A Free Ranger is the third episode of the first season of Cleverman. It aired on June 16th, 2016 on the ABC, and June 15th, 2016 on Sundance TV.


At home in the bath, with his wife Nerida locked out of the bathroom, Waruu watches footage on a camera and remembers what happened when he and Harry infiltrated the Containment Authority's facility.

Dressed as guards with GoPros strapped to their chests, they see many hairypeople in small cells - including Djukara. Djukara asks Harry to let him out, as he had memorised the codes to many of the prison's cell locks. Despite Waruu's insistence that they only document the conditions inside, Harry frees Djukara and a couple of other young hairies, Mungo and Kulya. Djukara starts searching the cells for his father, but is spotted and shot by Dickson. The alarm is sounded as he demands to know how many he's up against, while Waruu hides nearby.

Later, McIntyre arrives at the containment facility to be told that three inmates have escaped. Despite unrest among the prison population, he's not concerned, telling someone on the phone "this is good for us". He inspects Dickson's body, then stabs it with a large knife.

Meanwhile Waruu and Harry smuggle the escaped hairies back to the Zone, carrying the wounded Djukara to the clinic. Charlotte protests that he needs a hospital and a surgeon, and that hairypeople have a totally different physiology with which she's barely familiar, but Waruu says Djukara is as good as dead if they tell anyone. Charlotte relents and attempts a blood transfusion, with Harry volunteering himself as donor.

In the prison, Minister Matthews surveys a symbol splashed on a wall in blood near Dickson's corpse; his chest is torn open in a manner similar to the victims of the Namorrodor. Despite the facility being "a clandestine operation", the Minister tells his aides to get the media broadcast an image of the symbol as widely as possible. He later returns to the Containment Authority and tells McIntyre he wants the escapees back in custody "by the six o'clock news".

Back at the bar, Koen is questioning the girl he and Blair rescued from the secret medical facility. When she doesn't speak, he grabs her arms in frustration, and sees a vision of stars, flames and the older woman he glimpsed during their flight from the lab. The vision is too powerful for him, and knocks him out cold, much to Ash and Blair's dismay.

Latani sees news of the death, her brother's escape and the symbol on a public screen, and runs from a suspicious CA guard. Her flight is reported back to McIntyre at CA headquarters, where he describes her to the Minister as a "free ranger". She evades the guard and the Minister is not impressed.

Koen awakes suddenly, frightening the others - he was playing dead and finds this hilarious. Ash reacts angrily and Koen grabs her arms to calm her, prompting another vision - including the two of them kissing. She notices he has seen something but he brushes it off, and also says he saw nothing when he touched the girl. Ash touches her as well, but nothing happens; she storms out, angry and confused.

Latani hides in a hair salon, and while the receptionist talks to her, a hairdresser Anton notices she is a hairy and hits her from behind with a heavy trophy, knocking her out.

An off-duty CA officer visits the guards at the Zone checkpoint, telling them about Dickson, when Nerida arrives. He asks her why Waruu helps the "subbies", and tells her about the murder, claiming that "subbies are animals"; she replies that they used to say that about her people, too. She tries calling Waruu but can't get through; he's still in the medical clinic, where Charlotte is finishing closing Djukara's bullet wound and he is starting to regain consciousness. Uncle Max comes to Waruu, having seen the news, and wanting nothing to do with the escaped hairies; Waruu pleads his case, saying they're just kids and that he knows the news is bullshit, since he was there and they didn't kill anyone. Waruu asks for help getting them out, away from Maliyan - something Harry can't do - but when words don't work, Waruu bribes Uncle Max with cash. Maliyan has seen the exchange but doesn't suspect what's going on.

Latani regains consciousness in the back of the salon, tied to a barber's chair. She pleads to be let go but Anton gags her, then stops the receptionist from calling the CA, suggesting they "think first". He undoes Latani's shirt and snips off some of her chest hair, claiming she is a "gold mine", and the two start an online auction for her hair. As the bids climb higher, Latani, unable to snap her bonds, uses a sharp fingernail to cut through them as she hears a CA helicopter circling nearby. The CA discover the auction too and trace it's origin, but by the time they arrive and hold the staff at gunpoint, Latani has managed to escape.

Uncle Max takes the Mungo and Kulya to a disused train where he gives them clothes and shaving supplies, and tells them it's not a good idea for them to hang out with their hairy brothers. He also shows them a special spray which disguises their body hair, causing it to melt away temporarily.

Araluen, alone in the same room, hasn't touched the food brought to her. Frankie - the woman who bought her from the prison - visits and demands she eat, shocking her with a cattle prod. Araluen, not saying a word, sits at the table with the food until Frankie leaves, and then returns to the bed.

Jarrod Slade is at home when he's called by McIntyre; Slade asks about the break-in at the lab and McIntyre reveals they got a hit on facial recognition and he knows it was Koen - and that Koen is Waruu's half-brother. Slade tells him not to pick Koen up yet, and asks that McIntyre get his checkpoint officers to let him into the Zone with a minimum of fuss.

At the clinic, Charlotte tells Waruu that the escapees can't stay; even if the murder is a setup by the CA, any investigation could still threaten the clinic. Their conversation is cut short as Djukara goes into convulsions. Outside, the drunken off-duty guard from earlier spots someone spraying a symbol on the wall of the Zone, and assuming he's a shaver, runs over and assaults him. Slade arrives and warns the guard off, bringing the injured man to the clinic where Djukara is still convulsing. Charlotte reveals that she doesn't know his blood type, and Slade asks which clan he's from. When they realise Maliyan is of the same clan, Alinta runs off to fetch him before Waruu can stop her.

Frankie and "Rowena", one of her other employees, are measuring Araluen for clothes, talking about her in the third person, until she speaks up to tell them her name. Rowena says they don't use real names here, as Frankie selects an outfit for Araluen. Later, in a revealing dress and new hairstyle, Araluen is shown by Frankie via video call to a client - Minister Matthews.

Maliyan's transfusion works, and Djukara is stabilised. Waruu thanks him, and Charlotte. As Djukara wakes, Waruu whispers to him to say not a word about what happened in the containment facility, and he nods his silent agreement. Outside, Slade is telling McIntyre to send a message to inmates before Waruu joins him and grills him about his knowledge of the hairypeople and Uncle Jimmy; he doesn't buy Slade's story that he met Jimmy through the arts scene. Slade reveals that while Jimmy's people thought he was a drunken fool, he took care of him, and in return Jimmy shared his knowledge, but he won't be drawn out on what they did together. Waruu tells Slade not to trust everything Jimmy gave him, but Slade departs with a barb about Jimmy choosing the wrong Cleverman.

In the bar, Ash asks Koen about the club Jimmy gave him; he says it should have been Waruu's, since he's been training to be the Cleverman his whole life, and that there's been "some kind of cosmic fuckup". She presses him about his visions and he touches her again, but this time describes his vision to her: alarms, the bar, Ash...and blood. Her first thoughts dashed, she tells Koen that he might be right about them getting the wrong guy.

In the Zone, tensions are still high between humans and hairies, but Alinta takes Kulya and Mungo in to see Djukara in the clinic, and reveals to all three that the man who saved them is her father. Uncle Max again tells Waruu the escapees have to go, but he insists they won't hand them over.

At home, Charlotte and Slade discuss the day's events over a drink. They discuss her "line in the sand", and he says he's fine with her decision, but as he leaves later - saying he's going to the network - she's reading more about "Ilithyia", a fertility company that popped up in an advertisement earlier. Slade doesn't go to work, but to Koen's bar, where he reveals he knows Koen is the new Cleverman and offers him the same "lucrative opportunity" to work with him. Koen introduces himself and offers a handshake, hoping to see a vision, but Slade isn't caught out and leaves.

Latani is about to try using her fake ID card to enter the Zone when Alinta finds her and takes her in through the back way. She reunites with Djukara, and she blames Djukara for Jyra's death, since he didn't listen to Boondee and attacked the CA guards when they were captured. Djukara retorts that Boondee's peaceful way hasn't been working, and Latani storms off.

Araluen is waiting in her room when Rowena speaks to her through the door. She reveals that Frankie is happy, and that she knows who Araluen is - expressing sorrow at Jyra's death. Rowena, though sympathetic, says she can't help Araluen, and the hairywoman breaks cries alone.

Koen, asleep on his bed, is woken by the rescued girl touching his face. He touches her arms and sees her again as the older woman from his previous visions, hearing her voice speaking language in his mind, but he doesn't understand.

Aunty Linda is watching the news of Dickson's death when Nerida arrives with a meal. Linda senses something is wrong, but Nerida doesn't want to talk about it. Later Waruu arrives home, but ignores Linda sitting outside on the stairs, and Nerida sitting on the couch inside, heading into the bath. After he's been inside for some time, she asks him to let her in, and he gets out of the bath as the footage on the camera reveals what happened during the escape: Waruu caught Dickson in a headlock, and snapped his neck, killing him.

Waruu stands naked in front of the window, as a crow batters against it.


Behind the scenesEdit


  • The fertility treatment advertised to Charlotte, "Ilithyia", is named after a Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. Her name is sometimes spelled "Eileithyia".

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Cleverman Season One
Episodes First Contact · Containment · A Free Ranger · Sun and Moon · A Man of Vision · Terra Nullius