Part of me wonders if I will comment on how ugly this show is every episode, and the other part of me knows already I will. It is the one thing keeping me from full immersion in what has otherwise been a fairly gripping opening.
Literally my only complaint this week is that filter. It is so distractingly hideous to look at. And the night time sequence only made it harder to actually look at and not see the filter. I kind of get the look they are going for but I really hate it. So it is probably a good sign for everything else in this show that despite how visually unappealing I’m finding it I have no intention of dropping it.
Right, so let’s put aside complaints and praise for visuals (not something I usually spend a lot of time commenting on). This week we have the night raid on the Mongol camp, we introduce some new villains, we save some more villagers, and then our group of exiles and village recruits take a fast march back across the mountains to the capital (though that doesn’t go so well as the post-credit sequence will reveal, but I’ll leave that for you to see for yourself).
It isn’t particularly remarkable or different, and really characterisation isn’t deep here, and yet there was no point during this episode when I wasn’t interested. Individually these characters are pretty ordinary and so far undeveloped, but as a cast they are working, and the setting and story are compelling enough that they aren’t forcing in anything unnecessary and just letting events carry the plot forward. While this might not appeal to everyone, so far I’ve been surprised by how enjoyable this has been given I’m not much for historical settings.
No doubt though that they aren’t pulling their punches when it comes to some of the atrocities that such a conflict will give rise to. Death is abundant amongst the unnamed cast and I’m not particularly convinced that all of our exiles have plot armour just yet. They also kind of go out of their way to show dead bodies, blood splatter, and all the general unpleasantness that a battlefield will give rise to. Again, this isn’t going to work for everyone, but it kind of adds to the overall feel of the piece given it isn’t a work of total fantasy and so you kind of have to consider these scenes where characters hack and slash their ways through the bodies of others in the context that these could have been real people.
Though the show isn’t above shattering its own illusions with a character catching an arrow in his teeth.
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