Previously on Cleverman, “Revival”
For most of “Bindawu” we followed Koen as he finally comes to terms with his past deeds, his current responsibilities for the Hairy folk, and his destiny as cleverman. Everything remains very raw after Mungo was beaten to death by a pair of off-duty CA officers; the return of Araluen (Tasma Walton) into the fold only adds more petrol to an already volatile pyre as Hairy folk want to retaliate for the sake of their fallen brethren.
Cooler heads prevailed for the moment and Koen turned to Harry (Isaac Drandic) to teach him how to channel his developing powers. The lesson didn’t last long as West was summoned via spirit animal to a trailer in a random part of the woods. Completely unaware that the world he knows is irrevocably changing during his absence, Koen waited and was received by the last person he thought he’d ever see again: Uncle Jimmy (Jack Charles), the last Cleverman. If the Dreamtime brought him back, the threat to the balance of life itself must be absolutely dire.
Running in parallel to Koen’s journey of self-discovery and poor Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) investigating her unborn’s status is the mutual precipitous descent of Waruu and Jarrod. All four have begun to test the depths of their limits while the world as they knew it slowly crumbles around them. Now that open war is upon the Hairy people, the handful that remain free have few places to hide and even fewer people they can trust. Though paranoia and fear isn’t as rampant among the humans, their recent shift in power has everyone’s head on a swivel as the new regime assumed control of the newly aligned Department of Human Safety. It is trying times for all and no one – from the Hairies’ chosen protector to the billionaire sociopath and his government cronies – is safe from the oncoming chaos ahead.
In the meantime, Slade continued to test the capabilities of Koen’s seemingly ordinary blood. After West was restored to life – only after his corpse turned into a falcon and returned to the portal of The Dreaming – Jarrod used the blood sample he collected to determine if there are any limits to Koen’s potential. After initially confirming West’s blood and his waddy were mystically and biologically linked, Slade, with assistance from Everick (Aileen Huynh) began to sample the world’s most dangerous viruses against the restorative properties of Koen’s blood. Jarrod’s obsession with finding the key to immortality cost him a loyal associate as the final sample – an unknown and highly virulent pathogen – passed through Everick’s suit and killed her within seconds.
After discovering that siphoning the natural abilities of the Hairies had a limited capacity, Slade appears more than willing to sacrifice anyone to achieve greatness, be it Koen, Waruu, poor Everick… even his wife, Charlotte. It’s already been established that he had no qualms in using her as a guinea pig and incubator for his experiments; as many times as they attempted to have children and finally succeeded, Jarrod manipulated Charlotte’s trust to use her as a surrogate and seeks to harvest a more viable form of Hairy juice and eventually commodify it for exorbitant profits.
Concurrently, Waruu is ensuring Slade Industries maintains their foothold in government affairs by successfully promoting the Inclusion Initiative: a multi-pronged attack on the Hairy culture by physically and psychologically marginalizing the “subhuman threat”. During their multiple trials, Jarrod discovered a means to suppress, if not remove outright, the natural abilities and intimidating appearance of the Hairies. The Initiative is a painfully obvious take on the sordid history of indoctrination and institutionalized discrimination and racism within human history. The slave trade, the grossly effective slaughter of Native Americans, the Yellow Peril, Apartheid, the persistent and continued discrimination of Aboriginal peoples… this repeated mode of thinking is a deep, dark blight that steps on any progress humanity yearns to achieve.
Unfortunately for all, this accursed behavior never appears to get through to many people unless it’s spun into a fantastical yarn like Cleverman. When two of our leads – Charlotte, betrayed and altered by her “loving” husband, and Jarli, a Hairy who strives to balance tradition with progress – witness what is essentially the government-approved death sentence for Hairy people, it is a dismissal of peace, an indictment on the promise of harmony, and the shameless endorsement of genocide.
It’s a disturbing turn of events, to write the least. In the end, no one will be the better as the Hairy community will undoubtedly fight back and humans will sacrifice their very souls for the desperate and wholly senseless attempt to brandish their “supremacy”.
Cleverman – S2E2 – Bindawu | Hunter Page-Lochard, Rob Collins, Iain Glen, Deborah Mailman, Frances O’Connor, Rarriwuy Hick, Jada Alberts | Writer: Ryan Griffin | Director: Wayne Blair