Final Fantasy X : Part 17
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As many of you have probably blocked out of your minds, the last recap involved the soul-sucking pond makeout scene. I mean, poor Yuna married Seymour, went on trial, was sentenced to death, escaped, had a personal crisis relating to her impending Sin-related death, and then, as if the day couldn't get any worse, she sucked face with Tightass. Talk about post-traumatic stress disorder.
It can only get better from here, people.
Now that I've subjected myself to the pits of hell, I am rewarded with a sphere featuring the adventures of the Ambiguously Gay Trio. Obviously, these spheres are not in order, as this one features the rescue of Jecht by Lord Braska and his anal-retentive boy-toy Auron. I'm not sure who the hell is taping this one, as all members of the trio are clearly visible, but whoever it is sure has a fetish for female warrior monks. A full twenty seconds is wasted on the ogling of one unfortunate female, and then we see Braska approach a fancy Bevellian prison cell. Braska is quite full of pointless exposition today, as he greets Jecht as "Jecht, the man from Zanarkand." Jecht is all, "What of it?", prompting Young Auron and his gay ponytail to remark, "Watch your tongue, knave." Knave? I know Auron is badass and all, but that sort of remark would get him taunted and beaten up by classmates.
Braska just gives his man-bitch a look like "Shut up" and then introduces himself to Jecht. He also announces that he wants Jecht to come along on his little trip. Because it's always a good idea to go out into the wilderness with a jailed drunkard who claims he's from some supposedly imaginary place. Yay for psychotics! Jecht isn't so keen on this idea, convinced there is a catch. "Ahhaha..." Braska chuckles gaily. "That easy to see was it?" Holy crap, Jecht's going to need some chapstick for his ass after Braska gets done kissing it. Meanwhile, Auron broods silently.
Braska exposits hard about the pilgrimage and its destination, convinced that Jecht will be able to return to his home. There's no explanation of why Braska thinks this, or even why he wants to help some random drunk guy, but I'd actually be surprised if game designers could think up a good reason for anything. It's in the script, therefore it's okay. After Jecht agrees to this excursion, Auron gets all pissy. "This drunkard a guardian?" he snits. Jecht is all, "Oh no, you di-in't" and Braska unlooses a fit of exposition upon poor Auron: "No one truly believes that I, a fallen summoner wed to an Al Bhed...could possibly defeat Sin." He goes on to say that everyone's so convinced that they'll fail, and he wants to prove them wrong. Yeah, he'll show them by dying! Take that, assholes! "A fallen summoner, a man from Zanarkand...and a warrior monk, doomed to obscurity for refusing the hand of the priest's daughter," he continues. "What delightful irony it would be if we defeated Sin!" Now we've established that this is truly a rag-tag bunch of dudes, although I'm not sure what the heck it means to be a fallen summoner. He's obviously still able to summon -- I thought that's all it took. Well, whatever adds to the drama of the situation. Also, the fact that Auron apparently refused to marry some chick in order to be Braska's companion? Uh-huh. That's not at all gay.
Jecht tells Braska to shut the hell up and
give him some lovin' get him out of the prison. The convenient fade-out-fade-in accomplishes this, with a minimum of pesky animation. As Jecht gushes over his glorious freedom, Braska seductively comments, "I am in your hands until we reach Zanarkand."
Okay, the situation as it stands is quite clear. We've got poor Auron practically throwing himself naked at Braska's feet, while Braska sashays about in his fancy gay robe and headgear, all but rubbing up against the drunken Jecht. Holy shit, that's going to be one sexually tense trip.
As the camera fades out again, Jecht asks what the hell a "summer-ner" is. Jesus Christ. Back to Tightass, unfortunately. He retraces his steps back toward the giant blinking red arrow, and finds a Bevelle soldier patrolling the forest. I try to get Tightass murdered by having him announce his presence to the guy, but unfortunately, Stupid Soldier Guy just tells Tightass to go away. Now, I can understand how he feels, but is he the most worthless guard ever, or what? So Tightass continues to where the others await.
The little Anti-Fanboy Map announces that our next destination is the Calm Lands, followed by Mt. Gagazet. I was wondering when we'd hit the obligatory mountain range. Tightass rejoins the others, and they walk up a hill to a cliff overlooking the Calm Lands. Basically, the Calm Lands are a giant field surrounded by cliffs with a huge canyon on the other end. Just to drive home the point that these lands are so very calm (in case the name didn't tip us off), some sweet music plays in the background. Lulu, pulling out one of her Exposition!Belts, explains that the Calm Lands were where the High Summoners used to fight Sin. "The road ends here," she says dramatically. Apparently, there is nothing but wilderness beyond this point, which means more irritating stretches between save points. Like that's much of a change.
Auron comments that a lot of summoners get lost at this point, as they are oblivious to the giant blinking arrow and map screen. Also, as we find out later, there's pretty much only one path out of the plains. These must be the dumbest summoners ever. The camera pans up and around Yuna for a good thirty seconds as she looks up at the sky and then falls on her back on the ground. We get an unobstructed view down her shirt. Once again, I must thank the game designers for so obviously taking into consideration their straight female fans. Yuna says that she's always known where to go, because she's so very special and wonderful. Tightass reaches his hand out to her, promising to not let her die. It's pretty much too late -- she's soiled herself beyond repair and there's no other choice for her.
Tightass helps Yuna to her feet as everyone else just stands around looking embarrassed and ill. God, how I feel sorry for them. Even Wakka. There's more awkward standing, and then Yuna says it's time to go. Everyone else sighs in relief, hightailing it out of there. Meanwhile, Tightass stands in his own wank, wanking in Wankese. "I told Yuna I would find a way. But I was just talking out of my ass. I guess I wanted to believe that words could make it come true." Tightass suddenly dies in agony. Hey, I had to test it out for myself.
Now I get control of Tightass, and boy am I so excited to walk all the way across this gigantic area chock full of random battles. A short distance away, Exposition!Man waits for the group. Thank God. I need to know more about these endless plains, and I need to know it now. According to E!M, a huge-ass machina battle between Bevelle and Zanarkand wiped out the Calm Lands. Only later did the summoners figure out that it would be just spiffy to fight Sin there, where no random people would be killed. Since killing Sin brings the Calm, some exceptionally smart individual came up with the idea to call this area the Calm Lands. That kind of creativity makes me weep in envy. Anyhow, E!M makes it sound like the Calm Lands are still the place to fight Sin, although Lulu seems to think otherwise. I know that expecting consistency from the writers is like expecting Link to be straight, so I won't give myself an ulcer over it right now.
Incidentally, the giant chasm was created when High Summoner Gandalf fought Sin 400 years ago. I don't know why I bothered mentioning that, except that I wanted to say "Gandalf," since Gandalf is my cute, cute dog. I'm sad.
Random chocobos run about the plains, and according to the strategy guide, I can earn a chocobo of my own after completing some annoying races. Since I would rather watch Lulu and Wakka going at it than participate in the retarded controller hell that is this game's idea of chocobo racing, I decide to hoof it across the Calm Lands.
A short distance later, a giant snowmobile-esque propellered thing zooms into view. According to the driver/pilot, it's "Rin's Travel Agency." I can't tell from my tiny TV screen, but I don't think that's actually Rin. Don't worry, though -- there's still a bunch of overpriced crap for sale.
In one of the random battles, Wakka screams, "This one is mine!" in a tone that suggests he's going to rape the poor monster or something. I thought weed mellowed you out.
About halfway across the plains is another shop, because nothing says "unpopulated wasteland" like an assload of retail establishments. As soon as the group arrives, a random bald dude in a flamboyant robe and Auron-esque collar appears. His name is Father Zuke, and we know this because Lulu is an old...acquaintance of his. However, he's never seen Yuna in his life, and he expresses shock that such a non-threatening person could have murdered Maester Kinoc. Wakka throws a mini-tantrum over this comment, and Yuna simply makes some dirty noises before inquiring just what the hell is going on.
Apparently Zuke's huge-ass collar doubles as an Exposition!Collar, because he starts spouting the stuff like you wouldn't believe. Mika wants everyone to kill Yuna on sight for the murder of Kinoc, Yevon is in disarray, and James figured out what a bunch of choads his fellow maesters were and got the hell out of there. Auron is happy about the discord within Yevon because it means they won't be bothered. Um, did he miss the whole "kill them on sight" thing? Zuke then offers this gem of wisdom: "But be careful, my friends. You have been branded enemies of Yevon. You should avoid temples for the time being." No shit, Sherlock. When Lulu asks why Zuke randomly showed up, he expresses his interest in seeing "this summoner you are guarding." Again, it's all about Yuna and her SPESHULNESS.
Zuke leaves just as randomly as he appeared, returning to wherever the hell he came from. The wilderness, I guess. It's not like we ever find out, because that would take planning and creative thought. The camera focuses on Lulu's contemplative gaze (and boobs) before it fades out, to hammer into our brains that This Is An Important Character Development Backstory Detail.