Not having the first season on DVD, I think I like this season better. There are fewer crap characters, and there's a lot of very good, very realistic drama. Oddly, I feel kind of bad for Hyperstrike and Parthenon. They've sailed through most of the challenges to the point where it's actually kind of hard to empathize with them. They've never failed, they've never broken down. I haven't seen the first episode, but I think the only time either one of them was up on the chopping block for elimination was when Hyerstrike was stuck with the whiny Mr. Mitzvah in a team-based exercise. I fear that, unless they stay perfect for the rest of the show, as soon as they're on the chopping block, they'll lose to the sympathetic-yet-easily-distracted Hygena or to the bossy-yet-well-meaning Defuser. Still, I'm glad the gay hero didn't get eliminated on the first episode this time. And he's cute, too.
In other WWTBASH news, Feedback got totally gypped in Megasnake. In retrospect, I suppose I shouldn't have expected him to star in a movie, but it's a SciFi Channel cheesy monster of the week movie. Surely they can't make it much worse by putting a nonactor in a starring role, least of all the guy with enough charisma, talent, and good nature to win at this game. As it was, he was onscreen for about 30 seconds.
Anyone who's seen me over the past week has seen me carrying around my copy of Changeling: The Lost. I love this game. The primary reason for this is simple. I'm crazy. Well, maybe not crazy, but idiosyncratic and irrational, sure. There are undeniable weirdnesses in my history and the way I live my life. I remember being very frustrated and unhappy as a child, yet it's really hard to pinpoint a lot as the cause of this unhappiness. And I can't help but wonder: If I can't identify the cause of my unhappiness, was it justified? Were the hurtful things that were said to me said to hurt me? Or did I take them the wrong way? Am I idiosyncratic because they hurt me or were they able to hurt me because I am idiosyncratic?
Like me, the characters in Changeling are idiosyncratic and irrational. They see monsters and ogres and dragons and winos and baristas and can't help but wonder whether all of the things they see are real or not. Their memories of their captivity in Arcadia are fragmented and nonsensical. "Did I do this to myself?", they wonder. Are my thoughts of Arcadia really memories or just dreams and nightmares? Why don't they all add up? Is the person who's been living my life while I've been gone the real me? Am I the fake made of straw and glue and dead rabbits' feet? Am I still in Arcadia? Am I stuck in some delusion? How severely will my Keeper punish me when he finds out I've been daydreaming?
Madness is one theme of Changeling, and Beauty is another. There is beauty in Arcadia. It is the beauty of its soft flower beds and the sweet ambrosia of its wines and the airless ice-covered peaks of its mountains. But those flowers are fed on the blood of children, that ambrosia is brewed from the tears of the beaten, and those mountains are littered with the bodies of those who froze to death. The beauty of Arcadia is blood red. There is also beauty in the normal world that goes unappreciated every day. There is beauty in the shyness of a little boy wanting to kiss his first love. There is beauty in the fiery rage of a drunkard too dizzy to control his own actions. When one has been through so much: taken in the prime of one's life, beaten until their bones harden to stone, modified by instruments of painful cruelty and more painful ecstasy, escaped through sheer force of determination and longing to be home, only to find that your self and the rest of the world have diverged so much, there is no more home for you.
To weep at the exquisite beauty of everyday things, to never truly know the difference between reality and your imagination, to be able to walk the dreams of others but to lose yourself in them, to constantly long to be with your loved ones who have been living with some other you the whole time...that is what it is like to be Lost.