In this episode, we finally discover the meaning of Lewis’ oft repeated question, the episode title, “Will You Take Me, Too?” When June and Elena are reunited, Elena’s actions on the night of the Penines 5 are revealed, as is her connection to Lewis. It’s hard to know whether to count Elena as a perpetrator or another victim. She didn’t have premeditated intent, but should she have had better control?
We also inch, ever so slowly, closer to understanding Ben’s intentions. We’ll have to wait until the finale to find out exactly what his plans for June are, but he definitely has plans to use June to save Runa. I think he wants June to shift into Runa indefinitely, the way she shifted into Elena and was becoming indistinguishable from her. With June wearing Runa’s body, he’d have the best of both worlds. Presumably the June version of Runa wouldn’t have dementia, and they could have shapeshifter children together.
I knew someone else gave Kam the idea of shifting into another person and staying them forever.
As the penultimate episode of the season, this episode continues to move the chess pieces into place for the finale. John and Harry make it to Sanctum, but John is hurt. While Harry recommits to June, she’s more scared than ever after shifting into Elena and discovering how bad things could get. She can’t trust that the two of them are enough to keep her from hurting someone anymore.
The bond that Runa, Sigrid and Elena formed while Ben was away begins to be felt, as they subtly question his instructions and make more of their own decisions. Ben becomes more desperate, as he senses Runa slipping away into dementia at an increased pace. By the end of the episode, Steinar makes his way back to Sanctum, but odds are that he is actually a certain lost shifter.
We open on a flashback of the first time Harry and June had a real conversation with each other. She’s sitting by herself in the schoolyard, while he fools around with his friends and a ball. He notices her, and sits next to her to talk. He asks if she’s dreaming of getting on one of the planes flying overhead. They discuss whether they want to run far away to exciting adventures or close by to a familiar life. Harry just wants to find someplace that feels like home.
And he hasn’t found anyone to share the real him with yet. So far, he just makes a lot of noise so people don’t ask deep questions. Which obviously prompts June to ask deep questions, but he deflects rather than answering, since they’ve just started talking.
June remembers their conversation while she waits for Ben to return to the car on their way to Holen Fjord. She worries that now her love is unrequited and plays with the bracelet Harry gave her.
Ben carries groceries back to the car and hands June a bag of marshmallows. Then he asks her to tell him more about her shift into Deborah, the pregnant nurse. June explains that she still remembers all of Deborah’s memories. When the baby kicked, she had all of Deborah’s knowledge about the pregnancy so far. Test results, doctor’s visits, everything from all five months. She could hear Deborahs thoughts as well as her own, and she had Deborah’s skills. Ben says this makes June more than just a little special among shapeshifters.
As Harry and John wait for their flight, Harry asks how John could let him and his mom worry for 3 years, without telling them he knew what was wrong with Lewis. And how he could treat June the way he did, locking her up and drugging her so that she was hardly even herself.
John’s answer on both counts is that he was trying to protect his kids, but he knows now that he should have done things differently. He tells Harry that they need to work together, no matter their differences, if they’re going to help June.
Christine goes to wake Harry for breakfast, but he’s gone again. She reads his note:
Don’t blame yourself anymore. Don’t make yourself sick again. You already know what they can do. Watch the clip. Believe your eyes. I love you.
She plugs in the flash drive and watches the clip. It’s the video of June shifting at the club. Christine is inspired to go on an investigative spree. When she’s done, she takes her pile of new evidence to Doug.
First she shows him the photo of Elena’s reflection standing next to “Lewis” on the night of the Penines 5 and says that John lied about Elena’s whereabouts. Then she tells him about Lil and Deborah, two patients who went into spontaneous comas while June was nearby. She’s not sure what Elena and June are doing to people, but the cases are connected.
She convinces Doug that they have to do something, because Harry has run off after June and is in real danger. Doug puts a ping on Harry’s phone.
Harry and John have already boarded the plane to Bergen, Norway and are continuing their heart to heart. Harry apologizes for not being able to keep June safe. John says that June is strong-willed, with a mind of her own.
Y’know, like an actual person who has her own thoughts.
Harry tells John that June didn’t run away to hurt him.
Y’know, like a person with needs and desires of her own.
Thank God, we move on from this conversation. Enough of these two comforting each other over the sad fact that June has an actual mind and personality instead of being a blow up doll. They just can’t get over the fact that she doesn’t always follow orders and her every thought isn’t about them.
June and Ben take a ferry on their way to the compound. June tells Ben about meeting Kam, and that she ended up betraying their trust. Ben is quick to agree that this is typical of shifters. They all drive people away, and can’t keep friends. But they need community, so he’s heroically building that for them and will let her and Elena join.
How on earth could Elena think it’s a good idea to expose her daughter to someone who will tear her down with every word out of his mouth like this?
June asks why Elena left her, but Ben says she has to wait for Elena to answer that herself.
Once John and Harry land, Harry calls Christine to let her know he’s okay. Christine tries to convince Harry that June is too dangerous, but he already knows what she can do. He says that, “Every time she changes, I feel like I know her more,” which is one of the most romantic things he’s said. He reminds Christine that she told him things go wrong in love. He’s not giving up on June.
Doug traced the call to the airport, so the police can follow him.
June and Ben have reached land again, and are driving toward Sanctum. In about 1 mile, they will have to start hiking. When Steinar said this farm is remote, he wasn’t kidding.
Ben tells June not to mention the other shifter she met to the harem. While he’d like to help the other girl, he’s thought about it, and bringing her into the mix might destabilize his ladies. He can’t risk that!
It would definitely destabilize them, since she’s Runa’s daughter, a girl he used and abused until she ran away. It would destabilize his life quite a bit, too.
The car almost hits a deer, who’s already lying hurt in the road, half dead. There are two important things about this moment. First, the car almost goes off the road, and the fear doesn’t even start to send June into a shift state. It’s only emotional fear that triggers her, not physical fear.
Second, Ben walks back to the animal, picks up its head and twists it to break the deer’s neck. He does this matter of factly, with no sense that this is a living creature who is in pain. He doesn’t even acknowledge that it’s alive while he’s killing it, like most people would, with a kind word or pat to soothe it. It doesn’t affect him, at all, to have to kill the deer with his bare hands. That’s getting close to psychopath territory.
Christine goes to the McDaniel farm with a search warrant and breaks down the door. Ryan rushes in and tries to stop them. Christine asks where they’re going from Bergen. She thinks Harry’s with June instead of John. Ryan says they just want to be together. She’s lost them.
Ben and June take a small boat to get to the island. Runa and Sigrid come out to meet her, but Elena is trying to cope with her love trigger. Ben says June won’t be able to see her until tomorrow. It’s a blatant show of control now that they’re on the island, since he could have warned her about this at any point on the trip, and explained why, instead of leading her on, then taking her mother away.
He’s establishing right away that he controls access to everything, and she has to keep him happy if she wants her life to be easy. He’s also establishing that though he pretends life on the island is structured, with sensible rules, in fact, he can change his mind about anything, at any time. The others will bow to his wishes immediately without voicing an opinion or questioning him. He’s the expert, after all.
June can feel this happening, but, like most people, she doesn’t understand what it is. This type of control model is set up to make it look like the people who don’t go along with it are either angry and rebellious or crazy. The manipulator maintains a calm exterior while spouting lies and half-truths.
Christine says goodbye to Lewis as part of her preparations to leave for Norway. He’s fingering his wedding ring, so she gives him hers to hold onto. He looks at her and says, “Will you take me, too?” Christine tells him she’ll be back.
John and Harry begin the hike into the fjord.
June joins Ben, Runa and Sigrid for family dinner and learns more about Sanctum. They all wear the same handmade, hand dyed dresses. They aren’t allowed to touch anyone. Ben assures her that there are people who understand her, here and she won’t be on her own.
June replies that she hasn’t been on her own. Runa asks if she’s met other shifters, to which June has to say no, since Ben told her to lie. Instead she tells them about Harry. Runa quickly loses interest.
A few minutes later, Runa has a memory lapse and thinks that June is Freya. Ben corrects her.
June asks to go lie down, but she sees Siggie coming back from Elena’s cottage and decides to visit her mother. She stands outside of the window while they talk.
They have a tearful reunion, and Elena manages to avoid going into shift state. Elena asks if she could come into the cabin, but Siggie will be back for the tray, so they’d be caught. Elena knows of another place.
There aren’t any boats at the shore for John and Harry to use, so they have to hike around the cliffs. John steps in a hole and hurts his leg. When he gets a good look at Sanctum, he decides that Elena got as far away from him as she could.
Dude, it’s not always about you. When will you learn this?
Elena and June take a boat out into the lake. June wants to know what happened the night Elena left, and why she left. Elena won’t talk about that yet. She just tells June that this is a good place, that can be a home for them, away from the world, where they’ll be safe.
June is so totally not interested in that, just like most people wouldn’t be. She starts to tell her mother about Harry, and how in love they are. Elena becomes upset, telling June that she can’t have love. She seems to think that June is exactly like her in every way, including triggers and lack of control. Elena eventually says that she knows what’s best. If June stays with Harry, then eventually she will kill him.
As always, the fear of losing Harry for good is the trigger June can’t control. As always, Elena is kind of a failure as a person, a mother and a shifter. It was her bright idea to go out on the boat, then start yelling at her daughter that she couldn’t have the one thing that brings her joy in her life.
Both women stand up and fall out of the boat. While they’re underwater, Elena swims over to June to help her and touches her hand. June shifts into Elena, but Elena stays awake. They swim back to shore.
Meanwhile, Runa goes to June’s room to bring her a snack and discovers she’s missing. Siggie, Runa and Ben run to the lakeshore to try to coax Elena and June back to shore and off the boat, then watch as they fall overboard and June shifts. Ben keeps himself, Runa and Siggie at a distance while June lies on the beach, unresponsive, though her eyes are open.
They move June to the soundproof, glassed in room that Ben put Runa/Steinar in at the beginning of episode 1. June sits there, nearly catatonic, deep in Elena’s mind. Elena is awake and fully functional. This is the first time any of them have seen a shifter shift into another shifter, and the first time they’ve seen the subject of the shift stay awake.
Ben, Runa and Elena are in the observation room. Elena, helpful as ever, is mostly just panicking. Ben tells June to keep her eyes on herself in the mirror, then asks Elena to talk to June about herself. But since Elena is an absentee mother, all she can think of are things from when June was a little girl, nothing even from just before Elena left.
June begins delving into Elena’s memories, starting with the night the harem got drunk and went skinnydipping. She says she’s broken the rules. Ben immediately knows what’s happening and what she’s talking about. He explains to Runa and Elena, who don’t believe him at first.
Ben says that he believes when the shifter gene is passed down directly from mother to daughter, without skipping a generation, it evolves.
He calmly tells June that she may not be ready to experience Elena’s memories, because she might see things she’s not ready for, but from then on he pretty much just observes the process while Elena screams and flails and tries to make it stop. Ben is fascinated by what’s happening, and has no intention of stopping it.
Ben correctly guesses that June is trying to figure out why Elena left her. That brings her to the night of the Penines 5.
Elena was taking a painting class from Lewis Polk. They began an affair and fell in love. Elena wanted to feel real emotions for once, so she went off her sedatives. John realized she’d become unstable and told her to get control of herself. Lewis eventually told Elena that he loved her, and he didn’t understand why she was holding back.
He said, “I think you feel the same way I do. And I’ll take you any way it could work. Will you take me, too?”
Elena and Lewis kissed just as Elena shifted. She became Lewis. After June sees Elena’s memories up to this point, she stands up and looks at Elena through the glass. She repeats, “Will you take me, too?”
Elena tries to explain that, “It just happened, all of it. I couldn’t help it. Don’t look at me like that. Don’t look at me.” June: “What have you done?” June goes back inside herself to fine the rest of Elena’s memories from that night.
Elena/Lewis walked down the street in tears. A man mocked her for wearing a dress, so she turned punched him. She shifted into him-#2. She went into a bar and broke some glasses. The bartendar chased her outside, then grabbed her shoulder-#3. She continued walking, and grabbed a jogger’s hand as he went by-#4. She stumbled over to a park bench, where a woman asked if she was alright. Elena reached out to grab the woman’s hand-#5. Only Lewis was truly accidental. Possibly the second shift, too, but after that, she knew and did it on purpose.
She went home still wearing the form of the woman from the last shift. John told her that her victims weren’t waking up, and she told him why. Between the crime and the affair, he’d had enough, and told her to pack a bag.
Elena, like Kam, has a special talent for wrecking people’s lives. She told us she was selfish, and she was right. Kam is damaged and still young enough to be working that out. Elena is older and should be a mature adult. Still, I do want to know her backstory before she got together with John. How did she end up so weak and helpless that it becomes a tool to use people?
June is done with sifting through memories for the moment. Ben begins a patient interview, asking her name, address, etc. We’re shown June’s memories, with June being replaced by Elena in each one. Ben realizes that June is disappearing.
Harry and John make it to the compound. Sigrid grabs the shotgun and goes out to fire a warning shot at them. Overzealous, much? John and Harry tell her that they’re looking for June. Siggie is about to shoot them anyway, when Runa comes out. When she discovers that this is June’s family, she tells Sigrid to treat John’s leg inside. She takes Harry down to see June.
Ben orders Runa to take Harry out again. He’s handling it. Runa argues that June is slipping away. Harry says he needs to be in the room with June. Ben lets Harry in, but orders him not to touch June.
As soon as Harry says her name, June says no, and takes her bracelet off. Harry walks over to the mirror and directs her eyes toward him and her reflection. He says that only the two of them matter. Who does she choose to be?
June says that Harry doesn’t know what her mother did. Harry says he does know, and it wasn’t June’s fault. June says, “I’m June McDaniel.” Then she looks at Elena and says, “The people you took that night, they’re locked in. Trapped. Catatonic. All of them.”
Elena: “No, no.”
Harry: “My dad, Lewis, you trapped him, too. He’s a shell like the rest of them.”
Elena: “But now you know why you can’t be together.”
June: “No. Love doesn’t do the same things to me as it does to you. I never hurt those people. And I will have love.”
June shifts back to herself. She looks at Elena and says, “I’m not you.”
Ben takes all of this in and makes his plans.
June and Harry leave the room. Ben tries to stop them, but Harry won’t let him.
Sigrid has whisked John right off, gotten him naked, and into bed. For his leg, of course. And maybe because the harem has been stuck on the island for a long time with just Ben, a dried up prune who’s scared to touch them, and Steinar, a clumsy oaf who’s scared to touch them. John looks like a brave, virile sort who can handle whatever a frisky shapeshifter might throw at him. He handled Elena for many years, after all. Maybe he’s interested in inheriting a harem, instead of moving to Fair Isle.
Ben and Runa sit in Ben’s office and decompress from the rough evening. Ben marvels at what happened to June. Runa wonders why Ben didn’t tell her about June’s gift sooner, and if she’s really the first shifter who can share memories.
Harry explains to June that Kam called him, told him how to get to Sanctum, and that Halvorson is evil. He abused Kam when she lived at Sanctum. June refuses to believe Harry or Kam. She says that Kam is the dangerous one, who hurt both of them. And Ben said she’d never lived there.
Oh, well, if Ben said so. But how did Kam give Harry directions to this remote, secret island then?
Harry says he believed Kam. They need to leave. June says she can’t. John is hurt. She just found Elena, who needs to be here. Sigrid was cured here. June wants that, too. She needs help.
Harry says they can help each other. They knew nothing when they started out. But they’ve figured out so much already, just the two of them. She doesn’t need Ben, the man who sent Steinar to kidnap her.
Both are crying. Harry says, “June, I’m here, and I can always get you back. Please.”
June tells him he can’t sleep in her room, it’s against the rules.
She needs time to recover from everything that’s happened, again, including everything she saw inside her mother, and the games Ben has played with her.
The fact that Harry is so present for her is a lovely, beautiful sentiment, but he’s not always going to be there, no matter how much they love each other. She has to figure out how to bring herself back, and that’s scary. But she’s done it. She just forgets that, when everything else is happening. Harry loves to take care of her and be there for her. He doesn’t realize that it’s scary for her to need him that way, almost as a crutch. It’s not healthy in the long run.
It drives me crazy that Kam is the only person on the entire show who’s encouraged June to become familiar with her ability, so that she’s good at using it and controlling it, or not using it. That’s the way to avoid hurting people, even if you don’t intend to use it otherwise. Mere suppression isn’t likely to be enough. You still won’t know what to do when you’re accidentally triggered in the middle of a giant crisis.
It’s montage time!
Harry can’t believe that June is kicking him out of her bedroom. He asks her to remember when it was just the two of them. She says she just needs one night.
Runa thinks about her daughter, Freya. She looks through her box of Freya’s things. Freya had a children’s book called “Kam Kameleon”.
June and Elena each cry themselves to sleep.
Runa lies in bed. Ben sits in a chair at her bedside and watches her as she falls asleep. Runa startles awake and says she misses Freya. She’s starting to forget her.
Ben: “What have we learned from us being together? There’s always a way. Nothing’s impossible. There’s a new start coming for us. And I can see it. Clear as day.”
Once Runa is asleep, Ben moves on to Harry. He pretends that he’s there to help Harry, to answer any questions Harry might have about loving a shifter or the therapy. But Harry is onto him. He brings up Kam, but Ben denies knowing her.
Ben: “June is a vey special girl, but she needs help. As far as I can tell, I am the only person who can do that.”
As soon as Ben says it, you know it’s not true. For one thing he’s not a shifter. He’ll never understand shifting like they can. For another thing, we’ve already seen the limits of his knowledge. He doesn’t know all that much. He’s too afraid to let the shifters live or speak freely to have built up much of an experience bank.
Harry: “You know, before, when she changed, June was always herself inside. Then this time… See, I almost lost the person I love to a monster, so please spare me. ‘Cause you don’t know how that feels.”
Ben: “I do, Harry, I really do.”
Sometimes, Harry and June get hampered by how incredibly young they are. Their imaginations can’t yet stretch to encompass the huge range of life experiences that are possible over a lifetime. Or the complicated motives that develop with those experiences.
That’s where the exploitation of June come in. I’ve been waiting for Ben to reveal exactly what form it would take, and he just told us. He’s fighting the monster of Runa’s dementia. He doesn’t care one bit about June. But the way that she became Elena is his holy grail. The talent that is a curse to Harry is a blessing to Ben.
Then Ben says he doesn’t have any secrets, and I start to wonder if he ever tells the truth at all.
He takes Harry down to his dungeon for a tour. First the therapy room, with all of its 80s technology. Ben pretends it’s there because it’s cheap, but it’s also untrackable, untraceable and unhackable. It has no connection to the internet or cloud, and it’s not digitized. No one can steal it without physically transporting it, and no one can use it to find him.
But why is there so much of it? He doesn’t seem to use more than a slide projector and a minicassette recorder. Is the rest for supersecret experiments we don’t know about yet?
Ben explains that shifting is a defense mechanism that’s part of the flight or flight mechanism. He feels it’s a more evolved response than anything humans exhibit.
He promises Harry that he won’t keep June against her will as they move to the observation rooms. Ben keeps chattering while he gets Harry to relax, suggesting that Harry picks up June’s lost bracelet so he can take it to her. Once Harry is in the soundproof room, Ben locks him in, turns out the lights, and leaves.
Harry yells and pounds on the windows, but no one can hear him.
Steinar buys supplies for a hike to visit family who live in the Norwegian woods, then gets in his car and drives away like a race car driver. He has a very unSteinarlike look on his face. It’s more of a Kam look. Sanctum might be in for another surprise visitor.
June now has self-control of her shift states, except for when she is afraid of losing the people she loves, especially Harry. Kam’s threats in episode 6 didn’t even scare her. Her last two shift states or near shift states have been because she was growing anxious at the thought that she and Harry wouldn’t be able to be together.
It’s Ben’s goal to change that, and insert a trigger of his own creation, that he can use to control her, but hopefully he won’t get that far. We’ve seen him try to manipulate Sigrid using her father’s words from the story of her first shift. I’m still not sure how much she sees through Ben vs how much she wants his approval as a surrogate father and the leader of the community of shifters. I don’t think Ben is sure either.
What Ben got out of Sigrid’s childhood story was that she didn’t want her father to leave and went to extreme lengths to keep him in the family. What he should have paid attention to was Sigrid’s motivation. She wanted her father to stay because he was part of their family, but also, and more importantly, she wanted her mama to be happy. She was willing to go to extreme lengths to keep her mother happy, including sentencing a sibling to death and impersonating her father.
Ben, like Freud and most men, assumed the story was about the man, but it wasn’t. It was a story about the loyalty and love between a mother and daughter. I think the parent-child bond, and especially the mother-daughter bond, is ultimately what this season is about. Kam has spoken aloud many of the important points of the season, and she said this theme as well. We can mother and sister each other when our own mothers and sisters aren’t available. Every parent on the show has failed their children.
That’s what the shifters have never had, and that’s what they need. That’s what Ben instinctively knows, like any good con artist, and he’s tried to keep them from mothering each other, so that he alone can be the surrogate parent. If they become too independent, he loses control. So he came up with the rules for no touching, so secret-sharing, no getting to know each other. That way, they don’t become close enough to develop trust in anyone but him. But the shifters are figuring it out on their own anyway. He couldn’t keep them ignorant and isolated forever.
Sigrid has this way of being everywhere at once, without sneaking around. She’s made it her business to learn everyone’s secrets, but only for their protection, not to use them. She’s taken over for Steinar as the muscle/protection at Sanctum, so she’ll be making her rounds and keeping her eyes open, especially with two strangers at the compound. She might find Harry before Ben is ready.
Ben is getting sloppy and desperate without Steinar to quickly cover his tracks. He’s usually too smart to do something like leave his hostage in a public, open room. If Kam/Steinar finds Ben while Harry is still in the sound-proof room, Ben might be so happy to see his usual accomplice that he’ll send “Steinar” straight out to dispose of Harry. In that case, Kam will find Harry.
In any case, Sigrid is going to be an important swing vote in the civil war that’s about to happen at Sanctum. Right now, Elena, Runa and June still trust Ben, while John, Harry and Kam/Steinar know he’s got evil plans. Shapeshifters against the men/shapeshifter-man. Sigrid is a decisive, formidable fighter, and she hasn’t made it clear what she currently thinks of Ben. She also has a distrust of men in general.
She’s been doing a lot of Sphinx-like watching of everything that’s gone on. And she led the women into breaking the rules, but Ben could have thought that would help them while he was away. He seemed to already know about the bonfire party. Sigrid could still be vying for Daddy’s approval on some level, but she could also be looking for a new daddy. And she did get John naked awfully quickly. Was she checking him out as a partner or an occasional alternate body?
Once again, Kam learned all of this stuff from somebody.
Images courtesy of Netflix.