The Mystic Archives of Dantalian Episode Four “Book of Soul Exchange”–Recap

by on March 7th, 2015
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This episode is extremely reminiscent of Misery, by Stephen King. The episode opens with a man typing. We discover that he is a prisoner of some kind when a woman unlocks the door to his room and enters. The woman is clearly unhappy about something that the man wrote, but the man protests that a bargain is a bargain. This is definitely the wrong thing to say, because that is when the knife comes out. Then we go to the opening credits.

In the scene following the credits, Dalian is experiencing the most incredibly frustrating thing ever experienced by any reader: she has completed the second book of an unfinished trilogy. She is outraged, but Huey is amused. He explains that the trilogy will remain unfinished because the writer died before writing the final book. This is of course very upsetting to Dalian. During the course of the discussion we learn that the writer, Lenny Lents had attempted to contact Huey’s grandfather, claiming to be held prisoner by a book. This is all Dalian needs to hear. She immediately insists that they go seek out Lenny Lents.

We next see a woman at a water pump outside of a large house in the middle nowhere. Anthony and Dalian turn up, and ask the woman some questions about Lenny Lents. The woman claims to be Paula Lents, Lenny Lents wife, and states that Lenny is not dead, he is simply being reclusive as he’s working on his next book. After some more conversation, the woman agrees to let them meet with Lenny the next day. Dalian and Huey head back to the car, and Dalian reads the dedication in the book she’s carrying which is made “in loving memory” to Lenny Lents wife. She notes that the wife “should not be there,” but Huey says, “who else could she be?” The view pulls back a bit to reveal a bucket with a knife next to the water pump.

The scene shifts to a view of a bloody knife which in turn fades to Paula Lents coming out of the house and dropping a knife in the bucket before heading back to the house. (The implications here are pretty gruesome, and it’s just going to get worse from here.) We see that Dalian and Huey have returned to do a little investigating of this situation. They find Lenny Lents body and a young woman named Leticia Serkis, who is being kept in a cage. This young woman introduces herself as Lenny Lents lover. She is apparently being held prisoner by the woman claiming to be Lenny Lents wife. Oddly enough, she doesn’t want to be rescued. Instead, she wants them to come back tomorrow so they can rescue Lenny. This is a very puzzling request, but Huey and Dalian go along with it.

The next day Huey is a little skeptical about going back, but Dalian reminds him that Lenny’s letter mentioned a “bizarre book.” She points out that it’s possible that Lenny was referring to a Phantom Book. When they arrive at the house, Paula Lents welcomes them and chatters on at great length about how much she loves Lenny Lents writing. The bubbly enthusiasm turns a little sour when Dalian catches Paula in a mistake concerning a passage in one of the books.

They find that Lenny has apparently recovered from his severe case of being dead. They talk, and during the conversation, Lenny types away, giving Huey a message that’s quite different than what he’s saying. In the typed message he explains some of the situation, and requests that Huey rescue his lover. (It’s kind of sweet in a disturbing way that each of them wants the other person to be the one getting rescued.) Huey asks Lenny Lents to sign Dalian’s book, which Lenny Lents agrees to. (Huey quite sensibly wants to see if this is actually Lenny Lents or some kind of imposter.)

Dalian and Huey return once more, but they find that Leticia is dead this time around. This is a little befuddling to Huey, since the last time around, it was Lenny who was dead and it was Leticia who was alive. Dalian states that the culprit of this strange situation is The Book of Soul Exchange.

Then Lenny Lents turns up. Behind him with a rifle is Paula Lents who tells Huey to hand over his weapons. When he hesitates, she shoots Lenny in the leg. Lenny falls forward and curls up. Huey drops his own gun, and asks how she knew about the plan. Paula points out that a typewriter leaves impressions in the carbon paper. Dalian and Huey end up in the cell, and Paula picks up Huey’s gun. She aims it at Lenny. At this point, Huey reveals that he knows some important information about her, namely that her real name is Paula Dickinson and she’s an obsessive fan of Lents. It turns out that she had been stalking Lenny for quite some time, and had also been harassing Lenny’s friends. She is also a suspect in Lenny’s murder. (There’s also an implication that she and Lenny had a one night stand at one point.) Paula does not care. It turns out that she had gone around the bend because she did not like the way Lenny had decided to end the trilogy, so she decided to make him write the story the way she wanted him to.

She has been using the Book of Soul Exchange to continuously kill and bring back to life both Lenny and Leticia. Paula demonstrates the powers of the book as she goes on a meltdown rant about how much she loves Lenny and his writing, and how she would do anything for him. She shoots Lenny in the head, and Leticia comes back to life, upset that Huey and Dalian had not rescued Lenny. Then Paula shoots Leticia and Lenny comes back to life. Meanwhile, Dalian is helpfully explaining the properties of the book for those who haven’t figured out the implications from the demonstration. Dalian further states that the resurrection only lasts a day.

Paula continues to rant about how disappointed she is in Lenny Lents plot decisions while repeatedly killing Lenny and Leticia. Dalian interrupts her, stating that Paula is a sad and pitiful woman with a crush on a “bit character.” This drives Paula into a frenzy and she goes to club Lenny with the rifle. This time around, Lenny manages to catch rifle, though this doesn’t seem to do much good because Paula just kills him again.

This time however, something new happens. It is apparently possible to reach a critical mass for how many times you can die, because this time around, both Lenny and Leticia come back to life, completely transformed. Paula fires her gun at them, but they fail to die. Instead, she gets firsthand experience of every death she inflicted on them. The keys to the cell are tossed where Dalian and Huey can get to them, and both Leticia and Lenny disappear in a burst of teal and yellow flames.

Much later, Huey and Dalian locate the manuscript of the third book Lenny had been working on. Dalian is less than pleased by the way the book ends. In fact, she is utterly outraged! However, she has a much saner solution to a book with an ending she does not like; write fan fiction! Huey is not very enthused by this idea, but of course, Dalian does not care.


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