“Free Radicals, Part 2” finds the Knights on the trail of a magical serial killer, as Jack repeatedly delves into the collective unconscious in search of an answer to question he isn’t even sure has been asked.
This recap of The Order season 2, episode 2, “Free Radicals, Part 2”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As it turns out, revenge isn’t as glamorous as you’d think, and at least for now involves a lot of cleaning. But the Knights are going to have to get a move on if they want to intervene in the magical murders that continue to occur around campus, which in the opening of “Free Radicals, Part 2” come to include death by magical mummification kombucha.
The Knights debate whether to kill everyone in the Order or just the leadership, while also making obvious mention of how many chapters of the Order exist both in the U.S. and abroad. We can have follow-up seasons until the end of time! They also discuss the rogue practitioner, who they need to hunt down; they can start with the videos since this killer can’t help but record all their exploits. To help them out, Lilith has found a potion that’ll protect their minds from any form of manipulation. If she can get her hands on an Acheron’s cauldron, she can brew it. That’s if she can get away from Nicole for five minutes, anyway.
There’s something off about the cynical Professor Foley in The Order season 2, episode 2; he openly incites his students to challenge the status quo, insists that democracy is a myth, and blatantly threatens them with the burial of their academic careers if they report him. He’s a fun new character; it’ll be interesting to see what this season does with him. Jack, meanwhile, asks Alyssa for help acquiring the cauldron.
The Knights disagree on what’s best at this point. Lilith has a very genuine thing for Nicole. Randall is mistrustful of the Order to a worrying extent. Hamish doesn’t seem concerned enough. Jack is primarily concerned with Alyssa, who takes him to the Order’s collection of magic grimoires and artifacts which is full of fun trinkets, including a Zoltar fortune teller who “grants wishes ironically”, and Excalibur, still in the stone. Inside a rattling chest, Jack finds the Silverback hide. He wants to take it with him, which causes an argument between him and Alyssa. Jack finds himself back in the collective unconscious, where he’s greeted by Professor Clarke, who tells him that his body can’t survive two warring werewolf spirits. He has to choose between Midnight and Silverback, who’re fighting in the background of this scene. He leaves with the cauldron, having promised Alyssa that he and the Knights will hunt down the tourist.
Jack is obviously pretty concerned about his hide issue. The other Knights suggest he transforms; he plunges back into the collective unconscious, where Professor Clarke helpfully tells him that transforming will only accelerate his death. It looks like elliptical riddles will persist until Jack is able to figure out the best course of action. Either way, it was nice to see Professor Clarke again.
The Knights quickly close in on the tourist in “Free Radicals, Part 2”. Hamish and Randall find her rat-cooking lair, where they learn that her name is Eleanor Taylor, while Jack confronts her personally outside. She has a laptop full of magic snuff films and a spellbook full of highly dangerous incantations. One of them is a trap that bubbles up on the stove and sends a shockwave through the house that sends Jack back to the collective unconscious and the enigmatic Professor Clarke.
Anyway, backstory on Ellie Taylor, a rising star in the theology department who was suddenly expelled after the theft of a magical grimoire. She’s now a nutcase serial killer who might have committed more attacks before the ones they know about. The Knights chug their potion, which makes for a hilarious scene of them all sharing some deeply-held secrets, including the fact that Gabby made Jack get a tattoo reading “Prime Beef” on his backside.
The gang, following Ellie’s trail, find an old Order Neophyte, Trevor, sealed halfway into a wall in a pretty cool visual. Lilith tries to use magic to free him, which only makes matters worse, so Jack unceremoniously and mercifully cuts his throat. Why would Ellie have targeted a wash-out from the Order? Randall figures she’s trying to flush out members of the Order in her videos; they think she’s out for revenge since she never got in.
Ellie, meanwhile, eavesdrops on a conversation between Nicole and Gabby; the latter is confronting the former about her relationship with Lilith. She calls their bond “Stockholm Syndrome”, even though presumably the dynamic’s the wrong way around there, and suggests that Lilith will kill her once she figures out what she did, which we know isn’t true. Gabby is really unpleasant, isn’t she? Jack and Alyssa spot Ellie trailing Gabby to the temple, and they’re able to redirect her before she gives its location away. Jack attempts to ambush Ellie, and she hits him with a spell that knocks him — where else? — straight back to the collective unconscious.
Luckily, Jack has figured out what question Clarke is asking, which means he’s finally able to give a meaningful answer: Silverback, since he wants the strength of a wolf but the mercy of a human. Clarke is predictably coy about matters, even if it feels like some progress has been made. Back in the real world, Alyssa is able to knock out Ellie from behind. Or perhaps kill her?
Yeah, looks like Alyssa killed her since she needs help dealing with the grief and Vera makes it explicit that the tourist was “dispatched”, but it seems a mundane end to a potentially interesting new character, so I highly doubt we’ve seen the last of her. Nevertheless, it nudges Alyssa down a new path of worry, since she didn’t actually mean to kill anyone — her spell malfunctioned, just like all the others she has tried recently. There’s something wrong with her magic; there’s something wrong with her. The Order season 2, episode 2, “Free Radicals, Part 2”, ends with one problem potentially solved, but many more waiting in the wings.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.