The new Apple TV+ fantasy series is utterly nonsensical and suffers from a severe lack of sexiness. Still, Emily Writes can’t quit it.
It will come as no surprise that I was absolutely frothing about Jason Momoa’s new show See. So much so that I signed up to Apple TV+ as soon as it came out. After binge watching four episodes in a row (they’re an hour long) you’d think I have a good gauge on what this show is about.
Not really. But I’ll tell you what I know so far: a virus wiped out most of the human race. There are two million people left. None of them can see. There are witches and witch hunters. Everyone is an extremely close talker. And a Queen who prays by masturbating while reciting a weird Lord’s Prayer and listens to Leonard Cohen. There’s some wound licking as intimidation.
From the very first episode you can tell this will be a batshit series. I am a huge fan of the combination of a cave and Jason Momoa but if you thought that alone would inspire a tingle you’re dead wrong because in the cave is a woman giving birth. She’s holding birthing ropes (great idea) and just when you can breathe a sigh of relief that the baby is here her midwife says, “There’s a foot!” Yes, two babies. And if that wasn’t the worst day of the cave lady’s life, the midwife asks for a knife to I assume perform a cave episiotomy and then tells her that witch finders are coming and they want her and her babies. That seems like a totally not chill thing for a midwife to say to a woman who has just given birth but before we can ponder a complaint to the Midwifery Council the war horn is going off.
Jason Momoa is off doing what Jason Momoa does very well – fight people with his arms exposed. There’s a haka of sorts, I’m absolutely positive one guy says “haere mai” during a fight scene before he gets slowly disembowelled.
There’s an awful lot of beheading and disembowelling and just general stabbing in See. It’s very gory and violent. Still, it’s fascinating that four episodes in there’s no sex. Extreme violence rears its ugly head in every episode of almost every dystopian television show these days, yet nobody is banging. I am sure I am not only speaking for myself when I say that if I lived in a dystopian future I would only be banging. I’d literally be doing nothing else, just stopping occasionally for orange quarters to keep my energy levels up.
Sex on television is a terrible tragedy. All we have is teenagers fucking in Euphoria and nobody wants that, or it’s all rapey like in Game of Thrones. Anything vaguely sexual on television these days is so obviously viewed through the male gaze that it’s just laughable. And on the rare occasion it’s by women, the sex is far too warts and all and dries you up faster than a yeast infection. Girls had the most revolting sex imaginable. I mean Outlander is probably the only show that matches the golden era of True Blood for good fantasy fucking. See could have been our next hot bodice ripper. What a shame.
And that is my main criticism of See. It’s the perfect set up for some Clan of the Cave Bear-style action and yet all you see by episode four is Jason Momoa’s admittedly very nice scarred back and (also very nice) hairy chest and some gross pashing by some guy with his aunty. See is obviously produced and directed by men (hey Francis Lawrence and Steven Knight), because the Queen is flicking her bean and getting eaten out by her slave girls but Jason Momoa is clothed the whole time. Having Jason Momoa clothed every episode is like covering the Sistine Chapel with a tarp. It’s fucked up.
But aside from the dire lack of thirst, the batshittery of See makes it quite addictive. I have no idea really what’s going on, but I can’t stop watching. Jason Momoa is captivating in anything he does and he plays the cave man with a heart of gold role so damn well. Jason Momoa holding twin babies while wearing a woollen poncho is just what I need on a Sunday night. It’s not a huge stretch for him to play a loving father and husband, and the wardrobe department have just let him wear his own clothes thank goodness, but there’s still something so tender about his Baba Voss character.
The juxtaposition between family man Baba Voss and beheading and gutting people Baba Voss is an interesting character study. He kisses the babies (not his babies – they belong to some dude who is a witch? Look, I don’t know either) and says “all my life I have wanted babies” and then he just leaves the cave and kills eight people in three seconds. I’m not sure what to make of it but I like it.
The mad Queen, who lives in a dam and sleeps on a pile of exposed wires with a big dog, is more of a one-trick-pony. When she’s not praying she’s shedding a single tear. Every episode there is one closeup of a single tear. She has a rat’s tail. By her side is Tamaciti Jun, the Witchfinder General who is also a fan of rat’s tails. And there’s a Holy Lord Sack (I’m serious).
It might not seem like I’m selling this, but really I do recommend it as a guilty pleasure. Alfre Woodard is an incredible actor and her role as Paris, the Alkenny tribe’s midwife and advisor, is fun to watch. There’s just enough suspense from episode to episode to keep you engaged.
I want to know what’s next, even though I don’t know what’s happening right now.
See is streaming on Apple TV+ now
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.