After running from the exploding University dungeons, the group reconvenes briefly at Zana’s to gather supplies, and argue about whether to wake her to say goodbye. Their bickering is rendered pointless, however, when Zana elects to accompany them on their journey. Together they successfully make their escape from Laundi, and after sending off a decoy to make sure they aren’t discovered, settle in to their campsite to wait out their pursuers. Mike and Katherine prove that, despite its lack of magic, their homeland can be pretty useful; they’ve both managed to bring quite a bit of useful tech along with their camping gear, which fascinates the Laundians.
Eventually they make their way to the Legion trading post where Shauna was last seen, and split up to search for clues. Mike and Zana find Porec’s office, where they discover a letter Porec wrote to his successor about the events of last Silver Night, and how he was taking Shauna on a journey. Jareth and Fesmer search the rest of the building, and Fesmer tries one last time to convince Jareth that he should return, letting it slip that he still cares about Jareth a great deal. They discover nothing else related to Shauna, but they do spot something odd – strange noises, and out of the corner of their eyes, tall buildings and signs. Katherine and Arkahn search the barn where Shauna cast her spell, and Katherine finally learns what happened after she Shifted back – almost tapped of strength, Arkahn used her ability to channel Odi to help Shauna Shift her. Katherine is furious, but is soon distracted by the approach of Undying, who seem to be attracted to those same strange sounds and images that Fesmer and Jareth experienced.
The group reconvenes, and Katherine informs them that those odd sounds and images were actually car horns and skyscrapers – somehow, a ghostly imprint of Boston is in this place. Before they can wonder too much about it, however, the group experiences one more surge of these “impressions” – it’s Shauna as she was a year ago, being taunted and pushed by the Winged Herald. The question remains, though: what happened to Shauna?
- Aaaand let’s start everything off with the Trogdor song being stuck in my head for the rest of the write-up.
- Arkahn screaming while everyone else whispers is still one of the best gags of the entire season, bar none.
- I love how Zana uses her children’s disorganization to calmly insert herself into this adventure. I suppose even Zana feels that she’s been sitting on the sidelines for too long. Also, now that I think about it, if she had stayed, it would have been pretty clear that she was the only person left in Laundi with connections to all the involved parties. By running off with the others, she doesn’t have to force Targonane to cover for her or, in the worst case scenario, bring her in – which would be extremely difficult for both of them.
- Ah, that’s something I missed the first time around: Arkahn can see the horses of air while Mike and Katherine cannot because she’s so highly attuned. (Speaking of which, the sound effects used for said horses are fantastic.)
- “When I last cast it several months ago, I only had to create two.” Why yes, I am such an attentive listener that I never thought to ask why he needed more than one.
- “Where did you learn it?” “…far from here.” This has got me wondering: just how big is Baela? (SPOILER) I mean, it takes the party several months to travel from Laundi in the East to Sonsa in the West, though I imagine they do slow down in every town they come across in order to search for information about Shauna. Still, that either means that they’re traveling pretty slowly or that Baela is pretty damn big.
- Ah, and so begins Jareth’s slow journey down the road to becoming Amarand’s very first scientist. I love his fascination with technology from our world, as it so mirrors the Boston Trio’s initial reaction to magic. Ah, humans – curiosity will always get us in the end.
- For once, Mike knows more about something than Katherine – and he’s going to lord it over her as long as possible! To be fair…she kinda deserves it.
Wow, Katherine, you certainly seem to have been paying attention to Mike’s love life… Okay, I’ll stop now, I promise.
- Thank god Zana came along for this trip, otherwise we’d have never gotten past splitting up the group at the Legion outpost!
- “You really must have friends in high places!” “…” “Zana?” Just how highly is Targonane placed in University? I think we’ve established that he’s essentially the equivalent of a Dean, (SPOILER) but he’s also a member of Desi-Morinae and a founder of the Hunters. Dang, Targo’s got power comin’ out his EARS.
- “Is that what you did, you looked after her?” “Well, I…hey, did you hear that?” Nice one, Mike. Real subtle. (That being said, ouch, what a conversation. If it were me, I also wouldn’t want to get into a conversation with my not-girlfriend’s surrogate mother to whom I once incurred a massive debt and whose stuff I have frequently broken, either.)
- “I believe that that was the beginning of our noble tradition of losing fights, or at least, me being injured in them.” Okay, let’s tally up: of the fights our Main 6 have been in, how many have they actually won? If I’m recalling correctly, (SPOILER) outside the final battle, which our gang does win (in that they don’t, y’know, lose), the only fight that anyone in our story wins at all is Mike against the two guards in Sonsa. That’s literally IT, out of 30 episodes. And given the ultimate conclusion of our story, Fesmer is correct in that he usually comes out the worst in any given battle, ultimately losing his life.
- Fesmer’s concern for Jareth continues to be intensely touching. For all that they feel they can’t trust one another…well, Jareth has been more of a brother to Fesmer than Porec ever was, has always advised and protected him, even against Jareth’s better judgment. On a certain level, it’s sweet to see Fesmer try to return the favor.
- Ugh, this flashback was tough to listen to, back when it first came out. We were only first putting together what had happened after Shauna Shifted the others home, and this, our first reveal to what might have gone on, only confirms how exhausted and out of power Shauna was. It still fills me with little twinges of anxiety, even though I now know how it turned out.
- Listening to Katherine yell at Arkahn, I’d like to say that I’m shaking my head at Katherine’s slight backsliding here towards the unhappy, judgmental person she was…but can I honestly believe I’d react any differently? I mean, she spent 12 whole months worrying and wondering what happened to her best friend…and now the person who betrayed them all in the first place not only reveals that she actually helped Shauna Shift her, but that Shauna was even worse off than they imagined after she Shifted the three of them.
- As for Arkahn…well, I can’t blame her either. She was screwed no matter what happened on the day they Shifted back, and she was scared, and Shauna has always trended towards self-sacrifice. And from her reaction to both being captured and Jareth’s trying to free her…well, I can see how her survivor’s guilt must have weighed on her every minute she was in Boston. #Ugh, Second Shift, you and your ethical ambiguity and well rounded characters and grey-scale morality
- “Even the Legion did not see fit to teach me…” Rrrrgh…(SPOILER) I know the Legion officially gave the orders to keep Arkahn out of University…but like her, I can’t help but blame her parents. Those two took every opportunity possible to keep power out of the hands of their daughter. By the time she was old enough to enter University, they probably had considered what would happen if she gained enough power to actively stop their abuse.
- I can’t help but wonder if Mike’s very negative reaction to the blood-splattered letter is a side effect of his past trauma. After all, he did comment at the time about the sheer amount of blood his violent actions had resulted in.
- “I suspect that Shaena’s spell may have had unintended consequences.” Our first notion - well, perhaps not exactly our first, but at least the first explicit one - that the Shift spell is playing havoc with the two worlds. (SPOILER) Also interesting: the fact that this outpost where Shift was cast is a “thin” point. Other thin points? The places where you can talk to Ainorem. #Seriously, we should have figured this one out #I feel dumb
- “Tell her, Jareth. She needs to know.” I find it interesting that Fesmer makes the distinction between telling truths about the world at large to Jareth, and telling the truth about her parents to Arkahn. It seems like the revelations about his own family have prompted Fesmer to be utterly committed to not keeping secrets about anyone else’s.
- That being said…ugh, Fesmer, why are you getting so good at keeping secrets? It won’t turn out well for anybody.
- “Cars are very fast, like screaming metallic monsters, flying by at impossible-” “Oh, you only got hit that once! It’s like a rite of passage in Boston!” Man, I know it’s been covered in other fantasy stories, but I always love seeing people from other worlds or times or whatever confronting the strange and dangerous item that is the car. (And as an LA native, the idea of being hit by a car has always been terrifying to me. Even though I was tapped occasionally in New York, which is normal, I always associate the phrase “hit by a car” with the speeds at which we drive here in Southern California – i.e. freeway speeds. ::shudder::)
- “I seriously thought it was game over there for a second.” “Kathe! Did you just-” Random character thing I adore: Mike’s utter commitment to getting Katherine to make more nerdy references.
- “Many fables are based in truth.” “And much truth is mere fable…” Which is ultimately what we learn about this world, is it not? (SPOILER) When we first heard of the mystical figures of Amarand, particularly Doro, we weren’t really expected to believe they were real, were we? In fact, the only mystical being presented to us as “fact”, Ainorem, turned out to be something very different.