Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for The Nevers.
“God makes his plans, so here we are.”
In the mouth of Molly (Laura Donnelly), a young woman in late-Victorian London, those words sound more like a sigh of resignation than a declaration of faith. In episode six of HBO’s The Nevers, Molly initially utters them after realizing that her low social standing precludes her marriage to a kind nobleman. She weds instead a crude butcher called Thomas True (Daniel Hoffmann-Gill) and repeats the phrase after her second miscarriage. When True dies, leaving his widow with debts to pay and an ailing mother-in-law to serve, Molly resignedly observes, “God makes his plans, so here we are.”
Every time Molly says this, Donnelly lets a little more sadness creep around her eyes, dipping the words deeper into a pool of despair. As composer Mark Isham’s mournful cello ushers viewers through scene after scene of Molly’s suffering, we come to understand that the God of this series may make plans, but they are capricious at best and callous at worst.
Although no character before Molly put it so plainly, God has seemed aloof in every episode of this science-fiction series, which follows a group of Londoners who gain superpowers from spores showered down by an alien spaceship. Once-dismissed women and people of color gain the ability to see the future, shoot flames, and compel others to tell the truth. Now feared and exploited, these people (dubbed “the touched”) struggle to survive until they’re given safety and a mission by Molly—who, in every previous episode, we’ve known as Mrs. True and who does not have a demure attitude.