by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Fairy gone ?
When I'm covering a streaming series for any given season, I normally wait a few hours in between finishing an episode and writing my review, so I can better formulate my thoughts on what an episode did well or poorly. This is proving to be a problematic approach for Fairy gone, because it takes less time than that for me to forget what happened in an episode completely. I had to watch a bunch of scenes from “Impatient Housekeeper and Selfish Artist” twice because their contents had immediately evaporated from my memory.
When recapping the plot of an episode, I try to avoid saying “basically nothing happens”. Outside of genuinely nonsensical dumpster fires like W'z, rarely does a show literally accomplish nothing in the span of a full half-hour. Having said that, this fourth episode of Fairy gone is so dreadfully sluggish that I'm struggling to come up with an alternative phrase. Perhaps it would be better to say "nothing exciting or interesting happened.” Whichever way you slice it, this is a painfully dull episode, and if Fairy gone doesn't shake off the doldrums soon, this lack of inertia runs the risk of severely limiting the show's long-term success.
The two most engaging sequences of the episode come at the very beginning and end, and both of them feature Marlya and Free squaring off against other fairy users for control of the Black Tome page. In the opening, we pick up with Bitter Sweet, who gives our heroes a run for their money, but she's ultimately bested by Marlya's reckless last-minute gambit. The whole scene is shrouded in the CG haze of Bitter's fairy power, so everything is far too difficult to see, but it's an otherwise decent opening scene. But after that, we get a deluge of exposition and plodding dialogue that does little more than fill space between the other decent action scene of the week.
First, I gotta address all the flavorless mush sandwiched between the engaging parts. There's a flashback to when Marlya and Veronica met in their hometown of Suna. We learn nothing about the pair's friendship that we haven't already seen, outside of the presence of fairies in their first meeting. Then Bitter meets up with a woman named Patty who just turns out to be another agent meant to foil Marlya and Free's plans. Patty also has a partner named Johnathan, who will be relevant later. After that, we cut to an especially needless scene of Nein conducting an inspection on the Duke of Hybranz, which only exists to show that the Duke is hiding Wolfran and not to be trusted. Back in the A-plot, Free and Marlya spend an awful long time chatting with each other and with Cain and Damien about the Black Fairy Tome. We go over more information that the audience should have already surmised by now, like the value of Black Tome pages at high-stakes auctions and the possibility of the page itself being a forgery. Finally, Free and Marlya get lunch, Patty shows up to steal the page, and then Free and Maryla give chase.
After all of this dithering about, Free and Marlya end up in an underground crypt, where they run afoul of the creepy Johnathan. As Patty takes on Free, Johnathan stalks Marlya through the maze of coffins and cadavers. As usual, Fairy gone's direction and animation is only so-so, but it's adequate enough to hold my attention, which is the disappointingly low standard the show seems to be setting for itself. Johnathan is little more than a stock crazy villain of the week right now, but I still appreciate the eerie touches given to his character animation, and Fairy gone is so otherwise lacking in energy and identity that I'll take whatever I can get. Johnathan and his crazy contortions get the upper hand eventually, and he manages to stick a blade in Marlya's gut just before Veronica comes crashing through the stained glass above them, presumably to protect her old friend.
That's where the episode ends, continuing the show's frustrating habit of thinking that just cutting to credits in the middle of a fight makes for a good cliffhanger. Veronica has finally shown up for more than a brief cameo, and while I suspect she'll dash off as soon as she arrived next week, I would be more than happy to be proven wrong. It can't be understated how perfunctory this entire episode feels, and Fairy gone shouldn't have to resort to time-filling just four episodes into its run. If Marlya and Veronica can establish an engaging and meaningful dynamic, the story might just right the course and save itself, but there's only so much dry world-building and meandering plotting you can take before you lose hope.
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