With Elaine Pownall’s health worsening, Ryn undergoes a risky procedure that has some worrying side effects. Meanwhile, Helen and Rick learn more about the history of the hybrids in Bristol Cove and discover they are not alone.
On Siren Season 2 Episode 10, Ben’s struggle to accept his mother’s condition causes Ryn to take matters into her own hands with devastating results. Elsewhere, Xander investigates Calvin’s newest money-making venture and Helen and Rick get invited to an interesting group meeting.
It’s been a rough few days for Ben. I haven’t always agreed with his actions but I really felt for him this episode with regard to his mother’s condition. Any child who’s experienced their parent be affected by a traumatic event or illness can relate to Ben. He’s always been closer to Elaine than his father and brother too. And in Season 1, his past obsession with trying to help her recover is even mentioned by Elaine herself, so it’s not surprising to see him so torn. He doesn’t want the military to experiment on Ryn but at the same time, he would do anything for his mother.
Ben gets so worked up about the idea of them using anaesthesia on Ryn that he nearly threatens Nicole. I was very pleased that she stood her ground and reminded him that he agreed to let Ryn do it. He still doesn’t trust her but he’s willing to play nice in order to get what he wants. Alex Roe does a fantastic job showing Ben’s defeatedness as he tries to grapple with his mother’s rapidly declining condition. It’s bittersweet when he gets the good news about his mom’s improvements while Ryn’s stability is deteriorating as she paces in the tank behind him.
Eline Powell completely steals the show this episode. Her performance and the visual effects in the opening scene of “All In” alone really cement it as best live-action mermaid portrayal I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to watch Ryn painfully shift into human form in a room full of scientists. It’s even more harrowing watching Ryn suffer the consequences of her big decision this episode.
Ryn’s autonomy is a topic touched on repeatedly since the show’s pilot. She’s still navigating the nuances of human life and some things are still a bit more black and white to her. But she’s also starting to understand some of the shades of grey in between. While she agrees to help Ben because she loves him, she also seeks Maddie’s opinion on the matter. Even going so far as to ask what Maddie thinks of Elaine. One thing she absolutely will not compromise is her freedom of choice. As much as it pains Ben and Maddie (and us as an audience), Ryn will do with her body as she chooses.
Despite not knowing the side effects, Ryn decides to take the anaesthesia so the scientists can extract her stem cells. The result of this is something akin to Ben’s nightmare in Season 1 Episode 9 where Ryn chokes him in bed. It’s frightening, to say the least. Siren often lulls you into a place where the mermaids seem innocent/child-like but it’s at its best when it reminds us it’s a thriller. These mermaids are extremely angerouds predators and even Ben and Maddie need to remember that. She may not mean to hurt them, but it’s an ever-present possibility.
There’s a ton of information provided during Helen’s storyline this week. Rick’s sister, Beth, and her friend Bryan sit them down to chat her and Rick about their family’s hybrid status. Apparently, Beth’s known for a long time that their family came from the survivors of the Pownall mermaid massacre. In fact, she also knows about Helen’s mother, Daphne. Their parents were all a part of this group that kept the hybrid secret and Daphne notably left the group shortly before Helen was born. But wait, there’s more!
Beth and Bryan’s motives are unknown right now, but it’s clear that their group is some kind of cult. They’re too nice and everything’s a little too perfect. An older member at the group meeting drops another gem of information. He tells Helen, “It’s a shame what happened to your parents,” and by this point, my head was spinning. Did the cult murder Helen’s parents?
As people who have long struggled to fit in with normal society, Rick and Helen are perfect targets for this mermaid cult. I really hope the writers take their time with this plot in the coming episodes because it has A LOT of mileage. Especially since we know the military is secretly trying to create ‘hybrids’ of their own. What would happen if they found real ones? It also gives Rena Owen some great acting material to work with which is long overdue.
Calvin being involved in high stakes poker is easily the least interesting reveal this episode. Janine and Xander are rightfully concerned about where Calvin’s been getting so much money all of a sudden. At first, they worry he’s dealing drugs because fun fact: he sold weed in high school. When Janine tracks his phone to an unsavoury part of the docks, it seems like maybe he’s dealing harder stuff.
Bristol Cove’s drug issue has been mentioned many times since Season 1 so I actually hoped that was true. It could possibly have tied in nicely with Sherriff Dale’s coverup of his wife’s drug dealer’s death in Season 2 Episode 5. Speaking of which, I haven’t stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop there. So it’s a bit disappointing when Xander pulls up to simply find Calvin around a poker table going ‘all in’. However, it does give us a great scene between the two friends re-establishing how much Xander cares about him.
Calvin does make a good point though, that Xander has decided both their futures for them by letting his father’s boat burn. With the boat gone and no family or money or college degree to fall back on, it’s time to live by whatever means necessary. Xander’s already feeling the pinch himself, even though he has a legitimate job. It’s only a matter of time before he or Calvin turn to more dangerous or controversial means of getting money.
What did you think of Siren Season 2 Episode 10? Will Ryn overcome those side effects? What happened to Helen’s parents? Share your thoughts in the comments below.