he asked the military to slow down with their experiments. He knew it was causing Donna pain, and a mermaid in pain isn’t particularly useful. He’s had to have the deaths of the military personnel sitting on his shoulders, but what happened on the ship? That was down to the Admiral. After his encounter with Ryn and Donna, he urged Harrison to cancel the operation but he refused to. Had he actually listened to Decker? None of the personnel on the ship would’ve died.


‘Dead In The Water’ was another excellent episode, with a title that was quite accurate as to the episode’s proceedings. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and tune into Siren next Thursday at 8pm.



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