REVIEW: Carnival Row – Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8, “Kindred” and “Facta Non Verba”

"It's best if Vignette and I keep away from each other."


In “Kindred,” the New Dawn is attacked by the Pact. Meanwhile, Dombey breaks up an anti-fae protest and beseeches Philo to trust him. Once released in the Row, Philo gets into a brawl with three fae guys. Darius comes to his rescue before he’s killed, but he is beaten senseless. Philo seeks out Millworthy and convinces him to arrange passage to Tirnanoc for the fae following the Pact’s retreat. Tourmaline asks Darius to go with them, but he’s afraid of wolfing out on the ship and returning to the site of the war. When they disembark, Vignette pleads with Philo to join them. The Black Raven attack the ships, preventing the voyage to freedom. Then, several sparas appear and go berserk. One of the sparas devours Berwick. 

“Facta Non Verba” shows Philo’s grief over Berwick’s fate. Meanwhile, we learn how Agreus, Imogen, and Ezra escaped the New Dawn. The Pact destroys the land while our “heroes” scurry off into the desert. Ezra tells Agreus that Imogen is a liar and a manipulator. Pactish soldiers pass by, and Ezra tries to attract their attention, so Imogen smothers him. The lovers fight over Agreus being controlling. The New Dawn catches up with them and orders them to bury Ezra in a mass grave. Then, Leonora tasks Agreus, Imogen, and Kastor with bringing her terms to the Burgish Parliament. Back in the present, the divide between Agreus and Imogen widens. Philo looks upon the sparas’ destruction and tells Dombey the one who killed Berwick was male. Vignette goes after the Raven for what they did but ends up captured. Kaine tells her they weren’t sailing to freedom but another cage. 

Carnival Row Kindred

If Carnival Row has a strength, it’s certainly not characterization. Philo is the only character I’ve found to be likable for most of the show, and Dombey is just starting to grow on me. Even with that said, “Kindred” and “Facta Non Verba” perform character assassinations on several of the show’s principal characters. I’m not sure why, but we are now told (and later shown) that Agreus is a tyrant, and Imogen is a spoiled brat obsessed with the notion of not allowing others to control her. I don’t know where this came from; I recall Imogen being reasonable enough in season 1, and I’ve never had a problem with Agreus as a character. They’re a more amiable pair than Philo and Vignette, who have nothing in common and the latter of which is a reckless loose cannon. Ezra tells Agreus that the woman he fell in love with and ran away with is terrible all around. When trying to comfort Imogen, Agreus tells her his own story, and she judges him for it. I just don’t understand the character work here at all. These two are really going to fall apart suddenly because of something an outside party said? Not to mention, Ezra isn’t a reliable source of information. Why is Agreus even listening to him? How are we supposed to feel about this? I’m simply baffled by this subplot in the episodes. And with only two more episodes left to wrap everything up, what on earth will become of these two? This was the only couple I liked on Carnival Row! I had wondered if Imogen threw up because she’s pregnant, but now it looks like it was just nerves or a distraction. 

Carnival Row KindredDombey is at his best in “Kindred,” even if Philo takes his goodwill for granted and doesn’t return the favor. I agree with what Berwick tells Philo about using the badge to make the Burg/Row a better place. I think Philo not only betrays him, but I’m again at a loss as to what I’m supposed to feel. The only character I previously liked allows his friend to be killed and goes back on his word to help the police. They got him out of Bleakness and made what I consider to be a generous offer, the opportunity to investigate crime again and make a difference. It would even help the fae by clearing them of suspicion! I’m also baffled by the disintegration of Vignette and Philo’s relationship. It was never one I liked or felt invested in, and the two have always had different convictions. But this relatively quick split is yet another sign that this show was rushed to a conclusion. Given Carnival Row’s overall quality, I don’t think that’s some great tragedy, but it is frustrating to the viewer regardless. 

There are also plenty of examples in here of the show over-extending the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. Why do the workers in the fighting house allow Vignette to take their boss hostage? Why didn’t the Raven try to warn the fae about the boats rather than bombing them? Why would that EVER be your first choice? Why does Imogen think she has to trade her freedom for love? Agreus never once tries to control her; I’m truly lost with this development. The reveal that the Raven and the New Dawn are one and the same, or at least working together, opens a whole can of worms I can’t deal with. There are only two episodes left! How can you resolve all of this?

Carnival Row Kindred

Overall, “Kindred” and “Facta Non Verba” are pretty bad. They’re not the worst episodes of TV I’ve ever seen, but they also won’t change your mind if, like me, you’re simply baffled this show exists. 

Carnival Row Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8, "Kindred" and "Facta Non Verba"

Plot - 5
Acting - 7
Progression - 5
Production Design - 7
Character development - 1



Overall, “Kindred” and “Facta Non Verba” are pretty bad. They’re not the worst episodes of TV I’ve ever seen, but they also won’t change your mind if, like me, you’re simply baffled this show exists. 

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