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Shauna, Mike, and Katherine start learning a little bit more about this new place they’ve stumbled into, and begin making friends with the 3 Laundians.  While running an errand back to University, Jareth realizes a way that the Boston trio might figure out how to get home: Draenmer, a holy place built on a thin point between the worlds of the living and the dead, where people may ask one question of the ancestors.  To prepare for their trip there, the trio gets their first lesson in self-defense; Mike blusters and bravadoes his way through, Katherine is surprisingly skilled, and Shauna…flips out.  Turns out she’s not adapting so well.

The gang starts out to Draenmer the next day, but not before Mike starts a long, proud tradition of owing Zana money.  On the way, they encounter a tae-od, which is essentially a very small concentration of negative Odi (magic), and discover that Shauna is very highly attuned, meaning that she has great magical potential.  When they arrive at the temple, Shauna enters, alone, to ask how she and her friends can return home…and learns that, while she will eventually learn to combine the two forms of spellcasting necessary to return Katherine and Mike to Boston, she cannot return with them. 

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

- Oh god, I just realized that the series essentially opens and closes on Jareth and Katherine having fun with waa-loren.  BEST.  BOOKENDS.  EVER.

- In my head canon, Katherine is totally from Orange County.  There’s no way she’s not!  Rich girl who travels down to LA on the 5? (one quibble here; no one from Southern California calls it the I-5, it’s always “The 5”.)  Yeah, she’s totally an OC girl…probably Irvine, if I had to guess.


- “Fesmer’s recklessness will be the death of me one day.”  (SPOILER) Having heard 2.15…this makes me really, painfully sad.  Because it won’t.

- So, one of the intrinsic problems with the “Fall into another World” trope is that it almost invariably invokes some rather unpleasant colonialist overtones, and there are some definite hints of that here.  Mike is the number one culprit of this, from his opinions on the “weird” food to how he will “dominate” Laundian sports.  He’s joking, of course, but he still seems to hold the belief that his culture is intrinsically better…which is an odd thing to say out loud (or in print), because unlike, say, a Westerner judging other cultures that really do exist, Mike is judging a culture that he’s pretty sure is a dream.  Still, it’s unsettling.  However, because Second Shift is an AWESOME SHOW, they actually deal with the fact that Mike can act like an imperialist jerk; it starts in the pilot and slowly builds until we get, well, the events of 1.09.  And while Katherine may call him on it most often (and tries her best to avoid it) even she slips up from time to time.  But the show as a whole treats the invented cultures as no less valid than the culture that Shauna, Mike, and Katherine bring with them, and really pushes the idea that, no matter the level of technology or spirituality or magic, people are people.  Not better, not worse, just different.

- “Don’t like running away.”  I get the feeling there’s a specific story behind this, something that motivates Mike’s utter refusal to ever back down.  I mean, I can tell that it probably has something to do with his father, as most of Mike’s insecurities do, but I’m referring to something in particular.  I wonder what it was?

- “I have a good feeling about this!” Katherine, you are never allowed to say that again.  YOU WILL DOOM US ALL.

- Something interesting I noticed: Mike had a throwaway line about how, when Zana explained how University sells all the active items, Katherine complained about monopolies.  But…isn’t that essentially the Legion’s stance?  That University controls the people through their monopoly on Odi?  It just makes me wonder…how would this whole story have played out if they’d landed in Legion territory, as opposed to University?

- Andrew Schwartz, who plays Fesmer, is amazing at communicating without words.  Just listen to the sound he makes after Mike laid a hit on Jareth; you can actually hear his eyebrows being raised!

- Y’know, 5 years in and I still feel like I don’t have a good handle on gender relations in Laundi.  I mean, Jareth has zero qualms about teaching Shauna and Katherine to handle a sword, we know there are female students and professors at University as well as high-placed female officials and soldiers in the Legion, and there are even non-gendered sports teams…but women are still expected to wear skirts and dresses, even when pants would be less cumbersome.  Hmm.

- “[Shauna] plans on getting out of here.” “Well, not all goes according to plan…”  Oh man (SPOILER), did Arkahn know?  Even then?

- “I thought the reason you and I never…you know…was because of all your responsibilities.”  “Uh…yeah, that sounds familiar.”  Oh man, Shauna, sweetie, maybe you should have come clean and told him you only like him as a friend.  Would’ve saved a lot of people a LOT of trouble.

- “Mike, Katherine’s a friend, she’s always invited.” “Pfft, she’s YOUR friend, she’s MY co-worker.”  Oh Mike, how much are you going to regret thinking that a year and a half from this point I’m sorry, I just have a lot of FEELINGS about these three.

- Urgh, Katherine and Shauna and joking about coffee and boys and referencing the fact that they’ve been friends for a while and positive representation of female friendships, I LOVE YOU SO.

- Okay, so, Katherine.  I’m not gonna lie here: Katherine may be my favorite character, and it might be because, at least on a superficial level, WE ARE THE SAME PERSON.  A very liberal overachieving feminist from California who was raised Roman Catholic but fell out of the church, went to college on the East Coast, and studied Japanese?  This is UNCOMFORTABLY ACCURATE.  For all that, though, we’re very different people.  Katherine is from old money, resents her parents, is incredibly stubborn, and really can’t get along with people at all.  Maybe that’s why I like her so much; it’s fascinating to watch her grow from this really deeply flawed person into someone much wiser.

- Man, could anyone have guessed when we ran into that first tae-od how important they were going to be?  And geez, we can already tell that Arkahn is being rubbed the wrong way (so to speak) by the arrival of the Boston trio.

- Hmm, I just realized that there’s a certain Persephone & Hades vibe to (SPOILER) Shauna and Oren.  A woman is pulled against her will into a different world by a god, and refuses food because it will mean she can never leave…and even if she finds a way to escape and go home, she’ll never actually be free of the place.

- I always found it intriguing that Ainorem differentiated between the fact that Mike “can’t” learn magic, and Katherine “won’t”.  This has only been made more interesting by Season 2, where we learn that Mike is the only person who is completely unharmed by tae-oden.  Also interesting is the fact that, for some reason, we keep bringing up the fact that Katherine hasn’t asked her one question yet…even in the first half of the series finale.  Finally, we know that all three of the Bostonians were shifted for a reason.  What is so important about Mike and Katherine, and what does it have to do with Ainorem’s initial statement?

- Just gotta toss it out there that, just like everyone else, Shauna’s breakdown at the end of this episode is what finally won me over to the show.  It was such an important moment for the character, the beginning of her arc, as I mentioned before, and Becki did such a fabulous job with it.

- “Let’s go home.”  Hold on, did I hear something?  Oh wait, no, it was just the SOUND OF MY HEART BREAKING.