Wow, by the time I got to the end of this I realized it’s a bit of an angry rant and mainly aimed at Beauregard. Whoops, I guess. But I said what I said.
Caduceus giving in the the Mighty Nein’s whims in the jungle on their way to the Menagerie in ep. 95 — despite feeling strongly that they should stop poking things both for practical/safety reasons and because this is a holy site dedicated to his Goddess — is indicative of a much deeper problem within the Mighty Nein, which is that they not only fail to communicate their personal values to each other, they don’t even respect each other’s values when they are communicated.
Part of the problem here is that most of them don’t feel equipped to judge anyone else for their actions. Caleb is a good example of this: he thinks himself so completely irredeemable that he has no right to judge anyone else no matter what they do. It’s something different for each member of the Mighty Nein, but the result is that they rarely confront each other about their weaknesses or lapses in judgement, and so they cannot help each other grow.
But even much more generally, they don’t talk to each other. They don’t communicate about their beliefs, values, desires for the future (whether personal or collective). After more than a year traveling together no one dares ask Caleb what his goals are even though it’s more than clear he has specific things in mind. No one has asked Beauregard why she feels such horrible dread knowing they’ll all go their separate ways one day. No one asks Jester what she wants out of this whole Traveler cult business.
There’s been a few mentions of the Mighty Nein as some kind of “found family,” but frankly, they don’t talk enough, don’t know each other enough to be called a family. They travel together, deal with the monsters and enemies on the surface, and let everyone deal with their demons alone. They’re so afraid of stepping on each other’s toes that they remain practically strangers even after all this time.
They fail to notice triggers up ahead and stumble into situations that make one or more of them incredibly uncomfortable or even hurt.
And even when some of them do speak up, do warn, do communicate their wants and needs, the others don’t respect that and steamroll over them.
Their first time in Zadash, Caleb and Yasha mentioned wanting to keep a low profile. So what did the Mighty Nein do? They jumped into the Victory Pit and fought in front of an audience of perhaps hundreds. They exposed themselves to none other than Caleb’s worst nightmare, Trent Ikithon himself.
And a year later when they ended up in Rexxentrum and in the Vergesson Sanatorium in front of that same man? Beauregard decided she wanted to play mindgames with Trent Ikithon. Not to any end, just to prove she could.
So when they find themselves in a jungle known to be filled with dangerous beasts unknown to the rest of the world, searching for the next piece of Caduceus’ personal quest to save his home, searching for his entire family who has been missing for years, it’s disappointing, though not particularly surprising, that the Mighty Nein steamroll over him too, with their desire to poke every damn thing they come across.
Even when he tells them, “this is a holy site,” Beauregard is quick to lawyer herself out of it by pointing out that Caduceus doesn’t know enough about this place to say that it really is part of the holy site their searching for. The Mighty Nein pretend to care what Caduceus thinks, asking him what they should do since this is his quest, but then refuse to take no for an answer and keep insisting until eventually he gives up trying to stop them.
And then of course, they do find the Menagerie, find his family turned to stone and his aunt shattered. They manage to take out the threat and retreat into the temple to rest, now undoubtedly within the holy site itself. And the first thing Beauregard does is suggest to Jester that she pull pranks on these people who have been petrified for nearly a decade within their own home.
It would be unfair to expect the Mighty Nein to show respect for people outside their group. They’ve only had each other to lean on for so long. But I would hope that they could at least respect each other and the things important to members of their group.
Caduceus shouldn’t have to babysit them our outline all the things he would find issue with when they’re inside a temple to the Wildmother. Knowing that this place, these people, and his family are important to him should be enough to at least give them pause.
The Mighty Nein — and perhaps Beauregard in particular — are so busy rebelling against anything and everything that they end up carelessly hurting and rebelling against each other.
While Caleb has shown incredible growth in his circle of compassion, from caring about only himself, himself and Nott, to caring about the entire Mighty Nein, and then the entire continent and wanting to make it a better place. But some of the others can’t seem to be bothered to even consider their own friends.