Shauna wakes from a tumble of dreams about her time in Laundi, and is horrified to find the Winged Herald, a creature of legend she’s been having nightmares about, perched at the end of her bed. The Herald laughs at her as she screams and tries to flee, warning her that she has chosen the difficult way. Arkahn bursts in at the sound of her cries, and Shauna insists that, in spite of it being a day early, she must Shift them NOW.
The two scramble to Zana’s in the middle of the night, and a panicking Shauna tries to rally everyone as quickly as she can. Mike and Fesmer arrive in short order, but Jareth tells Shauna that he’ll meet everyone in the clearing in the forest where they first appeared. Everyone doubts that Shauna actually saw the Herald, but they’re willing to appease her anyway. As they’re rushing out the door, Zana stops them to give Shauna a gift of sorts: a second syllable for her name, which is regarded as a right of passage. Shae becomes Shaena, and she and the others flee into the night.
On their way to the clearing, Shauna is pushed to the breaking point; when Katherine tries to tell her not to trust Arkahn, she snaps, telling her that she no longer cares whether Katherine stays or goes, so long as she stops her bickering. Arkahn, for her part, has one final conversation with Mike, where they admit that they both wish they had more time together. This moment is broken, however, when the party realizes that they’re surrounded by Legionaires, led by none other than Arkahn’s parents. Arkahn regretfully follows their commands, and knocks out the entire party before Shauna can Shift them away.
- The opening montage, on top of being the most professionally (not to mention, beautifully) edited piece we’ve heard in the show thus far, is a great way of summing up 11 episodes of plot, relationships, and character development.
- Here we have our first mention that, not only does Oren know about Shauna, but that he’s been waiting for her…and to me, that was always the creepier part of the equation.
- It’s a testament to Julia’s skill as an actress that, until I heard the credits, I had NO IDEA that she played the Herald…and that’s saying something, because the Herald and Arkahn speak back to back in this first scene.
- I know I’ve said it a million times before, but UGH Katherine and Shauna’s friendship makes me so happy…which makes the deconstruction of their friendship at the end of this episode that much worse. If literally anyone else had come to her in the middle of the night, demanding that she get up, pack her things, and wander off into the forest, Katherine would have exploded. But it’s Shauna…so she gets up, packs her things, and wanders into the forest with barely a moment’s hesitation.
- And lest he be outshone, Mike does the exact same thing. Fesmer might accidentally hang up on her, but Mike will always come when Shauna needs him.
- Magical hold music is THE BEST.
- “I will never again see you. Grant us this one moment.” I love how calmly assertive Zana is here. We learn later on in Season 2 just how much it killed her to let the Boston Trio go, but she’s being strong and calm here for them. Zana’s strength, particularly when it comes to letting others walk out of her life, will always astound me.
- Someone once pointed out that is seems very significant that Zana gave Shaena her own second syllable, and I agree. That being said, I’m still not sure what that significance is.
- I can see why Katherine, in the second season, is ashamed when she meets Zana again, because she pretty much took all of Zana’s last advice to her…and did the complete opposite.
- “Since the dance you’ve been bitter…well, more bitter than usual.” “…I-I’m just looking forward to getting home.” Y’know, I was kind of joking back when I said that maybe Katherine was a little jealous of Arkahn and Mike, but listening to this conversation, maybe I was more on the mark than I realized?
- “Do you tire of this exceptional cuisine?” “YES.” Listening to the Boston Trio all answering in unison just…it made me miss them. Season 2 splits them up in a serious way, and (SPOILER) they don’t get to spend much time together when they find each other again. I miss their dynamic, the way they bounce commentary between the 3 of them. I don’t know if it’ll ever be the same again – and that’s really the point, isn’t it? That you can never go back again?
- “You are a dear friend, Fesmer, but you know very little of the world.” Arkahn’s starting to slip here, accidentally revealing that maybe she knows more than her humble life as a restaurant employee would suggest. And as this goes on, she’s clearly getting visibly nervous.
- I kind of love how upfront Mike is about his feelings for Arkahn. No beating around the bush, no unrequited longing, just – straight up honesty (for all that he’s kind of shy about it). It’s very refreshing, and very different from his relationships with Shauna and (eventually) Katherine.
- “You always say precisely what you are thinking, Meek. I admire that.” UGH this makes so much more sense after you find out Arkahn’s secret. She’s so used to hiding every thought she has, bottling up every emotion ‘til it explodes out, keeping layer upon layer of secrets, that of course she would admire someone who says everything he thinks. Mike is, on a certain level, what Arkahn wishes she could be.
- Katherine’s monologue about the Legionaire she and Jareth…blew up…only confirms certain aspects of her personality to me. The reason she gets so mad at others, that she refuses to forgive others, is primarily because she can’t forgive herself.
- “Oh yeah, ‘cause it’s been a thrill a minute for me, everyone hooking up with everyone else while the ‘friendless, miserable hag’ gets stuck with Mr. Ham!” Man, I’d forgotten that Katherine says this. She really took that comment to heart, didn’t she? I’ll refrain from writing a long, drawn out comment on David, domestic abuse, and the way she sees Mike, but I will say this: when I re-listened to Civil War for this little project, Katherine’s initial reaction to this insult struck me as a person who had just been triggered. Now, seeing how she’s still dwelling on it? That only makes me even more convinced.
- Oh lord, Katherine’s alienating everyone has finally, finally come back to bite her in the ass. The one time she desperately needs to convince Shauna that someone is terrible and shouldn’t be trusted…and she’s been so busy burning bridges that she can’t convince anyone that she’s not just being petty until it’s too late.
- “It’s just like the Herald said: I can’t rely on any of you! …Just do not get in my way, Katherine.” This is really interesting; I’ve never noticed it before, but it seems kind of obvious now that the Winged Herald has not only been trying to drive a wedge between Shauna and her family, but between her and her friends as well. Despite the fact that Mike and Katherine later prove themselves to be intensely loyal to her, Shauna has slowly been lead to believe that they’ve abandoned her.
- It’s not until Arkahn tries to dissuade Shauna from going to the clearing, but once she does, it all becomes pretty obvious: Arkahn is trying her damndest to save them. For all that she’s been spying, she very clearly does not want them, any of them, to come to harm.
- Just for the record, Brad and Julia do a fantastic job as Arkahn’s parents. There’s not one moment during their little gloating session that I don’t want to dropkick them off of a cliff, which is, I feel, what they were going for.
- I think one of the things I love most about this episode is how, in one moment, everything about Arkahn clicks. She was the last of our Main 6 to be fleshed out, and the one with the least defined personality; she had these personality traits that never seemed to mesh together (after all, how do you reconcile the woman who dances and laughs at a party with the woman who psychologically tortures someone?), and then you find out her secret and it all makes sense.
- “You will not succeed!” “You’d be surprised at how often I hear that.” Shauna really does underestimate herself sometimes. If she’s given the chance to think ahead about a problem or a conflict, she doubts and second guesses and even sabotages herself – but if she’s shoved in head first, she really does have an amazingly fast mind and steel resolve.
- “For now…rest, doki-luna.” UGH. ARKAHN AND MIKE, I ORDER YOU TO STOP BREAKING MY HEART.