The third installment from The Guild Season 3 is now live. Although there were some delays on the Zune network it should be up everywhere now (check watchmyguild.com for all the links on MSN, Zune and Xbox Live). Cast listings, news about The Guild and all Seasons 1 and 2 are all available there, too.
You can view this week’s video here:
Disclaimer: this is a REVIEW and therefore will contain spoilers about this episode (and possibly previous ones). Just so we’re clear on that.
Okay, a little recap on Season 3 so far. The Guild unite to line up for the new Expansion Pack to their game, ‘The Spires of Dragonor’ except that only Codex and Vork do any real lining up. Tink hires a Meth-head homeless woman to queue for her, Clara has to dump the kids, and Bladezz is working at CheeseyBeards.
The Knights of Good do meet up eventually, only to be challenged by a gang of interlopers headed by Faulks – the Axis of Anarchy. Vork is bested and The Knights are ousted to back of the lineup. This precipitates a chain reaction of blame-casting that culminates in Vork renouncing his Guild-leader status and Codex accepting the greatest responsibility she has ever had in her life. Tink, in a fit of pique flounces off to fratenize with Faulks.
The story continues….
After the outdoor nature of the first two episodes, this is another change of pace. Although there is much less ‘moving around’ action, some hugely significant events unfold.
We start in Codex’s bedroom with Red fluctuating between hoping being Guild Leader will be good for her and angst-ing about her nose. At least persuading Tink to rejoin the Knights of Good shouldn’t be a problem…!
Zaboo, with his newfound sexual responsibilities, is getting things done, geek style. In other words he is on his laptop, eager to slip his disk into the drive and get going. Bladezz is still bitter about the whole “Tink made me bankrupt” thing and is pointedly not missing her, and Clara is late due to more kiddie wrangling.
Codex, clueless but determined, attempts to take charge but is out of her depth almost immediately. Tink has really gone and taken all her characters with her – what’s a Guild Leader supposed to do? I haven’t read the Guild Leader’s Handbook but I’m fairly sure that dithering and panicking are not the recommended responses to this type of emergency. Or any type of emergency. Or any other event. Which is a pity, because those are the two things that Codex is really good at. Ah well.
Just as Codex is almost about to nearly think about maybe making a decision, Vork calls her to say he has deposited some Guild Leader paraphernalia outside her door. Vork, sporting a phone that would look right at home on thereifixedit.com, tells Codex that since he has given up the mantle of Guild Leader he is giddy with relief (I’m paraphrasing but you can tell from his expression that that’s what he really means). He then informs her that he is forsaking everything he has ever known and is going on the road in search if wi-fi and heads off in his charabang…
With Vork out of the picture the others look to Codex (via their webcams) for guidance. Her less-than-rousing suggestion of loading up the game and then doing stuff is met with a less-than-enthusiastic response. And this is where everything starts to go simultaneously up poop creek (or three poop creeks).
Ah, Bladezz. Sore about Tink, mad about not being Guild Leader (and probably missing needling Vork at every turn) the troubled teen has a more immediate and infinitely more irritating problem. Yes – it’s the joyous return of Dena, his little sister! Dena, who has stolen every scene she has been in so far, is back on form, admonishing ‘Simon’ for his language. Not that we know for sure what he says because MSN has kindly bleeped out the naughty words (fear not – when Season 3 is out on DVD it won’t be bleeped).
Dena is squatting in Bladezz’s (I’m not sure if there is a hyphen there – my ‘First Aid in English’ is painfully unhelpful on the issue of zeds at the end of words. Yes, I said zeds. You might know them as zees) pad, cramping his style in her own sweet way. She has apparently been banned from the house by their recently-dumped mother for being too loud. So obviously the next best thing is to practice her bass-playing skillz next to Bladezz. This tips him over the edge and he storms off to tell his mommy on her.
Meanwhile, in chez Clara, the storm clouds are gathering. Unfortunately Clara is only expecting ‘expansion with a chance of carnage’ and she fails to take any notice of the way her mostly-ignored husband is attempting to communicate something of urgency to her. Panicky because the expansion won’t load she starts to blame him for uploading too many pictures.
Zaboo has quite different problems. Riley tries to tempt him with a French Maid’s outfit – she’s up for some role-playing and Zaboo gets to be the one who serves. Or is served. When he hesitates about challenging their gender roles because he wants to play on the expansion, Riley will not take no for an answer. Not only that, but she start to physically restrain Zaboo and then – shock, horror – actually starts to beat him?
Codex is left in the wilderness, pitifully asking where everyone is. It ends with Clara’s husband revealing the source of his ire – a picture of her kissing Wade (the stunt guy from Season 2). And so the fellowship starts to unravel.
On one level this is quite a static episode in that most of the ‘action’ centres around people talking into webcams. The exception to this is Vork. In a complete turnaround to convention, Vork is now on the loose outside his house. And while he seems happy about that, this is clearly a world gone mad.
How can Codex be Guild Leader when she can’t even decide whether loading the expansion pack is the right thing to do? How can Clara continue to play when her system won’t upload the expansion and her husband knows she kissed a stuntguy and liked it? How can Bladezz play and obsess over all life’s injustices if Dena keeps interrupting him? How can Zaboo escape from the clutches of the evil Riley? So many simultaneous implosions keep the suspense high and leaves you wanting more.
I was startled by Riley’s behaviour and quite outraged. Zaboo, while barely registering on the ‘hunk’ scale, has always come across as a kindly, almost loveable (if delusional) bloke. Riley is taller and stronger than him and uses that advantage to force her way on him. I’m not sure if she does strike him (there’s no signs, only the sounds), but the pleading way Zaboo tries to defend himself was more than a little distressing. Well done, Felicia, you made me want Zaboo to win at last!
As ever, the acting is superb. Michele Boyd (as Riley) and Sandeep Parikh (as Zaboo) deserve a special mention because their scenes really affected me in a way I was not expecting. The comic timing of the rest of the cast was spot-on. The sets and inside filming is crisp and tight, and I particularly liked the moving camera work as Vork drives off (into the wheelie bin). I enjoyed ‘Man Down’ immensely, but I’m worried for Zaboo…
This episode is less than six minutes long and this review of it is already heading into 1400 words so I’ll hand it over to you. Where do we, and The Guild, go from here?
WorldofHiglet is a writer writing the writer’s dream – to write, always. A huge fan of Joss Whedon and Felicia Day who regularly blogs on the last geek bus home about all things geek. She has interviewed Felicia and has set her sights on Joss next. Her first novel, Turning Left at Albuquerque, is being published as an audiobook podcast on turningleft.podbean.com and her latest non-fiction book is currently being considered by agents.
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