SBR EAK: Season One Recap

Hello, everyone! Next week it’s the start of Season Two, so beforehand, here’s a quick recap of the events of Season One as a little refresher. It’s a bit all over the place, and it’s not in chronological order, but it is an overview of most of the important bits you’ll need to know for Season Two. I hope you enjoy listening to it!

Sam takes over Spirit Box Radio after the disappearance of it’s former host, renowned psychic Madame Marie, who also happens to be their mother. Also missing are Spirit Box Radio’s Loyal Assistants, Astrid, Janet and Salim, who all helped during the broadcast. Sam has no idea what he’s doing and has never hosted the show, but bumbles his way through giving advice to the witchy members of the arcane community of Faithful Listeners.

With the help of his sister, Kitty, who works as as an Investigator for Madame Marie, and the hinderance of his other sister, Anna, a lawyer and a sceptic with staunch prejudice against both Madame Marie and the Arcanism she practiced, Sam begins to make the show their own, fielding questions from listeners, reading letters sent to the PO Box, and taking a few calls from those interested in the show, including Regular Caller Beth, who is eager to encourage Sam’s efforts. Sam also speaks with the Bog Witch Rhytidia Delphus, a friend to Madame Marie and the whole Enfield family despite her grumbly disposition.

As time goes on, Sam’s reassurances that Madame Marie will return become shakier and shakier, and they begin to piece together the puzzle of her disappearance. She transferred all her money to Sam’s account before she left and everything in the studio was labelled the first time Sam went down there. A mysterious note details events of the night of Madame Marie’s disappearance, claiming she has been admitted to a hospital, but Sam dismisses it as fake, assuming this is some kind of joke on Madame Marie’s part.

Whilst the mystery of Madame Marie’s disappearance has been coming together, Sam has been working on his tarot skills, and has been receiving more strange letters and voicemails on the studio’s arcane recording machine. Kitty has been investigating an Impossible House which is in the place the Enfield’s old family home once stood. It looks almost identical, but with a few subtle distances like never ending hallways and a spectacular defence mechanism; making you feel like you should come back later.

Sam has also uncovered a variety of apparently magical objects and letters whilst hosting the show. The most common of these are augury forecasts, which they find in increasingly bizarre locations and forecast future events in a baffling and hard-to-interpret manner. The most stand out object is a rose which never withers, left for Sam for christmas in a box labeled ‘from dad’, though Sam has never interacted with any kind of father figures and both Anna and Kitty’s biological parents aside from Madame Marie are squarely out of the picture. Another mysterious object Sam finds is a strange set of tarot, later identified as a True Arcanist Tarot, which can apparently be used to identify what kinds of arcana, like ghosts, are being interacted with. The deck is strange, at different times seeming larger or smaller than a regular tarot deck, and sometimes has blank cards, as well as five metal cards with no names or descriptions on them, only mysterious images.

During one episode of the show, Sam hears a knocking from somewhere in the studio. Both Anna and Kitty are there, and together they discover a trap door under the desk in the studio. It leads to Madame Marie’s office as it had once appeared in their old home, the same home that the Impossible House is mimicking. Inside, Sam seems to enter some kind of partially dissociated state, speaking dreamily and disconnected in ways he’s only done so before during attempts to commune with the crystal ball beside Madame Marie’s desk. The bloody remains of Madame Marie’s body is in the office, and next to it, carved into the floor apparently with her own fingernails, Sam’s full name; Samael Apollo Enfield. Sam reads their name over and over, their voice becoming more and more distant, strange whispering building behind it. Then, they say, loudly, ‘I am Samael Apollo Enfield, Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown, I speak and will be heard’, and apparently black out.

Sam spends the next few days unconscious and being cared for by Anna and Kitty, but both leave fairly soon after he begins to wake up. Sam has had a troubling vision of what is apparently their childhood bedroom, and becomes increasingly preoccupied with images of a white door that they’ve drawn their whole life, and continue to draw when they’re asleep.

Since what happened in the office, magic events seem to be happening spontaneously around Sam all the time. The office was gone and under the trapdoor Sam found only dirt so they couldn’t investigate further. They’ve also lost all memory of what happened in the office, similarly to how they have lost all of their memories of childhood.

Kitty has returned to investigate the Impossible House further. Sam was born in the house that once stood where the Impossible House now stands. It was particularly violent and bloody, and Madame Marie was assisted through it only by Kitty and Anna, who were eight years old at the time. Anna tells Sam that their childhoods were all difficult, that she and Kitty were apparently a disappointment to Madame Marie who neglected them as a result. Once she became pregnant with Sam, however, she changed, becoming even more erratic. Sam apparently had strange powers from birth, his crying filling the heads of anyone who heard it, and as soon as he learned to speak, anything he asked for, he’d get. Madame Marie would take him places, including hospitals, though Anna has no clue why.

Sam begins to receive increasingly weird answer phone messages, including some which apparently are left directly on the machine, not phoned in. Some of these messages are left by a mysterious voice Sam later refers to as Scourge. Scourge is quietly threatening, refuses to tell anything important to Sam, and calls them ‘little bit’.

In attempts to learn more about the un-wilting rose, which seems connected to a figure who recurs in many of the letters Sam receives on the show who is known to Sam only as the Man in the Flat Cap, Sam goes to see a florist and hedge-witch, Oliver Boleyn. Oliver and Sam have an instant connection and flirt relentlessly, despite Oliver’s reticence to tell Sam about certain topics. Oliver is incredibly knowledgable, and apparently immortal. Anna and Kitty remember Oliver from their childhoods, during which he looked exactly the same as he does now. Sam and Oliver are very drawn to one another, becoming increasingly emotionally involved until a phone call between Sam and Oliver is interrupted by Scourge. In response to merely hearing Scourge speak, Oliver hangs up and immediately leaves town, boarding up his shop and leaving Sam bereft.

Meanwhile, Kitty has become trapped in the Impossible House and there is something in there with her. Sam is powerless to help as things spin increasingly out of control in the studio. Sam receives several calls from people who claim to be dead, one of whom is trapped in the Impossible House and tries to lure Sam back there. Friend of the family, bog witch Rhytidia Delphus, is also scared to speak to Sam following an encounter with Scourge, whom she apparently knows, too.

Sam, isolated and desperate, takes to learning what they can about the objects at their disposal and tries to track down the Man in the Flat Cap, who he believes to be his father. The Man in the Flat Cap strikes deals with people, prolonging their lives, only for them to die later in variously horrible circumstances. It’s clear Madame Marie made a deal with him, too. When she was a child, she had no magical power herself, but suddenly became the most powerful arcanist in the northern hemisphere over night shortly after the death of her grandmother, who raised her. Whatever happened to Madame Marie’s parents is unclear but apparently unpleasant. The crystal ball Madame Marie kept in the studio has always been unusual and Sam suspects it is connected to Madame Marie’s deal with the Man in the Flat Cap, especially as every time he interacts with it, it shows him visions connected to the Man in the Flat Cap.

To strike a deal with the Man in the Flat Cap, one has to ‘seek without searching’, surrendering agency over to him. Sam suspects that Spirit Box Radio and the forums attached to it were made by Madame Marie so that they were always looking for the Man in the Flat Cap, making it impossible for him to find them. The curious thing is that Sam was banned from interacting with Spirit Box Radio before Madame Marie’s disappearance, and discouraged from any kind of arcane practices at all, though he couldn’t help himself, really.

Sam accidentally destroys the crystal ball, and things get weirder. Kitty is freed from the Impossible House but unwilling to recount her experiences there beyond that it happened. Anna, who has been reticent with Sam for months after they found Madame Marie’s body, also returns and together the three of them try to puzzle out some of the mysteries around Madame Marie’s disappearance without much luck, uncovering only further mysteries.

Sam parses out that the forums and the impossible house are connected after Kitty points out that it changed significantly after the forums were set up, where before it had been totally inaccessible, it shifted to inciting a feeling of familiarity in those who approached it. This happened around the time that Sam woke up from a years long coma, apparently started by a strange ritual performed by Madame Marie which destroyed the original house that the Impossible House has replaced. Now satisfied that the Impossible House, the forums, and Sam himself are connected, Sam’s attitude towards Madame Marie begins to shift from one of fond mourning to one of despair because of everything she had hidden from him about himself.

The more Sam learns about themself, the more strange occurences happen around them. It seems like Sam can control things without meaning to, including people, accidentally bidding them into silence. Sam accidentally summons Oliver, who appears magically when Sam calls his name. Oliver explains he made a deal with the Man in the Flat Cap and can’t be trusted, but Sam decides quickly that he doesn’t care. Oliver also explains that the things that were in the house with Kitty are also people who have made deals with the Man in the Flat Cap and become immortal Major Arcana. These three are Indifference, Ignorance and Ingratitude, and Oliver thinks very little of them.

Sam finds a letter in Madame Marie’s bedroom, which he has until that point been reluctant to enter. In the letter, Madame Marie tells Sam she loves them, but offers no explanations for anything that has happened. It’s clear she knew she was going to die. Sam is furious and tries to hold a séance with her, calling on people in the forums to help. They only manage to get a memory, via the recording machine, of Madame Marie talking to Rhytidia about fearing Sam will be like his father, the Man in the Flat Cap.

Sam inadvertently summons Oliver, who offers them a little comfort until they are interrupted by Anna, who is very angry that Oliver is there, pointing out that Oliver is untrustworthy. Sam reiterates again that they don’t care about that, and moves on to read a letter from an old friend of Madame Marie which describes an arcane maze designed to trap something of incredible arcane power. As soon as Sam finishes reading, it’s clear something is wrong.

A scar, in the shape of an algiz, made on the night their childhood home collapsed, begins to sear with pain. Sam becomes apparently delirious. Objects are falling, collapsing, and the floor gives way.

Sam wakes up inside the Impossible House. Anna, Kitty and Oliver are there, though Sam can’t find Oliver and can only hear him somewhere distantly crying out in pain. Sam encounters the Major Arcana which were hunting Kitty in the House, Ingratitude, Ignorance and Indifference, and each offers him a little information. Apparently they thought that the Man in the Flat Cap had made Madame Marie his heir apparent, and killed her so that she couldn’t take his crown, believing that if she did, they’d all die as it is only their deals with the Man in the Flat Cap keeping them alive. They quickly realised when Madame Marie carved Sam’s name in the floor that they’d made a horrible mistake and it is in fact Sam who is the heir to the Man in the Flat Cap’s power. Sam is meant to replace the Man in the Flat Cap so he can attempt to ascend to another plane of existence though nobody is sure how that would happen.

Ignorance kills Sam on command of Indifference, but Sam doesn’t stay dead for long. He wakes up and has become instantaneously incredibly powerful, vanquishing Indifference, Ignorance, and Ingratitude with ease. Once this is done, Sam panics, and Oliver talks them down, reminding them that they’re still themself. This is enough for Sam’s power to become more controllable, but the Impossible House is collapsing all around them.

Sam and Oliver get out, finding Anna and Kitty safely outside. There is a phone in the rubble of the house, unharmed, and it rings. Sam takes the call. It is the Man in the Flat Cap, and he congratulates Sam on his progress, but says he’s not yet ready for his crown. Sam doesn’t tell the others what he heard on the phone. They then realise they’ve been broadcasting this whole time. Sam thanks the faithful listeners for tuning in, and so concludes Season One of Spirit Box Radio.

Tune in next week for Season Two, episode one, Heir Apparent. Until then, stay spooky.