“The Aboriginal people of Australia are the longest surviving culture on earth with over 60,000 years of stories known as The Dreaming. The Dreaming is the spiritual realm that binds the past, present and future together. It is inhabited by incredible creatures and spirits.”
After inheriting the responsibility of becoming the Cleverman, Koen has questions as to why Uncle Jimmy chose him. So he returns to The Zone to speak with the only family he seems to have a connection with and that’s Aunty Linda. And though she doesn’t have all the answers she is able to bestow a briefcase to Koen that once belonged to his father. Only referring to what happened to him as “the accident” and reminds Koen of the weight he now carries. Not only as Cleverman but whatever he finds in the briefcase. His new abilities also reveal that she is dying of cancer. Aunty Linda is dismissive to a point about his findings but is more concerned about Koen and the path he’ll take as the new Cleverman.
Waruu’s pride and ego are still taking a beating because he wasn’t chosen and he’s now looking for anything to offset that. So he’s decided to appear alongside anti-Hairypeople advocate, Geoff Matthews on television to debate the issues on Slade’s network. Little does he know that there are several strings being pulled by Jarrod Slade here and hidden agendas are coming to light. But he finds out the hard way after he’s ambushed with news of another murder where the victim’s heart was ripped from the body. Which prompted the assumption that a Hairy was involved because of their heightened strength.
With these events unfolding much of the episode focuses on Boondee and his family locked away at an off the grid containment facility. Here we see the conditions the captured Hairys are forced to live in and the cruel subjugation they endure from the guards. Young Djukara wants revenge for his sister’s death and is at odds with his father’s path while captured. Boondee has chosen a path of least resistance which has angered Djukara even further so he fights back. Prompting the guards to implement torture techniques straight out of the Willie Lynch (If you’re unfamiliar click here and be informed by Denzel Washington) handbook. It’s one of the most powerful sequences to take place in this episode as you see this family being torn apart. The only member having a somewhat decent moment is Latani. She is still hiding but has found some comfort and reprieve in the home of an elderly woman named Virgil who could care less that the young girl is a Hairy.
There are a several intersecting plots here that are building on one another quite well. Pushing along necessary and pivotal subplots that are just as engaging. One being the current relationship between Koen and Waruu. It may have seemed harsh in the first episode but a flashback here gives sufficient reason for Koen’s feelings toward his brother. We also see that Waruu’s obsession with becoming the Cleverman was all consuming during his childhood. From the pictures of the Namorrodor creature covering his walls to the chants of “I am the Cleverman.” in the mirror. Even Jarrod Slade has a motivation here that goes beyond what was assumed though you still have to decide if the ends justify the means. However, he’s so damn charming you might find it hard to make the call.
Cleverman’s social commentary and impact is undeniable though is intertwined so well it plays out organically in the story. This only helps to reinforce the various story arcs and motivations that will keep you coming back. Koen’s story has deepened with the revelation about his father and now he’s hearing voices which have now pulled him to seek out where it’s coming from. Waruu is fighting for his people but is his drive more personal or is he willing to sacrifice for the greater good. And where does Slade fight in all of this? We saw that he was working with Uncle Jimmy on a secret project but he also seems to have his hooks in with the opposition as well. He’s looking for something within the biology of the Hairy people but what is he willing to do to unlock their secrets?
‘Till next time!