Midst Season 2 Roundtable Discussion w/ Sam & Marisha

"Midst Season 2 Roundtable Discussion w/ Sam & Marisha"
Miscellaneous episode
"Midst Season 2 Roundtable Discussion w/ Sam & Marisha" (Mx31) thumbnail featuring Marisha Ray and Sam Riegel.
Episode no.Episode 31
AirdateFebruary 7, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time1:02:36
Starring
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"Midst Season 2 Roundtable Discussion w/ Sam & Marisha" (Mx31) is a discussion of Midst season two with Third Person, Marisha Ray, and Sam Riegel.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Sam and Marisha introduce themselves and turn on the teletheric again, this time with backlit silhouette hologram powers! Sara, Matt, and Xen of Third Person introduce themselves again, and the questions begin.

I want you all to summarize Season Two in your own words in like, one sentence3:16

Third Person decides to share the sentence:

  • Sara: It's about the aftermath of the tearror disaster as our heroes...
  • Matt: ...protagonists are faced with various situations and locations. We find out new insights and character interactions that eventually lead our protagonists...
  • Xen: To discover hard truths, cold facts, and dangerous realities about themselves, others, and the world and cosmos outside of them, but most importantly, the cosmos within.

Marisha and Sam then describe their Tequila Unrises or Midsteritas, ginger-turmeric margarita-like drinks they are consuming, before diving into the questions.

This season takes us to all sorts of new places, locations in the world, both in the Fold and the Un. The settings like Vermillion County, Sequester, the Highest Light. How do you come up with these places? Are they based in real places? Are they based in fever dreams? How did you come up with these places?6:21

Sara says it's a combination. Vermillion County is very much inspired by Westerns. Matt adds that Sequester is intended to evoke night markets, but also to challenge people's beliefs about the Fold, since it had been treated as an ominous presence in much of season 1. Xen adds that Midst and Vermillion County also take inspiration from the Spaceman Spiff alter ego in Calvin and Hobbes. Meanwhile, the Un and Highest Light are supposed to contrast by being very inorganic and shiny; the vibe is that of a mall or airport concourse.

Did you ever get concerned of overwhelming the audience? Did you have to ever edit yourself? What was the planning process like as you started to expand into this rich and really growing world?10:08

Xen says that Season 1 is designed to provide a sense of the world and structures within it, and Sara adds that they discussed extensively the pacing and choices of what to reveal. Matt agrees; they did not want to let exposition derail the momentum of the plot so they were careful to weave in the worldbuilding as organically as possible. Xen wraps it up by pointing out that because of all this, by the time the audience listens to Season 2, they should have an idea of what's going on.

From a process perspective, is one of you (Third Person) the "ideas" person and another the person who tones it down and makes it work within the narrative?12:20

Xen and Matt both think they all take turns serving as sounding boards and checks to each other. Xen says Sara and Matt are both very into coming up with weird nomenclature, whereas they tend to just call it a relatively straightforward name.

What lessons did you learn from making season 1 that carried into season 2? Was it easier to make Season Two, or was it way harder because you had to one-up yourself?15:09

All three of Third Person think the biggest lesson was that they knew they could make a podcast when they started season two, so they had more confidence and could take bigger risks with both plot and worldbuilding. From a production standpoint, Xen pre-produced a lot of the season one music and then used it during the season, and adhered more to "traditional" songwriting structures, whereas in season two they felt comfortable enough to get weirder in their musical choices. They also composed the music after each episode was recorded.

Do any of you have acting moments from season 2 that you are especially proud of?18:47

Sara jokes about the range of acting on display in "Inside" (Midst 2x13) and Xen adds there's much more "writing in agony". Matt says it's not dissimilar to a TV show; the actors inhabit their characters with more confidence as they spend more time with them. Marisha points out she really loved what Sara did with Imelda Goldfinch this season.

Sam and Marisha next play an emoji game in which they hold up a card with three emojis and Third Person guess the episode they are referring to:

🫖💐💅🏼 - "Sugarcoat" (Midst 2x05), guessed by Matt. They show the art from the episode animation, by Leo Cherel, and Xen says they particularly enjoy this depiction of Moc Weepe.

🏦💉😖 - "Inside" (Midst 2x13), guessed by Sara. The art for this episode was by Karina Pavlova, and Sara compliments Xen's performance as Weepe. Sam asks about Weepe's medical schedule, and Xen answers that there is a regular schedule; Sara adds that as the episode explores, emotional stress can accelerate the timeline.

📦🐋🔥- "Tinderbox" (Midst 2x06), guessed by Xen (who originally said "Descent" (Midst 1x11)). Sara notes that Xen doesn't actually remember what any episodes are called or the number - they listen to it so many times while editing and composing that once they are done they do not listen again. However, they are forgiven due to the incredible sound design of the episode. The art for this episode was by Allie Irwin. Sara talks about how she is afraid of giant fish coming out of the ocean, so this episode is very much about that fear. Marisha tells her Taliesin has the same fear. Sam says that acording to Max Schapiro, the animation took 100 hours of export time; a notable element is that he matched the blinking light to the sound design. Marisha shouts out Max for his work and for his love of the show. Sam also talks about how many people quickly become deeply obsessed with Midst once they listen.

📝🦋😵‍💫 - "Imago" (Midst 2x14), guessed by Matt. After Sam asks about the inspiration for the episode, Matt notes that they didn't want to use a traditional flashback, but this was a way to revisit Phineas's past within the standard timeline. Sara adds that the moth was a fairly standard metaphor for transformation. The art this episode was by Jessica Fong. Marisha talks about the various Mothers Merciful and asks about the personality choices for the Mothers, particular Mothers Anguish and Trauma as seen in those episode. Sara answers that they decided it would be fun to have one Mother be much better with bedside manner. Matt and Xen add that given the complex and morally gray world, it seems fitting to have some Mothers in the organization be brusque, even if their intent is good. Sam asks about other Mothers, and Sara mentions the appendix for "Truth" (Midst 2x15), which has a number of the other Mothers as drawn by Tzila Guthrie.

🔮🪼🥡 - "Crossroads" (Midst 2x09), guessed by Sara (after Sam had declared this one would be worth 3 points). The art for this episode was by Sean Andrew Murray, which they all compliment.

🌊🐸🤯 - "Weather" (Midst 2x04), guessed by Xen (after Sam had declared this one would be worth 25 points). The art for this episode was by JM Fenner. Sara remarks that they never explore Giselle's personality being replaced by frogs, but Xen says she likes it and it works for her.

What was the thought process behind spending an entire season building up Stationary Hill and "Midst", and then just to destroy it right off the bat? Was that always the plan? Was that something that you three discussed when you were planning out Season 2?37:21

Sara mentions that they did consider the option of having the people of Stationary Hill find a way to seal themselves off or successfully block the tearror, but it felt like the narrative wanted the tearror to do something - it would have felt inauthentic not to follow it. Xen remarks about building a setting and then destroying it, but Matt points out that it's a really good way to show the power of a tearror by having it affect Midst and the characters still on it. Sam notes that it's cool to see the lasting effects on the characters introduced previously. Sara also notes that not all the effects are bad, and it's useful to show the unpredictability - how it's not only catastrophic but at times simply transformative, with good and neutral changes as well as bad. Sam asks if they have a tearror generator, and Xen says they simply came up with various weird things. To give a bit more behind the scenes, Matt says that they actually each came up with some of the effects independently and then recorded without the others knowing. Xen recalls they did cut some descriptions, but not what they were.

Imelda blames Spahr's training of Phineas for Phineas's actions at the Black Candle Cabaret, and we see this affect him through most of Season 2. Who do you all feel in your heart of hearts is truly to blame for Phineas's actions?41:23

Sara says that is really the question at the core - the Trust is all about assigning specific blame, and Phineas does the actual action, but there is very much a chain of events. Matt adds that this will continue to be explored in season 3; guilt is very much a theme.

The Highest Light, there are folks who eat flower petals. Why?42:53

Xen says it's a very good way to signal the decadence of the Trust. Matt adds that it was influenced by the Lotus-eaters of The Odyssey, who have no desire to leave the island and exist in the greater world, so it's intended to signal they have lost touch. Sara adds that it shows that this is not a society focused on survival or efficiency, given how minimal the nutritional value is. Xen adds that growing flowers in the Un is noted to be difficult, so this adds to the luxurious, frivolous element. Marisha compares it to gold-leaf chocolate chip cookies.

The wail. The wail. Terrifying. How do you design a creature like that? Is that a group process? Is that someone coming in and pitching the singular idea?45:13

Sara says it's almost always a group process. Her own fear of giant fish in the water was an influence, and Xen adds that they as a group like to build animals that seem to fit into the ecosystem they have established: the blinding is adapted to Midst, and the wail to the Fold. Marisha notes Third Person's penchant for double entendres and wordplay, which Xen and Sam both acknowledge re: the wail, as well as the Un-worthy ships.

Jumping ahead, please talk about everything going on in "Exposed" (Midst 2x19) because it's a lot.47:35

According to Sara, while it is a lot, it's worth considering that while "Moonfall" (Midst 1x19) had a ton of action, this episode is mostly Lark's inner monologue and then Weepe giving a speech. It is exciting to finally see Lark's internal thought process since she's been much more opaque compared to Phineas or Weepe. Speaking of, Weepe returning after a long absence sets up the next season quite well.

Let's talk about the appendices!50:02

  • For "Weather" (Midst 2x04), they wanted to show an academic text on tearrors. Sara does the art, but Matt wrote the copy. He notes that for the appendices they often end up researching strange documents to get a sense of what they look like. They had used a textbook for an appendix in Season 1 as well[fn 1] and this also allowed them to show the tearror effects on the book itself.
  • For "Sugarcoat" (Midst 2x05), Sara referenced an image of Fabio as the model for Jonas Spahr, as well as teen magazines of the 1990s. Matt notes more seriously that they wanted to show what the role of Consector entails as well as what life in the Un with the Trust might look like for a teenager.
  • "Tinderbox" (Midst 2x06)'s appendix is fun because it's a very kid-friendly take on a horrifying monster, and especially since before the animations with the re-release, this was the only visual depiction of a wail. Sam notes it looks like it belongs on a coloring book placemat at a family restaurant.
  • "Inside" (Midst 2x13) shows Imelda's yearbook. Everyone jokes about the "You've been Chucked" signature and whether Chuck will appear. Matt notes that Imelda is wearing a caenum necklace in her yearbook, which is an important detail. Sara points out that it's a contrast to the terrifying Imelda in this episode; it's useful to show her when she was younger and clearly very ambitious. She also hints that some of the names of the friends in the yearbook might have been dropped in the episodes.


This is the final season of this arc, but are there more stories?57:20

Third Person are certainly storytellers, and it's a big cosmos.

Marisha and Sam thank Third Person for all they've done in the past year and express excitement for the upcoming season, and everyone encourages fans to subscribe. They then air the season 3 trailer.

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • Sam: Weepe's friends with everybody. Until he's not.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ↑ "Midst Season 2 Roundtable Discussion w/ Sam & Marisha" (Mx31) at 25:17.

Footnotes:

  1. ↑ "Descent" (Midst 1x11) shows the same textbook, Bernhard and Gottle's Introduction to Cosmological Reasoning, 3rd ed.