This episode, we get some back story on the beginnings of Sanctum and more insight into Ben’s relationships with Steinar and Runa. As Sigrid inches closer to leaving Sanctum, her confidence grows and so does her willingness to engage in harem rivalries. Ben loses control of his harem, proving it’s probably not the best place for a teenage shifter.
Steinar and Alf have a misunderstanding that leads to a major falling out between them. Alf finally calls Sanctum what it really is, a cult.
John is proven incapable of sharing information, no matter how vital. Probably because it would require him to speak in full sentences, possibly even paragraphs. Christine starts to put together some old and new puzzle pieces regarding Lewis’ case, even though Doug still wants her to drop the matter.
Harry and June figure out some of the basic rules of shapeshifting, while June takes a brief excursion away from reality. Ryan proves to be the best once again. And Harry and June reach a major new milestone in their relationship.
It’s a very productive episode.
The episode begins with a very different Steinar sitting in a bar. His hair is combed, he’s dressed neatly, and he speaks softly to the barmaid while he waits patiently for his food. A very different Ben walks into the bar. He moves slowly and uncertainly, and is much less expressive than normal. Steinar is happy to see him. Ben was his therapist and Steinar thought their relationship had ended with their sessions.
Ben explains to Steinar that he’s had an experience he needs to share. The scene changes to another flashback, this time of Ben walking into a mental hospital. The hospital doctor is on the phone, telling someone that Ben is a foreign quack with no references, but he had to find someone. It’s Christmas Eve and the patient has to be assessed today.
The patient is Runa, but she hasn’t given a name or address. The hospital just wants Ben’s signature so they can medicate her. Ben prefers to do an actual exam. The hospital doctor sits behind him the whole time, acting as Greek chorus.
Runa asks out of context questions about a woman, where she went and where she was seen. Ben notices scars on her arms and asks about self harm. He leans forward and Runa panics, afraid he’s going to touch her. The other doctor has already diagnosed her with paranoid schizophrenia, which, if she wasn’t a shapeshifter, might be the right call. Ben talks to her about depression, but she’s started to go into shift state, and is babbling that it can’t be stopped now and she’s not insane.
The other doctor has seen enough and is ready to admit her. He thinks she’s having a seizure and goes over to steady her. Ben stares in horrified fascination. Guy Pearse’s face in this moment is perfect.
Back at the bar, Ben finishes telling Steinar that Runa turned into the doctor. Steinar questions Ben’s sanity and sobriety. Ben interrupts, asking if Steinar has sold his parents’ farm. Steinar hasn’t, since the farm is so remote.
Ben wouldn’t push the way he is, but they have to leave tonight. This project will involve hard work and keeping secrets, but they’ll need someone trustworthy, like Steinar. They could start a new life, with purpose and meaning. Steinar would be in on the ground floor, as Ben’s partner, for exciting medical research. Steinar isn’t buying the story and prepares to leave. Ben asks him to come out to the car for a minute.
Ben is in the car, passed out, eyes vibrating. Steinar has been meeting with Runa.
Why did they need to get out of town so quickly? Were they in trouble? Did Runa impersonate someone to rob a few banks in order to raise the cash they needed?
Over at the Princess Victoria Hospital, it’s early morning and Harry’s still sitting outside. June joins him on the lawn. She feels like a monster for putting Lil in a coma. Harry doesn’t think she’s a monster, but he does think they need help to understand what’s happening with her.
Steinar and Alf wait outside of John and Ryan’s hotel. That van must be pretty ripe by now. Alf asks what kind of work Steinar does for the cult. Steinar argues that it’s a sanctuary, not a cult, just like everyone in a cult says. Alf wants to know what Steinar’s getting paid for this, and isn’t surprised when Steinar says that the money isn’t important. That’s what someone in a cult would say.
John and Ryan get into the truck, ready to start searching. John puts a big pillow behind Ryan’s sore back. Christine calls to let them know that June’s at the Princess Victoria. He promises to call when they get there.
The nurse who’s about to examine June tells her and Harry that Lil has woken up, but she’s still very sick. Let’s all pray to the TV Gods that she’ll make a full recovery and that we’ll see more of her and Shane.
Harry describes June’s symptoms to the nurse in detail, telling her there’s something really wrong with June. He becomes agitated when he senses that the nurse isn’t taking him seriously. Harry says that June is dangerous, which is true, but isn’t helping right now. In fact, June is entering shift state. Harry’s nearly in tears by the time he tells the nurse that June can’t control her condition and he can’t help her.
Then the nurse pulls out a syringe so she can take a blood sample. June flashes back to Steinar’s syringe as the nurse grabs her to calm her down. June holds the nurse’s arms to keep her away, and she changes into the nurse, Deborah.
The couple quickly decide that they need to get out of the hospital. Harry reasons that Deborah is in a hospital, so she should receive good care. They grab Deborah’s keys and her uniform shirt. Deborah is several months pregnant, so now June is too. John and Ryan begin searching the hospital for June and Harry. Harry hides while they go by.
June is shaken by seeing Ryan out in the world and the upset look on John’s face. She wonders if Harry was right that John knows more about her condition than he’s letting on. They can’t stop now though, so they drive Deborah’s car out of the parking lot. Steinar and Alf follow, despite Alf’s reservations.
At Sanctum, Runa sits at the table with Ben and worries about what she said to Elena. Her mother was the same way. Her short term memory went first. She thinks she should start testing again, which will coincidentally give her more alone time with Ben in that room she’s so jealous of.
Ben repeats his own mantra inside his head, and tries not to show that she’s about to RUIN EVERYTHING. Keep calm, do no harm. She’s his proof of concept. If she backslides, he has nothing to show potential new clients. The survival of the
cult practice will be in jeopardy.
Runa insists that it’s her mind and she knows what she needs. Ben asks what this is really about? He knows it’s hard to share him with Elena and Sigrid when they’re both at such demanding stages of the therapy.
Runa is offended that he would bring such an idea up. It’s not always about you, Ben. This is about Runa and her own mind, which she doesn’t trust.
But Ben trusts her, which he’s sure should be enough for anyone.
These two are such a pair of con artists that it’s hard to guess if they’re ever telling the truth. Runa has had mental health issues, but that why it’s a good tool for manipulation. Ben knows that she cries wolf to get his attention, but he can’t be sure about this episode, and he has all of his conflicting interests at play.
Elena walks in and announces that she’s going to take the new seedlings in, even though she doesn’t have to. She’s ready to get back to work. Ben jumps up to walk her down to the greenhouse, without another word to Runa. As soon as Elena appeared, it was like Runa didn’t exist.
Elena says she’s been thinking, and he’s right. She’s ready to get well and work through the whole program. Ben happily says he’ll be with her every step of the way.
He moves from Elena to Sigrid, who’s gotten herself a pretty sweater! Go, Sigrid! She’s feeling confident today. It’s time for her graduation test. Her test is the same set up as Elena’s torture session, but Sigrid remains perfectly calm throughout, with all of her measurements flat and even. Ben is thrilled.
The story of Sigrid’s first shift:
It was past midnight. My dad sat down on my bed. He said, “I don’t love your mother. I can’t pretend any more.” He’d been seeing this other woman, Ava Dahl, for a long time. He was packed and ready to leave. “It doesn’t mean that I love you any less.” “You’ll kill her, Daddy, if you go.” “Ava’s pregnant.” I hated the way he used her name, as if she were part of our family. My papa. Mine and Mum’s. I wasn’t going to let him leave us. One moment, he tried to wrestle me off, and then he fell into my arms, slumped. I held him in the dark, waiting for him to cry. And then his phone was flashing. It was Ava. I answered. “I hate you. You’ve broken us. Have an abortion and leave my family alone.” It was my father’s voice. I was terrified. I ran to my mother, who was still sleeping in her bed. I said, “I love you. Something terrible has happened. I love you so much.” She walked towards me, and she held my face. “I forgive you.” And then she kissed my mouth, and moved close into my body. My father’s body. And all I knew was that Papa wasn’t leaving and that my mother was happy.
She had a more positive experience than most shifters probably do. She was a bit of a ruthless kid. And she enjoyed Mommy kissing her on the mouth.
When she finishes, Ben congratulates her and removes the test paraphernalia. Sigrid asks what will happen to the recordings of her sessions. He replies that they’ll stay safely in his possession. She doesn’t look happy about that.
When she stands up, he invites her to hug him. They haven’t touched in the 3 years that she’s been on the farm. She gives him a big hug and revels in the trust this hug implies.
Harry and June/Deborah make it to Real Deborah’s house. June knows odd facts about Deborah, like what the name of the paint color on the wall is. She’s having a hard time keeping her own identity separate from Deborah’s. She keeps slipping into speaking as if this is her real home and her own baby. Then she suggests they stay there and use Deborah’s place as a long term hideout.
Harry slices his hand with a knife. June/Deborah stitches it up, since she’s a nurse. Harry’s ability to cope isn’t improving, and who can blame him at this point? All he wanted to do was run away with his girlfriend, live in a crappy flophouse, get a lousy job, and live the dream life of a high school drop out who’s in love. Instead, his true love isn’t even there physically half the time, and now she’s loosing it mentally.
He might be becoming a little impatient with June’s coping mechanism of playing house as a pregnant, single thirtysomething. At 16, he’s not prepared to date that level of grown upness. Some guys never are.
June is thinking about her 3 shifts and figures out what causes them. Her emotional trigger is fear. That brings on the shift state. Skin to skin contact iniates the shift into a particular person.
After stitching up Harry’s hand, June feel’s Deborah’s baby kick. She wonders how the baby can be with both women? Is one a phantom? Is she (slowly or quickly) sucking the soul out of the person she transforms into?
June decides that she doesn’t want to be herself anymore. Harry is really, really not okay with this. She tries to guilt him, but he doesn’t fall into the trap. He wants to be with the girl he fell in love with, who can’t be pregnant with their baby because they haven’t had sex yet. “So you need to snap out of it right now!”
Sadly, no one does the Cher-Nicholas Cage “Snap out of it!” slap from Moonlight, one of the great Rom-Com slaps of all time.
June isn’t sure she should even exist. At the very least, right now her shapeshifter camouflage is keeping her hidden and safe as long as she’s Deborah. She wants to stay in one place for a while and nest.
I think she’s taking on some of the personality characteristics of each person she becomes. With Lil, she wanted to make out in public, and with Steinar, she wrestled Harry instead of talking to him. Those could be explained away by circumstances. It’s more obvious with Deborah, who must be happy with her life and a homebody.
Harry, on the other hand, needs some kind of normal already. They’re on the run, not staying in one place for more than a few hours; he misses his parents and has talked to his mom, so he knows he’s hurting her; unlike June, he’s lost all of his stuff, so he doesn’t have clothes or a toothbrush or anything of his own; and also unlike June, he doesn’t have the familiar face and body of his love to hold onto.
His girlfriend keeps becoming someone else and he’s hardly dealt with his own feelings about it because he’s been taking care of her. He’s due for a melt down. And he’s doing this with and for her. It’s understandable that he’d want her to make an effort to be her. For all that he should love her no matter what, it’s a lot to ask of a stressed out 16 year old.
Plus, she’s not owning up to the fact that to keep the body and house, she’d be dooming the real Deborah. It’s not clear what would happen to the baby. It’s disturbing that the girl who seemed so sweet and innocent a few days ago is ready to steal someone else’s life and baby so easily.
Meanwhile, they aren’t safe anyway. Alf and Steinar argue over whether they should grab the people in the house. Steinar is sure that this is the right person, but Alf can see with his own eyes that this isn’t the same woman. Either way, they agree to wait until she’s alone to grab her.
Alf is very worried about the state of Steinar’s soul. Steinar was never an angel, but this is beyond the pale. He checks to make sure Steinar isn’t being blackmailed or forced in some other way to kidnap June. Steinar confesses that he was in rough shape after he lost his parents, going so far as to attempt suicide. He couldn’t talk to anyone he knew, but, somehow Ben saved him and gave him a new life. Now they are partners. Alf wonders why Ben isn’t on the stake out.
That one is easy. Ben is the front man with an image to protect, while Steinar is the partner who gets his hands dirty.
Ben wraps up Sigrid’s file and locks it in his cabinet.
Doug stops by to visit Chris and Lewis. Chris isn’t happy to see him. She’s feeding Lewis and being frustrated over Harry. He sits her down for a chat. She tells him everything. He gives her a hug and they almost kiss, but then decide to stay friends.
Sigrid shares her happiness over her successful test with Elena. She suggests that Elena will be the next one to leave, but Elena plans to stay and raise June at Sanctum. Sigrid is shocked that Elena would give up having a full life, but Elena has never been happy out in the world. She points out that Runa has never left, but Sigrid says that Runa isn’t a patient, she’s a partner. Elena should want more than this, like Sigrid.
Hmm, maybe June is channeling her mother right now. There is the suggestion of a psychic link between them. Maybe the bond was strengthened when June began shifting.
Harry sits outside a while, then comes back inside to try again. He finds June sitting on the floor in the nursery with an ultrasound picture. She says she thinks the baby looks like her uncle. I’m going to hope that was a joke, but she’s still staring at the scan. Harry yells, “Who’s uncle?” and walks away. June finds him taking jewelry, and money from Deborah’s purse. She’s against stealing from Deborah. Other than her body and child.
Harry says they’ve got to get money from somewhere and it’s got to last a while. He thinks June could shift back to her own body, she just doesn’t want to. He leaves to go shopping.
June is still wearing the little white dress that she wore to the club, and she’s picked up a gray cardigan sweater to wear over it. Gray fits her new moral ambiguity. Harry stole his father’s wedding ring before he left home. He’s always had a little moral ambiguity.
Steinar sees Harry leave the house and makes his move. June is wary of him, but also tries asking him for information about her condition. He goes on the attack with the syringe rather than introducing himself or acting in any way like a normal person. June fights back and Alf helps her get away. She finds Harry outside and they run away, leaving the bags of groceries behind, as usual.
I worry they’ll drop the baby and leave it behind if they ever have a child of their own, it’s such an ingrained reaction.
Steinar loses control and almost kills Alf.
Harry and June reach a dead-end alley. June can’t run anymore because of the pregnancy. She can feel how much Deborah wants the baby and she doesn’t want to lose it. June accepts that it’s time to go back to her own body. She hears Deborah’s thoughts in her own head while Harry breaks into a garage.
June is falling apart at this point, the collision of teenage hormones and pregnancy hormones having finally brought her down.
It’s up to Harry to make his usual heroic speech to bring her back to herself.
Harry: Hey. Hey, look at me. Look, I know you’re scared for Deborah and the baby, but maybe that’s not enough. What if…What if you have to want to be yourself again?
June: But I don’t.
Harry: I know you don’t, I know. And I know you’re frightened of yourself. But June, I’m not frightened of who you are. Okay? So we’re going to let the both of them go. Together.
June: I can’t. I can’t. What if I hurt him?
Harry: You won’t. Just breathe, okay? Your body will help you.
Jun: Will you help me?
Harry: Always. Always. Because you’re my one and I am yours. Okay? Look, June, I’m sorry about before. Out of everyone I’ve ever met, I choose you, June McDaniel. I choose your eyes that are a perfect storm over a bright blue sea. I choose your freckle that you keep in the tuck of your elbow. The little finger that loops around mine when I take your hand. I choose your first letter. I choose your first reply. Even though I was scared to open it for 3 days. I choose your ink fingerprints that you left on it. And I love everything that you are. So please, please just love those things too.
Was I the only one who felt like he just talked her through labor and delivery?
Steinar finds them and tries to kick the door in while June is in the process of turning back to herself. Harry calls to her to keep going. Steinar hears sirens and leaves. June is herself again, the baby is gone, and she says she’s not a monster, she’s June McDaniel. They hold onto each other for a minute, then remember that they’re not safe and get ready to run again.
Chris has acquired security footage of Harry at the hospital with June as Deborah. Detective Polk goes to work solving the case.
June calls Ryan to arrange a meeting with John. As Ryan and John walk into the meeting, Ryan counsels John to give June whatever she wants and tell her the truth about anything she asks. John agrees.
That deal is blown the second he walks in and sees Harry sitting next to June, holding her hand. He tries to get her straight into the Land Rover, but she wants to eat.
June lays out her terms: I’m not coming home. I’m not moving to Fair Isle. I’m gonna be myself. And Harry and I, we won’t be separated.
Harry takes her hand again. John stares at their hands. I’m a little worried about what this level possessiveness with her boyfriend might imply.
June tries to get John to tell her why Elena left. He won’t talk about it anywhere but at home, or about anything else, either. June demands that he tell her, Harry and Ryan the whole truth, now. John flat out refuses to say a word. Neither one suggests they go somewhere public but more private than a diner.
June plays part of Elena’s message for John and Ryan. The sight of Elena gets John talking. He defends himself without knowing what she said, and proclaims himself the only one who’s able to love or take care of June. Elena will never love her. Harry will never be enough for her. She’s sick and only he can keep her safe.
June tells Ryan that she and Elena aren’t sick, they’re different, and she’s going to find Elena. John’s spiteful words trigger June into a shift state.
Ryan jumps up to go help June. Harry and John try to stop him from touching her. John wins and grabs Ryan by the waist to pull him away. Ryan wacks John with his cane, then holds John off so that June and Harry can escape. He continues to brandish his cane as a weapon. They grab June’s bag 👏🏽and run.
Let’s face it. Ryan is a pirate at heart.
The Sanctum family is celebrating Sigrid’s big win. Ben thanks his harem for always propping him up. Without them, he’d be nothing. Sigrid did something good today, too, though he can’t quite remember what.
Runa remembers that Sigrid plans to leave, and toasts to her new life. They begin discussing the plans for that. Runa mentions that Elena and June will follow Sigrid eventually. Sigrid drops the bomb that Elena doesn’t ever plan on leaving.
I thought Sigrid and Runa were friends, so I’m not sure why she chose to publicly humiliate Runa like this. Maybe she felt that Runa didn’t have her back when Ben ignored her in favor of Elena. She saved all of her fight up until the end, and now she’s firing.
Elena confirms that Ben said she could stay forever and ever. Runa looks to Ben for confirmation. He tries to turn the conversation back to the here and now, but he’s run away from too many conversations and Runa is done.
She starts by slowly picking food apart and using a mostly conversational tone, but she’s saying that she realizes now that she’s been used. Ben and Elena have already planned their family future and she’s not included. The meal explodes with accusations and denials flying everywhere. The best part is when the women lapse into Norwegian and Ben is left out of the conversation. He keeps trying to calm everyone down before he has 3 shifters trying to turn into him. Good times.
Now I want to see that happen. What would happen to the subject?
Runa, ever the diva, storms out of the room, with Ben following. He really doesn’t want to get rid of her. He wants to share.
The sweater game reached its peak with this dinner.
Christine pulls out the evidence files from the Pennines 5 case. The victims in that case had vibrating eyes, just like Deborah Hale did at the hospital today. She tells Doug that it’s happening again. He wants her to let the London police handle the new case, but she doesn’t see how they can, when the old case wasn’t handled properly. Doug walks out. Christine needs to figure this out, because her family is involved. But given how strongly against opening the case up again Doug is, I think someone in power wants to cover the incidents up. Is there a high-ranking shapeshifter in the government?
Ben and Runa argue in the bedroom. They drag out all the dirty laundry. She going to ruin everything they’ve built at Sanctum. He doesn’t see her any more. When did he stop seeing her? He sees Elena because she can can give him the things Runa can’t. Ben doesn’t sleep in the bed with her anymore, which he claims isn’t his choice. He acts as though she’ll swallow him whole if she accidentally shapeshifts during the night.
Runa says she’s a puzzle that he’s already solved, and now he’s moving on to new challenges.
Ben shouts that she’s never been a jealous woman before. She responds that she never thought he’d betray her. He shouts back that he never will. Runa tears things off the walls and breaks things, while Ben reminds her that she’ll go into a shift state if she doesn’t get her anger under control.
Runa has been jealous since the season began. Her jealous period likely began further back, when he began moving hotties into the house.
They continue to argue until Runa is triggered. Ben has been preparing for a shift state since they came upstairs. He grabs the sedative and Runa, plunging the needle into her neck like a snake striking its prey.
Harry and June get a hotel room, now that they have money again. June washes up, then stands next to Harry and undresses. Harry, still the innocent gentleman, stands up to leave, saying he’ll give her some space. June stops him, asking him to stay. She says, “I want you to…see me.”
Her words echo Runa’s.
When June is naked, she asks Harry to undress. He’s still nervous. He explains that he’s been thinking about this, but he couldn’t imagine what it would be like. June thought they’d have to hide and wouldn’t have enough time. Harry acknowledges that they have all the time in the world. They agree, no rushing. She promises that she’s not scared. Harry says that he hasn’t, you know, before.
And then the angels and the string quartet sang.
But wait, there’s a tag. An Asian man leaves his lover behind in bed while he smokes a hand-rolled cigarette and checks youtube. The guy who filmed the nightclub fight also got June shifting in the background, and has posted a video. Asian guy posts a comment under the video, with the user name Passionate Amateur: I know what this is. I can help.
Clare Calbraith, who plays Deborah, was so good that I forgot she wasn’t really June in another body at times. Same with Percelle Ascott acting opposite her. You couldn’t even tell that he had a different scene partner. But I missed Sorcha Groundsell and the chemistry between her and Percelle. Like Harry, I can’t completely warm up to June in another body, so I hope she doesn’t spend many entire episodes switched.
Harry and June have already figured out so much about shifting. It takes Ben years to give his shifters that much control. It makes me worry about what will happen to June when she gets to Norway, and Ben starts trying to convince her she’s doing it wrong.
Sigrid spilled Elena’s news that she planned to stay at Sanctum indefinitely in order to get revenge on Elena and Ben for ignoring her. She knew Runa would be jealous and angry. And she didn’t even bother to come up with an excuse for sharing Elena’s business. She tried to save the mom (Runa) again by getting the mistress (Elena) in trouble, no body swapping required this time.
Alf’s right, it is a cult, and Ben makes sure that it all revolves around him. He’s not making anyone capable of surviving. He’s making them dependent on him. But what happened to Steinar to turn him from the quiet, mild-mannered guy in the bar to the violent, obsessive maniac who’s after June? Is this the product of being used by shifters too many times, or some other mind games Ben has played with him?
Sanctum will be where we answer the question of whether one shifter can take on the form of another shifter, right? Sooner or later, either Runa or Sigrid will decide to try on Elena while she sleeps and visit Ben in his lonely bed.
I thought Runa’s trigger was jealousy, but Ben says that it’s anger. Gonna guess that, just like the Hulk, her secret is that she’s always angry. Runa is as much of a narcissist as Ben, and unstable, despite the therapy. He appears to underestimate how manipulative she is, but he may just be playing along for his own reasons. At least half of Runa’s interactions and his interactions fall into that category. I don’t think the suicide attempt was real either, other than as a cry for more attention. It pains me to write that, because in real life women’s suicide attempts are dismissed way to easily as bids for attention, but I think that’s the way they wrote it.
Runa is a good partner for Ben because they think alike and use the same methods to navigate the world, but she is emotionally fragile. He’s making the exact mistake she described. Instead of joining forces with her to face the world together as strong equal partners, who will research shapeshifters and build Sanctum together, he wants to relegate her to some kind of business partnership role, while he moves on in his personal life.
The worst part is that he’s pushing Runa’s buttons to set off her volatility, while he remains the calm, reasonable one. Who could blame him for moving on, when she has so many issues?? Issues that he creates and orchestrates, but never mind that. He still loves her dearly, even though their physical relationship is over and it’s not safe to touch
the leper her any more, so he’ll keep her on the island, obviously.
Ben is a narcissist and an opportunist. Steinar hints that he was doing something unethical before he met Runa, and so does the doctor at the mental ward, who calls him a quack. Sanctum is definitely unethical. At the very least, he should give Sigrid her tapes or destroy them. As Hulu’s show The Path has taught us, the only reason to keep them is for blackmail purposes down the road. Just the fact that Ben said they’d be safe with him means they won’t be.
Ben also has some weird mind control going with
Hagrid Steinar, who is afraid of him but wants to please him. He’s been brainwashed into thinking that this is such important work that the ends justify the means.
Ben and Elena could be an interesting couple, and she could be his true soulmate. I definitely don’t want Elena back with John or Runa with Ben. Ben’s poisonous to Runa, and Elena and John are poisonous to each other. Ben and Elena are both opportunists who don’t form deep attachments to very many other people. While she appears needier and more vulnerable than Runa on the surface, that’s just because she hasn’t cultivated Runa’s proud, stoic exterior. Inside, Elena is stronger than Runa.
Runa ended up alone and in a mental ward, whereas Elena was married with 2 kids. Elena makes her own decisions and tries to take care of herself emotionally, whereas Runa uses Ben as a crutch. When Runa senses she’s losing him, she clings to him harder, rather than learning to fend for herself. Elena left her husband and survived for years on her own.
Runa said that Elena could give Ben everything he wants, which can only mean that he wants shapeshifter children. Runa is 56, so it’s possible they could have tried once for a child, just before she reached menopause, but were unsuccessful or lost it (Freya?). At 39, Elena isn’t a safe bet either, but could still be fertile. June, however, is ripe for the picking. I don’t want to think Elena would agree to Ben using her, but they’ve made it clear that she isn’t a very good mother. And they showed June being fascinated with her false pregnancy.
Sigrid is the wild card in harem politics. She joined the sweater rivalry this episode and put on makeup as passing her final therapy test gave her new confidence. She’s jealous of Elena, but she’s also planned on leaving, so her jealousy shouldn’t matter. The memory of her first shift is the key to her importance here. In that situation, her father was going to leave the family for his pregnant mistress, but she shifted into him and told the mistress to get an abortion, then went and made up with her mother. The mother kissed her, and may have gone further. She found that tactile approval very rewarding. Ben recognized this and rewarded her at the end of therapy with a hug, after withholding all touch for three years.
Now, we have Mama Runa, Papa Ben, and Interloper Elena. Runa is scared that Ben will have a baby with Elena and not her. The gang often speaks of themselves as a family. The actress who plays Sigrid is 39, the same age as Elena. She could pretend to be Runa and get pregnant by Ben, with Runa’s approval. If Sigrid pretended to leave Sanctum, Runa could keep her hidden at first, then say she wants to spend her pregnancy in isolation.
Apparently one shapeshifter could potentially also steal another’s baby, if she shifts into that person and doesn’t shift back until after the birth. So Runa could steal a baby from June or Elena, or from a regular human woman, for that matter.
There are hints that Runa or Elena could have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It would be believable for people who seem to become other people so often to develop other personalities to deal with the shifts. Runa’s facial expression changed just before she told Elena about June, then later she was upset with herself for the mistake and claimed memory issues. That could’ve been an alternate identity taking over. When Runa told Elena about June, Elena denied the possibility that June could be a shapeshifter. She didn’t act like it was something she expected them to figure out. But later, she tells Ben that she’s known that June would be a shapeshifter since the first time she held her.
Runa is ten years older than Elena, has already been hospitalized for a mental breakdown at least once, and her mother went through a similar mental deterioration. No one has mentioned that Elena is showing symptoms yet, or if this illness is expected of all shifters.
June started to lose touch with reality in this episode, but Harry brought her back. His touch, voice and general closeness have been crucial to keeping her grounded. That’s the opposite of what Ben does. Ben ran from the room when Elena entered shift state, even though there was no danger to him, and gave Runa a sedative to make her unconscious, touching her only while giving her the injection.
He’s afraid of the shapeshifters and of having them impersonate him. So afraid that he won’t risk touching even a calm shapeshifter. Did he and Steinar experience some of the negative effects of shifting? It’s odd that an expert on shifters would be so afraid of touching them when there’s ample warning time between the beginning of shift state and the danger zone, at least when the two people are awake.
Harry says June isn’t pregnant because they’ve never had sex, and June looks away. When they have sex, he says it’s his first time, but she doesn’t. Despite being guarded like a princess in a castle, there’s a good chance June has had sex before. With who? John? A teacher? Those would technically be rape in the US. Another boy? Or girl? She’s a daring Gryffindor to Harry’s sweet Hufflepuff, so anything that’s feasible is possible.
But then we have to add in the diner scene, where John is glaring daggers at Harry and essentially telling Harry that he’ll never be man enough for June. Only John can fulfill that role. And the way June was triggered, when she should have been angry, not afraid. What was she afraid of in that moment? Was she afraid that John was right? Are those the kind of words he’s always said to her?
When John talked to Christine, he was certain that June had no interest in boys or getting out of the house. June, as it turns out, is very different from that.
Did John move his affections from Elena to June, who is very similar to Elena, but young and innocent, a “woman” he thought could keep from turning bad and instead mold into the person he wanted? I hope I’m wrong about this, but his possessiveness is so out of control, and his refusal to share any information is pathological at this point, when he knows June is already shifting.
Images courtesy of Netflix.