This Siren review contains spoilers.
Siren Season 3, Episode 5
So much has changed for Ryn, Ben, and Maddie in the aftermath of their incident with Ian in last season’s Siren finale. Ben and Maddie are done romantically, but both still have a close relationship with Ryn. Their dynamic is completely changed, but their interests overlap with Ryn. It was a joy to watch a polyamorous relationship play out on screen where the narrative spent very little time explaining or justifying the relationship, and just allowing the characters to be. But it also makes sense—even though it hurts—for Siren to move past that relationship, when those characters all are growing in very different ways.
After introducing the baby to the sea, and spending time with her in the water, Ryn returns to land because she wants to learn to parent, like a human, with Ben (and Maddie). Earlier, Ryn spoke about wanting to be more human, because she recognizes the advantages that gives Tia, and now it seems she wants Baby—what she chooses to call the baby—to have those same advantages.
Meanwhile, Maddie and Rob are growing closer. He asks her if his org. could rent some space at the marine research center to continue their development of the ocean plastic cleaner-upper, and beta test it in Bristol Cove. She’s down with it, but Ben absolutely refuses when she asks about it. Ben doesn’t trust Rob because he’s a stranger, but also because Ben is hopped up on mermaid stem cells and is paranoid because he knows he’s crossed several lines, and that being found out could cost him the people he loves. I don’t know how to feel about Rob as a character, because he’s too earnest and I never trust that in people, but I enjoy the way his involvement with Maddie rattles Ben.
Ben continues to experiment on himself with aquatic stem cells. He’s noticing dramatic changes in his physiology, including sharpened senses, accelerated healing, increased endurance, and the ability to hold his breath underwater for extended periods of time. He began the experiment to help his mom, who was making progress on the same treatment before her supplier was killed by Tia. But there is an edge Ben’s usage now… he appears to be addicted to the way the treatments make him feel, and that could be dangerous. But danger is exciting, as is the potential for Ben to shift into a less wholesome, more self-serving, morally gray person. We’ve seen Ben be the hero, or choose the lesser evil, or do things for the “greater good,” a switch up could be fun.
Maddie—who is grown and only asked Ben about renting the space out of courtesy, since Ben is neither her boss nor her father—shrugged off his rejection, and brought Rob to the marine center warehouse anyway. Rob immediately notices a foul smell (that Maddie is apparently noseblind to), and when they find the freezer it’s coming out of, they open it to discover a body. Ben will have a lot to explain, and if Rob takes a deeper look, Maddie will too. Ben and Maddie have a shared secret, and personal history that complicates every interaction they have with each other and with people who enter their lives. They are a powder keg, and Rob might just be a Molotov cocktail.
Ted, like Xander at the beginning, does not see it for mermaids at all. He’s still processing the reality of their existence, and his increasing agitation with them seems to be leading him down a dark path. He asks Helen to tell him more about them, where they are, and their numbers, and she refuses. She is, after all, the descendant of a mermaid his ancestor slaughtered. And he, like the Pownall of town legend, has the resources to bring great harm to Bristol Cove’s population of mermaids. I can see him setting the whole coast on fire if it meant he could exert even a modicum of control where mermaids are concerned, because they make him feel powerless.
Ted might just provide Tia with justification for whatever horror she plans to visit on the town, and the villain of this season could be tricky to identify. Tia is intriguing because she’s not exactly wrong, and you have to concede to several of her points. But Ted also has real reasons to feel the way he does about merfolk, and even if he ends up going too far, there will be some amount of justification to his behavior. In either case, they wouldn’t be right, but they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, and I hope the writing explores those nuances.
While Ryn and Maddie are out shopping for the baby, and stumbling into a mommy and me class, Levi and Ryn’s former mer-mate resurface to claim the baby, as is their way. Ryn struggles to let her go, but recognizes the need for Baby to live in the water, and to learn to hunt and fight. Ryn decided to call Baby Hope, as she’s the hope of their people (and their species). Ryn has spent so much time on land, and she wants to keep Hope close, which is a human instinct. Parenting looks different to her kind, and though she keeps with the tradition by letting Hope go, she has a new frame of reference for what motherhood is, and coping with that may be difficult, especially when things are so uncertain.
Less uncertain is Xander’s future in law enforcement. Xander breezes through his exams while his partner, Annie struggles. After she reluctantly accepts his offer for drinks, she finally let’s down some of her walls and confides in Xander about her trust issues. Literally moments later, they spot Levi and Mate disappearing with Hope into the water. Xander, knowing they are mermaids, doesn’t react but Annie calls the police. When they question her, he doesn’t back her up, which is a betrayal, considering she just opened up to him. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship changes, or if he decides to spill the secret to an outsider.
In the water, Tia’s clan attacks Ryn’s. For the second time, Tia compels Katrina to join her rightful (blood) clan and this time, she accepts. Cami is sent back to land (deliberately unharmed) with news of the resulting battle, and their losses, and a message that Ryn must join Tia or be killed. Ryn does not hesitate to return to the water. It’s reasonable to assume Tia is unaware of Hope, but with Katrina switching loyalties, it may not be a secret for long. What Tia will do once she knows is hard to anticipate. She, like all merfolk, wants for their species to carry on, and a part of that is procreation. But will Tia’s hate for Ryn (and Ryn’s love of humans) be stronger than her self-proclaimed commitment to the bettering of her species? That remains to be seen.
What is clear this season is, merfolk are being noticed, and with Tia on the hunt, the time of mermaids as mere myth may be coming to an end. Bristol Cove might truly live up to its legend, and that could shake up the town, and the show.