Episode 40: Dubious Pursuits
The Mighty Nein have just defeated the Hydra and the Warden. Exhausted, but eager to press on, Avantika and Fjord explore the pool that the Hydra was guarding. Diving deep into the dark pool, they find the silty bottom and begin digging for some clues. Fjord uncovers a strange marking in the floor, with a hole in the center just the size of the Cloven Crystal. As he desperately tries to think of how to get the Cloven Crystal from out of his chest, Avantika moves forward, her hand reaching towards the keyhole. In a panic, Fjord summons the falchion and the glowing eye in the hilt pulls towards the hole. In a split second, Avantika beats Fjord to the keyhole and places her hand with the eye orb over the hole. A cacophonous boom shakes the entire room and Avantika removes her hand, a bloody patch of flesh left where the orb once was. Her eyes are aglow with power and she begins to kick back towards the surface. Fjord follows close behind.
Up above, the rest of the group notice the room shaking and cracks beginning to appear in the walls. The pool begins to overflow and quickly fills the room. Avantika and Fjord reappear and the entire group take flight back to the upper levels of the temple. A race against time and flood waters begins as they try and undo all the traps and hidden passageways to make it to safety. Just as they approach the final door, a group of Yuan-ti snake men appear and begin attacking the group. They manage to hold off a serious attack as Jester makes her way to the door with the last key. Water has filled the room though, and several members begin to lose consciousness and drown. Caduceus floats unconscious next to Nott and Beau. Jester is almost to the locked door when she begins to lose consciousness and drown. Fjord leaps into action and gives Jester a kiss on the lips, giving her the last of his air and giving her a push towards the door. She manages to make it to the door and unlock it, releasing a geyser of water out of the temple.
The Nein are washed away, down the temple, and through the Yuan-ti city. They begin to run through the city, back to the ship. They avoid a Yuan-ti soldier party in the jungle and manage to narrowly avoid a Lizardfolk hunting party coming from the other direction. Several tense and exhausting hours later, the Nein are nearly to the beach but the Yuan-ti and Lizardfolk are hot on their trail. Nott and Caleb manage to pull off a perfectly timed Fluffernutter explosion to give them enough time to get across the beach and into the rowboat to safety.
Safely back on the ship, the crew welcome the Nein and their renewed, extra powerful Captain Avantika back aboard the Squall Eater. Avantika was able to show off a little of her incredible new power to control the ocean while getting them to safety. Fjord is curious but also jealous that she managed to beat him unlocking the seal. As they settle in for a night of much needed rest, Avantika calls Fjord to her private chambers for a talk. Their talk, laced with sexual tension and thinly veiled aggression, ends with Fjord and Avantika having a not so restful night together. Afterwards, Fjord manages to crawl his way back to his own bed and wait for morning, and the next adventure, to come.
Another fantastic episode in the books! And it was only enhanced by the day-late cast Halloween costumes this year. As last minute as it was, the costumes made for a great laugh. Fjord finally came face to face with his fate in this episode and it seems like we will be travelling with Avantika for a while longer. It all came down to that fateful die roll, and the dice gods spoke in favor of continuing the Fjord Arc. We now get to watch Avantika relish in the powers that should have been Fjord’s. He has already looked on in jealousy as Avantika commanded the waters to carry them away from danger. On the plus side, he got to kiss Jester and bang Avantika in the same day!
It was interesting to see the rest of the cast reacting to Fjord and Avantika unlocking the first seal to release Uk’otoa. The tensions definitely rose as they all waited to see if Fjord would really try to release the imprisoned Titan or use this moment to backstab Avantika. I can’t wait to see where this story will end up. What are Avantika’s plans with Fjord??!
So…by now you’ve heard all your fangirl dreams have come true. Fjord and Jester had their big moment! And Laura Bailey wasn’t even there to witness it. While seeing her real time reaction to the kiss and his subsequent tryst with Avantika later that evening, I think that the only reason this moment happened is because Laura wasn’t at the table. Travis seems to be loving and hating being the center of attention for this episode and this arc. I can feel his uncomfortable squirms in my bones as he sits in the Matthew Mercer hot seat. I can’t imagine the pressure of driving a story this intense in front of Matt, the cast, and 60,000 live viewers. I imagine I’d be squirming too.
While the rest of the cast seems to be doing great on standby as Fjord takes the lead, there have been some MVP moments in this episode. Caleb has been really showing how versatile and essential a magic user can be during a fight. He came in with the clutch feather fall and the expert use of Enlarge and Reduce spells to combat physical obstacles. Caduceus seems to be having the most difficult time in the party. It seems all of Taliesin’s characters are cursed with bad luck in this campaign. As useful as Caddy is, he seems to be the most grievously wounded or unconscious member of the party. He goes from ok to traveling with these weirdos to I have to get away from these weirdos every other episode. We’ll see if Matt throws Caduceus a story bone to keep him traveling with the Nein and facing death at every turn.
The most dangerous episode of All Work No Play is on YouTube now. It’s definitely worth the watch to see Sam, Liam and Marisha play with fire. This is also the most amount of times I’ve heard Sam scream like a little girl.
Between the Sheets season 1 has ended with Matthew Mercer’s episode. Keep an eye out for a, Ashley Johnson Christmas Special episode! And if the MCM Comic Con panel is to be believed, maybe we’ll get the heavily requested Brian W. Foster episode in season 2.
It looks like we can still expect a couple more episodes of All Work No Play this season, and of course the regular Talks Machina every Tuesday evening.