Alright, I know I said that “The Eleventh Hour” is my favorite arc, and I stand by that firmly. It’s the most narratively satisfying, and I love the relationships the Tres Horny Boys develop with the various NPCs so much more than in a lot of the other arcs*. While the finale of that arc is definitely up there in my favorites**, I’m going with another one: the episode that made me realize this show was something I absolutely had to continue following.
Like I said a few days ago, “Petals to the Metal” was the arc that got me invested in the boys. I loved the homage to The Fast and the Furious (I adore those movies and refuse to apologize for this), and seeing the main guys starting to really work together to accomplish a fairly difficult feat with some of the most innovative tactics possible was as invigorating as actually watching Vin Diesel somehow survive yet another car crash off a bridge or some shit. I mean, come on, this is the arc where Garyl was introduced, and that alone should inform you of how awesome it is.
I mean, just look at that glorious spectral binicorn (Justin’s words, not mine)!
But out of all the episodes in “Petals to the Metal,” Episode 27 (aka the finale or Chapter 10) takes the top spot as my favorite. I think I’ve listened to it about four of five times more than any other episode, and there are sooooooo many reasons why.
- I love that Justin remembered he’d gotten the Wand of Switcheroo. More often than not, the guys forget the items they have received or purchased, only recalling them when they’re back at the Fantasy Costco. Honestly, I feel like Justin plays his part so much better than the other two this early in the game. He doesn’t just cast phantom steed all willy nilly just because he can; he even remarked in an earlier episode that it had to be the right moment to summon Garyl. And this use of the wand to switch places with Sloane on her battlewagon so he could win the race was pure brilliance on his part.
- The relationship between Sloane and Hurley, one of the Boys’ allies, isn’t explicitly stated as being romantic, but it’s pretty damn obvious from the get-go, at least for me. Hurley’s concern for Sloane could be viewed as platonic at the beginning, but after listening to a lot of the other McElroy projects, I was like, “Wait, are they actually introducing a halfling and half-elf lesbian romance?? WHY YES YES THEY ARE I LOVE YOU MCELROYS.” Granted, the finale came and became another Bury Your Gays thing, but luckily, Griffin realized what he’d done and immediately introduced Killian and Carey and then later resurrected Sloane and Hurley as powerful dryads. Wow, I’m getting away from my point here.
- While it was pretty clear that there was a larger story at play, since Griffin established the concept of retrieving relics from around Faerun at the end of “Here There Be Gerblins,” it isn’t until the very last few minutes that it’s revealed there is something so much bigger going on. Captain Captain Bane’s betrayal, coupled with the first appearance of a Red Robe, was such a huge moment for me that I just had to listen to the very next episode right after that. It still amazes me that this was Griffin’s first time DMing a campaign; nearly everything was so perfect from this point on, at least in terms of storytelling.
- And finally, Merle’s boast that he didn’t need anyone’s help “fucking an onion” is probably one of my absolute favorite moments. I have a tendency to say really inappropriate things, and listening to Clint’s sons reacting in disgust was just … god, I was so gleeful. “You open the door, I walk through it.” Ultimately, it makes sense that Merle would be able to resist the Gaia Sash because, well, he made the damn thing, but everything about this scene played into what had already been pre-established about Merle, anyway.
I really could go on and on about this episode, but I should probably stop. I mean, I do have to do things around my place, and I’m pretty sure I need to eat at least some type of meal. So … until tomorrow, my friends!
* As funny as a lot of their interactions are, the Boys are very … unnecessarily mean to a lot of people? Like, I know Jenkins ended up being the bad guy in “Murder on the Rockport Limited,” but Merle, Magnus, and Taako were just rude to him from the get-go. And good gawd are they terrible to Angus.
** You’ve got the boys watching the town go through seven years worth of growth in the span of about ten minutes, Taako telling Ren that he was “watching the whole time” (that totally still makes me tear up), Roswell deciding to go exploring in his flycatcher form, Magnus discovering that he is the Red Robe that delivered the Chalice to Refuge, etc. God, it’s such a good episode.