No Award watches stuff: Cleverman 1×02

We’ve received feedback saying that it’s sometimes hard to tell whether or not we actually like some of the media we talk about. (In fairness, you can usually tell when we hate something.) So we’re entering a brave new world of giving media points out of five, although, David and Margaret style, Stephanie and I are giving individual points and reserve the right to disagree.

(We also reserve the right to wear fabulous earrings.)

ANYWAY, episode 2 of Cleverman: Jorah Mormont is building an ark, Waruu is a dickhead (but a hot one!), Naked Corpse Lady has clothes now, and there are more women.

Liz’s rating: Four Renowned Indigenous Stage Actors out of Five.

Stephanie’s rating: Four Renowned Indigenous Stage Actors out of Five

Seen around the place:


A gifset encapsulating (a) some important stuff about the Dreaming and its place in Indigenous society, and (b) Waruu’s best scene in episode 2.

The show is not holding back one bit, and it’s making it very clear that what makes this Australia a dystopia is point of view: it’s today’s Australia, technology be damned, just not seen through whitefella eyes.


No Award’s Feelpinions


Lest we give the impression that Cleverman fandom on Tumblr is all great — well, it’s quite good, really — but there is a disproportionate amount of Iain Glen, The Only White Male Regular, in the tag. Come on, guys.

Beyond Tumblr, there was a review going around Twitter about how there are no! sympathetic! white people! in this series!

To which I have to say, oh, petal, there are several sympathetic white people, it’s just that most of them aren’t — you know — men. Most prominent is Frances O’Connor’s character, the doctor who works in the Zone (and is also married to Iain Glen and also there’s an infertility subplot and he’s building an ark? AN ARK?).

But my favourite white character — kind of — is the steampunk Jewish inventor who takes in Latani and — in case you missed the previous sledgehammers — draws a direct parallel between Australia’s treatment of the Hairy People and Antisemitism.

(Obviously, Jewish people occupy an ambiguous place in terms of whiteness, but we see the old lady through Latani’s eyes first, and to her, she is a light-skinned Australian and therefore potentially dangerous.)

Anyway, I think this was a stronger episode than the premiere — the dialogue was sleeker, the plot is moving, Waruu is still terrible but gorgeous.

(Koen is also terrible, let’s not overlook the fact that he promised the Hairy family safety in exchange for cash, then sold them out for a reward. He wouldn’t have been my choice for Cleverman, especially in a universe where Miranda Tapsell is riding buses and slicing up gross drunk guys with her bare hands.)


Why does one need a sympathetic white character? If you need a sympathetic white character, look at your life, look at your choices, and also: accept this reality from this show. Accept this reality that no help is coming, especially not from some white person. (Dr Mrs Frances O’Connor aside.)

Housemate of No Award Bella has just informed me of this excellent piece of info wrt last week’s coffee business:

!! I am glad people across the waters are getting to hear the coffee quote. We use it a lot in Aboriginal culture. There is a strong history of people trying to deny Aboriginals their aboriginality, trying to “breed out” the aboriginality etc but when it comes down to it, you’re Aboriginal based on your family connections, your culture – not your skin colour!

So often this quote is used (sometimes it is tea! Depends on the person) to explain to non-Aboriginals that we are a many coloured culture.

Koen is SO HOT which is great, and I look forward to more excellent acting when he’s not being given headaches by the dead corpse lady. Briggs threw a TV in anger, which was EXCELLENT, but he wasn’t in it enough. Also: Moar Aunty Linda, please. Please. She gives us everything.

And finally: JORAH MORMONT IS BUILDING AN ARK. Liz has already assured me that if I ever slipped ‘I’m building you an ark’ into conversation she’s definitely not going to let that one go.


  • Did not expect them to kill the other two Hairy ladies; we just feel like if guards on Nauru were killing two ladies at a time we might know about it?
  • The paperwork and bureaucracy alone.
  • It’s not that we think “white people would never!”, it just seems unlikely on a practical level, and that’s before you consider that most jails are full of CCTV cameras. It was a bridge too far for our suspension of disbelief.
  • Steph should not have laughed at ‘I’m gonna call you Trevor’, and yet.
  • Why is Jorah Mormont even here? (Sweet, sweet international dollars, and also Dany took out a restraining order.)
  • Establishing shot of Araluen in the bed, super creepy.
  • Yet she was fully dressed and not sexually posed or exploited by the camera!

Stay tuned for tonight(!!)’s episode, where we hope Djukura gets to cuddle kittens and his sister. We will try to post our review of it in a more timely fashion; in our defence, we had to go to Continuum and yell about things. Stay tuned for that, too.

2 thoughts on “No Award watches stuff: Cleverman 1×02

  1. He really really did say “I’m building you an ark,” didn’t he?? I had to rewatch it to make sure! AN ARK?! Figurative or literal and WHY?

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