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Recap / Trollhunters S 3 E 3 Bad Coffee

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Something strange is brewing at school, where the teachers are more agitated than usual. Claire's illness shows disturbing side effects.

Tropes:

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: In the case of Coach Lawrence, he tries everything to be the father Steve needs. In-turn, Steve confesses that he actually does appreciate him and that he sees him as better than a father in-spite of his abrasive behavior.
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  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: It is clear that Strickler still has feelings for Barbara despite not having seen her, Barbara being the thing that snaps him out of his grave sand-induced rage. Barbara broke up with him before she lost her memory, and he's willing to respect her wishes even if she doesn't know. He even admits that the reason why he returned had nothing to do with Jim, but rather to look after her.
  • Contortionist: While under the effects of the grave sand, Miss Janeth crawls around and contorts herself in various disturbing ways.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: It is not until blood starts coming out of her nose does Claire start taking her illness seriously.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Blinky calls out Strickler for using Grave Sand to train Jim because it's not supposed to be used on humans.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Lawrence, Uhl and Janeth lament the lack of respect they get from their students.
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  • Fainting: Claire does so during band practice.
  • Foreshadowing: Strickler believes Jim needs to be more aggressive and Troll-like to defeat Gunmar, while Blinky asserts it's Jim's humanity that gives him strength. In a way, both are right.
  • Hate Plague: Confusing it for coffee, Coach Lawrence, Senior Uhl and Miss Janeth become aggressive, crazed and troll-like. When Strickler tries to pacify the situation, they hold him down and force-feed him it.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Miss Janeth claims that she wanted to be a teacher to make a difference, but instead she just bores them.
    • Miss Janet is Eli’s favorite teacher, admitting this bringing her out of her grave sand-induced rage.
    • Steve confesses that in-spite of his hostility, he thinks more of Lawrence than just a father, admitting this calming Lawrence down. They even have a Cooldown Hug to punctuate the moment.
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    • Hilariously subverted with Senior Uhl, as the thing that brings him back from his grave sand state is… his favorite truck.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Mama Skull is okay with the guitar and drums, but the girls' singing voices are terrible.
  • May Contain Evil: The coffee the teachers drank was actually grave sand, turning them aggressive and troll-like.
  • Mercy Kill: When Jim tries to get a means of curing the ingestion of grave sand out of Strickler without telling him directly, he claims that this is the most merciful thing to do.
  • Opposed Mentors: Blinky does not take it well that Strickler has been training Jim, especially in his methods.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: One of the effects grave sand has on Jim is that it permanently deepens his voice, providing an in-universe explanation for his change in voice actors.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While Blinky is less than happy that Strickler is training Jim, he understands why and merely chides Strickler for using a dangerous troll artifact on a human being. He allows Jim to keep training, reluctantly.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Barbara claims that the horns in the painting "Goodbye, Walt" are symbolic, unaware that she subconsciously depicted Strickler's true form.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Grave Sand are the ground up remains of Gumm-Gumms. Changelings use it to help them change form, while humans can use it to hone their feral instincts. If ingested, this is amplified ten-fold, causing their eyes to glow like changelings and turning them into super-aggressive monstrous versions of themselves with troll-like habits.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: Jim accidentally swipes the can of coffee when he was trying to retrieve the can of grave sand from the teachers lounge.
  • The Unmasking: The grave sand-high Coach Lawrence ends up outing that he is dating Steve's mom and living with them in front of the class.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Claire's nose starts bleeding black blood.
    • When Gunmar makes it to Morgana, Morgana has a possessed Claire by her side.
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