3%: Lamp

"There are too many 'I's in your speech."

Wow. Two shockers in one episode.

You gotta hand it to Ezequiel, whenever an episode focuses on him, it's a winner. Although this one wasn't as great as last season's "Water" and had one plot convenience that took me out of the story a little bit, it completely turned the season on its ear.

Let's begin with what didn't work. Ezequiel is a master of deceit and manipulation, as this entire series and this episode in particular have shown. Why would he ever leave Michele's comms on and so easily accessible? I don't buy it. Considering that his wife's descent into despair happened after she accessed files available in his computer station, wouldn't he be extra careful with what he left hanging there?

All that aside, I was surprised that Ezequiel was working for the Cause (without the Cause even knowing it!) and that Marcela and Cassia were brought up to speed two minutes after we were. When Ezequiel revealed to Michele last season that he had been with the Cause, many viewers speculated that he could still be working for the rebels, albeit secretly. But this season's first four episodes made such an impressive job depicting Ezequiel as a despicable person that I had zero doubt he was truly devoted to his precious Process.

The twist was perfectly rendered, though, as the writers backed Ezequiel's switching of sides with believable motivation. Namely, himself.

Flashback to Process number 80, a twenty year old Ezequiel has the idea of having a member of the Cause pass the Process and work from the Offshore to bring it down. Since he was the father of the idea, he felt entitled to execute it. But Not-So-Old Man could see through Ezequiel and tell that he was going to fall enchanted for the pleasures of the Offshore. It was exactly what happened.


A happy marriage, success, status. Ezequiel had it all. Why not enjoy it? Julia's death shook him, but not to the point that he questioned his values. Curiously, it was when they finally found her body, some time between seasons one and two, and didn't grant her a glorified funeral, that Ezequiel's illusion with the Offshore was broken. How dare they not give her a dignified goodbye? How dare they not give him what he wants? And so, he decides it's time to shake things up and have it his way.

When Ezequiel tells his story, Michele and Joana can see him for what he is. He is not helping the Cause for the sake of an equal society, he is doing it for himself. It's a power play, one that places Ezequiel as king. Silas, however, sides with Ezequiel to keep alive his plan of bombing the Process.

That Ezequiel died after all this development was an even bigger shocker. I was certain that he was the Sloane of this series, the overarching villain. His demise was really unexpected, which is what a good twist is all about, but I worry how it will impact the story going forward. Ezequiel was the richest character of the series, only rivaled by Michele in that department, so it remains to be seen if the second half of the season will justify the sacrifice of such an important asset.

Marcela's decision to kill Ezequiel is intriguing. I liked Marcela when she was introduced in "Mirror," but ever since she hasn't been much beyond a variation of Aline: someone who wants to take Ezequiel down. The difference is that Marcela's methods are tougher and more straightforward, as evidenced by her actions in this episode. But why did she want to kill Ezequiel so badly? Was it because she resented him for what happened to Julia? Because of his questionable choices as the leader of the Process? Because she hates and will kill anyone that's with the Cause? I don't think we know Marcela enough to understand her motivations for murdering Ezequiel.

Now, the strategic aspect of her choice, that I understood. Killing Ezequiel and making it look like the Cause did it stirs up a fire against the Cause that simply bringing him to justice wouldn't have done. Ezequiel the martyr is more valuable than Ezequiel the traitor. Marcela is definitely someone who can play the game and write the narrative of her choice, but it remains to be seen if she can fill Ezequiel's shoes as the villain of the tale.

The closing scenes, with the funerals of Ezequiel and Ivana, were terrific. Offshore's ceremony is big, yet false, because we know the truth of what Ezequiel was doing, we know he didn't die a martyr. Inland's ceremony is simple but raw, Ivana truly died serving her people. Right before the screen fades to black, both groups are invigorated, ready to avenge the deaths of their leaders. Thus, war is declared.

Bits and Pieces

- Inlanders burn their dead. Offshorians capsule them under water. The first reminded me of The 100, the second was visually similar to The Hunger Games.

- Poor Cassia, she really cared for Ezequiel.

- Ezequiel was the one who burned Old Man's face.

- Good casting for the younger versions of Ezequiel, Old Man and Nair. I was impressed with how much Not-So-Old Man looked like Old Man.

- What did they call Old Man when he was Not-So-Old Man?

- Mostly everyone in both Inland and Offshore have accents typical to Brazil's Southeast region (where the show is filmed). However, 20 year old Ezequiel had a strong accent that is typical to Brazil's Northeast region, which makes no sense. Why would he have an accent that no one else does? Most of the actors are from São Paulo, some from Rio de Janeiro, and a few from other regions of the country, and you can tell the difference from their accents, but that usually doesn't stand out. This time it did and it really bugged me.

Quotes

Ezequiel: "For one to stand out in the Process, everyone needs to be on equal footing."
I loved that Ezequiel delivered that line after standing up when he wasn't supposed to. Clever visual pun.

Ezequiel: "I was lucky."
Nair: "I call it merit."

Ezequiel: "Last time we met, you called me a sorry man."
Joana: "An asshole too."

Ezequiel: "The past keeps hammering at your head."

Michele: "You are all mad, speaking of justice by killing innocents."
Joana: "Ezequiel doesn't care who is screwed, how many die, as long as he's in power. He's the same shitty little king desperate for attention."

I'll go with three and a half out of four stars, and I might revise my rating later after I have watched the entire season.
--
Lamounier

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The actors who played the "Not-So-Old Man" and the Old Man are actually father and son in real life, André and Celso Frateschi.

magritte said...

This episode just blew me away. I never dreamed they'd kill off Ezequiel. I wouldn't even say that Ezequiel was helping the Cause, more like Ezequiel was manipulating the Cause into working for him. Joana's dead on.

You're right that killing Ezequiel leaves a bit of a void in the antagonist department, however, as Maricela isn't a well-developed character to this point. I still enjoyed the episode for its shock value.