What more can a fan want than a ripped Jason Momoa and his love for axes carrying an entire show on his broad-muscled back? Well, after his breakthrough role as everybody’s hall pass in ‘Game Of Thrones’, our favourite Hollywood Jesus went through a series of average projects full of action and not much plot to a project full of action and way too much plot. Well, let’s get into ‘See’ that you started for Momoa and stayed for the post-apocalyptic setting that just might come true if we are not too careful. And with thousands of Apple TV shows going unseen due to bigwigs like Netflix and Prime taking over the internet, here’s why ‘See’ is a must-see.
The ongoing Apple TV original ‘See’ is set in a dystopian society where the majority of humans are blind and the gift of sight is considered black magic and heresy. But in a world where someone like Jason Momoa exists, it would truly be a curse if no one could see him. Getting back to ‘See’, the American civilization has been reduced to the small Payan Kingdom living near a dam (what we know as Pennsylvania) while the rest have regressed back to hunter-gathering, farming and living in small villages surrounded by scenic imagery full of unchecked foliage and clear rivers; a warning that nature is always fighting back against unnatural and man-made forces. Season 1 begins with Baba Voss (Jason Momoa) and his tribe fighting off the Payan Witchfinders who believe that his wife, Maghra (Hera Hilmar) is a witch since she has given birth to twins with sight. Well, it looks like black magic follows Momoa in whichever fictional universe he goes.
A cat and mouse chase ensues as the Witchfinder General, Tamacti Jun (‘House of Card’s Christian Camargo) hunts Baba Voss and his family for years which ends up with them splitting apart. We get into season 2 with Maghra taking over the Payan Kingdom which is on the brink of war with the enemy country of the Trivantian Republic, led by Edo Voss (Dave Bautista of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ fame) who has not forgotten Baba Voss for betraying him years ago.
Known for grim TV shows like ‘Peaky Blinders’, Steven Knight’s ‘See’ is the ambitious little brother trying to escape its older brother’s shadow with even darker cinematography and gory fight scenes to the point that you might be wondering if you are going blind as you squint to see who is killing whom. And well, if the show is trying to put you in the shoes of the blind characters, it simply makes you wonder how do they not accidentally kill their own allies instead of the enemies. But by adapting the fight sequences for people whose other senses are almost supernaturally heightened, the action turns into a dance as the soldiers depend on sound and movement to “see” their opponent. But at no point does the show let the viewers forget the very premise of ‘See’ as visually impaired consultants were brought in to make the society run by the blind feel natural.
‘See’ is a tightly compact show with fast-paced editing as we skip years and unfortunately also character development to get to the point. And while some viewers might be a sucker for a brisk plot, it does pay to be slow and languid at times so that we can feel for the characters and what they are going through. But don’t get it wrong, we relate to them plenty as sight or lack thereof doesn’t stop them from the usual human traits of anger, love, greed and ambition. Baba Voss replaces Momoa’s rapey Drogo from ‘Game of Thrones’ as a generous father figure who either gives the best hugs or the goriest disembowelments. Maghra is the righteous but overbearing mother while twins Kofun (Archie Madekwe) and Haniwa (Nesta Kooper) are the perfect antitheses of ‘I don’t care’ and ‘I care too much’. Sylvia Hoeks does a brilliant job as Payan Queen Kane and proves that the creepy and perverted dystopian overlord trope has no gender giving ‘The Walking Dead’s Negan and ‘Mad Max’s Immortan Joe a run for their money.
And if there is anyone who can believably fight and stand his ground against a looming figure like Momoa’s Baba Voss, it is the former wrestler and actor Dave Bautista who plays the menacing brother, Edo Voss. And while for many superhero comic fans a DC and Marvel crossover is a dream, this is probably the closest to seeing Drax and Aquaman fighting it out to resolve once and for all if DC or Marvel is better.
If you have not seen ‘Game of Thrones’, you’ll probably be annoyed at this point but there are way too many similarities to mourn lost opportunities. With ‘See’ set in a fantastical era, along with the landscape full of abandoned buildings, Ferris wheels and aeroplanes destroyed by nature, language too has changed as Momoa brings his Dothraki skills to the ‘See’ universe. And in a world where people rely on speech, the dialogues set the mood emphasizing visual impairment with haunting soundtracks and a cool colour palette while the camera zooms in on the characters rather than what they are facing to give the viewers the same disjointed vibe that one would experience if they were a blind character in ‘See’.
And while seasons 1 and 2 have done a good job to lay the foundation of the dystopian world of ‘See’, the script for season 3 could get back to its characters giving us time to understand their actions, fall in love with them and watch it for them rather than their fascinating world.