Shauna awakes from being knocked out to discover that she is now in a delightfully dank dungeon. She’s not alone, though; Mike and Katherine are in their own cells, as is Fesmer…not that they can talk to him, as their translation pendants have been confiscated. On top of that, the two resident mages have had their powers blocked by the use of tae-oden.
Before they can figure anything else out, though, a guard comes to collect Shauna, and takes her to meet the man in charge. Turns out he’s a rather polite, friendly guy who wants to talk to Shauna about her phenomenal powers – and he also happens to be Fesmer’s supposedly dead brother, Porec. Turns out Fesmer’s family, including his dead father, were prominently placed in the Legion…and the recently captured Jareth knew. In the meantime, Arkahn also comes to talk first to Shauna, then Mike, but they reject her outright, saying that, despite her protestations, she did have a choice in what happened.
After one last creepy dream involving the Herald, Shauna wakes to find Arkahn setting her and the others free after distracting the guards with Undying. The group tries to fight their way out, but Fesmer is seriously wounded in the process, and he and Jareth separate off while Shauna goes to Shift the others. After realizing that this world and our own are not so far apart, Shauna Shifts first Mike, then Katherine, all while being set upon by Undying. Back in our own world, they and Tyler anxiously await Shauna’s arrival – and are shocked when the last person to arrive is a sobbing Arkahn.
- Okay, for the record? I LOVE this first scene. I honestly don’t think it would have worked as well in any other medium. The fact that 2S is an audiodrama means that we the audience can feel Shauna’s isolation, more than we would be able to on a screen or a page; Mike and Katherine and Fesmer are there, but they’re separated, their voices muted.
- I love how Mike, who does his best to maintain his self-image as this dumb, fun-loving jock, occasionally slips and references some pretty nerdy things. I was a little taken aback when he mentioned The Count of Monte Cristo, for instance.
- UGH I love Charendraen. Caileb’s yelling at Shauna is just so damn natural-sounding, it’s the best. (Also, this will definitely not be the last time I say this, but I love love LOVE how everything that’s happened in the preceding 12 episodes all comes back in this finale – for instance, Katherine’s painfully slow learning of Charendraen, allowing her to communicate with Fesmer.)
- Okay, so: Porec. I sort of adore how, when Caileb is leading Shauna to his office, you’re completely expecting a scenery-chewing, blatantly wicked villain like Arkahn’s parents – and then you get there, and Porec’s just this completely normal guy. Even better, he introduces himself in such a matter-of-fact way that you almost completely don’t remember who he is until Fesmer enters the scene.
- “I think we’re being downgraded to a B-plot.” This episode, despite the fact that it’s the finale, does a nice, subtle job of pointing out that Mike and Katherine…well, they really haven’t done much. Oh, they’ve worked and formed relationships and all, but they’re not in it the way that Shauna is. That’s the real difference between Seasons 1 and 2, I think. Season 1 was about building this world, and getting to know the people, and Shauna doing the work. Season 2 is the mirror of that, where now that they’ve built the world they send their characters out into it, and now that we know these people we’re going to see how they react to their trials, and instead of Shauna doing all the work, it’s now Katherine and Mike’s turn to go out and work and suffer and grow.
- Andrew does a straight-up AMAZING job in this episode; as we go along, it’s apparent that Fesmer is so shocked, his world-view so turned upside-down, that he’s just barely restraining himself from screaming and punching people in the face.
- Okay. There is something kind of small and subtle about Second Shift that I love, and probably no one else has noticed it, and it makes me kind of weird and all, but here it is: Shauna, on no less than 3 separate occasions, makes references to the fact that she is not thin. The degree to which she is not thin is never established, but she fully embraces the fact that she is, at the very least, kinda chubby. And not only is she the most powerful character on the show, but no less than 3 other characters over the course of 13 episodes out-and-out call her beautiful. It’s not played for laughs. It’s not ironic. It’s not a joke. Shauna is not thin, and she is beautiful. That’s all there is to it. And I love that.
- Oh man, I never realized that Porec made mention of the fact that the Herald has come to others before. (SPOILER) It’s not ‘til nearly the end of Season 2 that we find out that Shauna is not the first person Oren has chosen, but that point was threaded all the way back in this episode!
- “Goodbye, Shaena. I enjoyed being your friend…however briefly.” This, right here, is something that I don’t think I’ve ever heard any other show do quite as well as Second Shift does. Right now (on their first listen-through, at least), the audience is primed and ready to HATE Arkahn. She’s betrayed everyone we care about into the hands of the Bad Guys. And yet…Arkahn herself is never caricaturized or villainized. The narrative allows her to be regretful and conflicted without ever denying Shauna her right to be furious. It doesn’t push us to agree with one of them or the other, it just gives us the full story.
- “It may not be a beautiful Truth…but it is a practical one.” This was the line where Porec started to win me over, just a little bit. Because even if I don’t agree with his philosophy, this is a pretty reasonable view of one’s own faith.
- It’s important that it was established earlier on that Shauna really, really enjoys philosophical debates, because if it hadn’t, her succumbing to debating with “the villain” would’ve had a very different tone to it.
- I really enjoy Mike and Arkahn’s discussion here. It’s all very Mike; even when talking about something completely serious, he still peppers in his little quips, just to keep himself calm.
- “Read that once…maybe it’s even true!” Oh, Mike.
- Jareth says “painstick” the exact same way that Katherine did back in 1.08, and I find that hilarious.
- “She betrayed us. She is Legion scum…nothing more.” Up until this point, we’ve really only gotten hints of Fesmer’s inability to see beyond the black and white morality of things, but now we’ve got our first real clue on where he’s going to go from here. Despite the fact that Arkahn has been his close friend for years, he’s willing to completely and totally dismiss her as one of the bad guys, to the point of not caring whether she lives or dies, without even hearing her out.
- Guys, I love you, but maybe we shouldn’t have philosophical discussions about weapon usage while trying to escape from a dungeon.
- “She said she freed Undying to distract the others.” “Yeah, ‘cause that won’t backfire…” Alas, if only genre-savviness could help you now, Katherine.
- “Will you yield?” “Absolutely not!” “You should not be so…inflexible.” I am going to completely refrain from commenting on how impossibly sexy this line is. COMPLETELY REFRAIN.
- I really wish the writers had had more time to expand on some of the things that came up from this episode, particularly Mike’s reaction to killing the Legionnaire. I mean, in this episode alone the ideas are fascinating: Mike’s always been the guy who never holds back, and in the course of 15 minutes he’s forced to face the real repercussions of charging ahead without thinking. The affects of real violence on someone who thinks he’s prepared for it are fascinating, and I would’ve loved to hear more about it. Alas, if wishes were horses.
- Dang, Jareth is a scary guy when he wants to be.
- “Yeah, well, I’m Mike, son of get the HELL out of my way!” Not gonna lie, despite how heavy everything is at this point, I still sort of snicker at this line.
- I kind of forgot, during Season 2, that Porec was legitimately going to kill Katherine and Mike. (SPOILER) The fact that they’ve accepted him as much as they did when he joined their party speaks wonders, not only to what they’re willing to put up with to find Shauna, but also to Katherine’s growing ability to forgive others.
- Okay, so we know from the conversation between Shauna and the Herald that our world and Amarand are practically on top of one another…but what are they to one another, really? Alternate universes? Ugh, I want to know!
- Oh man, I remember the first time I listened to this episode – that terrible, heart-wrenching moment when you realize that Shauna isn’t there…and then Arkahn starts sobbing. It’s awful.
And that, ladies and gents, is Season One! I’m going to pause in my recaps ‘til Monday, because I’d love to cover Season Two with the full knowledge of what’s going to happen in the finale. In the meantime, I’ve got some 2S-related stuff for at least tomorrow and Saturday, and…well, I’m going to take Sunday off in order to 1. Wait for the finale, 2. Listen to the finale, and 3. SOB FOREVER.