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The morning after the dance, our gang leaves on one final respite before the Bostonians are due to return home – a small vacation to Targonane’s cabin.  Fesmer’s suffering the effects of his indulgences the previous evening, but he improves fairly quickly after he, Arkahn, and Mike spend some quality time talking about names and doing nothing in particular.  Katherine and Zana go out to the lake to fish, and chat about Katherine’s epic ability to hold a grudge – for which she may actually have a good reason.  Jareth bustles about, working on a project he refuses to tell anyone about, and runs in to Shauna, who’s working on the Shift spell by herself.  He rushes off quickly enough, though, when the conversation turns to the current status of their relationship.  Shauna’s mood continues to darken as she practices, as she’s able to farsee to her brother, Tyler, but cannot speak to him, and it’s only Mike’s reassurances that he and Katherine are with her, through and through, that cheers her up.

That evening after dinner, Zana surprises everyone with some quality booze, and the gang spends an enjoyable evening drinking and telling stories.  Zana closes the evening with a rendition of The Tale of the Hand of Fire, a story from her adventures as a young woman.  She talks of how she and Targonane traveled far to the west and discovered a still-living disembodied hand, rumored to belong to Doro, who had been a powerful and deadly despot.  Everyone agrees that her story should be the one to close the night, and Jareth decides it’s time to show everyone what he’s been working on – a surprise firework show to say goodbye to the Boston Trio.


- I get the feeling that Katherine is just sick and tired of secrets, whether they be ones she’s keeping or ones that other people are keeping from her.

- “Well, at least Meek and Arkahn enjoyed themselves.” “…yeah.”  There’s a lot of “man oh man I’m PISSED at Arkahn” in that one-word response, but is that just a touch of jealousy I hear too, Katherine?

- Y’know, I’d kind of forgotten about Mike’s limp, but it’s a nice mention here that he’s getting better.  By the time we reach Season 2, we know he still limps a little, but for the most part he gets around well enough that it’s never brought up.

- Zana is just about the only person who can always get Katherine to reconsider her past actions and think about things from the other person’s point of view.  It doesn’t really stick until a year from now, but it’s nice to see Katherine slowly grow into a less judgmental person, one who thinks about others’ actions from their perspective and who can (SPOILER) take up the mantle of advising others after Zana dies.

- Look at how far Jareth has progressed here!  At the beginning of the season, he paused in the middle of RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE to lecture Fesmer and the others about the righteousness of University.  Now, during a casual trip where there’s plenty of time to talk, he cuts the argument off for the sake of everyone getting along.

- I find it very interesting that Arkahn cuts Jareth off before he’s able to tell Shauna too much about the Legion.  #Reason 114 CT Should Have Figured This Out Earlier

- “What’s in here, rocks?” “I believe so, yes.” “Wait, seriously?” “…No.”  Man, Jareth’s jokes are always doubly funny because you never see them coming.

- “I’m still having trouble.  It’s like he’s just out of reach, like there’s something in the way.”  What is in the way!?  It’s not time, or distance, or anything like that; hell, in the finale the Herald points out how Amarand and Earth are nearly touching.  So what is it?!

- Ouch.  It’s tough hearing that your romantic interest doesn’t want anything more than just the physical side of a relationship…particularly if you’re someone like Jareth, who seems to have trouble conveying his emotional side more than his logical one.

- One of the things I love most about Second Shift is that the characters are all very realistically designed in terms of their flaws.  By this I mean that, just like real people, the greatest flaws of the characters are often also their greatest strengths.  Mike blunders ahead without thinking and refuses to back down from a challenge – which also means he never gives up and never loses faith, even when the odds are against him.  Katherine is intensely judgmental and can hold a never-ending grudge – but she can also assess a situation quickly and hold fast in her resolve.  Fesmer is flighty and unserious, and can’t see beyond black-and-white – but he’s also creative and determined, and can always cheer everyone up.  I’ll stop here, but you can see where I’m going with this. 

- “I was merely a bowman at night.”  Ugh, I love Charendraen idioms ♥.

- Speaking of Charendraen, I find the naming system utterly fascinating.  I wonder what it says about Baelan culture that names are constructed in this way?  Our real world cultures frequently have two names: a family name and a given name; cultures that identify primarily as individualistic put the given name first, while cultures that identify more as collective put the family name first.  In Baela, the name is collected throughout one’s lifetime, so what does that say about Baela in general?

- “We’re on your side, Shauna…I’m with you ‘til the bitter end, and that’s a promise.”  Y’know, even by the end of 2.15, I don’t think Shauna’s really got a grasp on just how loyal Mike and Katherine are to her.  (SPOILER) She doesn’t really know what they went through to get back to Laundi, what they endured to travel to Sonsa, any of it.  Mike, on the other hand, knows what he would do just to help Shauna, even before anything epic goes down…and perhaps just as interesting, he seems to realize how much she means to Katherine, too.

- “They don’t seem to mind having me around.” “Arkahn probably said something to them.”  I listen to this, and all I can do is grit my teeth and curse my past self for NOT FIGURING THIS OUT.

- ZANA ♥.  On top of the fact that she brings out this treasured, rare drink to share with her children, she then remembers and acknowledges Katherine’s issues with alcohol and asks her permission before pouring.  My love for this woman, it knows no bounds.

- I love how, even after having the name explained to him, Fesmer still pronounces “Mister Ham” as if it were a Charendraen name.

- I’d really love a full, comprehensive history of Amarand, if only to better understand some of the things the Laundians refer to.  For instance, Zana refers to “the Origin” – what exactly is that?  (SPOILER) She mentions that it was long before the Seven founded the Universities, which I interpret to mean that it’s probably not referring to Oren, who was a contemporary (and how!) of the Seven.  So what exactly does it mean?

- I never quite realized before, but Second Shift spends a lot of its thematic efforts on immortality and why it is very much a HORRIBLE idea.  Seriously, I’ve never encountered another piece of fiction that so clearly demonstrated the downside to being incapable of dying.

- Hmm, no wonder Zana knew about Sonsa – she’s traveled far enough west that she would have encountered at least rumors about it.

- I noticed this time around that there’s this little pause that Zana has in between her encountering Doro’s hand and her returning to Targonane.  At the time this was recorded, who knows if that pause meant anything. Now, though?  That pause…even if it’s just me projecting what I now know, there’s so much to that pause.  It’s heartwrenching.