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The fight has finally blown over, and the whole of Zana’s staff , when they’re not dealing with all of Zana’s new business, are abuzz over the approaching New Year.  Turns out a dance is coming up, and it’s tradition to attend with a partner.  Jareth runs into Shauna and, after announcing his promotion to Instructor at University, nervously asks her to attend the dance with him.  She accepts, and tells Katherine and Mike as much on her way to talk to Zana about her nightmares.  Zana, for perhaps the first time since we’ve met her, is unsure of exactly how to help Shauna, advising her solely to run.  In between that and everyone’s inquiring about the Shift spell, Shauna’s starting to get jumpy.

Mike, a little put-out that Jareth beat him to asking Shauna to the dance, nonetheless invites a pleasantly surprised Arkahn; Katherine is in turn asked by Fesmer, and accepts (though not enthusiastically).  At the dance, mild drama ensues - Jareth and Shauna wander off and start discussing philosophy, but eventually give in to their long-running romantic tension as Jareth kisses her.  Arkahn and Mike start cutting up the dance floor, generally enjoying themselves, but the evening takes a turn for the worse when Mike spots just how much fun Shauna and Jareth are having.  Fesmer desperately tries to get Katherine to loosen up, but it all backfires when she has to deal with him after he’s had just a bit too much.  Nonetheless, the gang return home that night mostly happy, but a little melancholy over how their time together is drawing to a close.


- “Meek and I made them, hundreds of them, thousands of them!  I have not slept in DAYS!”  I always have to pause the episode right here, not even 3 minutes in, because I’m laughing too hard to hear what comes next.  Every.  Single.  Time.

- Wait, wait, wait…Laundian crops rely on the Odi surge to finally be ready for harvest?  Oh dear…(SPOILER) We’ve been getting hints in Season 2 that destroying Oren may have a huge impact on Amarand and the way it uses Odi…if even the crops can’t grow without it, they may be in more trouble than I’d initially assumed.

- Y’know, I think Shauna and Fesmer are the only female/male pairing in 2S for which there was never any romantic tension, real or imagined.

- Ugh, it almost hurts to listen to Shauna and Fes chatting, knowing where their relationship is going to end up.

- I love the subtle ways we see that Shauna is fraying from her lack of sleep, her nightmares, and her stress over Shift; even when she’s in a good mood, she still jumps at everything. 

- Nowadays, the Mr. Ham song gets stuck in my head more often than the original Mr. Plow version.

- Okay, I’m sorry, but Jareth’s asking Shauna to the dance may just be the most adorable thing of all time.  NEWSFLASH ChonklaTime thinks everything Jareth does is adorable, when the hell is she going to shut up about it?

- I…may or may not have reacted the exact same way as Jareth when my now-S.O. first called to ask me out.  And I do mean exact.  Second Shift has taken over my brain WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE

- Just a brief interjection here: you may have noticed I’m gushing a little bit about this episode.  It’s just…I just love it so much.  1.09 and 1.10 are perhaps together my favorite episodes out of the whole of Season 1.  Civil War takes all the conflicts that have built over the previous 8 episodes and brings them to fruition with a giant fight; The Dance then resolves many of these issues and gives us almost our last truly happy moments before all hell breaks loose.  I love that Second Shift takes the time to slow down the plot, just to give us some time to have fun with these characters, before the season finale.

- Again, both Mike and Katherine are right here: Zana’s business is thriving and will continue to do so, but introducing foreign marketing concepts is going to alter the face of Laundi.

- Shauna’s slightly off-base here: Mike and Katherine aren’t arguing here…or, at least, they’re not really arguing, not like the last time.  Really, it’s more playfully bantering than anything else, which may be why I enjoy their interactions so very, very much.

- Looking back, I can understand why Shauna was so mad when (SPOILER) Mike and Katherine come back to Laundi.  They really have no concept of how hard she worked to send them home.

- I love how quickly Katherine jumps to Shauna’s rescue when Mike starts to pry into her romantic affairs.  It’s really clear that she’s aware of how uncomfortable Mike’s crush makes Shauna, and she’s so quick to protect her.  Ugh, their friendship makes me so happy.

- “There was a ship?” Excuse me while I LAUGH FOREVER.  Brandon and John, I love you guys.

- “There are many strange things out there, both wonderful…and terrible.  And there is often truth behind legends…”  There is so much weight behind Zana’s words now that we know more of her story.  It’s heartbreaking how much of herself she’s holding back from her children, all for the sake of protecting them.  And so it makes sense that she advises Shauna to run away; she’s telling her to do what Zana wished she had done all those years ago – her one greatest regret.

- Zana has allowed herself to get attached to so few people, and hardly ever expresses her own negative emotions to anyone other than Targonane…she must really be in a lot of pain to tell Shauna how much she will miss them.

- I think it’s a testament to how much Arkahn likes Mike that she accepts his invitation to the dance.  I mean, she’s trying her best not to get attached to the Boston Trio; they’re completely altering the nature of her (SPOILER) undercover work and chances are good that their either going to leave Laundi forever or be captured by the Legion.  So the fact that she puts all this aside to attend the dance with Mike speaks volumes.

- Seriously, look at how skillful Katherine is at slipping out of conflict: Fesmer wants to know why she’s upset, and she turns it back on him, insulting him solely so she won’t have to face the problem of Arkahn head-on.

- I get the distinct feeling that Katherine has heard this “I’ll be the one to cheer up the beautiful gloomy girl” before. 

- “Do you really want to know?” “Yes, I am keenly interested!”  I’ll bet you are, Arkahn, but probably not for the same reasons Shauna thinks you are.

- This episode marks Tiven Weinstock’s debut, and man, what an introduction.  Tiven’s music is a big part of what makes Second Shift so special – it’s not just random, generic fantasy music, it’s written to accentuate particular scenes, or even moments in scenes, and it’s pretty much all beautifully done.  The music for the dance, for instance, creates a sense of…hmmm, “not-quite-home”-ness.  It’s not entirely alien, but it’s not exactly like anything we’ve ever heard before.  It’s music that you can believe came from an entirely different culture from our own.  At the same time, the music emotionally supports every scene that happens during the dance sequence.  Fantastic stuff!  (Also, I desperately need the second piece, the one Mike and Arkahn dance to, as a download.)

- I notice that Mike is at his absolutely most charming towards Arkahn…while in front of Shauna.  Hmmm…

- I think this is our first mention of how active items are becoming more and more advanced recently, as well as the first time we hear of factories outside of Laundi.  All of this will, of course, come back to bite us in the ass.

- Awkward Jareth = my favorite thing.

- Katherine is incredibly distracted throughout the entire dance, and I don’t think we ever get a definitive reason why.  Is it just that she doesn’t like large social events like this?  Or is there a deeper reason she’s so preoccupied?

- Not gonna lie, even though I know Mike & Arkahn’s relationship never really got off the ground, the two of them dancing together is absolutely adorable.

- Y’know, I think I just figured out why Shauna could never see Mike as something more than a friend and surrogate younger brother – she’s attracted to men who push her intellectually.  Seriously, look at her interactions with Jareth (SPOILER) and Porec: before any romance ensues, there’s some serious debating and arguing going on.  Mike is too smitten with Shauna to challenge her on…well, anything, so he gets Friend Zoned.

- That being said…ouch.  Poor Mike.  It’s no fun watching your unrequited love pursue other people, particularly not as vigorously as Shauna is currently pursuing Jareth!

- “Mother always told me not to let a girl’s plate be cleared or her glass emptied!”  Oh man, I always loved the echo of this line a few episodes down the road; so delightfully subtle.

- Oh, Drunk!Fesmer.  You’re the best.

- “She is very sad.  And very beautiful.  …That is all.”  In vino veritas, I suppose, because I think Fesmer realized this even before us the audience.  Katherine is, in truth, a very lonely person, which I don’t think we quite realize until the beginning of Season 2.

- “For my part, it is…good to have pleasant company.”  That little weighted pause right there says quite a bit about the nature of Arkahn’s relationship with her parents.

- Arkahn and Shauna’s joking at the end of this episode is on the one hand hilarious, but on the other, very sad.  Their relationship as friends is, after all, about to come to an end.