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Songs of the Dark Lantern

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Songs of the Dark Lantern
Season 1, Episode 4
Darklanterncard
Air Date November 4th, 2014
Episode guide
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"Schooltown Follies"
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"Mad Love"


Songs of the Dark Lantern is the fourth chapter of Over the Garden Wall.

Synopsis

Wirt, Gregory, and Beatrice come to a tavern and meet people from various professions. Wirt is supposed to be asking directions to Adelaide's house but instead he gets caught up in a song by the Toymaker. The Tavern Keeper warns Wirt about The Beast through a song, and tells him that whoever has the lantern must be The Beast, leading Wirt to believe that the Woodsman is actually The Beast. When he hears Beatrice in trouble, he rushes to help her, and runs into the Woodsman again. He knocks the lantern over, and he, Greg, and Beatrice escape on a talking horse, who is leading them to Adelaide's.

Plot

The episode begins with Wirt, Gregory and Beatrice riding in the back of a speeding hay wagon, the driver frantically screaming that "The Beast is upon me!" Beatrice complains that they have been taken far out of their way. After they are thrown off the wagon, they go to a nearby tavern to get directions to Adelaide's.

They are initially greeted warmly by the tavern keeper until she notices Beatrice, declaring that bluebirds are bad luck and shoos her out of the tavern with her broom. She asks who they are and Wirt gives his name. The tavern keeper then explains that she is looking for Wirt's narrative archetype, introducing him to the Butcher, the Baker, the Midwife (who then inexplicably spits up whole fish), the Master and his Apprentice, the unhappy Tailor, and herself as the Tavern Keeper. Wirt insists that he doesn't like labels, leaving the patrons to assume he is a simple-minded fool. The Highway Man then introduces himself and sings his song.

Outside, Beatrice is talking to a horse in the stable. She hears the sound of a tree being chopped and a deep voice singing a melody about getting wood for a fire and wonders who would be out doing so at night in the rain.

Back inside, Wirt approaches the delighted Toymaker intending to ask the way to Adelaide's pasture. The Toymaker mistakenly assumes that Wirt is asking about a romantic interest and declares that he is actually the Young Lover. The Toymaker then proceeds to give Wirt courting advice in his song (which happens to focus on providing various tavern patrons with paid work). During the song, Beatrice sees that Wirt is failing at getting directions and flies off to find the Woodsman since he should "know these woods better than anyone."

Wirt desperately tries to explain himself as the patrons demand he sing his Love Song. They throw him on the stage and he proceeds to sing a terrible song explaining who he and Greg are and that they need directions. The Butcher declares him to be a Pilgrim on a Sacred Journey. Greg begins to tell the cheering crowd various things Wirt has done while in The Unknown.

Wirt then tells about meeting the helpful Woodsman and his warnings about the Beast. This shocks the crowd into frightened silence. The Tavern Keeper then sings her song, explaining that the dishonest Beast seeks lost, hopeless children, turning them into trees of oil to burn in his lantern. Since the Woodsman now carries the Dark Lantern, the Tavern Keeper mistakenly suggests to Wirt that he is the Beast. When she says that the brothers are "more lost than ever", Wirt again asks for directions to Adelaide's. The Apprentice tells Wirt to follow the "compass in your heart."

Suddenly, Beatrice is heard screaming outside. The Tavern Keeper excitedly tells Wirt to save his friend and to get on home. The tavern patrons cheer as Wirt rushes outside, climbs on the horse, and dramatically takes off into the woods, grabbing Greg, the frog, and a lantern along the way. They come upon the startled Woodsman standing with his ax by an edelwood tree, Beatrice lying motionless at its base. Wirt then believes the Woodsman is indeed the Beast and latches onto his leg, yelling for Greg to collect Beatrice. The Woodsman grabs Wirt and warns him that the Beast is upon them. However, Wirt kicks the lantern, which spills the oil and engulfs the tree in flame. They all flee into the woods on the horse, leaving the Woodsman behind.

While riding, Beatrice soon awakens. She explains that she knocked herself out by accidentally flying into a tree after seeing a "weird shadow". When she chastises Wirt for failing to get directions to Adelaide's pasture, he explains that they did indeed get directions—from their talking horse, who is introduced to Beatrice as Fred.

As the Woodsman recovers, a shadowy figure arrives. He observes that the Woodsman is getting low on oil and perhaps he could hold on to the lantern for a while. The Woodsman identifies the dark figure as the Beast, saying that he fought him for the lantern once and would do so again. The Beast says there is no need for violence and reminds him he needs to keep the lantern lit or else his daughter's flame would go out forever—revealing the nature of the Woodsman's burden.

The Beasts asks the Woodsman which direction the children had gone. The Woodsman refuses to say, demanding that the Beast leave them be. Laughing, the Beast retreats into the wood, gleefully singing the earlier song about chopping wood to light the fire.

Characters

Songs

Trivia

  • The Highwayman Song is a clear reference to the Betty Boop Minnie the Moocher cartoon with Cab Calloway. The bartender of the Tavern even looks and sounds like Betty Boop. (Reference)
  • This episode reveals Wirt and Greg are half-brothers.
  • It's revealed why The Woodsman has the dark lantern in the first place.
  • None of the characters at the Tavern reveal their names, and only refer to themselves by their professions.
  • The figurines briefly shown in the introduction are all characters from the tavern. They seem to have been crafted by the Toymaker.

References

  • The Beast's song, "La la la la. La la la la. Chop the wood to light to fire" is sung to the tune of an aria in scene 3 of act 1 of the opera Hansel and Gretel by  Engelbert Humperdinck. The themes from Hansel and Gretel bare many similarities with Over the Garden Wall: two children are lost in the woods and trust an apparently kind old woman who in fact means them harm.

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