Ben faces a choice that has rippling consequences amongst mermaid, hybrid and human alike, as the truth about mermaids is exposed.
On Siren Season 2 Episode 16, things in Bristol Cove take a turn for the worse as Ian reveals the existence of mermaids to the world. Under martial law, the military round up Helen and the other hybrids while Ben, Ryn and Maddie are on the run. Meanwhile, Xander and Calvin take a chance on a new job opportunity.
New World Order
The Siren team delivered an epic, fast-paced, action packed, heart-pounding hour of television with this finale. Continuing right where we left off in Episode 15, Ben and Maddie try to stop Ian from getting away with Ryn by taking a shortcut to head him off. Ryn regains consciousness enough to swerve Ian’s car off a cliff before he can hit Ben. As the car sinks, Ben heads by the shoreline to dive in and help. Ryn escapes in mermaid form. Ian screams for help as the car fills with water. Ben is faced with a tough decision.
This entire episode feels massive. It’s a sharp departure from the tone and pace of previous episodes. And you know what? It absolutely delivers. I felt like I was watching a movie. It starts off at breakneck speed and doesn’t slow down until near the very end. The sheer urgency of it shows just how high the stakes are – or could be eventually.
While Ryn swims away without a thought, Ben hesitates to save a trapped Ian. It’s Ben’s choice here that informs the rest of the episode. I’m certain that for the audience, the obvious choice was to let Ian drown. The writers know this. Instead of playing it safe, they allowed us to exist in a reality that explores a recurring aspect of this season: “What if people found out mermaids exist?”
Two months after Ian exposes the secret, Bristol Cove is under martial law. Ben and Maddie are wanted by the government. The military takes over as hunters and ecologists alike try to enter the town to either harm or save the mermaids. Companies are using sonic canons to flush them out of the water. The elite are paying top dollar to anyone who can get them a mermaid for them to put on display.
Xander and Calvin give into their need for cash and join in the hunt. Despite Ben’s disappointment and warning, they use the military lure they found in Season 1. Cami is who they end up catching – much to their dismay – because the lure plays Donna’s cries.
The military opening concentration camps is perhaps the most disturbing but familiar outcome of all. Not unlike the current situation in America, the military rounds up Helen and her kind. They’re taken in because of their ancestry even though they are legitimate citizens of Bristol Cove and adjacent areas. The military strips and sprays them, and inserts trackers into their arms. They even cut the hybrids to see how fast they can heal.
It’s such a rapid escalation of events, that it should be the first clue that none of this is real. But the writers have built up the military to be secretive and dangerous enough for this to be realistic. While it may not happen now, it certainly is a future possibility.
Ben’s Worst Fears
The reveal that all this is a product of Ben’s internal ‘what if’ dilemma adds a new twist to the events of the episode. I’m inclined to re-watch to pick up on things I may have missed before. Given everything that’s happened during Season 2 there’s a lot we can learn about Ben’s frame of mind right now.
While he has love for his friends, he’s still wary of Xander and Calvin and what they might do for money. He’s afraid of putting Helen in danger, and also dreads not being around for his mother’s recovery. He worries that when they need to escape, Ryn won’t be able to get to water to refresh. His worst case scenario is not only losing Ryn to the military, but losing Maddie forever.
As the military closes in on the trio, Ted and Dale emerge to try and talk sense into them. Ben is near hysterical at his father’s betrayal. Kudos to Eline Powell, Fola Evans Akingbola and Alex Roe for their work in these scenes. Maddie’s death was particularly excruciating to watch, as were Ben and Ryn’s reactions to it. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without Maddie either.
In Season 1, Ben might have helped Ian out, but Season 2 Ben has been betrayed by his own family- as well as his own senses via the song. Trust is something he can’t afford to give away now that the circle of people who know about the mermaids is growing wider. So he turns and swims away, leaving Ian to drown with Ryn’s secret. While I’m happy that Ben was presented with this psychological weight, I wish the writers would give Maddie more material like this. (Fingers crossed for Season 3).
All’s Well That Ends Well
This episode may have displayed a potential ‘what if’ scenario, but there are still some very real threats. The Siren song is still having effects on Ben and Chris. The military still wants their hands on a mermaid embryo – an embryo that now resides on the side of the Hybrid group that doesn’t like Ben.
The mermaid growing inside Meredith is developing fast and they have no idea how her body will handle it. Elaine will presumably be in need of another stem cell treatment soon. Now Ted is also delving into whether or not mermaids are real. Calvin, is thankfully engaging in a safer means of making a living by providing Mermaid tours. However this opens the door for tourists to potentially notice real mermaids.
Ben’s decision also doesn’t make things easier for his relationship with Ryn and Maddie. Maddie thinks Ben did everything he could to save Ian and doesn’t know that he simply left Ian to die. Ryn knows what happened but still hasn’t fully absolved Ben of lying to her. She seems eager to sweep it under the rug so that things can return to normal. However, as the episode closes out we see that it’s not that easy for Ben. Ian’s death is going to haunt him for a long time. I look forward to the strain this will undoubtedly cause in Season 3.
What did you think of Siren Season 2 Episode 16? What do you think will happen in Season 3? Share your thoughts in the comments below.