This Siren review contains spoilers.
Siren Season 3, Episode 9
In the world of Siren, the military is cartoonishly incompetent and somehow always ill-equipped, despite being the catalyst for the entire plot of the show. In last week’s episode, Xander answers a call, hears a song, then collapses with blood trickling from his ear. Tia’s weaponized song incapacitates him, and would’ve done the same to Ben and Maddie had they answered their phones. They can only hope human medicine will keep Xan alive while they search for a cure. Maddie can’t reach Robb, and Commander Anderson isn’t going to do anything. Unfortunately, the military made sure to go when they left, and have apparently washed their hands of the entire mermaid program, despite the very imminent threat of Tia unleashing that sound on a larger populace.
Helen asks for Eliza’s help with Xander and, with his mom’s permission, Eliza works her particular brand of healing magic on him, which at least stabilizes him. Ted walks in during this, and is, of course, livid. Helen tells Ted he has to accept that this is one thing he can’t control, which aligns with my read of him in my Episode 5 review. Xander is important to people, so it’s no wonder why everyone is showing up for him, but also @ Ted, ho, why is you here?
In the water, Hope —who is no longer an infant, and already well past being a toddler—spears an eel. Flotsam or Jetsam didn’t stand a chance, she made her first kill and is ready to learn her song. Ryn feels Hope’s human heartbeat and knows she’s come on land. After their reunion, Hope is brought to Helen’s, where lo and behold, Hunter has miraculously survived, having risked the dangers of Tia-controlled waters to return to her people. I wouldn’t forgive Ryn taking this at face value if there wasn’t so much else going on. When Hope screams the windows to shards, attempting to learn her song, they relocate to the Hybrid’s compound, which has become a safe haven for the full-bloods on land.
Tia the Tyrant breaks into the Pruitt County National Cell Network Notification System and sends out the song, as an emergency call, to every cell phone in the county. No exaggeration. People all over Bristol Cove start dropping like flies, except for the Hybrids, who are immune. Tia’s attack is effective, made more so because she took away any means to counteract it. When Ryn learns that Tia blew up the echo chamber, she’s not just upset that she can’t help Xander, but that her people’s history is gone. The weight of that destruction should feel heavier, but the show does not give itself time to dwell on anything, lessening the emotional impact for the characters and us.
Ben comes to Ted for help to get cell towers taken offline, and instead of saying or doing anything even remotely useful, Ted takes the opportunity to berate Ben and Ryn. I am not being dramatic when I say people are keeling over all over the county, but Ted has time. He is definitely going to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps and, after Tia’s terrorism, he might just be able to assemble an army of his own. In this moment Tia feels like the worst thing that could happen to Bristol Cove, but we’ve been reminded of the Pownall’s capacity for destruction every season… Worst things can and—and should—happen.
Ted’s feelings aren’t helped by the fact that, when Ben’s hand slips accidentally into seawater, his fingers start to web. Ted cannot deal, whatsoever, and when Ben inevitably goes full merman, it’ll be On Sight with Ryn, her people, the hybrids, and anybody who sees it for merfolk. Tia is exciting as a villain because she’s ruthless and capable, but she’s an outsider, an usurper. Ted would be an exciting villain because of his familial history with merfolk, and his relationship with his son, and with the entire town. His wealth and access makes him dangerous in a much different way than Tia, and I hope the show intends to explore that.
Maddie looks for her dad, first to get help in stopping the calls, then because he hasn’t been seen in hours. She finds his car abandoned with small traces of blood inside, suggesting he heard Tia’s song. She inquires as to whether he’s been admitted at the hospital, and he hasn’t. Somehow, the show makes a mystery of Dale’s possible disappearance, but he’s only been on screen maybe 5 minutes the entire season. I like Dale, so this isn’t a criticism of the character, but it’s odd, the focus on finding him, when the show has spent no time with him at all.
Is there something bigger going on? Did Tia know to target Dale specifically? She’s good, but if that turns out to be the case, her apparent omnipotence will require explanation. Frankly, her competence is astounding, and I find myself needing to understand why Russia gave her literally all the tools to beat them, and everyone else.
Ben decides the only way to to stop the calls is to take out all the cell towers at once. He drives his car into the utility plant, and takes out power to the entire area, which presents its own problems, I imagine. At the Hybrid compound, Hunter takes the opportunity to steal Hope away. Helen confronts her, manages to almost subdue her, but ultimately fails to stop her from taking the child. “Tia wants what she wants.” Tia inspires bitchassness.
Bristol Cove is safe from the song for the time being, but without the echo chamber, or any additional aid or intervention, it’s a moot point. Tia said she was coming for Ryn’s gills and she hasn’t let up this entire season. What Tia hopes to accomplish here, outside of the utter annihilation of the human species, is yet to be determined. But she could’ve deployed the sonic weapon anywhere and she chose to hit Bristol Cove. I hope the writers of Siren have at least thought about Tia’s pathology, and have explanations for her behavior, outside of her general hatred of humankind. It’s not enough that Ryn is an obstacle, the attacks on Ryn have been pointed, and personal, and it’ll be a real shame if the writing doesn’t explore that.
Siren season 3 is fun and exciting, but it’s moving so quickly toward its end destination that the story hasn’t had time to breathe, and the characters haven’t had time to process all of the things that are happening. I enjoy the broader scope, and the bigger stakes, and just hope characters and their stories don’t get left behind.