Felicia Day and her collaborators deserve a great deal of credit not only for the success of "The Guild," but also for the high production values of the web series. In 2011, "The Guild" returned for a fifth season that found Codex (Day) leading her Knights of Good into the MegaGame-O-RamaCon, to celebrate the Game on a grand scale. Suffice to say, nothing goes smoothly and Codex manages to not only screw up her love life, she endangers the very existence of the Game as she's known it.
After the previous four seasons, I've long since given up expecting any kind of realism from "The Guild." It exists in its own hyper-reality that only lightly resembles our own world. That's fine… but is it asking too much for the main characters to not be incredible douchebags? On her own, Codex is still fairly sympathetic, but the rest of her Guild are horrible people… which sometimes makes it difficult to watch them. Most of them don't even have a single dimension, much less three.
Two of the more annoying characters, Vork (Jeff Lewis) and Bladezz (Vincent Caso) are paired together for most of the season, as Vork comes up with a plan to exploit Bladezz's inexplicable internet popularity. Largely this subplot is used as a way to introduce some celebrity cameos, including one by Nathan Fillion; who actually gets one of the biggest laughs of the season. But most of it revolves around Bladezz trying to ingratiate himself with the convention celebrities and failing miserably.
If Bladezz (or even the majority of the Knights of Good) had any self-awareness, then their antics would be a lot more palatable. Instead, we're somehow meant to believe that Vork is able to sexually attract his favorite actress, Madeline Twain (Erin Gray) and then win her back after he alienates her with his fanboy complaints about her departure from his favorite show. Vork's not capable of love or general human emotions, so this was just not believable on any level.
Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) gets wrapped up in his own subplot as he becomes the almost mafioso leader of "The Seat Savers," which gives him enormous power within the halls of the convention. Although, asking us to buy Neil Gaiman begging Zaboo for attendees to come to his panel is like Robert Pattinson begging for teenage girls to show up at a "Twilight" screening. That's really pushing the suspension of disbelief even before two Master Chiefs beat up Kevin Sorbo and kidnap Stan Lee. However, Lee's cameo is pretty funny and one of the better jokes of the season.
The early part of Codex's story deals with her attempt to form a romantic relationship with Zaboo, who rejects her despite pinning after her for so long. That could have been effective if Zaboo had a more rounded personality, but instead it came off pretty flatly. However, Codex and Tink (Amy Okuda) get the strongest material of the season as Tink briefly opens up to Codex and reveals that she's hiding from her adoptive family and that she's secretly changed her major from medicine to costume design.
Somehow, Codex gets a hold of Tink's family and she also learns that Tink's real name is April Lou. Naturally, this sends Tink back into jerk mode. But Tink's family takes the news of her major change so well that they're kind of endearing. Tink's parents and sisters are stock characters themselves, but the way they respond to Tink's constant rudeness with love is kind of funny. Tink's attempt to hide from her sisters earlier in the season also leads to one of the most hilarious moments between Tink and Codex in a cliffhanger ending.
Wil Wheaton even briefly shows up to give Fawkes a measure of redemption, before he disappears again for the majority of the season. The rest of Codex's story revolves around her unknowingly insulting Floyd Petrovski, the popular creator of The Game. Petrovski is so dismayed by Codex's criticism that he contemplates selling The Game to a company that wants to make it mainstream, "free-to-play" and simplified for the masses. In short, it would be hell for the players and the Knights of Good.
The resolution to that story partially plays into the subplot about Clara (Robin Thorsen) and her sudden desire to embrace the steampunk genre with a trio of arrogant cosplayers. Convention wackiness ensues and the Knights come together once more to save their beloved Game.
As a part of the resolution, Codex is placed into a situation that would redefine "The Guild" if it gets another season. I'd like to see that because the very nature of the change should force Codex to grow up. She's really the only character on this show that I like, so it was a good note to end on.
For the rest of the cast, I should note that the other lead actors are fine. But their characters just aren't given any real chances to develop. Even Tink, who had the best chance for some emotional growth essentially stayed the same despite the warm gestures of Codex and her family. I could really get into "The Guild" if I could at least like the supporting players. But I don't know if Day and her team are willing or able to make any real changes to the characters at this point in the series. It certainly works for them.
It just doesn't always work for me.
Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.