Carnival Row is an interesting piece. Three episodes into the show and I was cringing, cursing, and horrified at some of the situations and some of the characters in the show. I won’t spoil the entire season, but there are some interesting facts about this show to note.
Carnival Row can deceive you just by hearing the name. You may be tricked into thinking it’s a whimsical story including fairies (or Fae as they are called in the show) and humans co-existing in a world plagued by a darker force. However, there are so many more themes at play during this show that mirror the ugliest parts of society today.
Racism is most specifically pointed out due to the Fae and other magical beings migrating to the city of Burge due to a war they fought together, but only the Fae lost their land. Rallies are being held by older humans and corrupt police in protest of the Fae’s immigration. While younger generations mix and mingle with the Fae.
Politics play a role as well. The prejudice human population angst grows since the politicians are not handling the situation the way they like, so they protest and even kill the Fae.
There is also a character that gets upset when a Pac (black goat character) moves in next door to her home. She calls authorities to try and have him removed from his property.
This show also deals with rape, slavery, and classism. Vignette (Cara Delevingne) is a Fae and flees from her homeland and ends up in debt to a nobleman in Burge who tries to rape her in exchange for a lesser debt. Vignette’s character did resist and escape, but her prejudice grows against the human race as a result.
The creators of this show use the majestic screen of the beings to point directly at terrible happenings in society. It’s like they are holding a mirror up and saying, this is how horrible society is.
Orlando Bloom’s character (Philo) is a police detective with a checkered past, but he is focused on finding out who is killing the Fae people. When he finally reaches the answer, he finds out that there is a darker presence stalking the Burge.
Carnival Row is dark and intense. This 8 episode journey will keep your attention with the story of the haves versus the have-nots. Plus, there are some plot twists in the show that divert the viewer’s attention. The creators of this show took on a huge undertaking with this show. I’m not sure if 8 episodes were enough to fully flush out their ideas cohesively, but they got the point across while setting up a season two.
Season two is in development so we’ll see where the story goes moving forward.