Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show. I’m your host, Paul, and in this video, we’re breaking down the first episode of Joss Whedon’s The Nevers.
At this point, Whedon is probably never going to work in Hollywood again, and if you’ve been keeping up with the controversy surrounding the creator, then you’ll know that he stepped away from the project in light of recent allegations. This was due to a lot of backlash over his work on Justice League, and since Ray Fisher came out and spoke about his onset abuse, several other people that have worked with him in the past have also done the same.
Now, whether he actually stepped down or was fired, we don’t know, but because of this, the show itself exists in this weird state where it’s difficult to cover it without bringing it up. Whedon has appeared on the surface as a progressive feminist, but it’s clear that his treatment of women and POCs has been anything but. I have gone back and forth over whether to do breakdowns on the series, but after speaking to several people on social media, the general consensus tends to be that a lot of good people beyond Whedon worked on this and that their hard work shouldn’t be overlooked because he’s a douche.
So I’m going to try and bring you the best breakdown I can on it’s storyline, characters, and my thoughts on the work, but at points this thing is going to be impossible to ignore.
Anyway, full spoilers ahead, and if you enjoy the video, then please click the thumbs up. I’m going to see how this video does and then decide whether to move forward with covering the series over the next six weeks, so be sure to let me know below if you want to see more.
With that out of the way, thank you for clicking this. Now let’s get into The Nevers!
THE NEVERS EPISODE 1 BREAKDOWN
Ok, so The Nevers takes us back in time to Victorian London, namely August 3rd, 1896. After an apparent eclipse occurs, a large number of people, mostly young women, are blessed with incredible gifts. Labelled the touched, these people are stigmatised in society and have been rejected by their family. Sent to a girls house for the gifted known as St. Romaulda’s Orphanage, I think early on most people will be drawing several X-men and Umbrella Academy comparisons.
Among these people are Amalia True and Penance Adair. Both have their own superpowers, with the latter being an incredible inventor who’s able to make ingenious creations because of her ability to see energy.
This means that the house has technology far advanced beyond the rest of society, and if they wish to wheel out any incredible steampunk inventions, the show will be able to do it without any questions asked. In the episode, we see a perfume bottle that’s very much used as a flashbang, a tape measure that can be used as handcuffs, and an umbrella with a taser in it. These are, of course, similar to the touched, as they look like regular people on the surface, but they all have a hidden side to them.
The pair set out to help a girl named Myrtle, who has apparently been possessed by a demon, and we watched as they travelled through our capital.
Now there are several antiques of the time used in the set dressing and a sign that says Bill Stickers will be prosecuted. These started to be put up in the 1880s to try to stop citizens from advertising for free. Because of the name used for it, i.e., Bill Stickers, a movement against this started in which people would put up signs that said ‘Bill Stickers’ is innocent.
We also see a newspaper with the title Maladie Kills. Maladie means disease in French, and she is very much terrorising London. In the entry, we learn that this is a touched female serial killer who, so far, has chalked up five victims. With Joss Whedon being such a progressive feminist, this is actually a gender swap on the Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper. Jack operated between 1888 and 1891 and, too, had five victims.
Later, we meet a council of men who are afraid of her because she’s murdering elite men in upper-class society, and it’s clear from one of the comments made by them about prostitutes that they’ve deliberately done a flip here.
Though the time period is slightly out of line, I do think that Maladie will very much reflect this, and it could even be possible that she was linked to the ripper in some way. Who knows? We might even learn her true name is one of his victims, but that’s just me speculating.
Now we also learn that True is able to see small flashes of the future, but for the moment, she can’t control when this happens.
The pair go to their professor X and try to discover what’s up with Myrtle, which is when we discover that she is speaking several different languages all at once. Her parents believed that she was speaking in tongues, which is where the demon possession came from.
Now things are made worse when a group of monsters tries to abduct Myrtle. Though the women manage to escape back to the house with the help of a motorised car within the carriage, it’s clear that they haven’t run into people like this before.
Elsewhere, we come across the council and discover that they greatly fear being touched. Victorian London had very little equality as far as gender was concerned, and women were very much viewed as second-class citizens. Even though we’d had several queens at this point, they were unable to vote because they weren’t deemed fit enough to make the right decision.
Limited to being people who should forget ambition, the fact that they can now do incredible things has caused a lot of fear in these powerful men, and one known as Lord Massen believes that it’s all part of an attack by an outside force. An ex-soldier, he wants to keep the status quo and would probably make YouTube videos about how everything has changed if he were alive today.
At the end of the episode, we see that most people forget that anything ever happened, but Massen may remember, which is why he suggests this.
We also meet Detective Mundi, who’s currently on the hunt for Maladie. There’s been another body found, and the words ‘Behold My Works, For I Am The Angle Of Death’ Obviously, it’s an angel, but you know. Anyway, this is a play on the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, in which the line ‘Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.’ This has often been used in film and literature as a means of intimidation, but Mundi quickly realises that it’s not Maladie due to the spelling error. He concludes that the people there are trying to pin the murder on her, but that she was at the location at some point.
Next, we see True’s trio arrive at the home and meet some of the supporting characters, including a giant, on what may be some of the worst green screens I’ve ever seen.
We also meet Augustus Bidlow, whose sister Olivia funds the girl’s house, and Hugo Swann, a rich buffoon who has a pagan sex cult. Lastly, we come across Dr. Horatio Cousens, who has the ability to heal people by touching them.
Shortly after, True and Adair head to the opera, and along the way, they run into The Beggar King, a well-known gangster played by Nick Frost. It turns out that the King is an informant for the orphanage who tells them of girls that have been touched. True has summoned him because she wants to know whether he told the weird-looking men about Myrtle, but he denies this, leading to it still being a mystery.
Now, an interesting thing that True says is that her face isn’t her own. This could mean that she’s similar to the men that we saw who tried to abduct Myrtle at the beginning. The ones in the house looked normal, whereas outside they didn’t; however, it could be that they just sent those ones in to get the girl. However, they may be able to change their appearance, like True could perhaps do.
THE NEVERS EPISODE 1 ENDING EXPLAINED
If we cut back to the end of the episode, you can also see that True fell forward into some water after being drawn to it to end her own life. Unlike the others, she was likely dead when the touch arrived, so something may be inhabiting her body and simply appearing human.
In the trailer, she states that it’s time to tell them everything, perhaps hinting at her knowing what’s going on because she was one of the passengers on the vessel.
Let me know your theories below, of course, but after the first episode, that’s probably the one I’m aligning with the most.
Now the pair continue to read Faust, which is about a man selling his soul to the devil in order to gain knowledge and power. Due to the pagan sex cult already being a thing and the females being given powers, it is possible that something similar happened. There is a lot of talk of the devil in this entry, including a mention of Lucifer. I don’t want to go all Mephisto again, but perhaps there is something occult going on in the series rather than it being extraterrestrial. We did see demon-looking men at the start, so yeah, it does line up, but we will talk about the ship later on in the video.
Before the performance, the touched interact with normal people, and it’s clear that Augustus takes a shine to them. Massen, however, wants them to remain in their place, and he’s clearly worried about the imbalance that they bring, uprooting his seat in society. In the behind-the-scenes stuff at the end of the entry, they discuss how True very much represents the new power, whereas he represents the old, and therefore the two are definitely on a collision course.
Maladie arrives during the performance, and we see that she has slit the devil’s throat, painting her out as the big bad. Alongside her are several sidekicks, and they terrorise the actors and crowd. She says she’s come to kill an angel and also talks about the affliction that being touched has caused. The first comment might be something she regularly says due to the angle comment before, but either way, someone with the voice of an angel, called Mary, starts to sing, and this paralyses some of those that hear it.
We learn in the interviews that Mary realised there was a higher power beyond her here, and while she thought she was the be all and end all, she now knows there’s more. This is why she kidnaps her, as she wants to learn if she has the answers.
This leads to a big chase scene filled with a really cool moment in which True gets to the bottom of a stairwell in super-slick fashion. There’s a great fight, but Maladie gets away, which I’m guessing will set up the next episode in which she will be tracked down in order to save Mary.
Mundie and Hugo meet backstage, and we learn that the former is working for the latter in order to recruit people for his club. Mundie is clearly adverse to this, but he very much owes something to Hugo, which will likely be revealed as we get into the series.
Elsewhere, we see some of the psychoanalysts that Madalie murdered, and these sick and sordid scientists carry out human experiments in order to find the origins of the touched. I think that the men sent to get Myrtle are likely working for him, and they want to abduct the touched in order to discover where their abilities come from.
Adair discovers True, who’s been fighting with some men, and she’s gutted that Maladie managed to get away. The pair talk about Mary’s song, and we learn that she said, “We’re woven into the fabric of the world, and we’re meant to be who we are.”
This was clearly being sung to Maladie, who wanted to know her place in the world, but it can also be used as a call for all those touched to come together under one union.
Now we cut back to the beginning and see that it was actually an alien-looking ship that touched the people, and it flew over London, causing several people to faint.
Amongst these were the characters we already know about so far; however, Augustus was affected, as was Massen’s daughter. Now, at the end of the show interview, they said that they aren’t aware because they come from a place in society that looks down on the touched. Therefore, he may be psychosomatically holding back his powers because he simply doesn’t believe he has them.
This was somewhat of a missile that seemingly disintegrated, and the traces of it are nowhere to be found.
We discover that Maladie was actually being escorted to an asylum when she was touched, and whereas the others go about the rest of their day and instantly forget, Maladie was able to retain the memory.
As for the ship itself, there could be several possibilities. The most obvious is that it’s alien. Perhaps it came to the planet and crashed, distilling its energy sources over London as it went down.
THE NEVERS EPISODE 1 REVIEW
However, it could also be intentionally sent here to give people certain abilities; the fact that the energy goes onto certain people while avoiding others shows that there is some intelligence to it.
Lastly, it’s something from God directly; according to Refinery29.com, Whedon stated that the show was very much about how the meek shall inherit the earth. This is something that is very much laced throughout a lot of religions, and due to the constant discussion of God, the Devil, and angels, it seems like it could be something divine.
It’s often theorised in films like Prometheus that who we perceive as God is actually a group of aliens that created us. This higher power could very much be people from the stars who have returned to take people on their next path.
Anyway, we end with True waking up on the floor from the beginning of the episode, and we end the episode almost as it began.
Now obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the first episode, so make sure you comment below and let me know.
As a thank you for interacting with the video, you’ll be entered into a prize draw on the 30th of April in which we’re giving away three copies of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 4K. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is like the video. Make sure you subscribe with notifications on and drop a comment below with your thoughts on the episode. The winners of last month’s competition are on screen right now, so if that’s you, then message me on Twitter, @HeavySpoilers.
If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the What If Trailer, which will be linked on screen now. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.
With that out of the way, thank you for sitting through the video. I’ve been Paul, and I’ll see you next time. Take care, Peace