“Free Radicals, Part 1” establishes what this second season is up to, as the Knights are initiated into the Order to work a revenge plot from within.
This recap of The Order season 2, episode 1, “Free Radicals, Part 1”, contains spoilers.
If you needed a reminder of where we’re at in the second season of Netflix’s The Order, the opening scene of the premiere functions as one. Jack, now bleach-blonde, is dreaming of the previous season; of his grandfather, of Alyssa, of the Order. When he wakes up, he’s in bed with Gabrielle Dupres, of all people, who uses the magic amnesia powder to wipe his memories again when he discusses the dream. You know the drill — your name is Jack Morton, you’ve never heard of the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose or the Knights of Saint Christopher, and all blonde girls are skanks. Standard stuff.
Jack’s pretty different in “Free Radicals, Part 1”. For one thing, the hair. He’s also trying out for the cheerleading squad, on the enthusiastic advice of Gabby, who’s basically treating him like a pet. The other Knights are faring a bit better in The Order season 2, episode 1, even if none of them can remember who they really are; we brush past all of them on the Belgravia campus and get a glimpse of what they’re up. The Order, though, are struggling to keep them from remembering who — and indeed what — they are. When the tell-tale ringing starts up, the “monitors” are forced to dust their new significant others yet again.
This is a matter for Vera, now Grand Magus, who prohibits them from performing magic of any kind, since that might be triggering the werewolf transformations. That means they have to open doors themselves, which is obviously a big deal. Vera takes the issue to Alyssa, who has developed a new, stronger version of the amnesia powder — it has a name, but whatever, frankly — and suggests that perhaps the Knights have to be inducted into the Order in order to be properly controlled. An “invaluable commodity,” she calls them.
Ethics and Politics class, which has a new Professor, Cameron Foley, doesn’t go well, since an unseen videographer surveys the classroom and mutters a spell which cooks Brandon’s face from the inside out, triggering the ringing and the transformations again and forcing Gabby to administer another dose of the powder — which is recorded. Vera is predictably annoyed given the whole “no magic” mandate, but Alyssa once again has a suggestion: There’s a rogue practitioner on the loose. And who better to hunt down one of those than the Knights?
The trouble is, the Knights have been consistently reprogrammed to know nothing of the Order or their own fraternity, so their monitors enjoy a funny montage in which they introduce them to the concept with an air of magic-free mystique by leaving blue roses lying around and saying things like, “Oh my God, have you been invited to the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose?!” As ridiculous as this is, it works rather well, and all the Knights turn up for a clandestine woodland meeting which echoes the initiation process from the first season, except this time when the mages show up and ask the new Neophytes to find coins, they all immediately transform into their werewolf counterparts and snaffle the instructors. Looks like this is going to be more difficult than it seemed.
The Knights all wake up naked and covered in blood, which is how all good nights out tend to end, but they’ve left some manky evidence of their misdeeds in the woods, which is bad news for Vera and the Order, especially since some one-eyed woman by the name of Kepler arrives with an air of overwhelming smugness, presumably present to look into the matter. The Knights, meanwhile, begin to experience a lot of deja-vu now that they’re all in each other’s presence. Gabby arrives to try and dose Jack, but the Knights realize something’s up and fight off their monitors.
Things are frosty between Vera and Gnostic Councillor Kepler. We get some loaded discussion of the fallout from last season’s climax and some functional worldbuilding backstory to the Order, most of it presumably for flavor. Vera does show she a conscience, though, which suggests she isn’t going to be quite the straight-up villain that Edward was.
That goes for Alyssa, too, who saves the Knights from a pickle on the campus grounds by magic-ing a statue that collapses to the ground in a shower of body parts and offal in full view of the students — she also tells the Knights to leg it, all of which is filmed by our resident videographer. Alyssa describes the magic as “sloppy” to Vera and Kepler; she can’t imagine anyone who would use that kind of spell in front of people. Her romantic relationship with Jack is brought up, especially when she defends the Knights, claiming they would be much more likely to try and prevent something like this than commit it. Seeds of dissent are germinating in the ranks of the Order already.
Over beers, Jack postulates that their hides — though he doesn’t call them that, obviously — want them to remember. They head into the woods so that they’ve got a bit more freedom to let their inner wolves out, where Jack fully transforms. This spurs everyone else on, and they excitedly strip off — I’m glad to see this show hasn’t abandoned its hilarious trend of characters being really quite relaxed about terrifying or unbelievable things.
Anyway, Alyssa has a new plan, for like the third time in “Free Radicals, Part 1”. Nicole, one of the monitors, has a genuine thing for her charge, Lilith, which I’m sure will bear fruit later. Alyssa recruits her fellow monitor, Angus, for her scheme, which is to knock him out with an incantation to lure the wolves. Jack, in wolf form, arrives promptly. She gives him the lowdown on his suppressed memories and his “champion” status as a Knight of Saint Christopher. She offers to return all their memories and then powders the lot of them — I should note that Jack is naked for this entire exchange.
The next anyone knows, the Knights are all clad in white in the midst of a masked Order ceremony, where they’re all accepted as acolytes, having apparently been convinced by the existence of magic. They’re pretty excited about their initiation, though it’s obvious they’re acting. As Vera gives a lovely speech about welcoming new members of their family, we cut back and forth to scenes of our creepy videographer frying a rat with magic. True to form, she films it.
The Order season 2, episode 1, “Free Radicals, Part 1”, ends with our big second-season plot laid out in front of us. The Knights quietly discuss their plan. They might have had all their magical paraphernalia confiscated, but they’ll find a way to enact revenge on the Order for betraying them. Exciting!
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.