The Lost Symbol Episode 8 Review: Cascade
The Lost Symbol takes a step back to focus on the emotional journeys of its characters.
In a somewhat low-key episode, The Lost Symbol takes a step back to focus on the emotional journeys of its characters. Not much happens in the way of plot progression or puzzle solving, with Cascade choosing to give its characters some room to breathe, bond and share their stories. A heavy emphasis is placed on Zachary and Katherine’s mother, Isabel, who enters the foray and becomes a pivotal player in this story.
First off, admittedly, I jumped the gun with the previous episode. Turns out, Sato isn’t dead but only knocked out unconscious. This still means they’re going with her broader arc as in the books which should culminate in a reveal that I enthusiastically spoiled for non-book readers. Don’t worry, it may not pan out though as we still aren’t sure if they’ll go in that direction. An injured Sato spends the episode recuperating as she has trouble speaking. She goes through memories of her journey so far and feels conflicted over what she put Zachary through and how he betrayed her trust, which she had ostensibly gained towards the final moments. She breaks down as the guilt weighs in on her.
Katherine and Langdon pay Isabel a visit and its immediately evident that things are not as they seem. Turns out, Isabel has been aware of Zachary / Mal’akh’s existence all along, even helping him pay for the tank which he used to hold up Peter Solomon. What Isabel isn’t aware of is the full extent of Zachary’s crimes, almost too blindsided to have her son back in her life that her motherly instincts take over, shutting her out of any sane thoughts about her son’s fate. Zachary is now completely Mal’akh, both mentally and physically disfigured, and Isabel’s denial proves to be costly as Mal’akh displays no penance for wiping any trace of hindrance that could come in his way. Katherine and Langdon try to talk her out of it to no avail, the writers quickly excuse themselves by having Katherine decide that Isabel should be left to make her own choice. And so she does, although that choice proves costly.
Katherine and Langdon on their part reconnect as lovers in a slightly awkward implied sex scene. Not the best time to rekindle a romantic relationship but Katherine finally realizing that Langdon has been always there for her in her trying times is the ultimate reward for his loyalty and companionship that Langdon could hope for. After all, theoretically, Langdon should have no stake in this. It’s Katherine’s father and family at risk. And yet, Langdon has been available as a pillar of support at every step of the way, whether it’s putting himself at gunpoint or frantically solving puzzles that not even the best could crack.
We do return to the central conflict of the books though, which is Mal’akh’s need to attain apotheosis – a sort of divine elevation. At this point, it’s worth questioning whether Mala’kh is truly really beyond redemption. Or, as the previous episode had hinted, there’s likely a shred of emotion left in him, one that he does not fake. I do like how they’re playing with this ambiguity and I wish there was more of it. It helps Mal’akh come across as more conflicted, which is a far more nuanced portrayal than what Dan Brown’s books gave us.
Talking about character moments, it’s nice to see Nunez and Peter share a moment. Nunez gets to share a little bit of his own history, about his friend Felix who he lost as the guy stepped on a landmine. It helps us connect to Nunez just that extra bit, should something happen to him, but I would’ve liked this stuff to be done a bit more. Maybe it translates into Nunez’s fear of losing someone like Katherine or Sato in the present day. Still, the quieter scene is welcome, even if it slows down the storyline.
We’re now two episodes left and Mal’akh has gained possession of the device that will help him transcend to divinity, a device that the Masons readily handed over to him in a vote. That sequence was yet another reminder of the kind of influential people that are a part of the Freemasons society. Because it’s easier, the book names far more famous historical figures that belonged to the same group. Showing William Osterman, a famous physicist featured on the magazine cover enter the Freemasons meeting was a good way to drive home the point. Overall, despite the slow pace and a cold open that felt like it was straight out of Browns’ other book Digital Fortress, The Lost Symbol is chugging along nicely to what is looking like a clean, if possibly underwhelming finish.