Episode 11: Sweet Valkyrie High
This one starts with a little romance … very little, since Lauren’s new mimic powers make it difficult for her and Bo to connect. Bo wants to talk about it, but Lauren switches the topic to Hades, Bo’s father. Bo is conflicted, knowing Hades is bad (duh), but also grateful for the help he’s given her lately. Tamsin comes in and it’s obvious she isn’t quite over Bo yet but she’s trying to put a brave face on it. She mentions an impending trip and Bo gives her a letter that arrived addressed to her. It turns out to be a cheque (written in what looks like Persian) from Hades for “delivering” Bo. Tamsin confronts him at Lauren’s lab and rips the cheque up. Hades taunts her, trying to get at her insecurities—which from what I’ve seen, is his primary power. Tamsin heads to a fast food place where her old frenemy, Stacey (another Valkyrie) has been reduced to working. Stacey’s still pissed off, but Tamsin says she knows a way to balance Valhalla’s soul count and get back in Boss Valkyrie Freya’s good graces—harvest Hades’ soul.
Tamsin and Stacey ask Trick how Hades was banished to Tarterus in the first place and (after pulling a french fry from Stacey’s hair) he recounts the old myth of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades drawing lots to divvy up the spheres of influence. He also tells them about a rumour that Hades was tricked into drawing the short straw by a woman wearing a Necklace of Seduction; Stacey figures it must’ve been Freya. Bo comes in and wants to talk, but Tamsin is still reluctant. A problem with Lauren distracts Bo, so Tamsin and Stacey take off. Lauren has been trying to give Evony (the former Morrigan) her powers back, but she refuses to undergo any more tests (“I’m all Wes Andersoned out.”), so Bo uses her succubus power to calm her down—apparently, the big bad Morrigan is scared of needles.
Tamsin and Stacey can’t find the Gates of Valhalla (which were formerly located in a grotty alley), so they figure the Gates have either moved, or they’ve been taken off the welcome list. Acacia shows up (because Tamsin said she needed her help), but leaves right away when Tamsin tells her she wants to trick Freya into luring Hades back to Tarterus. Acacia figures Tamsin is doing it to impress Bo, though Tamsin insists that isn’t the case. After Acacia leaves, Tamsin remembers there was a portal to Valhalla in their old high school, so she and Stacey head over there. The place is abandoned, but we get a flashback to Tamsin and Stacey’s days at Valkyrie High. It looks like Tamsin was the Hermione Grainger of her school, following the rules and trying to be the best academically. But she had a rebellious streak even then, as her doubt-causing power manifested when she was arguing with her friends. But the young Valkyries weren’t yet aware of their ability to cause doubt—such things weren’t even talked about.
That changed when Acacia came to be their instructor. She pulled a Dead Poets’ Society and told them to throw out all their textbooks before introducing them to the true role of the Valkyrie—sowing doubt on the battlefield in order to harvest souls. At Lauren’s lab, she gives Evony bad news: if Lauren uses her serum to return Evony’s powers, it could kill her instantly, but if she remains human she’ll probably die anyway. Apparently, Evony has some kind of affliction, though it’s not said what. (Plot-convenience would be my guess.) Evony is devastated and asks why the hell Lauren didn’t give her the serum when she first developed it. Lauren said she had to test it first, which makes Evony wonder who the test subject was. Whoops! Lauren’s been keeping her own powers a secret, but it looks like that cat may be out of the bag soon.
At the old school, Tamsin and Stacey look for the portal and keep hearing spooky noises; I’m not sure which is creepier, an abandoned school or an abandoned hospital. We get more flashbacks of Tamsin figuring out she wasn’t as smart as she thought. Acacia offered to help her get past her preconceived notions of a Valkyrie’s role. Unfortunately, Acacia’s teaching method involves Tamsin (gasp) breaking curfew! Will she succumb to the temptation? We don’t find out yet, as the scene goes back to the present and Tamsin realizes the portal to Valhalla could only be opened by teachers. Acacia conveniently shows up just then, but rather inconveniently tells them there’s no point in going to Valhalla since Freya is dead.
Tamsin and Stacey are shocked—to varying degrees (Stacey: “Did she bleed out? Choke on a meatball?”) and Acacia says they’ll have to find a different way to lure Hades back to Tarterus. It seems she’s decided to join their crazy caper after all. In another flashback, Acacia began training Tamsin (secretly, of course) to use her Valkyrie powers to cause doubt. Tamsin took to it instinctively, but was freaked out and said she was quitting (though I assume she changed her mind later). At Lauren’s lab, they figure out that Evony pissed off Arianrhod, the Keeper of Time and Destiny; Arianrhod cursed her, but the full impact didn’t hit until she lost her powers. Lauren wonders if Hades’ hand-print can save Evony, since it already helped Bo and Mark, but Bo is reluctant to go down that road. Evony is desperate and willing to do anything to save her life (“What are you waiting for? I want the hand job!”)
Hades says he can’t help her (and almost ruins things by cluing her in on who Lauren’s “test subject” was) because his touch only works on Fae. He gives Evony a pep talk, telling her she’s the goddamn Morrigan and she can either accept her fate or fight like hell. That seems to motivate her, trite as it sounds. At the school, Tamsin and friends run into a Tracker. Tamsin and Acacia waste him pretty fast (Stacey watches them) and Tamsin finds a wanted poster in the Tracker’s pocket—for Freya. Seems she’s not dead after all. Tamsin uses her doubt power to squeeze the truth from Acacia … Freya is alive and Acacia is trying to protect her. Instead of being mad, Acacia is proud that Tamsin finally managed to master her powers and leads them to where Freya is hiding—in a closet.
Tamsin and Stacey can’t believe what the head Valkyrie has been reduced to and Freya tells them mercenaries came for her after Hades’ release—some to use her for ransom, others wanting her help in re-imprisoning Hades—so she hired Acacia to protect her. In a flashback, we see that Acacia was dismissed for her radical teachings—more Dead Poets’ Society—and Stacey was chosen valedictorian instead of Tamsin. It’s pretty obvious Stacey snitched to Freya about Acacia’s predilections and was rewarded for it, although I’m not sure if Tamsin caught on to that. Tamsin got pissed off and her Valkyrie wings manifested for the first time; Freya expelled her and when no one else offered to go with her, Tamsin told them all to fuck off and left by herself.
In the present, Tamsin tries to get the truth from Freya with an old-fashioned doubt-off, but she’s not powerful enough. Acacia and Stacey join her and the three of them are strong enough to break Freya’s defenses. Turns out Hades drew the short straw on purpose; he wanted to build a Dark army, and what better place than Tarterus? Freya never seduced him, but she’s been riding on her bad-ass reputation the whole time. Tamsin takes the Necklace of Seduction and Freya says her soul belongs to Tamsin now. But Tamsin isn’t interested; she says Acacia should be the new ruler of Valhalla and Freya should look after Tarterus now that Hades is no longer there. Stacey and Freya leave and Tamsin and Acacia say goodbye. Acacia tells Tamsin that by making herself vulnerable—falling for Bo and getting her heart broken—she’s made herself stronger, better able to understand vulnerability in others. Acacia says Hades picked Tamsin to go after Bo because she never breaks her word and she’s strong; now she needs to use that strength against him. Tamsin figures Hades is unbeatable, but Acacia reminds her that everyone has some vulnerability, something they want more than anything. If Hades biggest desire is to have an army, maybe Tamsin should be his “perfect General”. Tamsin goes to Lauren’s lab and offers to lead Hades’ army, but he doesn’t trust her. She warns him about screwing with her friends and leaves. We see Hades dissolve the glass door of his “prison” and walk out. Not exactly shocking that the God of the Underworld can’t be contained by a glass-walled cell.
At the Dal, Evony makes nice with Lauren; I can’t tell if she’s being sincere or just sucking up. That’s the trouble with treating everyone like shit most of your life … nobody can tell when you’re actually trying to be nice. But Evony seems to have realized that the quality of your life is measured by the people in it, and decided that being alone at the top was less fun than having friends at the bottom. Lauren feels guilty about not telling Evony that she tested the serum on herself—and gained Fae powers—but it sounds like she’s ready to confess. Bo leaves them alone and talks with Tamsin, who tells her about the failed attempt to re-imprison Hades. Tamsin tells Bo that Hades is building an army and will need Bo’s help. Bo wonders if her father has been playing the same game she has—trying to get close to look for vulnerabilities—and Tamsin says there’s only one way to find out.