Carnival Row season 2 episode 2 recap: a new dawn for old friends and enemies

Cara Delevingne as Vignette Stonemoss in Carnival Row season 2
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

The first episode of Carnival Row season 2 ends with a cliffhanger, when Imogen and Agreus' ship is attacked by a defaced Pact airship, but also in a larger sense as the first episode was full of plotting and scheming.

You can read our Carnival Row season 2 episode 1 recap here, and the second episode, released at the same time as the first, drops us right back into the action — we also meet some characters from season 1 who weren't present in the other episode.

Because Carnival Row has so many different plot threads all woven together, you might have missed some important detail in the show, so this episode 2 recap will make sure you're on the same page for when episodes 3 and 4 land on February 24.

*Spoilers for Carnival Row season 2 episode 2 follow*

Land ahoy

After the first episode's Pact airship cliffhanger, episode 2 begins with Imogen, Agreus and the rest of the crew of their ship being led to a port called Ragusa — while Agreus has friends there, they find it’s been taken over by a communist-esque revolution. 

Imogen is brought to a part of town where all fae and human live side-by-side in peace, a stark change from The Burgue, though she’s unhappy when she’s expected to contribute toward cooking.

The soldiers free the ship’s sailors and execute the officers — all except Agreus, who is spared for an unknown reason. He and Imogen are soon reunited, and he finds out that he’ll be freed just as soon as he pays a ransom. That’s hard to do when all their possessions have been impounded.

Making a pact with The Pact

Jonah, the Chancellor, meets with an ambassador from The Pact, who’s come to The Burgue to buy weapons as a symbolic act between two former enemies. 

It’s an open secret to both sides, though, that the weapons are really for The Pact and its war against New Dawn, the fae revolution we met through Imogen.

Sophie pushes Jonah to sign The Burgue up in the war to aid The Pact, knowing both that a war will cement their places in leadership, but also that it’ll stop the same unrest reaching The Burgue. But she also has another plan — if they also arm the New Dawn, them and The Pact will get bogged down in war, letting The Burgue finally continue its empire-building dreams by invading fae homeland Tirnanoc.

Continuing her subterfuge, we discover Sophie has been hiding her faun handmaid in the attic of her house, to keep her safe from the ghetto of Carnival Row. Sophie brings this woman food, and in return gets accounting advice and hairstyling tips.

Not content with those two schemes, Sophie also meets her supporters, and offers to buy out their factories. While The Burgue’s economy is struggling with all the fae workers locked up on Carnival Row, Sophie knows that a potential war will require many more factory workers, potentially brining her a huge windfall of cash.

Plans to crash a party

Arty Froushan and Caroline Ford as Jonah Breakspear and Sophie Longerbane in Carnival Row season 2

(Image credit: Prime Video)

In episode one, Philo planned to crash a banquet to announce that he, and not Jonah, was the son of the last Chancellor... and in episode two, he does just that.

First he lets Vignette know, and she's not too happy, knowing that it's likely a one-way ticket for Philo. The lovers part on bad terms because of his insistence in going.

We finally find out about Philo’s deal with the ringmaster in the first episode — turns out season 1 returning character, and Philo’s war-buddy and Marok (werewolf) Darius has been rescued from prison, and he can hide out in this ringmaster’s workshop.

Vignette has her own plan for the banquet , and she pitches to Black Raven leader Dahlia a scheme. Dahlia likes the plan with one tweak: she's going to lead it, not Vignette.

Tourmaline continues to be plagued by visions, seeing rebel leader Dahlia and second-in-command Bolero getting killed. She wakes up in the house of the Haruspex witch, with her hands covered in the blood of a dead rabbit. 

Tourmaline talks to spiritual leader Mima, who realises that since Tourmaline was near Haruspex when she died in season 1, the power filtered into her. She reveals that there’s a chance Tourmaline will turn evil if she accepts these powers.

At the end of the episode, the banquet between The Burgue and The Pact’s ambassadors begins. One attendant is season one character Ezra Spurnrose, who’s still feeling spurned that his sister Imogen ran away with a faun.

Philo’s plan goes into effect — but just before he can announce to the banquet his secret. Dahlia, Bolero, another pixie and Oona, who’s suffering from the fae plague, burst through the ceiling. After Dahlia gives an impassioned speech on the state of Carnival Row, a pus- and boil-covered Oona flies towards a shocked Chancellor, before getting immediately shot.

The other Black Ravel fly away, and Philo also slinks off, and returns to Vignette. Much later they’re worked up — despite having escaped, Dahlia and Bolero must have been waylaid, because their heads are hanging up on the gate of Carnival Row, showing Tourmaline’s vision to be true.

Tom Bedford
Streaming and Ecommerce Writer

Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.