Laura Donnelly heads the cast of The Nevers.

Keith Bernstein/HBO

Everybody wants a piece of the Touched. In the 2nd episode of Joss Whedon wonderland series The Nevers, our traditional heroes are taken in all of directions by a throw of aristocrats plus psychopaths determined to use and abuse the superpowered sisterhood.   

Episode only two, titled “Exposure,” is definitely available to view on streaming service HBO Max presently, as is the aviator. There’s a new tv show every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max until finally mid-May. Here’s our summarize of the second tv show. Spoilers ahoy!

Two times after episode 1’s evening in the opera turned massacre-y, Victorian London is in feelings of loss. For some, the bloodshed from the performance involving Faust is an reason to buy a different hat, however for others it can the beginning of the difusion war with the luck of the Touched in stake. Meanwhile, in the particular shadows, an actual conflict explodes between different parti of steampunk superpowers.

The big theme of tv show 2, directed by Whedon before he exited the particular show, is how modern society exploits those who are different. “Horror and fascination go hot,” as one character says, and this episode reveals various players at different social strata setting out to manipulate and mistreat the Touched for own ends.

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The authoritarian, anti-suffragette, anti-Belgian Lord Massem sees the Touched like a threat, which means at some point he’ll have to confront his own daughter. Frank Mundi wants to stamp them out. Dr. Hague enjoys his gory work an impression too much. There are even Touched groupies desperate to become granted their own powers. Even apparent allies have their own agendas: at Lavinia Bidlowe’s chaste estate or at the fleshpot of Hugo Swan’s Ferryman’s club, the Touched are displayed as playthings for the amusement and prime of their hosts.

Lavinia may profess benevolence to the Touched, but the blue bows separate these individuals from “real” party friends. Penance, Lucy, Primrose as well as the others aren’t people for you to the paternalistic Ms. Bidlowe, but turns to be pushed around. Lavinia’s admonishment of awkward aristo Augie reveals her true attitudes: the Touched are untouchable.

From high society to the Ferryman’s Club, we all want to exploit the Touched.

Keith Bernstein/HBO

The fantasy metaphor in the middle of The Nevers evokes a sad real-life tendency to simultaneously revile and fetishize people who are other. For example, real-life Victorians both ridiculed and commodified Black women like Sarah Baartman, displayed to curious onlookers as “the Hottentot Venus.” In the show, Italian shopgirl Elizabetta Cassini and Irish engineer Penance put up with sexist and racist microaggressions even before the discrimination towards their superpowered sisterhood.

Tellingly, Lavinia’s stern warning to Augie takes place within nude statue that exposes one breast while also coyly covering itself. That visual detail neatly suggests the tension between prurience and desire within Victorian society, evoking complex hypocrisies we still wrestle with today.

As Amalia True finds common ground with Frankie Mundi, Penance dares to fall for Augie and our heroes face Maladie, what other secrets are exposed in episode 2?