Transcript: Molly’s notion of identity, Talks Machina for C2 Ep14

This is the Talks Machina episode for Critical Role C2
Ep014, Fleeting memories. Molly gave up a lot of his backstory in that episode,
which I’ve transcribed in my post entitled “Transcript Critical Role C2 Ep014 0:13:00 Molly’s Backstory“.
Taliesin elaborated on and reinforced that in the episode of Talks. Some highlights

– Molly woke up basically naked with shaved hair. He only
had the red tattoos.

– The Peacock tattoo is mostly to cover the other tattoos
and not look “like whatever was in the ground, very specifically.”

– Taliesin reinforced, “Molly is not missing any time or memory. Molly’s two
years old. Molly is not missing anything at all. Molly’s fine.” He also
reinforced that Molly and Lucian are not the same person. Molly doesn’t care
about Lucian and doesn’t want any of his baggage.

– At 0:39:24, Taliesin talked about his fascination and
personal experience with constructing new identity and discarding old. Incredibly
insightful. I wrote
how Molly manipulates how people see him through his construction of
identity, and had observed that Taliesin often plays with the notion of
constructed identity.

– Molly’s name was given to him from Gustav based on the
initials “MT.” When Molly was found and just saying “empty”
they thought those might be his initials and had started calling him that.

– Molly felt Nott was being patronizing by pressuring him to
learn about his past. Taliesin briefly mentions some of his personal history
not conforming to gender norms, which seem to be accentuated in Molly

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Scene runs: 0:35:07 to 0:53:44

0:35:07 Brian:
“@RabidRonnie wants to know, ‘Did he wake up in the coat, or was that his
own fashion choice later?’”

0:35:16 Taliesin:
“He… Okay, I can say this because it was supposed to be implied, but like,
he woke up not in any clothes, more or less. And also, with no hair. He was
shaved; he had no hair. And not the tattoo set that- not the current.”

Brian: “So
that’s all recent.”

“Oh yeah, that’s all- everything-”

“Hair’d been shaved, you said?”

0:35:33 Taliesin:
“Yeah. He had a shaved- he had like a… very, very super short hair. And he
had the red tattoos. Nothing else.”

“Nothing else besides the red ones?”

Taliesin: “No.”

“What the fuck… No clothing buried with you? You were just-”

Taliesin: “No.”

Travis: “A
la Molly.”

0:35:49 Taliesin: “Well,
he doesn’t know how long he was down there, so it could have just, you know,
been put next to him.”

0:35:52 Brian:
“Remember ‘The Game’ with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn?”



“Extremely underrated movie.”

“Extremely underrated.”

Brain: “It’s
one of David Fincher’s best.”

Travis: “So good.”

Brain: “If
you haven’t seen ‘The Game,’ I think it’s on Netflix or something. Find it,
watch it tonight.”

Travis: “Oh
my god; do yourself a favor.”

Brain: “Turn
this shit off and watch it. But there’s a scene-”

“Where he wakes up in the coffin in Mexico.”

Brain: “It
reminded me of that.”

Taliesin: “I
love- Yeah. It’s-”

“Spoilers from 1995.”

“Yeah. A little more- I kind of imagine like act one of ‘Raising Arizona’
of just like, claw!’ He mimics pulling dirt aside above him.


Travis: “Yes!
Hell yes.”

“John Goodman bursting out of the-”

0:36:27 Travis:
“What’s the peacock tattoo about?”

“It’s just covering the red tattoos.”

Travis: “Oh!

“Yeah. Well, there’s more but…”

Travis: “Are
you lying?”

“Not lying, but I’m omitting things, so… I’ll admit.”

“Typical, typical.”

0:36:43 Taliesin:
“Yeah, the tattoos are an awful lot about just gathering circus skill and
also covering any- not looking like whatever was in the ground, very


“Rebuilding a persona.”

“What was in the ground?”


Brain: “We
don’t know.”

0:36:58 Taliesin:
“This is- I’ll get into it, but yeah. I have a lot of people say things
like… ‘Molly’s missing time or missing memory.’ It’s like, Molly is not missing any time or memory. Molly’s two
years old. Molly is not missing anything at all. Molly’s fine.”

“Molly talks in the third person in a creepy way.”

Taliesin: “Yes
he does.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with him, so…”

Brain: “He’s
like Remus from-”

“Molly not here. Molly gone. Fight Club.”

“Yeah. Molly gone!”

Brain: “Molly
gone, yeah.”


0:38:24 Brian:
“Hey Taliesin.”


Brain: “Maida
Parkinson says, ‘What in your character’s mind leads him to think that Lucian/Nonagon,’
(intentionally mispronounced) Matt’s gonna hate me, ‘is a person he no longer
wishes to be? Is it specific things or just a generic feeling?”

0:38:42 Taliesin:
“Um… Wow. Okay, I might get a little deep on this one.”

Travis: “Yes!”

“If you haven’t-”

Brain: “Go
four deep.”

“Yeah, I’ll get four deep on this one. Four to six. We’ll see what we can
pull off.”

Brain: “Four

Taliesin: “Built
Ford deep.”

Travis: “Ford
deep. I’m gonna stop.”

Brian: “Ford
deep? This is my favorite episode”

0:39:00 Taliesin:
“I am a… I am a big fan of the notion of identity, and sort of playing
with the notion of how we think of ourselves. And I will admit, in my past,
what can politely be described as an intense nervous breakdown was one of the
best experiences I ever had in my life.”

Brain: “Yeah;
yeah, yeah.”

Taliesin: “And really
kind of was… It was fascinating kind of going through a process of like, ‘I’m
just going to get rid of a bunch of stuff that’s not working for me, and just
take on a bunch of stuff that is, and I’m good with that. And that’s kind of…
That’s definitely… And you can see a bit of that in Percy, but it’s definitely…
kind of the function of Mollymauk’s character there, is that… is he doesn’t care who Lucian was. He’s not… It
doesn’t matter if he was a good person or a bad person. It’s, ‘I’m me now, and
I have decided this is what I’m doing.’ This is was, ‘I am made of nothing but
decisions that have led me to be this person, and if you think I need to add a bunch of decisions to be more
complete, or if a bunch of stuff that happened in my past is more important to
who I am than who I am now, that’s wrong.
That’s just- That’s fucked up and stupid. I mean, that’s madness.’ You get to
decide who you are, and he has very much decided who he is. And there’s this
little tangent, and wherever it leads, good or bad, is possibly to someone who…
or to a person who’s going to change- want to fundamentally change who he is
and overwrite a lot of that. That’s yeah, no. He wants nothing to do with

Brain: “I
think one of the biggest hindrances to growth, especially when it comes to
identity, is allowing ourselves to be defined by our worst moment.”


Brain: “Or
by our mistakes, And I’m not a believer-”

“Or by our best.”


“Or by our best, to be honest.”

Brain: “Or
by our best! Yeah, exactly. The opposite answer.”

Taliesin: “I
know a lot of people who define themselves by their best- by their one good
thing they’ve ever gotten their shit together with.”

“Yeah. You can see those people at the cons because their banner just has
like the one episode of ‘Walking Dead’ that they were on. No, I’m

Taliesin: “Or
their- Or no, but no. It’s a thing. And yeah. He… yeah, he’s… he has no
interest in… complicating his reality with whatever that is.”

Brain: “Is
it safe to say that he’s more carefree now? Maybe not you, you know, carefree,

“He wouldn’t know, but yes.”

“Yeah, exactly, yeah. Yeah. Because that weight is off of him and he’s not…
constantly remembering…”

0:41:35 Taliesin:
“I have friends who travel with the circus, and I have friends who live
kind of that life style, and who travel. I just saw a couple of them a few days
ago. And there is a joyous freedom to not owing the world anything of yourself.
Of just being, just- And it’s not even just being responsible only for
yourself, but just choosing not to… just let yourself get bogged down with a
bunch of stuff that doesn’t really… doesn’t matter to you.”


“And he is very careful about it. He’s selected the things that matter to
him and is fully in that, and not interested in investing in anything else.”


“Right? Shit.”


Brain: “I
love it. I could talk about this shit all night.”

0:42 14 Taliesin:
“ Oh man, I’ve been thinking about this character for a long time. Since Percy, man.”


0:46:11 Taliesin:
“I’ve started bleeding on sharp things and they started giving off magic
light. That literally has happened in the last week. That is my life now.”

0:46:50 Taliesin:
“On the other hand, the only experience I have in my life is getting a
bunch of people who kind of loathe each other to work reasonably as a team to
make money, so that is basically my only like concept in life.”

“That’s true.”


Travis: “Oh
gosh, yeah.”

Brain: “I
get it.”

Travis: “I
like it. You could be a werewolf and not even know it.”

“Yeah. That’s entirely true. Keep hoping.”

0:47:13 Brian: “Taliesin,
Jane-Holly Meissner wants to know, ‘How did Mollymauk choose his name after he
woke up?’”

Travis: “Oh,
good question.”

0:47:22 Taliesin:
“That is a good question. He didn’t choose his name; it was chosen for


Travis: “Say

0:47:30 Taliesin:
“By… Gustav. By the head of the carnival, the head of the circus.”

Brian: “Oh,
really? Interesting.”

0:47:38 Taliesin:
“Because they had to forge papers for him. And they’d been- it’s because…
Not that- And a few people have figured this out already, it’s because the only
words he was saying for the first week or two was ’empty’ they just started
calling him MT. And it was Mollymauk Tealeaf, so it’s just these initials. So…”


Travis: “Oh,


“People are smart.”

“Yeah they are.”

Brian: “I
know Liam during the show asked you, ‘Are you saying empty or MT?’”

“Empty, yeah.”

Brian: “I was
like, ‘Oh MT, oh!’”

“So, they just thought it was his name for a while, maybe his name is MT,
so they were just calling him, you know, and it became Mollymauk.”

Travis: “And
we left Gustav back in the jail back in… Or is he doing like community service…?”

Molly: “He’s
doing community service. I’m, you know, we’re working on that.”

“He’s got debt to pay off. I forgot.”

Brain: “Been
there, done that, man. Picked up trash on the freeway.”

“Never leave a man behind.”

Brian: “No
circus man left behind.


0:52:11 Taliesin:
“I still know things, on occasion. Every now and then, he just knows
things, so if he could just, you know, do the ‘Time Bandits’” he mimics
touching an object, “’Don’t touch that it’s evil!’”

0:52:28 Brian:
“Taliesin, Megan Hannah wants to know, ‘How did Molly feel about Nott’s
insistence that he should learn about his past? He got a little nasty with her
towards the end of Zone of Truth.’”

0:52:42 Taliesin:
“I think I said exactly how Molly
felt about that.”


“Yeah. ‘Was he actually angry with her or was he just fed up with
answering everyone’s questions?’”

0:52:49 Taliesin:
“Uh, I think he was- I, uh… What is the phrase? It is… I don’t wanna… It’s
very much like… From Molly’s perspective it’s very much like a nice, innocent
child of appropriate age, say 13 or 14 years old, going up you when you were young
and going, ‘Why don’t you dress more like a boy?’ I mean like, ‘Why don’t you
go fuck yourself. You’re
adorable.” Like, not anger, but it was very much the, ‘Oh, what a patronizing
thing to say. Wow, your parents really didn’t raise you right, did they?’ Yeah,
it was very, ‘Go fuck yourself!’ Yeah. It was, but… still friends but definitely, ‘Oh no. Oh no…’“

“Yeah. Did people often ask you when you were younger if you were a

“Uh, they asked me if I was boy or a girl on occasion, but yeah, no.
Pyramid?” Deadpan, “No. Never. Never.”

“Never. Yeah, sure.”

Taliesin, staring
intensely into the camera: “No.”


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