Film Corner: Journey Quest (Season 2-3)

Ok, I can't move well today so it's more #AnaWatches but from the couch this time. Because I'm in a mood today, I'm going to continue Journey Quest and complain about things that bother me. Mute meeeeee if you need to. (If you're just joining us, I loved Dorkness Rising but I have issues with Journey Quest, and I'm cataloging them.)

[TW] We left off with the wizard and the elf girl captured by orcs. She'd been subjected to a rape threat, and the dude who wanted to hurt her accidentally killed himself. That was when I stalked off.

Perf (the wizard) accidentally blows his own clothes off and is revealed to have a tattoo which says "Meat Henge" and a finger pointing down to his...why would...why. Ok. In plot developments, we learn that Perf's failed life-magic attempt accidentally turned the Cleric into an intelligent zombie--which is supposed to be impossible. A sexy assassin sexily accosts everyone and a kinky ropeplay joke is made. We're not doing great for female representation that isn't immediately sexualized, friends.

Smash cut to the bard and I should probably explain this now rather than later: Bards are sent out to secretly follow heroes and record their deeds, but aren't supposed to interfere. Our girl bard has accidentally given the party clues twice now. Relevant later. (It's a contrivance, don't ask me to explain because it won't make any sense.)

The sexy assassin is that special kind of Hollywood Competent Girl who can subdue anyone with anything. She kicks Perf in the face several times, etc. I have a lot of questions about the stealth value of black spandex in a forest.

She subdues the men with physical violence but subdues the girl elf with a drug, sooooo our only other competent female fighter will spend several episodes tripping balls and being useless so the men can carry her around. *grinds teeth*

The drugged elf girl is singing.

The magic sword has moved on to making transphobic jokes. ("You limp wristed sack of estrogen.")

One of the orcs comes out as a trans woman and it's treated like a Life of Brianesque joke ("don't judge me!") so there's transphobia for everyone!

That's the end of "Season 1" and I recall why I sorta hated YouTube episodic...things in the first place. 7 episodes, 1 hour, but very little actually happened and most of it was the same stuff from a different POV. There's got to be a better way to do low budget stuff.

Season 2 starts with the Bard being in trouble because she keeps interfering in her stories, which is against the rules. (It was previously implied that she was sent to follow THIS epic as a punishment.)

Smash cut over to...hooboy. Uh.

[TW: Racist Tropes] There's a big shirtless Black man as a coded-Barbarian King who rules by might, and the joke is that he's really totally enlightened and cares about education and classism, which is... I mean, you can view it as a send up of racist tropes (where a presumed-white audience is challenged for their racist expectations) or you can view it as racist (because "lol, the Black man is smart" is a bad punchline).

I'm white and don't know if they had POC writers for this. But I do know that a white cast building a story around a presumed-white audience is itself not usually a good idea and not a good place to start deconstructing racist tropes. You need to think about the POC in the audience and how your "educational" material will hurt them. There needs to be some kind of Poe's Law for this thing: like, any depiction of racist tropes can itself end up being racism if you don't deconstruct them properly? Or something, but worded better?

This is also probably supposed to be a game of thrones reference, with the barbarian-coded king, a pale-white blond wife, and he's called "karn" which sounds like "khal". I feel like "It's GoT, but the joke is that the white people are the awful, uncivilized ones" had potential as an idea, but I would've felt a lot more comfortable in the execution if there were any other POC in this cast?

I feel like they're trying to do something similar with the elf woman--like, "fantasy is traditionally misogynistic so what if the punchline is that THIS woman can fight?"--but it's...that's're still not depicting her as a person, just as a clever idea. "What if the marginalized person were unexpectedly NOT shit" isn't a great deconstruction approach in general.

Pros: They managed to snag Fran Kranz, actual actor, for this. Cons: He's sleeping with undergrads whilst in a quasi-tutorial position and this is supposed to be cute. *sighs*

The elf girl continues to be drugged and silly and useless. The first idea this season has which I like without qualifications: the undead cleric tries to turn undead and ends up turning himself.

Although it's annoying that the competent assassin can't handle by herself the undead she was so certain she could handle, but ah well. The curse of the Hollywood Competent Woman, of course, is that the competency is very situation-dependent. Related, the elf woman is giggling again. I miss when she was a character and not a sack of potatoes!

[TW: Rape] Ok, yeah, I was waiting to see if I misremembered this and I didn't. There's been a running joke about the Headmistress having sex with her genie assistant. We now find out that he's trapped with her and wants to be free from her, so it's been rape jokes all this time. At this stage in the reveal, we've known about the genie several times, but not that it wasn't consensual and honestly that made me feel really sick to find out. Classic "rape is funny when it's female on male" trope, as harmful as always.

In plot developments, Silver Tom (Fran Kranz) uses the genie wish to zap himself to the epic--which has become unexpectedly important--where he plans to take it from the Bard Girl Wren. This part is honestly strange because Tom takes the epic on a technicality (romantic entanglement rather than the other things she's done to interfere with the quest) and we're supposed to feel sorry for Wren, but, like, she *has* been breaking the rules and making mistakes.

In the first scene I've liked this season, the orcs joke about what humans sound like. ("Don't kill me! I live in an indefensible village and have no martial training!") Plot wise, Perf's casting dyslexia turns out to be a Chosen One thing rather than a disability. Sorrow.

There's a sweet sequence where Karn and his wife fight assassins together, but then she dies so he can go on a quest for Perf's sword and (I presume) join up with the party. Extra distressing: it looked like we were being set up for that trope where a couple is arguing while fighting, then laugh and embrace when the fight is over. But instead she just....died. Mid-argument. That's really sad.''s actually...they're calling it dyslexia and it's just "incredibly rare" for a wizard to have it. WELL THAT'S EVEN WORSE!! Don't go and make it sodding canon that people with a certain disability are almost never a caster class!!!!! That's like half the classes!! Fuuuuuuck you, I'm writing a dyslexic wizard and it's gonna be so fuuuucking common that you can get spell books in Comic Sans.

When you make a disability a rare super-power, you're saying we don't exist in numbers big enough to find community together and accommodations! Like, I'm still not sure how I feel about dyslexia as a superpower in Percy Jackson, but at least there it was done for his son (awww) and gave a sense of community (yess) because ALL the demigods had it!! It doesn't even really make sense as dyslexia here because it only happens when he casts under stress, and like? I'm not only dyslexic when stressed?

The elf girl is drugged and giggling again, because that gag never gets old, lolsob. I feel so sorry for the actress but most of all I remember how angry I was that each episode put us an increasing distance away from that brief window when she was a competent ranger.

The orc who came out as a trans woman is counseling the other orc on what to say to the bard when he rescues her, and it's a LOT of "women are irrational feminists who will bite your head off if you imply they need saving, even if they do" and I just. *rubs eyes* Mostly this is just boring? Like, yes, it's offensive, but it's not even ORIGINAL in it's "women will yell at you if you hold doors for them" kind of world view. Be more interesting than this! My 90 years old (at the time) grandfather could've written this twenty years ago and it would be basically the same dialogue.

"I have no idea how I'm supposed to behave!"
"NOW you're ready to talk to a woman!"

Then you add in the layer that the orc IS a woman, and I just. Way to be super affirming of trans identity, y'all. Me, at the screen: HE'S TALKING TO A WOMAN RIGHT NOW, BUT I GUESS Y'ALL FORGOT BECAUSE I'M PRETTY SURE YOU'RE ALL CIS AS FUCK.

Oh, apparently the Dany expy (the blonde wife) survived the stabbing and is only in a coma. Semi-fridged instead of fully-fridged. Oh, now she's possessed so I guess she'll keep moving around.

Silver Tom is firing Wren off the epic and I still can't work out why this is supposed to be bad. She *explicitly* only has the job because her family were rich alumni and the Headmistress couldn't flunk her without losing funding. She's inferred in the epic twice, she KNOWS she did so and to grave effect, and she can't answer Tom's basic bard school questions. Sooooooo she's basically every rich kid who bought their way through school? But she's plucky?

This is why I don't buy Silver Tom as a villain. He's clearly supposed to be--or at least a rogueish rascal--but you have to characterize those types as wrong! You can't just dress them in black and expect the color scheme to do your work for you. A WARDROBE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CHARACTERIZATION.

Back with the undead Cleric--who is probably my favorite of the heroes because he hasn't expressed an opinion about women--he tries to summon his god to drive away...something (admittedly, a woman) and tragically blows his own arm up. Fair-weather deity.

Going back to that fresh joke material: a virgin joke.

In fresh undead Cleric developments, he summons an angel and it tries to smite him. His sad face. My heart.

The Bard girl is now blaming the nice orc for the loss of her epic, even though it was her own fault, so that's nice. they're staring at the elf woman while she's naked bathing. This is being used to prove the Cleric is really dead. *headdesk* Like. Of all the ways. Why would you. I'm just. Was this written by throwing dice at a book of terrible tropes. This show is using the fact that Carrow can't get a hard on from staring non-consensually at his bathing co-worker as proof that he's really really dead. Let fictional guys NOT be creeps!! It bears repeating that the most straw-feministy misandric story I could write would not hate men as much as the stuff (some) men churn out, and that never stops baffling me.

You can't-- Shit, I need to TW all this.

[TW: Peeping] You cannot sell a "Perf loves Nara" confession there at the end when not 5 minutes before his reaction to seeing Carrow spying on her is to beg for details after she screams and storms off. "I need details: shapes, sizes, colors!" can't sit alongside him being supposedly in love with her because LOVE doesn't do that!! Love doesn't make you super excited that someone you care about feels sick and vulnerable and harmed.

Nice Guyism conflates "I want to unlock the exact sequence of words and actions which will grant me sexual access to her" with "love" but it's not and any arc you write in that vein will be unsatisfactory. And that's without even getting into the fact that they're all three traveling together and Nara needs to feel safe sleeping at night. But of course that's one of the reasons why The Chick is allowed to be strong; the Nice Guy isn't a physical threat so she's not allowed to feel unsafe with him, even though he's demonstrably unsafe to be around.

And that's the end of Season 2. There's one more. I need food. I'm going to find some food. Brb.

I'm gonna watch season 3 of Journey Quest and here's why: I think it can be better than season 2. The benefit of these things that have production gaps is that new writers come on board. Or old writers can get better. Some of my favorite writers had stuff that I cringe to read now. Getting better is a good thing. So I'm gonna be hopeful and see where it gets us. If nothing else, we'll end up with me yelling in all caps again and that's entertaining even if not instructive.

Oh god, this is gonna be one of those threads where people send me screenshots of me going:

"I think this is gonna be good"
--77 replies hidden--

Four minutes in and the Bard Girl has drugged herself by accident and is giggling. least it's not the elf this time? The elf has a new actress. That's interesting. Apparently the first actress was pregnant when they filmed Season 3.

Pros: The sword hasn't said anything offensive yet! Cons: There's a...LOT of the Bard Girl being drugged and giggly. Like, we're at "was this someone's kink" level of a LOT. (It can't even be that these parts were cheap to film, because Recognizable Professional Silver Tom is in them.)

A bearded dwarf girl saves her! I love her beard. ....She runs a strip bar, which I support in principle but not in this particular series which has failed to treat women as people outside of men's attraction to them, and she's hot for Perf so she and Nara can bicker over him.

I really like Carrow's moral struggle at being abandoned by his god in the face of his undeadness, and I really like the goddess of death in general, though the whole temptation angle of her trying to win him with kindness is wearing a little. There were lots of ways to do this! The longer she tries something that isn't working, too, the less intelligent she seems.

I had a necromancer talk to a death god once in game, you know, and it wasn't seductiony. They talked ethics of good and evil and how death isn't always bad. A goddess can talk to a mortal man without trying to seduce/madonna him over. Especially since that clearly isn't working, so...try a new angle? Madam, I believe in you. Talk ethics at him. Heck, AT ME. Convince the viewer you're the right choice. If you can convince the viewer you're the right choice, you've won. Because if you aren't, what a twist. And if you are, we get to watch Carrow come around to what we've already decided is best for him.

Acting props to the new elf actress: they didn't do anything to make her look like the first one, but her expressions and gestures are practically a mirror image. This lady did her homework. I am impressed.
This is honestly my preferred way to replace an actor: don't bother making them look the same, but make sure they FEEL the same. Nailed it.

The orcs...are here. They look different to me but are apparently all played by the same actors as before.

Pros: the dwarf girl uses her words and tells Perf she wants to kiss him. I like that a lot! Cons: He's falling down drunk, so I'm...not...feeling great about that? Pros: As soon as she uses her words, he seems to immediately sober up in that Hollywood record-scratch way? Alcohol in fictional settings is always so different from my limited experience.

See, this scene is a good scene. Carrow talks theology with a priest of his order and is upset when he drops his cowl and the priest cowers and tries to turn him away.

Oh. The. Dwarf girl and the Elf girl are going to fight. Over Perf. Don't worry, there's also about a score of creative insults in which they reduce each other to genitals or reference their body fat. It's awesome, obviously.

This season is 2 hours long and they're supposed to be saving the world but they've been in this tavern for 1 hour and ah-ha, that's the OTHER thing I don't like about YouTube series: the pacing is way off. Like, you couldn't do 1 hour of a 2 hour movie in the same run-on scene that refuses to end, you just...couldn't? It flies in the face of all concept of narrative pacing? But when you're doing everything piecemeal, you end up leaving in all the stuff an editor would've cut for a movie.

Oh. It's not even going to be a fight-fight, it's an insult-fight. Several fat jokes later, we blessedly leave the bar. "Ana, this is all well and good," you say, "but shouldn't Perf's love for Nara be used to put him in danger?" Yes, well, luckily the Sexy Assassin has shown up and is forcing Nara to call sexily to him. For a trap.

Why is the Sexy Assassin surprised that Carrow is undead and unkillable? She learned that right off the bat when she first captured them last season!! Anyway, she hesitates and he eats her. R.I.P., Sexy Assassin. Oh, I guess she's still alive and just...bitten. And gone. That probably won't turn out badly.

The bits with Silver Tom and Wren and the Orc are good, even if they are ganging up on Silver Tom who is still right. You can see why Fran is a good actor. He really sells the scene, even when the writing isn't great.
Fran, for those of you who don't recognize the name, was the Fool in Cabin in the Woods.

Perf and Nara go to the Oracle to ask how to heal Carrow (the Cleric). Perf wastes two questions and Nara uses the last one for herself. Carrow is understandably furious. I'd like to say it's in character for Nara to be selfish--I certainly think it's *supposed* to be--but she's spent so much of this show being drugged off her gourd that she doesn't really have an established character.

Nara's destiny is... Elves who are born on a special once every 1,100 years night all get a special facial tattoo. One of them is a chosen one, but nobody knows which one. She might or might not be a Chosen One. She also STILL does not realize Perf is in love with her despite it being TOLD TO HER by the assassin.

Perf's "new spell" is basically Fry playing the holophoner in Futurama: Nara gets a dress, the background is happy neon, and Perf can sing now. It's honestly a little terrifying and she shuts him down and that's probably for the BEST. He walks off, but he takes the sword with him, so she can't really be done with him because...Destiny, fate of the world, etc. Oh, and the sword is being homophobic again.

Perf decides to go find a wizard to unpair the sword from him. Death Goddess convinces Carrow to kill Perf while he's alone and take the sword. If he'll do this, she'll restore him to life. Carrow Worfs Nara, because strong girls are for Worfing. At least she cuts him in half before she Worfs.

Perf got himself stabbed to death by the Knight who has been running around in the background. The Bard Girl is, tragically, going to revive him. The credits cut in. The season is over. My god, that was...that was a thing? An hour. AN HOUR. Of TWO HOURS. In a tavern fighting over a boy.

Good lord, so many "nerd boy" fantasies revolve around girls who don't know you love them, don't want you to love them, but will still call another girl a 'cunt' if she even TRIES to sleep with you, and I just?
I'm trying to be fair, but no one ever gets to make fun of female-oriented love triangles ever again. I have decreed it.

...Karn was not in any of Season 3 and there was never any resolution with his wife (The Dany) being poisoned. Good night, loves.


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