‘Mythic Quest’ season 3, episode 1 review: Cool, sexy mavericks

Mythic Quest season 3 has begun its run on Apple TV+, bringing back so many (but unfortunately not all) of our favorite characters for the next 10-episode installment of this series.

It doesn’t take much for me to admit that Mythic Quest is my favorite show on TV right now—and has been since I found it during its second season. It’s got top-tier humor and is filled with the most ridiculous characters, but there’s a certain charm and sense of heart found in between all the antics. It wasn’t hard for me to fall in love.

After attending the Mythic Quest SDCC 2022 panel, my excitement for season 3 grew to exponential levels. Rob McElhenney (Ian Grimm), Megan Ganz (co-creator and executive producer), David Hornsby (David Brittlesbee), Charlotte Nicdao (Poppy Li), Danny Pudi (Brad Bakshi), Imani Hakim (Dana), Jessie Ennis (Jo), Ashly Burch (Rachel), and Craig Mazin (Lou) gave us plenty to look forward to this year and beyond.

When we last left the crew, Ian and Poppy had decided to strike out on their own. Though Poppy was a bit depressed at the idea of leaving MQ behind, Ian had already moved on. Together, they would conceive Hera, turning it from a simple Mythic Quest expansion to a fully-fledged game that would stand on its own.

Having watched season 2 live, it was a bit scary to see where it had ended. The show hadn’t yet been renewed for season 3, and with Poppy and Ian parting ways from MQ, they had an open road in front of them. Would we ever see the Mythic Quest offices again? Would David, Jo, Brad, Rachel, Dana, C.W., and Carol return?

Season 2 ended in June 2021, and we had to wait until October to find out, but it was worth it! With a little help from T-Hops (that’s Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins to the rest of us), “Ron” let us know that Mr. Quest was not just renewed for season 3, but also season 4.

With a two-season renewal in the bag, I felt at ease knowing Rob, Megan, David, and all the other writers and producers had more time to tell the story of Mythic Quest. But that didn’t make the wait any easier!

Thank goodness Mythic Quest season 3 has begun, airing on Fridays starting November 11 and finishing with episode 10 on January 6, 2023.

The cold open for Mythic Quest season 3, episode 1 is a montage of sorts between Poppy and Ian, Brad, and David and Jo, all reflecting on their pasts and looking to their future. Poppy and Ian are presenting their new game, Hera, to a room full of investors, and it’s going off without a hitch. Brad has been a model prisoner after being arrested for insider trading and is on the cusp of his release, a reformed man. David has done a phenomenal job of taking care of Mythic Quest, having impressed the bosses in Montreal. He and Jo are a well-oiled machine, and she looks genuinely happy to be standing by his side. “I am way better off without them,” David says, and we’re meant to understand that all of our players feel the same way.

So it’s obvious that everything is about to crumble down around them in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 1.

I mean, we watch this show for their nonsense, right? We love seeing Ian or Poppy or David fighting monsters of their own creation and getting out of situations they stumbled into of their own volition. If everything is going according to plan, you better believe it’s about to take a hard left turn into the Danger Zone.

We begin first with Poppy and Ian in their new offices—and you know Ian designed this space because it is wholly impractical. It’s stark white, with bright florescent lighting and absolutely no lines. Poppy’s desk sits alone in the middle of a room, and we later see Ian’s VR setup and a few other spaces for when he needs to think. GRIMPOP is written on the wall in bold letters, and I have to admit I love the name of their company. Not only does it give them equal billing, but it somehow perfectly describes their individual styles and their relationship to each other.

Poppy stalks the office, anxiously awaiting an update from their potential investors while Ian ignores her ramblings in favor of playing his little “VR game” (Ian would be a fan of both the metaverse and NFTs). Soon, Poppy receives the email they have been waiting for, and before she opens it, they make a deal: They asked for $25 million for their game, and they’ll take nothing less.

Buoyed by this proclamation, Poppy opens the email, and it’s even better than she could’ve hoped. Their investors are offering $50 million dollars. Poppy is beside herself, declaring this the best day of her life. She screams with relief, and Ian seems just as shocked and excited.

Which makes it even more hilarious when he says they’re not going to take it.

“It doesn’t feel right in my gut,” Ian says. Poppy wants to throttle this man, and I just want to tell her to get in line. Unfortunately, Ian is rarely wrong. Which makes him even more infuriating.

Poppy immediately knows what this means, and groans in protest. But instead of folding, she tells Ian that it’s her game, and therefore, it’s her gut they’re going to follow. That means she gets to make the call, and the call is that they’re taking the money.

Shockingly, Ian agrees without batting an eye, congratulates her, and walks away. It’s, perhaps, the least pretentious thing he’s ever done. Instead of trying to control everyone and everything around him, he’s letting someone else take the lead. So, then, why do I feel so uneasy? What multi-dimensional creature has body-snatched this man!?

Poppy feels proud of herself for pushing back against Ian and making the call for about two-point-five seconds before she doubts herself. It’s good to know that even though these two have worked through a lot of issues, they’re still winning gold medals for sabotaging both each other and themselves.

The following day, we find Poppy in the bathroom with explosive diarrhea. And as much as I don’t want to write this next sentence right after the phrase explosive diarrhea, I have to admit she’s the character I most relate to on this show. (Look, anxiety poops are real. And they are dangerous.) The way she overthinks everything is a snapshot into my every-day life, and as funny as her neuroses are, they hit a little too close to home for me, thank you very much. I thought she was supposed to be a caricature, not a mirror through which I’m meant to reflect upon my own inner turmoil. I didn’t sign up for this!

Hilariously, as soon as Poppy agrees they shouldn’t take the money, Ian admits he believes they should. In true Grimm fashion, he finds a way to justify this change of heart. Yesterday, not taking the money was the right call, and today, taking the money is the right call. It’s not that he was wrong yesterday; it’s that he’s right today. As confusing as that may be, Ian does present Poppy with some pretty good advice when she asks what happens if listening to his gut means he’s made the wrong call: “Oh, it can’t be the wrong call,” Ian says. “It might not be the call that yields the best result, but that doesn’t make it wrong.”

There’s a lesson in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 1, hidden behind the ridiculousness that is Ian’s portrait hanging on a wall next to Mother Teresa, and it is quite simple: Believe in yourself. Ian might be an egomaniac, but he’s not wrong. What an incredible attitude to have, and shockingly good advice to give to Poppy. I mean, what has all that anxiety ever done for her other than send her straight to the bathroom?

Though most of the episode is centered on Ian and Poppy’s trials and tribulations, we do check in on a few of the other characters. Rachel and Dana are still together, jamming to the radio and seemingly leading their best lives. I think Dana and I are the only ones who don’t find Rachel annoying (what does that say about me, huh?), but whatever your feelings on the character, you cannot deny that Ashly Burch is downright hilarious. She and Imani Hakim have incredible chemistry, and their relationship feels so real to me.

But their high spirits don’t last long, as Jo calls and bursts their bubble. We learn that she’s organized a party for C.W., who is on his way home from Europe after a year-long whirlwind book tour, and Jo is very stressed out that not everyone is going to make it on time. She even pulls some illuminati shit to get Rachel and Dana out of a ticket, and I just need to know what kind of strings this woman has to pull because that’s terrifying.

While not much has changed for Rachel and Dana, Carol has stepped out of her role as the head of HR (and everyone’s unwilling therapist) and into a new job as Head of Diversity and Inclusion. The only problem? She’s just a figurehead. Luckily for her, David has been navigating that type of job for years. The trick, he says, is to appear much busier and more important than you actually are. Just do the hokey-pokey, and your colleagues will be none the wiser.

Bolstered by David’s advice, Carol leaves her guilt behind—at least for a while. And then inspiration walks right into her office. What if she hires someone from a traditionally marginalized group who also happens to be a felon? They get a subsidy, and a new janitor! The only problem? That person is Brad Bakshi. David is wary, but Brad promises he’s gone straight. David doesn’t believe it, and nor do I.

Jo enters the room, and she doesn’t see Brad so much as senses his power. The two size each other up, both of them stating that they’re reformed. The power of Mythic Quest is that Brad and Jo have consistently been my least favorite characters, and yet I am excited to see where this goes. It’s not that they’re poorly written or even that they’re uninteresting; I just find it harder to sympathize with them. It’s the same reason why I sometimes find it difficult to watch and laugh at Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

But Mythic Quest is a far cry from Always Sunny, and I am beyond excited to see Brad’s arc this season. Is he really reformed? Will he struggle to stay out of trouble? Or will he cross over to the dark side the first chance he gets? The same questions must be asked of Jo, and I’m especially curious to see if these two will team up again.

By the end of the Mythic Quest season 3, episode 1, all of our characters come together for C.W.’s party. Ian and Poppy arrive, talking about how much they’ve changed and how MQ has stayed the same. It feels a lot smaller than it did before, or maybe that’s just because they’ve gotten so much bigger.

And yet only a few minutes have passed before we realize nothing at all has changed. David tries to impress them at every turn, but he doesn’t do insult very well, calling them cool, sexy mavericks. Ian and Poppy are also at each other’s throats within seconds after Ian learns that not only did Poppy turn down the $50 million offer, she also turned down a $60 million offer.

Ah, yes. A year may have passed for both us and the characters in Mythic Quest, but everything feels just the same.

But there is one aspect of the show that’s different. David is instructed to read a letter from C.W. at precisely 8:15 PM. He begins, and we learn that C.W. has received an unfortunate prognosis and died. Whether he went over the edge of a canyon a la Thelma and Louise is unclear, but he insists his remains were placed into a satellite and launched into space. He directs everyone to look up just in time to see him pass overhead.

This choice may seem unexpected and shocking, but you don’t have to look far to find the reason why C.W. will no longer appear in Mythic Quest. News of the actor’s departure broke in April 2022, and though we don’t know the exact reason why F. Murray Abraham didn’t return, it’s possible that it is, at least in part, due to scheduling conflicts. Voicing Khonshu in Marvel’s Moon Knight (including the upcoming season 2) was just the beginning, as he’ll also be appearing in Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, as well as The White Lotus season 2.

It’s unfortunate that Abraham, and therefore C.W., will not be returning, as he brought a different dimension to the show, given he was so much older than the rest of the cast. He was a fantastic foil for Rachel, as well as some of the other characters, and we will certainly miss his presence.

That being said, I loved the character’s send-off in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 1, equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. At the end of his life, C.W. admits that he stole a lot of things, and he reminds everyone of a lesson he learned perhaps a little too late in life: Success is not all that matters, and you are not better off alone.

I’m content with Abraham’s departure from the show, despite the fact that it’ll feel a little emptier without him. The message here was received loud and clear, and yet I can’t help but feel as though they could reintroduce C.W. at any point if the actor wanted and was able to return. After all, it is not out of the realm of possibility that C.W. faked his death only to return years later as though it wasn’t a big deal.

The end of the episode, while heavy, also holds promise. The rest of the cast gather to raise a toast in his honor, and we see them laughing and sharing stories. They depart, perhaps reluctantly, and even Ian admits it was nice seeing David.

But in perfect Mythic Quest fashion, this goodbye is not forever. Ian and Poppy ride the elevator down and it stops…on the next floor. That’s right, the GrimPop offices are only one floor down from MQ. There will be plenty of opportunities for shenanigans to ensue.

And I am here for every second of it.

‘Mythic Quest’ season 3 airs Fridays on Apple TV+