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"Undertaking" is the fourth episode of season 1 of The Nevers television series. Written by Madhuri Shekar and directed by David Semel, it premiered on May 2, 2021 on HBO and HBO Max.

Synopsis

While Mundi seeks justice, Amalia and her most trusted advisors make a list of potential enemies. Harriet, Primrose, and the other Orphans attempt to decipher a message. Later, Amalia exposes an unexpected threat.[1]

Plot

Mary's funeral is underway and many of the Orphanage attend, as well as Miss Bidlow and Inspector Mundi. They sing a hymn as her casket is lowered into the ground. The service is interrupted by two screaming men, who are escorted away by nearby officers.

Meanwhile, Amalia is getting drunk at a local bar. She gets into a fight with one of the patrons while pickpocketing one of the performers.

Lord Massen arrives at the docks, where the dockworkers are demanding higher wages after learning that there are explosives among the cargo. Lord Massen declares that the explosives are stable and threatens to fire each of them should they continue seeking grievances.

After the funeral, Penance finds Harriet sulking in the front yard of the Orphanage. Harriet explains that Aneel had to return to school, which she cannot. With the influx of new Touched individuals at the Orphanage and rumors that a couple of them have outstanding warrants, Penance asks Harriet to look into it. Harriet wishes that she could do more, but someone like her can't even apply to Aneel's law school. She questions just how they will ever see justice if they're not a part of it.

Horatio meets with Bonfire Annie, who reports that the funeral went mostly uninterrupted. She didn't see Maladie or anyone from the old gang, but the Beggar King did possibly send a wreath. She notes that a couple of Purists wearing pink rags made a fuss. Horatio questions just how Annie can change from working for Maladie to Amalia. Annie replies that they're not too different. Amalia finally arrives and tells them that the man who tried to drown her is named Nicolas Perbal, who she discovered is likely convalescing at his grandmother's. Annie questions if the two attacks — Mary's killing and Amalia's attack — are related at all. Amalia then has one of her ripplings and finds herself in conversation with Lord Massen at his estate.

Penance encourages Amalia to release her pain and emotions in a healthier manner, but Amalia isn't convinced this is what's needed to get the job done. She remarks that she was left completely alone with nothing but a mission that she was never actually given. Penance sarcastically asks if Amalia's wrath and vengeance are going to make the world any better. Amalia reminds Penance that Mary was murdered and declares that her killer will be found, starting with assessing who wasn't at the park that evening.

Primrose finds Myrtle crying in Penance's workshop while sketching pictures. Myrtle attempts to explain herself with the illustrations, but the language barrier proves a difficult obstacle to overcome. Eventually, Primrose deciphers that when Mary sang, Myrtle heard a hidden message within the song. Myrtle then jumps into Primrose's arms with excitement.

Reporter Effie Boyle from The Sentinel questions Inspector Mundi on the detainment of a couple of Purists and asks if they're connected to Mary's death. Effie believes that there's something bigger at play and accuses the press of vilifying the Touched. Mundi replies that it was the Touched who killed Mary and tells Effie to return when she learns more than that.

Inspector Birch questions the detained Purists. They claim that they were simply walking by when they stumbled upon the funeral. Mundi then challenges the two men to a brawl; however, the Purists back down after learning that he's a former boxer known as the East End Ape. The Purists then reveal that they were approached by a couple of guys in suits at one of their meetings, who told them about the funeral and how a Touched was being buried along with "normal folk." They then hand him a card with a swan printed on the back.

Amalia says that, between the cops, the church, the Purists, and the masked freaks, the Touched have no shortage of enemies. However, only a few are powerful enough to have gotten Kroos out of prison undetected. They go down a short list of potential suspects to determine the greatest threat. Horatio suspects that Maladie may be at the origin of the attack. Or perhaps Lord Massen, who Lucy mentions is currently at odds with his employees over low wages and dangerous cargo such as bombs. Bonfire offers to take the lead on the Beggar King, for who Amalia has a possible address. Amalia intends to speak with Lord Massen and assures Penance that she won't harm him should she find out that he was responsible for Mary's death. Last on the list, the Bidlows. Penance remarks that they should simply murder Augustus after their last encounter. As for Lavinia, she knew that Mary would be in the park to sing. Amalia then tasks Penance with going to suss out any information she can from Augie. Désirée then enters and informs Horatio that they have a few peaky ones downstairs.

Mundi pulls Hugo from a game of chess and confronts him for affiliating with the Purists. He suspects that Hugo meant to scare the Touched so that they would come to work for him for safety. Frank then shows Hugo the card the Purists claim was given to them. However, Hugo insists that the card doesn't belong to him. Hugo suspects that someone tricked Mundi into coming after him to divert him from the real suspect. In an effort to prove his innocence, Hugo offers to provide Mundi with his whereabouts during the shootings. Admittedly, Hugo wanted to know more about Amalia, but all he learned for certain is to steer clear of her. Before parting ways, Frank tells Hugo that their arrangement is over.

Augie is sitting alone in the Bidlow Estate flying with the crows above. Penance arrives and notices he's nervous. Augie sends his condolences to Mary. He then reveals that Lavinia made him do it, claiming that it could be bad for all. Penance understands that he's confessing to killing Mary and reveals a prototype wax recorder documenting their conversation, but it breaks when she shows it to him. Augie then explains to Penance that he didn't kill Mary, he was referring to the party where they last met. He offers to make amends, but Penance tells him she doesn't have much experience with men and doesn't know what to ask of him. Augie tells Penance to remember his transgressions so that he may re-earn her trust over time. He then exclaims that he wants to be her friend and Penance grabs his hand. She then asks if his sister who murdered Mary.

Bonfire Annie tracks down Odium's hideout, torching a couple of men in her way. She then crosses paths with Nimble Jack, who deflects the flames creating some type of shield. Nimble knows why Bonfire is looking for Odium and assures Annie that the Beggar King didn't order Mary's hit. Jack makes Annie a deal: should she leave then, all will be forgiven regarding the opium she torched.

Amalia meets with Lord Massen in his estate, who assures her that he had nothing to do with Mary's death. Whoever did have Mary killed was making a public statement, though not Maladie. That much Amalia seems sure. Massen suspects that Mary was killed not because she had enemies, but because she was a pure and blameless woman who represented a symbol of hope for the Orphanage.

Amalia reports back to the others. She says her conversation with Massen consisted of him admitting to killing Mary without explicitly saying that he gave the order. While they cannot simply kill Massen, Annie and Horatio agree that they must retaliate in some form. Lucy suggests torching his warehouse full of munitions.

Birch confronts Mundi for his encounter with Hugo. Mundi is then called into the Superintendent's office and finds Maladie strangling him with a garrote. She accuses the Superintendent of lying about her and accusing her of killing Mary. Maladie explains that she only kills angels and that she liked Mary. Maladie reveals that she attended the funeral from inside the box with Mary. Maladie demands that they stop lying about her or else she'll return. She then jumps out the window, landing onto a cart down below. Mundi chases after her and places Maladie in a chokehold, rendering her unconscious. One of the officers comes towards her with a knife, but Mundi disarms him and declares that, like anyone else, Maladie will receive proper justice.

Primrose, Harriet, and Aneel gather all the foreign-speaking residents in hopes that together they will be able to translate for Myrtle. In their first attempts, they manage to translate "come before the dark" from Italian.

Amalia, Bonfire, and Lucy break into Massen's warehouse. They knock out the workers with one of Penance's inventions. Bonfire stays outside while the other two enter the building to ensure it is empty. Inside, Amalia exposes the crates filled with rocks rather than the explosives Lucy claimed. Amalia says that Lucy is a mole who has been working for Massen. Amalia recalls her rippling and Lucy previously mentioning Massen's hunting trophies, something she would've only known from being in his office herself. Between that and her convenient plan to blow up a poorly guarded dummy munitions warehouse, Amalia put the pieces together. Lucy insists that she didn't know they would kill Mary, but Amalia states that would've been the only choice after she told them that Mary was a beacon.

Amalia says that Lucy was the first woman to walk through the doors of the Orphanage, the first woman that Amalia trusted. Lucy reminds Amalia that she killed her own child after touching him and it's been three years since she's touched another person; however, Massen claims that he can find her a cure. Amalia claims that the world wasn't supposed to be like this and she got left behind. Amalia then pulls a gun and fires at Lucy, but she dodges fleeing behind the crates. Amalia tackles Lucy and proceeds to punch her. Lucy uses her turn to crack the concrete below and force Amalia off. Lucy attempts to flee, but she goes back for her elephant brooch on the ground. There, she stares down the barrel of Amalia's gun. Amalia decides to spare her life. Amalia tells Lucy she'll send her off on a boat, but not before Lucy tells her everything she knows about Massen, starting with the real munitions.

Lord Massen gets word that the Paul Street storage building blew up.

Maladie spends the night being held in a cell, bound to a bed, claiming to be just the instrument of one's plan.

At the Orphanage, Amalia talks about Lucy's betrayal with Penance. Amalia recalls Lucy saying that she has no idea what the other girls are going through. Amalia agrees but adds that she can't allow herself to get close to them, Lucy is proof of that. Penance reveals to Amalia that Augie is Touched and that he can control birds.

Primrose, Harriet, and Myrtle join them and reveal that Myrtle understood Mary's song and they were able to translate it. According to the translation, Mary's song was directed to Amalia. Harriet reads the translation: "Amalia, my lonely soldier. I didn't leave you. I went inside the city. I was damaged... incomplete. I had to heal. Soon we will all be ready. But it's dark. There's a darkness." Harriet explains that everyone should gather and protect each other, and Amalia begins to cry. The message continues: "Find me. Let them help, those who will, but come below and find me. Come before the dark, and we can save..." That's where the song ended as Mary was killed. Harriet realizes those weren't Mary's words, but someone talking through her.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

  • Sylvie Briggs as Clara
  • Pui Fan Lee as Su Ping Lim
  • Margaret Tuttle as Effie Boyle
  • Matt Emery as Detective Birch
  • Mofetoluwa Akande as Katherine Cousens
  • Sam Melvin as Purist
  • Alex Forman as Huge Purist
  • Christopher Dunne as Club Butler
  • Hector Moss as Fiddle Player
  • Marcus Garvey as Gordy (Reporter)
  • Marc Bannerman as Bowler Hat
  • Ed Eales White as Foreman
  • Lee Barnett as Jacobs (Massen Worker)
  • Jack Rolf as Warehouse Worker
  • Chris Kyriacou as Guard 1
  • Nick Pearse as Guard 2
  • Ian Alexander as Superintendant
  • Will Brown as Police Officer
  • Mauro Montuschi as Italian Cook
  • Elisha Mistretta as Cook's Daughter
  • Sam Graham as Vicar

Uncredited

Production

  • The episode credits Margaret Tuttle, a made-up actress, in order to hide Effie Boyle's true identity.
  • Katherine Cousens is portrayed by Mofetoluwa Akande, a different actress from her first appearance in "Touched," when she is portrayed by Rachel Summers.
  • Rochelle Neil describes the scene Bonfire is sitting on Amalia's desk: "I was originally making paper airplanes and throwing them around the room. And then David, our director, said, 'The airplane hadn't been invented yet.' And so the whole thing became so much bigger, like, 'Whoa, she just invented the airplane.'"[2]
  • In Myrtle's attempts to tell the others the message in Mary's song, she says "todos vocês" ("all of you" in Portuguese) and "venite prima che buiuo" ("come before the dark" in Italian).

Broadcast

  • In its original American broadcast, the episode was seen by an estimated 515 thousand household viewers, receiving a Nielsen rating of 0.07 among adults aged 18–49.[3]

Cultural references

  • Those attending Mary's funeral sang the hymn "Now the Laborer's Task Is Over," written by Rev. John Ellerton (1826–1893).
  • The Purists refer to the ordeal by water used in witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, in which the accused sinking indicated innocence and floating indicated witchcraft.
  • Harriet mentions being unable to apply to Aneel's law school. The first woman to pass a law degree in the United Kingdom, Eliza Orme, graduated from University College London in 1888, but she was not allowed to qualify to practice as either a solicitor or a barrister. It was not until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 that women could enter the legal profession.

Gallery

Promotional

Behind the scenes

Videos

References

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