Mike is still in a coma from the events of the Day of Undying, but life marches on. Shauna is prepared to stay by his side until he awakens, but Katherine and Arkahn all but force her out, telling her that her job now is to study magic so she can get them all home. Shauna therefore dives into her magical studies, first with Fesmer, then with Jareth, and the three of them make some very good progress.
Jareth, for his part, is guilty over his actions, and apologizes to Katherine and Shauna with the gift of translation pendants that will allow anyone to understand them. This serves Shauna particularly well when she runs into Arkahn’s parents – an event that’s awkward for everyone involved. Katherine is also wracked with guilt, mostly due to how she’s treated Mike in the past, and (just like Shauna before) she refuses to leave his bedside, even when Zana and Targonane ask her to consider just what she’ll do if Mike doesn’t wake.
Six weeks after the Day of Undying, and Mike still hasn’t woken up. Katherine is prepared to ask Draenmer her one question, but Shauna stops her with her own risky gambit: a dangerous “mind meld” spell, where she might just be able to jump start Mike’s mind. After a tense moment, Shauna reemerges from the spell, disoriented and groggy…and so does Mike.
- Okay, so here’s a random thing I love about Second Shift: the passage of time. I have this thing where when I’m watching a piece of fiction (movies are the biggest culprits of this), I mentally expand the amount of time it’s supposed to take place in, because frequently events unfold and relationships develop in an unrealistic amount of time. I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to believe that 2 people could go on a quest and save the world and bring down an evil corporation and fall in love…in under a week. So I really appreciate fiction of any kind that demonstrates the passage of time in a realistic way, and Six Weeks, as the title would imply, is a perfect example of this.
- “Don’t you understand? I have to do this!” The more I listen to Season 1, the more I agree with (SPOILER) Porec. Shauna really, truly feels like everyone in her life is her own personal responsibility; she runs herself into the ground over things that aren’t her fault, or that she can’t change. Mike is her friend, and she feels like she personally failed by letting him get hurt…ignoring the fact that he really did this to himself, and that she’s already saved him from Undying and resuscitated him. This level of guilt really isn’t all that healthy.
- Aaaand the only way to distract Shauna from perceived responsibility? Other responsibilities!
- Listening to Fesmer instruct Shauna, it’s easier to understand (SPOILER) how he came to be a leader of the Hunters. He may be flighty and a little immature, but he really has a knack with people; Shauna’s hanging on by threads, but he manages to rally her and get her to keep going.
- I really like Arkahn and Katherine’s relationship. I get the feeling that Arkahn’s never really been allowed to have friends other than Fesmer and Jareth, due to things that will soon be apparent. She and Katherine mesh pretty well, all told; Arkahn’s way of making a point is to be subtle, meaning that she never crashes head-on with Katherine’s blatant opinions like Jareth or Mike do.
- “I sure do love running around the woods in a skirt. Hey, why’s it so hard to find pants for women around here?” For some reason, I’ve always imagined Laundian clothing to have a slight Turkish or Georgian flair to it – high necked shirts, detailed embroidery, lots of color. Perhaps it’s the Charendraen accent, but I’ve never really pictured any of the Laundian characters in straight up Renaissance clothing, though it’s definitely similar.
- Ah, the first mention that tae-oden are becoming more common, as well as the fact that no one knows where they come from or why. Really, why didn’t I pick up that they were important earlier? #CTisnotobservant,apparently
- “I kinda feel like I can do anything” “At the rate you are learning? You might be right.” WHY HELLO THERE, INCREDIBLY PROPHETIC DIALOGUE! HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?
- Oh man, if there is there’s just one thing I love about Second Shift, it’s the fact that there are CONSEQUENCES. Everything the characters say or do has weight and permanence, because the world isn’t reset at the end of the episode. Hesitate to save Mike’s life? Well, it’s going to be brought up in fights about it a year from now. Argued with Katherine recently? You better believe she’s gonna remember it. So when characters profess regret, it never feels contrived. Even better, you never know if the person they’re apologizing to will actually accept. Nothing is guaranteed.
- “Jareth, you’re an overbearing and insensitive prick.” I love how cheerful Katherine when she says this.
- We know that Jareth is the tallest of the 6, and in my head, Shauna has always been the shortest. This means that when I imagine Jareth pantomiming putting the necklace on to Shae, it always makes me chuckle at how utterly ridiculous
and therefore adorable they are. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Jareth and Shauna are the two characters who are the most attracted to one another at this point, so the whole scene is imbued with this sort of delightful hesitance)
- I’ll talk quite a bit more about this point next time, but I adore the fact that 2S takes its characters who qualify as “comedic relief” and gives them a fully fleshed out personality, backstory, wants, the whole 9 yards, even if we’re not exposed to those things at the beginning. Targonane telling Katherine that Mike might not WANT to wake from his coma is the first explicit mention the show makes that Mike isn’t necessarily the happy-go-lucky person we think he is, but it certainly isn’t the first hint we’ve gotten.
- Hint #92 that CT Should Have Figured Arkahn Out: look at how quickly she flips out when she realizes her parents and Shauna have met. She even snaps at Shauna, which was odd when I first listened to this, because Arkahn is essentially the calmest of our Main 6.
- Y’know, for two bit characters who barely had 10 lines between them, Lorenalark and Alexalark had some pretty impressive longevity.
- I think it says something about the insidious nature of domestic abuse in the fact that when Arkahn enters Zana’s covered in bruises, none of us doubt her story about being jumped by some students. It wasn’t until my first relisten, lo those many years ago (I…sort of listen to my favorite podcasts on a near constant basis), that I connected this act of violence to her family. Hell, it’s not even like the writers were hiding it; we just saw Arkahn flip out over her parents returning home.
- Katherine is dropped on her ass in a fantasy world with zombies and magic…and automatically finds something to study. Why am I not surprised?
- I’m constantly surprised by how many important plot points are introduced so early on. Already we’re encountering mentions of the Winged Herald…and I have to wonder, what exactly does the children’s version of the story entail? Does it out and out say what the Herald is? For that matter, does anyone still remember? After all, the story originates from over 900 years ago.
- It was already pointed out by MaverickWeirdo, but there is some beautiful symmetry at work here. It was only 3 episodes ago that Mike was wondering to himself if he was in a coma somewhere, and how, “[Katherine]’d visit, but she wouldn’t stay.” Yet here she is, essentially acting as his primary caregiver for over a month.
- “Was Fesmer farspeaking with you?” “He wasn’t…not farspeaking with me?” “Good.” I love how Jareth gets so wrapped up in his lecture that he completely misses this.
- Both Jareth and Fesmer have good points here: Ritual magic does seem like it’d be too slow in a situation that calls for action, and Natural magic is based on impulse rather than thought. I wonder why has no one attempted Shauna’s method of integrating the two before? Is it just because it’s culturally unacceptable? Hmm.
- “Ooh ooh, I know! ABSOLUTELY NOT!” “…why is that funny?” OH JARETH.
- One of the things I find most fascinating about Zana is how utterly she is devoted to being honest. This shouldn’t surprise me, I know; the woman was a Seeker of Truth, after all, but still. And the most impressive part of this is that, even though she aims to be truthful and direct in all her interactions, Zana is the most tactful person in the entire cast. Just look at how she talks to Katherine about the likelihood of Mike’s death: direct and honest, yes, but remarkably sensitive too.
- Some people on the boards expressed dismay at how quick Shauna was to use an advanced spell like Touch of Minds to wake Mike, but I noticed something this time – Shauna, in an act of delightful surreptitiousness, has been subtly leading her lessons to the things she needs to know to work this spell. It reveals this hidden layer of cunning that Shauna has, which will come up again later.
- I love how willing both Shauna and Katherine are to get their friend back. I mean, Shauna risks herself in a dangerous spell, and Katherine is prepared to go to Draenmer and ask her one and only question. They all bluster and bicker constantly, but the amount of actual care between the 3 is touching.
- This was the point at which I realized why Katherine hates geeky things – she probably associates them with David.
- “Don’t let go of me.” “Never.” Ugh, my HEART.
I love these two so much I can’t help it
- Mike Hunter has one line consisting of one word in this episode, and he nails it.
- “BUT DO NOT SHAKE TOO MUCH! The Hokey Pokey is a dangerous and powerful tool!” To this day, I still sometimes quote Brad here, because this is one of the greatest sentences ever uttered by a human being.