.Mating season proves less successful than everyone had hoped, leading Ben and the gang to question the possibility of the mermaids procreating on land.
On Siren Season 2 Episode 14, Ryn’s unsuccessful attempts at mating underwater lead to her bringing a new mate ashore – much to Ben and Maddie’s discomfort. Meanwhile, Xander worries that something bad may have happened to Nicole, and Helen learns more about her mother’s past.
Things are getting dire for the mermaid population. Now that Levi has had a taste of freedom and free will, he quickly ghosts Ryn when they get into the water. This leaves Ryn and the other females with fewer options for mating. Females are also able to tell when they’re pregnant and so far no one has had any luck. But we quickly learn that it’s no fault of the merfolk. Once again, Siren takes the opportunity to incorporate a real life environmental issue to ground its mermaid story in the present day. The polluted water is why the mermaids can’t reproduce. And then the writers take it even further.
I love that the show is specific and doesn’t hand-wave away or simply lump everything under “pollution”. Ben highlights that the “BPAs” in the water are what is affecting the mermaids. Helen then goes on to point out that because they’re in the water, the mermaids are constantly breathing it in. They can’t be free of it in roughly 24 hours as Ben suggests. Plastic waste pollution isn’t only the garbage that animals accidentally ingest or get caught in or injured by. Harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) are found in the plastics and other substances, and they have long term effects on marine species.
The key fact here is that research shows that BPA dramatically reduces fertility rates in some fish species. And it isn’t something that happens overnight – we’re talking about generational effects. For the mermaids, it’s been a while since they’ve had babies. Perhaps not since Donna had her daughter, Cami. It all goes to show that as plastic pollution has increased with passing human generations, the less babies the mermaids have been able to have in each of theirs.
On Land It’s Different
Since Levi has gone M.I.A., Ryn brings a new merman to Bristol Cove. Although this was all Ben’s suggestion, his discomfort at this whole situation only grows as the episode progresses. As usual, Maddie is able to compartmentalize better. She may not like what’s happening either, but she’s going to support Ryn 100%. The mating isn’t about any real emotional connection for the mermaids so there’s no need to be jealous. At the same time, it’s also understandable why it would feel weird to stand outside a cabin while your partner has sex with someone else.
Ryn’s deep connection with Maddie continues to be a highlight, especially in their cabin scene by the fire. While Ben and Ryn have their moments of emotional tension, Maddie and Ryn are like a warm blanket on a cold night. You can tell that Ryn learns a lot from her in terms of showing love. As Ryn sets the pace with her mate, she kisses his hand – something Maddie notably does during their love making scenes. It’s little details like that that add to the quality of the scenes.
I really admire Siren‘s commitment to being sex positive. They constantly reinforce the importance of consent and checking in to ensure all parties are having a pleasurable experience. None of the sex in this episode is gratuitous either. They speak about the act itself rather matter-of-factly – if a bit tongue-in-cheek at times. The underwater mermaid mating is explicitly shown. Mating on land is more about learning a new way to do things. Ryn teaches her mate and the other two mermaids that join them how to be gentle and make the experience good for everyone involved. What happens in the cabin is left to our imaginations.
Crazy Runs in the Family
Ben has officially gone off the deep end. I had worried that the effects of the healing song wouldn’t last for long, but the writers really threw me for a loop by having Ben deliberately listen to the Ryn’s song again. He’s behaving like an addict. It certainly raises a lot of questions about whether or not his feelings for Ryn are more influenced by it than we think. It’s worth noting that unlike Maddie, he hadn’t developed real feelings for her yet when she sang to him.
Also incredibly worrying is the revelation that the hybrid group may not have been responsible for Helen’s father’s death after all. Ted and Helen go through the correspondences between her mother and his grandmother and find another suspect. Apparently his grandfather Caleb had a psychotic episode and likely set the cabin on fire. Ted acknowledges that there’s a lot of crazy in the Pownall family and admits that sometimes he worries about Ben. I definitely think like there’s an awful lot of foreshadowing happening here. Despite Ben’s insistence that he’s not like Charles, could history in fact be repeating itself?
Ryn may have lost a lot of her trust in Ben, but she hates to see him in pain. While Ben is off having hallucinations of himself stabbing Ryn with a spear, Maddie is advocating for Ryn to trust him again. I shudder to think what this relationship would be like without Maddie. I also can’t help but feel there’s more to the original story of Charles and his mermaid. Ryn points out that they were in love too -or at least, it started out that way. They even had a child together. So what was it that caused the mermaid to leave him (if she ever really left him at all)?
Do I Know You?
Ben infiltrates the military base to look for Nicole and finds her office bare. He then follows Commander Kyle into a restricted area and finds several horrifying things at once. First, he sees about fifty multi-angle shots of him and Maddie’s most intimate moments with Ryn. Were all these different angles really necessary? I’m not sure what any of that has to do with their research. Even scarier is the fact that some of those shots date back to the first night they slept together – right before the oil rig incident. I want to know what else they know.
Nothing could have prepared me to see Donna’s dead body though. Her death, and the events leading up to it in Season 1 have really stuck with me. It’s a writing decision I hated. Donna being the first black mermaid I had ever seen on TV and the fact that the military captured and experimented on her was one thing. But the fact that she never truly got her freedom, even in death, is downright heartbreaking. I really hope someone brings her justice.
Ben also finds his old friend, Chris, in a room watching old Mickey Mouse cartoons. The really eerie thing is that Chris doesn’t remember Ben at all. When we last saw Chris in Season 2 Episode 7, he was strung out and suffering from the effects of Donna’s song. At the time his friends did nothing to help him, even though Ben especially knew something was off. It looks like the military may have kept him all this time.
What did you think of Siren Season 2 Episode 14? What do you think the military did to Chris? Share your thoughts in the comments below.