So we get a fair amount of progression with "Bindawu", episode 2 of the new second season. None of it really involves Koen, our supposed protagonist. But it's progress, nonetheless.

Waruu gets the lion's share of the development. He seizes on Jarrod's anti-Hairy treatment, or maybe it was intended as an anti-Hairy treatment all along. Anyhoo, he convinces Marion to go along with his new Inclusion Initiative, which involves giving Hairies (volunteers... for now) the treatment to turn into non-superstrength and speed "Subhumans." Starting with Boondee, who embraces his prison-assigned "human" name of Trevor and is used as the promotional face of the Initiative.

Actor Tony Briggs neatly conveys the humiliation here just like he did last season when the viewers had to watch him undergo mandatory shaving.

We find out more about Jarli, the "pure" Hairy that attacked the convoy last episode. He lives as part of a community of other "pure" Hairies out in the wild. But gathers electronic components and watches broadcasts. We don't learn much about him, really, other than he's a warrior who seems to be more for intervention while the rest of his community wants to hide from the humans and minimize the risk of exposure.

Nerida, Latani, and Alinta are still hanging out at Tim's place. It's still not clear what's going on here. He seems to be on their side, since they have to let him go to his day job as a CA guard. It's still not clear why they captured him, or if there was something specific about the fact he's a CA guard. His mate is Hendricks, the guy who beat Mungo to death last episode.

Araluen reenters the fold, thanks to the convenience of Harry the Hairy stumbling across her. She's not too thrilled at what the CA has done to her family, and Koen has a vision of the CA killing her daughter last season when he touches her. This leads Araluen to slash him, and he heals the wounds near-instantly. Araluen realizes that he can't die, and...? it's pretty much dropped there.

Charlotte has a lot more to do this episode, as she insists on returning to work. When Jarrod gets overly protective, she tells him to piss off. That's after she's tested her blood and that she's Hairy-contaminated. Charlotte seems to figure out that the fetus is the source of contamination, and Jarrod has been doing... something to her.

Jarrod is in full villainous mode. He's got McIntyre looking for Koen, testing Koen's blood on the nulla nulla, and having Everick try to destroy the blood cells with every disease known to man. None of it works, and Jarrod has her unleash some kind of top-secret "not known to man" virus on the blood. it somehow penetrates all of the precautions, infects, and kills Everick. Not Everick! Jarrod does that thing they do in disease/contamination shows where he hits a button and the quarantine chamber Everick is in fills with steam, or decontamination mist, or something.

And Koen? He gets to give a speech or two to the Zone survivors about how they should live in peace with the outside world. Good luck with that, since they just beat a Hairy boy to death. Harry decides to train Koen in his new Havoc-like chest-blasting magical power. They find a girl, Audie, spying on them. And sheesh, don't we have enough characters on the show without introducing another one? I don't believe they even mention her name: I'm just going by the character's name being listed in the credits, since the show does a "Listed in Appearance" kind of thing. If it's not worth giving us the character's name, even in incidental dialogue, it's probably not worth introducing the character.

Anyway, the magical falcon appears and leads Koen to a camper in the middle of nowhere. The door is locked and, come nightfall, the lights flicker and Uncle Jimmy steps out. Just what we need: another reason to take any proactivity from Koen. Admittedly, if Jimmy can give Koen some training in whatever the heck his powers are--for the most apart, Wolverine-type healing--it'd be a relief.

Overall, "Bindawu" was an improvement over the season 2 premiere. Things moved forward, and new things like the Inclusion Initiative and Koen's newest superpower were a bit clearer. Araluen returns to fold after last episode's absence, and she provides a different viewpoint as the Hairy who isn't so impressed with Koen dying to try and protect the Zone. Which he failed miserably at, so thanks a lot, Cleverman.

Waruu continues to be a self-serving bastard but despite that, it's hard not to feel sorry for him. He's made his bed and now he has to lie in it. Waruu is getting what he wants since he can't be the Cleverman, and it's all turning to ash in his mouth. He's a lot more multi-faceted than Koen, that's for sure.

Jarrod continues to be more of a jerk, yanking around Charlotte, getting all super-protective about her or at least her super-fetus, and cheerfully finishing off the dying Everick. He's into full-blown villain mode, and at least Iain Glen seems to be having fun doing it.

Right now it just feels like the whole Nerida/Tim think, with Alinta and Latani sitting around and not doing much of anything, feels like a way to keep the actors in the show and give them something to do. What the whole captivity thing has to do with anything else, who knows?

And that still seems to be the main problem with Cleverman. There's way too many subplots and characters for six episodes in a season. Characters like Nerida, Alinta, Latani, and Tim just feel like a waste of space this year. Marcus Graham as McIntyre barely appears and certainly doesn't seem deserving of a show cast billing. And remains pretty much a cypher. Anyone know why he's so solidly in Jarrod's pocket? No? Didn't think so.

It feels like we're losing all the metaphors and analysis and characterization because everything is spread way too thin.

Overall, Cleverman remains interesting enough to keep watching. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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