And so Sophia (or is it Sofia? We just don't know), Claire (or is it Clare? We just don't know) Emma & Kim from Bournemouth enter their third episode. If the number 1 piece of advice that any dungeoneer should be following is 'keep yourself alive', then this dungeoneer is certainly doing all right. And I'd be quite a liar if I said that her dear friends were little more than a hapless procession of fat bottomed girls with more brains in their pencils. But as they journey deeper into the Dungeon, towards the difficulties of Level 3, the team will be under pressure. So what will happen in terms of action this day? Can the team's staying power be maintained? Will Sophia be the loser in the end, or will her team be singing "we are the champions"? The answer is coming soon. Before we find out, let's recap some of what happened to Sophia in the previous 2 episodes:
- The L1 clue room. There was a scroll, & it's just as well Sophia didn't tear it up, as it gave instructions about the ring on the clue table.
- The team struggles a little in a dark dwarf tunnel, & Treguard notes that they should have taken the lantern from the clue room; but nonetheless, they survive. This is arguably the most explicit clue object let-off since Mildread accepted a potion from Neil (Team 7 of S2) when she really wanted an animal bone. Compare Knightmare's first ever team, who also didn't pick up a lamp on L1, but perished for it. Then again, Matt & Ben both got through their Level 1s in S6 with only one clue object.
- A scene with Sophia, Julius Scaramonger & not forgetting the compelling "Young Grimwold", one of this quest's various nuggets of continuity gold. Scaramonger has the dragon caller, but won't part with it, so Sophia uses the ring to make herself huge. "Give me the horn or else." Intimidated by this unfortunate innuendo, Scaramonger flees, allowing Sophia to pass the dragon caller onto Elita & postpone a dragon attack; & Young Grimwold exits with his boss, so an ogre battle is also averted.
- Sophia to Elita: "You're a faceache too!" This comeback will come back to haunt the team.
- Sophia meets Dreadnort. He is potentially death on two legs, (dedicated to) stopping any dungeoneer who lacks the word he seeks; but on this occasion, he is given the correct password. It occurs to me that if Lord Fear were to discover the cavernwights, he could get them to do his bidding by using technomagic to enslave them & turn them into machines (or back to humans). So maybe that's where his Dreadnorts & frightknights came from.
- Sophia, upon being asked about an item in the L2 dwarf tunnel: "It's a stick
." With delivery like that, she should be talking about handbags in Oscar Wilde plays.
- In the clue room, the team finds "one of the Rings of Phobia". (Phobia is almost an anagram of the dungeoneer's name.) It looks identical to the ring found earlier this series on L2 by January, where it is referred as a "Ring of Power". The ring Sophia found on L1, which looks different, was called a "Ring of Power" by Treguard. How confusing.
- Sophia has a seaside rendezvous (that is to say, a lakeside meeting) with Ridolfo, & although he is magically stuck with a fisherman's persona, she gives him his favourite weekly listing publication: Lute. They begin a boat ride, but are not long away from the shore then Treguard gets his
favourite weekly listing publication: Time Out.
So, it's onto Ep. 13.
Treguard: "At time out we were forced to abandon our dungeoneer in a boat halfway across the Dunswater." Not only does the lake bear no resemblance to the Dunswater as seen in S4, but it's appeared throughout S5 & 6 without being referred to by any name. In any case, this is the last time we see it: boating transfers to the Sewers of Goth in the next series.
Sophia encounters Hordriss, in another of his disguises. They know it's him, so in terms of concealing himself, Hordriss is not exactly giving the Invisible Man a run for his money. (Then again, we know from the ending of S5 that Hordriss isn't the best at a headlong run.) The Ring of Phobia contains a kind of magic that Hordriss is most interested in, so in exchange for it he reveals a causeway code & agrees to restore Ridolfo's identity. Then it's straight onto the causeway.
Next comes a second Dreadnort encounter (something experienced by no other S6 team), with Ridolfo arriving with the password in a non-literal flash. Ah, the miracle of good timing. He's been restored to his minstrel status, & is keen to return to some musical & good old-fashioned lover boy pursuits, no doubt including a romantic scandal or two (either sung of or participated in!). Sophia, meanwhile, proceeds to L3 via descendor (with a stormgeist along for the ride).
After the clue area (complete with menacing giant pooka - it's a hard life on L3) comes Hordriss' Level 3 Entrance Examination For Aspiring Sorcerers' Apprentices. The Hordriss classroom idea is used again in S7; & is that an early appearance of Raptor's costume on the man sitting closest to the camera? The team are well co-ordinated in this unusual challenge (three questions, competing answerers, raise hand to answer), considering they're given no time to prepare when they arrive; but like so many before them, the failure to meet just one general knowledge requirement in a L3 question spells disaster. (It's worth noting that there was an earlier team who got asked a question about alchemy. They answered it correctly - & went on to become KM's first winners.) During this scene, Merlin gets mentioned; though for KM continuity fans, even better is on the way.
The team spies on Lord Fear, with the spyglass Hordriss awarded them. We hear mention of the Mines of Malapith, which is yet more continuity gold (here's a Lexicon entry
explaining why). It turns out that Lord Fear is talking to Greystagg: no killer queen, she seems increasingly subjugated by Lord Fear, & this is explored further in the next quest. The team learns that the Hand of Atrab mentioned earlier by Hordriss, & the glove Sophia's carrying, are one & the same. I was grateful to learn from another forum member that the word 'Atrab' means grasp in Creole. What could this "thing of power" be intended to do? An idea put forward recently by Gizensha sounds just right to me:
Gizensha wrote:an enchanted gauntlet which could catch and reflect one of Lord Fear's fireballs if worn for the Level 3 end of quest encounter
Next: that passageway with the circular saws. Pickle: "The Corridor of [something I can't make out]." Assuming he says "Blades", would that make it the first time that it's named on KM? It's a shame that the team isn't neatly (!) killed off here, since their ultimate fate has proved confusing & controversial to many fans.
The team encounters Elita for this 3rd time this quest (performing a floor ritual in L3 for the 2nd time on KM). While continuity between L1 & L3 is something we might tend associate with S4, there's a prime example here: the cavern elf is still smarting from the back chat Sophia gave her 2 levels ago. It's then compounded by another comeback from Sophia, prompting incredulous amusement from her teammates, & leading Elita to opt not to play the game of insults any further. Elita is neither a sweet lady nor good company, but when Skarkill turns up, the team needs her help, & Sophia must profusely apologise to her. Then Elita uses the Pipes of Pan to turn Skarkill from a man on the prowl to a dancer, & off he goes into an off-screen pit. (If he's lucky, a mosh pit.) Imagine if he'd offered to help the team, like the dancing McGrew in S3!
Then comes, for the 2nd time on KM, the Great Causeway. What happens here has already been well discussed on this forum; so to cut a long story short, another one bites the dust. It is a little odd how Sophia doesn't get the food into her knapsack in time, and it's almost as if she & her advisors stop and wait for the hammer to fall (or the frightknight's sword, to be precise, and alarmingly fast it is too). Still, I don't dispute that their failure in Hordriss' exam put them in losing status, so perhaps it doesn't matter. It's like the song Bohemian Rhapsody: some people want to have some idea what it's all about, while others are content to experience it as it is.
There goes a good team & a good quest, in my opinion. Ah well, the show must go on. Actually, no, in fact it ends there. No new quest until the next episode. This allows for quite a touching end-of-episode scene with Treguard & Pickle, for which the departing team's 'wave and walk' is uniquely withheld until the end credits. But as noted earlier in this thread, it's the Opposition that gets the last word this time.
As some might have noticed, I have had the audacity to clock up 1000 posts on this forum. In acknowledgement (maybe even in celebration) of that, & gratefully inspired by what Billy did here
, this millennial post contains '39, no, sorry, 41
titles of songs by a popular band whose name has a connection to the team's quest object.