‘Carnival Row’ Ending, Explained – Is Leonora Dead? What Happens To Philo, Vignette, & Imogen?


There had been a lot of positive and negative developments in the Burgue since the beginning of the second season of the series “Carnival Row.” The Pact wanted to strengthen its association with the Burgue as a rebel group was threatening its authority. This rebel group was called the New Dawn, and they had already taken control over the Port of Ragusa, which had earlier been the Pact’s stronghold. The leader of the New Dawn group was a shrewd woman named Leonora, who, on the surface, acted like a communist, but underneath her pretense, she was a true-blue fascist. She said that she wanted to give the people what was theirs. She talked about equality and a society free from discrimination, but in reality, her agendas were not as noble as she made them seem.

Spoilers Ahead

Agreus and Imogen, who had escaped the Burgue in search of paradise, unfortunately, reached the Port of Ragusa, and realized that they had committed a blunder. Agreus had no clue that the Pact was no longer in control of the land and his influential friends could no longer help his cause. Agreus and Imogen were held hostage and forced to accept the authority of the New Dawn, though ironically, they were constantly reminded how the New Dawn gave people the freedom to write their own destinies. While Imogen and Agreus were stuck in Ragusa, Philo and Vignette were fighting to make things better in the Row, though their approaches were a bit different from each other. Vignette was a part of the Black Ravens group, and after their leader Dahlia was brutally murdered, they wanted to give it back to the authorities in a language they understood best. But Philo didn’t want that because he knew that, in the long run, it wasn’t going to bring any sort of improvement to the lives of the Fae Folk or anyone else.

Philo knew that resorting to violence and bloodshed meant that there would be widespread destruction, and even the innocents on both sides wouldn’t be spared. Philo wanted to find an amicable solution, but he knew that the hotheaded and irrational people on both sides wouldn’t let it happen. Philo’s situation was probably the worst among the lot because the Fae saw him as a traitor who sided with his colleagues in the Burguish police force, whereas the police didn’t consider him their own either. The arrival of a deadly creature called the Sparas increased the tension and chaos manifold. This creature was targeting Fae and humans alike, and people didn’t know whose side it was on.

Philo, on the other hand, had come across the creature, years ago, when he was in the Burguish army. He believed that the Sparas had come to take revenge on them, as they had destroyed the habitat of the creature during the war against the Pact. But soon, he realized that it was not so, and maybe it was being controlled by a third party who had some vested interest in the scheme of things. Millworthy had been chosen to be a part of the interim government as he was an experienced campaigner, and he used his position of power to plot with Philo and accomplish their goals and bring peace to the realm. The Pact had left Tirnanoc, and Philo wanted the Burgue to organize a mass deportation so that the Fae Folk could go back to their homeland. But things didn’t go as planned, and Spares attacked out of nowhere, killing a lot of innocent people, including Philo’s friend and colleague, Berwick. At the end of Episode 8 of “Carnival Row” Season 2, we got to know that Leonora had made a deal with the Black Ravens, and together, they had decided to bring a revolution to depose the sitting regime and come into power.

The New Dawn uses Imogen and Agreus

Imogen had killed her brother, Ezra, while she and Agreus were trying to escape from Ragusa. Kastor had found out about it as he was following them, and he once again captured them and took them back to Leonora. Leonora told them that they could live if they agreed to become peace emissaries for the New Dawn and went to the Burgue to negotiate a deal. Kastor accompanied them on their trip, as Leonora still didn’t trust them enough to let them handle such a delicate matter on their own. After the attack of the Sparas, both Agreus and Imogen were in doubt about whether to help the New Dawn or inform the Burgue of their cruel intentions. Imogen and Agreus weighed the pros and cons as they had to choose the lesser evil between the two forces. They knew the kind of discrimination prevalent in the Burgue against the non-human species, and they were also made privy to the hypocritical behavior of Leonora in Ragusa. They knew that Leonora was a conniving individual and that she couldn’t be trusted at all. In addition to what was happening on the political front, things were not going well between Imogen and Agreus. Ezra had told Agreus how his sister was no less than a venomous snake who was merely pretending to be good and innocent in front of him.

Agreus also told Imogen about how he had betrayed his own people in order to survive and get rich. There was some miscommunication between them, and Imogen bashed Agreus, saying that, just like other men in her life, he also wanted to control her, though Agreus repeated time and again that he had no such intention. When they arrived at the Burgue, they pretended to be one team, but in reality, they were not talking to each other. Imogen was supposed to give a speech, as a representative of the New Dawn, in the Parliament, but after the attack of the Sparas, Millworthy came to know about the wicked intentions of the New Dawn, and he came to arrest Imogen, Agreus, and Kastor. Imogen told Millworthy that Leonora had forced them to come to the Burgue as peace emissaries, and they had no hand in what had happened at the dock. Kastor was commanded to send a written note to his comrades to stop further attacks if they wanted peace. Kastor was a cunning man, and the note he sent through Agreus made Leonora know that Imogen was having second thoughts about giving the speech in Parliament. Leonora held Agreus as a hostage and severed his horn, sending it to Imogen as a warning of what might happen if she chose to betray her.

Is Philo Able To Stop The Sparas? What Happened Between Him And Vignette?

In Episode 9 of “Carnival Row” Season 2, Tourmaline gets a vision where she sees that she is trapped inside a mirror, and she wakes up panicked. Tourmaline knew that the Sparas would come after her, as she had seen in her visions earlier. Tourmaline told Philo that she could draw the Sparas to them and lay a trap for it, provided they had something like hair strands or a tooth of the beast. Philo thought for a while, and then he realized that he might find a tooth of the beast in Berwick’s body that was kept in the mortuary. Philo called Dombey and asked him to accompany him, as only a public servant was authorized to enter there. Philo found the tooth and brought it back for Tourmaline to perform her ritual. They got to know that the Sparas had shape-shifted to Mikulas Vir, and though Philo had figured it out earlier that the Sparas was male, he couldn’t imagine even in his wildest dreams that it could be the diplomat from the Pact.

Vignette got convinced by Leonora, and she decided to join the Black Ravens and fight for the cause of all Fae Folks. Philo tried to tell her time and again that Leonora was just using her and that, in reality, she wanted to conquer and rule just like the Burgue and the Pact. Leonora had brainwashed Vignette into believing that they were fighting for a noble cause, and if they were victorious, the Fae folk would get their freedom and live their lives the way they had always wanted. The first time Vignette felt suspicious about their intentions was when they were given the task of burning down the local bar to teach the police officers a lesson. When they reached the scene, Vignette saw that there were a lot of innocent people inside the bar who hadn’t done any harm to them. But before she could think or say anything, Kaine and Phaedra threw bottles with flammable liquid inside them. The bar was burned down, and Constable Thatch made a vow to himself to burn down the entire “Carnival Row.” While Constable Thatch attacked the Row with his men, the Sparas flew from the Parliament as it felt drawn towards Tourmaline because of the spells she had casted. Vignette and Kaine, who were waiting for Thatch and his men to come inside the Row, saw the creature flying above them.

Vignette had a change of heart, and she realized that whatever Leonora wanted to do was not right. She tried to leave and protect Tourmaline, but Kaine came in her way and asked her not to abandon her post. Kaine saw that one of Thatch’s men was coming to shoot at her, so he came in front of her and took the bullet. Kaine died on the spot, and Leonora, who witnessed everything from one of the balconies, started firing at Vignette. Vignette managed to save her life and escape. Philo, Tourmaline, Vignette, and Darius together fought with the Sparas, but still, they were finding it very hard to stand their ground against their invisible foe. Tourmaline used her powers, and Vignette and Philo supported her valiantly, and together they ended up defeating the Sparas. Philo shot the Sparas multiple times, and the creature succumbed to its injuries and fell to the ground like a bag of sand. The trio had done the impossible; they had killed the flying beast and tipped the scales in their favor.

‘Carnival Row’ Ending Explained: Is Leonora Dead Or Alive?

Leonora was a woman with a plan, and nobody could ever believe that all this time, she was a step ahead of everyone. She had defeated the Pact, which at one time seemed to be an impossible task, and now she had joined forces with the Black Ravens and deceived the Burguish Parliament into thinking that she wanted peace. The Sparas was acting on her command, which is why it was killing humans and Fae alike. It was Leonora’s plan all along to create a rift between the humans and the Fae Folk and then take advantage of it to seize power. Leonora was able to convince even Vignette that if she sided with her, then the future would be bright and devoid of any discrimination, and there would be happiness throughout the realm. But we had seen back in the Port of Ragusa how families disappeared overnight when they did not obey the commands given by their comrade, who, in reality, was no less than a dictator.

Her entire plan was ruined when Sparas was killed by the combined efforts of Philo, Tourmaline, and Vignette. Leonora asked her soldiers to surrender, but she told them not to be disheartened, as they might have lost the battle but still accomplished a lot. Leonora was stopped on her way by Agreus, who had come to take his revenge on her. Argues called the guards to come and arrest her, but before they could do that, Leonora stabbed herself and took her life. Before dying, Leonora told Agreus that the seed of rebellion, of venomous hate and mistrust, had already been sown.

Vignette married Tourmaline as, after years of denial, they had come to the realization that they couldn’t do without each other. Millworthy left politics and once again reopened his drama company as it gave him great pleasure to voice his opinions through his stories, which were mostly political satires. Imogen and Agreus started a new initiative by the name of “Spurnrose and Astrayon Electric”, and when their portable bulbs lit up, the crowd gave its approval with thundering applause.

Philo was shot by Constable Thatch in Episode 10 of “Carnival Row” Season 2, but he survived. He was given the offer to lead the Burgue and become chancellor, but he didn’t take it, as he realized that the motive of the member of Parliament behind doing so was not right. They considered him to be a self-loathing Fae, which led them to assume that he wouldn’t bring about many radical changes and they could kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, they could pretend to be inclusive and non-discriminatory in their approach while, on the other, they could still keep on being oppressive and controlling the narrative. Philo walked away from the Parliament and went to the Row, where he met Millworthy, who asked what he would do next. Philo didn’t know what life had in store for him, and he was keeping his options open. For now, he was content seeing the smiling faces of people inside the Row and hoped that things would get better and better from thereon.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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