Mark Watches ‘Over the Garden Wall’: Chapter 9 – Into the Unknown

In the ninth and penultimate chapter of Over the Garden Wall, we find out where Greg and Wirt are. Sort of. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Over the Garden Wall.

WHAT THE FUCK. what have you all done to me.

So, let me try this out now: Over the Garden Wall has been an extended fantasy sequence within Wirt’s mind. It explains a lot, and it doesn’t explain a whole lot more. Much like the first chapter of the show, “Into the Unknown” drops us into a reality, but this one isn’t fantastical. It’s Halloween, and Wirt dresses up as… a gnome? I DON’T REALLY KNOW. The point is that Wirt’s got an imagination, an active one at that, and it partially explains how the final scene of this episode gives way to the eight episodes that came prior to it. All those anachronistic references weren’t mistakes at all; they were clues that this story actually takes place in the modern day. And in modern times, Wirt is all mixed up over Sara, a girl he likes who he believes is impossible to court. She’s just too cool, and that Jason Funderberker is just too damn perfect to compete with.

There’s a lot going on with this, too. Even as this episode reveals the truth to us, there’s still room for humor. I loved the explanation of why Greg wears a tea kettle on his head. (I TOTALLY SEE IT. IT’S AN ELEPHANT OH MY GOD.) The fact that Jason is far from any conception of a “total package” is endlessly hilarious to me. And of course Wirt wrote poetry and performed the bassoon for Sara. THAT IS EXACTLY THE SORT OF THING HE’D PUT ON A CASSETTE TAPE FOR SOMEONE HE HAD A CRUSH ON. Unfortunately, Greg’s silliness gets in the way, and now I understand the impetus behind “Babes in the Wood” a whole lot more. Wirt blames Greg for practically everything that went wrong. Granted, Greg is responsible for giving that tape to a bunch of strangers who immediately make fun of him. I don’t want to ignore that. His endless good mood and lack of understanding of social mores gets Wirt into trouble, so much so that I got the sense that Wirt resented his half-brother by the time they made it to the cemetery.

Indeed, that might just provide the explanation for all the weirdness that came after the two of them fell into the lake beyond the cemetery walls. I think it’s easy to see Wirt’s anxieties written all over this show. He feels lost and responsible for Greg; he wants to do right by others but feels unequipped to do so; he lacks self-esteem; he’s self-conscious about how he appears to others. Each of these ideas pops up in the wacky, dream-like adventures that Greg and Wirt go on. Maybe he’s been trying to figure out what to do this whole time!

However, this doesn’t explain the Beast, or Beatrice’s presence within Wirt’s fantasy, or the fact that many characters do things outside of Wirt’s perspective. So what exactly is the Unknown? A subconscious place for Wirt to work through his problems? Or did something else happened when Greg and Wirt plunged into that frigid lake?

I don’t think I’ve outright stated this yet, but y’all. I was not prepared for this twist. Despite picking up on the anachronisms, I had already discarded them as unimportant. I couldn’t see how they fit into a larger narrative. Now, however, I’m given a glimpse of the “real” world, and those references were just the tip of the iceberg. Somehow, this is wrapped up in just eleven minutes? Oh, this is NOT FAIR. Onwards, friends, into my own great unknown.

The video for “Into the Unknown” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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