The Quest continues to play with traditional fantasy elements
The contestants’ lack of agency is becoming more and more problematic
War horns, dragon tears and a hag all leads up to The Quest where the Paladins have to find the antidote and save the poisoned Queen Ralia.
It’s a beautiful morning in Everealm, but not for the recently-poisoned Queen Ralia. The Grand Vizier, who is apparently Everealm’s relatively incompetent version of the Potions Master, has exhausted his cures and declares that he is unable to save the dying Queen. As it turns out, however, the Grand Vizier was shooting blind; after watching him fail, Sir Ansgar ushers our Paladins to one of the castle towers and tells our Paladins that somewhere in the tower probably exists an antidote that will counteract the Queen’s symptoms.
The task of finding the correct antidote recipe proves less than formidable, though the Grand Vizier appears midway through the search to swoop around the tower and spit mild insults in an attempt at making things more interesting. Ultimately, Patrick finds the antidote recipe and the Paladins begin the minor alchemic side-Quest for the antidote ingredients. Hooray! For being the first Paladin to locate the recipe, Patrick gets a bonus in the upcoming challenge!
Oh wait, he doesn’t get rewarded at all. Where’s the incentive in even trying?
We already know that Everealm boasts a variety of monsters and frightening forests, and after this episode viewers will be able to check “hag”off their medieval safari list. The antidote calls for dragon’s tears, and fortunately for the Queen, they seem to be located just twenty minutes from the castle walls. The witch guarding these tears is definitely the star of this episode, and the makeup artists behind her look should be commended. Bonnie suggests that the hag would not be a good Thanksgiving guest, and Shondo —bless you, Shondo —tells us that she was “the worst-looking human being on the face of the planet.”
To obtain the dragon’s tears, the Paladins have to move through a series of doors, gathering ingredients along the way. The first Paladin to move through every set of doors will collect the dragon’s tears and create the potion to save the Queen. After two physically-oriented challenges, I’m excited to see a challenge that will test contestants’wits, but ultimately I am disappointed. Simple instructions explaining how to pass through the course are tacked to the front of each door, and the obstacles guarding the doors cater mainly to athletic contestants, requiring Paladins to hack through a rope, dig a hole, and punch through flimsily-constructed wood.
Despite this disappointing set-up, the Paladins offer plenty of entertainment, as Patrick worries aloud that his “bubble butt”will make it difficult for him to crawl under a door, Lina, and Adria perform very well, and Christian —the most consistently under-performing Paladin —lives up to his reputation after losing the key required to get through the first door.
Andrew, the victor, is allowed to make the potion under the hag’s watchful eye and receives the Mark of Wisdom (which seems poorly placed, as the only wisdom required for this challenge was basic literacy). The Queen is saved, and thanks Andrew despite the Grand Vizier’s predictable attempt to claim responsibility for the cure.
The three contestants unable to pass through the first set of doors —Bonnie, Jim, and (surprise, surprise) Christian —face the Fates for another banishment. Bonnie outperforms her male counterparts in the potion-themed elimination challenge and saves herself, and Christian again disappoints by losing his head and misusing equipment. The Paladins put their heads together to discuss their votes, and it seems obvious that Christian —who was told literally one episode prior that if he went in front of the Fates again, the Paladins would send him home.
Bonnie advocates for Christian, thinking that he helped her in the earlier door challenge, but Jasmine and Leticia are pretty sure he was actually hampering her progress. Shondo reminds us that Christian has consistently failed to live up to expectations, earning himself a spot on my Wall of Paladin Fame as the only contestant who actually sees through Christian’s façade. Jimbo-Slice, he tells us, deserves to be here as he really gets into the LARPing nerd-fest that is The Quest.
Dramatically, disappointingly, and actually interestingly, Jim is sent packing with only Shondo and Jasmine as supporters, and Christian lives to fight another underwhelming fight. Back in the castle, Leticia and Lina reveal that they voted for Christian in order to ally themselves with the strongest Paladins, and the first hints of a social game enter Everealm. This could prove interesting.
You might think it’s just a dull night of chores ahead of the remaining Paladins, but surprise!, you were wrong. War horns blare, Sir Ansgar shouts, and we leave this episode with the city of Saenctum under attack.
The Quest continues to play with traditional fantasy elements, dropping in the alchemically-inclined hag to add a cerebral element to the game, but challenges still benefit the most athletically-inclined Paladins and leave the big thinkers out to dry. Future episodes may yet fix this nagging problem, and Verlox may still be defeated by a puzzle-cracking brainiac, but it seems unlikely. The contestants’ lack of agency is becoming more and more problematic as well, as the show makes it clear that there is little to no room for deviation in the prewritten script. What if Andrew had chosen to drink the dragon’s tears instead of saving the Queen? What if Patrick had torn the antidote recipe into shreds instead of moving the plot line along? We’ll never know the answers to these questions —but boy, they would make this journey through Everealm a pretty interesting one.
The Quest Review: The Social Game is Afoot in Episode 1×3