The Adventure Zone: Graduation Episode 2 – “It’s (a) Familiar” – Review

Familiar It's (a) Familiar
Festo from the “Graduation” Trailer

It’s that time again! The latest episode of The Adventure Zone: Graduation, “It’s (a) Familiar,” serves up more on-brand McElroy entertainment, backstories, lore, and some interactions I’m going to be talking about until the next episode.

The McElroys stay in character so much easier than they did back at the beginning of season one, even for long one-on-one scenes, which is absolutely amazing. Griffin makes sure Fitzroy stays true to his noble background, asking Gary the talking gargoyle how to set up in-room dining and being absolutely appalled by the dining room’s lack of a crepe-master. Justin’s firbolg character knows animals so well that he took one look at a quantum cat and said, “It cannot be reasoned with,” which all cat owners know is 100% true. And Argo? Argo’s still worried about scurvy even though he’s in a magical school and not on a pirate ship.

The new episode, “It’s (a) Familiar” saw the boys going to various classes around campus, giving the school a deeper layer of realism. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Travis created a whole schedule with different class options for the sidekicks to explore; we’ve already seen “Blame Taking” and “Accounting,” and I’m super curious about what else he has up his sleeve.

Straight up, listening to Travis as the Accounting teacher trying to explain math, accounting, and property ownership all at once to Justin’s firbolg had me in stitches. A simple math problem (if you owe a squirrel 25 acorns but have already given him 18, how many are left?) absolutely blows the firbolg’s mind.

Why does he owe the squirrel acorns? Why does he want the tree? “We can just share the tree, is fine,” says the firbolg. When the teacher says the squirrel doesn’t want to share, he follows up with, “Oh, I will find another tree.”

Griffin’s hysterical laughter really just sold the bit, as he was clearly leaning away from the microphone to make himself quieter, but it just wasn’t working. This is the best part of TAZ for me; two brothers just harassing each other while the third one absolutely loses it.

Travis also dropped my favorite but of lore to date… and it’s about accounting. Have you been wondering why they bring up accounting in every teaser and episode? It’s because “without accounting, the world would crumble.” Obvious, right?

Before accountants took over, kingdoms were ruining themselves throwing constant parties and festivals to have fun. The accountants took charge of finances and investing, stopping kingdoms from crumbling under the weight of their spending, but the world became boring! Accountants didn’t want to pay for festivals and lavish parties, and so Heroes and Villains were invented to keep things fun.

“Woe be unto any Hero or Villain whose costs outweigh the revenue they generate for the kingdom! They will find themselves out of work!” I’m calling it now: the only thing that makes a Hero or Villain get the dreaded “Evil” designation is costing too much. It doesn’t have anything to do with their relative morality or goodness.

Griffin gives us a little more insight into (Sir!) Fitzroy’s character when he attempts to cast a harmless Mage Hand spell but accidentally casts Thunderwave instead – a spell that harms several students around him. The teacher sends him to what Griffin describes as detention, where he meets Festo, the fairy from the trailer.

Festo gives him a beautiful little speech about loving what’s natural inside of you and taking the time to nurture it instead of hating yourself for who you are, even if it’s not what you thought you would be growing up. “You think of your magic as a curse. You must learn to see your magic not as something to fight, but something to work with! … You must respect it and teach it to respect you.” It was a sweet moment between the characters that made me smile. It can be taken at face value – don’t fight against your magic or bad things will happen – or it can be taken as a little reminder from Travis to remember to always love and accept yourself.

Unfortunately, Fitzroy doesn’t appreciate this pep talk at all, fighting back by saying Festo just doesn’t get it. When Fitzroy gets irritated, Festo gives him the Find Familiar spell. Travis says, in Festo’s ridiculous high-pitched voice, “It’s a familiar! But not too familiar! Hah, that’s a joke!” It’s the episode title and a callback to MBMBaM, and it made me smile as Clint was absolutely cracking up.

Despite all this, my favorite part of the episode is early on when Griffin says to Clint, “Tumblr’s really enjoying the narrative of you and me arguing over who gets to play the attractive character this season.” And you know what? He’s right. It is a fun little competition (that, I think, Griffin is losing).

What was your favorite part of the episode? What questions are you waiting to be answered?

Author: Kate

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