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See - Heavy Hangs the Head - Review

29 Aug 2022

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The premiere of the final series of See opens with a bang, returning to the desert in an opening ripped from the Mad Max: Fury Road playbook – a frantic chase through the desert in which Wren escapes the soldiers perusing her by leaping off a cliff and using her sight as an advantage to reunite with her allies, who are gearing up – preparing for another all-out brawl, when – kaboom! Their world explodes.

It was fascinating watching the soldiers who cannot see reacting to the explosions decimating their enemies, not knowing what they were or how they could be activated without outside help. War is changing, evolving and technology is coming to See to change the balance of the battlefield – this is a series that picks up in all out war and never really lets go from there. The loss of Edo does hurt the agency that the series had a little bit by the sheer brute force of Dave Bautista, and it’s also hurting the Trivantians – they’re not faring well and they’ve lost three fights in as many days. But the new weapon is a game-changer – explosives that look set to push the tide in their favour.

Queen Sibeth and Kofun was one of the stranger relationships of last series that felt entirely one-sided as Sibeth used Kofun to bear a child; and now, Kofun isn’t exactly taking it well, and would you, in his position? The hardest part of the sexual assault that Kofun experienced is what comes after, grappling with the guilt – and he’s not going to accept his son easily despite Lord Harlan’s insistence that the best thing for the child would be that he did – yes Kofun wasn’t treated well, but a child growing up with only Queen Sibeth as a mother might be horrifying. Sibeth’s survival raises an interesting point that it’s clear the writers want to keep the character in the show, but when she’s as an entertaining foil as she is, See can feel rightly justified.

There was surprisingly little of Baba Voss in this premiere given he’s the main focal point of the show but it was good to see him too as we know what a charismatic force of nature Jason Momoa can be, catching up with him grappling with his feelings in the wake of Series 2 and Maghra sticking with Lord Harlan. It’s a complicated position to be in – both parties are clearly distraught about this, but Maghra’s belief that she’s doing it for the greater good doesn’t wash over well with Haniwa – and both she and Kofun are taking it badly that he left. The retreat into the wilderness of Baba Voss is one of the more emotionally charged moments of the premiere after seeing him in all his glory in Series 2. He carries the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. It was great to see him get the dog as a reluctant companion and link up with Ranger.

I love the variety of the settings that See is experimenting with and has experimented with throughout the entire series but also in this episode, one problem that I have with fantasy worlds is how often it’s just one uniform colour but the series showcases the extravagant and rich vibrancy of a world and after the snow-covered landscapes of the finale to series two, we’ve had a sunnier, desert and grassy landscape in series three – the locations are exquisite and it’s going to be a shame to see this series end purely on the basis that this world is as fascinating as it is.

One thing that separates See from just about any other show is that it’s an original series and it’s good to get a reminder of that every now and again - it’s not based on any expanded media or a prequel to a wider franchise. Take your Rings of Power, Andor, House of the Dragon, even Strange New Worlds for example: that’s the freshness and creativity of this series that gives it its brilliant edge; and is something that’s sorely missed in today’s fantasy television landscape. Even The Sandman and Paper Girls are adaptions. See’s worldbuilding is its biggest strength – and the lavish budget that comes with AppleTV+’s firepower gives it a creative edge that it needs.

But back to the plot – and the reminder that the sighted are still being punished even though there is more of them is a good way to cap out the premiere. Haniwa is pulled away after a confrontation with soldiers on the ground that are still very anti sighters and it’s not a safe world for her to go out in – their kind are being burnt as witches even though, like the witch trials of old – these claims are incorrect. See’s populace can often be barbaric and hostile at the best of times, and it was a reminder as to how brutal this world can be.

See Series 3 continues next Friday on AppleTV+