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HFTH Recap - Seasons 1 through 3


Hello. If you’re watching this recap, you might be in one of two boats: either you’ve listened to the entirety of this queer horror podcast, Hello From The Hallowoods, and you’d like a refresher before you jump into Season 4, or you haven’t listened to the whole show and you’d just like to step in with Season 4, which is aiming to be a new jumping-on point for listeners. We are 140 episodes in so far as of Season 3, and it’s only growing from here, so I can’t blame you.

So. What is Hello From The Hallowoods about at large? Well, it’s a pretty complex show about the lives of a lot of different survivors of a supernatural apocalypse called the Black Rains. Episode by episode, the various storylines come together to form one bigger plot. If you’re looking to dive into the world of Hello From The Hallowoods, you start at Episode One and listen all the way through, and if you’d like to do that without massive spoilers for the show and piece together all the red string board items on your own, stop listening to this recap now and go listen. This is a complex show, really meant to be slowly unraveled and relished over many an evening, as the world and all its pieces come together and weave in and out in a rare fashion. To try and reduce it down to a quick summary is a great travesty, does it no justice, and is ludicrously complicated.

Nevertheless, travesty and spoilers ahead.

Hello From The Hallowoods is mostly set in 2051, where a supernatural apocalypse called the Black Rains have happened. Side effects of the rains include transforming wildlife into new and grotesque forms, giving living people increasingly odd body mutations, and making them not quite themselves. There’s a lot of weirdness afoot, with ghosts, Frankenstein’s monsters, vampires, demons, werewolves, talking automobiles, swamp monsters, giant living museums and phantom radio towers showing up throughout the show, and most of it having a good reason to exist within the framework of the world. Most of the continental USA, rather than deal with this apocalypse, have signed up for Dreaming Boxes, a product by a company called the Botulus Corporation. In a Dreaming Box, you’re locked in a storage capsule where you can spend the rest of your life dreaming in a shared dreamscape environment called the Prime Dream.

But not you. You, dreamer, are still outside of the Dreaming Boxes, where other voices can get into your nightmares instead, like our narrator, an eldritch nightmare god named Nikignik. Nikignik presents you with many perspectives of apocalypse survivors centered around the Hallowoods, a blackwater affected region in northern Ontario, although his programming is frequently interrupted by dream-based advertisement from Botco. And it’s in these dreams of yours that the story of Hello From The Hallowoods takes place.

Season One

Our very first story introduces us to Jonah Duckworth, an older fisherman who’s helping his stepmother, Zelda, move from her flooded lakeside house. He falls through a mysterious cabinet in her basement and disappears.

Meanwhile, a person named Diggory Graves has woken up in an abandoned mansion. Diggory is made of the body parts of several other people, stitched together with a thick black thread, and has long knifelike fingertips. They encounter a small cabin haunted by the ghost of a trans boy named Percy, whose soul is tied to a piano with human bone inlay on the keys. At Percy’s request, Diggory burns the piano, but keeps a single piano key, unwittingly taking Percy’s spirit with them as they travel. Diggory keeps having visions of their past lives, and realizes that Percy is still with them when they return to the mansion where they woke up. As they continue to travel through the desolate wilderness, they begin to develop feelings for each other, culminating in a dance beneath the surface of a moonlit lake.

A girl named Riot Maidstone, daughter of a famous rock star slash political activist named Valerie Maidstone, has escaped from her mom’s apocalypse bunker to hang out with her long distance radio girlfriend, Clara Martin, who can see ghosts and has a ghostly dog named Dogsmell following her around. She rescues Clara from her parents, whose exposure to blackwater has turned them into scary monsters. They travel for a few months in an RV together, but get separated when the RV is attacked by the Instrumentalist, a relentless serial killer who is always preceded by the sounds of an orchestra ringing throughout the forest. Before the Instrumentalist can get her, she’s knocked out and taken by a huge undead creature named Big Mikey.

When body scavenger Hector Mendoza goes to stop in with his old friend Zelda, she tells him that her son Jonah has gone missing, and Hector sets out to track Jonah down. He confronts a horribly mutated piece of Ontario wildlife called a Fisher. He injures the Fisher by tossing a grenade into its den, but not before it kills one of his dogs, which is resurrected by the black water as an undead dog. Cute.

Meanwhile, a werewolf named Yaretzi finishes her mission of ridding earth of demons, by killing Tiff, an operative of the Industry of Souls, which is basically hell and an eldritch god all in one. Her mission is complicated when a new demon, Polly, arrives on earth a little later, and retrieves a sleeping skeleton in a giant deep dive suit named Mort from where he was resting on the sea floor. The demon Polly and the undead Mort trek along, and Polly reveals their mission; he’s on earth to kill someone who has too many souls, and Mort is the muscle. They adopt an undead seagull named Bert, and eventually when Yaretzi goes to try and kill him he forces her into a contract to help them. The group grows closer when Yaretzi is dragged off by a group of gun-toting apocalypse survivors called Fort Freedom, and Mort forces Polly to rescue her. They earn the ire of Rick Rounds, Fort Freedom’s leader who has a whole religious complex and thinks Polly is the devil.

At the Downing Hill Public Library, a magical school and sanctum of arcane knowledge, the mysterious Director Blackletter gives her prize pupil Olivier Song a mission - go help the Instrumentalist in exchange for some arcane books that he’ll lend to our collection. Olivier has the power to fly, create lightning, and make the weather worse thanks to an eldritch power in their bloodline. They also have the power to fail at their job a lot. Their first mission is to find and capture Riot for the Instrumentalist.

We are introduced to the Scoutpost - a community of apocalypse survivors who have a fort up in the northern pines. It’s led by Violet and Bern, a very cute old lesbian couple. Big Mikey trades the captive Riot to them in exchange for some books.

We learn that Valerie Maidstone, Riot’s mother, has been found and abducted by the Botulus Corporation after Riot left the bunker. Valerie encourages a group of activists called the Stonemaids, who are unhappy Botco customers who want to leave the Prime Dream, to keep fighting. Lady Ethel Mallory, Botco’s marketing boss, decides that she’ll need Riot in order to manipulate mom into behaving, so she sets out from California to the Hallowoods and takes her assistant Brooklyn Williams and new bodyguard Marco Torres with her.

The Instrumentalist mounts an attack on the Scoutpost to get his key back from Riot, and we see him for the first time - an old man who has learned to weaponize ghosts as well as religious trauma. We learn that the Instrumentalist is a somewhat senile and very homophobic old man named Solomon Reed. After the Scoutpost repels his attack, Solomon wanders through the forest and is picked up by Jonah’s stepmom Zelda Duckworth, who takes him for an innocent old man and invites him to her home.

He uses the ghost of his wife to knock her out, and kidnaps Zelda, taking her back to his home and tying her up in his basement, where he prepares to make her bones into an instrument. She doesn’t do too well down there, but makes friends with the ghost of a young boy named Al who is tied to a human-skin drum.

Jonah, meanwhile, keeps coming back to life in between tumbling through a green purgatory dimension, leaving a string of evidence for Hector to follow. Hector catches up with Jonah as Jonah is about to be sacrificed by the Froglins, a species of mutated frog that dwells in the Hallowoods, to their terrible catfish god Lolgmololg. Jonah is rescued by Hector, and the two become romantically involved as they try to chart a safe path back through the wilderness. Unfortunately, they just get more lost, in an even scarier part of the woods called the Northmost, all directions point North, go figure. The couple is separated too soon as Jonah is killed (again) by a many-limbed abomination called the Faceless King, and Hector takes a while to find his way out. When he does, he discovers that Zelda is also missing, so he starts working with Zelda’s friends, fortune teller Winona and scavenger girl Elena, to find them.

After surviving the Instrumentalist attack, Riot makes friends with Walt, a groundskeeper, which is pretty much like a monster hunter for hire. Eventually she becomes his assistant. Walt makes a trip to the Instrumentalist’s house to scout it out, and finds that it is guarded by a group of undead called the Mendies - sewn-together creations very similar to Diggory, and in fact created by the same person, an old seamstress named Irene Mend. It appears that the Instrumentalist may have killed her and stolen them for his own purposes.

Diggory and Percy continue their trek, led by Diggory’s seemingly magical sense of intuition. Percy reveals that the Instrumentalist is his father. Riot is almost kidnapped by Olivier Song, who is aiming to bring her back to the instrumentalist and complete the job they library gave them, but the attempt is stopped by Diggory and Percy, who intervene just in time. Diggory and Percy are interviewed by one of the scoutpost’s leaders, Bern, who usually kills undead beasties, but she decides to give them both a chance. Diggory’s flashbacks begin to yield visions of a mission to the arctic which their past selves had embarked on, to try and destroy something called the Heart, the eldritch artifact responsible for the Black Rains in the first place. Riot and Walt decide to work with Diggory and Percy to take down the Instrumentalist.

When Olivier returns to Downing Hill with news of her failed mission, she realizes that Riot’s former girlfriend Clara, who she gave a library card to in the forest, has also arrived at Downing Hill - and Director Blackletter will only keep one of them. The cards work out in Clara’s favor and Olivier is expelled from Downing Hill for screwing up the Instrumentalist account. Olivier returns to work for the Instrumentalist, hoping to set things right with him and earn her place back at the Library. Clara begins her arcane education there and meets the unlucky social reject Friday Rescher, whom Clara begins to befriend after Friday fails to assassinate her for taking Olivier’s place. Clara learns that her powers come from Syrensyr, a flaming god of the same industry of souls that Apollyon works for, and that every student at Downing Hill has a bloodline touched in some way by an eldritch power.

Within Dreaming Box Andromeda in California, a girl named Danielle O’Hara has unusual lucid dreaming powers that allow her to control the Prime Dream. She uses them to discover that Valerie Maidstone is imprisoned in the box, and determines to try and help her.

Gun-toting Fort Freedom leader Rick Rounds mounts an attack on Polly, Mort and Yaretzi, and is beaten again. Mort, who always wants to be friends with people, decides he doesn’t want to be friends with Rick Rounds and cuts off his hand. Rick Rounds returns to Fort Freedom, but is quickly broken up with by his closeted boyfriend Buck Silver, who Rick really abuses, and then ousted from leadership by Kellyanne Wicker, a widowed mother of many children and master manipulator. Rick escapes to an abandoned cabin, but not before he takes a dip through a pike-infested pond, infecting his wound with blackwater.

Walt, Riot, Percy and Diggory mount their plan to lure the Instrumentalist out away from his house towards the Shuddering Peaks, and there confront him on even ground. But disaster strikes when the Instrumentalist employs Olivier to cause a blizzard, sending Walt’s hearse off the road. The Instrumentalist injures Walt and takes Percy back from Diggory, as well as kidnapping Riot, and Diggory is torn to pieces by Olivier, who blames them for the loss of their Downing Hill position.

Lady Ethel Mallory’s team watches this all unfold from afar. Riot manages to free herself from the Instrumentalist’s horde of ghosts mid-flight and falls into the forest, where she is found yet again by Big Mikey. Lady Ethel meets with Solomon after he arrives, and makes him a deal - in exchange for the secrets that he uses to bind ghosts, information which she is sure her employer Oswald Biggs Botulus could find a productive use for, she will provide Solomon with materials to build his master work - a pipe organ of souls. Solomon begins building it at the old chapel of his extended congregation, the Church of the Hallowed Name, practicers of a dark art similar to his. In Solomon’s basement, a captive Percy and old Zelda Duckworth plot together to escape Solomon’s grasp.

Jonah Duckworth meanwhile has found that his hell dimension is a barren wasteland with a temple to a long-dead god. He finds a locked door set into a mountainside, and he is finally able to escape when it opens. He climbs out through the cabinet in Solomon’s basement, very similar to the one he fell in through, just as Solomon begins his work to attach Zelda’s soul to the harp. Now a bit infused with eldritch power, Jonah rescues his ma and brings her out of the basement. Left alone, Percy manages to get through to his father ever so slightly, allowing Solomon to update his ghostly form to include more masculine clothes (he’s been stuck in the sun dress he died in up to this point).

Polly, Yaretzi and Mort cross paths with the Omen, a demonic messenger from Downing Hill formed of many ravens, who tries and fails to get Polly’s spellbook. The group also meets Barb, a former demon who was outcast to earth after failing his job at the Industry. Barb now manages a shady hotel called the Resting Place, with his vampire friend The Countess, the crystal dimension hound-rider Dimes, and the Quilt, a mummified failed experiment from Irene Mend. Barb plants some seeds of doubt in Polly’s head about just how much he’s worth to the Industry of Souls. As Polly, Yaretzi and Mort make their way towards Solomon, they are confronted by the Church of the Hallowed Name cultists and Polly is banished back to hell.

Back at the Scoutpost, Walt painstakingly puts Diggory back together, and they prepare for a mission to the Instrumentalist’s house to try and take Percy’s ghost back. Jonah and Hector are reunited at the Scoutpost, and along with Diggory, Riot and Walt, they plot an assault on the Instrumentalist’s property. Walt initiates Riot as an official Groundskeeper, with the hat and keys to the hearse, but opts to leave her behind on the actual mission so that she doesn’t get exposed to danger again. Riot makes Diggory promise to keep him safe. The mission against the Instrumentalist goes sideways when Olivier returns to the property and creates a cloud of fog, and Solomon has a duel with Walt, which ends with Walt being stabbed through the eye with a violin bow, and a soul-carrying bird called the Grackle takes his spirit north.

Diggory, heartbroken about breaking their promise, is picked up by a travelling museum called the Museum of Broken Promises, which sits on the back of a giant eldritch isopod. Diggory is comforted by the museum’s owner, the mushroom-headed Mx. Morrell, who is a servant of a world-mulcher named Rothogroth the Decaying Crown. Mx. Morrell promises they will always have a home in the museum and assures them that it was not their fault.

Lady Ethel Mallory finds a way to amplify her dream-advertising, and drowns out Nikignik. Nikignik is forced to make contact with the lucid dreamer Danielle in Box Andromeda, who can work inside Botco’s systems to ruin the amplifier and let him back into the narrative. He gives her instructions on how to use her power so that she can reach out for help in getting Valerie out of Box Andromeda.

Polly meets with Tiff back at the industry, but decides to steal one of Tiff’s power-infused canes and quits his job, knowing that the consequences will make him like Barb if they ever catch up with him. He reunites with Yaretzi and Mort, who are staying with Barb at the Resting Place.

At Solomon’s property, the Mendies, led by gardener Leyland Blooms, decide to rebel by stealing the silver bell that Solomon uses to issue them orders, and they bury it in the garden. A funeral for Walt is held, and Riot gives a speech to the inhabitants of the Hallowoods that show up for it, urging them to work with her to take on the Instrumentalist and avenge him.

Olivier, talking with Percy, gives up working for Solomon and takes the harp that Percy is now bound to, bringing it to the Scoutpost. She is interrogated by Bern, but ultimately it is Riot that decides to give her another chance to redeem herself. At the same time, Clara is asked by the Director to do the same deal as before - work for Solomon in exchange for his arcane books. Clara decides she hates him. Meanwhile, Percy is reunited with Diggory, and at last Hector, Jonah, Percy, Diggory, Riot, Olivier, and the rest of the Scoutpost conspire to end the Instrumentalist’s reign of murder once and for all.

Solomon mobilizes his army of ghosts, but without his bell, cannot control the Mendies any more. Polly, Yaretzi and Mort finally arrive to complete their mission and kick Solomon’s ass, and Clara and Riot are reunited inside the Instrumentalist’s house as it begins to burn. Clara steals the books that Downing Hill requested, and Riot rescues the ghost of the boy named Al from the basement. It comes down to a huge fight against the one man, but in the end it’s Zelda, who stowed away to come to the fight, who finishes him off with a shotgun to the back. Percy sits with him as he dies, and his house and property is consumed by the forest.

The Mendies, along with Diggory, Percy, Riot, Olivier, Jonah, Zelda, and Hector come to call the Scoutpost home, but Diggory still dreams of their original purpose - to go north and destroy the Heart. Lady Ethel Mallory takes her assistants and flies home, having obtained some of Solomon’s books prior to his death. Danielle finally figures out her dream power enough to reach out and contact Riot in her sleep, letting her know that her mother is being held hostage in a Dreaming Box.

They burn all of the instrumentalist’s old instruments, setting the ghosts in them free, but the little drum boy Al decides to stay alive - or dead? With his honorary Grandma Zelda at the Scoutpost. Clara is faced with a choice to abandon her arcane study and stay with Riot at the scoutpost, or return to devote herself to study at Downing Hill, and ultimately she chooses to keep pursuing power.

Also, the Froglins elect a new drown priest named Grug after Lolgmololg eats the last one, and he doesn’t like his job very much but agrees to lead them into war.

Throughout this entire season, an invisible man named Nolan and a fish-person with heat vision named Ricou met, fell in love, and broke Ricou’s bargain with Barb so that they could go live in a cabin in the Shuddering Peaks. They don’t add much to the story, they’re just cute.

We also learn, through a conversation with Nikignik’s friend, a star-god of science named Xyzikxyz, that Nikignik was once lovers with a god of life and death named Marolmar, now dead. During the Spirits in the Spring live show Nikignik shares more about it; that Marolmar was killed by the gods Tolshotol, Syrensyr and others for threatening their domains.

There is also the Athenaeums miniseries, guest written by Theo Dixon, in which Downing Hill archivist Laurence Abbot begins to unravel some mysteries about his own memory and a mysterious Beetle Book.

Season Two

Season 2 begins with Riot, Olivier, Diggory and Percy making a rescue attempt to the nearby Box Polaris, only to realize halfway through that Riot’s mom isn’t being held at this box but rather Box Andromeda in San Francisco. Danielle, still trapped in Box Andromeda with Valerie, uses her dream powers to give Riot the right address along with the message that Botco appears to have set up a clone of her to placate the Stonemaid activists and blackmail Valerie. The gang sets off on a road trip to California to go and save Valerie, and adopts a cat named Nimbus early on in the trek.

Meanwhile, Clara at Downing Hill volunteers herself for the Summer Program, a special test of your arcane powers. She goes along with Friday, and some students we haven’t met yet including the slightly froggish Arnold, a girl with starwolf blood named Victoria, and the porcelain-doll-like Harrow. Their summer camp instructor turns out to be Winona, the fortune teller type lady from the last season, who’s got a giant Wandering Night Gaunt with a cabin on its back for everyone to baba yaga around in. Tensions grow in the group while Clara tries to keep Friday as well as the popular students happy.

However, the summer camp goes horribly wrong when Winona disappears, stranding the students in the woods. It gets worse when Friday’s power-dampening knife breaks, causing the group to get unluckily get attacked by man-eating deer. Friday and Victoria run, Arnold is torn into shreds, with Harrow protecting the single hand that’s left of him, and Clara flies back to Downing Hill to discover that the entire thing was a test, and she’s won. Clara chooses to stay with this terrible place that just risked the lives of multiple students for a test of strength because a cure for her parents, who’ve been monsterified by the black rains, is just around the corner, she feels like, if she just gets a little more arcane power. Friday eventually makes it to a coven of witches called the Blackwood Coven and gets initiated there, along with the raven friend Omen, who’s ditching Downing Hill.

Meanwhile, Polly, Yaretzi and Mort trek across the USA on a mission to fulfill Mort’s dream and find a carnival - secretly Polly is also terrified that the Industry will send someone to come get him now that he’s stolen Tiff’s power cane and is roaming free on earth, especially since when Barb was fired they took his eyes and horns.

Rick Rounds wakes up in his cabin, with a thorny hand growing where his old one used to be, and is tended through a fever by Big Mikey, whose death as a child Rick was responsible for. Rick is given demonic powers by Typhon and sent to hunt after Polly. Rick Rounds stops in at the Resting Place and forces Barb to help him hunt down Apollyon, and they take off in Barb’s fire-powered flying convertible. His friends, the Countess, the Quilt and Dimes, set out to get him back from Rick.

In Box Andromeda, we meet Riot - or a clone version of Riot that appears to have been manufactured by the Botulus Corporation to manipulate her mother. Other Riot is confused about the gaps in her memory but desperately wants to be validated. Lady Ethel Mallory tries to make friends with her for her own ends. Lady Ethel also provides big boss Oswald with Solomon’s ghost theorems from the previous season, but Solomon omitted some important information.

An apocalypse survivor named Moth and Ray the talking automobile arrive in Chicago in search of Moth’s uncle. Ray drops Moth off at Glass City Farms, a survivor community centered around growing hydroponic produce, but Ray remains close because he’s suspicious that Gale might not be a great guy. He’s not. Tthe entire farm is polluted with blackwater and Gale’s much the worse for its effects. Moth tries to escape, and gets injected by the Cluster, a botco drone that turns your dreams into a living terms and conditions agreement to sign up for a Dreaming Box.

Moth and Ray are joined up with the Diggory/Percy/Olivier/Riot/cat road trip caravan for a bit as they try to help each other out; Moth needs medical attention and Ray knows a safe path across the country without getting stopped by Botco’s many drone hordes. On the way they pass a hidden bunker called the CPE Institute, home to paranormal containment experts Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk, whose sensors are set off by the passing eldritch crew. At the end of the season Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk decide to leave their bunker for the first time in umpteen years and take their most dangerous specimen with them for safekeeping, that specimen being Friday’s long lost twin sister Penny.

Ray and Moth part ways with the group once they get safely to Box Andromeda in California, and begin the heist to rescue Riot’s mother. The heist goes pretty well, but with some complications - they rescue Valerie, but Danielle has never been out of a Dreaming Box before and takes a while to wake up, and they accidentally take both Riot and her clone Other Riot in the confusion. The two are immediately at each other’s throats about which is the better daughter. Riot and Olivier get a little closer during the road trip, in between all the new family drama.

Unfortunately Ray and Moth don’t get far; Ray tries to get Moth to someone named the Spindle who should be able to take the advertising chip out of Moth’s cranium, but Moth in a dream finally agrees to the Botulus Corporations terms and conditions and the Cluster slices Ray the automobile in half with a laser and takes Moth to be with moth’s dad in Box Venus. Rest in pieces, Ray. At least until he’s painstakingly re-assembled a whole season later.

Polly, Yaretzi and Mort finally arrive at Coney Island, only to find that it’s underwater. Polly manufactures a carnival instead, using a ton of his stored soulfire, which is a sweet moment but goes terribly south when Barb and Rick Rounds show up to crash the party. Rick viciously wounds the starwolf Yaretzi and drags Polly off into the wilderness, and Barb sacrifices his mortal form to let Yaretzi eat his heart and regain some juice so she doesn’t hibernate for centuries again. When she and Mort catch up to Rick Rounds they trash his whole show, but Polly decides to leave him alive. Tiff possesses Rick to confront Polly more or less in person, but Polly is able to fine print and negotiate his way into an agreement to leave Polly alone on earth. They eventually visit a real carnival, called the Big Top, full of evil clowns, before setting out to start their new business - replacing the Resting Place Hotel, which is defunct with Barb gone, with the Grand Crossroads Hotel. The Countess decides to live there and gets closer with Yaretzi.

Road trip gang is intercepted by The Count, a vampire who leads a motorcade and thinks he’s king of America. He invites them for dinner, and warns that things are about to go badly. Lo and behold, they do. Not just now but really for the rest of the show. Botco catches up with them, blows up the RV, abducts Percy, Valerie, both Riots and Olivier, and leaves Diggory and Danielle to die.

This upsets Nikignik and he has to go and get a pep talk from an old former auditor of souls called Old Afterclaps before he’ll rejoin the narrative, during which Botco’s new Lady Ethel replacement Melanie Flores gets a lot of talking done.

Danielle puts out a dream missive and gets them rescued by the Stonemaids, who on the outside of the Dreaming Boxes are led by Cindy Lockheart, a former superspy and also former wife to Canadian Prime Minister Rizwana Mirza, whose parts would later become Diggory, among others. Cindy has complicated feelings about that. Percy is able to buy the rescue of his friends by promising Oswald Biggs Botulus the rest of his dad’s secret recipe to trapping and binding ghosts. Oswald takes a little trip to the Hallowoods to grab a bunch of Solomon’s artifacts, including his old ghost cabinet and key. So Diggory, Percy, both Riots, Valerie, Cindy, Olivier, that cat, and Marco and Brooklyn, Lady Ethel’s former assistants, all hitch a helicopter ride back to the scout post, completing the road trip. Cindy is coming with because she plans to organize an expedition to finish the mission that her wife died trying to accomplish: blowing up the evil heart in the arctic. It’s also Diggory’s big quest, basically. Other Riot decides to change her name to Clementine and gets kind of adopted by Scoutpost leader Violet.

Meanwhile the Scoutpost during this season is caught in a predicament between trying to negotiate with the nearby very ‘murican Fort Freedom, and the rising tide of the Froglins, a small froggy species that sic all manner of wildlife on the Scoutpost. It comes to a head in a final fight between all three factions, during which Jonah taps into the eldritch deathworld powers he’s been ignoring and goes all-out. He learns that the deathly realm is called Marolmar’s World, and a similar herald there named the Rat King establishes that the Rat King, the Faceless King, and Jonah are all three guardians of Marolmar’s work, or Heralds.

Jonah uses his powers to scare both the froglins and Fort Freedom away, but causes the Scoutpost to collapse. In the destruction, the Fisher finally catches up with Hector after stalking him for a full season and dismembers him, but Jonah regrows him a new leg, arm, and other organs out of tree bark. Hector employs a plan to move the Froglin queen south and farther away from the Scoutpost, and the conflict with Fort Freedom ends in a truce, but Rick Round’s former abused boyfriend Buck decides to stick with the Scoutpost.

Also complicated power plays within the Botulus Corporation: Lady Ethel Mallory initially had her frenemy dream technologist Anderson Faust sabotage Box Aries so that she would have a major catastrophe to blame the Stonemaids for and enact further security measures against them, but she didn’t realize that the dreamers in the box were contaminated with black water which would make it impossible for them to return to the Prime Dream without them telling the dreaming world that Botco’s boxes are contaminated. Anderson betrays Lady Ethel by sharing this information with Melanie Flores, up and coming Botco influencer, which gets Lady Ethel fired and Melanie takes her job.

This whole season, invisible Nolan and creature from the black lagoon Ricou continue their domestic dramas; Nolan wants to go live down in the forest and be more social, but Ricou is afraid of others and tries to manipulate Nolan into staying up in the isolated Shuddering Peaks. Eventually they decide to try and work things out. Nolan makes a friend named Alice who is a corpse full of fireflies. She’s great. I love her.

There’s also the Old Bindings live show, in which Downing Hill archivist Laurence Abbot gets his memories back and learn the ancient founder of the Church of the Hallowed Name is trapped in a painting in Downing Hill, and the Writer out of Time two-part series, which is… probably the best part of this show so far. It follows writer Horace Loveland, trying to finish his novel as the world ends. That’s like the Oscar bait Hallowoods story.

Season Three

As the Scoutpost celebrates its halloween festival, it gets a visit from the Museum of Broken Promises, and Diggory and Percy go to talk to Mx. Morrell’s employer, Rothogroth the Decaying Crown, who had initially provided Diggory’s component person Rizwana some guidance when she was still alive.

Rothogroth reveals that Rizwana’s arctic mission was never going to succeed, and warns that the second try will go badly, and there’s a coming cataclysm that can't be stopped. Afterwards, Mx. Morrell takes the duo to the Grand Crossroads Hotel for a drink, where Mort, Polly and Yaretzi tend to the place. Diggory and Mort meet, and they realize that they knew each other before they were both dead, with the diver that became Mort being part of the original expedition. Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk also arrive to stay at the hotel, with CPE-13, A.K.A. Friday’s long-lost twin sister Penny, captive with them.

Mort wants to go with Diggory and company on the north expedition, but a frightened Polly says he can’t, and Mort goes to sleep in the laundry room. Here Nikignik intervenes in the narrative, waking Mort in time to run away with Diggory as the museum leaves. Meanwhile, chaos erupts at the Grand Crossroads, caused by Penny’s powers - she makes everyone around her lucky but is herself unlucky, the inverse of Friday. She escapes in the conflict and sets out to find her sister. Nikignik has a panic attack about intervening right after, and frankly he has a few more throughout the season.

Meanwhile, ghost boy Al convinces his living friend Russell to carry his skin-drum away from the Scoutpost in search of Downing Hill, where he thinks he’ll finally fit in. Mrs. Wicker at Fort Freedom, fresh off her defeat last season, is courted into attending the Church of the Hallowed Name. Russell and Al run into Johannah, Mrs. Wicker’s daughter who keeps running away, and the three are lost in the forest for a while before making their way to Downing Hill, where they’re secretly taken in by students Harrow and Arnold (who is just a hand right now), although the secret doesn’t last long.

The Church of the Hallowed Name sees an opportunity to get Mrs. Wicker’s daughter back and indebt her to the church, so they send their operative Indrid, who is basically like Mrs. Wicker but ten years down the line. Traumatized. She’s also the mother of Al the skinless ghostboy, who ended up in his condition because he was sacrificed for a Church of the Hallowed Name ritual years ago. The Scoutpost sends Zelda and a kind of arrogant guy named Virgil to hunt down the missing kids.

Cindy, Riot, Olivier, Hector and Jonah prepare for the journey north, but Riot’s sister Clementine and the dream-power girl Danielle decide to stay behind this time. Diggory, Percy, and Mort arrive just in time for departure day, and the expedition sets out, hiking into the north woods. Cindy has some issues about traveling with all the undead and monstrous types of people and she spends too much time working through it. They meet Big Mikey. They meet Wandering Night-Gaunts. They meet the Faceless King in the Northmost Woods and it does not go well, because he sics a giant undead polar bear on the group, and kills Jonah, banishing him once again to Marolmar’s World. Hector gets lost and eventually collapses in the shuddering peaks where he gets brought by the Quilt to Nolan and Ricou’s house.

Penny makes her way to Friday, who has been living at the Blackwood Coven and getting caught up on witchy business. After Penny gets welcomed to the coven, Friday decides to go on a revenge spree against Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk for holding her sister captive for years as well as against Downing Hill for being generally terrible. Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk attempt to attack the coven, but the twins are powerful together and they stop them single-handedly, and the coven takes them prisoner. Penny doesn’t have it in her to let them die, so she sets them free and warns them not to try it again. Do they listen? No.

Clara has pretty much been delving into a book called the Compact, which transports you into a labyrinth where time works differently, looking for answers regarding her parents. She spends years in there trying to find a cure, and eventually gets what she needs by way of an unhelpful guide. Shout out to Fishbone. The Director orders her to go intervene in the arctic and stop the heart by teleporting Downing Hill to that location and adding the heart to the library’s arsenal, however, Clara wants to stop and see if her new cure works on her mom first. It doesn’t, and Clara goes to the arctic in order to complete her mission and see if the Director will help her fix her mistakes before trying to cure her father.

The giant polar bears wrecks shop for the hiking crew, scattering the rest of them as they escape from the northmost into the sort of arctic abyss realm at the north pole. Diggory does some memory-diving and realizes that there is someone who is a part of them that they didn’t know about yet - their original creator, Irene Mend, who gave them an eye. She’s been slowly guiding their steps towards the North this whole time, she reveals, and her plan is that Diggory will absorb the heart’s power and basically give Irene Mend full control over Diggory’s powered-up body. The polar bear follows them all into the arctic, but is immediately consumed by a much bigger guardian - a massive blob of life in the ocean called Creep, who is miles wide beneath the ice and begins harassing each member of the party.

Diggory and Percy get buried in ice and split up, with Percy finally severing his connection to his bones so that he can go get help - an action which means he’ll eventually fade away, without the preservation of ghost magic like his father’s. Olivier forms a blizzard, but overextends herself and loses control of it. Plus side: it freezes the surface so much that Creep gives everyone a break. Down sides: Riot freezes to death also. Olivier is spirited away to safety by a mysterious blue lady, Cindy blows herself up to buy Mort some safe passage from Creep, and Riot and Percy’s ghosts are both picked up by a passing Clara, who decides that she’s not ready for the ultimate betrayal of leaving her old girlfriend to disintegrate and takes Riot’s body back to the Hallowoods to try and put the ghost back in it.

Indrid steals Mrs. Wicker’s daughter Johannah back from the library, and Mrs. Wicker is overjoyed to get her daughter back, so much so that she’ll bring all her children to church next time. Church service does not go well; one of Mrs. Wicker’s kids gets randomly selected to be skinned as the spring sacrifice, and when she doesn’t comply, one of her older kids shoots the Vicar and he becomes the sacrifice instead. They seal the deal by burning the Church, supposedly ending the reign of the Church of the Hallowed Name in the Hallowoods.

Zelda isn’t satisfied to leave Al at Downing Hill, even when they get the living boy Russell back, so she sets off on her own and runs into Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk, who are plotting to ambush Friday and Penny there. They wage a war on the library at the same time that the Friends of Zelda try to rescue Zelda again, and Penny and Friday start the library on fire. The blaze is huge, and Al and Zelda are trapped inside where she dies and they both get to hang out as ghosts, the Director laments that the library won’t be able to fulfill its purpose, Mr. Raven and Mr. Writingdesk get stuck in the library after a final confrontation with Penny and Friday, and the library disappears, leaving most of its students and staff behind. Indrid stole the painting of the Downing Hill founder before it burned.

Rick Rounds has a nice little sublot where he almost gets killed in the wilderness, and gets taken in by the dead horse and headless rider combo, Tulip and Crane, that tends to the New York forests. He meets someone very much like him, Frank Bosco from Liberty City, and their fights escalate throughout the season, ending in the forest burning. Rick and Tulip and Crane decide to go north.

Hector, on death’s door, pulls himself through the basement cabinet that Jonah once disappeared through, and into Marolmar’s World, where Jonah is waiting for him.

Meanwhile Lady Ethel Mallory has been fired, and spends the whole season having a midlife crisis as she travels from California to the Hallowoods on foot. She finds a copy of her autobiography along the way and starts rereading it, and when she finally arrives at the house of her supposed only friend, she finds that the Instrumentalist has been dead since the end of Season one and no one gave her the memo. She gets mad and decides to ignore all the universe’s attempts to redeem her and go get revenge on Botco instead.

Meanwhile in Box Venus, Moth, along with father Bill and old lady Frances, have become Stonemaid rebels and do some activism inside the Prime Dream. We listen into Botco influencer Melanie, a Stonemaid leader Dashiell, and Riot’s dad Ralph in a series of legal talks that end up with the Stonemaids, through a legal loophole, finally being allowed to leave their Dreaming Boxes.

Marco and Brooklyn are still at the scoutpost and they’re going to have a baby. Hooray.

Partway through the season we also get Starcrossed Gods, a live show featuring Nikignik, his friend Xyzikxyz, and Marolmar in the early days of the universe, which sets up a lot more for Nikignik’s complicated feelings about his relationship with Marolmar and also about ending Marolmar’s work by letting the heart be destroyed.

Polly and Yaretzi get worried about Mort, who’s been gone a while now, and head north, but get separated and Polly gets yanked back to the Industry by his bosses’ boss Lucy. You know who. Yaretzi finally reaches Mort, but he won’t go home; he asks her to get to safety so he can complete his mission. With only Diggory and Mort left of the original expedition, the two descend into the arctic waters, but a wounded Creep returns during their dive, and Mort climbs out from his diving suit to become part of the fleshmass, ruining its malevolent tendencies with the power of friendship. This leaves Diggory in the submarine suit to dive to the sea floor, and they reach the ancient undersea artifact of the heart, but when they touch it, Nikignik realizes that Marolmar is sleeping within. And that is where Season 3’s story dramatically leaves off.

Will Nikignik allow Diggory to destroy the heart, knowing that Marolmar is reviving within it? Or will Nikignik let Marolmar rise and unleash an eldritch spring from which the world will never recover? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Season 4, here we come.


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