The Magnus Protocol Reviews: “Introductions”

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“Introductions” Finally Gives Us A Core Antagonist

Introductions” is so aptly named and so appreciated. I was waiting, waiting, waiting for something like this to happen. The Magnus Protocol gave us a solid core villain to enjoy. Nikola, Not!Sahsa, The Distortion, Elias: the old series was full of evil characters who clearly were having a blast being evil. And now, we have “Needles,” as he’s called in the episode’s credits—a new Avatar of probably The Slaughter, The Hunt, The Flesh, or The Desolation. 

I will admit that I was initially put off by Needles, though. I needed to be sold on the character twice in his one scene. At first, the evil laugh was almost too Joker or felt like a retread of Michael, but then there was that slight shift, that new element. Needles gets frustrated. He’s a new Avatar who’s really trying to get the hang of things. The little rant about Iron Maidens was genuinely funny.  

But that was also the second issue. This is a horror story, not a bleak comedy. I don’t know how long a funny murderer would’ve worked in these series. I was worried “Introductions” would be the best outing, the most effective moment placed at the top. But then there’s that line. That pivotal piece of voice acting. I assume you read these articles after listening to the episodes—so you know the exact moment I’m talking about. That moment is pure malice. That moment made me flinch. By the time we got to the new employee subplot, I was almost sure we’d hear Needles walk into that room.

Introductions

The Story Continues To Subvert Most Expectations

But no, the two plots continue to not intersect. Listening to “Introductions” especially made me notice. The pacing was faster than it’s ever been in this series before, and that might be because the episode deals almost exclusively with conversations. No backstory—no narration, really. I know these episodes are like twenty minutes long, but after “Putting Down Roots” and “Taking Notes” both evoked a little drudgery, buried as they are under their own stylistic ideas, “Introductions” was running full tilt.

And I hope that’s the trend now. I’ve complained a few times about wanting a little more from Protocol, and this really feels like the beginning of something evocative. A more direct plotline. A new, interesting take on the Dread Powers. And the main characters aren’t remotely aware that there’s something happening in the background of their world in the most concerning way possible. Tension is brewing mightily. “Introductions” is, for sure, a good episode by itself, and I want to give it that credit, but it will hopefully go down in this franchise’s history as an important episode, worthy of the occasional re-listen when we’ve learned the full scope. A setup for a nightmare I’ve been waiting to have.

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