Alright, Shannara Chronicles, we need to talk. No, don’t say anything. This is an intervention. You’ll have your chance to say something, but for now, I just need you to listen.
I’ve done my best to defend you, to say you are way better than people are giving you credit for. I think I’ve really gone out of my way in that regard. It isn’t just that I’m a long time fan of your dad, either, but because I genuinely want to believe that you can be better. When you go and do stupid shit, though, it makes it hard.
Don’t deny it. You did some really stupid shit this week. Like, the kind of shit I expect from The Real Housewives stupid. I just don’t understand what happened. You were growing up to be a good series, then this happened. If you’ve gotten mixed up with a bad crowd, you need to tell someone. I know you’ve been sneaking off to hang out with Game of Thrones, so don’t lie about that. That show is a bad influence, and everyone knows it.
Own up to your mistakes, Shannara Chronicles. Aspire to be better. I know you can do it. You’ve just got to put some effort in.
In case you guys can’t tell, I’m really disappointed in this episode. Let’s go ahead and look at it. I advise finding a nice, soft mitten to wrap your face palming hand in, though. Wouldn’t want to bruise yourself.
Picking up right where we left off, we follow Amberle into the Ellcrys, as she attempts to prove herself worthy of carrying the seed to the place no one has ever heard off, put it in the thing no one can explain, and thus, save the world. I’m sure it will be way easier than it sounds.
As she makes her way through the tunnel of roots, a storm is brewing outside, and Wil asks Allanon if the sacred tree really will kill Amberle should she fail. Allanon, in his most grave voice yet, informs that she will in fact die if she succumbs to her fear.
Now, I’m not usually one to nitpick, but is it really in the best interest of the fate of the world for the sacred tree that really wants to be reborn to kill the only person who can accomplish that, because she got scared? I mean, what they are facing is pretty damn scary, what with the demons eating people and all. Maybe lower the bar here a little, Ellcrys. Not saying the tree is being a dick, but the tree is being kind of a dick about all this.
Allanon decides to go feel up the Ellcrys a little, while it’s distracted and all. Before you call that weird, he is a Druid, so some plant lovin isn’t out of the question here. Instead of getting his groove on, though, he gets an unpleasant vision of demons eating everyone, because Amberle fails.
Oh, now the Ellcrys wants to take this shit seriously. Get it together sacred tree!
Back under the tree, Amberle wanders into a chamber, and sees a vine come growing towards her. I’m pretty sure I saw this in a hentai film at some point. Either that, or the Evil Dead have arrived, and Bruce Campbell is gonna chainsaw his way in there in a minute.
Considering what does happen, I think having Groovy Bruce bust in to save the day would have improved things. Sadly, the King does not make an appearance, and the vine just grows a flower. Which then spits in her face.
Seriously, I know I saw this in a hentai film. This is not going to end well.
Anyway, it causes Amberle to hallucinate. Which is where we get into our first facepalming moment this week. She finds herself back in the desolation of Arborlon she saw when she first touched the Ellcrys, the charred and devastated aftermath of the demons defeating everyone, then eating them. Then, Lorin shows up and seems mildly unhappy that she didn’t love him as much as he loved her.
That, in and of itself, wouldn’t be so bad. Lorin throws a sword into a tree, and she follows it, then turns back to see the Dread Pirate Wil, who proceeds to tell her that words aren’t enough. She needs to prove her dedication to the quest. In order to do that, she has to kill the Dread Pirate Wil, which she soon does, by accident.
Okay, look. This is all kinds of fucked up. First of all, we have three episodes behind us, during which we saw clearly, and were told clearly, that the only reason Amberle left Arborlon was to find some way of preventing her vision from coming true. That is the quest, and she has been dedicated to it from the beginning! Why does she now have to prove that? Besides Allanon, she’s the only one who has actually been completely dedicated to this from the start!
But the tree isn’t sure, Cain, I hear you saying. To which I reply, it’s a magic fucking tree! It should be able to tell! Apparently, it can’t, though, and needs her to prove herself by killing a fake Wil. All to show she will do anything, no matter how hard, no matter who she has to go through, to accomplish this. Which would be fine, if she did it any other way than by accident!
Which is what happens here. She tries to run away, Dread Pirate Wil grabs her and jerks her back, causing her sword to stab him. She didn’t make a choice, she made an oopsie! Yet, for some reason, the tree is super happy about this, and declares her fit to save the world.
Ya know, I can’t help but think that after a couple thousand years holding back demons, the Ellcrys is a little senile. It’s the only thing about this that makes sense. Even worse is that Amberle must know this is all a vision, and as such, not real. There was nothing at all stopping her from just going, “Oh. Okay.” and stabbing the shit out of Dread Pirate Wil. Not a single damn thing.
Yet, she frets over it, and refuses to do it, until it happens as a literal whoops moment, and the tree is all happy as shit. What the actual fuck? This is only the first such moment this week, too. Had it been the only one, I could have let it go, but nope, Amberle and the Ellcrys aren’t the only ones infected by stupid this week. We’ll get to that soon enough, though. For now, back to the show.
So, the Ellcrys is satisfied that the only person who can do this is capable of at the very least bumbling her way to victory and gives her the seed. That’s good, I suppose. Not like the world hangs in the balance or anything.
Outside, while all of this is going on, Allanon is playing peeping tom and notices she’s faltering. Wil sees that he looks more grim than usual, and asks if if he should be worried. Allanon does nothing to calm his fears, either. Somehow, I have the feeling that if Allanon ever had kids, he would tell them that there really was a monster in their closet. Just cause.
Anyway, since Amberle got the seed, the storm goes away, the sun comes out, and she emerges from the tree. Everyone is happy. Except Allanon, who sacrificed his ability to be happy long ago for reason that were too grave to speak of.
Eventine congratulates her, then apologizes to her for having to carry this burden while her uncles stand around looking baffled. Nearby, the Changeling also watches, disguised as a member of the Blackwatch. Sneaking away, it telepathically informs the Dagda Mor of this turn of events. Unsurprisingly, he wants the Changeling to kill her. Since communicating this way apparently makes it oblivious to what’s going on around it, when it finishes, it finds the tree keeper staring at it in surprise. Not willing to risk being uncovered, it kills the tree keeper.
Which takes us down one Asian Elf. Again, not doing yourself any favors here, Shannara Chronicles. We’ve got one Asian actor, and you kill him off, for what reason exactly? Ugh, this bothers me a lot for reasons we’ll get to later.
Later, Amberle sketches a stained glass window she saw in a brief vision after she killed the Dread Pirate Wil. It’s hint as to where the Bloodfire is located, but since the Codex Allanon and Wil retrieved a bit back has little to no information, there’s not much else to go on.
Naturally, this is when Prince Arion decides to take his dick out and start slapping it around some more. He claims Allanon is just a fraud and a liar, then decides to double down on that and claim he is as much an enemy to the Elves as everyone else in the world.
Now, before I paint him as too much of a dick, which he’ll manage on his own shortly anyway, he does point out that sending Amberle out into the wilderness, to a destination that may not exist, without a map or even protectors, is a monumentally bad idea. Which, is true. It is a bad plan. A terrible plan, actually.
Eventine basically tells him to shut the fuck up, though, because this is no time for logic! Ander offers up the name of someone who may know how to find the Bloodfire at this point. It isn’t totally out of the blue, mind you. In a nutshell, Ander is now a believer in everything Allanon has been saying, and recalls some guy from his younger days that use to tell stories of his adventures in the unknown areas of the world. Being on team Oh Shit now, he brings this up.
Eventine orders the dude found and brought to the Dray Woods immediately, then orders one of his soldiers, who we’ve not seen before, to escort Amberle, Wil and Allanon to meet him at first light. Allanon reminds everyone not to talk about Fight Club, and they break their huddle.
Amberle runs off and Wil follows her, asking if she’s okay. Cause he’s also caught a massive case of the stupids this week. Amberle points out that she almost died for the privilege of saving the Four Lands by going to who knows where, so not really. Which is reasonable.
He grabs her hand and tries to put the moves on her by being someone she can learn on, but she shuts that down. She’s got a big responsibility, but all Wil can see is that yet another woman doesn’t want his penis, and this makes him sad.
Outside the city, Cephelo decides to take a turn being a massive idiot by ordered Eretria to sneak into the palace of Arborlon, find Wil, steal the Elfstones, and bring them back to him. Since she is still the only person who hasn’t caught the dumbs, she points out how incredibly risky this plan is, and Cephelo counters that by threatening her.
Dude, I just… what the fuck? You did see the giant flying demon, right? Maybe it’s time to get your priorities in order here. I get that Cephelo is suppose to be short sighted and selfish, but this is just plain idiotic. Unless he’s catastrophically stupid, he should be able to figure out that the demon that attacked the Rover camp was looking for Amberle and Wil. Odds are, they are going to go try and stop more of these demons from attacking people, which will mean leaving the city. Just hang out and wait, then attack them in force under the cover of darkness.
Instead, he sends Eretria into the city full of soldiers and guards. Because that plan is sure to work better!
Fuck me, but why is everyone so stupid this week?
In the city, Amberle’s handmaiden, Catania, is laying some flowers on the casket of someone. I think it was one of the Chosen who died, maybe? I’m not sure. Anyway, she’s very sad about this person being dead for reasons that aren’t made very clear. Amberle is with her, and apologizes for all the terrible things that have happened, which Catania forgives her for before turning the topic back to something more important, Amberle herself!
Yes, when grieving the death of someone you cared about, it’s always important to make sure the Princess gets to be the center of attention for a while.
Think I’m joking? The rest of their conversation is literally about how scared Amberle was during the test of the Ellcrys, and that it showed her Lorin, who said she didn’t love him, which she didn’t. Catania, who is kneeling by the coffin of someone she loved, then comforts Amberle. For fucking real.
Why are you doing this to me, Shannara Chronicles? Why? I loved you! We were brothers!
Amberle’s pity fest is interrupted by a solider letting Commander Tilton know that the other minority Elf is dead. Naturally, Amberle abandons her friend in her time of suffering to go see. Tilton decides it might be a good idea to not let Amberle go wandering about so freely, what with a demon on the loose killing people.
Gee, good thing you thought of that, Tilton. It isn’t like somebody, oh, let’s say Allanon, has been saying that over and fucking over! Holy hell, I’m starting to hope the demons do eat these people! They’re all too stupid to live!
No time to deal with that, though. Wil has stumbled upon Bandon and decides to chat with him. Possibly getting shot down, or drugged and robbed, by every pretty girl he meets has made Wil realize he’s better off with guys. They shoot the breeze a bit before Wil offers to tend to his still injured wrists.
Oh, right. He has some nasty scabs from being chained up in the bondage cellar by his parents. Bandon freaks out, demanding Wil not touch him, ad Wil somehow makes a leap in logic that something happens when people touch Bandon. Just how he reached this conclusion, I’ve no idea, but I guess it’s because he read the script and knows he’s suppose to ask.
Anyway, this is when we learn that when Bandon touches people, he can see how they will die. Which, I admit, is a pretty shitty power to have. Wil decides to show him the sketch Amberle made of the stained glass window, and Bandon admits that when he touched Amberle before, he saw that, in the room where she and another girl, a human girl, will die.
It was Eretria he saw, by the way. Foreshadowing!
Speaking of Eretria, she has managed to sneak into the palace unnoticed, just happens to spot Wil on his way back from chatting with Bandon, and follows him to his room, where she surprises him by insulting him.
Elsewhere, Arion informs Eventine that the dude Ander mentioned, Katsun, I think, has been found and is on his way to the Dray Woods. I tried to look the guy up on the cast list over at IMDB, but he doesn’t seem to be included, so I’ve no idea if I’m spelling his name right, or if this is all going to end up being a plot thread that goes nowhere. I guess we’ll see.
Anyway, it’s time for Arion to to remind everyone he is a giant dick! Whee! Instead of passing this info on to Allanon like Eventine asks him to, Arion fumbles about for a moment, prompting Eventine to let him know that he is no longer going to abdicate the throne. Arion gets upset about this, and cites his accomplishments, to which Eventine just flat out asks what they were. When Arion can’t answer that, he claims he deserves the crown, and Eventine slaps him down by saying that no one deserves the crown, and thank God, somebody on this show hasn’t fallen into stupidity!
Eventine is right, by the way. No one “deserves” a crown. It is something that must be earned. It is a heavy burden, and comes with so much responsibility, that only those who have truly earned it should have it. He is a wise Dwarf, indeed.
Arion gets even more pissed, like the petulant little bitch he is. Eventine brings up Amberle’s father, and Arion actually pisses on his own dead brother. Eventine decides to end this conversation, and lucky for Arion, Ander arrives to inform them there is a problem. I say lucky for Arion, because I suspect he was about to get a taste of Eventine’s pimp hand if he didn’t shut the fuck up.
Back with Wil and Eretria, he wants to know how she got in the palace, which is a fair question, then threatens to call the guards. She asks him not to, and instead of calling the guards, he asks why, like a fucking idiot. This is the lady that drugged you, robbing you, put a knife to Amberle’s throat, and took you both hostage. Call the fucking guards, Wil.
Or, talk to her. That works, too. If your a fucking idiot.
Fuck it. Let’s all just get on team Dagda Mor at this point. The heroes are all too idiotic to root for.
She tells him that Cephelo sent her to steal the Elfstones, before confessing that Cephelo isn’t her real father. He bought her when she was young, trained her as a thief, and turned a blind eye as she fought to not get raped by his men. This gets to Wil, and I guess it would anyone with a trace of decency, but he refuses to give her the stones, no matter what.
Eretria tells him she doesn’t want the stones, she wants his help escaping Cephelo. She turns on the tears as she asks Wil to help her gain a new life, like he has. He tries to wave off his new life as less than stellar, but she goes full seductive, and after remembering that Amberle blew him off, Wil almost falls for it.
So, she kisses him, and he then does completely fall for it. Cause he’s fucking stupid. So stupid that he sleeps with her.
Elsewhere, Allanon and Amberle talk about the demon that killed the tree keeper. She wants to leave immediately, but Allanon tells her they can’t leave at all until the demon is found and dealt with. Otherwise, it’ll just follow and catch them off guard. Which is the second time I’ve seen someone do something smart this week. Everyone take a drink!
Allanon promises her that he and Wil can protect her as long as she’s in the palace, prompting her to ask where Wil is. Where is Wil? Oh, just sleeping off his post-coital bliss as Eretria steals the fucking Elfstones! Where else would he be?
This is the point where I actually find myself regretting recapping this show. I’ve got six more episodes to get through, and this series is going downhill fast. The only thing that gives me hope is the idea that things will improve after this episode. That maybe this was just one bad episode. We’ll find out, of course, but for now, I kinda want to run through hitting everyone except Eventine with a two by four.
Elsewhere, Bandon is wandering around and bumps into Catania, getting a vision of Eretria stabbing her to death. Catania tries to ask if he’s okay, but he gets all weird and tells her she’s going to die, then chases after her screaming for her to listen. He doesn’t look at all like a crazy person.
Oh, no, wait, yes he does. Totally like a crazy person.
What I can’t figure out is why Catania didn’t just turn to one of the many guards all over the place and ask him to arrest the weird guy screaming that she was going to die. I mean, the King knows there is a demon on the loose killing people, so surely he has guards all over the palace, right?
Oh, I guess not, since we don’t see a single one anywhere. That’s some tight security you got. And to make it all the more inane, Amberle is wandering around with only Allanon and Tilton guarding her, which somehow seems not at all safe, especially given that Tilton herself wanted Amberle under guard at all times. Guards that seem to be… not there.
For fuck’s sake. Okay, so Amberle bumps into Eretria, realizes it’s her, and runs off after her, leaving what little guard she has behind. I can only stare in shock at how eager all of these people are to fucking die. Except Eretria, who runs like hell.
Right past the Changeling, who hears Amberle shouting for someone to stop that Rover, even though there are no guards anywhere. It copies Eretria, and turns to face Amberle, who is completely alone and unguarded. In a city that is suppose to be on high alert. That a Rover managed to sneak into, before sneaking into the palace itself.
I take it back, Arion. Gnomes could have killed the Chosen, and not a single damn person would have noticed.
Anyway, the Changeling almost kills Amberle, but Catania runs into her, and Bandon manages to stop either of them from dying. The Changeling runs off as Allanon and Tilton catch up. Tilton gives chase, but the Changeling takes the form of a Blackwatch again, and just stops and stands there as Eretria enters the hallway.
The fucking demon is the only guard on duty anywhere to be seen. Really? Fucking really? God damn it.
Eretria almost makes it to a window, but is caught by Ander. She kicks his ass, and then is caught by Tilton. She’s dragged before Eventine, and Tilton tries to give Ander credit for helping, but Eretria pisses all over that.
She then proceeds to piss all over Elves in general. Amberle reminds us how she knows Eretria, what with all the robbing, kidnapping, and hostage taking. Eventine decides she must be guilty of killing the tree keeper, which she protests. Wil arrives to reveal that she also stole the Elfstones, before Eretria is sent to the dungeon, begging Amberle to help her the whole time.
Why, I have no idea. Even if she wasn’t being blamed for killing the tree keeper, and trying to kill Amberle, it isn’t like Amberle has a single damn reason to trust her. That aside, Wil gets the Elfstones back from her, and she is hauled off to jail.
Then Eventine gives Amberle her fathers sword. It kinda comes out of nowhere, but okay, I guess. This gives Amberle more time to be the center of attention by crying about how much she misses her father. Eventine compares her to her father, and I’m thinking Arion might not make such a bad king after all. There’s more touching moments between Amberle and Eventine, but I don’t care.
Then Amberle is with Wil and Allanon packing for the trip. Somehow. Wil tries to reason out that maybe Eretria wasn’t the one who tried to kill her. Amberle doesn’t give a fuck, and neither do I. The difference is, she leaves, and I’m still here. For some reason.
Allanon calls Wil out on having slept with Eretria, before getting all grave again. The two hatch a plan to catch the demon by making it think they’ve dropped their guard. Wil comes up with the idea to use Bandon to see a dead person’s final moments, and Allanon is grave about learning Bandon is a seer.
Hey, Wil, when someone tells you their deep, dark secret, maybe don’t go telling it everyone?
Bandon agrees and goes to fondle Lorin. Why Lorin? So Amberle can have more time to be angsty in front of everyone of course! Which she does, by struggling with the decision to let Bandon use his abilities to see who killed Lorin for a whole six seconds, before agreeing with even more angst.
Get eaten by demons. All of you.
Bandon touches Lorin, gets a vision of Amberle killing him, and from this, Allanon finally figures out it was a Changeling that killed the Chosen. Cause the fact they couldn’t find a damn demon in the palace wasn’t an even bigger hint.
Since they now know what they are up against, they set up a trap, using Eretria as bait to lure the Changeling out. Wil goes to try and talk her into it, but Bandon stops him to let him know about Eretria showing up in his vision.
With that done, Wil is joined by Amberle to go and talk to Eretria. Why Amberle goes along, again with no fucking guards, I don’t know, but whatever. This episode has given up on having anything like common sense at this point and is just running around trying to get to the next plot point. Which I am now also doing in an effort to make the horrible pain of watching this promising series crash and burn go away.
They offer Eretria her freedom if she’ll help out by pretending to be Amberle in an effort to lure the Changeling out. This is where Eretria catches the same case of stupids that the rest of the cast has come down with. Rather than saying yes, thank you, she taunts Amberle by revealing she and Wil slept together. Why, I have no idea, as it makes Eretria look utterly devoid of intelligence.
I mean, she’s facing an Elven court and a trial where she is most certainly going to be found guilty of breaking into the palace, at the very least. This will most definitely get her some hard time in an Elven prison. She knows this, because she pointed it out to Cephelo earlier. So, given the chance to escape that fate, she instead does everything she can to piss off the people offering her that way out.
It makes no damn sense, but then again, nothing this week has, so I guess it’s par for the course.
Amberle makes like she doesn’t care, even though we can clearly see she has massive feels for Wil, and despite blowing him off earlier, she is very heart broken. Again, because everything revolves around Amberle, I suppose we’re suppose to feel sorry for her, but I just can’t.
Anyway, Eretria agrees, is disguised as Amberle, and escorted to a safe place in the palace by a bunch of guards that would have been really handy to have around at literally every other point in this episode. Maybe they were all on their coffee break. Probably some kind of union rule. Who the hell knows.
Wil is with her to lend it authenticity, and once the two are alone, they bicker at each other for a bit before Tilton arrives to let them know they found a dead Blackwatch guard, which means the Changeling is impersonating one of those guys. This is where the episode really, fully lost me.
Allow me to explain. Don’t worry, this episode is going anywhere, both figuratively and literally. It goes back to the death of the tree keeper guy, and how it serves absolutely zero purpose to the story. They figured out there was a Changeling on the lose, not because Eretria maintains she didn’t try to kill Amberle, but because Bandon had a vision. They found out it was posing as a guard by finding the dead guard it was impersonating. So just what the fuck was the purpose behind killing the tree keeper?
Nothing. There was no purpose behind it. It doesn’t move the plot forward in any meaningful way. Eretria was accused of trying to assassinate Amberle, and killing the tree keeper. The first would have been sufficient, I think. I mean, generally, trying to murder a Princess is sufficient grounds for being imprisoned. So, the death of the tree keeper is rendered irrelevant by that. As is finding the dead guard.
So why kill him? No reason, that’s why. Just cause. That’s bad writing, no matter how you cut it.
Anyway, Wil realizes that their plan is not going to work, because the Changeling will know about it, what with it being a guard. How it never occurred to anyone that this was a possibility the moment they knew there was a shape shifter on the loose baffles me, but then again, that it took them so long to figure out it was a shape shifter baffles me even more.
Wil goes running off to warn Amberle, who is hanging out in the Ellcrys Sanctuary, surrounded by guards. Which makes me want to scream and throw things for reasons I’ve ranted about enough at this point. Wil arrives, but it’s actually the Changeling, who reveals itself in plenty of time for any of those soldiers to do something about it, yet they are all suddenly helpless. Then Allanon pops out and breaks the Changelings neck, saving the day just as the real Wil arrives and looks confused. That must be his default setting or something, I dunno, and at this point, I can’t be bothered to care.
With that done, Allanon orders the Changeling’s body burned and sealed in a magic jar he just happens to have. Eretria decides it’s time for her to bounce, but Amberle, proving that the heroes are always right, goes back on her word and orders Eretria thrown back in her cell, because she “doesn’t make deals with Rovers.” Except she did, and is now betraying that deal. Wow. Good thing the world is in the hands of someone so ethical, isn’t it?
Turns out, Amberle saw Eretria in her vision, same as Bandon did, which means she has to go with them to Safe Hold. Oh, and Allanon isn’t going, because he has to be ready to protect Arborlon. I’m assuming he means to protect the Ellcrys, in case the Dagda Mor tries to destroy it to prevent it being reborn, though nobody actually says as much, for some reason. The way it is presented makes it sound like he’s staying behind, just because he wasn’t in anyone’s vision, which would be stupid.
And so, we finally set out on the quest. Wil wants Allanon to come so he doesn’t have to deal with the womenz. Allanon gives him the worlds worst pep talk. Amberle and Eretria, who is in chains, snipe at each other, and Ander speaks for us all when he sarcastically says he feels great about this plan.
As they depart, Cephelo spies on them, proving that his entire earlier plan was stupid and he should have just done what I suggested and ambush them as they traveled. Then the Changeling gets over being dead and gets to be all menacing.
Finally, this is over, and I can weep for all the potential they pissed away.
To be frank, I have no idea if it was just bad editing, such as the scene with Eventine giving Amberle her dad’s sword, which appeared out of nowhere and felt terribly off, or bad direction that killed this episode. There was bad writing to be certain, but too much of what happens seems to happen for the sake of the plot alone.
The death of the tree keeper is senseless and serves no purpose in the story. Amberle is recreated as a selfish, snotty brat, wasting all the wonderful set up of the previous three episodes that showed her to be a capable, intelligent, and selfless hero. Not to mention her betrayal of her word to Eretria. Wil gets even dumber than usual, falling for Eretria’s tricks, and being all sad faced because Amberle is thinking on saving the world rather than giving him some lovin.
Mostly, though, is the simply egregious lack of guards being seen anywhere until the plot needed them to be seen, and even then they are woefully ineffectual. I just can’t wrap my head around that part.
Part of the problem, I suspect, was that they could have covered everything here in half the time, and ended up padding out the episode. At least, I hope that’s what happened. Otherwise, the writers fell down hard this week, murdering all the momentum and characterization they had done in order to create some completely unnecessary drama.
It is unnecessary, too. Demons are coming to destroy the world. You don’t really need much drama past that. That kind of covers all the drama angels. Forcing tension between the protagonists, when there was already tension there, does nothing but make them all look completely idiotic.
I can only hope that next weeks episode brings this series back up to the previous level it enjoyed. Otherwise, this is going to be a very difficult show to follow. So difficult, I may have to just check out rather than continue on. There’s only so much stupid I can handle, after all.