Siren Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Survivor

Nothing is safe, and no one is perfect. Ben, who was the paragon of virtue in season one and throughout most of season two, is the perfect example of someone who can be pushed to do questionable things for the “right” reasons. First, letting Ian die at the end of last season, to protect Ryn. Then, in this episode, exhuming Donna’s remains to carry out the same exploitation of her body that he chastised Kyle for— so his mother can continue her stem cell treatments.

The treatments are working and Elaine is regaining movement in her legs, while also, it seems, gaining new abilities, like being able to hold her breath underwater for minutes at a time. But just because the treatment works doesn’t mean she’s entitled to them, if there is no ethical way to continue. But white men gon’ White Man.

Ben is a well-meaning person, with decent morals, and a genuine desire to do good. But he is above all else, a white man, and one who comes from means, so he is doubly privileged. The show has touched on this privilege before, in his relationship with Xander and Calvin and the fishing crew they were a part of together, before he left for college. The writing hasn’t always positioned Ben as the wrong party in that dynamic, but there is always an undercurrent of unexamined privilege with Ben.

Ben castigated Kyle for desecrating the body of Ryn’s dead sister, Donna, to further his own (self-serving) agenda. But with Kyle no longer around to be the Bad Guy, Ben immediately resorts to the same tactics— something he will justify by insisting it’s selfless, for someone else’s benefit. In another situation, I might be concerned about whether the writing will take him to task, but Siren has shown a propensity to confront, test, and criticize their characters and those character’s choices.

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There are a lot of questions of morality in this show, and not many clear right and wrong answers. Our perspective of mermaids comes from Ryn, and experiencing our world through her eyes. But mermaids are apex predators, who can kill even the strongest humans bare-handed. They are, in actuality, a legitimate threat. Xander is excellent at reminding us of this.


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