Carnival Row Season 2 (Finale) Episodes 9 & 10: Recap, Ending, Explained & Review

Carnival Row Season 2 Finale Episodes 9 & 10: Recap, Ending, Explained & Review

Carnival Row Season 2 (Finale) Episodes 9 & 10:: Carnival Row concludes in these two episodes, faring slightly better than it did overall, but it is still ultimately an average show in the end. It is created by Rene Echevarria and Travis Beacham and executive produced by Marc Guggenheim, René Echevarria, Jon Amiel, Travis Beacham, Cara Delevingne, and Orlando Bloom.

Episode 9 is directed by Julian Holmes, who has previously directed episodes of popular series such as The Boys, American Gods, Suits, and Daredevil. Episode 10 is directed by Andy Goddard, who is known for directing episodes in shows such as Law & Order: UK, Downton Abbey, and Doctor Who.

Carnival Row (Season 2), Episodes 9 and 10 Recap:

Episode 9: Battle Lines

At the beginning of the episode, Tourmaline is awakened by Darius’ nightmare, and as she attempts to console him, she becomes trapped in a mirror with the deceased Haruspex Aoife. Aoife informs Tourmaline that her journey has just begun, forcing her back into the real world through the mirror.

Upon hearing the sound of shattering glass, Darius rushes to Tourmaline but accidentally steps on a shard, causing him to transform into his Marrock form. However, Tourmaline’s eyes begin to emit a blue glow, and she is able to halt his transformation by holding his hand.

Meanwhile, with Vignette missing, Philo requests Tourmaline’s aid, but Darius intervenes. Philo believes that the New Dawn’s uprising will lead to the humans burning down the Row and suggests that killing the Sparas will end it all. Darius ridicules Philo’s hypocrisy, pointing out that he had recently vowed to stop opposing the fae.

At the new Black Raven hideout, Leonora presents a compelling argument to persuade Vignette to join the New Dawn. She reveals that the Sparas are among their ranks and have devised a strategy for every assassination. Vignette meets with Kaine and Phaedra, who inquire if she is willing to join their cause. Although Vignette is displeased with the Sparas’ violent approach, Phaedra delivers an inspiring speech about fighting for freedom, and Vignette ultimately agrees to join them.

Imogen also deduces that the Sparas’ attacks are the doing of the New Dawn. She confronts Kastor and threatens to retract her role as an emissary. He reminds her of the disastrous outcome in Ragusa when the Pact disregarded their warnings and departed.

Imogen turns to Agreus for his input, but he remains silent, claiming he is in no position to advise her and could be imprisoned in the Row at any moment. She contemplates the Burgue’s brutality and questions if she should allow the New Dawn to burn down the country.

Upon returning home, Tourmaline discovers Philo waiting for her. Although Darius attempts to get rid of him, Philo proposes a plan to eliminate the Sparas with a machine gun when it comes to Tourmaline. Darius scoffs at the notion of luring the Sparas or acquiring a machine gun in the Row. Philo asks Tourmaline to use her abilities to gain insight into the Sparas’ thoughts, despite Darius’s protests, but Tourmaline agrees to help.

In the meantime, Millworthy and his guards head to the Spurnroses house and apprehend the three residents for their involvement in the harbor massacre. Imogen implores him to listen to the New Dawn’s grievances, while Agreus suggests there may be more attacks if the Burgue ignores them.

Imogen proposes that the New Dawn believed the Burgue would be more willing to listen when faced with serious danger, but since that hasn’t been the case, Kastor can contact his group for a new, peaceful strategy. Although Millworthy appears unconvinced, he releases them. As he departs, a man in a beret observes him from a distance with a smile.

When Vignette visits, Tourmaline quickly realizes that she has joined forces with the New Dawn, who will ultimately be responsible for her demise. Vignette argues that the Sparas only target those who try to impede it, but Tourmaline informs her of Philo’s plan. Vignette attempts to sway her with the promise of true freedom the New Dawn offers. However, Tourmaline reminds her of the tragedy and innocent lives lost during wars, and they part ways.

Philo meets with Dombey, who is displeased with his plan but decides to assist him nonetheless. When Philo visits the morgue and searches Berwick’s body to extract the Sparas tooth for Tourmaline’s spell, Dombey becomes disgusted and angry. Philo concedes to him that if he hadn’t attempted to sabotage their plan to capture the Sparas, Berwick might still be alive.

While in the morgue, racist police officers, including Thatch, discover them and are taken aback to see the previously racist Dombey working with the fae. He silences them while Philo departs.

At the Spurnrose home, Kastor hands Agreus a coded message that will allow him to approach the New Dawn safely, but Imogen is concerned. Kastor explains that only fae can enter the Row and the couple questions what will happen if the New Dawn refuses to listen. Kastor resigns himself to the fact that they will witness the war from prison. Imogen attempts to dissuade Agreus and apologizes for hurting him, while he apologizes for making her feel as though he was controlling her.

He continues that what truly hurt him was when she accused him during their Ragusa argument of hunting his own kind, making him the worst. He clarifies that he did it for his freedom and that he is not proud of it. Imogen expresses her happiness that he is free, and he assures her that all wounds will heal with time before leaving.

Vignette returns to the New Dawn, and Kaine informs her that the new comrades are worried about her, but he trusts her. Considering Tourmaline’s argument about innocent people being caught in the crossfire, she asks if they are doing the right thing. Kaine reminds her of Oona, who was not a fighter but was killed regardless.

At that moment, they spot Agreus with his New Dawn armband, and he searches for them while observing the state of the Row and injured fauns, which shocks him. Vignette meets him and informs him that he is being followed, while Kaine threatens the beret man who was spying on Agreus. Vignette takes Agreus to the New Dawn base, but she ridicules his clothes and accent.

He ridicules the New Dawn and proposes a slow but better way to become civilized and dismantle the system from within. She asks if it will happen in her lifetime, and when he does not respond, she says that she would rather have blood and ash than his slow tactics. She leaves him with Leonora, who smiles mysteriously. Agreus provides Kastor’s coded message, which actually informs Leonora that Imogen wishes to withdraw. He is surprised by the betrayal while Leonora’s men trap and hold him down.

Millworthy is upset that the beret spy, who was his agent, could not locate the New Dawn’s new base of operations. He informs Ministers Fletcher and Winetrout that their plan was to feign the arrest of the three New Dawn members, forcing them to send a message to the New Dawn leadership and track their movements while assessing their strength. They are angry with him, but he instructs them to listen to the New Dawn as it would benefit their election campaign if the public knew they had attempted everything to prevent the war.

Tourmaline informs Philo about Vignette, and as the New Dawn embarks on a new mission, he intervenes. He attempts to persuade Vignette to desist, but she argues that she is fighting for his and Tourmaline’s freedom and departs.

While Imogen waits for Agreus, Leonora sends her a package. She falls to the ground upon seeing that it contains one of Agreus’s horns. Kastor warns her that the next package will contain Agreus’ head if she does not comply with him.

Vignette meets up with Kaine and Phaedra as they stake out a bar filled with racist humans. After Thatch gives a hate-filled speech against the fae and goes outside to relieve himself, Kaine and Phaedra throw Molotov cocktails into the bar. Vignette is appalled and refuses to participate in the murder of the humans. However, a drunken Thatch attempts to shoot them, and Vignette is forced to use one of the Molotov cocktails to defend herself and escape.

The next day, Dombey arrives with a machine gun as Tourmaline prepares to lure the Sparas. She enters its mind and sees Millworthy conversing with the Sparas in human form. Suddenly, the Sparas freezes and gazes at its reflection in a carriage, revealing that it is Major Vir. When Millworthy examines Vir, he sees through the spell and recognizes Tourmaline’s face. She is stunned and falls to the ground as Philo and Darius rush to her aid.

Episode 10 “Carnival Row”

The series finale starts with the humans being angry at the Row for the burning bar, which was part of Phaedra’s plan. Vignette is confused and decides to head to the New Dawn to find its reason. On the way, she bumps into Philo, who is rushing to the parliament to warn the humans about Vir.

Darius tries to stop Philo and questions why they are not continuing with their plan to kill the Sparas. However, Philo apologizes for putting Tourmaline in danger and leaves. Darius returns to Tourmaline and insists on continuing with the plan without Philo. Tourmaline tries to get him to leave by saying she doesn’t feel for him. Darius admits that he knows she likes Vignette, but he doesn’t care. However, Tourmaline calls him a monster and tells him that she won’t be able to fight him if he turns into a Marrock like the Sparas, and Darius leaves.

The New Dawn emissaries’ upcoming admission to the parliament angers the Pact ambassador and Major Vir. Despite Imogen’s legal right to invite them, Millworthy assures them that he will attempt to secure their seats, allowing them to hear her potential falsehoods. He then departs, leaving the angry duo with Kastor and Imogen, who are also in the waiting area.

Kastor makes a joke about the ambassador, but Imogen is still seething over Agreus’s mistreatment. She demands to know how she can trust that they won’t hurt him again, to which Kastor bluntly responds that she cannot. Meanwhile, Agreus is unconscious and tied up, his single horn drawing Vignette’s sympathy. Kaine remarks that anyone who opposes the New Dawn faces a similar fate.

At their hideout, Leonora announces the next stage of the plan as the mob outside the Row grows larger. She reveals that the Sparas will act in parliament and that only the fae will fight against the mob. She proposes a plan with too much collateral damage that would destroy the Row and its citizens, but Vignette suggests a better one.

Vignette offers herself as bait since the mob outside is seeking those responsible for burning the bar, and Kaine agrees to join her. They plan to lure the mob to Oberon Square, where they’ll have adequate cover to shoot from and minimize the lives lost on their side.

Meanwhile, as Philo attempts to rush to the parliament, Thatch and his men intercept, hang, and leave him unconscious. In his last moments of consciousness, he sees Vignette’s face. But, suddenly, Dombey and his men arrive and rescue him.

Imogen is reviewing the speech that the New Dawn has written for her, and she finds it to be informal and unrefined. While she stresses the importance of perfection in their delivery, she notices that Kastor is distracted and keeps glancing at Vir. As Millworthy escorts Imogen and Kastor, Imogen feigns fainting, and when Kastor goes to get her water, she tells Millworthy that Kastor and Vir are likely working together.

The New Dawn in the Row prepares for the approaching mob, and Millworthy confronts Vir. Vir admits to his collaboration with Kastor and expresses his support for Imogen’s efforts to establish peace between the Burgue and the New Dawn, even if it means risking his life. He commends Millworthy for defending the fae as a human and asks if he is with or against him. Meanwhile, Agreus manages to break free from his restraints and dispatches his guards.

Outside the Row, Dombey’s men attempt to stop the mob, but Thatch scares Dombey into opening the gate and allowing the mob to flood in. The mob then begins to attack innocent faces brutally. After the mob advances, Kaine and Vignette emerge, leading the excited and enraged mob to Oberon Square.

Philo rushes to Parliament and approaches Millworthy just as they are all entering the chamber. As Vir leaves the room, Philo tells Millworthy that Vir is the Sparas. Unfortunately, Vir overhears them and foils Philo’s plan to evacuate the building. The Pact Ambassador tries to intervene, but Vir kills him. Vir transforms into the Sparas, and Philo tries to stop him. However, Tourmaline acts with her magic, and the Sparas fly away from her, prompting Philo to pursue him to rescue him.

The Sparas are seen by the New Dawn, causing them to celebrate, but Vignette realizes that he is after Tourmaline. Despite her desire to help, Vignette tries to leave, but Kaine tries to stop her, leading to an argument between the two. They exit their hiding place, and a human shoots Kaine. Leonora witnesses the killing and attempts to attack Vignette, who flees. The sound of gunshots attracts the attention of the mob, and the New Dawn starts their attack early by firing at everyone.

The Sparas go after Tourmaline, but Darius and Vignette intervene to protect her. Philo arrives just in time to shoot the Sparas in the head. Unfortunately, Darius is mortally wounded and dies. Vignette confesses her love for Tourmaline to Philo and implores him not to die while stopping the New Dawn.

Philo brings the Sparas’ bodies to the square, causing Leonora to get the New Dawn to retreat temporarily. Dombey orders his men to arrest the remaining human members of the mob. Agreus stops Leonora as she tries to escape and kills Phaedra. Leonora declares that they may have lost the battle, but they have sowed the seeds of revolution in the Row. She is about to be arrested by the police when she commits suicide.

In the square, Thatch, who had hidden during the chaos, shoots Philo in the back. Dombey kills Thatch and rushes to Philo’s side.

Carnival Row (Season 2 Finale), Episode 8 Ending Explained:

After a time skip, Millworthy is shown putting on a play in the Row about Philo’s supposed death with his kobolds. Although alive but injured, Philo enters parliament with a walking stick and expresses his gratitude for being appointed chancellor, despite being half-fae.

However, he surprises everyone by rejecting the position and giving a speech about how he doesn’t want someone who will merely uphold the oppressive laws but rather someone who will bring about real change. He suggests that the next chancellor should be a faun or someone who truly understands the needs of the fae. He leaves amidst the chaos and uproar in the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Imogen unveils Agreus’ healed horn and marvels at its beauty. They launch an electric company in their street, which leaves the residents in awe. Vignette travels to Tirnanoc with Tourmaline and marries her.

In the Burgue, Philo walks through the restored streets of the Row, which are now free from barbed wires and allow humans and fae to coexist. He encounters Dombey, who thanks him for his help. Later, he meets Millworthy, who is disappointed that Philo turned down the chancellorship but is happy that there is peace in Carnival Row.

Philo explains that the position was offered to him only because of his Breakspear heritage and that it’s time for a change. Millworthy realizes that Philo sounds like his mother, Aisling, and Philo understands that he is in love with her. When Millworthy asks about his plans, Philo says they will have to wait and see what the future holds.

Carnival Row (Season 2 Finale), Episodes 9 and 10 Review:

As mentioned at the start, Carnival Row does a little better than usual in these two episodes, but not by much, and is ultimately an average show. Despite this, the bright spots include wrapping up so many storylines which were running in parallel, with the majority of them getting satisfactory endings.

Major Vir being the Sparas was a nice little twist, and the entire action sequence with him, in the end, was fun to watch. The barbarity of the humans was on display as the mob tortured innocent fae, including children, as they stormed Carnival Row, which, while harrowing, was quite well done.

However, there were enough negatives to meet these positives blow for blow. Philo’s character development in the second half of the season was all but thrown out the window as he decides to act against the fae once again, and we still don’t know who he really is with regard to his identity. He probably doesn’t know himself, and that’s a shame because the crisis and struggle of a man caught between two worlds could have been quite compelling.

Vignette faces problems of her own, where she changes her mind constantly and is unable to stick to a stance, and is always going back and forth. To be fair, Tourmaline had pointed this out in an earlier episode, but that doesn’t excuse this bit of writing. Her ending up with Tourmaline in Tirnanoc was a happy ending for them both, but one which didn’t make a lot of sense as the show had been building up to a romance between Darius and Tourmaline.

In the end, Carnival Row will likely be forgotten quickly, having lasted only two seasons and not standing out in a particularly good or bad way.

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Carnival Row (Season 2 Finale) Episodes 9 & 10 Cast: Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevingne, Simon McBurney
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