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Mythic Quest - Titan’s Rift and Grouchy Goat - Review: A Promising Comeback

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Hear ye, hear ye, uber-nerds, wannabe Twitch streamers and disgruntled coders alike; Apple TV+'s gaming-oriented workplace comedy Mythic Quest has returned (again)! The little-comedy-that-could on the little-streaming-service-that-keeps-surprising-us is back for a second season, and if the two opening episodes are any indication, this show is easily going to top the charm and hilarity of its first season in its sophomore run. Read on for my review of “Titan’s Rift” and “Grouchy Goat”:

When we pick back up with our gang of intrepid game makers, Mythic Quest is almost ready to begin development on their new expansion (bye bye, “Raven’s Banquet!”) One setback arises - with Ian at a retreat, Poppy needs to come up with a new subtitle on her own. She is initially ready to take on her first big job as co-creative director, but her trought process is interrupted in a rather unexpected way when she begins having odd sex dreams of Ian. Telling a chosen few in confidence, she insists that she doesn’t have feelings for him, and everyone she asks reassures her that “it’s just a power thing.” After many awkward nights, Poppy finally comes up with the perfect title - “Titan’s Rift” (although we won’t go into exactly how the title came to her - this is a family website).

Speaking of feelings, though, one couple in the Mythic Quest office certainly are giving into romantic tension. After much consulting with Carol in HR, Rachel and Dana finally confess their feelings for one another and officially get together, kissing in the parking garage (the most romantic locale!).

The final new development in the office after the extended break is the biggest shocker of them all (or is it?) - Jo has left her position as David’s assistant to become...Brad’s assistant. Honestly, whoever came up with the idea of getting these two to spend more time together deserves a raise. From a technical point of view, it perfectly condenses the show’s source of villainy into a single, dastardly unit. Also, from a normal person’s point of view - it’s fun!

Dana and Rachel are excited to tell the office about their new relationship, but nobody cares as much as they thought (and who didn’t see it coming, to be fair?). Instead of allowing them the honeymoon phase they were envisioning, Brad recruits the happy couple to produce a new mobile game so he can cram it full of microtransactions. He assigns Jo to help manage the project, but Rachel and Dana’s overwhelming chemistry and optimism proves to be too much of a damper to Jo’s dour spirit.

After Poppy fumbles a team meeting with the art department, Ian determines he needs to train her on how to hold a room. This “training” takes place at a Women in Gaming conference where Ian has written her speech for her. However, when she gets onto the stage, she finds that she can’t read the teleprompter and quickly loses any confidence or charisma she might’ve had to start with.

Rachel and Dana start to argue because Rachel wants to add more to their game - christened “Grouchy Goat” - while Dana wants it to be simple and silly. However, before too long, that fight turns around when Jo has a mini-breakdown about not being able to hold the project together. The three ladies decide to put aside their (vast) differences in order to put together the best mobile game about a cantankerous goat they possibly can. Unfortunately for them, they’re not making this game for themselves, but for Brad. He shuts down the mobile game because they put too much thought in it, and congratulates Jo for placing all the blame on the game’s failure on the other two (insert sad horn sound effect here).

All eyes on her and unable to make her planned speech, Poppy gives up and begins to list the things she isn’t and can’t be, and goes into a heartfelt speech/slightly insane rant about how she refuses to apologize for who she is. It was nothing less than a disaster (although the scene itself was so laugh-out-loud funny I rewatched it three separate times), but the women at the conference still “felt her vibe” and gave her a standing ovation.

As David expresses disbelief that the crowd actually related to Poppy’s incoherent rambling, Ian reveals that he actually wrote that part of the speech as well, and Poppy had, in fact, still been reading from the teleprompter. The pair become even more impressed with Poppy's acting skills when it is revealed that she had actually been manipulating them both the whole time, telling David she wouldn’t do the speech unless he gave her control over a project she and Ian had been fighting over, and then calling Ian and telling him that she would only do the speech if he wrote it.

Season 1 of Mythic Quest was very much up-and-down in terms of quality. I think the show struggled to really understand itself and what it wanted to be in many different ways at the beginning. By the end of the first season, it had mostly shed its fruitless attempts to relate to an inexplicable internet culture, instead honing in on its place as - for the most part - the only workplace comedy left on TV. Honing in on this idea now, everything about season 2 feels comfortably familiar in some ways, and yet totally original in others, like a new and exciting evolution of the workplace genre.

I absolutely cannot say enough about Charlotte Nicdao, who continues to hit peak levels of charm and likability. Even as Poppy is at her absolute messiest (as in episode 2), Nicdao is equally hilarious and vulnerable, meeting the perfect standard of the “awkward quirky girl” (à la New Girl’s Jess Day) while still being completely her own. Her chemistry with Rob McElhenney is also phenomenal, making her promotion plotline an all-around great move.

I also can’t get enough of Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim as Rachel and Dana, respectively. I’ve somewhat been following Burch’s career for quite a while - she actually has much experience in the video game world, including playing a main character in the phenomenal Life is Strange as well as in the gorgeous and odd There Came An Echo (which may be more famous for a song from its soundtrack, sung by Burch, being used in the second season of Stranger Things). I’ve been struck for a while by Burch’s versatility, whereas Hakim, on the other hand, I had never encountered before Mythic Quest. Regardless, both impress, not only with their believable chemistry (friendly and romantic), but also their individual abilities to make the occasionally ungrounded and stereotype-heavy world of the show seem more human.

In all, I see good things in our future in terms of Mythic Quest. Apple TV+ may have had a rocky start, but now with verifiable hits and hidden gems like Ted Lasso and Dickinson also in its corner, it is beginning to separate itself from its competition in interesting, often surprising ways. Similarly, with a formula locked down and newly comfortable in its own skin after an A+ pair of pandemic specials, Mythic Quest is also ready to get wild and weird - and all the better for it. I can even see a few of the standouts (Nicdao especially) being strong Emmy contenders if the right cards get played.

Also, and this is just for any and all employees of Apple TV+ and/or cast and crew members of MQ: more episodes like “A Dark, Quiet Death” please! Many, many more! After the year we’ve all had, we deserve it.

What did you think of the season premiere of Mythic Quest? What were your standout moments? Any season predictions? Let me know in the comments!

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