The second episode of this season of Tanis felt like an almost episode. In that I almost liked certain aspects, but also almost hated them. Let’s dive in.
We started with a sad story of one Casper Howser. Raised without human contact, without light. Fed only water and bread. Made to live in a dirt hole with only straw to sleep on. One day he escaped and became a celebrity. Everyone wanted to take him in, to learn more about him. As he was around people he learned to speak but could give few details of his previous life. Then, he was murdered. In papers left behind in his room, there was a word we’ll all be familiar with.
Now and then we stumble on these sorts of stories. Children raised by wolves or apes, without human contact. It’s the question of nature v. nurture, played out over and over again in fiction. Are we man because it’s our nature, or because we are taught to be?
From there, we learn more about Stirling’s daughter. She’s a police officer, and well versed in wilderness survival. Of course, none of that means a damned thing when we’re talking about Tanis. She managed to get herself into the cabin and is trapped there now. We know this because someone sent Stirling an audio file with bits and pieces of recordings she made.
This was a detail I think they could have done better. The audio file was of bits and pieces of recordings the woman made. Of losing her team, of getting lost in the woods. Of finding that oh so familiar cabin. But it’s rushed. It jumps from piece to piece, often in mid-sentence. It does well to convey information. But it fails to convey the feeling of the place. And the thing is, it’s not new information. We know about the cabin, we know how the woods in Tanis mess with you. We don’t know how it felt for this person to be lost there. How is she different from anyone else who’s been lost in these woods? That’s what we should have seen.
Another thing I’m on the fence about is MK. Not about her herself, she’s awesome. But about her reaction to Nic.
In the last episode, she was almost egging him on. He was trying to leave Tanis behind, and she was nearly chiding him. Now, as he’s considering going into Tanis to look for this lost girl, MK has changed her tune. She wants Nic nowhere near that place.
Is this because she sees the difference between research and actively going into another breach? Or is it inconsistent character work? I’m hoping this will become clear as the season goes on.
Finally, we have a second chapter of the novel, Pacifica. Our character is still struggling with his new condition, and the overwhelming depression that goes along with it. He’s decided to participate in a study without telling his wife. It’s a fascinating story, and I’m sure it will have something to do with the rest of the Tanis adventure.
I just wish it made a little more sense right now.
All in all, this was a good episode. I’m interested to see what happens next.
What do you think is going to happen this season? Leave your guesses in the comments below.