The Dead Lands - Season 1, Episode 5: “Generational Warfare” TV Episode Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Premiered on Shudder
Directed by Michael Hurst
Written by Glenn Standring
2020, 45 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on February 13th, 2020
Te Kohe Tuhaka as Waka Nuku Rau
Darneen Christian as Mehe
Kali Kopae as Hine
Kawakawa Fox-Reo as Uri
Richard Te Are as Tui
Vicky Haughton as Turika
Calvin Tuteao as Shaman Uncle
All worthwhile television needs an episode in the middle of the season where the exposition is pushed forward, often at the expense of crazy action and stunts. You know what I’m talking about – those episodes where the cute/tender/relationship-developing stuff happens and the previous big reveal is repeatedly mentioned, but you don’t really get any jaw-dropping moments.
This is that episode. On the plus side, it doesn’t sacrifice all the action for the sake of exposition and character development, and the change in tone and pacing is welcome after the intensity of the exorcism in the last episode. That’s a pretty nice mini-coup on the writing side in and of itself.
Waka and Mehe leave the witches with the boy (who is now free of the demon) in tow. Mehe is determined to return home to check on her people before continuing, which is prophetic, as a small horde of the dead have found their way into the caves through hidden tunnels. Children are taken and lives are lost. The drifting Waka and Mehe are brought sharply back together by the trauma and her uncle’s return to power as he sells himself as the tribe’s only hope for survival. A plan is devised to save her people and handle the uncle problem. Then it’s time to confront the one who broke the world.
The relationship between Waka and Mehe is more human and fun by the episode. This time it’s not the distraction it was in the action-packed fourth episode (“The Exorcism of the Boy”); it’s the centerpiece of this installment. Their flirting and fighting like an old married couple paints a light veneer over the tight bond they’re forming. For an unrepentant and selfish warrior prick, Waka is turning out to be quite the hero. His irreverent sarcasm is refreshing. And that war cry just gets both a little cooler and a little sillier every time you see it. He’s still making me think of a Maori version of Bruce Campbell. Can we just see those two team up already?
It’s not action-free, however. The cave crawl and battle to save Mehe’s people is some pretty intense stuff. There are movements and action sequences that make you think of toned-down Deadites. The fighting is always sharp and precise with the added surprise of Mehe starting to learn to hold her own. Style points for how it all shapes up with the dastardly uncle. It’s a nice “Fuck yeah!” moment.
You may roll your eyes a bit at how heavy the foreshadowing is where it concerns the upcoming confrontation with the one who broke the world. They really want to make sure that you don’t forget who that is and how big the events will be. It’s a tad heavy-handed, but you can’t really blame them. Waka’s mommy issues continue to be a critical time bomb waiting to explode.
“Generational Warfare” is a solid transitional episode that makes sure you know that the homestretch is coming and that both Waka and Mehe are realizing who and what they truly are. I’m really starting to get excited for (hopefully) an orgy of nastiness and bloodshed just around the corner.
I mean, who just “breaks the world”?! How inconsiderate. How rude!
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