Porec and Shauna have finally reached Sonsa, the Legion’s hidden capital city and base of operations. Shauna is happy to finally be off the road, but Porec warns her to be careful of the people of Sonsa, who may seek to take advantage of Shauna and her power in order to combat one another. Porec expands on this at the Legion service to welcome him home, where he blasts his fellow faithful for not working together as they should.
At the reception following the service Shauna gets into a conversation with a pair of officials about the hand of Doro. She’s eventually drags Porec off to find snacks, though her quest is impeded by the arrival of Talia, another official and an old friend of Porec’s – and all of this is interrupted when someone tries to poison Shauna. Porec and the other officials do their best to sequester Shauna safely away, but even that fails when, later that night, assassins come to finish what their accomplices could not. It’s only due to the warning of the Winged Herald that Shauna is able to defend herself.
The assassins are captured and put on trial mere hours later, and the court comes to the conclusion that they are members of the Cult of the Mother, fanatics who may have something against Shauna. Shauna, however, demands proof, and Porec backs her up, as he is an ex-member of the Cult, and can tell that something is wrong with this situation. The leader of the cult herself shows up to denounce their responsibility…but even that isn’t enough to stop the perpetrators’ executions.
Thus begins the swift elimination of all those suspected of involvement with the assassination attempt – but it becomes quickly apparent that there may be ulterior motives behind these executions, as most of the people marked for death have some sort of connection to Shauna. Shauna is distraught by everything that’s happened, and is nervous about going to Oren the next day. Porec comes to comfort her, and it becomes very clear that while they’re upset at what’s happened, they’re even more upset about leaving one another. Nonetheless, Porec sorrowfully leaves Shauna to her fate with Oren…and goes to confront the executioner who is now waiting for him.
- Porec’s little “Hmmph!” when Shauna jokes with him about Sonsa’s size is adorable. The inevitable euphemisms aside, it’s not Porec’s fault that cities in our world tend to be overgrown and massive.
- “Thanks, Let’s Go Amarand.” I’ve come to the conclusion that, at some point during their travels, Porec just stopped asking Shauna what the hell she meant when she said things like this. He just accepts that sometimes she says things that make no sense, and rolls with it.
- Oh man, poor Porec. His hesitance to say anything substantial to Shauna about how he feels about her is sweet, yes, but also rather sad; I think he truly feels he’s not worthy of her, and therefore his feelings are moot. On the other hand, Shauna’s feelings are a little more difficult to parse; she clearly enjoys flirting with him, but hesitates to seriously act on her feelings. We know from her relationship with Jareth that she’s not afraid to make the first move, but although she obviously cares for Porec, she never tries to bring up the issue with him, and I’m still not sure why. Perhaps it’s as simple as safety in the familiar; by the time she realized what she felt for Porec, the two of them had fallen into a comfortable, platonic relationship, so why threaten that?
- “The people down there – they’re not corrupt. They’re not unfaithful. Yet they are everything but.” This may just be me as an ex-Catholic, but I’m getting some serious flashbacks to certain aspects of the Catholic Church as I knew it as a child. Then again, I suppose this particular sentiment of Porec’s is true of most highly stratified organizations of power.
- “Ruthless, conniving, cold…these traits are more than rewarded – they are necessary for survival!” (SPOILER) Hearing Porec talk about his fellows this way, we really, really shouldn’t have been surprised when Talia turned out to be exactly like this. This raises an interesting thought, though: these traits, so common amongst the people of Sonsa, are almost exactly the opposite of Shauna’s defining characteristics. She can be a little sneaky at times, but that’s pretty much it; she is the last person in the cast you can accuse of being cold, or of not caring about how her choices will affect others. I can’t help but think that this was a calculated choice the Ainorem made when they chose her.
- Tsk tsk, kids, talking in church? For shame! (Seriously though, this scene was my life from ages 9 to 17. When I went to my cousin’s Confirmation a few years ago, the priest doing the readings sounded exactly like, no joke, Kermit the Frog. My mother and I made muppets jokes through the entire Mass.)
- “Do I get a cookie?” “Only when you finish.” “Promises!” I find it rather interesting how Shauna and Porec’s relationship kind of parallels Mike an dArkahn’s, in that they’re two people who’ve lived in very close quarters for over a year despite the fact that they initially couldn’t trust one another. It’s clear that the two of them have gotten very comfortable with one another, to the point that Porec doesn’t evne really mind joking around with Shauna in the middle of his own religious services. The real difference is that unlike Arkahn, Shauna was never helpless during her journey; she was cut off from Odi for a time, yes, but she could speak the language and otherwise take care of herself.
- “The greater the honor of their service, the more they must sacrifice: senses, limbs, and ultimately their lives.” (SPOILER) Shauna’s right this is creepy…but what I think is even creepier is that, even if he didn’t directly set this system up, the Chosen of Oren are still used by their god as his own personal life support system.
- Porec’s parable of Kenel is important to understand how the Legion functions, yes, but I think it’s worth looking at it in the context of our story as a whole. It isn’t until our main group puts aside their differences and work together that they’re able to accomplish what they need to. (SPOILER) Porec, Dita, Jareth, and Arkahn, for all their numerous issues, fight side by side to protect each other, allowing them to survive. In the Season 1 finale, Shauna, Katherine, and Mike fail in part because they’re at one another’s throats. Compare that to Season 2, where they combine their strengths in order to ultimately trick Oren and beat him (and yes, it is a little ironic that a parable praising Oren can be used to describe the people who ultimately defeat him).
- (SPOILER) Since the finale, I’ve been wondering something to myself about Porec: how exactly is he going to deal with what he learned about Oren? I mean, Jareth’s world was rocked, and he just found out that his education/government was corrupt; Porec’s problems go a step further, in that it’s not people who are corrupt, but his GOD. But listening to Porec blast his fellow parishioners makes me believe he’ll be alright – because Porec never put his faith in the system, but in the truths he learned from that system. He is unafraid to confront the most powerful people in the entire Legion about their corruption, and over time, I think he’ll be able to do the same to his own concept of Oren.
- Oh Shauna, why did you tell Devdan and Dejan about Doro’s hand? (This is ignoring the fact that what happened was, in a manner of speaking, inevitable…but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.)
- “They are somewhat infamous, as much for their outspokenness as for the tendency for their arguments to end in violence.” “Definitely reminds me of my brothers!” Lord, ain’t that the truth!
- “Do I ignite any fires in that tinderbox you call a mind?” Unrelated to anything, I love this turn of phrase. It’s very evocative. (And oh man, I totally forgot that this episode also contains the phrase, “Never trust one who earns their soup on deceit”! This episode is full of brilliant idioms!)
- Shauna, in some ways, is a very predictable person. Ask her to defend herself, and she’ll throw up wards and hide away. Ask her to defend someone else, someone she cares about? You better duck, ‘cause she’s coming out swinging.
- Once again, we see how quickly Porec is to devalue himself when the Legionnaire comes up to berate him for the Silver Night Incident. I find this rather interesting in someone who is otherwise very quick to support others in regards to their skills and talents (seriously, compared to the rest of the cast, Porec is virtually a compliment machine).
- “She was a friend while I was here in Sonsa…perhaps my only friend.” (SPOILER) Nice choice of friends there, Porec. Then again, from his tone I gather that he was rather lonely during his initial time in Sonsa. Perhaps Talia capitalized on that to gain connections to an individual who was rapidly rising in prominence.
- In my head, during their journey Shauna gave Porec nigh unto constant ribbing about his hook, but never explained to Porec why she kept calling him “Captain”. To this day he still doesn’t know what the hell she was talking about, or why she kept laughing.
- - Is that a touch of jealousy I hear, Shauna, when you’re shut out of Talia and Porec’s conversation? No, couldn’t be. </sarcasm>
- Note that the only time we ever really see Porec get angry is when Shauna is threatened. Seriously, the man is as easy to read as a Times Square billboard.
- It’s very odd to think of a poison that is constructed entirely out of magic, instead of physical materials…but it makes sense. Baela barely has any sort of medicine that isn’t magic-based, so why wouldn’t they have magic-based toxicology?
- Porec’s use of the word “okay” may be the sweetest thing ever. There’s no way he didn’t pick up some American slang over the course of a year, but he’s not like Fesmer, who enjoys such things. The fact that he uses it just for the sake of comforting Shauna is just…UGGGGH. ♥♥♥
- “Talking to animals…like something Mike would do.” Okay, putting aside the fact that Shauna is completely and totally correct here, I wonder: how often does Shauna think about the friends she sent back to Boston. We’ve already seen how she’s slowly started forgetting about her family, and we know that the Herald has been trying her damndest to isolate Shauna completely, but still. Mike and Katherine were such a focus of Shauna’s life in Laundi, and she sacrificed everything for them only a year ago. How did Shauna think of them in the time before Dreams?
- “My desires…are quite irrelevant.” The scene between Shauna and Porec in Shauna’s room is an exquisite example of two people who know perfectly well what they feel for one another but refuse to come out and say it. Shauna’s quick backtracking, Porec’s subtle admission that he wants more…ugh, it’s killing me.
- Shauna’s dream of Oren is either her misremembering events or (as seems more likely to me) the first instance of Oren directly attempting to alter the way Shauna looks at her own past. (The first, but definitely not the last.)
- The Cult of the Mother is an interesting development in our story, but when you consider the ideas and truths that the Legion values, their presence seems really very natural. The Legion, as Porec points out at the beginning of this episode, believes first and foremost that man is fallible. It’s essentially their central teaching – and if there’s anything I’ve learned about organized religion, it’s that given enough time, people will take one central idea and create a whole mess of ways to go about accomplishing or thinking about that idea. The Cult of the Mother, whose entire purpose is to root out corruption and immorality, seems like one of the extremes some could go to when given the simple truth that people, by their nature, can be corrupted or made immoral.
- We saw back in 2.06 the lengths that Shauna could be pushed to when it came to determining someone’s guilt, but it’s nice to see that even though she has been pushed to that edge, Shauna’s still dedicated to fair and reasoned justice. This only confirms to me that 2.06 was less her turning to the Dark Side, and more her being shown some of the nastier parts of herself – something that most of our characters have had to face already.
- “Ugh, crooked smile of Velia…” And the awesome phrases just keep on coming. Given what we now know about what Oren thinks of his former friends, this is probably a pretty serious curse right here.
- I want so badly to know more about Porec and his father, and their time in the Cult. After all, Porec is nearly 30, and he trained and worked with his father since he was a teenager – nearly half his life has been spent serving Oren in some capacity or another. I just want to know more of his story. And on top of that, I want desperately to know more about the Cult. How did it start? They’re clearly focused in some way around the figure of Oren’s mother – why? What’s the significance? Why is she associated with assassination? Ugh, so many questions!
- We never really get to the bottom of the conspiracy to murder Shauna (though honestly, that’s not the most important aspect of the assassination attempt). Which officials were the ones who wanted to do her in? Was it one of the people we heard at the party? Things to ponder.
- “The guy in Musqueeten, those two assassins…and everyone in between.” Given how long they were on the road and how many places they must’ve stopped in to dispense justice, it’s reassuring to see how uncomfortable Shauna is with it all. It’s so easy to become habituated to something, even terrible things, when it becomes a part of your daily grind. The fact that it has never been easy for Shauna is a good sign. The fact that it’s still not easy for Porec is an even better one.
- “You have been accused by a tribunal of your superiors, and condemned to death by beheading…” Honestly, the worst part of this sentence? “Tribunal of your superiors”. It’s awful that someone can be falsely accused and executed, yes…but it’s even worse that their idea of justice only serves to facilitate this sort of corruption.
- One of the most fabulous parts of the end of this episode is the slow building revelation that someone is eliminating everyone who knows about Shauna. You can’t tell at first, but it slowly builds to a moment of terrible realization on the part of the audience.
- Between the back-and-forth cuts to the executions, Neil and Becki’s soft, heartwrenching delivery of their lines, the gentle, almost creeping music, the terrible sound of the axe falling, and that last, aching revelation that Porec has been marked for death…this may be the most beautiful scene in the entire series. Well done, all.