|Brilliant? Yes, sounds like me.|
|—Bartleby Farnum in "Escape From Skull Shores"|
Escape from Skull Shores
A man named Bartleby Farnum is an eccentric show-and salesman with nothing left to show or sell, his frustration over which he takes out on his assistant Kipling, a freak who keeps his head covered by a sack with holes poked into it so that he can see. As Farnum tries to think up something that can earn them some money, he hears shouting outside and is delighted to find the young monsters adrift. Planning to exhibit them, he saves them from the raft. However, his plan to exhibit them is swiftly ditched when he sees Frankie Stein, who looks remarkably similiar to an explorer from early in the 20th century. This explorer had a particular attachment to a creature Farnum has been wanting to capture for a long time, the Beast of Skull Shores, so he plans to use Frankie as bait.
Pretending to bring the group to the Great Scarrier Reef, Farnum instead takes them to Skull Shores, which he excuses by claiming he has to pick up supplies. Lagoona Blue is suspicious and a bit stressed since her parents are waiting for her, but accepts Farnum's story. Once docked, the group, and Frankie in particular, is welcomed by the local population, the Tiki. Farnum has had previous dealings with the Tiki and knows of their fear of the beast, so he easily convinces them to keep the group entertained so that he can work out a trap for the beast.
However, Farnum's plan missed to take one thing into account: the Monster High students are primarily non-judgemental and nice folks. Their attitude wins over the Tiki, who express concerns over the plan to trick them. Farnum deals with it by reminding the Tiki of their life in constant fear of the beast.
Frankie is declared guest of honor and asked to participate in a performance Farnum and the Tiki want to do. Naturally, she accepts. At the same time, Lagoona's suspicion grows again when Farnum refuses her entry to his boat to check the maps on the distance between Skull Shores and the Great Scarrier Reef. That evening, she and a reluctant Gil sneak aboard to figure out what Farnum's up to and find a recording of the beast and the explorer who befriended him, finding out that Farnum is using Frankie as bait to capture the beast, they then rush off to warn their friend.
At the island, the performance starts with Farnum giving Frankie a necklace. He proceeds to tell the "Tall Tale of the Beast of Skull Shores", which is visualized by the Tiki's shadowgraphy. Farnum reveals the existence of the beast to the students and how only one person has ever been able to soothe it. Frankie's chair suddenly rises in the air and Farnum elaborates that the Tiki gave the girl to the beast to keep him from attacking them. Clawdeen is the first of the students to demand the performance to end because it's starting to become scary, but only a moment later the beast appears, lured by the drums of the Tiki. The students are shocked and Frankie is very afraid in her vulnerable position, until she notices the way the beast is looking at her. Farnum and the Tiki launch their attack, throwing spears at the beast. The spears cannot pierce the beast's skin though, and the beast makes sure no harm comes to Frankie either. After a few seconds, it grabs Frankie and marches off with her. Ghoulia and Abbey are forced into a pitfall trap, but Clawdeen, Draculaura, and Cleo are able to escape. Farnum splits up the Tiki in two groups: one that will remain in the village and keep guard under the Tiki chief's guidance, and one that will follow the beast's trail as well as the tracking device in Frankie's necklace with Farnum.
She then holds a speech that the Tiki are foolish to trust Farnum and let themselves be treated like this, which moves the Tiki to join forces with the students to stop Farnum. In the jungle, Lagoona and Gil are spying on Farnum from a promontory and realize he has a tracking device planted on Frankie. They intend to follow him, but the rock slips away from under Lagoona and she falls down. On Farnum's orders, Kipling captures Lagoona. Gil runs off, leaving both Lagoona and Farnum certain he's acting on cowardice. As Farnum mocks both Lagoona and Gil, Lagoona tries to convince Kipling to break ties with Farnum, because he isn't anything like his cruel master. Kipling declines, certain he has no one else to rely on.
Back at Farnum's boat, Farnum is still holding onto Frankie as Andy gets into the boat and her friends watch. However, the group is surprised to see Gil rise from the water. Gil demands that Farnum releases his friends, to which Farnum asks how he intends to enforce his demand. Gil reveals he's not alone - with him is a small army of dolphins as well as the kraken that destroyed the students' boat. This time, the kraken destroys Farnum's boat, then picks up the crook and flings him into the jungle. Kipling runs after his master, despite Lagoona's plea for him to stay. With the threat gone, Gil explains that he ran and swam off to the Great Scarrier Reef to ask Lagoona's parents for help. They talked to the kraken, who felt sorry for what he had done and not only agreed to save Lagoona and co., but also to fix the boat he had destroyed. The students resume their journey, taking Andy with them. Lagoona is overjoyed about the courage and reliability Gil showed her, but also happy he finally stopped being scared of her parents and her home.
At a distance, Farnum and Kipling watch the students, who've forgotten about Frankie's necklace, leave. Farnum swears this isn't the end of the matter.
After some days, Headless Headmistress Bloodgood orders everyone to the auditorium for a speech about tolerance by a human guest speaker. While the man appears merely eccentric at first, realization hits when he starts calling the individual students "specimens" and "oddities". He appears particularly intent to torment Andy with his derogative words, leading to Bloodgood demanding he leave as his speech has nothing to do with tolerance. The man joyously explains he must have misspoken: he didn't mean to lecture about tolerance, but about intolerance. Pestering Andy further, he is slammed away by the boy, and finally reveals that he is Farnum. This revelation first draws the ire of the Wolf siblings, who prepare to attack, but Farnum pulls out a dog whistle to keep them at bay. Next, Deuce tries to petrify him, but Farnum pulls out a mirror from his cane, petrifying Deuce instead. Other students have similar success.
Farnum and Kipling show up on the bridge between the towers and Farnum convinces Andy that, just as with Kipling, a freak like him has nowhere else to turn to than to a man like Farnum. Though Frankie tells him not to listen, Andy Beast does and agrees with Farnum's reasoning. Kipling, though, finally realizes he's been wrong to let Farnum's abuse crush his self-confidence. He takes off his hood, revealing his ears are deformed in the form of an elephant's, and picks up Farnum. Spotting one of the carnival stands not yet removed, (which contains a tar pit), he throws Farnum into it. During his fall, Farnum crosses paths with a flock of birds, causing him to end up not only tarred, but feathered too. Aghast about his own freaky look, Farnum runs off, only to be captured by a bunch of humans he probably had called himself to capture Andy.
Bartleby Farnum is a part-time charismatic man who can entertain the crowds and guide the masses. He can turn a dispirited show into a performance to be remembered, and convince all but the most skeptical minds of the value of his wares. But this side of him is a ruse that is dispelled with little provocation. Bartleby Farnum is an aggressive man who prides himself on his intellect and perceived superiority as a normal human. His suave demeanor usually saves him from retribution from those he harms, as he can easily manipulate the situation in his favor, using sweet and vile words to get people to agree with him and bow to his wishes. And when that's not enough, he possesses a special cane that he handles expertly and which provides him with a number of useful tools. He also calls all monsters "freaks".
Bartleby Farnum is a skinny man dressed in carny clothes. He's got two golden teeth and a special cane from which he can summon a large variety of tools, such as glasses, a magnet, a flash light, a radar, a dog whistle, and a mirror.
While not explicitly said, Bartleby seems to have been the sole companion of Kipling for some time. Since Kipling is supposedly underage at the time he leaves his master, he has been underage when Bartleby gave him a home and took him in as an assistant. As such, Bartleby's role as Kipling's master appears interlaced with that of caretaker, albeit an abusive one.
- Bartleby Farnum's name has been inspired by Phineas Taylor Barnum, an American showman, businessman, scam artist, and entertainer from the nineteenth century. He is one of the founders of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and much of his show work involved the presentation of freaks.