The Magnus Protocol Reviews: “Hard Reset”

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The Magnus Protocol Reviews: “Hard Reset”


Hard Reset

“Hard Reset” Doesn’t Feel Like An Actual Episode

Hard Reset” is a weird, kind-of-bad episode. It’s obvious that it has great plot importance, and the few snippets of context we do get for “The Protocol” are interesting—but for the majority of the listening experience, it’s more befuddling than enjoyable.

I’ll admit my bias may be affecting things: I’m not a fan of the writing style of the episodes set in the far past. I complained about this in “Taking Notes,” but it extends to episodes back in Archives. And this one is especially egregious with the flowery prose.

But it’s not just a stylistic thing—it has a big effect on how this episode works, pacing-wise. Once you’ve listened to it, pay attention to how much plot actually happened in the “statement” section. There’s the thing with the weird tree, and the dog—and that’s it. It’s not scary; it doesn’t give us much characterization. It just happens. The point is to plant some foreshadowing.

The same is arguably true of the present-day sections. Each conversation has a snippet of very relevant data for setting up future plot points, but then moves on before we can get anything else. The Colin section almost serves no function at all.

Hard Reset

The Only Point Seems To Be More Foreshadowing

So, then, if “Hard Reset” is going to be all foreshadowing, I may as well do some speculating on what we’ve learned. It didn’t escape my notice that The Protocol—at least the older form of it—seems to be an active effort to inhibit the Dread Powers. If the same basic ideas are happening in the current day, it’s not so much stopping the Dread Powers from scaring or killing people, but instead destroying things that would lead to…something happening. Likely, the same thing occurred in “Give and Take.” Colin might even be attempting the same thing on a smaller scale.

The one concept that I have nothing on yet is why alchemy matters. I can’t recall it ever being mentioned in Archives. The only thing close is what Elias used to keep himself alive, but even that seems like a stretch. I wish “Hard Reset” had been a little clearer on that foreshadowing.

At the end of the day, I really just wish this episode was better. That would be the best outcome. I wish it had been more engaging; I wish it had more happening in it. On a technical level, it’s well-narrated and scored and all the voice acting is top-notch, but that’s about all I have to say on “Hard Reset.”      

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