Synopsis: In the world of Fae and man, a terrible war is taking place. The Pact has conquered the majority and Fairies are desperately trying to find a safe place to call home. Spurned by man no matter where they go, they deal with awful living conditions and harsh restrictions reminiscent of immigration in America in the 1800’s.
A young Fae woman who fought in the war and her former lover, now a detective, are reunited as one struggles to solve a string of grisly murders and the other tries to find her place in the world.
Ok, seriously, who in the hell is the Pact? What is their deal? Why did they decide to start slaughtering fairies and their allies and take control of their lands? I feel like I missed something, maybe a season one? I need more context. They are supposed to be this awful group just murdering people with wanton abandon (think Nazis) and we have NO information about them! How am I supposed to get on board with this “the pact is evil” train when I don’t know who or what they are? Is that the main story line? There are so many sub stories going on in each episode that if you aren’t careful, you will miss something important. I think.
I feel like I spent most of the first 4 episodes saying to myself “who in the hell is this guy??” and “what is happening now!!?”
While I really like Orlando Bloom, something was off about him as Philo. It just wasn’t believable. It’s almost like they wanted him because of his amazing performance in Lord of the Rings and hoped he would bring the same energy and life to this show. It didn’t work for me. It came off as weird and forced and I struggled to remain focused when he was talking. (my mind kept wandering).
Cara Delevingne was ok as Vignette, but not great in my opinion. She was supposed to be a strong, fierce fairy woman fighting off the evils of the world but, she just comes across like a petulant teenager shouting at her parents.
It feels like this show is trying to give us another Game of Thrones experience complete with brutal imagery, betrayals and (almost) rape/incest scenes however, it just plods along with no strong, stable central storyline.
The whole show has a very “Sherlock Holmes” (Guy Richie not BBC) quality to it, I really enjoy how they use darkness and shadow to convey deeper, more sinister feelings. Its gloomy and foggy with a genuine 19th century feel to it.
The artistry behind the characters is stunning. If you are in to fantasy, you will like how much detail and thought was put in to the different fairy creatures. These aren’t the same old trolls and dwarves etc. that are prominent in the majority of fantasy shows/movies produced in the last 20 years. The creativity and originality should be recognized and applauded.
Hats off to Tamzin Merchant for her masterful performance as Imogen Spurnrose. She gives us a character that is truly unpleasant and yet, we can’t help but like her as she becomes stronger and more confident in herself. She begins to realize that she may have been wrong about her opinion of Fae and gracefully navigates her own inner turmoil transforming into a character that gives the episodes the boost they need.
This is a show filled with huge talent so it could have been so much more than it is.
A word of caution, if you have a weak stomach or don’t like graphic, brutal imagery then a few scenes will be a bit too much for you. There are murders and there are some sexually explicit scenes that aren’t suitable for younger viewers.
I really wanted to enjoy Carnival Row. I think that the concept was great but, the flat main characters and completely predictable story line tanked it for me. Its full of obvious political statements and potentially controversial subplots which will be ok for some viewers but perhaps not others who are looking for an escape from our current reality.