In recent years, Freeform has taken their new motto, "A little forward," pretty seriously when it comes to diverse representation on all of their shows, whether it comes to body-type, skin color, or sexual orientation. The network's sophomore fantasy series, Siren, about a mermaid who finds herself struggling to assimilate into the world on land, has taken an important step towards inclusion this year by incorporating a polyamorous relationship into their storyline between the show's three main characters.
When Ryn (Eline Powell), the show's lead and a mermaid to boot, first found her way into Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie's (Fola Evans-Akingbola) lives on land, she became immediately enamored with both of them. It wasn't a hard thing to explain from her point of view seeing as her life underwater allowed her to grow up without any of the modern societal constraints around gender or sexuality. Naturally, she fell in love with both of them and didn't seem to care that the human world would find anything odd about the three of them sharing a relationship.
Ben and Maddie didn't dive in headfirst like Ryn did, but now that the show is well into Season 2, we've seen both of them slowly grow to accept that their previous relationship now undeniably included a third member. According to Alex Roe, this step was an exciting one to take in Season 2, and he's enjoyed watching the audience react to the love story the show has started to build out.
"We're so grateful for any fan reaction at all, it's amazing that it's sparked any conversation. We're grateful, full stop," Alex Roe told TV Guide. As for the reactions he's seen most of, Roe admitted it's been a mix of positive and negative feedback. "Some people are freaked out by it, some people are cool with it, but I think starting a conversation is a pretty important thing to do. Ultimately, their relationship is all about love, you know? 'Ben and Maddie are love,' as Ryn says. I think what's amazing about it is you have this mermaid who doesn't see the way that humans see and all that humans have been taught to see. She just loves who she loves, and I think that Ben and Maddie's minds have been opened because of that."
The progression of these three characters' relationship has been a slow and natural progression, especially considering Ben and Maddie were in a relationship together before Ryn came along. What could have turned into a tropey disaster of a love triangle instead managed to pull off a respectful and organic depiction of a trio of people that care deeply about each other without any salacious implications or unnecessary jealousy getting in the way.
According to Roe, while each other these characters bring some specific strengths to the table, it's really what they all have in common that pulls them towards one another in the end.
"Maddie is slightly more cautious than Ben is, and I think that allows for Ben to have these somewhat crazy ideas and to kind of follow his heart in some way. Maddie — she's a thinker. She's incredibly smart," Roe said. "What makes them work is the fact that they're both obsessed with the ocean. They're both obsessed with making the world a better place. That obsession then opens up into this creature who belongs to both the ocean and the land, and I think that's part of what makes them work so well together. Ryn is something that they are incredibly intrigued by as a creature and a new thing that they didn't know existed. What started with intrigue and could have been just this siren song leading them astray has really developed into something that's quite real and quite honest that is ultimately just love."
Love is love is love, even when one part of your throuple is technically part fish.
Siren airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Freeform.