Analysis: Molly’s Backstory Part 5: Molly Awakens, Critical Role C2 Ep014

This post is part 5 in a 7-part series examining everything
we learned about Molly’s backstory in Critical Role Campaign 2 Episode 014.
They are meant to be read together in sequence, but 9 pages seemed a little
long for Tumblr, so I’ve broken them up into separate posts. You can also find
links to this series, as well as further reading, on my Molly

Molly Awakens

Molly says, “I woke up without any names, or any past, buried in the ground two years ago.” (CR C2 Ep014 1:59:22) “My first memory, my oldest memory, is dirt in my face underground.” (CR C2 Ep014 1:59:42) “Alright that’s not- that’s not entirely true; it’s a vague memory. I don’t really remember it. It’s kind of all jumbled. It’s what I’ve been told about some of it.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:01:04) He woke up alone (CR C2 Ep014 2:02:51), “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- [he has now]. […] He had […] very, very super short hair. And had the red tattoos. Nothing else.” (TM 2018-04-17 0:35:15) “[He] doesn’t know how long he was down there, so [his clothes] could have just been put next to him.” (TM 2018-04-17 0:35:29).

Molly says, “I did not feel good coming out of that.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:08:45) Days passed before he met the circus. “I was practically catatonic; I was barely speaking.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:02:17) I am told, although I don’t entirely remember this part, that I only said the word ‘empty’ over and over again for the first week.“ (CR C2 Ep014 2:08:45)

“He didn’t choose his name; it was chosen for him. […] By Gustav. By the head of the carnival, the head of the circus. […] Because they had to forge papers for him. […] [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, 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.” (TM 2018-04-17 0:47:38)

Molly set about distancing himself from whatever happened to that other person. Gesturing to himself up and down, he says, “A lot of this was in the hopes that maybe it would never happen. Keep moving. Keep quiet.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:06:54) Some of that was building his own aesthetic he hoped would be different. Growing out his hair (CR C2 Ep014 0:13:13), and the flashy Artist™ clothes he wears. Body augmentation was part of that distancing. “The tattoos are an awful lot about just gathering circus skill and also covering any- not looking like whatever was in the ground, very specifically. […] Rebuilding a persona.” (TM 2018-04-17 0:36:43). Although Taliesin also said he was omitting things about the meaning of the tattoos just prior to that.

“I show off the peacock a little bit, and one of the peacock feathers on the neck. […] One of the eyes in one of the peacock feathers is a bright crimson red. […] It’s also the same place that he bleeds every time that he uses any of his powers. There’s also a red eye on the snake on the palm, and there’s a red eye on the snake on the opposite side of the head.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:16:50)

When asked by Matt how much he shows, Taliesin says, “I’m just showing- I’m showing the snake, the two snake eyes, I’m showing the peacock eye, and then I’m going to show the eye in the floral arrangement.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:17:37) This implies there may be more he hasn’t shown. Molly says, “I tried to cover them, but they wouldn’t take ink. So, I just did my best. […] I don’t know what they are. […] They were just there.” (CR C2 Ep014 2:17:57)

1: Separating Molly and Lucian

2: Cree

3: The Tomb Takers

4: The Ritual

5: Molly Awakens

6: Disciple of The Moonweaver

7: Weird Blood Powers

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Mercer, M. (2018). Blood Hunter Class Details.
 Retrieved from D&D Beyond.

Mercer, M., & Haeck, J. (2017). Tal’Dorei
 Campaign Setting. Seattle: Green Ronin Publishing.

Critical Role C2 Ep014 0:13:00 Molly’s Backstory

Talks Machina 2018-04-17 Alpha 0:35:07 Molly’s notion of identity

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