TL;DR – Indeed everyone is on Borrowed Time, as choices come to a head in the season finale
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So we’ve reached the end of Season Two with the final episode Borrowed Time, and after five weeks of everyone making mistakes, tonight it all comes to a head. At the end of last week’s Skin (review) we had that shocking moment when Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) defending herself and her baby put a scalpel right into Slade’s (Iain Glen) neck, though we didn’t see him die. Now there is one thing you need to know about TV, and that is they are not dead until we see the body, and even then everything is up for grabs. Well, first up tonight not only do we find out, yep he’s dead, but we also find out that he ended up going nowhere in the end, because (and I had forgotten this) he got caught up in the blue wave at the end of Season One. That was a really powerful opener but Borrowed Time doesn’t stop there, and a reminder as we will be talking about the episode as a whole, there are [SPOILERS] ahead.
There is a lot that tonight’s episode has to say, forced integration, the occupation of the land, and that land was not yours, and how best to respond to it. These are really complex issues and it is a testament to just how good the writing staff is on Cleverman that they can make these issues accessible to those who don’t understand these issues, but also relatable to those who have experienced it first-hand. Also what we see in this episode and all throughout the season is the issue of power, and how it can be used for good, or corrupted and turned rotten. We see that with Waruu (Rob Collins) who is willing to rip people out of their moment of happiness because they dared to find happiness outside of him. I think it is telling as to just how good an actor Rob Collins is, because from all accounts he is a wonderful man, but he plays someone who is almost irredeemable with such skill, much like Jack Gleeson in Game of Thrones.
There are so many threads that came together in Borrowed Time, and this creates a series of events that like a snowball roll down the mountain until they become an avalanche. We have Tim (Luke Ford) finding his humanity and deciding to be on the right side of history, he also put Waruu in his place more than anyone else this season. We have Jarli (Clarence Ryan) decide to take matters into his own hands after being banished by his elders, and deciding, with the help of Latani (Rarriwuy Hick), to free the people of Bennelong House whether they wanted to or not. We had Alinta (Tamala Shelton) finally escape her father only to fall back into his clutches. We have Marion (Rachael Blake) desperately trying to maintain order as they whole system is stressed, realising that the minister’s job was the poison chalice that people warned her about, or is it. We have moments of joy as a mother and daughter are reunited for the first time since First Contact (review) all the way back at the start of Season One. We also have Deborah Mailman showing with all her heart why she should win a Gold Logie, and Charlotte getting the courage to leave the life she had lived.
However, that is just scratching the surface because this whole season has been about the Sun and the Moon coming into conflict, and unlike Season One, we got that final battle. Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) went into that fight knowing what the outcome was going to be, he had seen it, but he knew that the only way for peace to reign was but sacrificing himself for the greater good. As he said to Jarli “Killing more people won’t change anything” and he proved it. Koen is the leader that I wish we had more of, violence and segregation are not the way forward, we need to find a way for everyone to work together. The showdown was everything that was wrong with Waruu, indeed I’d say it is telling that all season word has been trying to auto-correct Waruu to War. He had his brother in chains, and instead of sending him to jail he decided to kill him in a back alley. But like all things, it backfired on him, but the damage was already done. This was the most brutal part of the episode, to give your life for something you believe in, to confront your own kin, and to watch your world end.
In the end, with everything that happened, I so hope we get a Season Three, because if any show on Australian TV deserves another season it is Cleverman. But also, we got a great arc, from start to finish, but also a jumping platform for another season. This is everything a season finale should do, but let me say again, please let this not be the end.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Cleverman
Directed by – Leah Purcell
Created by – Ryan Griffen
Written by – Stuart Page
Cinematography by – Mark Wareham
Music by – Samuel Scott, Thomas Wedde & Lukasz Buda
Starring – Hunter Page-Lochard, Rob Collins, Tasma Walton, Rarriwuy Hick, Rachael Blake, Jada Alberts, Clarence Ryan, Tony Briggs, Luke Ford, Tamala Shelton, Marcus Graham, Deborah Mailman, Frances O’Connor & Iain Glen with Tessa Rose & Jack Charles