Cleverman season one, episode three recap upping the sci-fi elements

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Theres a plot to frame the fugitive Hairies for murder, an exploration of Hairy healthcare, and dark pelt-related deeds in a hair salon

Theres a lot of plot and character circularity going on in this third instalment of Cleverman, and less of the brash political commentary that imbued the first two episodes.

Were reacquainted with Waruu brooding in the bathtub as he reviews footage of a recent infiltration of a CA black site with henchman Harry. His staunch public advocacy on behalf of the residents of the Zone has now shifted towards direct action, perhaps in response to Matthews withering appraisal of his leadership credentials after the live debate last week.

In the footage, action cameras are strapped to the chests of both Waruu and Harry and their objective is obviously to obtain evidence of the existence of the secret detention centres. The mission is jeopardised when Harry becomes affected by the suffering of his fellow Hairies.

Djukuru (Tysan Towney) is able to convince Harry to release him from his cell with a memorised key code. Djukuru then rushes from cell to cell trying to locate his father Boondee and the plans Waruu and Harry hatched before entry are now rapidly going pear-shaped. An armed guard is alerted by the commotion and shoots Djukuru in the chest while Waruu observes stealthily from behind.

Later, the CAs Steve McIntyre (Marcus Graham) is one of the first on the scene and hes chatting on the phone with Slade. McIntyre assures Slade that the murdered guard can assist with their covert enterprise and shortly thereafter proceeds to remove the guards cold, motionless heart with a bowie knife. He plans to frame the fugitive Hairies for the bloody slaughter.

Matthews soon tours the facility and isnt at all pleased about the security breach at his formerly concealed site. Nearby, a crude political symbol of interlocking hands is painted on a wall in the guards blood. Matthews is outraged and demands the incident receive extensive media coverage to demonise the true brutish nature of the subhumans.

At the bar, Koen wants to know why the mysterious woman whom we now know as Kora called for him, but recently she is the strong silent type. She even blocks Koens powers and casts him across the room when he attempts to Cleverman a glimpse of her Dreaming. It doesnt exactly discourage him from his clairvoyance schtick, though, as he later glimpses his girlfriend Ashs tragic fate yet again.

Warruu and Harry sneak the fugitive Hairies back into the Zone. The injured Djukuru is carried to the community clinic where a hesitant Dr Charlotte suggests the wounded Hairy instead be removed to a hospital. The Hairies have a different physiology than non-hairies; one which she isnt familiar with, but then why would she be? The Hairies only made themselves known to mainstream society six months earlier. Which raises the question of whether a human hospital would be able to help anyway. Considering the extent to which Matthews and his government have so far kept subhumans and humans segregated, its doubtful a hospital would have any deeper understanding of a Hairymans health.

One person who does (due to commissioning the research lab that held Kora) is shady Jarrod Slade. As Djukurus body rejects Harrys donor blood, Slade fortuitously arrives and correctly advises that a blood donor from Djukurus traditional tribe is required. Harry identifies Maliyan as a match and the big angry fella is summoned forth, despite Waruus prior reluctance to inform him of Djukurus return to the Zone.

The pretence of Slades visit is to take his wife to lunch, but his ulterior motive is to scope out Waruu. He quickly surmises that Waruu hasnt inherited Uncle Jimmys powers, and soon enough knows it was half-brother Koen who busted Kora out of the lab. Putting two and two together, he comes up with a lie to his wife and visits the bar to introduce himself to Koen. Slade offers the new Cleverman an opportunity to work together, but Koen couldnt be less inclined.

You have worlds at your feet and you dont even know it, Slade says vociferously.

In the city, the free-range Latani (Rarriwuy Hick) has left Virgils haven, and is informed of the death of the CA guard by a news bulletin playing on a public screen. However, the CA officer dispatched to arrest her is unable to match Latanis superhuman endurance in a foot chase. Once clear, she holes up in a boutique hair salon, but is conked on the head by one of the two salon owners and then bound to a styling chair.

The owners attempt to auction off Latanis sought-after pelt. As the bids flood in, the CA narrows in on the salons IP address. They arrive with weapons drawn, but Latani has already freed herself and escaped back on to the street. She heads towards the Zone and is reunited with her brother Djukuru, but theres tension between the two over the events that led to the CAs killing their baby sister, Jirra.

Meanwhile their mother Araluen is given a makeover at the brothel and her luxuriant pelt greatly pleases the madame, Frankie, and one mysterious VIP client, who turns out to be none other than the bigoted Minister Matthews! (Insert panto boo here.)

For a series that has so far drawn heavily on elements of fantasy and the supernatural, I was grateful this episode accentuated the sci-fi aspects of the story. We saw an intrusive drone pester Harry, a public news screen double as a CA surveillance device, and a healing spray that clears up both minor skin irritations and severe neck branding. There were others too. And whats a dystopian metropolis without intrusive science and technology, eh?

But I was left wondering, where oh where lurks our space-beasty with the long pointy teeth?

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/jun/15/cleverman-season-one-episode-three-recap-sundance