Stupid Magic is a transitory episode, bridging us from the set-up in the pilot to the main action that’s coming up fast. Mike, Katherine, and Shauna start settling into their new lives in Laundi, including starting their work in Zana’s shop. Mike and Fesmer bond due to their mutual jovial personalities, while Katherine quickly starts seeing Zana as a mentor of sorts. Shauna and Arkahn start forming their own friendship, but Arkahn is quickly turning cold towards the Boston trio.
Shauna reveals that she knows how to get her friends home, but hides the fact that she will not be returning with them. Fesmer starts to teach her the basics of Odi, including that there are 2 forms of magic in Laundi: Natural, or Savage magic, which draws power solely from the user, and Ritual magic, which requires study and a physical guide, similar to an alchemical circle. Jareth stumbles on Fesmer’s lessons and flips out, as Fesmer’s Natural magic is technically illegal. While all this fighting is going on, Shauna struggles to use Odi at all, until finally, in a frustrated outburst, she manages to shove a pebble into the lake - something she shouldn’t be able to do after days of study, much less hours.
Comments: (may contain spoilers for the whole series!)
- Okay, so, Stupid Magic is pretty much where the series starts to gel nicely. People have pretty much figured out who their characters are, the Foley is starting to do some more of the heavy lifting, and while it doesn’t approach the gorgeous quality of later episodes, the audio has taken a pretty big jump forward from the pilot.
- I love Mike’s opening conversation with the squirrel-thing. It’s very…Mike…of him. Also, it confirms that Mike truly believes that this world isn’t real, which is important in justifying his behavior in the next episode or two.
- Looking back, Fesmer’s assertion that Natural magic is best performed by a person with a healthy body makes complete sense, since we later learn from Jareth that the body itself takes the place of an array in Natural magic.
- Okay, “It is time to face the sun” has to be one of my favorite Charendraen idioms, along with “Never trust one who earns his soup on deceit.”
- Ah, Zana and Katherine. Only 3 episodes in, and already Zana’s taken her place as Katherine’s mentor. I love it.
- (SPOILER) Y’know, I’d forgotten there was such a big age gap between Fesmer and Porec, but it makes sense. Porec WAS the son of a first marriage, after all. Actually, now that I think about it, what are the age differences between the characters? We know that Katherine, Shauna, and Mike are all about 20 at this point, as they’re all Sophomores, and we learn later on that Jareth is 25. We also know that, when Jareth and Porec were friends as children, Porec was several years older…which would probably put Fesmer at about 19 or 20 too (Hmm, Shauna likes ‘em older, huh?). Arkahn is a complete mystery (big surprise there), but she probably falls between Jareth and Fesmer.
- “Remember, parents do what they do out of love.” Aaaaand now I feel like crying. I’ll hold off on my commentary on (OH HECK, IT’S A SPOILER) Zana and Dita ‘til we reach that point, but oh man, this random, throw-away line just got 100 times more poignant. Say what you will about what Zana did, but I never doubted for a second that she loved Dita with all her heart. So it’s no wonder Zana takes such a quick shine to Katherine; an intelligent, angry, confused girl who yearns for more, the same age as her own daughter, with no real relationship to speak of with her own parents winds up on Zana’s doorstep, and, on a certain level, it’s like her own child had come back to her.
- Looking back, it’s easier to see why Arkahn was so threatened by her place being usurped at Zana’s. (WATCH OUT NOW, FLYING SPOILERS) She’s a child from an abusive home, and for all that she’s spying on everyone, Zana is the one person in her life who acts like a parent should act. Being pushed out of her safe place in Zana’s shop would not only threaten her undercover work there, it would mean that she has no one to turn to…no real family. Is it any surprise that she’s terrified of losing that?
- I love how nonchalant everyone is about someone being KILLED BY ZOMBIES.
- Alright, this is a random note that I always tell people when I try to get them to listen to Second Shift: I love love LOVE that the show takes three people, drops them in a fantasy world filled with zombies and evil Legionaires and magic…and then they work in a restaurant. I adore the fantastical mixed with the mundane…and honestly, isn’t this the most realistic option? And on that same token, by doing this we get to build up the characters and the world so much that by the time the inevitable Epicness hits, we CARE. OH how we care. And that’s awesome.
- “In stories like this, there’s always some reason the characters end up in another world. Maybe if we beat the final boss or whatever…” WHY HELLO THERE, SUPER WELL-PLANTED FORESHADOWING.
- I’d forgotten how Fesmer’s magic was kind of different from other Natural mages, in that he can adapt Ritual magic into Natural. (HOLY CRAP THIS IS A BIG SPOILER) This kind of makes sense, seeing as his was the only spell that interfered with Oren’s summoning of Shauna.
- Is it bad that I sort of love that Mike, the big burly nerdy guy, can cook? Because I love it.
- “Kaeth, I said salad with legs!” “Meaning, “to go”, right?” “Meaning LEGS!” I love this exchange so very very much.
- I sometimes feel like Season 1 is more like a prologue to Season 2 than anything else. It’s all about setting up who these people are, what they want, and how they interact, and Season 2 is about growing them from who they were into who they will be. I say this because it’s a little odd to listen to Jareth at the very beginning; he’s so stubborn, and it’s amazing to see how far he’s come as a person, and how much he’s let go of that inflexible, unmovable person he used to be.
I’m sorry I just have a lot of feelings about Jareth and his development and his awesomeness I APOLOGIZE
- Hmm. Looking back, it’s way easier to understand why Fesmer’s father had those illegal spellbombs, isn’t it?
- (UGH I CAN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING ELSE CLEVER SPOILER) WOW, Jareth had Arkahn pegged right at the beginning, and he never realized it. Damn.
- Can I just say that I love the ending to this episode? It’s pretty perfect.