When three normal teenage girls stumble upon an ancient cavern, they undergo a transformation that will change their lives forever. H2O: Just Add Water sees three very different girls facing everyday teen problems with an added twist – they’re mermaids with incredible powers over water.
Cleo, Rikki and Emma are three Australian teenage girls who come together for an impromptu inflatable boat ride that goes awry. When the engine fails, they are forced to paddle to nearby, mysterious Mako Island off the coast of Australia, where people dare not visit. Cleo (Phoebe Tonkin) slips and tumbles into the steep opening of an underground cave, spraining an ankle. Emma (Claire Holt) and Rikki (Cariba Heine) jump in after her. In their quest to escape, they discover a small lake directly below the cone of a dormant volcano. Swimming to safety appears to be their best option, so all jump in the water. When the full moon passes overhead, the water starts bubbling. They don’t realize it at that moment, but they’ve been transformed into mermaids.
Soon after being rescued by the Water Patrol, the three girls discover what has happened to them. Emma finds out when she goes for a swim in the ocean. Cleo finds out when she soaks in the tub. Rikki finds out when she gets sprayed by a sprinkler watering grass. Ten seconds after coming in contact with water, each girl sees her legs fuse together and form an orange scaly fish tail, which makes standing upright impossible. So all they have to do to remain normal is avoid water.
But when you think about how important water is in our lives, that’s a big problem. Bigger still is how to keep their powers a secret, even from their parents, because they don’t want to become freak-show fodder or be poked at forever by scientists. Each has a unique power the others don’t. Cleo can make water defy gravity or shoot across the room. Emma can make it instantly freeze. Rikki, last to discover her ability, can make it instantly boil.
All of this is established in Episode 1, Metamorphosis. By Episode 2, the Pool Party, the secret is already slipping out. Cleo gets tossed into the water by teen bullies and transforms. Nerdy, but trustworthy friend Lewis (Angus McLaren) happens by at the right time, while the other partygoers go back inside the house. The tail fin makes it impossible for Cleo to walk out of the water, so Lewis has to process this while trying to yank her out of the pool, just as Emma and Rikki show up. Rikki uses her unique heating power to dry Cleo off and help her turn back into an ambulatory human again while Emma freezes the door shut so none of the partygoers will uncover the secret.
Thus is set in motion what the entire series is about—dealing with real-life problems while trying to keep their secret and using their powers for good. Their battle is to stay dry when they need to stay dry and blend in with their friends, but to swim like fish when they need to swim like fish. Their powers come in handy when they catch an employee of Cleo’s father using illegal fishing nets that endanger sea turtles in Episode 3, Catch of the Day. But their powers also come at a cost—Emma, for instance, has to quit the swim team and give up her dreams of being an elite athlete for obvious reasons.
It leads to comically awkward moments, like when Cleo shows up to the pool party dressed more appropriately for a blizzard. Is this a curse or a blessing? Or is it both? That’s what H20: Just Add Water invites its viewers to figure out.
The Dove Take:
Fun, lighthearted, and full of giggle, this show is appropriate for teens of all ages, as this trio learns to navigate difficult situations in an effort to protect themselves and others. H20: Just Add Water merits the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.