by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Fairy gone ?
I'll give Fairy gone some credit. It may have taken weeks upon weeks of faffing around, but stuff finally happened in this episode. Through a seemingly endless series of inert interrogation scenes and aimless investigations that lasted much longer than necessary, Dorothea has finally uncovered the identity of the man who's been tampering with the government's Artificial Fairies, and Marlya and Free were able to nab the Black Fairy Tome from Gilbert Warlock's clutches to boot (though not before Bitter Sweet memorized the pages for herself and ran off with that knowledge). As far as climaxes go, “Pipe Blowing in Stage Wing” technically works like it should. Most of the threads that have been built up over the past month are resolved, and the larger story has been nudged forward as well. There are some action scenes to keep up the episode's pace, and when everything ends we have a better idea of just what this whole arc has been about.
It's just a shame that all of this is executed with so little life or energy. The opening of the episode sees Bitter and Marlya using their Fairies to fight off Warlock's men – it's a half decent action scene that ends too soon, the energetic high point of the entire episode. After that, Free and Marlya are stuck wandering around Warlock's underground maze until they stumble upon the Black Tome, just lying there for the taking. Last week established that Bitter has some kind of photographic memory that allows her to steal the book's contents just by looking at it, but that detail doesn't stop the whole thing from feeling woefully anticlimactic. If there's some kind of catch or complication to this find, the episode certainly didn't do a good job of foreshadowing it. As far as we know, Dorothea now has the book they've been looking for all season. It was just that easy.
With that out of the way, the agents must uncover the truth behind the malfunctioning Artificial Fairies. This naturally involves Chase doing a lot of wandering and talking, until he finally squeezes the truth out of Hanns. It turns out Eddy Lloyd wasn't the only person with the knowledge needed to tamper with the machines. He has a half-son who lives under the name “Ted Livingston” – this is Hanns' right hand man, a close enough apprentice that Hanns thinks of him as a son. Ted is the one who's been altering the Artificial Fairies to respond to his modified interrupter flute, and he plans to use the machines to assassinate Goldbarn at the Unification Anniversary Celebration. Learning this, Chase has to play the badass cop and speed to the scene on his motorcycle so he can stop Ted before another war is started.
If Fairy gone hadn't done such a sleepy, halfhearted job of establishing the stakes of this conflict, this assassination plot might've had some real juice to it, like a steampunk fantasy version of a Tom Clancy novel. Unfortunately, the end result is another messy attempt to inject drama into a world that simply hasn't earned it. The only reason I even remember who Golbarn or Ray Dawn are is because I have to constantly refer back to my notes to follow what's happening, and I certainly can't be bothered to care about Hanns' tearful pleas for Chase to save Ted from his own delusions of rebellion. All season long, we've heard about the people whose lives have been ruined by the Unification War, but we've hardly been bothered to feel anything about it one way or the other. After weeks' worth of buildup, Ted's dastardly plan is foiled by one guy shoving a robot to the side, while Marlya kicks the Evil Flute out of Ted's hands. Hooray.
So Dorothea saves the day, Ted is locked up, and Marlya and Free get to feel satisfied with a job well done. Wolfran and Veronica are just hanging out in the shadows, waiting to be reintroduced into the story and given something to do. Maryla calls Chase by his first name, Robert, which sees him and Free remarking on how much Dorothea has changed since Maryla arrived. Have they, though? Or is Fairy gone insisting that a story has been evolving before our eyes this whole time, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary?
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