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Fesmer is in the forest clearing, moments before the casting of the Shift spell; he’s speaking to…someone…with the use of a small device that doesn’t allow us to hear the other side of the conversation.  Eventually, though, he turns his attention to the matter at hand, and pulls Mike, Katherine, and Arkahn back to Laundi – and he even magically puts Charendraen in Mike and Katherine’s heads to boot.  They make their way to Zana’s, and though she lovingly takes them in, it quickly becomes obvious that much has changed in the year they were gone: Fesmer is furious with both Arkahn and Jareth, and Zana’s restaurant has become a bona-fide hit.

Jareth, for his part, is firmly ensconced in his job at University.  Things get turned upside-down, however, when Targonane comes to inform him of a massive Odi surge…a surge very familiar to one that happened exactly a year before.  Jareth rushes down to Zana’s, causing a great deal of arguing, but one thing is clear – no one really knows what happened to Shauna.  Mike therefore decides to keep going with Plan B: asking Draenmer his one question.

The gang fights the entire way to Draenmer, pausing only when they’re attacked by bandits and subsequently saved by the Legion (much to the surprise of the Bostonians).  At Draenmer, Fesmer goes off to have a wound treated, and Mike asks his one question: How can he find Shauna?  He then receives possibly the shortest answer possible: Go West.  The others start lambasting him for messing up the ritual, but are stopped short of really thinking about it when Targonane and a number of University guards show up; Jareth has summoned them to take Arkahn into custody – and unbeknownst to him, Katherine and Mike as well.

Comments: (may contain spoilers for the whole series!)

- Man, I’d forgotten how much of a mystery “Tinkerbell” was when Fesmer’s speaking bell was first introduced.  (SPOILER) Though really, from her reaction when Fesmer snapped at her, why were we surprised when “Tink” ended up being someone Fesmer was close to?  That’s not a very nice way to talk to your girlfriend, Fes.

- “…in addition, you did not adequately cite your sources.”  Good to see that even in different worlds, a failure to properly reference one’s materials is the downfall of every new student.

- Y’know, Fesmer, Katherine, and Jareth may be very different people, but they all reacted to the year gap in the exact same way: by digging in their heels and clinging to old habits.  Jareth returned to University and his utter faith in the established order, Fesmer to refuge in his hatred of both the Legion and University, and Katherine clung to work-school-boyfriend, even though she hated it.  Only Arkahn and Mike seem to have made any strides forward – Arkahn because she has nothing left to hold on to, and Mike because…well, because that’s what Mike does.

- Another mention of how tae-oden are appearing more and more frequently, which will be important down the line.  Actually, now that I’m thinking about it…Odi does seem very much like a metaphor (intentional or otherwise) for our own natural resources.  When left completely on their own, they’re not really harmful at all, but when we try to bend them to our will (whether that be through ritual circles or oil refineries or what have you), there can be some very nasty side-effects.

- I’ve brought this up before and I have no doubt that I will bring this up again, but I love how one of the biggest themes of this season is regret,which is itself indelibly tied to consequences.  (Seriously, listen to Jareth’s little monologue about the dangers of combining Ritual and Savage magic, and tell me that doesn’t just epitomize the concept of regret.)  All the actions taken by our Main 6 last season have repercussions, and Season 2 is all about dealing with those repercussions, however they choose to do so.  Sometimes they go on great epic quests, and sometimes all they can do is regret their actions, apologize, and move on, but all of those past choices are dealt with

- I really like how Katherine knows what Mike’s trying to say, even though he’s completely indecipherable.  They really have spent too much time with one another.

- One of my favorite things (of relatively little consequence) in this season is Arkahn’s continued use of English.  I love how she uses it when she’s talking to Mike, and how it’s kind of this symbol of their friendship, and most of all, how you can tell when she’s switched from Charendraen to English even though her accent is the same in both!

- Fesmer may have changed significantly in the year they were gone, but he kept a certain amount of his old charge-ahead-without-thinking-things-through attitude!

- Oh my god Brad doing his impression of the Squeaky-Voiced Teen is the best thing EVER

- “Let me take hold of you all, so I am certain you are not a phantasm of Silver Nights past…”  ZANA ♥♥♥.  Her love for her children never ceases to just bowl me over.  (SPOILER) She’s just so used to having to let go of the people she loves that she’s almost not sure what to do with herself when they come back to her.

- “Kasha is familiar with all of my failings, Targonane.”  This line only confirms in my head the fact that Jareth and Kasha have been seeing each other, at least casually, for quite a while at this point…which only serves to emphasize how hard it was for him to make the decisions he does in the next few episodes.

- For all that Targonane is constantly chewing him out, he really does seem to care for Jareth deeply.  He know, he knows that that Odi surge is somehow connected to Jareth’s strange friends who disappeared last year, he knows that Jareth is involved, and yet he wants to give Jareth the chance to come to him of his own volition, without pressuring or confronting him.

- “Mike was right, they’re cute!  Hee!”  That, right there, was the first time in the entire series that Katherine has giggled.  Oh, she’s laughed, and snorted, and chuckled, but she’s never giggled before, which is a sound I associate with just being generally pleased with life.  Her return to Laundi has very clearly healed something, soothed some of the anxiety she seemed to carry around with her constantly in Boston.  (HOH BOY IT’S A SPOILER) Honestly?  She was completely right to stay in Amarand at the end of the series.  It was always where she was happiest.

- “There was something peculiar about trying to reach Boston…it was not like distance, it was something else…”  I find it rather brilliant that the writers somehow managed to make it clear that Amarand wasn’t just another planet or something… and yet still keep us in the dark as to what it actually is for pretty much the entire series.

- “Do you guys have any other info you can give me?”  Us, Mike.”  I just realized Katherine’s response here kind of has a double meaning.  On the one hand, she’s subtly reminding Mike that he’s not in this alone.  On the other…well, Shauna spent all of last season making pronoun slip-ups regarding her ultimate goals.  I think this may be Katherine’s unconscious way of telling Mike that he’s not pulling that shit on her.

- “And this is about Shauna, not my dad’s dream for me.”  This may be the first time Mike’s admitted that his dream of playing football professionally was actually not his own dream, which is a big step forward for him.  Because of that, I think he latches onto his new goals, the ones that are truly his, very tightly.  During his year in Boston, his goal was getting back to Laundi; now that he’s there, it’s finding Shauna.  (SPOILER) When he finally accomplishes these goals at the end of the series, he seems almost…lost; he’s had no other dreams that were his own, after all.

- I love that Zana trusts Katherine’s judgment about Mike, and I think Katherine appreciates that too – that’s why she’s willing and able to let her guard down and apologize to Zana.  She knows that her mentor is the one person who can let her be repentant without ever holding it over her head.

- Oh man, the way Jareth says, “YOU.” is downright spooky.

- In her talking to Jareth, we see that Katherine, for all her own issues, is starting to take up Zana’s mantle as a confidant and advisor of the others.  Mike will bring it up a few episodes down the line, but it’s already starting to show.  (SPOILER)  By the time Zana dies, Katherine will be ready to take her place as the group’s de facto mediator.

- As the episode, Mike is getting more and more antsy about being called “Meek”, and it makes sense.  He always hated feeling ineffective, even before they went to Laundi the first time around, and he just spent the last year being able to do nothing for the person who matters most to him.  Every time Jareth or Fesmer calls him Meek, he’s reminded of his own inability, and he feels like he can’t take it anymore.

- Speaking of things Mike can’t take anymore…whoo boy, that little rant about how difficult life was for Arkahn had clearly been building up for a little while, hadn’t it?

- Fesmer may have found his path and grown as a person in the past year, but there were clearly some things he didn’t learn, (SPOILER) compassion being chief among them.  Ultimately, I think that’s what led to Fesmer’s downfall: passion and drive are crucial, yes, but without understanding, these things can be cruel…and that cruelty can rebound on you in an instant.

- Mike seems almost taken aback by his own visceral response to the violence of the bandit attack, which seems appropriate once we learn a few episodes down the line that he never dealt with the Legionnaire he killed last year.  This sort of response is actually pretty common in people with PTSD…which is not to say that Mike has PTSD, but that he does share certain traits with other people who’ve experienced serious trauma.

- “Where’d Arkahn go?”  Oh, I think Arkahn has a pretty good idea what’s going to happen to her if the Legion finds her.  Mercy is not really something they’re known for.

- “We were your family!” “Wonderful family, a liar and a spy!”  If you want to know the real difference between Seasons 1 and 2, look no further than this argument.  Compared to this, all the fights back in Season 1 feel like little squabbles.  Even further, look at who’s fighting: Fesmer, whose whole life has been wrapped in lies, and Jareth, a man who’s lost nearly everything.  These two used to be as close as brothers…and in a way, that’s why they’re fighting: because that relationship wasn’t as secure as they both thought it was, and that’s frightening to them both.

- Ah, alas, the pain-killer plotline that never really went anywhere.  Well, if anything had to be cut, it was probably better that it was this and not some of the other, more crucial plot threads.

- “If you do not go, I do not think you will be ra-na tomorrow.”  Even now, at his most desperate to hold fast to the status quo, Jareth is willing to make exceptions for Fesmer, making sure he gets out of there before University arrives.  A jerk he may be, but never let it be said that Jareth doesn’t care.

- “I am so humble right now.”  Goddammit, Mike.

- For all of his character’s bumbling, Mike Hunter does a damn fine job of his monologue in Draenmer.  In fact…I think everyone who has a Draenmer scene pretty much nails it, which is good, because it’s always a character-defining moment.

- If we weren’t suspicious of Mike’s answer now, we should have been – everyone he encounters comments on how bizarre his answer is.  I think the key, though, is that if it had been anyone other than Mike – Katherine, or one of the Laundians, someone who knows how to be truly reverent – we would have been more suspicious of the answer.  But because it was Mike, who seems like the type to get a brief, almost gruff answer from Ainorem, we aren’t suspicious…and that’s a great way for the writers to hide a VERY BIG CLUE right under our noses.

- Of the Main 6, I think Arkahn is the one who comes to her path (and her character arc for the season) the most easily.  Her goal, her real goal, is redemption, and she’s willing to accept any price to gain it.

- Oh Jareth.  We should have seen his decision coming, from what we’d seen of him throughout this episode, but his backsliding from where he was last season still stings.