Comfort Entertainment: ‘H2O: Just Add Water’

Promotional photo of (from left) Cariba Heine, Phoebe Tonkin, and Indiana Evans. Copyright goes to Network Ten and ZDF Enterprises.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I think it’s about time I mention another one of my childhood obsessions. Like many, I’ve always loved mermaids. The nautical theming was always compelling to me, I love the sea, and obviously I love the myth and legend surrounding mermaids. I was the type of kid who always played mermaids in the pool with my friends when I was younger. One of the versions of this game was absolutely my friends and I pretending to be the characters from this show that is now very nostalgic for me. I completely lost track of this show for years, only for it to recently pop up in my recommended shows on Netflix. I had no idea that this show was even on Netflix and I have no idea how long it’s been there. But now, needless to say, I am rewatching one of my favorite shows from my childhood. And I, as always, have a lot of thoughts. Specifically, between powers, personality, and most fun to watch, I’m going to rank the four main mermaids from one of the best mermaid shows to date. This is your MAJOR SPOILER WARNING!!! I probably won’t be going too deep into spoilers, but I will be talking about some basic plot points in their story arcs. And if you haven’t yet watched this amazing and cheesy Australian show about teenage mermaids, I personally think its pretty worth it if you’re at all interested in mermaids. Let’s get into it!

4. Bella

Bella is the last mermaid to come into the series; mainly because she was the substitute for Emma as the actress playing Emma had landed a different job. A season three of the show was never planned, but eventually happened due to popular demand. In other words, Bella isn’t in a whole lot of the show and she isn’t super integrated into the friend group. While Emma, Cleo, and Rikki all became mermaids together and navigated the new experience while leaning on each other; Bella became a mermaid when she was nine. And while I like the idea of there being other mermaids in the show, it felt a little like Mako Island wasn’t as special with Bella having found a completely different cave when she was nine. It also didn’t help that much that the beginning of Bella’s run involved both Cleo and Rikki being a bit unsure about her. The friend group didn’t feel as intimate as it did when Emma was a part of the group, and Bella’s personal storylines were usually pretty far removed from both Cleo and Rikki. To add insult to injury, this season also saw the loss of Lewis, a fan favorite and reliable character. While this season was amazing, it didn’t hold the magic of the first two seasons. And the first two seasons together felt like a complete story because it was only meant to have a limited run. That aside, Bella was an interesting character and always knew how to stand up for herself. I just wish she felt a little bit more integrated into the main plot. I’m also not a huge fan of her powers to turn water into gelatin. It’s probably my least favorite of the powers overall.

3. Emma

Emma is the smart one of the original Mako Island trio. While Cleo is initially scared, and Rikki is a bit over eager; Emma is the responsible one. She’s the one that’s realistic about learning about their powers, figuring out what they should do about the situation, and actually putting study into helping all three of the girls integrate being a mermaid into their normal lives. She’s also an incredibly supportive friend and has the very relatable flaw of being a bit of a control freak. But what I like about Emma is that, though she is supportive, she never takes anyone’s bullshit. Emma is intelligent and is completely unafraid of anyone else knowing it. She never hides it to make herself seem more desirable and she definitely never hides any of her creative ideas. If she thinks something is wrong, she’s blunt about it. Any of the knowledge that Rikki or Cleo have about how to use their powers or navigate being mermaids is entirely due to the help of Emma and Lewis. Emma also had more to lose when she initially became a mermaid, as she was looking towards a career in competitive swimming. She was the only one who had to make the major decision of changing her life goals. And her powers of freezing water come in handy often, especially in stopping an assailant. My only issues with Emma lie in the times where she views her decision as the best one because of her knowledge, rather that looking at all sides of a situation.

2. Cleo

The sweetest of the group and probably the least popular at their High School before all of this starts. Cleo usually keeps to herself and is fairly anxious. Her struggles with her anxiety last the entirety of the show, and I very much relate to her because of it. Cleo is not used to having attention and often doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s most comfortable around her smaller social circle, including Lewis who becomes her love interest. Only Cleo and Rikki have long-term and popular love interests in the show. This is one that’s hinted at from the very beginning. Lewis has always had a crush on a very oblivious Cleo and when they do get together it’s one of the cutest relationships in the show. Cleo begins the show afraid of the water and it’s her compassion and love for animals that eventually helps her to overcome this fear. Cleo is also completely supportive of everyone else and often the center of the plot without having to cause a lot of the drama herself. She also has the most dynamic power of everyone else, with her power being the general manipulation of water. But most of all, I like how she doesn’t let her new circumstances affect what she wants to do. She’s dedicated to working with dolphins and continues this despite the attempts of her friends to persuade her not to. Her compassion really makes her stand out, but she’s not the most appealing of the characters in this show.

  1. Rikki

That distinction goes to Rikki. While both Cleo and Emma have picture perfect lives; Rikki comes from a slightly more humble background. She’s also impulsive, sarcastic, and overall pretty carefree. Or seemingly. While Cleo and Emma are quick to embrace the new connection between the girls, Rikki has a bit of a harder time coming to terms with letting people in. She’s often told off for not being compassionate enough, but it really isn’t for her lack of compassion overall. Her defense mechanism is always to seem like she doesn’t care, and she puts the most into attempting to work on herself and still be herself throughout the show. Her main relationship is with Zane; the original antagonist and main bully of the show. This is definitely one of those hate to love relationships that people love so much. And I think it’s actually done really well for a show like this. Rikki does not feel anything towards Zane until she truly feels that he’s better of a person. And she’s also fully ready to tell him whenever she feels that he’s not being that great of a person. Her powers are arguably the most dangerous of the mermaids, as she can boil and steam water. This is the only power of the three that is shown to be completely destructive and potentially lethal. She can even set things on fire, and her temper is the most fiery of the girls. But she’s also often the voice of reason and the strongest in the group. She’s been my favorite character since I was little.

I love anything mermaid themed that I can get my hands on. But I still feel like there’s a gaping hole in mermaid related entertainment. Though mermaid mythology is both popular and timeless, there is a general lack of mermaid related entertainment that isn’t only for children. And while I do love going back to this nostalgic show and really taking in the beach scenery; I wish there was more mermaid content that was closer to mythology and for older audiences. Could you imagine how amazing a show about sirens would be? That aside, I love the nostalgia of going back to old shows and this show is always good popcorn entertainment in the very least.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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