Was I saying this show plays out like some kind of bright fairy tale? Yeah, I think I was really wrong about that.
I am aware there’s been a grim undercurrent to the series since it started. It’s about a world where a good chunk of the human race was wiped out by some mystery plague. True, there sure does seem to be a lot of people around anyway, but the fact stands that this is part of the basic premise, the other being that animal-human hybrids started to be born for reasons unknown. So far, the darkness was mostly subtext. Yes, Big Man does commit some gruesome acts of violence, Gus has been a target for hunters, and anything Dr. Singh is dealing with involving finding a cure for the Sick is awfully dark, but still it has more to do with Singh trying to help his wife while still maintaining some of his own moral scrupples.
Then we get to this episode. Big Man wants Gus gone and has to buy him a train ticket, even coming up with a way of disguising Gus’s antlers to look like some kind of hat like some human kids wear when they “play animal”. Gus sees some horrors in some of the games, but he ultimately is saved by a young girl maybe five or six years older than Gus.
Then he smells Big Man’s bad candy, and that means robbing a train car from armed goons. They’re ultimately captured, only to be saved from whatever they were being taken to by that young girl and two friends…who apparently go around killing militia men.
So, kids that kill. That’s dark.
Meanwhile, Singh and his wife Rani go to a party. Rani has the Sick, but it seems to be under control because if she gets found out, bad things will happen.
What sort of bad things? Well, the host turns out to have the symptoms of the SIck, tests positive…and the other guests, plus the man’s wife, tie him up in saran wrap and burn his house down with him in it still alive.
See? That’s even more dark.
And, at the episode’s end, we have one General Abbot, some bad dude with a bad guy beard, whom even the narrator says is a villain, is told that his men have found, well, some woman.
What woman? I don’t know. But this sure sounds…you know, dark.
True, fairy tales can and often are dark, but man, there’s some real darkness creeping into this charming story about a naive deer-boy discovering the dystopian world outside his familiar forest for the first time.