Episode 2 of The Innocents picks up roughly where the pilot left off. After June (as Steinar) has forced her way back into their hotel room and shown her boyfriend, Harry, that Steinar reflects her image in the mirror, Harry does the only sensible thing and makes a run for it. He runs for freedom, through a field of wheat, in an image similar to images from earlier this year in The Handmaid’s Tale, season 2.
June Osborne ran through a corn field toward freedom in one episode and then a grassy field in a later episode. She didn’t make it to freedom either time, and neither does Harry. His June, June McDaniel, follows him, still in Steinar’s body, trying to convince him that she’s herself, not the Norwegian henchman. She flails and cries, and finally quotes one of his love letters, which makes Harry stop and really look at her. “You told me that you kept all my letters and that you weren’t embarrassed. Harry, I don’t know how, but it’s me. It’s really me.”
Alf tries to wake up the real Steinar’s underwear clad body.
Ben and his ladies have lunch outdoors and establish that they are only allowed to speak English when Runa scolds Elena for speaking Norwegian. Runa is a strict supporter of Ben’s rules, and Ben frequently props her up with lavish praise. Sigrid hasn’t spoken Norwegian in 3 years, so she’s been at Sanctum at least that long.
Christine washes up, then runs into Lewis when she leaves the bathroom, who says, “Will you take me, too?” This is another repeat of his words to Harry, just like his words from the night before, “You have a kind face.” Christine is busy, as always, and doesn’t pay attention. It seems as though he trying to communicate something important to her. Christine still hasn’t figured out that Harry has run away instead of just going out for the night.
John goes all Liam Neeson and storms June’s school with a crow bar. He takes out his frustrations on an innocent locker, grabbing June’s forgotten textbooks to take home with him. The students are so used to oppressed kids running away and parents looking for them that they ignore John. The headmaster has the police on speed dial since out of control parents are so common. John storms back out again.
Christine’s supervisor calls to ask her to stop at the McDaniel’s farm to talk to John on her way to work. He mentions that June ran away.
Harry and June/Steinar go back to the hotel room to try to make sense of what’s happening to June. She tells Harry that one minute she was herself and Steiner was on the ground in front of her. The next, she was Steiner too, and he was still out cold, with his eyes vibrating.
During this talk she sits on the bed, where her reflection is easy to see in the mirror. Harry stands between the mirror and the bed. June begins melting down, worried that she’ll be a burly Norwegian man forever, slapping herself in the head. Harry looks at her in the mirror, and looks at her on the bed, then turns to go to her and offer comfort. June tells him no, she doesn’t want him close to her when she looks like this.
The important thing is that Harry was willing to try, even though his own head was exploding, too.
Harry sits on the edge of the bed. June speaks in Norwegian, but has no idea she’s doing it. She translates that she’s hungry. Harry finally has a concrete way to help, so he leaves to gather food. June begs him not to bring anyone else into the room.
It’s time for an emotional devastation montage! Harry wages war on a troupe of evil vending machines, while June hides in the tub and speaks more Norwegian. Having won his battle, Harry takes his pile of chips and sandwiches to the car for a breather and solitary ugly cry. He starts the car, ready to give up and get out, but then he sees June’s Sweet 16 candy on the floor and realizes he can’t leave her. June repeats her mantra, “Keep calm, come to no harm,” in Norwegian and English, looking miserable as both herself and Steinar.
The hotel maid walks into the room before June can stop her. When she sees June, she agrees to come back later. June speaks in a mix of Norwegian and English. Harry comes back right after, worried about what happened with the maid, but June says she’s okay. He gives her the food and she shoves a sandwich into her mouth.
Harry stands in the bathroom, tense and lost. June makes him look at her in the mirror to remind him that she’s still her. He really looks at her, and sees how upset she is too, so he playfully turns on the shower to lighten things up and cool her off.
Once they’re done laughing, it’s time for a serious talk. Harry asks why June went back to check on Steinar. She explains that she thought Harry would leave if he didn’t have some kind of closure, he was so scared and upset. Harry insists that he’s not going anywhere. June asks Harry to tell her that it’s going to be okay. Harry says, “It’s going to be okay. I love you, June.”
June jerks and twitches, switching back to her own body. Harry jumps into the tub with her, saying, “It’s really you,” and tenderly holding her. You can feel how happy and grateful they are to be back to normal again and how much they love each other.
Meanwhile, back at the kidnap van, Alf has gotten Real Steinar’s body into the back and driven away from the scene of the crime. He’s pulled onto the side of the road in a deserted area, and is looking at a road map, trying to find a hospital. When June stops being Steinar, Real Steinar wakes up, just like he did when Runa gave up his likeness. He awakens, rolls out of the van, stumbles a few feet and vomits.
Alf starts in with the questions while Steinar’s still vomiting. Alf is most concerned about Steinar’s clothes. Steinar insists they have to go back and get June, right then. He’ll drive. In his underwear. Alf gives in, but he drives.
Ryan wakes up from his drugged sleep and cheekily says, “Well, I like the look of Scotland.” John goes straight to interrogating him about June. He stop to explain that June has a condition that Elena had, too, which isn’t actually epilepsy. Ryan stops him, and tells him he doesn’t get to talk about Elena or say her name.
Ryan is intense, and intensely loyal. So is John, he’s just the type who needs total control of the people he
is obsessed with loves.
Christine and a uniformed cop pull into Old McDaniel’s Farm. The cop makes a pig joke, so I don’t have to. We will now have a conversation between two out of touch parents.
Christine informs John that the school won’t be pressing charges for his assault on the locker, but he still needs to be more careful with his crowbars. She asks for details about June, and decides that June didn’t plan on going far, or for long, because she only took a small bag. John says that June was looking forward to the move.
Christine shares the wisdom that teenagers can be secretive and run off and do selfish things when they’re angry, like her son. But she’s sure June is fine, and they’ll report her missing if she isn’t back by tomorrow.
Mind, that was the selfish, apathetic parent speaking to the secretive, angry parent.
June tells Harry that her body took on Steinar’s form, while he kept his original body. Her clothes ripped and came off when it happened. She doesn’t understand and is depressed. Harry gives her a long hug.
John goes back to question Ryan more. Ryan is absorbed in an online poker game and ignores him. Ryan has four aces and is just betting ￡758 when John cuts the power at the circuit breaker box. John couldn’t have given Ryan five minutes to finish the hand? He is a villain.
John goes through June’s room again and finds Harry’s last letter to her. He gets in his truck to go find Christine.
Runa walks Elena to Ben’s
dungeon laboratory basement office. He seats her in a metal chair and binds her wrists to the chair with leather cuffs. He fits her with various sensors for medical tests- oxygen level, heart, brain waves, etc.
Ben: “Right, here we are again. You understand, Elena, that we need to identify the emotions that caused your first shift to get to the heart of the experience which defines your ongoing trigger. You instincts will tell you to resist, to repress even, but I don’t want you to. Let the emotions come and let me in. If however, you feel like you’re losing control, if you feel like you’re hitting shift state, just remember your mantra and remember who you are. Can you tell me?”
Elena: “I’m Elena Askelaand. 39. Born south of Bergen. Pierced ears with Girl Guide badge. Broken arm. Father, Thor, carried me home. Painted cars with watercolors. Pet elkhound, Heidi. Broken shoes under storm clouds, staring at Gracie.”
That’s a long mantra.
Ben puts classical music on and starts a slide show. The slides are projected onto the wall. They are stock photos of human activities and nature. After each slide, Ben says “respond” and Elena says clear if she’s okay. The first slide that she’s affected by is a whale mother and child. She has a flashback to John leaving the house with the kids while she stays behind. She says clear.
She reacts to a slide of a man and woman kissing by seeing images of herself painting with a man nearby, and herself having sex. She says clear. Then she reacts very strongly to a spider. The needle markings from the sensors turn the page black. She sees herself entering a shift state somewhere else. She sees herself standing in front of an unconscious person. Her body blocks them from the camera.
The next slide is a fetal ultrasound and she begins to lose control. She says June’s mantra, Keep calm, come to no harm, but Ben tells her to use his mantra instead. He insists that she regain control and tell him what she’s seeing. She screams for him to stop the test and let her go. He leaves her restrained and the test environment as it’s been, but leaves the room to wait in the hall until her shift state passes. Runa comes downstairs to meet him in the hall.
Ryan decides to face his demons and go to John’s house to turn the power back on. His door closes and locks behind him as soon as he steps out. He can’t unlock it because the power’s off, so he makes a run for it to John’s house.
Steinar calls Ben to check in and let Ben know that June is definitely a shifter. Ben is angry with Steinar for taking so long to get June until Steinar confirms his hunch.
Alf isn’t sure he wants to keep chasing June, since he didn’t realize just how illegal things would get. Steinar assures him that June is special and they need to find her. Alf still wants the money, so he gives in and stays.
Ryan finds the circuit breakers just as Alf and Steinar break into John’s house. He hides in a closet while they search for June. Steinar finds June’s class photo, and says,”June McDaniel. How can one little girl cause so much trouble?” They leave, but Ryan heard them.
Harry and June leave the hotel. June gives Harry the option of going home, but he’s still with her. When they reach a crossroads, June asks what they should do next.
Harry says, “We both ran away to stop being trapped. To be who we wanted to be. So, okay, I know we didn’t know that was coming, but we still believe in each other. Right?”
June: “Yeah. Do you think we can still get away from it all?”
Harry: “Yeah, yeah I do. So let’s go.”
June: “Yeah, let’s go.”
They turn toward London.
June can be whoever she wants to be, and whoever she doesn’t want to be as well. The best of both worlds.
Steinar and Alf need another lead, so Alf looks through his stalker photos. He was the only one in town to notice the relationship between June and Harry. He followed Harry sometimes because of it, and watched Harry buy his car.
They go to Dean’s house, where he’s alone with his infant. Dean refuses to talk about Harry and June, so Steinar punches his way in and keeps punching. When he vaguely threatens Dean’s baby and permanent damage to Dean’s ability to have another child, Dean talks.
June and Harry go through Steinar’s clothes and find his phone. They watch the message from June’s mom.
June, my girl, you’re about to turn 16. I want to be there to help you understand things you might be feeling. Things that might be happening to you. I never wanted to leave you. You or Ryan. But John said I had to go. I didn’t have a choice. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to hurt either of you. So I need you to trust the man who shows you this video and let him bring you here, to Norway. And one day Ryan can come here, too. And we can all be together again. Just, I’m sorry. I love you.
By the end of the message, June is crying, she’s so happy hear her mother say she loves her. John told them that she left because she couldn’t handle them and didn’t want them any more. That Elena wanted a new life.
John finds Christine just as she’s getting home and accosts her in her driveway. He demands to know where Harry is, and only tells Christine why when she asks. At least he does tell her and let her read Harry’s letter. When Christine is done, John says, “They think they’re in love. Have you tried calling him?” Wow, John just keep insulting everyone around you. No, the mom who’s also a cop didn’t even think about using her phone to contact her missing son. Thank God you showed up to save the day.
Never mind the insult to the kids and their ability to feel real human emotions.
Christine says that Harry isn’t taking her calls, and John responds that June didn’t take her phone with her. Then the fun really gets going.
John: Look, she’s different. Shy. She doesn’t know any boys. She’d never do anything like this.
[Apparently she does and she would. Oops.]
Christine: It wouldn’t be Harry’s idea to take off. He has too many responsibilities. Helping with his dad, for one. We know they’re together. They probably planned it. Look, I have to ask. Is there anything else I should know?
[Harry decided to give the responsibilities back to the person they belong to in the first place, and decide for himself what to do with his helping nature.]
John: No, I’m just worried about her.
[You’d think he’d give her or the police the rare epilepsy story with a warning to stay away and not touch her during an episode. The shift state does look a bit like a seizure if they don’t shift.]
Christine assures him that it’s normal for kids to run away, and they do come back, it just takes longer then you’d like. If they aren’t back by tomorrow, she’ll report it.
She gets a work call, asking her to go to Dean’s house to handle his break in and assault. She and John exchange numbers.
When Christine gets to Dean’s house, he insists that one man broke in and robbed him, but the neighbor saw two men. Dean is cagey about what was taken, but finally says they took his watch. Christine notices that they didn’t take the wedding ring on his pinky, which looks familiar to her. She asks to look more closely at it, and discovers that it’s Lewis’ ring. She questions him about Harry.
Harry and June arrive in London. Harry either lived there or visited a lot when he was younger, because June asks him what it’s like to be back. He says he doesn’t remember it like this.
They knock on the door for their new flat. The guy who answers pretends to be a jerk, but then says he’s expecting them. Gavin, Dean’s bro, made the arrangements. He leads them upstairs, to a crowded flat where the music is loud and everyone is doing drugs. Harry asks which room is theirs. The guy says that everyone just sleeps where they want and with who they want. He gives June a good long look. Maybe he really is a jerk.
He tells them that there’s a killer view on the roof, so June and Harry drop their bags and go upstairs.
John is shocked to find Ryan still in the big house. Ryan tells him about Steinar and Alf. Ryan admits that he helped June and knows where she is. She was supposed to call him to check in, and hasn’t. But he’s going with John to find June and Harry if he gives John the location.
Ryan stands up and practically pounds his fist on the table. “If June’s in trouble, she needs me!” John just looks him in the eye and says, “Let’s go then.” Respect.
They head right out. Ryan has to work hard to ward off a panic attack, but he does it for his little sister. Christine calls to tell John about Steinar and Alf’s attack on Dean and what else she learned from Dean, but John is the Lone Ranger and doesn’t answer.
Christine’s supervisor and former partner, Doug, stops by her house after work. He stops to say hello to Lewis, who possibly was also a cop, then has a drink with Christine. She tells him about Dean and how worried she is about Harry.
She muses that it’s been three years since Lewis became disabled. She misses her husband. She and Doug both still think about the case he was involved in. Doug reminds her that they did everything they could. He also tries to convince her that Harry will come home soon.
Up on the roof, Harry and June enjoy having the kind of moment they dreamed about. They look out over the lights of London at night, cuddled up together, with no one to stop them from making whatever plans they want for their future together. Harry says again that they can be whoever they want to be. No one will come after them, and they’ll look after each other.
Runa joins Ben in his dungeon. When she sees that Elena reacted to one of the sex slides, she says that, “A less trusting woman might wonder what you get up to in here.”
Ben chides her for her jealousy.
Then, he tells her that Elena’s slides are strange and polarized. Sex, death. Mother, child. Runa talks about how frightening the tests were in the beginning, and how strange it was that reaching shift state was part of therapy. But the process is important and Elena needs to recenter, so she encourages Ben to keep going.
He comes out from behind his desk, saying he has wonderful news. Runa guesses that June is a shifter. They have a bit of a loving moment and hold hands, but he’s more excited about finding mother-daughter shifters than his marriage. He exclaims over how rare it is, and Runa gets a strange look on her face.
There was a moment that seemed like they would kiss, but didn’t. They are both controlled, but he’s the one keeping her at a distance and occasionally reeling her in.
June and Harry watch Elena’s video again. Harry asks about the “epilepsy” and how much John might have known. He’s put the pieces together that John probably knows all about the shapeshifting. Harry’s barely explained his theory when Steinar and Alf come around the corner, still relentlessly following them.
You could make a good argument for Steinar being mind-controlled or possessed. He’s definitely the Igor to Ben’s Dr Frankenstein.
June and Harry take off for the car without even stopping to grab their bags. Steinar and Alf see them driving away and follow. They have a brief car chase through London until Harry loses Steinar, but rear ends a parked car, and Steinar has to come to a full stop at a construction site.
Harry and June jump out of the car and join hands, on foot and on the run again.
I want full credit for not having made a single “pining for the fjords” joke yet, even though it’s been sitting there, wide open. So many attractive, weepy Norwegians.
Vending machine injuries are real. Never swim in vending machine infested waters.
If Ryan isn’t one of your favorite characters by the end of this episode, then I don’t know if we can be friends. He’s the best big brother who ever big brother’d, cute, and has a wicked sense of humor. And I have a feeling that bad boy was making money as an online poker player. He had to come up with the extra money for June’s credit card somewhere, and he didn’t even flinch at the prospect of losing the ￡758. That suggests he wins enough to cover a big loss easily.
I would hate John, if it weren’t so clear that he loves those kids body and soul and would die for them. I believe that he thinks he’s doing the right thing and is being selfless. This makes him very problematic.
I don’t get what was so odd about Elena’s triggers. She’s a wife and mother who was forced to leave her family. Those seem like exactly the right triggers. She probably has other terrible experiences in her history, too, that link the concepts even further.
Christine hardly ever looks at or speaks to Lewis. When Harry was there, she avoided Lewis altogether. Yet, she told Doug that she misses her husband, and it’s only been three years since his injuries. She’s also still having doubts about his case. That all adds up to a haze of depression and guilt. Doug said that before the change, Christine was an energetic go-getter, but now he’s getting the promotions that she was in line for. Christine’s apathy is part of her depression. She’s checked out of life.
Lewis, on the other hand, is aware of what’s going on around him, he just can’t communicate with the outside world. It doesn’t seem as though he’s getting any therapy to help him. Instead, he seems to be misdiagnosed as having low intellectual function. He’s been written off, so no one’s figuring out a way to translate his signals.
So, we’re developing some evidence that repeated shifter possessions, or whatever we’re calling it, might damage the brain and body of the host. Steinar’s the worst kidnapper ever. All he had to do was wait until June and Harry stopped at a restaurant or somewhere public and approach her more naturally with the message, then let her talk to her mom on the phone. She would have happily gone along with him to Norway. As it is now, between Steinar’s obsessive, violent stalking and Ben and Runa’s creepy, overly strict rules and methods, Sanctum doesn’t seem completely above board.
I can’t get past feeling like Steinar is Hagrid from the Harry Potter series. They sent him to pick up
Harry June from the Dursleys McDaniels and things went horribly wrong. June and Harry remind me of Ron and Hermione, if those two characters hadn’t had exaggerated personalities and JK Rowling were better at writing romance. And if they’d been the center of the story. Something went terribly wrong and Hagrid had to go get Hermione/June, then things went even more wrong. 😘
The area that the McDaniels live in is so rural that it’s hard to imagine needing to move away to a more isolated place. Fair Isle must be nearly uninhabited.
I feel like these shapeshifting women are being sent to an insane asylum rather than learning to control their ability. Even Ben’s method looks like repression rather than facility and self-control. He has them repeat facts about themselves that don’t seem to help, since their minds don’t switch, and otherwise tells them what not to do, rather than what they can do.
The test looked like torture and meant to provide information for Ben’s own research rather than something that would help Elena. She was safely restrained when she went into shift state, so why not shut the music and slides down, giving her a peaceful environment to calm down in? Maybe it’s best to leave her alone because her camouflage instincts cry out for her to touch someone, but surely it would help to turn off the stimuli that triggered her, and anything else that might disturb her.
I don’t trust Ben. He’s too excited about getting June into his clutches and having a mother-daughter pair, for it to be solely for June and Elena’s benefit. He has something he plans to use them for.
I predict he’s going to want to do some “genetic experiments” with Elena and June’s DNA that will involve mixing his DNA with one of theirs and raising a shifter child or three according to his methods. Remember when Runa said they’re creating a family there? Her jealousy is not unfounded.
And who was Freya?
And who is Ryan and June’s real father?
I don’t think I’ve ever told this story on Metawitches, but I have no problem believing in teenage love because my grandparents got married and had their first child when my grandmother was 15, during the Great Depression. They stayed together and slept next to each other in a double bed for 70 years, the rest of their lives, through all kinds of adventure and hardship. They had their share of problems, and would never recommend getting married or having kids that young, but it worked for them. Teen love can be real, lasting adult love. I hate it when adults act like the emotions of anyone under the age of 18 have to be shallow and fleeting.
Images courtesy of Netflix.