“We were always finding things. Pens. Poetry. Socks. The astral plane was like a magnet for lost dreams. Minds. That was the other thing we found. In the real world, when people lost their minds, they ended up here.” Oliver Bird
Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) is in the astral plane which looks like a pastoral countryside. He is picking up items on the ground and putting it in his wagon. Oliver: “We were always finding things. Pens. Poetry. Socks. The astral plane was like a magnet for lost dreams. Minds. That was the other thing we found. In the real world, when people lost their minds, they ended up here.” He finds a baby in a basket laying on the ground. He picks up the baby. A strange man comes by, he is Jerome Wolf (Jason Mantzoukas). Jerome is a wolf, he and Oliver greet each other. He sees the baby and asks Oliver if he can have her. Oliver says no and tells him to scavenge for himself. Wolf: “Scavenge. That’s…I’m a wolf. Wolves don’t scavenge. We hunt.” Oliver heads home with the baby and he is met by his wife Melanie (Jean Smart). They sit at the table to eat dinner. Melanie: “What should we call her?” Oliver: “The soup?” Melanie: “No, not the soup; the baby.” Oliver: “Oh, her name is Sydney.” Melanie: “How do you know?” Oliver: “She told me.” Melanie: “What else did she say?” Oliver: “Well, nothing. She’s a baby.” Melanie: “She looks familiar somehow.” There’s a knock at the door, it is Jerome and a young woman (Samantha Cormier). Wolf: “This is Cynthia. She’s given up all hope. Isn’t that great?” Cynthia has some drugs on her and he asks if Oliver and Melanie want to party with them. Melanie: “We’re trying to have a nice life here and raise this baby with wonder and magic, so we need to keep the real world out.” Melanie chases Jerome away but tells Cynthia she can stay. Jerome isn’t happy about it and begins huffing and puffing. Oliver says the house is made of strong straw, but thinks better of it and decides they should move.
Time has passed and Baby Syd is now a little girl (Audrey Lynn). Cynthia is still with them. This little makeshift family is living an idyllic life. While on a walk, Young Syd asks Oliver a lot of questions and he answers them in a wry manner. She asks can she go in that direction and he says she can’t. When she asks why, he tells her that way is to the big city, the real world. The astral plane they live in is a flower pot that rests on a fire escape of a big city apartment building. Going home alone, Young Syd stops to tie her shoe, she sees a decaying fox in a tree. Jerome walks by and says, “People think death is scary. It’s pretty scary, huh?” Young Syd: “My Mom told me that death is just part of life.” Jerome is disappointed he couldn’t shake her up. That night Young Syd asks Melanie to tell her a bedtime story. Melanie: “Once upon a time, there was a girl who had the most extraordinary ability. She could feel everything the animals felt. It was her special power. And she called her special power ‘Empathy.’ And Empathy was her friend. But it’s a hard thing for a little girl to share the feelings of others. And she started to wonder, ‘Where do they…end and I begin?” Later that night Young Syd tosses and turns in bed, she can feel something bad is about to happen. Cynthia is outside and Jerome joins her. He asks about her alcoholic mother and her abusive boyfriend, who he says misses her. He offers Cynthia some drugs, she refuses at first, but her resolve is weakening. Wolf: “Don’t be afraid, gorgeous. You think the light bulb is afraid of the dark? The light bulb loves the dark. Cause in the dark…it can shine. Shine for me baby.” Cynthia leaves with the wolf. The next morning Young Syd, Oliver and Melanie eat breakfast, Cynthia’s seat is sadly empty.
Syd (Violet Hicks) grows into a tween. Melanie is explaining to her how her body will change as she gets older. She asks if Syd has any questions, and she asks Melanie about chlamydia. Melanie asks why she wants to know, Tween Syd tells her she heard it from the wolf. Melanie explains it in a clinical way that a child can understand it. Later that night Tween Syd dreams about her life with David. Oliver and Melanie discuss whether Syd will want to go back to the real world. Melanie tells Oliver that she thinks they knew her before. Tween Syd has another nightmare about David, Melanie advises her to tell Oliver about it, but she tells him she can’t remember her dream. The wolf is outside their house, huffing and puffing. Oliver tells Melanie they have to move again.
“We have to learn about love before we can learn about hate. Otherwise, everything goes to hell.” Oliver Bird
Oliver: “Then the lean years came. We moved from the woods to the gutter, trying to escape the knowledge.” They have moved to a city that looks like Victorian London. Syd (Pearl Amanda Dickson) is 16 years old now. She feels grown and thinks she’s ready to see the world. She thinks her parents are being too strict. Oliver: “It’s about the order of things, the order you learn. When you were young, we let you be wild because wildness is important. But as you got older, we gave you structure so you’d feel safe.” Syd: “I can take care of myself.” Oliver: “Here’s something. The secret of life. If you feel safe when you’re young, you will feel safe when you’re old.” Syd: “I feel safe.” Oliver: “And we want that feeling to last.” She feels like there is something she has to do. Oliver wants her to slow down, “We have to learn about love before we can learn about hate. Otherwise, everything goes to hell.”
Teen Syd walks down the sidewalk and sees a beating heart. The long lost Cynthia appears and says, “Better to leave it. They get bitter when they come here.” She has two kids with her, a boy named Blue (West Mulholland) and a girl named Sweetie (Sophie Mackenzie Nack), both kids are complete delinquents. Sweetie offers Teen Syd booze, and Blue has films on slavery and video games. Teen Syd tells Cynthia that she should visit Oliver and Melanie. Cynthia isn’t sure they even remember her, but Teen Syd assures her on how much they have all missed her. Cynthia asks Syd if she’d like to visit them, they live down this alley. She causally mentions she lives with Jerome. Syd sees Jerome and tells them she has to go. Sweetie picks up the heart and says, “Don’t forget your heart.”
“Remember it’s not ‘us or them.’ It’s us and them.” Melanie Bird
Teen Syd runs back home and tells Melanie she is never going back to the real world. Melanie: “But here’s the thing. The real world needs you. All these bad things, they don’t have to be bad. They can be fixed. See you got this backwards. We’re not trying to protect you from the real world. We’re helping you be the person the world needs. So, you can save it.” Teen Syd: “What if I don’t want to go?” Melanie: “We’re not put on this Earth to think of only ourselves.” Teen Syd decides they have to save Cynthia. Oliver isn’t sure it will do any good since Cynthia is a drug addict. Teen Syd: “You taught me to be a good person and this is what good people do.” They can’t argue with that, so she and Oliver leave to rescue Cynthia. They arrive outside her home, Sweetie and Blue are laying down on the porch; Oliver rows a bottle of booze to distract them. Sweetie picks up the bottle, and she and Blue leave to drink. Cynthia steps outside to see what is happening and Oliver throws a bag over her head and puts her in their wagon. As they’re walking down the street, Teen Syd thinks maybe Jerome won’t care that they took Cynthia. Oliver: Don’t be naïve. Real grown-ups aren’t naïve.” Jerome steps on the porch and catches their scent. They get Cynthia home and she barks and growls. Teen Syd: “Listen. I know you had a bad deal. You think you don’t deserve things. Love. But you do. We love you. Come home.” Cynthia: “It doesn’t matter. He’s here.” Oliver goes outside to talk to him. He tells Jerome he can’t have her. Jerome tells Oliver he can’t beat him, he’s a wild animal. Oliver uses his psychic powers to transport them to a club. Oliver is wearing his white leisure suit from the first season. He challenges Jerome to a rap battle. The two begin rapping, but Oliver ends it by getting personal and telling Jerome how no one loves him. This causes Jerome to cry and Cynthia goes to his side to comfort him. She turns to Oliver, Teen Syd and Melanie and says, “Thank you for everything, but we belong together.” Jerome and her leave together. Teen Syd is upset, she doesn’t understand what just happened. Teen Syd: “I don’t understand. She was my friend.” Oliver: “Not everyone…wants to be saved.” Teen Syd: “Then why do we…” Melanie: “You had to try so you’d know.” Suddenly Melanie is out of her Victorian garb and is back in her regular clothing. They think that Teen Syd is ready. Teen Syd transforms into adult Sydney (Rachel Keller). Melanie: “You see it now?” Sydney: “I have to go back.” Melanie: “Remember it’s not ‘us or them.’ It’s us and them.” Sydney asks if they are going back with her, they aren’t, but they assure her she can do this and to remember everything they taught her. Sydney wakes up in the airship.
Sydney gets up and walks down the hallway; she sees the time door. It’s still there but she can’t enter it. Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) is patching up Kerry (Amber Midthunder). Cary: “Stop fighting.” Kerry: “That’s like me saying ‘Stop nerding.” Cary: “Stay still.” Kerry: “Did we lose?” Cary: “Yes, I think so.” Kerry: “So, does that mean we’re just…going to vanish when he changes things? Or…” Cary: “I don’t know.” Sydney walks in and tells them the time door is still there. She can fix it if she can enter the door. Cary: “Did you change something about you?” Sydney: “Other than that I just lived an entire second life in the last 20 minutes? Maybe my hair.” She needs one of the bracelets that Cary built for David that allows him to enter the Time Hallway. Cary is going to build them some. Sydney asks why the door is doing what it is doing. Cary figures because the time demons are back. Kerry asks how will they find David and Switch in the past. Cary tells her they have the bracelets linked to Switch, so they’ll piggyback off of her, they’ll follow her signal. Kerry is still badly injured from her fight with David’s acolytes. She can’t help Sydney in this condition. She needs to merge with Cary to heal. Though they are hesitant, they do it. Cary acquires her physical damage. A renewed Kerry puts him in a wheelchair. Sydney enters the time door first, Kerry pushes Cary in. It appears that she is going to stay there to fight the time demons who are heading their way, but she only kicks one and jumps in. With some confidence, Kerry says, “We’re gonna win!”
Oliver and Melanie have projected themselves into a flower post that rests on a big city apartment fire escape. Oliver finds a baby who turns out to be Sydney. A wolf [who is actually human, but still a wolf named Jerome] wants the baby but Oliver refuses. Melanie feels like they knew baby Syd before, but both don’t remember. The wolf brings a lost soul named Cynthia who has some drugs, he wants to party, but Melanie adopts her too. They must move before Jerome blows their straw house down. Sydney grows into an inquisitive little girl. The wolf can’t put doubt in her mind when they come across a dead animal. Melanie has already explained death to her. Jerome can get inside Cynthia’s head and convinces her to leave with him. Cynthia is a drug addict who has no self-esteem. When Syd becomes a tween, she starts dreaming of her past life with David. Soon the dreams become nightmares, just like her life with David became. Because the wolf is ready to blow their new home down, they move to the city. It looks like something from Dickens. Syd is a teenager now and she’s wants more freedom to explore, but Oliver and Melanie won’t do that, she needs structure to grow properly and to feel safe. She sees what happens when you don’t have that structure when she runs into Cynthia. She has two kids with her, who could use Melanie and Oliver raising them. The three of them live with Jerome. Teen Syd convinces Oliver and Melanie that they need to safe Cynthia. They rescue/kidnap Cynthia, but Jerome comes after her. Oliver psychically takes them to a club so that they can engage in a rap battle. Oliver beats Jerome by showing how he’s unloved. It causes Jerome to cry and Cynthia chooses to stay with him, she doesn’t think she deserves better. Syd is upset, but Oliver and Melanie explain everyone can’t be saved, it’s the attempt that makes it worthwhile. Melanie and Oliver remember who Sydney is and become their old selves. Sydney is an adult again, and they send her back to the real world to save it. In the last episode, David had wiped her mind, but she wakes up on the airship, completely restored. The time door that David and Switch went through is still there. She can’t get in, but she finds Cary and Kerry. He is patching up a badly injured Kerry. Cary made the bracelet that allowed David to enter the Time Hall, so he makes three more for them. Kerry and Cary merge so Kerry can be healed, but Cary takes all the physical damage. The three enter the door before the time demons get them.
Sydney gets a second childhood, a chance to be raised properly. We’ve seen from previous episodes that Sydney had a chaotic childhood that left her ill prepared for adulthood. Both she and David have that in common, and both are a mess [though David is clearly a BIGGER mess]. Melanie and Oliver provide her with the structure and love she needed when she originally grew up. They teach her lessons along the way that will help her save the world from David, and perhaps save David from himself. She also knows she can’t save everyone, so who knows how it will end between them. Jason Mantzoukas does a great job portraying the wolf. He’s funny of course, but he’s able to bring a true menace to the wolf. The wolf is the embodiment of temptation and sin. Because of the strong upbringing Oliver and Melanie are giving to Sydney, he doesn’t affect her, but Cynthia who they didn’t raise easily succumbs to him. All of the kids who played Sydney were good, but Pearl Amanda Dickson especially stood out. This is her third time in the role and she makes you believe she could be the younger Rachel Keller. It was also good seeing Jean Smart and Jemaine Clement again. Their characters were treated much better than they were last season. This was a fitting ending for them. This episode was an unexpected turn from the episodes that proceeded it. The episode reminded me of some of the episodes from season 2, but the difference between it and some of those episodes, it still ties into the season’s main storyline. It’s a whimsical episode, but it says something about Syd, and the importance of being raised with love and discipline. There wasn’t the usual playlist the show has, but they did end the episode with a cover of Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young.