Monday, June 28, 2021

Mythic Quest 2x09 Review: “TBD” (The End of the Hall and the End of the Line) [Contributor: Jenn]

Original Airdate: June 25, 2021

Sometimes change begets change. One person decides to leave a company, and then slowly but surely a trickle becomes a flood and multiple people announce their resignations. Or at least that’s what happens at Mythic Quest’s headquarters in “TBD,” the aptly-titled season — and not series, I’m manifesting it! — finale. A lot happens, so let’s dive right into the feels!


Last week’s emotional ending saw Ian and Poppy resolving their issues with a lullaby and quality time in the hospital, and this week we’re picking back up by focusing on their partnership and teamwork. Despite their massive egos, what’s great about these two is that they often hate other people together. Whether they’re irritated by testers or coders, their defense of one another and dislike for others is so hilarious and perfect. 

“TBD” sees Ian and Poppy struggling to find a way to implement Hera at Mythic Quest. The way that these two communicate post-reconciliation is actually really lovely. They’re still snarky to others but they’re finally able to be honest with each other without their egos. Ian tells Poppy that implementing Hera within the Mythic Quest universe is impossible; she’s the best of the best and if she couldn’t find a way to make it work, it means it won’t work. Ian asserts Poppy’s intelligence while providing her with honest feedback. There’s no ego from him there or jealousy — he’s just stating facts.

And Poppy finally decides not just to listen to Ian but to actually hear him. (She has been unable to do this because of her ego too.) When she does hear him, she realizes that he’s right: she cannot make her expansion work. But instead of just going with Ian’s plan, the two decide they need to come up with something together. The problem is that they spend the whole episode attempting to figure out the next chapter in their Mythic Quest story. It’s actually a profound moment from C.W., however, that forces them to look at the thing they’ve been trying to avoid the whole time.

It’s the end of the line for Mythic Quest. Their last expansion, “Raven’s Banquet,” was the final chapter in the story. They’ve been spinning their wheels trying to make anything they come up with work within the world they’ve built. But C.W. points out that Mythic Quest, much like a child, is older now. It’s grown. It’s time, finally, to move on instead of trying to force more story out of something that is done.

That’s not an easy truth to accept though: when you spend years working on something and it’s finally done... what’s left to do? Well, Ian and Poppy realize that there’s more story for them to tell — just not at MQ headquarters. They’ve done their jobs, they’ve created and raised their video game baby, and now they’re not needed anymore. It’s time to raise a new baby together.

The end of the episode is the most profound, of course. Ian and Poppy quit their jobs and sit at a restaurant, dreaming of what could be. That’s when Ian tells Poppy that they don’t have to dream too much — he knows what their next project will be. It’ll be Hera. Mythic Quest wasn’t equipped to handle the expansion but that doesn’t mean they can’t build it. He hands her a pen and a bar napkin — her brush and her canvas, a perfect callback to the pilot — and Poppy excitedly begins dreaming.

I feel like this is a natural conclusion for Ian and Poppy’s story this season though. With their relationship repaired, it seemed only logical that they’d forge ahead in their creation of a game together. And I kind of love that they realized they’re better together, that Ian sacrificed his ego to support Poppy, that Poppy finally allowed herself to see the truth of what she’d created, and that they acknowledged that the death of one creative dream doesn’t mean its death forever.


Elsewhere in the episode, Rachel and Dana quit their jobs at MQ headquarters — except that Dana then realizes she didn’t get into Berkley. The two momentarily freak out until a random meeting with Ian and Poppy actually sets Dana on a new, similar path. She shows them her Grouchy Goat she’s been working on, and the co-creative directors assert that it’s basically garbage. But the scene next is super important for anyone who’s a creative: Ian asks if Dana will stop working on it if they tell her it’s bad. At first, she says that she will, then admits she won’t. And when the two press her as to why she’s still working so hard on a thing that’s not great.

She tells them that when she looks at the goat she can see her vision, and she’s working to watch it come alive. She can see the potential and dream even when others can’t. It’s this commitment and ethic in spite of challenges that intrigues Ian and Poppy. They make Dana a deal: MQ headquarters will pay for her to go to a local, reasonable programming school so that she can continue to learn how to develop her skills and they’ll also bring her on for contract work. Dana is thrilled (Ian and Poppy are mostly annoyed but that’s par for the course) and tells Rachel… who admits that she’s going to Berkley. I’m proud of Rachel! She spent so much of the second season caught up in Dana without a direction for her life. Now, even though she has to do long-distance, she’s more concerned with pursuing this new passion than with staying comfortable. That’s growth, and I love to see it!


I only have one qualm/question about the Brad/Jo story (which could very well be resolved quickly in season three) which is that Brad noted Zack cared about an employee of Mythic Quest getting arrested for insider trading so he could gut the company — something Brad didn’t want happening. Originally that person was going to be Jo, but when Brad takes the fall for her... that really doesn’t solve the Zack problem, does it? Or maybe Brad doesn’t care now because it’s not his problem?

Anyway, the reason Brad decides to take the fall for Jo is supposedly because he’ll be seen as a shark in his industry (and he’s going away to a cushy prison), but let’s be real: he does care about Jo and it’s evident in their final little interaction. Even though Brad does things so he can be seen as the shark or bad guy, he has a heart and his heart told him he could do something nice while also getting something out if it. If that isn’t a quintessential Brad Bakshi move, I don’t know what is! I’ll miss the Brad/Jo team-up a lot, but I do love that Brad pointed out Jo’s very evident addiction to power.

He’s not wrong in the fact that she needs to detox from powerful men. The last high she chased almost landed her in prison, and she could easily make that mistake again — or worse. But “TBD” actually sees a re-pairing: David and Jo get back together! Poor David. For a person who’s so afraid of change and losing his coworker family, he had to endure quite the abandonment in this episode: no more Brad, Ian, Poppy, Rachel, or Dana!

David and Jo’s decision to pair back up again is pretty fun, considering their arcs the last season: David’s had to grow more of a backbone and will now be forced to step up and be the leader he was always supposed to be. And Jo discarded David because he was powerless, and now realizes it’s kind of exactly what she needs. I’m so excited to see their new dynamic in season three!

“TBD” reminds us that change is inevitable, but so is growth — if you’re willing to pursue it. Season two of Mythic Quest was really about forcing the characters to get uncomfortable, fight when they need to even when they don’t want to, and discover what it is each of them truly wants. I love that by the end of the season, I know the characters are going to be okay whether they work at the headquarters or not. I’m just really excited to see where this show can go in season three now that everyone is scattered! (I sense a time jump is imminent.) 

Thank you, Mythic Quest, for the feels and the laughs all year. I’ll see you (hopefully) next year!

Notes and quotes:

  • At ATX Festival, Megan Ganz noted that this feels like a series finale not necessarily because the creators believe they’ll get cancelled but because they wanted to challenge themselves when they returned. It makes sense and I love that they’ve given themselves the challenge to reunite the group when the show returns.
  • “Women in my life will come and go...” “... mostly go.”
  • This episode is a perfect season/series finale combo which makes me emotional.
  • “That’s the gig. Dream big. Unfortunately, sometimes you fail big.” I really loved this little moment from Ian. He’s not discouraging Poppy’s dreams but rather tells her that it comes with the territory of being a creative! Sometimes your big dream leads to a big win, and sometimes a big dream leads to a big failure. But at least you dreamed big instead of small.
  • “I hate that stupid goat.”
  • “You two are probably fine but I could get cancelled.”
  • That one moment of Carol’s sixth sense was SO perfect.
  • “I like you.” “I know.” I’M GONNA MISS BRAD AND JO TOGETHER A LOT. I also loved that she made a huge deal about Brad getting escorted out and faked him getting handcuffed because she knew it would add to his credibility as a shark.
  • “Your canvas. And your brush.” Brb, crying FOREVER.

What did you all think of “TBD”? Sound off in the comments below!


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