The second season of the Apple TV+ show has concluded, but does it improve on the weaknesses of its first bout, or fall into the same trap?
Two months after it returned to Apple TV+, Mythic Quest has now wrapped up its second season, a season that we had hoped would not fall into the same trap of having high-highs and middling-lows, as its predecessor did. Over the course of the nine episodes that made up this season of the comedy show based on a fictional MMO developer, that situation has pretty much popped up again, making for a season that delivered some genuinely fantastic television, and a lot of mediocre filler in-between.
Without diving into spoiler territory, the storyline for this second season mostly sees Rob McElhenney's Ian and Charlotte Nicdao's Poppy at ends with one other, as the responsibilities of being co-creative directors ultimately creates a fissure in their relationship. Needless to say, this rift forms a strange dynamic in the Mythic Quest studio for a large part of the season, where the comedic tones of the show are instead replaced with petty squabbling, and frankly if it wasn't for the supporting cast of F. Murray Abraham, David Hornsby, Danny Pudi, and Jessie Ennis, the show would feel outright exhausting to watch at times.
If we take the sorts of humour and comedic performances we know are capable of McElhenney, this season's Ian is a disappointment. The large majority of the character's screen time has him acting as an emotional child, who can't help but be petty at every turn. There are moments where we see glimpses of the humour displayed over the latter episodes of season one, but for the most part, this season's Ian disappoints.
In fact, this even stretches to Poppy, who doesn't get all that much interesting screen time over the nine episodes, and spends a lot of what she does get engaging in pathetic childish arguments with Ian. Strangely enough, both Poppy and Ian feel like supporting characters themselves for a large part of the season, which makes the excellence of C.W. Longbottom, Jo, David, and Brad, who each bounce off each other incredibly well, all the more important.
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One of the best episodes of this season, and all of Mythic Quest for that matter, is a flashback episode focussing on a young C.W. and how he became the man he is today. The entire episode is packed with emotion, humour, and character and it's a prime example of what this show can be, even if it's only a brief stint in an otherwise run-of-the-mill series.
As for two of the other crucial characters, Ashly Burch's Rachel and Imani Hakim's Dana, the pair spend the season further fleshing out their identities. Over the nine episodes, Dana strives to become more than a game tester, and Rachel struggles with accepting this, ultimately seeking advice from other Mythic Quest employees to see where her future will take her. Neither character feels truly standout, but they don't disappoint either.
For a series based around a game developer, Mythic Quest season two does a fantastic job of steering clear of development and industry talk. There are moments when we get to further explore the studio's motion capture room (even getting a Snoop Dogg performance in it), and a few other occasions that remind you this is a show about a video game company. But, for the most part, that aspect of Mythic Quest seems to have taken a back seat, that is if you don't count the lazy scene transitions that use cinematic trailers from various completely different video games (be it Assassin's Creed Valhalla, World of Warcraft, or The Elder Scrolls: Online) to get from point A to point B.
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Still, Apple has splashed enough cash on this show for it to have high production qualities, enough to make watching Mythic Quest to not feel like a chore. But, it's nothing more than that. Season two is a perfectly fine show that doesn't really dare to frequently rise to the highs that we've seen it can achieve. It seems to be more than content with where it is, and because of that, you get a series of a show that won't really disappoint, but also will rarely ever surprise you or give you reason to harp on about it.
With this being said, the ending of which I won't spoil, does once again make me excited for the future of this show. There's a real opportunity for the creators to explore something daring and shake the mediocrity it is rooted in right now. But, if the last two seasons have taught me anything, it's that this will likely not be the case unfortunately. I'm hoping creators Charlie Day, Megan Ganz, and McElhenney can prove me wrong whenever season three appears on the Apple streaming platform.