Episode 3: The Carnival of Fools
Feast, Festival, Carnival it’s all the same thing in the end. What is different is the contest in question. But let’s put a pin in that for the moment.
So The Carnival of Fools is being prepped by our gang of pals, Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François. The King drops by and is most pleased with their work. But who will judge the contest? What is the contest? The ugliest face of Paris like in the book and most of the adaptations? No, that is too mean-spirited. This contest is that the best performer will win the chance to perform for the King. And of course the gang of pals are judges, mostly because they asked.
Enter The Jester, who is a super honest looking sort of gentleman, right? He is also a magician like Frollo who he seems to be in league with. So he enters the contest and wows Quasimodo, who has been taking his role as a judge super seriously.
However it turns out the Jester wants to steal the King’s crown which Frollo also wants. The actual crown with the jewels. Not sure why Frollo would want that aside from wanting to rule, maybe he thinks whomever has the shiny is King. Or he just wants to play dress up.
Anyway Esmeralda figures out the Jester’s plot using a sixth ability she has. She also has some illusion based magic that comes from her locket which was more detailed this episode. The Jester however ties her in a chest before his performance for the king so she can’t tell anyone.
Esmeralda then busts out of the trunk she is being held in and informs the crowd as the Jester makes his getaway but he is followed by Quasimodo
But before Quasimodo can catch him, Frollo runs into the Jester and takes the crown and the Jester gets away. Quasimodo vows to the king that he will get the crown jewels back because Quasimodo blames himself for the whole thing. Esmeralda sends François to follow while she sees her contact in the streets, not sure what that means.
Quasimodo’s search leads him down to the spooky underground tunnels which houses something that looks like a sea turtle. Which is rather random but also delightful. However Quasimodo and François get caught by Frollo, who does display a lot of self knowledge, he knows he is a “fabulously good magician and a truly evil man.” I appreciate that he knows who is and perfectly content with himself. He is not a complex villain with moral ambiguity, then again for the times and genre wise this would have been very rare.
Frollo then demands that Quasimodo and François entertain him and then transform François into a cat because cats are entertaining the internet is proof of that.
So while Azarof chases François distracting Frollo, Quasimodo and the Jester form a plan. The plan goes great as they get the crown back. Eventually Esmeralda comes for them with the help of cat François and Quasimodo secures possession of the crown from the Jester, who does his best Gollum impression when he thinks the crown fell out while they were running.
With the help of Dennis and books of magic at Notre Dame, they revert François back to a stinky human. Darn he could have been a cat.
This episode has a moral about trust and openness. One shouldn’t distrust people because of a bad experience. One’s openness and willingness to trust may be the very thing to save your life. And while that is not the worst moral I can’t get over magical books at Notre Dame. Sure whatever, in this version Notre Dame seems more like Hogwarts than a religious site. Though I guess it would be more like Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, since the setting is France. Then again I’m not the biggest fan of Harry Potter.
Episode 4: The Star Master
This episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo is a bit weird.
As Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François enjoy a nice outing they notice a lot of very strange things occurring. Geese flying backwards in the sky, a critical donkey getting stuck in a tree and autumn just happening all at once.
Of course Dennis just so happens to know the answer instantly from a book. Very simply a star is about to fall to Earth which will bring the end of the world within 24 hours when the moon rises. And only our gang of pals can stop it by destroying the star. The star looks like a pink crystal.
Meanwhile, The Oracle, a pal of Frollo, pops into Frollo’s underground layer, which is very tastefully decorated. The Oracle shows him the power of the star using a small fragment, which makes explosions. Frollo is very into this magical items and wants more. The Oracle agrees to bring him to the rest of it if they form a partnership, which Frollo agrees. Frollo then dubs himself “The Star Master” and he wants to rule the world. The Oracle is content to be Frollo’s top advisor.
The gang of pals set out to find the star and notice more weird stuff, like berries tasting like lemons and vine monsters trying to kill François. Then get captured by some thugs that Frollo and The Oracle employ. They escape only to get captured again by Frollo’s stone gargoyle whose name is apparently Dragon, maybe?
In the end Frollo allies leave him though he did doublecross The Oracle and the thugs peace out because of the Star’s chaos magic. He half-heartedly tries to recruit Quasimodo, Emeralda and François but to no avail but the mere attempt was very endearing.
Dennis and Angelica show up to help destroy the star by throwing into a volcano that magically appeared after the star fell. Everyone works to push the star up into the volcano and the volcano pushes the star back into orbit and the world is saved.
The premise of this episode is very creative and quite high stakes for a Hunchback version.
Aside from the names, and the concept of the village of thugs, this episode does not feel like it was inspired by any version of Hunchback. That is not inherently a bad thing but worth mentioning. For the most part this show has seemed somewhat grounded in the source material up until this episode.
The only real Hunchback-ish reference was a random man who was wearing glasses that was holding a sign reading “blind.” Very Court of Miracles.