Well, that was a fun 48 hours. I got to binge-watch three episodes (is that "binge-watching"), write three reviews, and get halfway through season 2.

To recap "Dark Clouds", as usual, lots of things. The Inclusion Initiative gets rolling and it's just as demeaning as I noted in my last review. Now transformed Hairies are called "Subhumans," which that right there is a non-starter. The Initiative Hairies from what we see are basically treated as bald slaves. Waruu made a lot of speechifying last episode about how they have full human rights and privileges, but they don't. One of the flaws of the rush-rush six-episode season is that we don't get to see Waruu's reaction to this. Or any suggestion that he's overlooking it either so he can self-justify his grab for power, or just because he's so blind to getting what seems like equality through that he doesn't care if it's really "equality" or not.


Araluen does find out about her husband, and goes to see him. And we see that he's still pretty much the man she knew, although other than a brief shot of actor Tony Briggs struggling with a bag of garbage, we don't see anything to indicate the fact that he's now less than Hairy.

We also get Yani, an elderly Hairy that looks a bit like Deborah Mailman. She wants to become a human, and Waruu thoughtfully gets her a white dress that she remembers seeing on a human girl.


Meanwhile, Jarrod continues to engage in a stalker-ish behavior toward his wife Charlotte. Despite that, she eventually goes home and meets with him. He tells her about the Hairy fetus implantation, and after getting mad that he used her as a lab rat, she demands to see the evidence.

We see a bit more of the "real" Hairy tribe out in the wilderness. Not much, and it's basically that Jarli wants to fight while everyone else doesn't want to risk their secret conclave. That subplot and the Jarrod/Charlotte subplot collide when Jarli follows Jarrod home, beats him to a pulp (so much for the augmented Hairy serum Jarrod is juicing), and prepares to kill Charlotte when she tells him that she has a Hairy fetus. Who knows how he'll react to this?


Koen studies with Uncle Jimmy, or the ghost of Uncle Jimmy, or whatever it is. We find out that Koen not only has Havoc-like powers, but his magical/energy blasts keep their victims from moving on after they die. Which means that Aunty won't move on in the afterlife since she was caught in a blast last episode. Neither she nor Hendricks--Tim's mate--seem to be suffering for this.

Koen also fights a Dream Time aboriginal warrior and finally beats him. And gets a high-pitched whining noise in his head when the past tries to "talk" to him. And gets a vision of how his parents really died: when Aunty rammed their car and (according to Waruu) deliberately tried to kill the unborn Koen as well. When she had Waruu in the back seat. At least she had him in an infant travel seat.


We also get a bit more of Audie, the girl who spied on Koen using his powers. It turns out that she has a valid ID (for what reason, who knows?), and helps get Araluen to the Initiative housing project for no particular reason.

And Nerida and Tim have sex. And Nerida's daughter Alinta sees them. And goes through Tim's things and finds out that he's a CA guard. Which... didn't they already know that? I'm still really confused by this subplot.


Oh, and Waruu finds a reference in Jimmy's journals to a black sap that will kill anything. He gathers it, Koen visits him, and Waruu cuts his half-brother's throat and slaps some sap on it so that it won't heal. And that's the end of the episode.

There's a little more development in the whole concept this time around. But the show is still too damn full of subplots and characters. Which means that they have to rely on a lot of coincidence to bring it all together. The Nerida/Tim thing is a good example. It's never been clear why Nerida, Alinta, and Latani took up residence in Tim's house. I guess it's just coincidence. It turns out that he knows Hendricks, who beat Mungo to death. And Tim just happens to be a CA guard. And just happens to be sympathetic to the Hairy cause, unless he's playing a long game. And Nerida just happens to fall in love with him, at least enough to have sex with him.


That's a few too many "just happens" for my taste. Ditto for some of the other stuff. Araluen just happens to see Boondee on TV. Koen just happens to go to Waruu's new house (formerly Jimmy's) after it just happens that Waruu found the killer sap. And how did Waruu find the tree with the sap, anyway? That's after he just happens to find Jimmy's journal with a reference to the sap. Yes, Waruu is deliberately looking through Jimmy's things (which have apparently sat on the curb waiting for garbage pickup for several days). But we've never seen anything to indicate that Jimmy kept a journal of Cleverman-killing saps. So the journal comes out of left field.

The whole coincidence/just-happens things makes everyone seem rather passive. Koen finally kicks the butt of the aboriginal warrior, but we don't find out why he's suddenly become Cleverman enough to do so. He gets a vision of how his parents died. But he doesn't seem to actively do anything to achieve this. Instead, the Yoda-like Jimmy's ghost shows up to tell him.


Ditto for Araluen, who makes no effort to find Boondee until she sees him on TV. Or Nerida & Co., who just sit around Tim's house all day until they find out that Tim is a CA guard. Waruu is still the most interesting character. Yeah, he finds out things and does stuff more through coincidence than anything, but at least he's finding out and doing stuff because he has some agency of his own. He's got to at least go halfway to finding out about the killer sap, even if Jimmy's journal drops the sap into Waruu''s lap. So to speak.


Cleverman remains an interesting series, if for no other reason than it has a lot to say. I just wish it would be a little clearer about what it's saying, and give the characters some power to say things rather than just be mouthpieces for the writers.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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