by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Seth may have finally found Yaga, but getting the old sorcerer's help is proving to be an entirely new challenge. Yaga refuses to aid Seth in his quest to find Radiant, at least until our young hero can show some potential as a sorcerer. Seth sets out to learn Meteor Drops, a basic offensive spell, but things don't go as planned. Doc's grudging attempt at playing teacher ends in an explosive failure, and Melie isn't able to use offensive spells in her normal personality. It takes an appearance from Melie's alternate self to force Seth into learning a thing or two, and Yaga finally agrees to take him on as a pupil.
If Radiant's recurring problem has been its inability to stand out from the genre crowd, this episode doesn't do much to help. There are very few tweaks or alterations made to the usual narrative framework here as Seth fumbles his way through a couple of failed attempts at learning a new skill, only to finally master it in a moment of crisis. It's such a basic and common plot structure that I'd hesitate to call it a genre trope; if anything, it's even more recognizable than that phrase implies. The result of this bare-bones approach is a very predictable episode, and while nothing is glaringly wrong with it, there's nothing to be surprised or impressed by either.
As Seth works through his Meteor Drops training, both Doc and Melie get some time in the spotlight as his temporary mentors. Doc takes a modest step up from previous weeks in that he's a little easier to like; at the very least he's not actively working to make Seth's life difficult. He stars in two of this episode's more amusing moments as he delivers a couple of stoic one-liners while getting blasted into oblivion. The show also uses him to introduce some new characters: coffee shop poster girl Melba and her grumpy dad (who is apparently a hand puppet for some unexplained reason). The two of them fit a little too neatly into their basic archetypes, but giving Doc a love interest could be the first step in making him more of a genuine character and less of a shallow source of comic relief.
Despite the fact that this episode is named after her, we don't exactly get a wealth of new information about Melie here. We do catch a couple of quick glimpses into her home, complete with a pair of cardboard cutout “friends” whose existence goes amusingly unexplained until the end. What we don't get is any new details on Melie's dual personalities, or any sense of her personal goals or motivations beyond making new friends. The series itself seems to be a bit fuzzy on the rules of Melie's dark side; we've been told that she switches under stress, but the change seems to happen more out of convenience this time around. Whatever the case may be, Radiant still has more work to do developing Seth's quirky new roommate.
While it avoids the significant mistakes that tripped the show up last week, this episode trades those ups and downs for a consistent level of mediocrity. Without the urgency of a town to save or a bad guy to fight, it feels like the story is going nowhere fast. Seth's quest to rid the world of the Nemesis still works as a long-term goal, but the audience needs something more compelling to latch onto from week to week. Radiant would do well to pile some more immediate pressure on Seth to improve his sorcery skills, perhaps with some kind of deadline to meet or an antagonist to defeat. Heck, I'd settle for some aggressive debt collectors. As it stands, there's not much to stop him from taking his sweet time learning magic, and that lack of conflict is a problem in what is supposedly an action-focused fantasy series.
Radiant is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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