The Dragon & The IP Address
Following on from last week’s episode chock full of plot development and interesting background surrounding the mysterious Clara, this week takes a step back from that as our group are split up once more and find an array of clues to link them back to the same apartment building at the end. While the journey itself is intriguing enough to keep you watching, in a way this actually feels like a bit of a bottle episode as we don’t learn an awful lot about any of our characters that we didn’t already know.
With truth comes danger but is this really just a game? Or is there something far more sinister at work here? Episode 6 of Dispatches From Elsewhere begins with our quartet of characters discussing Clara and trying to work out whether what they’ve seen is real or not. Simone however, decides to get to the root of this and figure out who’s really responsible for the paintings. Fredwynn isn’t so sure this is the right angle though, desperate to follow the government conspiracy rabbit hole.
This causes the group to fracture and split in half; Janice and Simone go in search of the paintings while Peter teams up with Fredwynn. Before they leave the diner, they all receive a text informing them that this is the last day of the game.
Peter visits Fredwynn’s house where he shows Peter his collection of work he’s accumulated since the game began. While Peter experiences Fredwynn’s paranoia first-hand, Simone and Janice head to the bar in Fishtown again. As they do, Janice finds one of her old friends Boris who reveals more about her past. Thankfully they catch a break with him when he recognizes one of the paintings, and more importantly an address to go with that.
Simone and Janice find the clues to the painting but realize it’s only half-done. Heading inside the apartment building opposite they manage to complete the painting of a dragon as the owner hands over the documents pertaining to previous tenants who lived there before her. One of them stands out among others – Clara Torres.
Meanwhile, Fredwynn and Peter head to previous sites in the game but find the places gutted and losing all the things that made them unique originally. “If she gives you her heart, don’t take out your magic marker and write” Fredwynn says cryptically at one point and it’s such a bizarre statement that it stands out among a lot of the other content here.
Fredwynn and Peter head back to the site of the dancing where the duo wrestle over the familiar pay-phone. However, a voice comes through the receiver telling them that they’re being watched and instructing both to return to the game.
They ignore this though of course and instead Fredwynn uses his memory palace to find more clues. Unfortunately this doesn’t work but what he does find is Clara guiding him to different locations in the building. Unfortunately he can’t decipher what she wants and instead heads to Peter’s work where they manage to talk their way in the front door.
Once there, they start to piece together the music playlist, finding a crucial IP Address to lead them to the next location, but unfortunately security arrive just as they find this. Peter hurries away though, jumping off the balcony before hobbling out the parking lot. Following the address, they happen to reconvene with Simone and Janice who find their own way to that same apartment building.
All four head in to find the room trashed. Silently creeping up the stairs, they make it into the bedroom where they see the TV repeating the same message for both Commander 14 and also Octavio, telling them Clara has been captured.
Apart from learning Clara is a real person (which last week all but confirmed anyway), the only noteworthy element here comes from the apartment building they all find themselves standing in at the end. This bottle episode could easily have been condensed down or even removed and we’d have the same result.
There’s little in terms of character progression or for our players moving in the game – after all we’ve just had four separate episodes to flesh out their lives and personalities. Hopefully next week gets things back on track but beyond seeing the different areas gutted and losing their initial sparkle (backing up that idea of this all being a meaningless game), there just isn’t a whole lot else going on here.
Hopefully next week gets things back on track as we cross the halfway point and start to see the fuzzy outline of the finish in the distance.