Mythic Quest season 3, episode 3, “Crushing It,” sees Poppy, Rachel, and Jo spending quality time together while Carol and Brad team up to make a difference at MQ. What could possibly go wrong?
Episode 2 of Mythic Quest continued the premiere’s examination of Poppy and Ian’s partnership, while reminding us that even though they don’t work at MQ anymore, GrimPop is only an elevator ride away—much to Carol’s dismay. Interestingly, Dana and Ian have discovered they have a lot more in common than they previously thought, though these two hardly feature in this week’s episode. Good things come to those who wait.
Instead, Mythic Quest season 3, episode 3 branches out into new territory. During the SDCC 2022 Mythic Quest panel, Rob McElhenney (Ian) talked about how his favorite part of reading a script is to see who gets paired up together. This episode feels like it took that compliment to heart because there are some truly interesting duos and trios in “Crushing It.” I love watching different personalities team up, if only to see who convinces the other to do something they normally wouldn’t.
The episode begins with David calling an emergency meeting that is neither an emergency nor a meeting, but rather a way for him to brag about the fact that Mythic Quest will be adapted for film—with him named executive producer. No one cares or is particularly impressed, so David sends Jo down to the GrimPop studios to call Ian up—because if anyone’s going to take this news personally, it’ll be MQ’s former creative director. Then he gives her the day off.
Unfortunately, Jo cannot deliver David’s message, as Ian and Dana are apparently out in the desert doing who knows what, much to Rachel’s consternation. Jo bumps into Poppy and Rachel, an unlikely duo themselves, who have just decided to go to breakfast to celebrate Poppy finishing a vertical slice and to stop her from immediately going back to work. (Again, I would like to stop relating to Poppy. Any day now.) We get another mention of Rachel putting off her schooling here, and the mystery continues to build. This is no longer an off-hand comment—it’s gonna be a plot point.
This unlikely duo becomes and unlikely trio when Poppy and Rachel reluctantly ask Jo to join them for pancakes. You can see from the roll of Poppy’s eyes and Rachel’s discomfort that this was not what either of them wanted, but Jo is just standing there, in silence, not sure what to do with the rest of her day now that she’s not running errands for David.
I actually loved this scene from top to bottom because while these three characters have interacted before, they are far from friends. In fact, in the first episode, Poppy didn’t even remember that Rachel worked at Mythic Quest. And then there’s Jo. Do I even need to explain that one? But I loved Poppy and Rachel’s silent conversation, and then the way Jo turned ever so slightly—almost shyly, though we know she’s anything but—to nod her head that yes, of course she likes pancakes. She might be mean, but she’s not a monster.
Jo and Poppy have never been to the brunch, but Poppy at least understands the concept. Rachel brags about how much she loves going to Berkley and building a community there, while Poppy tells them she’s doing a fantastic job at work and definitely doesn’t need Ian’s validation. Then they turn to Jo, who tries to toast to her high school bully losing her house in a tornado.
“I did it wrong, didn’t I?”
Yeah, sweetie, you did. But it’s okay! You can try again. As the drinks keep coming, brunch continues to dissolve. Now, Poppy is complaining about Ian ignoring her, despite saying she didn’t need his validation. Jo tries to call her out on it, but logic has no room at this table. This is about women supporting women. It might take her a few tries (“I thought we were just telling lies to make ourselves feel better”), but Jo eventually gets the hand of this brunch thing. Maybe Ian just sucks?
With a few more drinks down the hatch, however, both Rachel and Poppy can’t disillusion themselves any longer. In tears, Rachel talks about how she doesn’t want to go back to school because no one likes her and everyone is smarter than her. Ashly Burch did tell us that this season Rachel realizes she’s kind of dumb, so if this is rock bottom, where can she go from here? She wanted to be a writer, but if she doesn’t have that anymore, who is she?
Meanwhile, Poppy is mad that Ian won’t even bother to text her back despite the fact that she’s spent every waking moment of the last 10 years by his side. Does he even give a crap about her? I’m so interested to see how their friendship started and what it’s been like for the last decade. We know this year’s flashback episode will be a little bit of an origin story for these two, so maybe I’ll get my wish!
Jo, stone-cold sober, watches as her former co-workers break down, and, less than impressed, mutters, “So. This is brunch.”
I’m no expert, but yeah. That seems about right.
But don’t worry. Jo gets her revenge as she kidnaps Rachel and Poppy to a town 30 minutes outside Vegas to a place called the Shooting Range Clubhouse. This is as far a cry from Rachel and Poppy’s comfort zone as you can possibly get, but Jo feels right at home. Fistbumping the man at the ticket counter and donning a cap and aviators, she really is in her element. It’s both unnerving and a little thrilling, and I think the others would agree.
If Poppy is the character I relate to most, then Jo is the one I relate to least. But that doesn’t mean she’s always wrong, and she drops some serious truth bombs in this scene. As Rachel and Poppy complain about their circumstances and ask if this is a political thing, Jo whirls around to face them. “You know what I hate?” she asks. “Listening to entitled women cry into their cheap champagne and overpriced eggs about how hard the world is.” She tried something new, and it got her out of her funk, so she’s returning the favor. It’s time to put up or shut up.
Rachel and Poppy are still hesitant, but Jo has one last piece of advice—it’s time to stop worrying about what other people think and ask themselves what do they want to do?
The answer? They want to drive the tank.
As Rachel and Poppy let loose, Jo lounges nearby, watching with what I can only describe as a contented smile on her face. “Friends,” she says to herself, and she’s nearly glowing with happiness.
Season 1 Jo was probably my least favorite character on this show, but I’ll admit that I warmed up to her in season 2. She certainly has a place in the series and brings her own brand of comedy to the workplace. I can appreciate that even if I can’t relate to it. But Mythic Quest season 3, episode 3 brought out of a different side to this character altogether. This was a softer version of Jo than we’ve seen so far, and the best part is that no one tried to change her. In fact, we got to see that, while she’s wrong about so many things, she’s not wrong about everything, and her approach to life can be just as valid as Rachel or Poppy’s. Is this me doing a complete 180 on Jo? I think it is. Maybe I’m the one who’s been body-snatched. Or maybe Mythic Quest knows how to tell a damn good story.
Back at the offices, it’s chaos as usual. Brad drops in on Carol and successfully calls her out on having nothing to do (but not which level of Candy Crush she’s on). Carol is out of her mind with boredom—she has all this power and no money to enact any sort of change. She needs to make money out of thin air, and that means she has to talk to the old Brad. I’m still not convinced Old Brad is dead, though. He’s a master manipulator, and it’s just as likely he’s biding his time. For what, exactly, I have no idea.
Carol and Brad go visit the art department and our favorite scapegoat Phil. Not all is going as well as David would like to believe, as employees in his department are quitting left and right. They were overworked and underpaid, as are most real-life game developers. I find this plotline particularly hilarious because Mythic Quest is, in part, produced by Ubisoft, a game developer known for Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, For Honor, my personal favorite Just Dance, and many, many more.
The gaming industry has long had issues with overworking and underpaying their employees, and while I’m not naïve enough to believe that Mythic Quest will shed enough light on this issue to see it change, I do hope it works to make sure these problems aren’t completely swept under the rug. This might be a fun little workplace comedy that happens to take place at a video game design company, but I think the show has proven it also has a lot to say.
Unfortunately, not all lessons are learned the easy way. Brad has the genius idea to increase revenue with a new lootbox and wants Phil to work through the weekend to design it. They’ll be able to generate enough money to hire some new faces…despite the fact that they can’t pay the old ones.
“That’s not my department,” Carol responds, and—SCREECH. Oh boy, I’m not sure I like C-HODI!Carol (that’s Current Head of Diversity and Inclusion) or the fact that she’s listening to F-HOMIE!Brad (Former Head of Monetization and Internet E-Commerce). Carol has always been one of the “normal” employees at Mythic Quest, and season 3, episode 3 did its job to pull her into some shenanigans. Sure, she’s always been a little quirky, what with her habit of talking in the third person, but she’s never been dismissive in a situation that actually warrants empathy—until now.
Do I like this new Carol? No, not really. Do I think it’s adds substance to her character and story? Yes, absolutely, and I’m happy Naomi Ekperigin is getting more screen time. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that Carol is often the last person standing between David, Ian, Poppy, and the others going off the deep-end and doing something that could actually harm themselves, someone else, or the company. Now, she’s being roped into their antics, and I feel as though her character is changing. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe this version of Carol has been there all along. Maybe she’s finally just had enough.
One person who I hope never changes, however, is Sue, the community manager. She’s been moved upstairs, where she and her plants can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Despite her sanity always hanging on by a thread, Sue is ever kind and optimistic, even when faced with the torrent of hatred she receives on a daily basis. But that thread is mighty thin, and we might’ve seen it break in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 3.
When David tells Sue about the film adaptation, she begs him not to go through with it, saying that no one will go see it, they’ll ruin its reputation, and then they’ll spew even more hatred at her. David reassures her that it’ll be accessible to everyone, not just those who’ve played Mythic Quest, and there’s sheer panic in Sue’s eyes. That’ll be even worse!
I was laughing through this whole exchange because how true is this? Video game adaptations are notorious for doing poor at the box office. I even wrote a whole article about it. That post was written before Sonic came out, and it’s interesting to look back at the trajectory of that film. People hated it when the trailer first dropped, every tweet dedicated to it was a sick burn, and fans were spewing hatred left and right. The movie actually got a decent rating from audiences (after they fixed up the CGI, of course), and earned a fresh 63% from critics. But it was an uphill battle the entire way.
Sue’s got a point, though. Any film adaptation of a video game has to work harder than a book adaptation because not only do we already have clear visuals for all the characters and settings, but as players, we’ve lived the experiences a video game offers us. We’ve fought battles and scaled mountains and forged friendships. How could a movie ever compare?
What’s worse, Carol and Brad visit to warn her that she’s about to get a lot more hate thrown her way with their new NFT initiative. You know what Sue thinks of that? No Fuckin’ Thanks. Everyone hates NFTs, but Brad does make a good point here—gamers hate everything new until they get used to it, and then they get mad at the next commodification of their pleasure.
As someone who is currently abstaining from Overwatch 2 because I hate the new season passes, I feel this in my bones.
“Are NFTs good or bad?” Carol asks.
“Yes,” Brad replies.
I can at least appreciate that Carol is finding it harder to accept this hard truth than Brad. That gives me hope that he hasn’t swayed her to the dark side. Carol is naïve to the opinions of the gaming world, and it looks like she’s about to get a crash course. Will she stick with it? I admit, I don’t want her to. I liked when Carol was one of the few characters with her head on straight, but I also like seeing her navigate this partnership with Brad.
While Sue grabs her plants and goes back underground where she’s safe from everyone at MQ, David has been stuck in the GrimpPop offices all afternoon. The montage of him trying to stay sane was hilarious, and David Hornsby’s got some pipes! We need an episode where he joins a band or puts on an office musical. Mythic Quest, make it happen!
Interestingly, Ian and Dana are the ones who find David, asleep and almost naked on the floor. It turns out they were in the lounge this whole time. But what were they up to!?
Guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.