Well it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I left a lot of stuff unfinished when I took my hiatus back in January, and finishing up Centaurworld was pretty much the top of that list (mostly because I had a WIP of this post sitting in drafts for months). Well the time has come to wrap this up! Let’s talk about the finale to Centaurworld, and probably the best episode overall.
Last time, Horse used her backstory magic to jump into the memories of the Nowhere King, freezing him and his minotaur army in place. She’s stuck in a black void and at first thinks she’s alone, but there’s an Elk with her (Brian Stokes Mitchell, who just so happens to be the voice of the Nowhere King). Turns out he’s part of the Nowhere King, and we get his backstory in a non-linear fashion that mirrors the stuff happening outside the King’s head. The gist is that once upon a time, there was an Elktaur that fell in love with a human princess, who we know as the Woman. Fearing she’d never love him for not being human, he used the Key to separate his himself in two: one half became Elk, and the other became… the General! The General managed to woo the Woman, which made Elk realize he’d made a huge mistake. But the General refused to give up his new bride, even going so far as to try and kill Elk before finding out that their lives are connected, so killing one would kill the other. Elk was banished to a dungeon for years before the Woman found out what happened and freed him, saying the situation was such that they couldn’t be together. Feeling like he was no one, Elk returned to the Rift and used the key to create monsters with no place to belong like him–the minotaurs. The magic warped Elk’s body and mind, turning him into the Nowhere King. During a fight with the General in the Rift, the Woman appeared and tried to use the Key to stop them, trapping her in Centaurworld, the General in the human world, the Nowhere King in the Rift, and breaking the Key into pieces.
While Horse gets to learn the horrible truth, Rider and the Herd have to deal with a bunch of frozen minotaurs. Rider gets outvoted on outright killing them because “that’s a war crime,” but the situation changes when the Nowhere King and his army start to come alive, even with Horse still in his mind. The General shows up, and the rest of Centaurworld a little after that. By the time Horse escapes, the battle is in full sway. She tries to tell Rider that the Nowhere King and General are connected and that killing the General would save the day, but Rider’s faith in the General causes her to reject Horse’s suggestion. Shame, though, because when Rider goes to kill the Nowhere King, the General literally stabs her in the back, seemingly killing her.
It’s up to the Woman and Becky Apples to save the day. The General tries to say everything he did was for love, but that just enrages the Woman. Becky Apples kicks him off a cliff, and the Nowhere King dives after him. At the bottom, the Woman uses the key to fuse the two together, seeing Elktaur one last time. After a song–I’ll get to that in a minute–she kills Elktaur. Or at least it appears she kills him, and with no planned sequel that I know of in the works it’s fairly safe to assume he’s dead.
Both worlds are now saved, and a new day is dawning. Oh, and it turns out Rider didn’t actually die, which is a little rude considering they played with our hearts maliciously. Horse agrees to become a shaman keeping an eye on both worlds, Rider’s hair goes through a Centaurworld transformation, the Herd goes out to try and rehabilitate the minotaurs that are left, the Woman seemingly finds peace, and it’s a happy ending for all.
I mean, except Elktaur, who is dead. It’s an interesting moral dilemma, in part because he technically didn’t do anything evil. He separated himself into two entities, and those two went on to cause untold suffering. I can’t say killing him is the wrong move because his actions led to the Nowhere King, but it’s especially tragic because of “Last Lullaby, Pt. 1,” the tret Elktaur sings with the Woman. What’s a “tret?” I’m sure there’s an actual word for it, but it’s a duet but with three people. Elktaur’s voice is actually that of the General and Elk layered on top of each other in a way that you might not immediately notice. In this song, the Woman lets him know that she would’ve loved him the way he was–whole. It’s also the best song of the second season, and possibly the whole show. Damn, she really does get some good songs, huh?
Elktaur has some good songs–“Rift Workers” (technically “Elk Tour Suite Pt. 4”) is pretty fun–but I’d have to say my second favorite song is “Battle Round,” which is a round featuring the Herd bringing back songs they had previously sung. Bit of a shame that Zulus only really had “I Don’t Know Him,” but whatever. Turns out Chad has a great singing voice, so that’s fun.
Stabby continues to be my favorite character of the second season. He even gets two of the best lines! The first is while the Herd is debating killing helpless minotaurs and he comments that while he was with them, friendly fire was absolutely a thing: “I have unquantifiable corpses on my conscience.” The other is when he rushes to defend Durpleton duing the battle: “Leave my Daddleton alone! Unless you want to be… dead-leton.” Absolutely perfect. No notes.
But before I wrap up this series, I just have to talk about the weird romantic subtext between Horse and Rider. Again, I’m personally not a fan of this reading, but it sure feels like it’s everywhere to the point that I feel like I’m going crazy when people say they don’t see it. Elk comments on the similarities between him and Horse, but that falls apart when you realize everything he did was for “romantic love” while Horse and Rider are supposed to just be good friends. Gals being pals. Hell, when Rider was mortally wounded, I honestly expected the series to end with Horse sacrificing her individuality and fusing with Rider to become a new centaur, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that was a possibility. At the very least the show is incredibly inclusive and queer friendly, which is a big plus for it.
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