The Adventure Zone: Ep. 67. Story and Song - Finale, Part One
July 13, 2017 11:33 AM - Subscribe

Our heroes' memories have returned. At the end of everything, will they stand together against the encroaching darkness? Or will their past sins leave them irrevocably driven apart?
posted by showbiz_liz (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
so basically fuck yes
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:33 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


I ran across a theory on the TAZ reddit that would explain what Taako and team are about to do. I'll link to it because tbh I think it's probably right!
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting theory. It's clear that the Hunger can call forth anything from a multiverse it has previously consumed, it'd be cool if the gang figured out a way to do the same thing, open a backdoor and let stuff out of the Hunger to fight on our side. That seems to fit with what was implied in this episode.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:29 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Either let things out of the Hunger, or else access the universes that weren't absorbed, maybe? The gauntlet circles are obsidian and the Hunger's circle was black opal, so I don't think there's a direct link between them, but who knows...

Also, I almost forgot about this because it was only briefly established, but Kraavitz just made a deal with the inmates of the Stockade, right? Which I would imagine includes a bunch of former enemies! COULD WE SEE THE RETURN, YET AGAIN, OF MAGIC BRIAN ooo I sure hope so!

Also also, lol Lucas is about to unleash that crystal full of robot souls which is going to utterly own.

And what, I wonder, is Paloma up to? (And June! June has gotta be with Paloma!) Considering the guys' relationship with Refuge, maybe there's some sort of bond-related magic there.

I have no idea where the line between "neatly pulling the threads together" and "blatant fanservice" is anymore and I Do Not Care
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:47 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


Without having heard the rest of the finale - and while acknowledging the problems people (including me to some extent) had with the Stolen Century arc - I think this episode would have been much less effective if we hadn't gotten to see all the time that the seven of them spent together.

Last night I listened to the two Lunar Interlude episodes from right before that arc, and the impact of the gang going from confusion and hesitation to rage and certainty in the blink of an eye was very very cool.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:23 PM on July 13 [12 favorites]


This was everything that I wanted from these good boys
posted by durandal at 4:15 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


"Should I talk slower to give everyone who was mad that we weren't playing D&D time to nut?"
I died laughing.

This was so fucking good. So many amazing moments I can't even list them.
posted by bleep at 6:32 PM on July 13 [7 favorites]


I don't have exceptional pitch, but I've been listening for EGGBABE in one of Griffin's music cues for about 20 episodes now and was not disappointed.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:08 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]




I haven't been commenting much on these threads because it would a giant essay, or a whole lot of unintelligible nonsense, but, nothing ventured nothing gained.

A lot of random jumbled thoughts:
- So nice to be back on familiar ground, made all the more meaningful by The Stolen Century.

- Very nice work by Justin in the beginning, both unbelievably pissed at Lucretia, and then a dark, bitter "whatever" attitude.

- That's not how I expected Lup to return, but it's nice to have her back. It's clear that Griffin knew, or was at least prepared for, her return. The fact that all it took to free Lup was for Taako to break the Umbra staff, and that it was so easy to break, is surprising. Also, Edward is not the only other wizard the staff ate. What about Magic Brian and the Arcane Core?

- The Hunger has a face, a being behind it, or at least a person it manifests as - John. So does the Light of Creation, as seen in the end of The Eleventh Hour, when the Temporal Chalice spoke to THB. Are these somehow embodiments of good and evil? I mean, most fantasy stories are good vs evil, maybe this one is a take on that? I feel like the Hunger isn't all evil, and the LoC certainly is not all good, and the nature of both of them feels important to me, somehow.

- We know what the assets became. We know what the experience became. The only thing left is the bonds. What will they become? I feel like all the beings they've gotten to know, both in the Stolen Century and here on Faerun, are somehow involved.

- We've now heard the voidfishes broadcast Johan's last song, but in theory, they could also broadcast anything else they've eaten, like the knowledge of the Hunger. That would let people see it without being inoculated, as I understand it.

- I've had a vague theory for a while that the figures that Taako sees in the Ethereal Plane (where he goes to when he blinks) are different than the Hunger eyes. Maybe they're the LoC equivalent of the Hunger eyes?

- It sounds like John has brought Merle into parlay. For what purpose? And how? Also, if it's really parlay, then Merle can kill John but not vice versa.

- Lucretia now has the power of the entire Light of Creation in one object - her staff. Is she immune to its desire to be used? Is she stronger than, essentially, a god?

- Still to be revealed: who is the man wreathed in flames, what's in Taako's bag that he got from Istus, what is the third choice, who is John, who was Taako connecting with during his amazing meal ?

- How many endings does Griffin have planned?
posted by booksherpa at 8:08 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


booksherpa: The Umbra Staff consumes the magical essences of defeated magic-users. Lup and Edward were special in how it treated them in that they were both litches when defeated, and as such made up entirely of their magical essences, and thus fully consumed. In Edward's case, that meant a bit of a scuffle in the umbrella.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Also, I believe the ending implied that Fisher and Baby Voidfish did, indeed, broadcast everything, not just the song, thus keeping with Davenport's mission to Magnus.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:49 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


Based on Griffin's response to Travis asking if the rhino was evil, there's definitely more going on here than just good vs evil, I'd say.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:57 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


I think instead of good vs evil it's about how a certain toxic impulse in humanity (the hunger) wants to consume things & control them (the light of creation/human creative impulse) only just to shit them out and say they did instead of actually experiencing, enjoying, & sharing (The voidfishes).
posted by bleep at 9:04 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Based on Griffin's response to Travis asking if the rhino was evil, there's definitely more going on here than just good vs evil, I'd say.

I mean, the parleys with "John" during the stolen century pretty clearly (to me) painted a picture of somebody almost completely far-gone, but maybe with one inch left of something there? Like Dr. Manhattan but gone nihilistically destructive? He's bored and bitter and tired and hurt, somehow, and acting out of compulsion, but there's still something there that seems to have reason, and hell, like booksharpe mentions, this is "John"'s parley: Merle can kill him in there if he needs to.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:48 PM on July 13


Okay, now I've listened through it twice. I'm struck by the beginning, and how much this is clearly going to be a global battle happening. And now the full truth of this fight has been broadcast to the world at large. In addition to the theory that showbiz_liz posted, which I think is dead on, I think we're looking at something like the end of Okami, where the world is restored and the battle won at least partially on the back of the mass realization of everything THB have done for everyone over the course of the different arcs. So here's what we know so far:

Kravitz is up to something.

Lucas is up to something.

Paloma and the rest of Refuge are headed East and up to something. (Paloma likely got an advance preview of shit to come.)

That covers Crystal Kingdom and The Eleventh Hour. For the rest of them, well...

Here There be Gerblins gave us Lup, as well as the perfect black circle of glass that was Phandalin.

Murder on the Rockport Limited gave us Angus, who's already with us obviously, but potentially also Jess the Beheader and Juicy Wizard?

Leaving Petals to the Metal and The Suffering Game. Will we see Lord Artemis Sterling rally Neverwinter to the cause? Moreover, will Hurley and Sloane find some way to be involved?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Here There Be Gerblins also gave us Klarg, and if there's any beloved NPC that I expect Ditto to deliver on a big ol' fan servicy platter during the wrap-up of this story, Klarg is the one.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:25 PM on July 13 [7 favorites]


Oh man, and if all of Refuge is a-comin', then we'll also get Ren and, my personal favorite, Cassidy...
posted by Navelgazer at 11:34 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I forgot all about Lord Artemis Sterling, but that makes perfect sense! And yeah Klarg, and possibly bird-Roswell?

I'm starting to suspect that the Light and the Hunger (representing creation and destruction/order and chaos rather than good and evil) will wind up needing to merge somehow. We still don't know where the Light came from, and only vague details about what went down with John's planet. I'm kinda wondering if somehow they used to be one, and splitting them apart started all the trouble.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:19 AM on July 14


I'm kinda wondering if somehow they used to be one, and splitting them apart started all the trouble.

I really like this theory. I would posit, though, that the Hunger is order, and the Light is chaos - the Hunger is kinda Borg-like - we are all one, we think alike, we move together. The Light enables creation and wants to be wanted - that seems pretty chaotic to me. The process of creation is messy.

So, rather than running again in the Starblaster, or hiding the LoC but causing lots of destruction and death, or cutting off Faerun and the LoC from the Hunger, what if the "third" choice is to put them back together? Maybe separately they both cause destruction, but together they achieve balance.
posted by booksherpa at 11:31 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


any beloved NPC that I expect Ditto to deliver on a big ol' fan servicy platter during the wrap-up of this story

I'm hoping for a Garyl appearance, myself. I'd also like to see the Nit Picker one last time, but that's probably too big an ask.
posted by Iridic at 11:33 AM on July 14


I just had this vision of Griffin introducing all these wonderful and beloved NPCs one by one, only having to do one or two voices at a time, then realizing that he really wanted cameos by many of them during the finale, coming to terms with HOW MANY voices he'd have to do, and how similar many of them were, and just going "I am FUCKED."
posted by booksherpa at 11:37 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


oh man when Lup came back and said 'You're dating the GRIM REAPER??' and then it's fine to cry a little during a podcast about the DnD adventures of Tres Horny Boys THAT'S OKAY WE ALL DO IT
posted by FatherDagon at 12:05 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Navelgazer: Also, I believe the ending implied that Fisher and Baby Voidfish did, indeed, broadcast everything, not just the song, thus keeping with Davenport's mission to Magnus.

On relisten, I think you're right. Griffin kept it deliberately broad, and it was the end of the episode, AND gave the episode (the arc?) its name. Here's a quick and dirty transcript of that scene, thanks to Google Docs and it's voice dictation feature:
Fisher weakly grasps the scroll and raises it up into its body, and for a moment time stands still and then you see something start to happen, something that hasn't happened in decades and thinking back you only ever saw this happen from afar, back at the Conservatory when a work was accepted and broadcasted to everyone across reality by the fish inside that cave.

The lights inside of Fisher's bell begin swirling again and then it spreads throughout his entire form, this bright blue light surrounds his tendrils and starts coursing out of his body entirely, not like a light flashing from a beacon, but like ink through water and he's floating off the ground now and his tendrils are slowly swirling around him and he looks vital and the baby voidfish, seeing this, it starts to change too, its entire body is surrounded in bright green light which starts to disperse off its body and fill the room to the point where you can no longer see these two fish or anything and then we see the blue stream of light followed by the green emerging from the Bureau’s headquarters, spreading ever outwards to the world and worlds outside.

When people talk about that day, they call it different things, but for this moment, when every living person across the whole of reality simultaneously received the voidfishes’ gifts, for this moment and the moments that followed, moments of heroism and sacrifice and luck, these moments are why we call this day the Day of Story and Song.
So, yeah. Everyone knows everything.
posted by booksherpa at 12:30 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


oh man when Lup came back and said 'You're dating the GRIM REAPER??' and then it's fine to cry a little during a podcast about the DnD adventures of Tres Horny Boys THAT'S OKAY WE ALL DO IT

I mean I've basically been barely holding back tears during every Lup scene for months now so I'm right there with you.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:07 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


And suddenly, there’s John. And he’s different. When you had parlay with him in the past, he was essentially a regular human man, but now he’s torn, and cracked, with rifts of black opal tearing down his face and body. And you can feel a faint heat coming off of him.
This seems significant, especially in light of what John revealed during one of the last Parlays:
"When I consume a plane, I tie it on, so to speak. Its bonds become my bonds. And that alone is enough to sustain me. Everything about that process betrays the laws of physics and mathematics and arcane interactions. And the Light of Creation is what makes that process possible."
At this point, the Hunger has gone a dozen-odd years without new bonds or the Light of Creation—without sustenance. John's slowly coming apart as the physical impossibility of his existence reasserts itself. He might be desperate enough to try and cut a deal...
posted by Iridic at 2:46 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


On further thought, Bonds are the one thing left from the Stolen Century that our boys haven't spent yet. Those have to go into bringing allies into the fight, right? What else could they be for?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:53 PM on July 14


This seems significant, especially in light of what John revealed during one of the last Parlays:

"When I consume a plane, I tie it on, so to speak. Its bonds become my bonds. And that alone is enough to sustain me. Everything about that process betrays the laws of physics and mathematics and arcane interactions. And the Light of Creation is what makes that process possible."

At this point, the Hunger has gone a dozen-odd years without new bonds or the Light of Creation—without sustenance. John's slowly coming apart as the physical impossibility of his existence reasserts itself. He might be desperate enough to try and cut a deal...


Ooo. I absolutely did not remember this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:01 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


booksherpa, Magic Brian was defeated before they found they umbrella. I believe the umbrella ate Jenkins' wand, though. The Arcane Core was addressed in this episode.

It still bugs me that the boys knew to stop looking for relics after the sixth one. They were told there were seven, and they didn't know Lucretia's staff was a relic. I don't normally like to nitpick, but this represents a significant motivation change as they are deciding to work against the BoB. I guess we could say they were serious when they joked that they should stop after six because "the last one is going to be love" (when the Diretor first explained the relics). With all this bond business, "it was love the whole time" is possibly coming true. The deication to continuity is truly impressive.
posted by Comet Bug at 7:55 PM on July 14


Did they know to stop looking? I thought they just got back from the Suffering Game, their new friend the Lich (who knew all 6 plus the staff were recovered) convinced them to go against the BoB, and when they got back all hell was breaking loose.
posted by bleep at 11:43 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


To be honest (having just re-listened to the last interlude) I'm pretty sure they just lost count at the end there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:55 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I think my chances of getting a question on the final The The Adventure Zone Zone are 0.00% but I really want to know how flexible Griffin had the story early on: is Lup narratively Taako's sister just because Merle failed the roll, 60 episodes ago, to pick up the umbra staff? Or was that a DC35 roll for Merle but DC1 for Taako?
posted by range at 2:49 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I think instead of good vs evil it's about how a certain toxic impulse in humanity (the hunger) wants to consume things & control them (the light of creation/human creative impulse) only just to shit them out and say they did instead of actually experiencing, enjoying, & sharing (The voidfishes).

The whole thing is a metacommentary on fandom in the age of the internet. Seriously.

I take my hat off to Griffin; however it ends, it has been brilliant.
posted by nubs at 8:18 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


(that is what i was afraid to say thank you for saying it)
posted by bleep at 5:11 PM on July 17


And suddenly, there’s John. And he’s different. When you had parlay with him in the past, he was essentially a regular human man, but now he’s torn, and cracked, with rifts of black opal tearing down his face and body. And you can feel a faint heat coming off of him.

I was really expecting Merle to just deadpan "You look like shit, John." after that.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:17 PM on July 17


Also I know it wouldn't make for a satisfying ending from a story standpoint, what with leaving all the other moving pieces stalled out, but I have more faith in Merle's ability to fix this whole mess with his words and humanity in conversation with John than in any other ending, it just feels right.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:20 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I kind of want Merle and John to be the linchpin of the whole story, tbqh.

Also, I literally had to pull over to the side of the road when Taako said "do whatever you want" because I was afraid I was going to drive into a tree. It hurt so much.
posted by epersonae at 4:45 PM on July 18


Say - one of my only nagging issues with the way things are unfolding was, why the hell was Barry acting so creepy when he appeared to the guys before? But I just listened to his speech in the Crystal Kingdom arc and on reflection, what's going on is that Barry is trying to just factually explain to THB everything that happened in Stolen Century, but he can only sort of hint at it sideways and speak in vagaries or else the guys won't understand him. It just comes off as creepy because well, he's a lich.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:59 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I'll be attending the SDCC live show tonight. Any other TAZ-loving MeFites going to be there?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:36 AM on July 21


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