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Mad Love

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Mad Love
Season 1, Episode 5
Mad Love
Air Date November 5th, 2014
Episode guide
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"Songs of the Dark Lantern"
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"Lullaby in Frogland"


Mad Love is the fifth episode of Over the Garden Wall.

Plot

The episode opens with Wirt, Gregory, Beatrice, and Fred the Horse sitting at a dining table with Quincy Endicott, the wealthy and emotionally disturbed owner of a tea company. Beatrice has convinced Endicott that the boys are his nephews. Endicott explains that he actually dislikes his own tea and only makes it "for the money", which he then uses to expand his sprawling mansion. It has in fact grown so large that he feels ever more lost and unsure of his own identity, saying, “This house is so big I sometimes don’t even know where or who I am!” However, he expresses delight in having company and dances with Greg on the table. 

When Wirt asks Beatrice why they are pretending to be Endicott’s nephews, she explains that she hopes to steal two pennies they need to ride the ferry to Adelaide's house. Wirt is initially horrified at Beatrice’s and Fred’s eagerness to steal from Endicott but agrees to help find some “spare change” when he learns that the necessary sum is so modest. Much of the humor of the episode involves Fred’s enthusiasm for robbing Endicott. 

After dinner (which none of the characters appear to eat), Endicott plays with Greg on his shoulders around the parlor. When Greg notices that their host appears jumpy, Endicott tells them that he recently discovered an eery section of the house he didn’t know existed. There he came across a painting of the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and instantly became obsessed with her. He has fallen in love with a ghost! Greg convinces Endicott to show him the painting and the two go off into the darkness of the mansion. Beatrice sends Fred after them to keep Endicott busy. 

While Beatrice and Wirt ransack the parlor searching for money, they quickly climb into an armoire to avoid the sound of someone approaching (although it was only a peacock pecking at the window). While hiding in the closet, they speak of dark secrets (the symbolism of secrets and closets is obvious here). Beatrice reluctantly reveals that she was once human and that she and her entire family were cursed after she threw a rock at a bluebird. She explains that this is why she is going to see Adelaide and that she would "do anything" to fix the situation. Wirt then embarrassingly admits that he has a crush on a girl who he thinks a lot about, that he plays the clarinet, and that he secretly whispers poetry to himself at night.

Once they have unburdened themselves of their secrets, they come out of the closet through a secret panel in the back. The small exit leads Wirt and Beatrice through a fireplace into a new part of the mansion. Wirt observes that the architectural style is French Rococo, which seems at odds with the Georgian sensibilities that Endicott prefers. At this point, Wirt appears to have a sudden insight into Endicott's ghost. 

Meanwhile, as Endicott, Greg, and Fred travel through dark windowless halls, Endicott reveals that he is afraid that there is, in fact, no ghost and that he has lost his mind. Greg remains cheerful as always, saying that he is sure there is a ghost because he “really, really, really” wants to see one. They enter into the greenhouse where Endicott grows his Camellia sinensis plants for testing new teas. While enjoying the tranquility of the place, a white peacock bursts into the room through a window and screams at Endicott, causing him to dive for cover in terror. He soon recovers and explains that he raises “prize-winning” peacocks and that his obsession has led to neglecting to feed them. Greg then encourages Endicott onwards, who nervously says “Heave ho! Into the abyss, never to return.”

When they enter the bedroom with the portrait, Endicott reveres the woman in the painting and Greg is disappointed that he sees no ghosts. Greg then notices a “suspicious mess” in one corner of the room. Fred suggests that it appears as if a "violent struggle" occurred. Endicott becomes defensive as Fred dramatically surmises that he is a “crazed lunatic” who did away with the woman of the house and is now pretending to own the place. Endicott accuses Fred of being after his money (which is true), revealing that he has done terrible things to earn it, saying, “Do you know what I did? The things these filthy hands have done to make this money?” 

Suddenly, Endicott hears approaching footsteps and hides behind the bed in horror, exclaiming that the ghost has "come for me". When he sees the woman in the painting at the doorway, they both faint. After Wirt and Greg help the two awaken, it is revealed that they both thought the other was a ghost. After they both claim ownership of the camellia garden, Endicott learns that the woman is in fact Margueritte Grey, the owner of Endicott’s primary competition in the tea business. Wirt explains that the two mansions had both grown so large that they had become connected. Endicott and Grey then romantically declare their love for each other. 

Out in front of the mansion, Endicott thanks Greg for helping him face his fears, saying he is “a sweet boy with good sense". He gives Greg a penny to start his fortune, as does Grey, providing the two pennies they need to ride the ferry. Wirt invites Fred to come along, but Fred explains that he has taken an honest job with Endicott as an “official tea horse”. The episode ends with Greg suddenly throwing both pennies into a pool, angrily explaining that Uncle Endicott had pegged him all wrong, that Greg actually has "no sense. No sense at all.” 

Characters

Themes

As with several of the other episodes, the central theme of Mad Love is arguably death. Numerous elements in the story point to this. For instance, this is the episode that introduces the need for two pennies to ride the ferry to reach Adelaide—in Greek myth, a small fee in the form of coin was needed for Charon the ferryman to take the newly departed over the rivers Styx and Acheron into the land of the dead (Reference). Another example is the presence of Endicott's peacocks, symbols of immortality and eternal life after death. Endicott himself explains that he is crossing "into the abyss, never to return". In Episode 9, Into the Unknown, a tombstone with Endicott's name is clearly seen, bringing his status as a creature "of flesh and blood" into question. The vines that have covered up both their names in the camellia garden also suggest that Grey and Endicott passed away long ago.

A second theme in this episode is mystery and madness. The mansion itself is described as a labyrinth where Endicott has lost his sense of self. It is also an episode of secrets, some answered (e.g. the identity of Grey, why Beatrice is a bird, and Wirt's infatuation) and some remaining hidden (e.g. that Beatrice is leading the kids into a trap, what "filthy" things Endicott did to earn his money, or what caused the suspicious mess in the bedroom). Even the question of Grey and Endicott being ghosts or not is left ambiguous.

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