Poppy tries to figure out the meaning of fun this week on Mythic Quest [Apple TV+ recap] | Cult of Mac

Poppy tries to figure out the meaning of fun this week on Mythic Quest [Apple TV+ recap]


Mythic Quest recap Apple TV+: Poppy (played by Charlotte Nicdao, right) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) make a strange discovery at Grim Pop.★★★★
Poppy (played by Charlotte Nicdao, right) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) make a strange discovery at Grim Pop.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewEveryone’s confidence is shaken on this week’s episode of Mythic Quest, the Apple TV+ office comedy about a popular computer game.

Poppy realizes she has no idea what fun is, and that revelation is unraveling her world. Ian feels left out of the development of the Mythic Quest movie, and David is his only way in. To top it off, Carol thinks she’s getting fired for mismanagement of company funds, energy, and time.

It’s a strong episode of the funniest show Apple TV+ has to offer.

Mythic Quest recap: ‘Playpen’

Season 2, episode 5: In this week’s episode, entitled “Playpen,” Poppy (played by Charlotte Nicdao) is having a crisis because the Mythic Quest testers (Ben Stillwell & Austin Zajur) told her that her new game for Grim Pop isn’t fun to play. Now she’s trying to insert her idea of fun into the system — and coming up with uniquely terrible ideas every time.

As she and Ian Grim (Rob McElhenney) are kvetching (he’s bummed they’re not consulting him about the Mythic Quest movie, and he’s worried that if it’s bad it’ll reflect poorly on him), they notice someone stealing bits of their code and putting it onto a remote server. They discover that it’s Dana (Imani Hakim), or at least someone logged into her IP address.

The answer is simpler than Poppy suspects (though, as usual, her overreaction is hilarious). What happened was that Dana kept coming to Poppy for something to do. But because Poppy only trusts herself to create, she gave Dana a dummy game to test. And it turns out it was more fun than the actual game, Hera, that Poppy’s been working so hard on.

When Dana shows Poppy the dumb little competition games she created, Poppy must admit that they are fun. And understands that she needs to be able to do the same thing or trust people who can help her find the fun.

Distraught over her inability to have vision that includes a game that’s both artistically satisfying and fun for users, Poppy is in a spiral. Then Dana lets her see that everyone in her coding class has been using Playpen, her dummy software and learning to code on it. This turns her right around. She knows now what she has to do.

Trouble at Mythic Quest

David (David Hornsby), meanwhile, is furious with Brad (Danny Pudi), Rachel (Ashly Burch) and Carol (Naomi Ekperigin). He’s just gotten a call from their investors, who are curious about the NFT program Brad instituted (using Carol’s power) and the solution to that problem that Rachel suggested.

David wants to blame Brad, naturally, but Carol insists she will take the fall for allowing things to get as far as they did. That was really the only answer anyway. If they call corporate and say Rachel, who doesn’t work there, or Brad, who’s the janitor, did it, Carol and David all going to look like buffoons for allowing all of this.

Of course, they don’t fire Carol — they promote her. They love that she trusted Rachel and Brad, and they give her a budget and stock options to reward her. Her first decision: Hire Brad. Or it would be, but the Securities and Exchange Commission wouldn’t let him near another company’s profit stream after all the insider trading.

Brad doesn’t really want the job, though, so he uses reverse psychology to get Rachel to accept the gig. She’s reluctant to do so. She wants to pursue her dreams, which don’t involve running a gaming company. But she eventually sees how good it could be for her.

Who’s a ‘little bitch,’ and who’s a ‘glorified mechanic’?

Mythic Quest recap Apple TV+: Jessie Ennis, right, is still killing it as Jo.
Jessie Ennis, right, is still killing it as Jo.
Photo: Apple TV+

Jessie Ennis’ character Jo delivered another magnificent line read this week. After David conclusively shuts down Ian’s request to be part of the consulting team on the movie, David calls him a “little bitch” under his breath. Then Jo calls Ian back in so he can hear the insult himself. Of course, he loses his nerve instantly. But her trying to whisper “you called him a little bitch” to bolster his confidence is exquisite.

Everyone’s very good this week, but once more it’s Charlotte Nicdao who walks away with it in the role of Poppy. She’s screamingly funny in the early part of the episode, literally shaking when she discovers Dana stealing code, then jumping out from behind a corner to surprise her with the accusation.

“Gotcha ya shitbag!” she screams.

Charlotte Nicdao is a wonder as Poppy

Then later, when Poppy’s played Dana’s version of Playpen, Nicdao nails a marvelous scene where Poppy cries to Dana about realizing what a failure she is because after all her hard work and years of talent she can’t have visions the way Ian does. She can’t both see the big picture and realize it.

“I’m a glorified mechanic,” Poppy says through tears, “and nobody celebrates mechanics.” Nicdao is a dynamo on Mythic Quest, absolutely good at every assignment the writers give her. She hits every tonal note she needs to strike.

Danny Pudi directs this week, and he does more than elicit great work from his cast. There are some beautiful compositions in there, mostly using the depth provided by the sterile, white and cavernous Grim Pop offices. The show isn’t usually sloppy or anything, but I like it when the directors go the extra mile to get maximal use out of the sets as well as the talented cast. This week’s Mythic Quest was a very nice outing for all involved.


Watch Mythic Quest on Apple TV+

New episodes of the third season of Mythic Quest arrive on Apple TV+ every Friday.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+


Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.

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