While everyone is off at the brikka game, Katherine and Arkahn are left to help Zana tidy up the shop. As they’re working, a strange man comes in to talk to Zana, who quickly sends the younger women out of the room. As soon as they’re alone, Arkahn decides she can confide in Katherine: the man is a member of the Red Circle, a Laundian crime syndicate that’s putting the squeeze on local businesses, and he is here to collect money from Zana. Arkahn then asks Katherine if she’d be willing to help her tail the man and find the next in the chain of command. Katherine agrees that something should be done, but doesn’t agree until she finds out just how much financial trouble Zana is in.
The two go into town, following the man to his next stop; along the way they encounter Targonane, and Katherine accidentally gets a little too friendly with a local shopkeeper when she tries to have a conversation in Charendraen. Eventually though, they find the house where the man is storing his protection money. When Katherine and Arkahn enter, they encounter the man’s pregnant wife, and Katherine is shocked when Arkahn knocks the woman out with a strange weapon. Arkahn then proceeds to terrify and torture the woman into doling out information about the Red Circle, and while Katherine is searching the house, mentions that certain parties are going to be very interested in the Red Circle’s activities.
As the two sneak back out, Katherine explodes at Arkahn, telling her that she can no longer be trusted. Arkahn, for her part, is dismayed at this, but keeps everything to herself when she runs into Shauna back at her home. Later that night, Shauna is awoken by a terrible nightmare, and Arkahn rushes to comfort her, telling Shauna to trust her.
- Arkahn’s surprise that she’s considered a friend by Shauna and Mike is, quite frankly, heartbreaking.
I just want to give you a hug, bb, I think you need a hug
- In her own way, I think Arkahn is trying her best to protect Shauna here. If Shauna keeps calling attention to herself with her magic, it will definitely draw the attention of the Legion, and I feel that Arkahn legitimately doesn’t want that to happen. (SPOILER) She’s already spying on Fesmer and Zana, I don’t think she wants to spy on anyone else.
- “Geez, don’t sneak up on me like that!” “Uh…I didn’t.” Our first sign that Shauna is starting to fray around the edges. Oh man, is this one going to be important down the line.
- Mike, maybe you should have talked your issues out now instead of going to a magical football game…and Katherine, maybe you should take 5 minutes to listen to the person you spent a month and a half caring for. GUYS. SERIOUSLY, GUYS.
- Here’s something that really should have clued Katherine in as to Arkahn: she claimed that she couldn’t go to the Brikka game because she had to do some errands for her parents…but she had time to go on this twisted little adventure to find out information about the Red Circle?
- “University has their heads so far in their…rituals…that they neither notice nor care what happens to ordinary people like Zana.” Now I have to wonder: (SPOILER) how much of this is Arkahn’s act of being upset over her supposedly not being accepted to University, and how much of it is long-ingrained Legion indoctrination? For that matter, how deeply does Arkahn believe in Legion teachings? She gives them up quickly enough when her friends are in real danger; did she ever truly believe in them at all, or was she just doing as her parents instructed her?
- Looking back at this first season, it’s becoming obvious that, much as she tries to be completely rational, Katherine has a penchant for making bad decisions when people she cares about are in trouble. She was ready to walk alone to Draenmer to help Mike, and now she’s going to break into someone’s house to help Zana. It’s commendable, I suppose…but that doesn’t make a bad decision any better.
- Okay, so we’re talking about the Red Circle, a group of organized criminals…and all of a sudden, all I could think was, “Man, we really could use a Laundian Red Panda and Flying Squirrel right now.”
Oh lord I am so embarrassingly nerdy I COULD DIE.
- “Do all of you hide things in Zana’s cellar?” “…I do not believe Jareth does.” LIES, EVERYONE HIDES STUFF IN ZANA’S CELLAR, EVEN ME.
- And now it’s time for everyone’s favorite nonsensical ranting, CT Talks About Fiction. Normally when I’m watching a movie or reading a book, I get upset when a character’s personality is too mutable. This is probably because it’s usually a symptom of very lazy writing, wherein a writer can’t be bothered to think of a plausible reason something is said or done, so they completely alter a character’s personality to get that thing accomplished. Arkahn, however, never bugged me, even before I knew her whole story – and I think that’s because one of her major personality traits IS that her personality is mutable. She’s very keen at reading a situation and altering how she approaches that situation to give her the best chance at accomplishing her goals. It’s pretty fascinating, actually.
- It strikes me that Katherine is probably uncomfortable not only with testing cosmetics on animals, but with the fact that she is conventionally beautiful in general. It seems like the kind of thing her parents would have pushed her to be, and refusing to care too much about her appearance would’ve been another way of rebelling against that.
- Oh god, I forgot that Katherine speaks Spanish, too. This is…really spooky, actually.
Oh god why are we the same person WHY
- It actually makes plenty of sense that Katherine would have more trouble with Charendraen than Spanish or Japanese. Spanish and English share many of the same Latin word roots, and Japanese has adopted tons of English words into common usage (though not always with the same meaning; god help you if you every try to ask for a stapler by using the word “stapler”, because everyone will end up confused).
- “Perhaps I should attempt to learn your English as well…” If we were to play the Second Shift Forshadowing Drinking Game, where every time you spot a piece of foreshadowing you were to take a shot, I WOULD BE DEAD.
- I reiterate here: I LOVE CHARENDRAEN. I’m a bit of a language nerd, so constructed languages always make me clutch my hands together in utter glee.
- Lexi is really frighteningly good at that slightly flabbergasted, “WHAT.” That she does…which is probably a good thing, because she’s called upon to say it pretty frequently!
- “Even if started saving more money, I could…not flee my obligations to them.” Geez…how trapped must Arkahn feel? (SPOILER) As far as I can tell, she’s never bought into Legion dogma like, say, Porec does, so it’s not like she can’t leave because of her own personal convictions. However, it’s made very clear in Season 2 just what the Legion does to defectors. She quite literally cannot leave, not if she values her safety.
- Going back to Arkahn’s ability to read situations: she takes the same information she calmly conveyed to Shauna this morning with no pretense of judgment and uses it to guilt Katherine into doing what she wants. She knows precisely what tools she has at her disposal to accomplish her goals, and uses them without hesitation. It’d be impressive if it weren’t so creepy.
- Aaaaand this is the point at which Arkahn officially becomes TERRIFYING. Seriously, that light, airy, almost carefree tone with which she describes the use of the pain-stick is far, far worse than yelled threats. Julia Lunetta is pretty freakin’ amazing in this scene…but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alleyway.
- I do have to wonder to myself: what is Arkahn’s actual opinion on the things she’s doing? We know she’s required to do things like this by her parents, but we never really get a sense of how she feels about them. Does she feel that torturing this woman is justified? Does she even really view it as torture, seeing as Cheanti is a criminal (and a competitor)? (SPOILER) Heck, a year from now she tells Cheanti that she is filled with regret over her actions, but even that is bound up with a threat, so who knows?
- Can I just say, the editing team did a real bang-up job with the scene inside Cheanti’s house. It’s very, very subtle, but the Foley is so detailed and layered – it’s fantastic.
- Katherine is…really not asking the right questions here. Arkahn all but admits that she’s reporting to somebody – somebody with enough power and influence to eliminate a widespread group like the Red Circle. Unfortunately, Katherine is too emotionally involved, and lays into Arkahn for how she acted, instead of taking the smart move of finding out who that hell she’s answering to.
- I’m always torn when it comes to Katherine’s One Strike Only policy regarding trusting others. On the one hand, I understand it, even if I don’t agree with it; she’s been so hurt in the past that she sees it as a necessity for survival. On the other hand, she knows so few people in Laundi that it seems like a very poorly thought out moral policy, as it’ll only be so long before she inevitably cuts off everyone. But…I dunno, I can’t bring myself to be as critical of her as I probably should. I’ve got the opposite problem of trusting people more than I should, so I can’t help but at least slightly admire the stones it takes Katherine to put her foot down and say enough is enough.
- Jesus, between Arkahn and the Herald, Julia’s really doing the heavy lifting re: scaring me witless tonight.
- “Tell me everything.” Man, whether or not Arkahn is spying on Shauna at this point, she sure can tell when valuable information comes her way.