Our party is still split up, exploring the city of Velia to accomplish their now very different goals. Jareth has gone to University and cornered the visiting Targonane, who takes Jareth back to his room to clean up. Jareth explains that he suspects one of Veliaodi’s professors of being involved with the explosion in Keltaroc…but says this as she enters the room. It turns out that both she and Targonane are aware of the problem of corruption within University, as they are both a part of a group charged with rooting it out. They also discuss why tae-oden are so often a part of the conversation when talking about corruption in University…and about why they might form in the first place.
Zana stands up in front of the meeting of Hunters, and while she commends them on their desire to change their world, she also blasts them for using such violent means – particularly Fesmer. The crowd begins to turn on her, but before things get out of hand, Zana collapses. Fesmer sends Arkahn out to find a healer, but shortly thereafter, Rungrot, Dita’s father and head of the Hunters, returns, bearing the prize of a deadly fight: the Hand of Doro. Rungrot is furious at everyone, but particularly at Zana, who orders Fesmer and Dita to clear everyone out, lest they be hurt in whatever follows. Doro has clearly taken over Rungrot, and seeks to do the same to Zana (speaking of an old debt to be repaid), but to Doro’s dismay, Zana only takes the hand and says that she will run no longer.
Mike and Katherine are scouring the town for any possible leads on Shauna’s whereabouts, and while Katherine does manage to earn them some quick cash by clearing up at the gaming tables, information is harder to come by. They stop by Velia’s Draenmer, which is known as a place to interpret the answer to one’s question. By talking to a Draenpeno, Katherine learns that Mike’s answer is exceedingly bizarre – but more importantly, that there’s a hidden city to the West of Keltaroc: Sonsa, Oren’s stronghold. The two celebrate the break in the case, but it causes Katherine to realize just how lost she’s felt since they lost Shauna. Mike tries to comfort her, and is shocked when Katherine kisses him – but he still shuts the door when she asks.
- “Probably going to get in a fight and get my backside handed to me again.” For all that I’ve been talking about Katherine learning to pick her battles more wisely, the same could be said (perhaps in a more literal sense) for Mike too. His acknowledging that he can’t win every fight is a HUGE step for him, especially considering how he behaved back in Season 1.
- “Just don’t get us kicked out this time?” “Yeah, yeah!” Not gonna lie: Mike deserves every single ounce of trouble Katherine gets him into with her gambling, and I LOVE it.
- “You look as if you have been sleeping in the wilderness for weeks.” “I have.” “You smell like it as well.” Targonane sounds like nothing less than a very put-out parent here, which seems appropriate. Targonane has said in the past that Jareth is something like a surrogate son to him – and only a parent could approach someone who’s abandoned their career, blown up a building, and helped a convict escape and open with concerns about that person’s personal hygiene.
- “You chose a difficult path, one I would not have chosen for you to tread.” “I know…yet it was my path. My choice.” Ugh, Jareth’s story is just fascinating to watch unfold. For years he deferred to Targonane on everything, to the point that his mentor chewed him out over it – and the first time he makes his own choice, it’s the complete opposite of what anyone else would have advised him to do. It shows a remarkable growth of character that Jareth is not only willing to make his own choices regarding his responsibilities and his sense of honor, but that he is willing to defend them to Targonane.
- Christina Mollodowich’s time in the spotlight is fast approaching, but I want to commend her on her monologue in this episode as well. There’s this sort of beautiful desperation Zana has to stop these impulsive young people from walking down the destructive path she’s already experienced, and Christina pulls that off really, really well.
- On that note, Zana’s speech to the young Hunters is simultaneously awesome… and ineffective. I completely understand her reasoning for why she says what she says – (SPOILER) she doesn’t know what’s about to happen between her and Doro, she doesn’t know that Dita will be safe, she doesn’t know that she’s finally free to talk openly about her experiences. But because she can’t speak openly, give these young people the reasons behind her conclusions, they’re not inclined to believe her.
- “Fesmer…you will lose.” I can’t help but wonder: (SPOILER) if Zana had survived past Velia, if she’d come with them to Sonsa, would Fesmer have lived? Would she have been able to guide him through the toughest part of his trials successfully? Or would his anger still have gotten the better of him? (This is all, of course, ignoring the fact that Zana couldn’t have gone to Sonsa, not from a storytelling point of view. She’s the mentor figure, and the heroes must face their final trials without the mentor and learn to stand on their own – that’s how these things work. Joseph Campbell would be proud.)
- For all that he disagrees with her…it’s touching when Fesmer stops calling her Koden, and starts calling her Zana again.
- I can’t help but wonder if being around Rungrot was a tempering force for Fesmer; I mean, Fesmer’s plan is violent and ruthless, yes, but Rungrot’s is much more so. Fesmer is calling for the death of one person if she fails to comply with the Hunters – Rungrot just wants to burn it all to the ground. (SPOILER) It’s only after Rungrot’s death, I think, that Fesmer orchestrates the all-out attack on Sonsa.
- Hmm, random thought: how do Charendraen names work if your first child is born out of wedlock? Because Rungrot, for all that he was corrupted by Doro at the end, truly loved Dita as his daughter – but his name doesn’t end in “di”.
- “I’m a 21st century, post-modern man. I laugh at your pitiful attempts to pigeonhole me!”
Ugh, Mike, you’ve gotta stop hitting all my “adorably cute and attractive” buttons, this is getting kinda ridiculous
- The idea that there are multiple “thin points” is going to be important VERY SOON…and honestly, the fact that I didn’t connect these thin points associated with Ainorem with the random-wearing-away-at-the-fabric-of-two-worlds that happened at the Legion outpost when Shauna cast Shift is straight up embarrassing.
- Y’know, when you strip away the fighting and snarkiness, Katherine and Mike really do flirt incessantly.
- For all that Jareth is acting rather petulant here, I can’t help but agree with him, if only a little. There’s so much Targonane has hidden about himself from Jareth…and when someone you look up to hides that much, it’s hard not to be a little resentful. (It’s for the same reason that I understand Fesmer’s anger at Zana in the next episode, even if I don’t agree with it.)
- Back when this episode first came out, stephensmat pointed out on the forum that the existence of desi-morinae allowed Jareth an in back into University – and he was right. Jareth’s main problem with University, the reason he ultimately left, was because he couldn’t blindly follow a system that was tainted by corruption. Desi-morinae was a way around that for him, a system within his own beloved school that existed to fight against that corruption. (SPOILER) It is because of all that that Jareth’s ultimate decision to leave University is one of his strongest moments. The problems he had with University are fixable; hell, his mentor is the one in charge of fixing those problems! But he still chose the more difficult, and probably more fulfilling path towards changing his entire world for the better. It’s extremely admirable.
- Oh god, I love this exasperated Draenpeno so very, very much. You can tell he’s given this “Why can’t I ask my question?” speech more times than he can count.
- “I do not believe I have ever heard such a concise answer…” The 2S writers are really quite good at hiding clues right under our noses; they did it with Arkahn in Season 1, and then again with the issue of the Boston Trio’s questions in Season 2. It wasn’t until the first half of the series finale that I seriously started to wonder what was up with the questions, which is ridiculous when you look back and see how often it was brought up that Mike’s answer was completely abnormal.
- I could probably write pages and pages on the subject of tae-oden alone…but I’ll spare you that. Suffice it to say, tae-oden and the philosophical problems they present are fascinating. Is it better to live a more orderly, convenient life that takes a toll on the natural world, or a simpler, more difficult life that leaves nature untouched? What is the price we’re willing to pay to make sure that all have access to power, rather than leave it in the hands of the few? And beyond all this is the question I find most fascinating of all: forget what we’d pick as our answer here, what would ordinary Baelans pick, were all the facts laid out before them? Because it’s easy to forget it sometimes, but Baelan culture is very different than our own; they’re a more collectivist society, and what we think is right might not be the same as what they think is right.
- (SPOILER) Actually, now that I think about it, Jareth’s choice at the end of the series is, in fact, that third option: begin anew…except instead of tearing it all down, he opts for creation.
- Oh, Katherine. I know you don’t want to tell Mike about Sonsa because he’ll be insufferable when he learns he’s been right…but he’s gonna be insufferable either way!
- Okay, Rungrot is hasty, gruff, and callous…but I understand 100% why he’s so furious at Zana, more than Fesmer, or Dita, or any other person. He’s perhaps the person most hurt by Zana’s decision, and, I think, the one who had the most right to know why Zana did what she did.
- “But when the moment of truth is at hand…you truly are your mother’s daughter.” My god, how much must this have hurt Dita? Because unless I miss my guess, Rungrot has probably been speaking poorly of her mother since before Dita could remember, and to be compared to her…well, it must feel like a punch in the gut.
- (SPOILER) And the last decision Zana makes before confronting Doro? Making sure everyone else gets out safely. Even to the last, Zana looks out for her children. ♥♥♥
- “…they shall know the death they have dealt so callously, the death they dealt to my sister…” I sense a definite running theme here in what Rungrot says: the inability to let go of the desire for revenge will always, always backfire.
- Oh god, I just realized that a slower, deeper version of Zana’s theme plays behind her decision to take up Doro’s hand, and now I’m going to start SOBBING.
- When it comes down to it, Mike and Katherine trust one another more than anyone else on this journey. Unlike almost every other relationship in the show, theirs has never been bogged down with secrets, lies, or mistrust – even when they were practically enemies, they were never anything but honest with one another. Mike knows that he has someone who’s behind him completely, and Katherine knows he’s got her back when she needs it. The two are equals, capable of supporting one another completely – and coupled with the fact that there have always been hints that they’re attracted to one another, this is how this particular desire to ask for/offer support plays out.
- All that being said: WORST. TIMING. EVER.
But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a happy little camper when I first heard this episode!