Review - Carnival Row (Spoilers)
Carnival row is a new amazon tv series starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. The story takes place in a fantasy world where fairy creatures and humans live together. The fairies used to live on their homeland, but a war between human superpowers left their home devastated. Now these refugee fairies live in the human city, primarily around a street called Carnival Row. Orlando Bloom plays a police inspector who is trying to solve a string of murders. Cara Delevingne is a Tinkerbell type fairy who knew Orland Bloom back in the war. Political intrigue and social integration subplots pack a lot of story into the eight episodes.
There’s a lot to like about the series. The framework of the world allows for stories about immigrants, racism, and the clash of cultures. In the human society animosity between the human races has faded as they embraced tolerance, which stands out against the stark bigotry the humans express for the fairies.
There is only one aspect that I felt was let down in the story; the murder investigation. This is pretty unfortunate as it is the A plot. Most of the B plots are more interesting and fit together better.
My biggest problem with the murder investigation is the motivation. As you go through the story, you find out that the murders connect to Orlando Bloom’s character. Since he is a perspective character, or as close as the story has to one, the audience knows he is not the murderer. With each episode the mystery unfolds revealing more and more layers. The person committing the murders is acting because a blackmail plot has revealed that a prophecy she believes in could be at jeopardy and she is killing people to steal their livers so she can use magic to learn the identity of her husbands bastard – yeah that is what actually happens.
I found this element of the story to be pretty weak. The murderer is the Chancellor’s wife, so why not use coercion, or torture, or any other method before choosing dark magic. Also, this method of liver reading to learn secrets is incredibly weak when it has to be. All three of the victims know the identity of the Chancellor’s bastard, yet only the 4th liver reading reveals his identity.
Then finally it turns out that the blackmail request that started the murders was initiated by someone who had no direct knowledge of the bastard, his identity, or if he’s even real. She wrote this note to “create chaos” to take politic power should the advantage arise. Well, Bravo I say, her single blackmail letter to her father’s rival’s wife resulted in the deaths of the leader of the opposition, the Chancellor and the Chancellor’s wife. It really couldn’t have gone any better.
I think I will watch season 2, as the world is fun to play in and creates some great stories, hopefully the main story next season will be one of them.