Confession time. I missed an episode of MYTHIC QUEST, missed my friend and colleague Aaron Goldstein’s review of that episode, and almost published my review of the same one. I’m glad we agreed it was just okay. Speaking of “just okay,” that’s been my thought for this entire season of MYTHIC QUEST. Mythic Quest HQ lost its creative leaders in Ian & Poppy at the end of S2, and now the very real show mirrors the fictional world within. Ian, Poppy, David, Jo, and the team are all still mostly funny on their own, but the story and jokes aren’t gelling like they used to, and the story doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.
Thankfully and surprisingly, SARIAN is the best episode of the season for everything it doesn’t do. It doesn’t center on Ian’s vanity, or David’s poor management style, or Poppy’s flustered genius. There are no Brad quips or awkward Jo scenes. SARIAN takes us back to the childhoods of Ian and Poppy separately and gives us a glimpse into what made them the people they are today. My biggest critique of it is that I wished it was longer.
Rob McElhenney (Ian) is 14 years older than Charlotte Nicdau (Poppy), so I’m very glad that the show didn’t try to portray them as growing up in the same era. We’ve seen how different Ian and Poppy are as adults and their kid versions are worlds apart as well. Our visit to Poppy’s life shows what inspired her to become a programmer, while our glimpse into Ian’s childhood and what shaped him feels a lot more complex, and with a 28-minute run time, incomplete. There’s a lot more unseen in both of their lives, especially Ian’s, so I hope we get to revisit this time of their lives.
SARIAN still has a very sweet underlying story about the adults and experiences that mold us as children. The child actors portraying Ian (Judah Prehn) and Poppy (Isla Rose Hall) are wonderful. I truly do hope we get some more time with them.
MYTHIC QUEST S3 is streaming on Apple TV+.