Dean’s staring at you, those gorgeous green eyes flitting over your face, and you can see the wheels turning, can practically smell the smoke. He locks eyes with yours as he runs his tongue over his bottom lip and you fight your urge to follow it’s path so hard you can feel your eyeballs shake with the effort. Dean smirks at you, like he knows full well what he’s doing to you, which let’s face it, he probably does.
This week’s Denise message: “If you were at Wondercon I was right beside you the whole time.”
No Talks Machina next week! Brian and Ashley will be on vacation. Marisha hints that there might be “a thing” in place of the show next week.
Advance heads-up on the new Vox Machina shirt! Info for buying will be on Thursday.
Little segment filmed at WonderCon where Brian quizzed CR cosplayers with a variety of trivia questions, including, of course, “What is Scanlan’s mother’s name?”
Travis abandoned the party four times in this episode. (everyone starts singing “True Colors”) The word “sausage” was uttered seven times, and the word “spaghetti” five times.
Brian brings a picture of himself as a teenager to make everyone feel better about their own pictures that’ve been circulating since the episode. Travis: “Is that sharpie on your chin?”
Liam started planning this game before Stranger Things came out, so it was a bit more inspired by “It”.
A long time ago, Liam sent pictures of himself as a teenager to everyone in the text thread and they all responded by sending their own childhood/teen pictures back to him, but he couldn’t find that thread when he was setting up the oneshot. He had excellent one-line notes he sent to the artist for each of them.
Travis: “I might’ve tried to fight something, but I had no weapons. I had an inhaler.”
Liam: “I felt like I balanced it really well with a party of level ones and a demogorgon.”
The oldest kids in the game were the youngest IRL; it was just a switch.
Brian asks how intimidating it was to have Matt as a player. “Answer your question as though he weren’t sitting to my left in pajama pants.”
Kid!Liam was the dead body under the tree. The old man was also Liam. The idea was that Liam kept trying to be there with them through the dimensional shift, but there was already one Liam in that particular time, so squish.
One of the few places where there could’ve been a big divergence in the plot was if they’d managed to sneak up on old man Liam–he would’ve traveled with them.
Liam to Marisha: “Oldest or youngest, you’re still the toughest motherfucker in this group.”
Travis running away throughout the episode was true to life: he ran out of The Neverending Story, Jurassic Park, wouldn’t ride roller coasters, and didn’t see an R-rated movie until he was like 15. Marisha mentions that his reactions at Horror Nights are worth the price of admission.
Everyone got to pick their classes for the oneshot. Ashley picked rogue because it felt like what she would’ve been like IRL. Liam: “But you surprised us all and smeared yourself in blood and gore and screamed at the devil.” Everyone agrees that there may have been a multiclass there.
Unexpected things on Liam’s end: wasn’t expecting Ashley to be as metal as she was. Wasn’t expecting all the bowing to Satan. He wants to keep some of it ambiguous, but the group didn’t behave exactly the way he thought they would at the end.
The crew was in on the last five seconds, but the lead-up defined what those last five seconds would mean. He’d thought about continuing the metaverse thing indefinitely, but with the way it wound up ending, he thought it was a pretty satisfying finale.
Marisha: “I’m an utter dumbass–” Ashley: “No, you’re not!” Long pause. Marisha, turning to Travis: “I’m an utter dumbass–” Travis: “Yes, you are.”
Ashley and her best friend put a full bottle of dish soap in the fountain outside the courthouse in Burbank. It bubbled up way more than they expected and was on the news. That was the tamest story she could tell from her teenage years.
Liam randomly selected which of them would die first in the demogorgon fight.
Brian asks Matt whether experiencing a TPK as a character made him less inclined to possibly cause a TPK with the main campaign. Matt, offscreen: “No.”
Marisha has a new tattoo on her wrist that’s the death saving throws indicator from the 5e character sheets.
Liam describing Marisha’s reaction to being squished: “It was like seven stages of grief… and then the bird over and over again.”
Liam got ideas from Neil Druckmann
for specific lines to use to mess with Ashley.
It was a little over 20 minutes total of the speak-and-spell voice. Liam knew going in that Travis in particular would just lose it, which made it easier to slip in the more intense stuff. He’d had a lingering cough for a few weeks and was worried he wouldn’t be able to do the voice because he knew the scene wouldn’t quite have the same sort of tragicomic punch without it.
The crew was cued in on the phrase “Are you guys ready to play?” at the end.
Everyone agrees that they would’ve been good friends had they met as kids.
Liam on advice for new DMs who are nervous about trying something really off-the-wall. “If you’re scared of something, that’s what you should be moving towards.” Liam missed a window to say something to someone he lost last year, and so this game was his chance to come right out and say what he wanted to say most to these people.
Brian talks about Critical Role has always been about choosing your own family, and how that really shone through in the one-shot. “It was brilliant storytelling and execution… and executions.”
Talks Machine in the dark:
Liam first did the speak-and-spell voice when he was eight or nine years old. His son can do it, too. Travis tries to do it and goes a little Wookie instead.
As a ranger, Travis would have an otter companion because he loves otters so much. Everyone immediately reenacts the cute otter videos they’ve seen.
A Youtube ad for cheese dippers starts playing on the screen with the fireplace. Chaos ensues.
Marisha has a lot of dreams of the cast getting caught in a tsunami or a flood. Liam and Ashley have both dreamt of the cast just playing D&D.
At the next charity stream, Brian will let the cast decide what he should wear for an episode of Talks Machina.
Liam on Sam vs. Matt’s respective Vicious Mockeries: “Sam’s are more dopey zingers, and Matt’s… made me really feel bad.”
Everyone likes pineapple on pizza except for Marisha and Brian.
In terms of fighting classic horror-genre movie baddies, Ashley and Liam want to fight Xenomorphs, Travis wants to fight Freddy, Marisha wants to fight It.
Little things that I thought/noticed/love about the UD crew after watching far too many playthroughs:
Even while being hunted by a killer and possibly chased by ghosts, stuck on a mountain with no cell or wi-fi reception, Chris will still take time to check his phone.
While freaking out about losing her phone, Jess claims it’s “like my fourth phone this year.” Considering the game takes place on February 2, I really hope she means “school year,” because losing or destroying four phones in one month and two days must be some kind of record.
It’s canon that Jessica Riley watches animal-related videos online. I bet she likes cute cat gifs.
I will never be over Michael Munroe, a video game character, uttering the words “This isn’t the internet. This is real life.”
There are a lot of things in the game that stretch believability. The existence of wendigos. The idea that trained law enforcement professionals could search Blackwood Pines for 30+ days and not find the mine shafts that a bunch of kids stumbled on in one evening. The notion that the same police department searched the sanatorium (as stated in the opening credits), without finding all the wendigos chained up in the cages, or without finding the actual decades-old dead bodies lying around. But to me, by far the most incredible, unrealistic, belief-stretching thing that happens is Mike lighting a fire in the cabin fireplace…with nothing but ONE SINGLE MATCH.
I mean, I’ve tried to light fires before (in a fire pit; I’m not a pyromaniac). Unless those logs were soaked in gasoline, that is not how it works.
In the prologue, Josh and Beth are wearing matching bracelets. Friendship bracelets? Washington family solidarity? I dunno, but it’s cute.
Speaking of bracelets, Ashley’s claim that Sam never takes off her bracelet is true–Sam is still wearing it during her bath. Wonder what the personal significance of said bracelet is? Has someone written a fic about this yet?
The “remembrance board” that Josh made for the twins includes several locks of their hair. Where he got them, I don’t know. Did he just have clumps of his sisters’ hair lying around in his room?
The remembrance board also includes winners’ ribbons from horseback riding competitions. We know Hannah was a competitive tennis player. Did she also ride horses competitively? Or was that Beth’s sport? Is there a sad horse stabled somewhere on the Washingtons’ property in California, waiting for Beth to come home and ride it again?
There’s a cute potential exchange between Chris and Ashley, while they’re searching for Sam, that I just saw for the first time recently because everyone always picks the “courageous” option instead of the “reluctant” one. But if “reluctant” is picked and Ashley talks about how scared she is, Chris says, “I’m scared, too. But I got your back, okay? As long as you got mine?” And Ashley smiles a little and says “I do.” I know it’s not the popular pairing but I don’t care, I ship it 4 life.
Josh emailed details, or at least an outline, of his revenge plan to his therapist. This would seem to support Sam’s potential line of dialogue claiming that the whole thing was a subconscious cry for help.
Emily has a more freaked-out reaction to finding a bunch of old skeletons than she does to finding the decapitated, decomposed but still recognizable head of her own friend.
Emily’s boots are cute. I would buy them…except knowing Emily’s taste in fashion, they probably cost about a thousand dollars minimum.
What the heck do Emily’s parents do for a living, anyway?
Everything out of Dr. Hill’s mouth becomes reeeeally interesting once you realize not only that Josh is the person he’s talking to, but that Dr. Hill himself is Josh. Or rather, Dr. Hill is a figment of Josh’s deteriorating grasp on reality. Everything “Dr. Hill” says, Josh is consciously or subconsciously saying to himself. And “Dr. Hill” says some pretty harsh stuff to Josh (some deserved, some not so much): chastising him for putting his friends through “horror” and “torture,” taunting him with his worst fears, and calling him things like “psychopath,” “sick fuck,” and “self-indulgent, spoiled little brat.” Let it not be said that Josh is not aware of his own shortcomings.
When parents teach their kids “othering” attitudes towards disabled people.
Between the ages of 9 and 13, I lived next door to a young girl named Anna. Anna had a 2 year old cousin, Ashley, who was a vent dependent high level quadriplegic due to a horrific accident where she fell off the back of a couch and got wedged between the couch and the wall. (Abuse by her father was suspected; they think he pushed her, I don’t remember if that was true or not.) Her injury was very similar to Christopher Reeve’s.
At first I was fascinated by Ashley’s wheelchair and ventilator tube because I had never known somebody could be paralyzed like that and need help just to breathe. Ashley’s nurse was very kind about answering my questions.
If Anna wasn’t home, I would play with Ashley. I sang silly songs, made faces at her (she made them back), I made her stuffed animals “dance” and “kiss” her face (she loved that) and I would read to her while showing her pictures from the books by her bed. Sometimes I “helped” her color by holding her little fist around a crayon and guiding her hand over a coloring book. I actually discovered she could keep her fingers closed if I wrapped them around the crayon, but it was a very loose grip and her hands never improved beyond that. I let Ashley pick the colors– she raised her eyebrows and smiled real big for “yes” and pouted her bottom lip out for “no” and that’s how she told me which crayons she wanted.
Playing with Ashley got to be normal to me. I understood that she was disabled, but she was also a two year old girl just like any other and the only difference was she couldn’t move or breathe on her own. I noticed that other kids didn’t go over to interact with her if she was brought outside in her wheelchair. The adults with her would entertain her instead.
One day, I was playing peekaboo with Ashley when my dad came outside. He got really mad at me! I didn’t know what I did wrong when he demanded I go in the house.
He proceeded to tell me “You shouldn’t play with a crippled child like that. What if something happens to her? You’ll get blamed!”
I don’t remember what I said in protest, but I know I said “Dad, she’s a kid like anybody else!”
He said, “NO, she’s not. She’s different. She’s broken and hurt. Feel sorry for her, and don’t play with her anymore.”
I cried in my room for a long while. Then I went back out to see if Anna was home. She wasn’t, but Ashley was inside in bed. I played with her till Anna came home, then we went out into her back yard and swung on the swings.
The next day, my dad caught me playing with Ashley again. I was putting flowers in her hair (careful that they didn’t have loose petals that could fall on her trach or the vent tubes). He was SO MAD that he grounded me from going outside for a long time, can’t remember how long.
I questioned why it was “so wrong” to play with another kid. Dad kept insisting that I didn’t “need” to play with a child “like that” who would never have a normal life.
Ashley ended up having to go back into the hospital shortly after that, and I can’t remember what became of her beyond that because I didn’t see her again. All I remember is being devastated that my dad didn’t want me to be friends with a very visibly disabled toddler.
Her name was Ashley, and I never forgot her. I hope she’s still alive. She’ll be in her 20′s by now if she’s still out there somewhere. I think of her from time to time. I’m probably a very vague memory to her…and I hope I’m a good one. I was the kid who played with her when nobody else wanted to. Probably because other kids had parents like my dad who forbade it.
The question is…why? My dad told me he was afraid something bad would happen to Ashley while I was playing with her. I get that he was worried about being sued or something, but I feel like there was more to it than that.
He was “othering” Ashley as ‘unacceptably disabled’ and wanted me to treat her like that, too. I refused. I got in a lot of trouble for refusing. I don’t regret it. I was her friend and I made her smile.
Ashley, if you’re out there, I never thought you were broken.
- Gansey’s a frappuchino drinking nerd I bet he can’t even handle real coffee
- Adam has a secret warning knock for monmouth. Its such a #clubhouse honestly these boys
- For some reason there are copies of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition all over the place?? I honestly can’t imagine who they belong to????? who would buy them???
- What the heck ever happened to Ashley? She was prepped to be a major character with all her knowledge about Glendower and connection to Declan and then she just vanishes completely?? Is she actually Piper, just pretending to be Ashley and picking up hot young men?
- Ronan collects his speeding tickets. What a dork.
Every so often, Ririka Shepard buys a cake. She cuts it, takes two slices for herself, and the rest goes to whoever wants a piece – first come, first serve. One piece is eaten with the crew and squad, and she takes the other piece up to her cabin.
Everyone just assumes Shepard likes cake (which isn’t wrong) and she’s saving the second piece for later, but she tries to buy a cake on or around the birthdays of her family members, who all died in the 2170 Mindoir raid. The second slice is for the person having the birthday.
Eventually, she buys cake for fallen squad members too.