Friday, May 22, 2015

Elementist

[This is a rather old free write of mine that I've been trying to refine. You can check out the original rendition on the Slam here and here]

Seethe…" Naiad reached out her hand towards the hunched figure, already feeling the warm coolness of her twin's presence tingling in her fingers.
  Warm coolness… It was sort of going against itself, and yet that was the best way Naiad could describe being with her twin. Without him, she felt… lukewarm. Sometimes dizzy. Sometimes unbearably cold. But with him set a feeling of security. It warmed her, and yet not so uncomfortably that she would wish she could even temporarily go back to cold. So, a warm coolness is what she called it.
  Just as her fingers were about to touch her brother on the shoulder, he turned around sharply. The alley was lit in orange flames as his arms were set ablaze. Naiad leapt back, startled. The ten year older version of her brother glared furiously at her, perspiration gleaming on his face, his orange red eyes glowed with almost animalistic fury.
  "Who are you, what do you want with me?" he growled. The happy-go-lucky tone Naiad associated with Seethe was gone, leaving only what sounded like an older version of Seethe's dangerous anger tone.
  Naiad just looked at him, knowing that desperation was reflected in her eyes. The flames slowly waned until there was only a single ball of flame in one hand, and Seethe's heavy breathing slowed. The glow in his eyes died, showing them to be permanently reflecting anger, depression and sadness. Mostly the first two. They lacked the carefree gleam of the seventeen year old Seethe Naiad knew and cared for.
  "Seethe," she whispered.
  Seethe's eyes narrowed and he stepped forward, holding the ball of fire in her face. She didn't recoil, recognizing the very rarely used form of intimidation. Seethe liked playing with his younger brothers, but it never worked on Naiad. Ever. Naiad was able to see her brother's face better now. His face was set in what seemed to be a permanent scowl, and was actually lined slightly, not to mention the light, red shadow beard on his face.
  "Yeah," Seethe muttered, voice low. He closed his fist over the fire, extinguishing it, and turned away. "You're Naiad."
  "Of course I am!" Naiad said, for some reason feeling hurt. "Seethe, this may sound hard to believe, but… I didn't disappear ten years ago. I just accidentally fell through time… To this." She sagged.
  "No," Seethe growled. "I can believe it." He turned on his ten year younger twin sister, glaring furiously. "You know why?" He set his hand ablaze, which actually succeeded in making Naiad back off at the inhuman pain and fury glaring at her in his red eyes. "This is why. I can control fire!" He let out a short, slightly maniacal laugh. "Why not believe you fell through a time hole or whatever? Naiad, this isn't a gift. Do you know why? Do you know why?" he roared, advancing on his sister.
  Naiad backed off, and she could feel tears piercing her eyes. "No… No, Seethe, why?"
  Seethe sagged, and the fire diminished into a sad candle-like flicker in his palm. The bright glow in his eyes died to a dull orange. "Because I wasn't able to stop you from disappearing. We are being hunted down by SCAR, and-and I wasn't able to protect my little brothers. Zephyr… I don't know where he is. Tor… They broke him, Naiad. He's in-"
  "-a mental facility." Naiad nodded, shivering. Tears started to roll down her cheeks. "I know."
  Seethe gave another short laugh, but it sounded more genuine. "At least you haven't changed." He closed his fist, and the flame hissed as it was extinguished. "Always being the leader type, looking out for us… No, you haven't even aged."
  "But you have," Naiad said, looking at him. As the tears fell from her face, she collected them in her hands, rolling the small, salty water ball in them. Her eyes glowed a sad, dull blue. "And you were only seventeen yesterday. But now you look… old." She laughed slightly. "You don't shave much I can see, and your voice is all low, and… Well, I miss you. My you."
  Seethe's eyebrow raised a bit. "Newsflash, people change. Why are you here, Naiad?"
  "What do you mean?"
  "Well, obviously you've seen Tor and Zephyr. And now me. Why?"
  Naiad narrowed her eyes slightly, and the ball of water in her hands extended a little, became a fresher, ocean blue. The glow in her eyes brightened. "You said you didn't know where Zephyr was. Don't you want to know?"
  "No," Seethe said shortly. "I could find him myself if I wanted to. No matter how paranoid he is now, he's still no good at hiding. But what's the point?"
  "The point?" Naiad forced herself to keep calm, but an anger was beginning to build in her, and the water was starting to make wave sounds as it built in force and power. "What happened to you Seethe? Besides the obvious. I was leader, yeah, sure. But it was always me and you, no matter what stupid arguments we had, no matter what we disagreed on, it was always us. We lead the team. We cooked up plans. And the one thing we had in common? We never, ever abandoned our family, no matter what."
  "And we didn't!" Seethe snapped. "I didn't! We looked everywhere for you! Even broke into SCAR! Heck, we even theorized going to the center of the earth, and looking for you there! Five entire years. Then, Tor got taken. It took everything to find him. And when we did, he was powerless, and terrified out of his mind!"
  "So, that was it?" There was a spiteful laugh in Naiad's voice. "Dump him into a mental facility, and then you and Zeph go out on your separate ways! Free bird!" She threw the water in Seethe's face.
  The older elementist coughed and sputtered, staring at her with a childlike surprise that hadn't been there for almost ten years. This snapped Naiad out of her anger. The bright blue glow in her eyes died, and she lowered her head.
  Slowly, she turned, and walked away.
  Seethe, apparently snapping out of his shock, started shouting at her, practically screaming really. "Yeah! Run off, just like we did! You're really one to talk, sister!" The way he spat that out made her heart clench. "And guess what? You're gonna have to deal with it! This is the future, and you can't change that, can you? So grow up! Get a life! And for once just leave me alone!"
  She heard him stalk the opposite direction. Then, she saw a couple flashlights shining around the corner, and she froze. "Hey, what's going on over here?" shouted security.
  Naiad turned and ran silently away, carful not to accidentally follow the man who she had once known as her twin.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Surprises, Superheroes, and Sweet Sixteen

There was only one other time I cried during my birthday. A few days before fourteenth birthday, two years ago, I was attending youth group. When we finished our discussions and went to get some desert. I saw the small mountain of blueberry muffins with the candle on top. I saw the birthday card with my name on it right next to the muffins. Our youth leader asked who's birthday was coming up in a few days. I had already started crying when I saw the candle on the muffins, and I was giving lots of happy tears when I raised my hand in response to our youth leader's question.
I don't recall when anyone has ever thrown me a full on birthday party, surprise or otherwise (except for those muffins on my fourteenth). When I say birthday party, I mean a happy fun gathering with both friends and family, eating dinner together, doing an activity together. Since both my parents are introverts, they aren't really in the party throwing business. Our family usually has a default birthday schedule, in which our family goes out to eat at a big restaurant of the birthday-person's choice, and then watches a movie (either at the theater or at home with a new movie we bought because of the special day). There might be a mild 'party' but nothing too extravagant. I admittedly complained a little about this when I was younger, because I always organized big parties, both for myself and for my siblings, none of which ever, ever fell through. I was happy about our family celebrations, but I was disappointed that my big party plans weren't used. I came to terms with the fact that my parents just weren't really par-tay throwing type people soon enough, and I was just happy with whatever we had.
So I was not, in any way, expecting what happened to me for my sixteenth birthday yesterday.
Our family is moving soon, so things have been pretty lax in terms of home-school and stuff. We still need to clean and pack stuff up, as well as continue to keep up with stuff like dance classes and drama classes. Other than that, though, things are pretty lax (for us kids at least).
May 20th was more or less like any other day, except, of course, for the continuous smiles and teasing age questions and observations from the family. The day started a little hazily for me, and I remember mom waking up myself and my sisters, and Abi (our dog) excitedly sniffing me and trying to make me get up. Once my eyes were open, which felt like a serious feat (I felt as though my eyes were swollen), mom said something like, "Today is a special day."
My mind was moving über slow, and I was hardly remembering exactly why  today was a special day.

Mom: "Nadi, you look different."
Me: [words slurring] "Um, is it because I have some serious shadows under my eyes?"

By then I had figured it out, and my mind was starting to feel way better. Neena (what we call our grandmother) had made us donut holes for breakfast, exclusively for my birthday, and after our family daily devotions (we're reading through the book of Esther at the moment), it was time for me to open presents.
Myrddin and Judah (Hawk and Lion) had collab-ed, and gave me an awesome Thor hammer keychain. It even has the engraving 'Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses the power of Thor,' on it. And guess what, bros… I'm worthy.
Raewyn (Dove) gave me an adorable little blue teddy bear. I'm calling him Leo. I think it's short for Leokritos. His left eye is a little broken, so he's gonna get an eye patch soon. I'll ask Raewyn to help me.
My grandmother gave me two AWESOME t-shirts. One with the Avengers on it (specifically, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk), and one with the TMNT on it (specifically, the 2k14 guys). It was kind of weird when I unwrapped it because as soon as I saw what was on the T-shirts, I started to say 'oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…!' over and over again as my nerd girl side could hardly accept the awesomeness of what had just been given to me. Thanks, Neena!
Mom and Abba both gave me a sweeeeeeeeet denim vest, which remarkably fits me! It's fantastic! My mom was really happy that she had found me a vest that actually fit me.
The rest of the day went on relatively normal. The plan was for us to go to a place called Johnny Rockets, which is an American 50s diner themed restaurant, for dinner. We had never actually been to the place before, but we had seen it while at the mall. Apparently one of the big things at that place is the employees occasionally delivering a dance number to some loud 50s or 80s song. Why 80s music, I'm not sure. Anyway, mom was really intent on me going to an American restaurant. I was perfectly fine with that.
So, again, the rest of the day (leading up to dinner) went on relatively normal. I had to do some vacuuming, and packed more of my stuff away in preperation for moving next week. My grandmother brought me to Subway for lunch, and also to Starbucks for a drink. Most of the day, for me, was spent sitting at home, writing random story ideas, reading birthday greetings on Facebook, and just relaxing. Finally, we were off to dinner.
It was pretty loud at Johnny Rockets, and very American looking (except for the Asian patrons and employees). I liked the music and the food looked awesome. It took a long time to order, though, since it took awhile for my siblings to decide what they wanted, and even longer for my mother to decide. Finally, after me asking a few times if we were ready to order and saying I was hungry, we did order.
The food was excellent, and I got to get a vanilla shake. The best vanilla shake I have ever had, I think. It tasted exactly like how I would've expected a diner shake to taste (I'm not sure what my expectations were for that one, actually). We talked, mainly my siblings and I talking about DC and Marvel stuff, with a bit of Transformers and TMNT thrown in.
Myrddin (Hawk) observed that another table of people seemed to also be celebrating a birthday, and that the employees were preparing to throw their birthday ceremony for them. Mom suggested that she tell the employees that it was my birthday, and maybe they would do their dance number for me. Up until then, I just assumed that Mom or Abba had already told them, and when it seemed like they hadn't, I automatically said that Mom didn't have to tell the employees anything. I mean, does anyone else feel awkward when the restaurant employees start announcing to the world that it's your birthday?
Then they employees started shouting an announcement for a birthday, and then they shouted MY name. It looked like the entire staff was coming over with party hats, singing a hip version of Happy Birthday. They even had HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NADI written on a plate in ketchup. I remember yelling 'MOM!' with a mixture of amusment and exasperation, and my mother exclaiming 'What?' in response. Then, I saw the enormous sparkler not far off, sticking out of a cake.
It was an odd experience. I remember feeling happily awkward as the employees sang Happy Birthday, and the music bass rattled through my chest. I saw the people walking over with the cake, and I didn't recognize them at all. They were wearing Batman masks. I just assumed they were other employees who had guessed that I liked Batman (though I was wearing my new Avengers shirt at the time). Then, as the cake and the people with the cake got closer, I recognized them.
It was some very good friends of our family, and I was completely freaking out. You know, these are those friends that practically are part of your family, so it's always good to see them. And I was in no way expecting to see them that day.
I was trying to hold back my happy tears in case somebody was afraid that I was upset, but goodness to gosh, I was in no way upset. I was crazy surprised, and crazy happy. After we all finished eating dinner, watched the employees dance to 80s songs, and ate the Captain America themed birthday cake, we went off to a DC Comics store to hang out for awhile (because the lot of us are complete geeks). There I saw a whole lot of fangirl-mode inducing stuff, and my parents were finally able to buy me a good new pair of shoes. My sneakers have been wearing out, and it's hard to find good shoes my size here in Malaysia. Then, BAM! a fabulous pair of converse-style Batman sneakers that fit me fantastically. 
Thus, my second surprise birthday party, my second cry-worthy birthday celebration, and probably one of my most memorable birthdays ever. Thank you, to both my friends and my family. That was a totally sweet sixteen!

(By the by, I should probably mention I'm going to get a Captain America hoodie as a birthday gift from my friends, which is AWESOME! It's just gonna take awhile to get from America to here, but I don't care. I'm happy).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

OtGW review: The Old Grist Mill

[WARNING! This post contains spoilers for Over the Garden Wall! If you have not seen the series, SEE IT! Then you can come back and read this]

"Our long bygone burdens mere echoes of the springs. But where have we come and where shall we end? If dreams can't come true, then why not pretend?"
The episode opens with a frog playing the piano. As a voice sings Into the Unknown, several cryptic scenes are shown. A girl sitting in the woods with her dog. When a bird flies out of the bushes, she looks up, slightly aggravated. A black cat riding through a corn field in a pumpkin filled cart drawn by giant turkeys. A circus filled with people watching the performers. A couple wooden toys. A man looking up at a painting of a beautiful woman. A shadow rushes past him, and he turns, startled. A woman snipping off a loose thread from a quilt using bird shaped scissors. Two boys setting a wind up riverboat down a small stream. A young woman standing in front of a magnificent display of human bones. A fish fishing. A pair of small hands picking up a rock with a silly face painted on. A girl looking into the woods as an old man chops wood behind her.

"Somewhere lost in the clouded annals of history lies a place few have seen. A mysterious place called the Unknown."

"Uh, Greg? Where are we?"
"In the woods?"
"I mean, what are we doing out here?"
"We're walking home."
Wirt and Greg walk through the woods. All the while, Greg voices off all the names he thinks would be bad for his frog. Before he can finish, Wirt suddenly takes notice of the fact that they are in the woods. Greg seems pretty nonchalant about it, whereas Wirt panics, wondering why they are out there in the first place, and saying that they must be lost. Greg tries to reassure Wirt by suggesting that he leave a trail using candy in his pants. Wirt says no, and begins to go into a dramatic speech, when the two of them hear the sound of wood being chopped. Despite Wirt's hesitant worries, Greg goes to investigate, much to the aggravation of the former.

"We should ask him for help."
"No, we should not ask him for help."
Turns out, a woodsman is in the woods. The boys watch as he gathers up the wood he's chopped, and Greg suggests asking him for help. Wirt is against that idea, and the two get into a petty shushing battle until they notice that the woodsman has left. A female voice then offers her help.

"A bird's brain isn't big enough for cognizant speech…!"
"Hey, what was that?"
"I mean- I'm just saying you're-you're weird, like, not normal. I-I mean- Oh, my gosh, stop talking to it, Wirt…"
"'It'!?"
Much to Wirt's shock, the voice is coming from a bluebird. The bluebird is offended at Wirt's shock, and Greg continues to set out his candy trail. Suddenly, the woodsman appears nearby, demanding to know what Wirt and Greg are doing in the woods. The bluebird doesn't hesitate to leave the vicinity. The Woodsman says that the woods are no good place for the boys to be in, declaring that 'the Beast is afoot here'. Wirt (in a bit of a panic) tells the Woodsman that they don't know anything about a beast and that they just want to go back home. Hearing that they are lost, the Woodsman grimly welcomes them to the Unknown. "You're more lost than you realize."

"Everyone has a torch to burn, and this here's mine."
The Woodsman brings Wirt and Greg to a small house and mill, where he says he found the house abandoned and repurposed its mill for his own needs. He assures Wirt that he and Greg should be safe in the house while the Woodsman does his work. Greg continues to lay out his candy trail and Wirt hesitantly asks what the Woodsman's work is. Apparently, the Woodsman goes out and chops down Edelwood trees, which he grinds into oil. He uses to oil to keep his lantern lit.

"…the Beast haunts these woods, ever singing his mournful melody, in search of lost souls such as yourselves…!"
"To help us?"
"No. Not to help you."
Wirt tells Greg that he has concluded that the Woodsman is a nut job. He weighs the pros and cons of running away, even considering knocking the Woodsman out. Greg listens to Wirt readily, and just as readily tells the Woodsman what they're talking about when asked. The Woodsman says that the boys are free to leave at any time if they so wish. At the same time, he warns them that 'the Beast' haunts the woods, searching for lost souls. The Woodsman promises to try and help the boys after he is finished with his work (that is if the boys are still around when he comes back), before entering the mill.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm just like… a boat upon a winding river. Twisting towards an endless black sea. Further and further, drifting away from where I want to be, who I want to be…"
"Oh, I didn't know that. Did you know that if you soak a raisin in grape juice it turns into a grape? It's a rock fact!"
"You're not helping at all."
Wirt realizes that they could leave if they wanted to, and tries to decide between staying and leaving. As Gregory walks around, playing with various objects around the house and responding to Wirt's talk with the occasional 'yeah!' and 'uh-huh', Wirt considers staying in the house. Since there was a talking bird, he logically deduces that there might be 'a beast'. Wirt then slips into anther dramatic monologue, which is broken by Gregory, who happily delivers a 'rock fact'. (Apparent 'facts' that come from a rock with a silly face painted on, which Greg carries around in his pouch). Wirt irritatedly states that Greg isn't helping, and tells him to go play with his frog. Greg then realizes that his frog has gone missing, and exits the house to look for him. Greg promises Wirt that he will be back soon to hear his plan.

"You have beautiful eyes…!"
Greg searches around the house for his frog (which he has currently named Kitty). Peering into the mill house, he spies the Woodsman grinding Edelwood branches in a machine and collecting the oil that comes out. Greg dismisses this as gross and accidentally falling into the barrel when going to search for his frog again. Turns out, the frog is in the barrel, and Greg is happy to see it. Greg then hears the sound of growling, and worriedly calls out, wondering if it's Wirt or maybe even his frog that making the sound. Then, an enormous wolf with glowing eyes sticks it's head in the barrel, frightening Greg (who compliments its eyes). Wirt is still inside the house when he hears the roars of the wolf. He worriedly wonders what's happening.

"Greg, why did you do that?!"
"That was your plan, remember? Knock him out!"
"No! Bad plan! I told you to forget that plan!"
The Woodsman comes back into the house, demanding to know what happened and where Wirt's brother is. Wirt replies with a shrug. Then, Greg comes stumbling into the house, a little woozy and shocked, but otherwise perfectly fine. The enormous wolf comes bursting in after him. Wirt immediately assumes that the wolf is 'the Beast', and the Woodsman warns the boys to stay back. Before he can defend himself and them, however, Greg knocks his hat off. This leads to the Woodsman tripping, falling, and hitting his head. When Wirt demands to know why he did that, Gregory proudly declares that he was following Wirt's plan. As Wirt admonishes Greg for following the 'bad plan', the wolf approaches him threateningly. Fortunately, Greg distracts the wolf by hitting its rear with the handle of the Woodsman's axe.

"He's eating your candy."
"I wonder if he ate my whole candy trail that lead to this mill."
"Ah! Greg, you lead the Beast right to us with your candy!"
Wirt and Greg run out of the house and try to hide out in the mill, but the wolf is already after them. Wirt throws a bag of potatoes at the wolf and Greg throws some more of his candy. To Wirt's surprise, the wolf gobbles up the candy, and Greg wonders if it ate his entire candy trail. Wirt admonishes Greg for leading 'the beast' to them with his candy, before the two of them are forced to run again.

"Oops."
Wirt and Greg run up onto the roof of the mill, but the wolf manages to follow them there as well. Wirt tells Greg to give the wolf the rest of his candy. Unfortunately, Greg has run out of candy. Fortunately, he's able to use a piece of candy that he stuck to Wirt's cloak early on, and tosses it off the roof. The wolf leaps down after the candy, and gets caught in the mill wheel.

"Wirt, he spit up that turtle and now he's my new best friend!"
The entire mill begins to collapse, and Wirt and Greg are forced to jump into the river. The wolf is forced by the pressure of the mill wheel to throw up a black turtle, the same black turtle that Greg had stuck a piece of candy on earlier in the episode. Wirt climbs out of the river, Greg and Greg's frog coming out after him, riding on the back of a dog. Apparently, having spit up the turtle, the wolf was now reverted down to its true form: a farm dog.

"The dog!? That is not the Beast! The Beast cannot be mollified like some farmer's pet! He stalks like the night. He sings like the four winds. He is the death of hope! He steals the children."
The Woodsman (now conscious and outside the house), mourns the loss of the mill and more so the loss of all the oil stored in it. Wirt tries to comfort him by pointing out that 'the beast problem' was solved. The Woodsman strongly and angrily declares that the dog was not the Beast at all, stating that the Beast cannot be taken care of so easily. As the Woodsman descends into a depressed mutter, Wirt rebukes Greg for 'messing up', blaming him for the destruction of the mill. Immediately, the Woodsman admonishes Wirt, saying that as the eldest, Wirt should take responsibility for both his and Greg's actions. Wirt stammers an apology, halfheartedly suggesting that he fix the mill (at the same time acknowledging that he probably can't).

"Beware the Unknown! Fear the Beast! And leave these woods! If you can."
"Right, yeah, got it."
"And you, little one, you look after that frog. Give him a proper name."
"Ok!"
The Woodsman rejects Wirt's offer, instead pointing them north and telling them to search for a town. Additionally, he warns them of the Beast, the woods, and the Unknown in general. And after the Woodsman tells Greg to looks after his frog and give him a proper name, the boys leave. Scene change, and the two brothers continue to walk on through the woods. Greg happily declares that he'll call his frog 'Wirt', which Wirt says will be rather confusing. The two of them exchange names as they continue walking on, and a bird watches them from above

(Sort of) REVIEW TIME!

In medias res. It's a Greek phrase meaning 'in the middle of things', often referring to the beginning of a story which begins 'in the middle of things'. The story starts without any explanation of what's going on, things usually being explained later on in the story in the form of the main character speaking of their adventures. Epics such as the Odyssey or the Aneiad are the best examples of this.
This is how this episode starts, in medias res. And I love that, I love that you know as much as the boys do. The episode starts with them walking in the woods, without any explanation, and even Wirt doesn't seem to know why they are in the woods. It is a really good plot device if you know how to use it right, and this episode does it right.
This episode sets off the mood very nicely. The entire episode takes place at night, giving one a sense of apprehension, a fear of what might be hiding in the dark. And of course the sense of childlike helplessness, the fear of being lost in the woods, is a primary tone in this episode. In the end, when Wirt and Greg walk through the woods under the bright light of the moon, there is a lighter tone, more calming and secure. [EDIT] Something that I didn't notice until later, but this episode is a sort of 'imitation' of Hansel and Gretel. Two children, siblings, lost in the woods. A trail of food. Candy is involved. This is most likely intentional, and there might be deeper meaning, but I'm on a time crunch right now… [END EDIT]
I loved the music in this one, especially the opening song Into the Unknown. I had it stuck in my head for the longest time. Into the Unknown is probably my second favorite song, after the song Over the Garden Wall, which will be showing up in a later episode.
This episode introduces all the main characters and their basic personalities. Greg is happy-go-lucky and childishly oblivious. Wirt is dramatic, pessimistic, and self-absorbed. The Woodsman is shady, but helpful, if seemingly bonkers, but in a way that draws a sort of sympathy from the viewers; obviously this guy has been through a lot. The bluebird, who we find out in the next episode is named Beatrice, only shows up briefly in this episode and we don't really know much about her because of it. But she's a main character!
The animation is very clean in this episode, though there are a few moments where Wirt seems oddly proportioned…
Speaking of Wirt, I liked how the Woodsman called him out on not being responsible as a big brother. I remember first watching this series and thinking that Wirt was odd as older brothers in the media go. He doesn't seem too concerned about Greg's well being. He hesitates out of worry and fear when Greg runs off, he doesn't go looking for Greg when he hears the wolf crashing around. On the other hand, he does have Greg on his mind while in danger. Sure, he doesn't exactly grab Greg by the hand and run, and he usually only thinks of Greg once he himself is out of danger. He did take the Woodsman's axe away from Greg saying '[he was] too little to have it, anyway'. Still, Wirt is not exactly brother of the year. He's easily annoyed with Greg and obviously doesn't want to have to deal with watching over him… Admit it, older siblings, you've felt this way. All older siblings need the occasional push back into reality: there are times when you have to be a parent and take responsibility for those younger than you. This 'calling out' has some degree of slow effect on Wirt, though it's most prominent in later episodes.
[EDIT] This DOESN'T mean that I think Greg shouldn't get blamed for some of his wrongdoings. This DOESN'T mean that I think older siblings should always take responsibility for the stupid things that their younger siblings do. Believe me, I think that I would be a way more bitter older sibling if that were a common philosophy in my family. However, parents get admonished if their little kid steals candy (even if the parents aren't the ones who stole it) because the parents either didn't teach their kids better, or because they weren't keeping a closer eye on them. My point is, Wirt was not willing to take responsibility for Greg. The Woodsman doesn't exactly admonish Wirt for Greg's mistake, he admonishes Wirt for not taking the responsibility of Greg's mistake, for not acting as an older brother should. [END EDIT]
My only complaint concerning this episode is the occasional weirdly animated scenes (like the one I showed above). It's mainly just characters seeming a little out of proportion. All in all, I give this episode a 9.7/10.
Welp, that's all for now. Stay tuned for my next review concerning the second chapter of Over the Garden Wall: Hard Times at Huskin' Bee.

[Oh, toad-ally check out this fanart of Gregory and his frog interacting with Mabel and Waddles of Gravity Falls by wittle-sana-chan on Deviantart]

TPC (Time Paradox Containment)

[awhile back I just decided to try and write a time travel story. I played with different ideas and eventually came up with 'John Doe: Time Traveling Cop'. That's basically the tagline for my idea. Anyway, here's one of my more thought out free writes. You can view a very, very slightly different version on the Slam here]

"We've been reviewing your optical files, Doe, and comparing them to your debrief. Now, we've noticed a couple inconstancies."
  "Really?" John raised an eyebrow. "Well, that's weird, because there shouldn't be." He smirked condescendingly, twirling in the chair.
  "Hell right there shouldn't be!" Nicholas snapped. He groaned, passing a hand over his face. John's carefree attitude really could make itself prominent on about the worst times possible.
  "Ok, admittedly I abridged quite a lot, but come on…! That was like… thirteen different eras!"
  "Twenty-three," Nicholas said sharply.
  "Twenty-three," John corrected. "There, you see? I can't very well remember everything from twenty-three different eras."
  Nicholas slapped the file on the table. "Scarikat, Doe! It's not just about the inconsistencies. It's about the fact that all of your debriefing inconsistencies consist of the covering up of… questionable actions."
  John paused his chair twirling. He coughed, and continued twirling, but Nicholas could see that he was decidedly uncomfortable. "First, I like to think of it as truthful euphemism…"
  "Scarikat. This isn't a joke, John!"
  "Second," John said forcefully. "I would like to know exactly what qualifies as 'questionable' in the TPC. This isn't exactly the typical police force, beef."
  "Doe," Nicholas said warningly.
  "Ok. What exactly counts as questionable in the TPC, Agent Anderson?"
  "Well, for starters telling multiple people that you were a TPC agent is probably counted as questionable."
  John paused again, then continued twirling. "Alright, so I can see how that looks really bad, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Times. I mean, I was getting the snot beat, wrenched, cut and sometimes electrocuted out of me… most of those times. And it's not like I was giving those guys information that was important or that they believed."
  "You can't be killed, Doe, and--"
  "What?" John snapped, stopping short and banging a fist on the table. "I can't die, so I should just go with the electrical flow? I've got news, Nick! Torture isn't meant to kill a guy, it's meant to make him talk! I didn't give hell about dying, Nick, just being tortured for the rest of my regenerative life!"
  "And," Nicholas shouted back, his own temper starting to rise. "Telling a couple guys with knives that you're from the future doesn't count as not important information!"
  "Not just a couple and not just knives!" John retorted, now standing up from his seat.
  "And what about the people who weren't holding a blade to your throat, huh?" Nicholas snapped. "Did you have to tell them?" John sank down into his seat, pressing a hand to his forehead. "There is a natural flow of things, Doe," Nicholas said slowly. "We can't afford to disrupt what's already happened."
  "Everything was bet as soon as Varus went to work," John said, groaning. "Look, Nick, how do we know that all this wasn't already the natural order of things, huh?"
  "We're getting off topic here, Doe." Nicholas opened the folder, and John groaned again. "We're trying to decide if you're still liable to be a TPC agent. Hell, we're trying to decide if you're still liable to be a cop."
  "Ok. Ok." John presented his palms, eyebrows raised condescendingly. "So what other questionable acts have I done that has the government's best lackey checking in on me?"
  Nicholas scowled. He knew John. Lackey wasn't just a derogatory term, it was one of his worst insults. He pressed a button on the side of the table and it sank into the ground. "We are going to be looking through your optical files, and I'll be manually debriefing you all throughout."
  "Still no respect for privacy," John said, leaning back in his chair.
  "This is serious, Doe. If the big guns decide you're out of the TPC, then you're staying here, in the depths of HQ. They don't want a possible rogue to go out on the streets with sensitive time-trav info."
  "Yeah, cause locking up the possible rogue definitely won't turn him into a revenge hungry maniac, assuming that he wasn't one to begin with."
  Nicholas sent the younger agent a look.
  "Fine. Serious."
  Nicholas looked at the file. "Computer, access three dimensional optical files of Field Agent John Doe under the Varus case. Level four authorization, Agent Nicholas Anderson: mary-one-zero-delta-zero-six-ramhorn-zero-four-foxtrot."
  He dropped the file onto the ground. The holo-emitter in the file activated, and the room became the perfect picture of Kelly Springs, Colorado, 2007. John turned to Nicholas with a smirk. "So… wanna solve a mystery?"