Last time we saw the gang behind the world's most popular MMORPG, Mythic Quest, lead engineer Poppy Li had been promoted to co-creative director—full partners with the comically narcissistic Ian Grimm. Actually, that was just the last time we saw them in the office. A special episode of Mythic Quest in May of last year, made during the pandemic, showed the team struggling to deal with the isolation and uncertainty of COVID-19.
Today, another special episode of Mythic Quest airs on Apple TV+, and it serves as sort of a bookend to the Quarantine episode. The team is back in the office (except for writer CW Longbottom, who is commuting remotely), but while things are looking up, there's still an awful lot of unpleasantness to shake off after a year in lockdown. Also, they're all dressed like complete dorks, at least according to the eternal anti-nerd Brad from Monetization.
Everlight, we learn, is an in-game holiday in the Mythic Quest game world, but it's not just celebrated by players in the MMORPG. At the game developer's office, the event is annually observed with fantasy costumes, decorations, and lots and lots of LARPing, as employees compete in a combat tournament with foam swords, axes, and arrows. The entire office is made to look like a fantasy village, and the sitting queen and king are Poppy and Ian.
The Everlight holiday centers around a cursed period in the Mythic Quest MMO's lore, when darkness fell over the land and everyone lost hope. The only thing that could break the darkness was the Blade of Light, and while the strongest warriors in the realm couldn't lift it, a small but brave fighter freed the sword and dispelled the darkness. A true underdog story.
If it's not already apparent, the Everlight episode of Mythic Quest is just as much about the pandemic as the Quarantine episode was. While life is slowly returning to normal, the Mythic Quest team are trying to find hope and cast away the darkness that's been hanging over everything for the past year. And it's not a surprise that Ian, who created the story of Everlight, doesn't even see it's a metaphor. The Sword of Light itself doesn't matter, only the light does: it's about finding hope in the dark. (Ian does eventually admit the sword is just a representation of his penis. "You can't defeat darkness with a dick," says Poppy.)
It is nice in this episode to see Ian and Poppy working side-by-side instead of at each other's throats as they usually are. About the only sticking point between them is that she doesn't get any of his pop-culture references (she's never heard of Kerri Strug, and when he mentions Rudy as an example of a classic underdog, she thinks he's talking about an employee). And even Brad eventually agrees to take part in the tournament so there can be a proper villain to defeat. Turns out Brad, despite being anti-nerd, knows his way around a fake foam sword.
Despite the pandemic being a big theme of this episode, it's still much breezier than the Quarantine show, which was pretty dang brutal emotionally. (In a good way. It was a really good episode.) There are some genuinely great special effects as the story of Everlight is brought to life near the end of the episode, and hey, Anthony Hopkins himself narrates the tale, so points for that.
Missing from Everlight, unfortunately, is a lot of the normal wacky workplace back-and-forth between characters that's the source of most of Mythic Quest's best comedy. There's just not much time for it, since the beginning of the episode consists of several minutes of animation, and there's an extended battle scene at the end. But hey, it's been a rough year. There's nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of fantasy.