“Sarian” is a sweet and wholesome detour that brings depth and backstory to Poppy and Ian’s characters. Easily the highlight of the series so far. This is what season three has been missing!
We recap the Apple TV+ series Mythic Quest season 3, episode 7, “Sarian,” which contains spoilers.
The two highest-rated Mythic Quest episodes on IMDb are “A Dark Quiet Death” and “Quarantine”, both of which subvert the usual formula, offering something entirely new and fresh from the series. Episode 7 of season 3 works in a similar way to the two aforementioned installments. “Sarian” is a flashback episode exploring the childhoods of Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) and Ian (Rob McElhenney), as they struggle through their separate school lives and eventually meet in 2009.
Mythic Quest season 3, episode 7 recap
“Sarian” opens with classic video game graphics and that nostalgic music over the title card, hinting at an entirely different episode this week. We are then shown the exterior of Seven Oaks Elementary; the year is 1987, and our first flashback centers on Ian Grimm. His mother has been summoned to the Principal’s office. Ian has defied his teacher’s orders and made up his own planet for the science project. The Principal talks about Ian arguing with teachers, upsetting students, and using profanity in school. They are all concerned about the student and warn of his slipping grades. Ian’s mother defends her son, stating that he just needs a different approach to learning.
Ian’s mother talks with her father about the Principal’s conversation, later that day. She’s tried everything with Ian and nothing is working. Ian sees himself as an idiot, frustrated by his own inadequacies. His mother tries to comfort him and notices that he’s reading sci-fi erotica. Ian is obsessed with space and science fiction. She promises to bring out his passions in a different way.
In the other storyline, we get to see the childhood of Poppy Li. The casting department have worked wonders here, with the perfect young Poppy. They’ve nailed the look, the temperament, and the accent. Young Poppy is also struggling. She has no ‘real’ friends and her parents worry about her geeky obsessions. Poppy wants to spend all her time playing video games, but her parents want her to practice piano instead. Her father has to bribe her to practice for the recital, proposing a gift if she is successful and hardworking.
Ian discusses his made-up planet with his mother and they take a trip to the shops. She makes a real mess in the store, spraying red spray paint everywhere and hurling glitter up into the air. This helps Ian to better visualize his ideas though and in a magical moment, he sees himself there, within these fantastical worlds. They run home after being shouted at by the shop’s owner. At home, Ian and his mother get to work on the project. She feeds his creativity and builds his confidence in this life-changing evening.
The next day, Ian goes to show his mother his finished project, but she is tired in bed. He renames the planet Sarian, combining his mother’s name Sarah with his own. Ian asks her to take him to school, but she refuses. The poor boy makes his own way there and is subsequently late. The Principal worries about Ian and makes some arrangements of his own. Ian is to live with his father from now on, something he desperately doesn’t want to happen.
Back in Poppy’s narrative, her father starts to take a more active interest in her hobby and watches her play her video games. The mother isn’t best pleased though and forces her daughter to practice piano instead. Poppy listens to her mother and slowly improves on the piano, eventually completing the recital as planned. The recital is a success and Poppy asks for a bicycle as her chosen gift. Using the bike, Poppy cycles to the local library and researches gaming cheats online. She then comes across a video game called Sarian and falls in love with gaming even further.
The episode then fast-forwards to 2009 and Poppy is at a lecture theater. Ian Grimm is the teacher, dressed all in white, and sporting a rather long beard. Poppy rushes over to Ian at the end of the lecture and gushes about the creator. She says how Sarian inspired her to become a programmer. Ian is intrigued by this zany girl and they walk out of the lecture hall together. Ian discusses his next project, which is clearly going to be Mythic Quest.
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