Mythic Quest season 3, episode 4, “The Two Joes,” introduces guest star Joe Manganiello into the mix, and you know what? He fits right in.
Last week on Mythic Quest, we saw an episode that centered around Poppy, Rachel, and Jo bonding over the brunch, with each coming to terms a little more with who they are and what they want out of life. We also checked in with Carol and Brad, and the chaos they’re causing around the MQ offices.
Dana and Ian were notably absent for most of the episode, but this week made up for it, and we got to see why their surprising friendship works so well. Mythic Quest season 3, episode 4 did a great job of spreading the love, putting an equal spotlight on everyone instead of focusing on one main storyline. It moved the plot forward and intertwined the characters in ways not all of them were aware of.
Starting off, we see Poppy tracking down Dana to tell her to test out Hera now that the prototype is complete. Dana declines, however, saying she isn’t a tester anymore and that Ian is on his way to pick her up to talk to her class. It seems she and Ian have been spending a lot of time together, and Poppy warns her, “Once you have him in your ear, you can never get him out.”
Considering Poppy has known Ian for a decade, she’s pretty much an expert on the matter, and you can see Dana struggle with this idea. She hesitates to put the earbud back in, and you have to wonder what’s going through her mind. Is she afraid Ian will take over her life, and if he does, will that be a bad thing? Will she lose her sense of self, or will he open doors for her she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to gain access to without his help? Eventually, Dana replaces the earbud and goes about her business, forcing Poppy to find someone else to test her game.
Luckily for her, David agreed to let her use the Mythic Quest testers in exchange for some coding favors. These two guys continue to be the only normal people in the office, and I love it. Watching Poppy flounder to say the right thing is hilarious, and I hope these guys never change. They have a special place on the show.
But involving these two guys is a double-edged sword. It turns out Poppy is a brilliant programmer because they couldn’t find a single bug in the whole game. But there’s another problem—I mean, aside form the fact she can’t pick up on social cues. It’s that Hera just isn’t fun. Like, at all.
Uh oh, you know Poppy is going to take this to heart. We’re not going to hear the end of it, and I’ll be curious to see how this changes the trajectories of Ian, Poppy, and the game itself.
Meanwhile, Dana and Ian are in the car, on their way to Dana’s school. Dana is clearly not comfortable with Ian’s driving, and says she has trouble being a passenger. And self-driving cars? No, thank you.
“So, you trust yourself over a machine with instantaneous reaction speeds? Most people might say that’s pretty arrogant,” Ian says.
“Yeah, well, most people don’t know how to drive,” Dana responds.
Ian looks at her in shock, stating that he would’ve said almost exactly the same thing. The scene ends there, but you can tell this really lands with Ian. He would certainly know about arrogance, and how his egomania affects the relationships of the people close to him. The funny thing is, Dana isn’t all that different—especially this season. She’s confident in who she is and what she wants, and she doesn’t let anyone push her around (like Poppy, for instance). But Dana comes off a lot more charismatic than Ian. Or, at least, she can navigate social situations a little easier.
When Ian pulls into a parking lot, Dana quickly realizes this isn’t her school. Instead, Ian has taken her to a building filled with state-of-the-art metaverse and augmented reality technology. “We dream it, they build it,” he says, talking about how people like them will drive the technology to places others couldn’t even imagine. And it’s true—Ian’s ideas might be pretty out there, but he’s the big thinker. He created something magical with Mythic Quest, and even though he can’t do the thing, dreaming it is a huge part of the process, too.
Dana catches the Field of Dreams reference, and Ian has to take a second to soak this moment in. He feels seen in a way he hasn’t before, and Dana doesn’t make fun of him for it. She places her hands over her heart and let’s him have it.
At the beginning of the series, I never would’ve thought these two would be as similar as they are or as close as they have become. Their dynamic has easily been the best part of the season so far, and I can’t wait to see more from both of them. Ian has taken Dana under her wing and opened her eyes to everything that’s possible. Dana, on the other hand, has given Ian a new sense of purpose. She’s reminded him what he’s capable of and has inspired him in a way that Poppy couldn’t in the first few episodes. The only question now is whether Ian and Dana’s relationship will cause problems for Ian and Poppy’s.
Right now, however, the only thing that matters is what’s inside that building. Dana is shocked that they can just walk right in.
“Do you know what I would do if I were a white guy for a day?” she asks.
“Do you know what I would do if I were a Black woman for the day?” Ian counters. “Two words.”
“Megan knees,” Dana answers.
Ian is shocked because that’s exactly what he was going to say. They have some real telepathy shit going on right now, and I have to tell you—I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed harder at this show. I love these two so, so much.
While I wished we could’ve taken some time out of Mythic Quest season 3, episode 4 to see them play around with the technology in that building, you can tell how inspired they are by the time they exit the building. Both of them have a million ideas, and they’re feeding off of each other’s energy in a big way.
“Like, I loved all the AR stuff, but I feel like we have to get past glasses,” Ian says. “Like, maybe even past lenses. What about eye drops? Like, fully augmented reality, with just one drop in each eye.”
“A neural-link comms system where everything is fluid, free-moving, and instantaneous,” Dana says, picking up what he’s putting down. “Every thought, every idea, accessible everywhere, by anyone, with zero interface of any kind slowing anything down.”
“I think that defies the laws of physics.”
“Who gives a shit?”
Ian freezes, staring at her, and then his arms erupt into goosebumps. I honestly have to wonder if anyone has ever given Ian goosebumps other than himself. Either way, this must be a big deal because he hands the keys over to Dana and lets her drive back. I cannot stress enough how important this moment is because IAN FUCKING GRIMM just willingly and voluntarily handed control over to another person. That’s how much he trusts her.
This feels different from the moment where Ian let Poppy accept the $50 million offer. When he walked off, it felt like he was removing himself from the equation. He was giving Poppy what she wanted, but his opinion about the offer didn’t change. It wasn’t a symbiotic moment. It wasn’t even a compromise. It felt like he was giving up.
With Dana, it seems different. She didn’t ask to drive the car; he volunteered the keys. He wasn’t stepping back because he thought he was wrong; he was letting someone else shine because he wanted to see what she could do. He was literally choosing to be by her side for the ride. Don’t get me wrong—I love Ian and Poppy together, but you have to admit that, right now, he and Dana have the kind of symbiosis that only exists in Poppy’s dreams.
I don’t know where Ian and Dana’s relationship will go in the long-run, but I would love to see them continue to work together, whether that’s in a mentor-mentee capacity or as true partners. These two could quite literally change the world together, but who will they have to leave behind in the meantime? Sure, Poppy is one of the people who could build what they dream, but she doesn’t like taking a backseat to Ian let alone Ian and Dana. And then there’s Rachel, who has her own talents but definitely doesn’t dream as big as her girlfriend.
Speaking of, we see Rachel and Brad team up in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 4. Carol is pissed the NFT plan didn’t net them any money and just made the players angry. She heads off to take a much-needed mental health day after yelling at Rachel for the terrible crime of stealing some snacks from the kitchen. Poor, Rachel. Her very essence is annoying, according to Brad, and there’s simply nothing she can do about it.
Brad is truly stumped about why the NFTs didn’t sell this time around, but Rachel clears up that mystery pretty quickly. Gamers can smell a money-grab a mile away (I’m still looking at you, Overwatch 2), so there was no way it was going to work. Brad asks her what she would’ve done differently, and while she tries to say she doesn’t know, she also comes up with the idea of hiding the NFT initiative within a side quest where the players could earn an exclusive item like a skin or a weapon. Brad is intrigued and—shockingly—wants her to keep talking.
Afterwards, he takes her down to the art department and has her tell them why no one is buying the NFTs. Phil is none too pleased to learn all his work has been for naught, but Rachel does make a good point here. Build a community, and then the money comes later. I honestly wish more companies understood this. People will pay top dollar for excellent content. But you gotta put in some genuine effort to achieve that.
“Okay,” Brad declares. “Start over with that in mind.” Phil is at his wit’s end, and so he calls David. The only problem? David is stuck in traffic and on the phone with Jo, who’s seated across from Joe Manganiello. And it’s not going great.
Jo agreed to do some research on this other Joe, but earlier that day, she literally bit her tongue until she started bleeding because she hates Hollywood. She thinks it’s a cesspool of narcissism, sexual deviancy, and moral corruption. And you know what? It’s not like she’s wrong. (Seriously, damn this show for making me like Jo more and more each episode.)
Joe seems like a pretty good guy, though. He’s a long-time Mythic Quest fan and an out-and-proud nerd. Even better? Joe is basically playing a heightened version of himself on this show. He really is a nerd, and has talked at length about his love for Dungeons and Dragons. I love this for him and for the show. It sounds like Mythic Quest (the show) is right up his alley. Hell, Mythic Quest (the game) would be too.
But this is also perfect for Mythic Quest (the movie) because Joe wants to play the masked man. He has some ideas (like the Masked Man will be inexplicably German?), and David is desperately trying to keep everyone on track. At one point, Joe even yells at them for considering Brad Pitt. “Hire a 5’8″ actor,” he says, “and you’ll get a 5’8″ performance!”
Jo is really struggling to act normal here. Jessie Ennis’ hysterical laughs—which are honestly more like witch’s cackles—are hilarious, and I love that we’re once again seeing a vulnerable side to her. She’s totally out of her element here, and watching her struggle to keep up with David’s commands on top of societal norms has her almost at a breaking point.
And it doesn’t get any easier once Phil and Brad get on the phone with David. Poor Brittlesbee is trying to handle both conversations at once, which is only made more confusing by the fact that his assistant and their prospective beefcake of a lead share the same first name.
In the end, David accidentally says yes to both of them—which basically gives Brad permission to order Phil and the art department around. The new NFT initiative is in the works, and as they’re leaving, Rachel whispers to him, “This seems super shady.” “You’ll get used it,” Brad replies.
This is an interesting dynamic because, Brad and Rachel seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. Brad is always dealing in some sort of shady business, looking to make as much money and have as much power as possible. Meanwhile, Rachel often breaks out her soapbox to talk feminism or morality or something else Brad undoubtedly disapproves of. Ashly Burch warned us at SDCC that Rachel is going to have an existential crisis this season. We saw the beginnings of it with her admission that she finds school difficult and everyone hates her there, and it only seems to be continuing with this downward trajectory into Brad’s lair. Let’s just say I’m extremely curious to see what happens next with this dynamic duo.
But what about the Mythic Quest movie? David finally arrives at the restaurant, but Joe has already left. He was pissed when Jo admitted that David was stuck in traffic, but not all hope is lost! Jo told her namesake that David was a widower and that’s why he was going to be late. David doesn’t approve of this method…until he finds out that it worked. Joe Manganiello is willing to sit down with David again to talk about the script—after the funeral, of course.
So, all ends well with the adaptation project in Mythic Quest season 3, episode 4. They managed to bag a beefcake for their movie, and Jo seems pretty excited to be an assistant producer, even though it’s still technically a fake title. My question is whether this will affect her redemption arc. Hollywood holds a lot of power for those strong enough to claim it, and considering Jo already has an addiction, I’m curious to see if this pushes her off the deep end, or if she’ll manage to keep her hands clean throughout the process. Is it weird I can’t decide which one I’m most excited to witness?