Statement of Michael, regarding himself.
Nikola Orsinov is using John's tape recorder, addressing Elias Bouchard directly, saying that she has taken John and is holding him captive. She asks Breekon & Hope to leave, whereupon the pair allude to needing to stay close to "it" (implied to be the coffin from MAG 2 and MAG 61), before withdrawing carrying something.
Nikola resumes talking to Elias saying that she had planned to just follow Sims around until he found the skin that Gertrude had taken, but then decided it would be more fun to take Sims directly. She tells Jonathan that she is going to peel his skin off, and asks him what lotion she should get as he hasn't kept his skin in good condition. She leaves, presumably to acquire some, and turns the recorder off.
An unspecified time later, the recorder turns back on and Michael appears, saying he is here to kill the Archivist. Before he does so he is going to act against his nature and answer Jonathan's questions so that he can understand what is happening.
The next question is what Michael has to do with the Unknowing, but Michael laughs and says nothing - other than he would like it if it were to fail.
When asked why he is here, Michael repeats that it is to kill Sims. Pressed on it, he states that he doesn't want the circus to win, but he also doesn't want the archives to win. Killing Sims would accomplish both goals, but also satisfy his revenge.
Sims says he still doesn't know who Michael is, and Michael says that he is Michael, but that he was not always Michael and does not want to be Michael. Sims thinks that Michael used to be Gertrude's assistant, but Michael says that the "Michael" on that tape was not him. When that "Michael" existed, the being that Sims is talking to was something else. Then, someone caused "Michael" to become a part of him. He realises that Sims is asking him to take a Statement about what happened, and begins the story of what happened.
Michael isn't sure where to begin his story, as in some way he has always existed, so picking a starting point for his story wasn't simple. Michael Shelley would be easier to keep track of, as he was born and before he could die, he went to work for the Magnus Institute. When Shelley was younger, he lost a friend to a supernatural being which drove him to despair, the Institute, and Gertrude Robinson.
Shelley was protective of Gertrude, believing her to be forgetful and frail yet wise, and he trusted her. Michael says that Gertrude fed Shelley to the Spiral to prevent the Transcendence. One day, Gertrude told Shelley that they were going on a research trip to Russia (to the non-existent Zemlya Sannikova) and even though her story was a lie Shelley continued to trust her. They were taken by Peter Lukas on a further journey North, and once the ice froze over finally Shelley began to be concerned.
Gertrude says that they were going to fight a great evil, which Michael notes was unfair as he was just acting in nature with what he is. The Worker-of-Clay had spent a long time creating an impossible edifice of doors in order to bring him forth into the world. The two of them landed on an island that Michael says didn't exist, and they walked to stop the ritual by following the spiraling laughter.
Though Shelley was deeply unsettled by the sight of the ritual, Michael says that Gertrude Robinson was unafraid and sought out his door. Michael was reveling in his own apotheosis, and did not notice Gertrude walking up and opening the door. Gertrude told Shelley that Michael could be stopped by walking through the door, which Shelley had believed and walked through Michael's door willingly.
Inside the labyrinth, Shelley brought with him a map given to him by Gertrude which guided him to Michael's heart. By following the directions on the map, Shelley managed to tear out Michael's heart, and become forever twisted together. All of The Spiral's worshippers were exiled by the force of the uncreation. The island also disappeared but Gertrude had already retreated back to the boat.
In the aftermath, the being that Sims knows as Michael was born. Sims asked why Michael never took revenge on Gertrude, and was told that Gertrude had taken protections, but also that she was not as good an Archivist as Sims and thus not as large a threat. Michael had hoped Sims would be able to stop The Unknowing, but now it seems like he would be bringing it about instead.
Sims asks if there's anything he can do to stop Michael from killing him, to which Michael says if he screams he would draw The Circus, but that his death would be more painful that way. Sims agrees to Michael's offer, and Michael conjures a door and tells him to step through. Sims tries the door but finds it is locked, Michael does not believe him and also tries it. He becomes worried and seems to realise something before letting out a long, pained scream.
Michael is gone and a door creaks open to reveal Helen. Sims asks what happened to Michael and Helen says "Michael isn't me," anymore because he let himself be overwhelmed and "lost my way." She isn't sure if she is Helen either, but Helen is better than Michael at least. Killing Sims was Michael's desire, but Helen will help him leave because Helen Richardson liked Sims. Out of options, he agrees to follow Helen through the door.
- To mimic the sound of being gagged, Jonny Sims delivered his lines with as much of his fist in his mouth as he could fit.
- A blooper reel for this episode is available to patrons on the Rusty Quill Patreon page.