In episode 6 of The Innocents, the men get weepy and the women go drinking. Left alone on the island, Runa, Sigrid and Elena break the rules and share some female bonding time with Runa’s homebrew. Harry goes home to his family and has a tearful reunion, then discovers some distressing information about Lewis. He runs to the farm to share it with Ryan and John, leaving Ryan teary-eyed as well. June meets the mysterious Dr Halvorson, and agrees to go to Norway with him. One of the first things he does is take away her phone, cutting off her access to anyone else. Before they leave London.
The groups and alliances are reshuffled in this episode. Some much needed communication happens between multiple characters, building bridges between them. By the end of the episode, the characters have moved into position for the final act.
After Harry walks away from her, June walks back to Kam’s flat in the sunshine, with her beautiful hair glowing in the sun. She looks sad and lost, but her hair will carry her through this disaster. That hair is survivor’s hair.
When she gets back to Kam’s flat, Andrew is complaining that the one thing he asked of her was that she only switch into his body. He says he doesn’t even get much out of this relationship. He just gets stuffed into a cupboard, then watches his body have fun without him in phone videos.
Kam says he’s welcome to leave if he wants to, but Andrew quickly calms down and says that’s not what he wants. He’s just starting to forget who he is. Kam says that she knows who he is, and it’s predictable. He should leave before it gets boring.
Harry gets home and hugs his dad. He tells his dad he missed him so much. Then Christine sees Harry, hugs him, and tells him she missed him so much.
June demands that Kam give her phone back. Kam ignores the question. Instead, she tells June that she’s been where June is- in freefall. She thinks June is just like her. June replies that she’s not Kam. She would never shift into someone who didn’t want it or try to split people up.
All that Kam gets from June’s words is that Harry left. She says, “You always have to push them away in the end, always. Like you mother did to you.”
June tells her Kam wants her phone back, so she can go meet someone who’ll really help her.
Kam says she wonders what it would be like to shift into June. June is still so untouched by life. Kam could become her and stay that way forever.
June tells Kam that she doesn’t scare her. “I can’t stand you. I think everything you do is a lie. A front. Even the way you shift is messed up. Look at what you’ve done to yourself.” June decides to look for the phone herself, and goes to the bedroom.
Kam follows her, having decided to be nice. Now she wants to work together, like sisters. June says it would never work after what Kam did to her and Harry. She needs someone trustworthy. Kam holds out the phone, and June snatches it before Kam can try to shift into her.
Kam begs, “Please, don’t leave me.” June says, “I’m sorry,” and runs out of the building.
Runa feeds the chickens, then sees Elena carrying a dress across the yard. She follows Elena up to the house and scolds her for taking out the dress, since it was put away, not meant to be used.
Elena found the dress in the linen box. She had to find something for June. Runa comes up with a couple of other lame excuses for why Elena and June shouldn’t use the dress. Elena says, “I’m sorry Runa. I meant no harm. I’m just being a mother.” Runa laughs coldly and leaves the room. In the hall, she looks completely lost.
Harry finds Christine’s murder board for the Pennines 5. He asks why June is on it. Christine says that she knows about Deborah the nurse, and that Deborah’s vibrating eyes and other symptoms match Lewis’. She shows Harry that Elena was there the night Lewis was hurt. Harry realizes that Elena shifted into Lewis and left him in that condition. He takes off for the farm, telling Christine to stay out of it.
When he gets to the farm, he pounds on windows and doors, calling for John. Ryan comes out, asking where June is. Harry says he doesn’t care. Ryan asks if he left her in London, and Harry is generally rude in response. Ryan shoves Harry. Harry turns to him and says, “Really? You know I can’t fight you.”
Ryan says, “Oh, you can if you want, mate, but I wouldn’t.”
Right now I’d really like to see Harry get hit with the cane a few times. He needs something to snap him out of this obnoxious mood.
They stare at each other, then Ryan tells Harry he’s a mess, and Harry backs off.
Harry asks if June knew that Elena hurt Lewis. Ryan has a moment of shocked surprise, then tells him that neither of them did. Harry calms down.
So what he was actually upset about was the idea that June had been lying to him.
Harry still wants to talk to John. He needs answers. Ryan says that John is in a bad place, too. He didn’t even come home last night. They set off together to look for him.
John is staring at the Penines 5 memorial.
June decides not to go back to the hostel where she stayed with Harry. Kam decides to take action.
Runa has a secret in the chicken coop. She pulls a thermos and mug out of a box and takes it to the greenhouse. It her own special homebrew, totally forbidden by Ben. Because of course Ben forbids the shapeshifters to have alcohol. Sigrid finds her and is amused. She offers to listen to Runa if she needs to talk. Runa looks toward Elena, and Sigrid suggests they all need to do some sharing.
Ben’s flight is delayed, giving Steinar time to get drunk at the airport bar. Ben is politely disdainful when he arrives. They get coffee and talk. Well, Steinar talks. Ben gives him the silent treatment until Steinar says the thing he’s waiting for.
Once Steinar offers Ben the farm in exchange for forgiveness, Ben pulls out a check. He doesn’t want the farm for free, because then Steinar can try to reclaim it. He’s going to buy it, free and clear, and Steinar is no longer welcome there.
Steinar is stunned. This is his family home. Without it he’ll have no home, no family, and no purpose in life. He had no idea that Ben was only using him, and would get rid of him as soon as Ben could cheat him out of the farm and find a new enforcer.
Ben is sure he’ll bounce back and do fine. He can’t allow Steinar around the women any longer. Steinar complains that Ben knows why he’s the way he is, and that it’s not his fault. Ben just tells him to start taking responsibility for himself.
So something did happen to Steinar involving the shifters. And it scared him enough that now he doesn’t trust them, so he’s too rough with them.
Harry and Ryan stop by the local pub, but John’s not there. A couple of Harry’s friends are and they scoop him right up. Ryan is left to sit alone. A cute female bartender gives him a flirty look and tells him she remembers him from school. She says she always looked at him then too, but he didn’t notice. She couldn’t figure out if he was shy or stuck up. She leaves him to think about that, with a couple more flirty looks.
June gets a cup of tea and is followed in by a woman in a drapey gold poncho. The woman watches her the whole time. June eventually lets her mind wander to all of her anxieties, which turn into fears. She begins to go into a shift state and runs outside. Just as she’s getting herself under control again, all by herself, Ben calls and tells her he’s in London.
John walks into the pub. Harry, whose friends have been plying him with drinks, goes to confront him. Ryan tries to stop him, but can’t. He accuses John of allowing Elena to wreck Lewis, then threatens to tells Elena did to everyone that night. John turns it around on him and asks where June is. Harry asks how he could look him in the eye, knowing what Elena did to his father. John says that Harry looked him in the eye, knowing he was going to steal his daughter.
It descends into an almost fist fight, with John accusing Harry of being too drunk to make sense.
I AM SO SICK OF THE MEN IN THIS SHOW REFERRING TO THE WOMEN AS THEIR POSSESSIONS. STOOOOOOP. JUST STOP RIGHT NOW.
Harry didn’t steal June because she’s not a thing that John owns. She’s an equal human being who he ran away with. Who decided, all by herself, to run away. She actually didn’t need Harry to do it.
And John wasn’t responsible for Elena’s actions, Harry, you -ss. Get over yourself. What was he supposed to tell the police, anyway? Did you really expect him to turn in the mother of his children? The way you turned in June for harming Lil and Deborah? Or not.
After Harry’s friends drag him out of the pub, Ryan asks John what he’s going to do next. John has decided not to do anything, since he always makes the wrong choice. Ryan doesn’t accept that answer, and tells John it’s not okay to just give up.
I don’t think John should give up, since June is about to head to Norway, and will need help, but it’s good that he’s realizing he’s made mistakes. That’s a good step toward loosening up his attitudes. There is a difference between protecting or advising her when she needs it and controlling her life. Everyone could use a protector and advisor. No one needs for someone to take over their life and treat them like they’re incapable of making their own decisions.
Runa, Sigrid and Elena have organized a nighttime bonfire down by the lake and are passing the homebrew. Sigrid thinks it’s a good idea, since it will help to break the tension. Then she starts the secret sharing. There was a girl she used to know, who she still thinks about. She going to tell her how she feels when she leaves Sanctum. She doesn’t even care how the girl, now woman, reacts. She’s ready to love and to be free.
Elena goes next, confessing that she never loved John, she just thought he’d be safe for Ryan and June. She’s apprehensive about the questions June has for her.
Then it’s Runa’s turn. She takes a deep breath and another shot of homebrew, then confesses that she has early onset dementia. Her mother had it too, so she knows what will happen to her. Sigrid tries to comfort her, but Runa doesn’t trust herself to touch anyone without shifting. She becomes teary, but says she doesn’t want to spend all of her time crying. She just wants to be herself, while she still can.
Sigrid, who is an absolute treasure, draws the other two over to the lakeshore and suggests they go for a swim in the freezing cold lake, because Scandinavian people are crazy. I’m married to a Swede, I can say this. That Viking blood has never left them, no matter how mild-mannered they seem on the outside. Every once in a while they’ll do something like take off their 6 layers of sweaters and jump into an ice cold lake together, in the middle of the night, as a bonding exercise. So that’s what the three shifters do, they go skinnydipping in the moonlight. This should become a monthly full moon ritual.
It’s gorgeous and pagan and the bonfire sequence is one of the best of the series so far.
Harry returns home and falls into Christine’s arms, crying. She wraps him up and holds on.
It’s good to see a mother-son moment in this show. Those relationships have mostly been ignored.
So, now we know Harry’s a sloppy, sad drunk and the shifters are wild drunks, all 5 of them. The berserker spirit lives on. I approve.
June meets Ben in a public place. It looks like an upscale hotel lobby. The first thing she does is ask why this is happening to her. The first thing he does is start deflecting. He brings her to a chair instead of answering her question immediately.
Steinar waits outside the hotel, practicing a speech he hopes will convince Ben to take him back. The woman in the gold sweater walks up to the hotel and turns to go inside. As she passes behind a large pillar, she shifts back into Kam. Steinar sees her and follows.
Ben explains the genetics behind shapeshifting. “You carry a mutated gene from a very particular Scandinavian bloodline. What I’ve ascertained is that it only passes down through the female line. It seems to skip a generation, so mother to daughter is unusual. Which makes you a little special.”
June: “Is there a cure?”
Ben: “Not as yet, but we are making very good progress.”
June: “We? So there’s more of us?”
Ben: “There’s Sigrid and Runa, and of course your mother. Now we’ve gone on to make somewhat of an unusual family. And a safe place for all of us.
Why does Ben need a safe place? Is he on the run? He broke Runa out of the mental hospital, but I doubt anyone cares about that anymore. What did he do that has people still looking for him, years later? Did he leave Australia to go into hiding in Norway?
June: “How do I know it’s going to be safe for me?”
Ben: “Do you feel safe out here? Do others feel safe around you?”
Not only is that not an answer, it’s the beginning of his tactic of undermining her self-confidence.
June doesn’t answer him. Kam stands at the entrance to the room, where their backs are to her. Her eyes get huge and she starts to pant, hovering on the knife-edge of shift state. Pain is her trigger, which means that seeing Ben brings up such terrible memories that it’s causing her physical pain, probably PTSD trauma and flashbacks to abuse by him. Kam has iron control of her shifts, so seeing Ben must be truly awful.
June: “Do you think I’m a monster?”
Ben: “No, you’re a young woman in a frightening new world, and I think you need someone to walk through it with you. I just need you to trust me.”
Those were the magic words, as he hoped they would be.
June: “Yeah, okay, I’ll come.”
Ben says, “Good,” and puts on a fake sympathetic look, which doesn’t reach his eyes and looks plastered on his face. It’s ultracreepy, but a desperate person is easily fooled.
Pay attention, boys and girls. The Big Bad Wolf is hiding in plain sight in all three of these photos, and I don’t mean Kam.
Kam watches them talk, while Steinar creeps up behind her. When she turns and sees him, he says, “You. Where have you been all this time?” He doesn’t immediately try to grab or sedate her, but she takes off running anyway.
Steinar starts to follow her, then sees Ben and June. He hesitates, trying to decide who to follow. Kam’s pull proves stronger and he calls for her to wait as he heads in her direction.
Runa and Elena watch from the windows as Sigrid joyfully plays outside. Runa says that Sigrid is opening like a flower, and it means a lot to her to see their therapy method working so well.
Elena apologizes for being selfish and caught up in her own problems. Runa confesses that she’s been a little jealous, to see Ben paying so much attention to Elena, and now her child. She shares that she is a mother, too, but she lost her child. She doesn’t want her forgotten.
Elena reaches out her hand to Runa, but Runa declines. Elena insists, and they hold hands. Elena thanks Runa for telling her, and promises she’ll never forget Runa’s daughter. She asks for the girl’s name. Runa says it was Freya. They continue to hold hands and watch Sigrid, extending the supportive moment.
Kam makes it back to her flat, but Steinar isn’t far behind. He stands on the street and looks up at her balcony. He actually looks calmer than he has before, but that might not mean anything. It might mean that he’s still enthralled to her, and just seeing her made him feel better; it might mean he’s in love with her and stalking her; or it might simply mean that he’s planning to use her as his ticket back into Sanctum.
In the morning, Christine asks Harry why he thought she wouldn’t miss him. He says it’s because she wasn’t ever around or noticing him to begin with. After Lewis’ injury, he felt like he lost them both. Christine says it’s been hard, and she’s had a difficult time accepting the change in Lewis. Harry points out that she still hasn’t.
Christine says he’s home again now, with his family, implying things will be better now. She asks Harry to promise he’ll never go near “that girl” again. In the midst of all that motherly love and attention, after such a rough couple of weeks, he agrees.
Not cool, but human. His mom has actually been missing for as long as June’s. He’s just had to live with the shell of both parents. Now, she’ offering nearly unconditional love again. He only has to give up a girl who’s hundreds of miles away and who he thinks doesn’t want him anyway.
Christine says that it’s time to get Lewis up. Harry begins to get up to do it, but Christine stops him and says she’ll do it. Then when he’s ready, they’ll talk. It’s a show of good faith that things really are going to change.
Harry’s phone rings. It’s Kam. She begs him not to hang up, and tells him that June is going to Norway with Ben. She insists that Harry has to stop June from going. He has to make her listen.
Kam: “Harry, he’s dangerous. He acts like he’s not, but he is. I know him. And this place is not what it seems.”
Harry is silent for a minute, trying to take in what she’s said. Kam says that she knows how much Harry and June love each other, because when she shifted into him, she saw the night they spent together. June said she wanted him to see her, and he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Kam hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it, because she doesn’t know how to feel that way anymore.
Harry had been certain it was June who shifted into him. Now he’s reshuffling everything in his head, realizing how wrong he was, and how much he hurt her.
Kam gives Harry the location of Sanctum, on an island near Holen Fjord. She orders him not to let June go. Harry repacks his bag and leaves a phone message for June.
June calls Princess Victoria hospital from the airport to check on the status of Deborah and the baby. Both are fine. Ben returns to her just as she hangs up and tells her that “they” don’t allow phones at Sanctum for “their” protection. He holds out his hand, another big, fake smile on his face, and she hands the phone over.
Major cult alert. Arbitrary rules put in the third person and stated as inevitable requirements, plus isolating members from the outside world.
Kam has a memory or hallucination from her childhood. She is Runa’s daughter Freya, and remembers the two of them hiking into Sanctum in the snow. Freya is very blonde, whereas “Kam” now has dark hair.
When she comes out of it, she’s kneeling on the floor, holding out her hand to Runa, like she was in the memory. She’s crying, and disoriented. She hears Steinar on the freight elevator and panics, breaking glass bottles on the coffee table. Thinking quick, she grabs a glass bottle and hides behind a wall as Steinar comes out of the elevator calling, “Freya!”
Harry leaves a note and a flash drive for Christine the Left Behind. He goes to John’s house to enlist his support in saving June. Finally, something John can do, that he was made for.
June and Ben’s plane takes off for Norway. Ben stares at June while she sleeps, in a way that isn’t creepy at all. Except in the chilling ways it is. He’s looking at her like she’s a lab specimen.
Can what Kam told Harry be trusted? I’m certain she’s right that June is in danger. She may have reasons of her own for wanting to get Harry up to Sanctum, or to ruin whatever Ben has planned. Or she may just honestly want to make things up to the two of them, since she and June are cousins. We’ll find out in the next two episodes, I hope. The bottom line is that June is walking into the lion’s den alone, and she could use some help.
There is an empty seat beside June on the plane. Meant for Steinar? Harry? Freya? I have a feeling June would be better off if any of them were in that seat, even Steinar. Why else would Ben have gotten rid of him now, in particular? He could have been kept out of June’s sight for a while, then brought back in, once she’s a fully fledged cult member. The only reason to get rid of him for good is because he’s tender-hearted underneath it all, and Ben is trying to hide what will happen next.
At the end of the episode, Christine is left alone with Lewis, trying to pick up the pieces, as usual. I really wish Christine would at least get to speak to another woman, instead of being stuck with all of these uncommunicative men who are apt to leave the room in the middle of a conversation.
Surely we can find a reason for her to hang with the shapeshifters. She can be the support person and contact with the outside world, once they get rid of Ben. She could even make sure rumors don’t get far and be their fixer. She has the perfect contacts for the job.
For others like me, who don’t live in the UK and who are wondering what Harry and June’s legal status is: How sweet is sixteen? Legal age limits in England and Wales
For example, if I understand correctly, at 16, Harry was able to go to the pub and legally drink, but it was illegal for Harry and June to go to the club. Unless it was a club that specifically catered to a younger crowd? Does the UK have those like the US does? Though obviously the alcohol was the least of their worries that night.
16 and 17 year olds can quit school, but need to continue with at some form of at least part-time education until they’re 18. The type of education is very flexible. They can live on their own, work and get married, though parental permission is required for marriage and moving out. According to the document, few judges will force a 16 or 17 year old to move back home if the parent forces the issue.
So that explains why Christine didn’t rush to involve the police force. She knew that Harry could emancipate himself, as we call it here in the US, and sending the cops after him would just make things worse.
Ben shows what a snake he is in this episode. He’s all flat eyes and fake warmth and smiles. He used Steinar, damaged his mind, and stole his family home from him, then left him cold. He carefully controls his conversations with June, giving her only very specific bits of information and telling her what she wants to hear.
There’s a current of undermining expertism underneath it all, to remind June that even though he accepts her, she is, in fact, a monster who doesn’t belong in society and that only he can help and protect her. If it wasn’t clear before that Sanctum operates like a cult, the way Ben recruits June make it concrete.
After everything, Steinar is still either stupid or innocent. He didn’t understand that his value to Ben was tied up in his ownership of the house, even though it’s obvious in their first bar conversation. Ben doesn’t want any other men anywhere near those women, so as soon as he had Sigrid to work as enforcer, he no longer needed Steinar.
Was Steinar enthralled to Freya? When he saw her, he followed her, giving up the chance to talk to Ben. Maybe he’s still enthralled and stalks her whenever he can find her. Unlike their dealings in the past, right now having Steinar on her side and against Ben could be very useful to Kam, so she might stop running and try to strike a deal.
None of the shifters seem to do well in isolation. They might need to live in groups to function at their best. It might not be Ben’s treatment that helps, so much as the attention he gives them, and eventually the time with other shifters. Runa and June, who have had steady support in their lives, are the two most well-adjusted shifters we’ve seen, but male companions aren’t enough. Look at how much better the harem members are doing at the end of this episode, when they’ve bonded with each other. I wonder if the dementia that runs in Runa’s family will turn out to be a reaction to isolation rather than the human version of the disease.
June really doesn’t need Ben’s program. She pulled herself out of a shift state when she left the cafe, just before he called. If she can do that already, then all she needs is time and practice. Ben’s going to try to tear her down and convince her she’s weak, for his own purposes.
Harry loves making the people he cares about happy, and dislikes starting conflict with loved ones. That’s why it’s so easy for him to say the things people want to hear. What’s not so easy for him is to tell people what they don’t want to hear. He makes a lot of promises he can’t keep, in his efforts to be all things to all people. He needs to figure out how to prioritize and accept that he can’t keep everyone he loves happy all of the time.
This episode shows us that deep down, John and Harry are more alike than we might wish. They are both loyal, stalwart men with good intentions, who believe in taking care of their women and families. But John and Harry are also typical, controlling guys who somehow think they’re doing you a favor by taking over your life.
In their minds, it’s obvious that women need men to keep them safe and on the right track. Neither of them ever talk about what June wants, only what they think is best for her or what they want. When Harry told June to figure out what she wanted, it was clear by the next day that he really meant that she should start wanting what he wanted again. Her own needs and desires didn’t figure into either his plans or John’s.
I’m starting to suffocate from the men on this show. The sexism that manifests as supposed kindness is a suffocating, crippling form of oppression that results in learned helplessness on the part of the women. In other words, the idea that women can’t take care of themselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Women are told that from the moment of birth, and deep down, they start to believe that they need a man’s validation, approval and protection. It can be paralyzing.
Before you know it, you have an Elena, who can’t sort herself out and chooses a controlling, borderline abusive man to keep her and her children “safe”. She hasn’t made the effort to learn to control herself because she believes it’s impossible for a weak, inferior being such as herself to manage it.
The women are lovely, though I do wish they hadn’t made the harem all so helpless before Ben found them. If June was able to figure herself out in a week, why couldn’t they get some control on their own after decades with the condition? Are we supposed to believe that June has only achieved her self-control because of Harry? Or that none of the other 3 were ever able to find a supportive friend or lover to work with, before Ben saw the research, fame and fortune possibilities of working with Runa?
Ingunn Beate Øyen, who plays Runa, was amazing in this episode. Her emotions ran the gamut, from the happy younger mother encouraging her daughter up the snowy hill, to the jealous, lost woman who hasn’t seen her daughter in years, and everything in between. Over the course of the season she’s also been asked to play Runa in the midst of a psychotic episode, anxiety attacks, completely lucid but petty, manipulative periods, and times when Runa is a competent, well-adjusted adult. And let’s not forget her shift states.
Ingunn has given Runa a stoic grace that carries through all of these phases. She allows us to see the woman that Runa once was, and the woman she could have been had shifting not gotten in the way. Now we are seeing glimpses of pre and post dementia Runa alternating with each other.
Runa is a complex character, with a complicated history and emotions. Ingunn brings all of that into Runa’s moods, so that Runa’s good times feel like the triumph that they are. She’s the beating heart of the Sanctum storyline, and she carries it well.
Images courtesy of Netflix.