so apparently May Leitz (youtube channel: Nyx Fears) was another queer creator that James Somerton Stole from
she does movie analysis, mostly focusing on horror, and did a crazy NSFL tierlist where she exposed herself to the absolute worst things on the internet and actually gave thoughtful analysis of it. She does this in a non-exploitative way --- and in a way that's ACTUALLY harm reduction because it can act as a "now you know to run far if you see this stuff in the wild or if someone tries to encourage you to watch it."
Her analysis on the movie The Greasy Strangler is so thoughtful and so good...
AND SHE MAKES MUSIC!
oh and Did I Mention that she's also written TWO EXTREME HORROR NOVELS!? (at time of writing this post, she's working on a 3rd!)
just buy them~
OH WOW that was the last cat I was expecting to get ya yoinkyed then again it's been foreshadowed time and time again
And honestly? Bit of a hot-take but...I adore how much of a coward Rainhaze is, I looove how he tries to find an explanation or resolve in every single thing because of just how fucked up he is
So often in stories like these the one who gets taken advantage of suddenly gets the courage to bare their fangs at the one who feeds, willing to fight for "What's right", so rarely we get someone who's just so fearful of themselves and those around them that they continue to fight for what's wrong like a mindless dog doing their master's bidding
Reminds me of Bluestar in some weird way, how she deliberately went with something that was considered "wrong" yet continued to do worse only to get completely scot-free from it in the end (Her getting into a half-clan relationship, have kits, and then proceed to take kits out in winter all alone) And how it was all essentially for nothing and her so-called "sacrifice" was her being so self-absorbed and selfish, believing that she HAD to get rid of her kits so that she can become ThunderClan's next deputy/later leader just so that Thistleclaw couldn't (Outright ignoring ALL the other warriors at the time mind you)
This is Rainhaze, he believes what he's doing is right not in an egotistical manner mind you but he's doing it because he's so cowardly of himself and has convinced himself that what he's doing is right, because he is the definition of a coward, he is someone that will do anything hook, line and sinker (Though that's what cults do right, take advantage of mentally-ill people to the point they've forgotten who they are)
NEEDLESS TO SAY, I am going to be excited for his death, he's sad and awful and he deserves everything that's gonna be thrown at him, though I suppose I wouldn't mind some form of a redemption arc if he does get one (A proper redemption that isn't him throwing himself off a cliff because "Let me get myself killed for no reason other than to protect you XYZ so you can live with that fact")
Wonderful chapter overall and I can't wait for Pinepaw to get further depressed of the fact that his family that WAS just starting to come back together is going to get torn apart as it was once before, WE LOVE MENTAL ILLNESS WOOOOOO
Another excellent Rainhaze analysis!
Did they give use opposite matching Bapssidy skins?
Like, they're giving Crowley and Aziraphale vibes.
Also why does this look like a family Christmas photo?
OFMD Critique: Izzy Hands, "Burying Your Cripples," and That Fucking Finale
(Note: this is a cleaned-up/expanded version of a post I made earlier regarding disability rep in this show bc I was chatting with @itswhatyougive and @notthewriteryourelookingfor about "Burying Your Gays" and the parallels with the "Burying Your Cripples" trope in media, which is often more insidious because people are less primed to notice it and call it out.
Also, although I am analyzing a trope in media in the most unbiased way I can, I am going to get angry. Because this is a show that did its job at making us care about its characters and their portrayals and you can't get mad at me that I did just that.)
On a fourth note when it comes to the problems with the writing in this season of ofmd...the handling of disability. Because good God.
To preface this before anyone jumps down my throat about getting upset: I am disabled myself, both physically and mentally. I carry a small laundry list of mild to moderate conditions that impair my daily functions. I understand what it is like to desire to see characters that carry disabilities similar and dissimilar to my own onscreen. I also understand that there ARE multiple disabled characters in OFMD (ex. Jackie with her wooden hand, Ed with his knee brace, Pete with his cleft palate, Lucius with his mentioned bad back/wooden finger). I UNDERSTAND that these were all generally handled decently well, incorporated without drawing attention to them (although the disappearance of Ed's knee brace was strange to me in season 2, even that I could get with bc personally I only need to use my cane when my knee flares bad and can walk perfectly normally the rest of the time without an aid).
Which is all to say: the way that Izzy's death was written is insidiously (likely unconsciously, but still) ableist. His entire arc this season revolves around community and recovering from trauma and accepting himself both in a queer sense and a DISTINCTLY DISABLED sense. The way he remarks upon his own disability and his acceptance of himself and the way that the show is written to have his crew member ACCOMODATE him joyfully as an EXPLICIT SYMBOL OF LOVE was a breath of fresh air when it comes to disabled characters. I also enjoyed the way that he pokes fun at it occasionally in the same way that I do with my coworkers/friends (joking "oh really, you're going to ask an invalid to do that?" *gestures at my cane*).
But that ending. God, that fucking ending. *vehemently taps table* The fact that this character who opens up, who is accepted for both sides of his identity after dragging himself through the fucking pits over them, is killed. BECAUSE HIS MOBILITY AID COULD BE SEEN BY THE ENEMY. BECAUSE HE WAS SEEN AS UNIQUELY VULNERABLE. And then they FUCKING PULL HIS MOBILITY AID, the very symbol of his acceptance, from his FUCKING BODY SO HE CANNOT BE BURIED WHOLE?
I'm sorry. I really am. I don't mean to get furious about this. But as a disabled person who saw such hope in this character, who saw a storyline about a part of myself that is rarely displayed onscreen (that slow acceptance of the part of yourself you considered broken + the acknowledgement of love by your family/community in the form of loving accommodation without complaint), this hurt me at a very primal level that I didn't know I could be hurt at.
Bringing this back around to the "Burying Your Cripples" trope: the reason why an ending like this is so horrifying is because it is very much telling you that you can have a healing arc, that you can finally find yourself accommodation and acceptance, and it doesn't matter. Your disability will be the thing that kills you.
To people who say that this ending is justified because sometimes death is just random like that, that saying that death makes healing not worth it, I get what you're saying. In real life, of course you're right.
But this is a CLOSED NARRATIVE. It is a story with BEATS that MATTER, made of decisions by writers who had to purposefully decide to put scenes together. There's a reason they're called "arcs"- they're supposed to aim at a specific point. IF YOU LET EVERY CHARACTER IN A SHOW LIVE THROUGH THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE KILLED THEM EXCEPT FOR THE DISABLED CHARACTER, YOU ARE MAKING A FUCKING POINT WHETHER YOU REALIZE IT OR NOT. Izzy's death is not showing "random chance" or "the risks of piracy"- HE DIED BECAUSE HIS MOBILITY AID WAS VISIBLE.
Lemme repeat that: costume concepts showed that the original design of Izzy's naval outfit covered his wooden hoof. It was a conscious decision to have the shot of the naval officer looking down at Izzy's leg, at his exposed leg, and pinpointing him as the weak one despite there being entire scenes dedicated to showing that he was still as strong as the rest of them. In a show where the budget and runtime was restricted, not a single shot or costume decision was on accident. They had to pay more to green screen in that leg.
If Castiel went to superhell because of his gay confession for Dean, then I cannot think of a clearer way to Bury Your Cripples than having Izzy die because someone saw his mobility aid.
Do I think they did this on purpose? Well, no more on purpose than David Jenkins looking at Izzy's Hayes-Code-era gay coding/arc and saying that he knew that Izzy would have to die because that's what characters like that do. No more on purpose than saying that the mentor character had to die because that's what characters like that do.
Izzy's disability was visible, was the cause of his death, because "that's what happens" to pirates who gain disabilities. They are weaker. They are more at risk.
I'm sorry, but fuck that.
Fuck the idea that in a show that created a careful space in its narrative (for a season and a half at least) for queerness to be treated ahistorically kindly, that often disregarded geographic, historical, and medical accuracy to tell a compelling story, and that purposefully provided racial and body diversity while calling out racism, that the disabled character getting offed is a "kind ending." It's not. It never has been. And I'm tired of accepting that sort of thing.
I am SO GLAD that fanfic exists with better depictions of disabled arcs/endings in OFMD bc I don't know if I could recover otherwise. Hope my fellow disabled folk out there are recovering as well, and that they understand that there is positivity to be made out of poison- it just wasn't what the finale gave us.
Something that only came to me while re-reading the manga after the anime came out involves the name of Andy itself and I think it's actually pretty interesting to think about.
Spoilers for the later half of the manga (roughly about up to Chapter 124)!
After the mess with the Union goons, Fuuko asks about Andy's name after calling him "Zombie" for most of the chapter. Andy responds that he doesn't remember and says being called "Undead" is good enough. Fuuko doesn't like that and decides to give him the name "Andy" instead. Andy clearly doesn't like the name very much, but considering he knows he'll have to humor Fuuko to find a way for her Unluck to kill him, he just accepts it.
In fact, I've noticed most people at first tend to call him "Undead", a dehumanizing sort of term, such as Void and the Union goons. Which considering Andy's desire to die is rooted from the guilt and loneliness being immortal brings, serves to further create emotional distances from others and perhaps even himself.
And even "Undead" doesn't quite fully fit him either because Andy is an alter ego of the original Undead Victor, so even that name wouldn't be really unique to him specifically since there are technically two different individuals with the ability.
(On a tangential aside, the first person aside from Fuuko that calls him Andy consistently is actually Shen after hearing Fuuko call him that…and he's essentially the closest thing Andy has to a bro. Make that as you will.)
But I think where Andy starts to view the name differently happens starting in the climax of the Spoil arc, with Fuuko telling him they still have so many more things to do together and then literally risking her life trying to bring him back after Victor takes over the body. And Andy knows and Fuuko also knows he is using her for the sake of finding a way to die.
It's also after this event that Andy calls Fuuko by name for the first time after she wakes up in the hospital after having called her "brat" every time up to this point. Of course, this time, he takes it back, but Fuuko notices the significance of it to want him to call her by name again.
Anyway, both of them get sent to the black market auction and Fuuko picks a dress that needs some bust tailoring. It's something I didn't really pay attention to during my initial reading when it came out, but Andy signs his name as "Andy" on the delivery form. While it might have been for practical reasons, the fact he used that name for the signature is actually pretty significant because it implies Andy is slowly beginning to accept the name Andy as his own and not just something Fuuko calls him.
(Andy has really nice penmenship, as an aside.)
But it's only during the Ragnarok arc that the significance of the name Andy really changes.
In Chapter 99, Lucy asks Andy who is he after he saves her from an UMA. Andy initially introduces himself as "Undead", but then immediately nixes it and re-introduces himself as Andy. And this is actually the first time he's introduced himself as Andy because everyone else who calls him Andy usually only does so because Fuuko calls him that (such as the example with Shen). This leads into what happens in Chapter 124, where Andy finally calls himself "Andy the Undead", accepting consciously that his name is Andy, a member of the Union and Fuuko's partner in slaying God.
In other words, Andy fully accepting Andy as his name is a form of humanization, which is something Fuuko helps him to understand is what he truly wants is to feel human.
of their first time was SO damn heart wrenching. And fucking brilliant. This follows one of, if not THE most terrifying and humiliated circumstances they've been through together. Ed almost having to watch Stede executed is awful, yes, but torture? I mean Izzy was right, at the very least death by firing squad is quick. but it's not just the pain of seeing someone you love hurt and being helpless, it runs SO much deeper than that.
Stede is openly crying when he grabs hold of Ed. He's breaking down with fear and trauma he's been rapidly accumulating and unable to express since the night Chauncey marched him to the woods and said he brought Ed to ruin. And he wants Ed to see, the last thing Stede wants to do is talk about it, but he desperately needs to be vulnerable to Ed, and Ed alone.
This decision to be like "welp, time to bone" was ultimately not really thought out and not the best idea, but that's the point. There's been a huge, crackling, electric ball of desperation, grief, shame, longing, love, relief, joy, EVERYTHING growing inside them. This was a fucking explosion.
I love the dramatic irony of Oriko Magica. Oriko, the machiavellian magical girl, wants to kill Madoka in order to prevent her from contracting and turning into the worst Witch of all time... all while Homura is also desperately trying to keep Madoka from contracting but obviously wants her to stay alive.
I feel like Oriko and Homura would be amazing allies if they teamed up to prevent Madoka from contracting, but Oriko is so set in her "murder is the best solution" ways that she can't even see a path forward that doesn't involve killing Madoka. Like girl, just team up with the lesbian who's obsessively devoted to Madoka and I'm positive that you two could have prevented the apocalypse.
That's kind of what I love about Oriko though; she's so incredibly cunning and intelligent, but she also loves doing the most complex, over-the-top shit and is usually quite narrow-minded. She's like physically incapable of not taking the manipulative, usually violent route lmao.
Why Mr. Rochester and Bertha Mason Couldn't Get a Legal Separation; or, the Utter Madness of Marital Laws
So I saw a Jane Eyre post discussing why Mr. Rochester and Bertha Mason couldn't get a legal marital separation. I've thought a lot about this topic, and in order to procrastinate writing the final for my upper-level Brontë class, I've decided to write this sort of convoluted analysis instead. I know many others have written about this subject, but I wanted to explore a bit further on my own.
Preliminary context about me, the Brontës, their Byronic inspiration, etc.: I've learned a lot about 19th century British marriage laws recently in my classes on old British literature, as well as by having studied Byron, whose marital separation in 1816 was a notorious part of his history & also reverberated through 19c literature. He refers to this separation in many of his works, most famously in his notorious poem "Fare Thee Well." Harriet Beecher Stowe, the most famous American female writer at the time, was friends with Lady Byron and wrote a book defending her called "Lady Byron Vindicated: A history of the Byron controversy from its beginning in 1816 to the present time" (the original callout post).
Insanity accusations did factor in to Byron's separation. Many scholars have remarked how the Queens of Byronic Criticism, the Brontë sisters, took significant inspiration from their well-worn copy of Moore's biography Life of Byron when creating their works. The Brontës would have been very familiar with marriage laws not only due to their knowledge of Byron's trainwreck of a marriage, but also due to being well-educated women at the time who knew that marriage was the most important economic decision of one's life and could very well make or break a person. As a result, marriage plays a significant role in their novels.
More relevant preliminary context about the novel: Jane Eyre actually takes place in the Georgian era, despite most adaptations and anaysis presenting is as a Victorian piece due to the novels publication date (this drives me crazy; same goes for the other Brontë books). Marriage laws did not change drastically from the time the novel is set to the time Brontë was writing the novel, but things were a bit different socially. Rochester was also married 15 years before his attempt to marry Jane. According to this very good analysis, Rochester and Bertha probably married in or around the year 1793: https://jane-eyre.guidesite.co.uk/timeline.
Now, here are the reasons why Rochester couldn't separate from Bertha:
1) Insanity wasn't grounds for divorce/separation in the Regency era.
Rochester himself says that he couldn't legally separate from her because of her insanity, which presumably rendered any of her faults null on the grounds of that marital vow "in sickness and in health." This is possibly one of his biggest reasons:
"I was rich enough now – yet poor to hideous indigence: a nature the most gross, impure, depraved I ever saw, was associated with mine, and called by the law and by society a part of me. And I could not rid myself of it by any legal procedings: for the doctors now discovered that my wife was mad — her excesses had prematurely developed the germs of insanity [..]"
2) Divorce was nearly impossible anyway.
There had only been around 300 divorces in English history at the time. Almost all of them were husbands divorcing their wives for committing adultery. Only a handful of divorces had succesfully been obtained by women, and they were only in cases where the husband had committed incestuous adultery or bigamy, and was extremely physically cruel. So technically after his bigamy attempt, Bertha may have had more grounds to obtain a divorce than Rochester would have, if only she were lucid enough to do so. However, in that scenario infertility would have helped their case, and Adèle's existence would have harmed their case if he attempted to seek a divorce before marrying Jane. Though as the novel explains, Adèle is probably not his, she definitely would have been used against him, as would the fact that he kept Bertha's existence a secret in England. But he wouldn't have tried for divorce that late in the game anyway, considering it was one of the most difficult options.
3) Female adultery was your best bet at divorce or separation, and this probably wasn't applicable to Mr. & Mrs. Rochester.
Although some scholars claim that there is subtext hinting that Bertha was adulterous (which some adaptations, like the 2006, include), you needed substantial proof of the adultery, which Rochester may not have had if it did occur. Being a proud man, he also wouldn't have wanted to be humiliated in that way by letting it be publicly known (as shame is one of his main reasons for hiding their marriage to begin with).
However, I lean toward the idea that Bertha may not have committed adultery. If she definitively did, seeing how affected Rochester was by Céline cheating on him (he shot her lover in revenge and left her with a stipend), if he ever suspected adultery on Bertha's part then I'm sure he would have been at court the very next day. I also think Rochester tries not to be too much of a hypocrite, and he is well aware that he himself is an adulterer, so he probably doesn't want to accuse Bertha of a crime he's committed and which he couldn't definitively prove she did.
Rochester does talk about hating Bertha's "vices" when they lived together, citing drinking, arguing, cruelty to servants, cursing, her being "unchaste," a "harlot," etc. - the last epithets, combined with her supposed lack of morality, and her being described as seductive, heavily imply that adultery could be added to her list of offenses. However, if she did truly cheat on him as well, I don't see why he wouldn't plainly tell this to Jane as well. I would imagine it would be his first complaint, and it would probably be considered his most justifiable reason against her by their cultural standards.
I don't see why he wouldn't jump to take Bertha's infidelity as an opportunity to defend his own actions, considering how open he is with Jane about his own adultery and being cheated on by Cèline Varens. While I can see how some of the textual evidence may strongly suggest Bertha's adultery, we cannot be fully certain, and that may be because Rochester himself is not fully certain. I cannot see why he wouldn't have sought legal advice on that account alone.
In short, if Bertha was an adulterer, there must have been no evidence to convict her.
Also: while the double-standard may seem odd and trivial to us, the reason why female adultery held more weight than male adultery has entirely to due with old patriarchal inheritance laws; i.e the risk of a wife getting extramaritally pregnant and passing the illegitimate child off as her husband's heir was considered too great of an affront. A man could have as many bastards as he wanted because he would know they were bastards and were not at risk of inheriting his stuff. One needed legitimate heirs to justify passing on one's ancestral wealth to. Essentially, marriage was a mere economic tool, and the economy was and is inherently patriarchal. I digress.
4) Rochester's lack of social & economic leverage, and risk of social ruin in general.
Only the wealthiest of the wealthy could obtain divorce or official separation, and it often led to social ruin. Rochester is rich, but he has no title and no great network of supporters due to being a younger son and having been abroad for most of the past 15 years (this was the length of his marriage to Bertha, stated by Mr. Briggs during the bigamous wedding attempt). He doesn't have as much leverage as Lord and Lady Byron had.
To continue on official separation, like Lady and Lord Byron obtained. Just like divorce, this was also a messy and scandalous legal proceeding, and required numerous good reasons to obtain, and being well-connected Lords and Ladies really helped your case. You also needed many witnesses and written statements as evidence. Bertha's family, as we see with Mason, would have been unhelpful to Rochester, and due to his shame and secrecy, no one could really testify on his behalf I'm assuming.
5) Unofficial separation would have been inconvenient, especially in regards to living situations.
Aside from divorce, which was extremely rare, extremely controversial, and only for the wealthiest members of society — there were unofficial and official separations. An unofficial separation was simply living apart from one another. I've often wondered why Rochester didn't simply move Grace Poole and Bertha somewhere else, but my main theory is that it would have been cost ineffective, and due to his family who were implied to be shitty, he probably really didn't want to live at Thornfield anyway so thought it would be convenient to place her there. Rochester says it would be dangerous to place her in his other residence of Ferndean:
"[..] though I possess an old house, Ferndean Manor, even more retired and hidden than this, where I could have lodged her safely enough, had not a scruple about the unhealthiness of the situation, in the heart of a wood, made my conscience recoil from the arrangement. Probably those damp walls would soon have eased me of her charge: but to each villain his own vice; and mine is not a tendency to indirect assassination, even of what I most hate."
6) Annulment was likely impossible given their circumstances.
Annulment means evaporating the marriage, acting as if it never existed, that it was a mistake. This was rare and only granted in unique circumstances, and I believe it was more common with aristocracy and royals. I believe you could possibly get an annulment if you could prove that the spouse was insane at the time of the wedding and you did not know. However, Bertha did not begin to truly deteriorate until after they had been living together for a bit. And while Rochester says that he did not know her mother was in an asylum until after the wedding, having an insane mother doesn't mean that you are insane, which Bertha clearly wasn't at that point, at least not in a way that people would have publicly acknowledged, since Rochester says she attended parties and her hand was highly sought after.
Generally, the longer a marriage had gone on, the harder it was to prove why it could not go on. Rochester says that he and Bertha "lived together" for "four years" in Jamaica while her condition deteriorated and he tried to make things work. And again, after the wedding he found out her mother was "mad, and shut up in a lunatic asylum." So we have more reasons for Rochester's difficulty: the fear of Bertha going to an asylum while she was still mostly lucid in those first four years, combined with the fact that they openly lived together and certainly must have consummated their marriage (things which would further prevent annulment), and were certainly publicly recognized as a couple in Spanish Town society, and her family wanting the marriage to continue so she could have children of "good race" i.e. to produce heirs.
Here's an important passage that to me suggests that Rochester and Bertha not only had an initial flirtation but likely consummated their marriage, likely had a passionate sexual relationship for some time, and likely implies his feelings for her were more complex than we'd initially assume, making annulment not so clear-cut of an option to him at the time:
"My father said nothing about her money; but he told me Miss Mason was the boast of Spanish Town for her beauty: and this was no lie. I found her a fine woman, in the style of Blanche Ingram; tall, dark, and majestic. Her family wished to secure me because I was of a good race; and so did she. They showed her to me in parties, splendidly dressed. I seldom saw her alone, and had very little private conversation with her. She flattered me, and lavishly displayed for my pleasure her charms and accomplishments. All the men in her circle seemed to admire her and envy me. I was dazzled, stimulated: my senses were excited; and being ignorant, raw, and inexperienced, I thought I loved her. There is no folly so besotted that the idiotic rivalries of society, the prurience, the rashness, the blindness of youth, will not hurry a man to its commission. Her relatives encouraged me; competitors piqued me; she allured me: a marriage was achieved almost before I knew where I was. Oh, I have no respect for myself when I think of that act! — an agony of inward contempt masters me. I never loved, I never esteemed, I did not even know her."
7) Spousal abandonment wasn't possible, and on some level he honored his legal and financial obligations to her and the Mason family.
Bertha's family likely refused to house her for legal and personal reasons, and spousal abandonment was forbidden due to the husband's financial responsibility as well as the law of coverture (a wife became her husband's full legal responsibility; some say "property"). Like we see in Anne's Tenant of Wildfell Hall, if a woman ran away from their spouse they would have to live in obscurity and be at risk of being sussed out. You couldn't just abandon your partner. Still, people did, because it was the easiest route to take.
But the more upper-class you were, and the more financial entanglements you had, the more inconvenient this was. We know that Rochester and his family became enmeshed with the Mason family, and he got a lot of money from Bertha, so her father likely would have taken him to court. At any rate, Rochester was legally bound to bring Bertha with him to England when he left Jamaica. If he attempted to abandon her in Jamaica, the backlash it would have brought would have brought him social ruin and foiled his chances at getting away with any bigamy attempts.
All this brings us to a further notice of Bertha's family situation. Based on Charlotte Brontë's positive comments about Rochester's character (https://www.tumblr.com/burningvelvet/731403104856195072/in-a-letter-to-w-s-williams-14-august-1848) I see no reason to suspect him, like many feminist critics do, of being an unreliable narrator or of lying about Bertha Mason's history. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and in mine, that is simply not the novel Charlotte wrote. By her own admission, she wanted his narrative to be a path to further goodness.
It makes no narrative sense for our explanation of his and Bertha's history to be full of lies when he's trying to make ammends with Jane, who never suspects him of lying during his admission, but who does critique him and figure he'd tire of her like she was one of his many mistresses. Jane wonders if Rochester would lock her in an attic too, which he refutes on the basis that he loves her more than he loved Bertha when she was sane, and so he would care for Jane himself. Jane also tells him that it's not Bertha's fault that she's mad. So in my opinion, if Charlotte wanted us to believe Rochester was lying about his and Bertha's history to make himself look better or Bertha look worse, I don't see why she would have been vague about it, and I don't see why Jane wouldn't have called it out like she does everything else. I don't think Rochester is really a villain who locked his harmless wife in the attic for giggles; I think he weighed most of his options and found, like most people back then and even today, that keeping his problems locked up and ignored was the best solution.
Now, on with the point. I have often wondered why Rochester didn't simply "unofficially separate" from Bertha by leaving her with her family when he left. Why did he take her to England? Why didn't he just run away? It wasn't because he was an evil villain who wanted to keep her as a trophy. It's because 1) I don't think her father would have let him, as he was so quick to marry her off, 2) he felt obligated to her, and 3) it was criminal for men to abandon their wives, and it would have attracted publicity, which is what Rochester was avoiding by taking Bertha to England and sheltering her in secrecy.
Many claim that Rochester's adultery is a betrayal of his wife; and while religiously, narratively, socially, we can accept this statement, it was not legally a crime. While Rochester does honor his financial and legal obligations to his wife and her family, he does not take the religious part of the vows into account, and that's why he's cosmically punished and only rewarded after he repents, as he explains toward the end of the novel.
Another interesting point is that when Rochester recounts his decision to move back to England, he tells us that Bertha had already been declared insane in Jamaica and that she was already confined there (presumably around the 4 year anniversary before they left), meaning her father probably knew about confinement:
"One night I had been awakened by her yells (since the medical men had pronounced her mad, she had of course been shut up) — it was a fiery West Indian night; [..]"
Locking away "insane" people was standard procedure then, and if this was done with Bertha's father's knowledge, considering he locked his own wife away in an asylum, then this further absolves Rochester of a lot of the blame in my opinion. It more than likely wasn't his idea to lock her away, but the advice of "the medical men" and presumably her father's consultation as well.
8) Even if he divorced or separated from her, he couldn't remarry. Attempting these, or getting caught attempting abandonment, would have brought negative publicity that would have likely prevented the success of any future bigamy attempts. To him, secrecy and bigamy seemed better chances at securing happiness than the social ruin and likely failure the other options would have brought him.
Aside from Rochester's own explanation (which I supplied in #2 re: the separation veto inherent to Bertha's insanity), the other biggest reason as to why Rochester wouldn't seek a separation/divorce even if she hadn't been declared insane and even if he were willing to accuse her of adultery truthfully or not, is due to the fact that one could not legally remarry upon separation or divorce (unless you were Henry VIII and got God's permission lol). Rochester's impossible dream is that he wants to be married to someone he really loves, and if secrecy and bigamy are his only options then he is willing to succumb; this is shown in numerous passages:
"[..] I could reform — I have strength yet for that — if— but where is the use of thinking of it, hampered, burdened, cursed as I am? Besides, since happiness is irrevocably denied me, I have a right to get pleasure out of life: and I will get it, cost what it may."
"I will keep my word: I will break obstacles to happiness, to goodness — yes, goodness; I wish to be a better man than I have been; than I am — as Job's leviathan broke the spear, the dart, and the habergeon, hinderances which others count as iron and brass, I will esteem but straw and rotten wood."
"Is there not love in my heart, and constancy in my resolves? It will expiate at God's tribunal. I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world's judgment — I wash my hands thereof. For man's opinion — I defy it."
Closing remarks on the above's validity: I can't cite all my sources because a lot of this stuff I learned from lectures via my professor who specializes in 19th century English literature & history. But here's some recently published information from a historian, taken from "Inside the World of Bridgerton: True Stories of Regency High Society" by Catherine Curzon (2023):
"And if you were one of the newly-weds, you really did hope things would work out, because in the Regency till death do us part wasn't just an expression. As the Prince Regent himself had learned when he separated from his wife within eighteen months of their marriage, obtaining a divorce in Regency England was no easy matter. He never achieved it, and for those who did the stakes could be high and the cost ruinous in every sense."
"Until the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, which legalized divorce in the civil courts, it was governed by the ecclesiastical courts, and the Church didn't end a marriage without very, very good reason. Even these divorces didn't allow a couple to remarry, though, and they were more akin to what we would today call a legal separation, with no shared legal or financial responsibilities going forward. It was freedom, but only to a point."
"The only way to obtain a complete dissolution that allowed for remarriage was to secure a parliamentary divorce, and these were notoriously difficult to obtain. They began with a criminal conversation case, because they relied on adultery by one of the parties to make them even a slight possibility. If a woman committed crim. con., her life in polite society was over."
The scariest thing about Snow is that he truly doesn't stand for anything in tbosas. His enduring desire is to preserve himself, which informs the preservation of Tigris and the Grandma'am. His desire to excel in school, to gain power, to gain Lucy Gray, to influence Sejanus, all come from a core selfishness.
To an extent, he is a product of his environment: a child of war, an orphan, growing up in an exorbitantly affluent family with restrictive views of class and status. But his desire for survival metamorphosised into a burning desire for personal gain, something that is not reflected by Tigris, who instead desires better circumstances, but not the best circumstances. Snow want to be supreme, whilst Tigris wants to be comfortable.
I say this is scary; because Snow doesn't care about anything except his own success. He doesn't have strong feelings about the Hunger Games either way, but instead holds a neutral Capitol view fuelled by an unquestioning acceptance of propoganda - the Districts deserve the Games as punishment for the war. It is simply the way of the world. He agrees with Dr. Gaul not because he cares about the Games, but because he cares about what her favour means for his prospects. He outs Sejanus not only to protect himself, but to impress Gaul. He helps Lucy Gray because he can win the Plinth prize, or otherwise cement his status as a star student. He accepts Strabo's money because it solidifies the status of the Snow family name, and therefore himself.
Even when Snow is in District 12 and in 'love' with Lucy Gray, none of their views align, brushing aside any disagreement with the hollow self-assurance that she knows no better.
Because Snow has no strong views, he has no moral conscience about the state of Panem, and has no critical thought regarding effect of oppression and class structure beyond an unquestioning understand that the Districts deserve punishment. He never interrogates this belief.
In being solely focused on attaining his own overwhelming personal success, Coriolanus Snow has no qualms with aligning with the most heinous facets of Capitol society to ensure he achieves his goal of wealth and presidency, and has no qualms with breaking rule, interpersonal bonds, and moral obligations to do this. That is truly horrifying: he does not care for anything, and thus, he will do anything for himself.
lamb do you think our hannibal was also kind of incestuous like book hannibal? thoughts on his relationship w mischa?
uhh, I thought about this too! Book Hannibal does have these tendencies (or actual behavior? I don't remember) and has this sort of pathology in terms of attempting to "recreate" Mischa, such as he tries to do with miss girlie Sterling. Our H does this with Abigail.
I don't think our Hannibal is the same simply because Fuller tried to stay away from certain things, specially in relation to women, and I believe this is one of those. I believe he touched on this aspect this with Mason and Margot, showing a disturbing depiction of this, which is why I don't think he wanted to "taint" Hannibal with it.
Also they were super young, Mischa specially, when she died. I do whoever, believe that Hannibal cannot distinguish different types of love and is most likely why he completely loses control and goes insane with what he feels for Will. I don't think he experienced the normal range of love and relationships a normal person does. So it makes him confused and terrified. I really believe this is depicted in that scene where he asks Franklyn if he desires Tobias sexually. I believe he was projecting and was trying to understand what he felt for Will, cause it puzzled him.
I wanted to ask you what's your take on clothes and how wizards dress? I've been thinking about this since the 'gettin ready fot the party' scene.
What's a typical wardrobe for typical wizard in te 90's?
I always imagined that they just dress like muggles (or maybe the younger generations?), and i when i read the books i always had a hard time imagining them when they are trying to pass as muggles, you know? Like what, they don't understans which clothes are for a specific event? Because Harry says that he could tell thay dress a bit diffrent, like out of place.
I mean, it's probably just meant to be funny, but, how isolated are they to not knowwhat muggles wear? I guess it also has to do with how they are raised, i imagine blood-supremacists (is that how it's called?) use only 'robes' (whatever that is, and, also, what's under those robes? like, a thong? do they wear muggle underwear? SO MANY QUESTIONS)
So, i was thinking about this instead of working🤠.
I liiive for that part with tonks' clothes, i even got a litlle "oh i wanna be thereeee and try everything and make everything fit with magic!"
And this how i imagine wizards dress (according to jkr) in the muggle world
ok please know that this image made me howl
thank you for the super interesting question! i have thought a bit about typical wizarding wardrobes and familiarity with muggle fashion among wizards in the 90s as a worldbuilding question in beasts. it's definitely true that wizarding familiarity with muggle dress is another one of those worldbuilding points in canon where the text is unclear and at times inconsistent. i know people have different views on how much wizarding and muggle culture interact, especially in matters of popular culture and fashion. i've heard very convincing arguments that the cultural insularity and physical remove of the wizarding community from muggles would mean most children raised in wizarding households, especially pureblood families like the weasleys, wouldn't know that much about how muggles plausibly dress, what they listen to, or what forms of media are popular (books, music, sports, even less so tv and film).
while i do agree with some aspects of this, in my approach to wizarding youth culture in the 90s, i think young witches and wizards on the left know more about muggle fashion than they do about many other aspects of muggle culture, and that interest and ability to pull off muggle fashion depends on a person's background, politics, gender (because mostly, it does all seem to be about trousers - i reckon pureblood supremacists, as you say, are in their undies most of the time), but especially generation and the politics/patterns of consumption in the time period when they were a teenager. i think your desire and ability to wear muggle clothing varies a lot if you're born in 1950 vs 1980, partly because of changing wizarding politics and the difference between growing up in peacetime vs a world at war, but partly because muggle fashion changes as a market in the second half of the twentieth century.
basically, i think these young progressive millennial wizards would wear more muggle clothing because of changes in muggle fashions/consumption that allow for greater availability and access to muggle clothing by the 1990s, as well as access to information about fashion and trends, and i think they would want to because willingness to embrace muggle fashions would be a way of showing their commitment to their own politics and forms of teenage rebellion that were distinct from those practiced by generations prior living through the first wizarding war. a longer discussion with my reasoning for this is below the cut!
so - in general, in canon, gen X wizards and older (so the youngest of them born in the 1950s thru 70s, and everyone older than that) seem to dress in muggle clothing really only as a protective measure to prevent exposure/risk breaking the statute of secrecy. when bob ogden goes to the gaunts' house in the 1920s, even as the head of a major ministry department dealing with law enforcement, he does a terrible job dressing as a muggle (the bathing suit, pls bob, i beg). if you look at all the wizards trying to dress as muggles for the world cup, it's clear that the adoption of muggle clothing, for most wizards, is a strategic, defensive move more than anything else. in PoS, mcgonagall - herself a progressive woman in her politics - disdains wizards who are celebrating the end of the first wizarding war by celebrating in the street "not even wearing muggle clothes", which she thinks is reckless and risks wizards' exposure (love when mcgonagall dresses like a muggle briefly at grimmauld place in OotP and it freaks harry out lol). there is no enthusiasm or interest in it - there's just conformity for self-preservation.
for that reason, i think you can see why those on the wizarding right in the mid-twentieth century, especially those drawn to pureblood and wizarding supremacy, would come to see dressing like a muggle as a disgrace, a sign of submission to a lesser people, in a way that would become extremely loaded in the years preceding and during the first wizarding war (1970-1981). when harry sees snape in the flashback to his first trip on the hogwarts express in the early 70s, he notices snape is already wearing his wizard robes very early on in the journey, which harry's narration supposes is because snape's happy to be out of his 'dreadful Muggle clothes' (DH). those muggle clothes were a sign both of snape's poverty but also his outsider status in muggle tinworth: special, because he's a wizard, but otherwise socially inferior to other children in every other way. snape, of course, is raised in a wizarding household with knowledge of magic but has been wearing muggle clothing to avoid detection for his entire childhood, in ways that imbue the wearing of wizarding clothes and casting off of muggle garms with great political significance. in canon, we see that the vast majority of wizards, while not death eaters or rabid pureblood supremacists, tend to be small c conservatives in their view of wizarding cultural norms and tend to think they're better than muggles even if they don't necessarily want to go out and kill them all. for that reason, they remain loyal to wizarding traditions, and continue to wear robes, partly as a symbol of their proud cultural identity as wizards, in ways that they would likely only cling to as their society moves towards open war over muggle-wizard relations (as you say, robes seem to be worn without trousers underneath, so most wizards are just wearing underwear under their robes and going about their day. slay, honestly).
so, if the right hate muggle clothes, then the willingness of gen z+ wizards to engage with and adopt aspects of muggle attire and culture might map onto a progressive political outlook and a disavowal of wizards-first ideology. but a person's politics alone doesn't mean they know how to pull off muggle clothing, and in the years of brewing tension then open war, most wouldn't bother risking their lives to be caught wearing a pair of bell bottoms. arthur weasley is the best example of this. arthur is theoretically interested in muggle clothes because he's a progressive man who disavows wizard supremacy and believes in principles of tolerance towards muggles. now, he's not good at knowing how to pair a plausible muggle outfits. this is because he still lives at a reasonable remove from wizards, he's extremely busy with a demanding job and seven children to be staying up to date with changing fashions, and at the end of the day still spends most of his week among wizards in a civil service that demands a certain level of professional conformity. but i think it's also because arthur weasley is born in 1950 and therefore spent his young adulthood trying to raise a young family during a war. arthur instead channels his politics into support for muggle protection legislation rather than in wearing muggle clothing, which he might see as a limited individual act of symbolic resistance that would put his family at risk and also cost time and money he doesn't have. (if we look at the marauders, as an example of a progressive bunch in the interim generation between arthur and arthur's children, especially someone like sirius with greater financial freedom, it's very telling that sirius shows his politics off through riding a cool muggle motorbike and sticking up muggle soft porn on his bedroom walls, but not noticeably through fashion, as far as harry's photographs show).
but if you look at arthur's children, progressive wizarding millennials, it seems like more confident familiarity with muggle fashions and culture is generally more common. i think we can include someone like tonks in this, raised in a mixed marriage household by a blood traitor and a muggleborn dad. harry says that the weasley children are better than their parents at dressing like muggles. when harry sees bill weasley he doesn't think 'this is a man who looks like he's done a bad job dressing for a muggle rock concert' he thinks 'this is a man who looks like he could be going to a rock concert'. this suggests to me a difference, say, between bill and his dad. arthur likes muggles and believes engaging with muggle culture is important, but doesn't really succeed at it, but his eldest son manages to marry both a political commitment to embracing muggle culture with an ability to dress plausibly as a muggle so much so that he's able to ape a subculture in a way his dad doesn't really try to often and has never succeeded at.
why? i think there's a few things going on. one is that the majority wizarding millennials grew up in peacetime, after the fall of voldemort, in the 1980s and 90s, where wearing muggle clothing was less likely to get you killed and more likely to symbolise an individual act of rebellion against more low-level societal norms and cultural pressures rather than against a murderer in a mask. this, plus having the time and disposable income to follow muggle fashions more closely, as well as the opportunity to access about muggle fashions and celebrity styles, has a big part to play. bill weasley has more time and ability than his dad to stay up to date about muggle clothing tastes, as do his siblings. characters who went to hogwarts in the 80s and 90s also did so at the peak of a mass print consumer culture (one that was already on an upward ascent since the 60s) that was designed to be be accessible, inexpensive and create an appetite for following trends among consumers, and that could very easily be of appeal to progressive young witches and wizards. this is why in beasts i have ginny know about the spice girls and their iconic lewks from a copy of smash hits magazine because that seemed like the kind of inexpensive and highly portable source of information about muggle culture that a muggleborn or halfblood student (or even a pureblooded student with a parent with a progressive interest in muggle clothing) would be able to take to school and pass around a dormitory. on the gender point, too - donning muggle clothes, especially the more permissive and sexy clothing of the 80s and 90s would be a great way for a rebellious young woman raised in a wizarding household - eg. tonks or ginny - to stick it to the conservative gender norms in the wizarding world.
moreover, the changes in fashion as a market in the muggle world would make a certain base style of comfortable and inexpensive muggle dress much more readily available to younger witches and wizards than ever before. for kids born in the late 70s/80s, changes in muggle clothes consumption - aka. the globalisation of mass factory production of textiles, especially garments, and the early forms of fast fashion we now recognise today - would also have an impact on the ready availability of certain basic forms of cheap muggle fashion, including the ubiquity of cheap jeans and trainers/sneakers, that emphasise comfort and ease of daily wear at a low cost point produced in such high volumes such that if you wanted a pair of jeans, you could easily get your hands on one. this would have made a plausible muggle clothing a lot more accessible (there's only so wrong you can go if you're just wearing jeans, t-shirt, a jumper, and a pair of trainers, really), and explain why the clothes harry wears in the muggle world don't seem all that different from the clothes he wears in the wizarding world (admittedly usually under his robes), or indeed that different from what ron seems to wear most of the time. passing as a muggle in 1920 with little effort - à la bob ogden - would be a lot harder than doing so in 1990.
so - yeah. that's my take! i think it's mostly about generation, but also about politics, about war and peace, a bit about gender and a lot about capitalism. i hope this helps!
Spill your post trailer Helaegon ideas with us please😩
hellooo, I will try my utmost best to articulate them.. sensibly
as the teaser stands, the performances by Tom and Phia genuinely look phenomenal. It seems stealing the spotlight worthy, especially Phia. Since this is the first season we get to explore her character and also her last season because damn you writers, it looks like she’s really giving it her all and I’m genuinely so excited to see that.
details? Love that they grew Aegon’s hair out, the Helaena shot of her looking up might be one most ethereal shots I’ve witnessed, the aegon strut was legit everything.
things I am not much a fan of though is the costuming (for them, more so Aegon because we haven’t seen any Helaena dresses in full, at least officially). Because though I love the sunfyre embroidery on his outfit now, it literally looks no different from the coronation costume at first glance. Sure it is dark green instead of black but like cmon. Give aegon pretty costumes 😌.
Also sad we didn’t see Sunfyre, Dreamfyre is understandable but come on, we see Syrax and not the most beautiful dragon in the world? Not the dragon who had the strongest dragon-rider bond in history with Aegon? Not the dragon who ends up killing Rhaenyra?? THE FUCK.
but I’ll stop complaining because the teaser is nice and these are just nitpicks about the definite bias.
Okay the next things I’m gonna cover are more so ideas for scenes rather than a breakdown or analysis cuz we literally got 2 shots of each of them 🥲
I did see quite a few posts saying/implying that we will dive more into Helaena’s visions this season. So I do think it would be interesting to understand that dynamic with her and Aegon when she has them. Like has he matured enough to understand that even though he can’t comprehend his wife, she needs his help OR he still thinks that she is acting idiotic as he did in s1.
The leak that said something along the lines that Aegon will first be seen at the council, bored but then is called to attend to his queen could also tie into this. Maybe Helaena isn’t crouching over due to pain of pregnancy ,as some have speculated , but due to the suddenness or pain of one of her visions.
(also I have put a one shot surrounding this in the W.I.P folder along with the thousand others lying there so expect it in about 80 years 😃)
🕯️just them handling being king and queen
this is a pretty vague thing but literally just show them. Just show them getting along, sitting at councils, dragon riding, sleeping in the same room, all before b&c rips everything down. Even one scene of them together handling this can work, in fact just one scene of them being soft with each other would just go to show what it was like and what it could have been like had the war not happened. Just adding more tragedy to their story.
another pretty vague one. But as I said in this post , I really do think we should have seen them as kids, how they get along and especially their wedding. They could perhaps fit it in, in the episode of the funeral. Aegon or Hela looking back on that day, when things were arguably simpler and their only concerns were stopping Aegon from crying during sex. (IM SORRY, WE ALL KNOW IT HAPPENED)
okay more seriously though, them reminiscing on the past i.e. the day their union was first formed on the day it all broke apart. They as parents should be allowed to feel that grief, with each other and I genuinely hope we don’t get robbed of that.
speaking of them as parents though…
it is actually so unsettling that half the fans didn’t even realise that they have kids until b&c started being talked about.
Again I beg, SHOW THEM. show them talking to Jaehaerys about becoming heir, how Aegon would go back to his memory of his mother doing the same to him (could also come under flashbacks). Show them trying to stop Maelor to stop crying, show them sitting with their kids at the feast, show them trying to manage their duties as well as their kids.
but alas it’s just speculation, half of them just wishes. Let’s hope we get some glimpse of their dynamic is season 2 because my god helaegon nation is starving.
have you seen the new mauga voicelines with sombra?? the one where she says “you’re bad for him in every way that counts”
it made me wonder about sombra and baptiste’s relationship tbh, because she’s not exactly supporting Mauga and realises he’s bad for baptiste
I don't know about you but I always interpreted their relationship as being familial. With things such as Sombra calling Baptiste "mijo" at the end of WYLB and just the general way Baptiste and Sombra interact I always got the vibe they saw each other as family.
In general though, from what we see, Baptiste was probably the person closest to Sombra other then Sigma. She's willing to risk her own safety and more importantly, her access to information, in order to keep Baptiste safe from Talon.
I also think that the line that your referencing is an indication that despite all three of them being friends at some point, Sombra is closer to and trusts Baptiste more. Which I think is clear by her also not wanting Mauga to know where he is, because Mauga is a bad influence on Baptiste, we see that in WYLB. When Baptiste is forced to go on a Talon mission again he finds it easy to fall into bad habits, especially with Mauga there.
Honestly these three's dynamic is so interesting to me because of the context that they were all lower ranking Talon members. They weren't part of the elite, so we actually get to see a glimpse into how Talon works on the lower ranks. Even if they weren't in the lowest ranks.
Yall Im fucking STUPID
Remember Nico's whole one shot about being the wild starving eagle envying the bird in a guilded cage bit??? And then HE LITERALLY RESCUES VASH FROM A CAGE???? AND THEY LITERALLY FLY (fall) OUT?????
I shoulda fucking connected those dots!!!!!!! Fricking golden-haired Vash discovering freedom after he gets broken out of his caaageeee ahhhhhhhhh
X-Files IWTB: First Time React (Part I)
I needed to watch I Want to Believe for a Christmas present project; and, going into the movie, I knew it would be bad.
I didn't know it would be "broken within ten minutes before Mulder and Scully even get into the helicopter" bad.
On the positive side, I'm enjoying David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson's acting; and they're doing the best they can with the scripts, so A+ for effort!
Now, reaction below the cut:
Eyyyyyyyy, looky looky where we are.
An IWTB reaction.
Me, the canon denier after S8.
But never fear! I shall have an absolute blast demolishing all the aspects that don’t make sense and enjoying the parts that deserve praise or kudos. :DDD
My Position Going Into This
When it comes to any art form, I stand absolute on the position that, yes, if it was created to be art, it is art; but art can also be critiqued on its merits or demerits. Otherwise, we all wouldn’t acknowledge what makes one piece of art masterful compared to another piece.
For movies, I focus on writing: does this plot point make sense in the context of generalized or specific circumstances; or, more specifically, do the actions of X person fit into their pre-established character or break it entirely without providing a reasonable motive? Pointing out the flaws of x/y/z character or moment doesn’t ruin my enjoyment-- every movie, tv show, book, etc. has them-- unless the flaw is noticeably glaring; in which case, what can I do about that?
In conclusion: this will be very snarky, but I mean no hate towards CC or anyone who helped create this movie. I have criticisms, justly; but I separate art from the artist always, and judge both on completely different scales and metrics. Any and all snark is exaggerated for comedic purposes... or that's my story and I'm sticking with it. ;)))
And now, onto the reaction~
The movie’s gorgeous, I’ll give it that: tone, atmosphere, lighting, etc. all spectacular.
For a split second I wished that the man running past the woman victim had been a supernatural creature of some sort-- more X-Files in tone; and would eliminate the Father Joe character completely.
Dakota Whitney (not given her name yet, think it's her) seems in-tune with Father Joe’s strangeness-- another shame, because her character was squandered on a love triangle.
I will say, though, the spectacle seems… a little repetitive already? “Let him go, let him go” repeated three times with three different cuts.
Hmmm, I think this is the thought: compared to FTF, this movie seems like its plot is paper-thin, relying on spectacle or repetitive dialogue (or inane plotpoints? we’ll see) to keep it chugging along.
Scully is here!
After comparing her intro to the Pilot and Fight the Future and the previous five minutes, it seems… bland? The spectacle is gone, but that's not the problem. Everything is medical jargon as she’s giving an account of her patient to an overhead on a screen. The problem is-- and why I mentioned her previous introductions-- when a main character is introduced, their first scene establishes core aspects of their personality. Now would be a good time to get a thumb on how Scully has changed as she's navigated life on the run and in this hospital... instead, we're given nothing, really, just a medical spiel with no point other than to set up that she has a patient who needs experimental treatment. Nothing that is personal to her as an individual, other than she's more muted, downtrodden, etc. It's a very rushed and criminally underutilized scene.
I understand what CC and Spotnitz are going for: defanged Scully, hands tied and trying to keep her head down and live low-profile. Pouring her exhausted energy into trying to do some good, at least for the boy (since she can’t for Mulder.) It sets her up as frazzled and frustrated; and it makes sense why she pitches the FBI’s offer to Mulder when given the chance.
FBI agent just bounces in and disrupts her talk with her patient… that’s a plot point, definitely--
Wait, Scully kept referring to Mulder as Fox Mulder… which, yes, she’s parroting the man’s words back exactly to him but also Scully only ever referred to him as “Mulder”, “my partner”, “Agent Mulder”; and didn’t mention him by name otherwise. This is a nitpick, I know.
Also, from the interviews I’ve read, Gillian Anderson (and David Duchovny) struggled to get back into character in 2008 as well as the Revival (link here.) GA also notes (link here) that she agrees with Scully's characterization: "How she is in this film follows perfectly with where we last saw her and who she has always been." And, if lumping IWTB together with S9, I agree; and, interestingly, it's an aspect of Scully that GA seems to retain in the Revival (I think): saddened, withdrawn, only sparing animation when directly talking to Mulder. It makes sense after the William arc; but it’s sad to think about, regardless.
THAT’S THE FENCE?????
I THOUGHT IT WAS A TINY WOODEN FENCE THAT COULD BE HOPPED OVER.
…That makes a lot of sense, actually. I definitely can see Mulder rigging it up with all the time he had to spare (because, I mean, look at it: rusty, rinky, weirdly tied to the poles.)
I will say: I give Chris Carter props here because that man had a vision and he executed it: atmosphere, ~vibes~, and the kitchen sink. It’s why I maintain he was the ideas man and Frank Spotnitz was his refiner.
WAIT. Is that… is that orange juice on the table? (They remembered Mulder’s orange juice but forgot to iron out the plot. The irony. If this were an indie film, I’d find it endearing and charming. …But it’s not.)
Okay, intro to Mulder now.
Immediately we are shown the nest he’s built, with Samantha taking center-stage on his door. THAT’S how you do an intro; and, to the credit of the people behind the camera, it strikes a descriptive balance between Scully’s dispirited silence and his animated clutter.
OKAY. Mulder’s “What’s up, Doc?” was worth it. (Don’t you just love when creators behind really cool, innovative series make alternate universe stories in their own universe? The “what if”s? The “glad this didn’t happen but it’s not all that bad, yet” one-offs with big budgets behind them? Visionaries, I tell ya.)
Mulder’s going off on a tangent and Scully’s back in her element and I would be content if the movie skipped from here to the almost end with Skinner and Scully finding him and we (meaning me) the audience wonder “WAIT, WHAT HAPPENED” and then there’s the vacation and it ends.
Also, pertinent to stop here and reflect on the first Big Issue of the film:
Mulder and Scully have been living in this house for five years-- as confirmed by the cut lines in IWTB’s script (link here, thank you @dunhamhairograpy)-- which means they were on the run only one year before settling back in Virginia. To satisfy my suspicions, I looked up (on Wikipedia) criminals on the FBI’s wanted list between 2000 to 2003 to see how many years each person evaded capture (if they were ever caught.) In summary, those who were on the run more than a year most likely fled the country and at the very least did not settle back in the state they originally fled; and those who remained locked on American soil were caught within a few weeks to (maximum) a year (three years was the most, I believe. Longer or still at large dipped into other countries, at least temporarily.) The script also confirms that Mulder and Scully are aware that Skinner is aiding and abetting them behind the scenes; and since the agent who interrupted Scully at her hospital immediately cut to the chase-- with the implication that Scully knew where to find her partner-- the FBI likely knew how to find Mulder easily and just… let him be.
Despite the absolute dumpster fire of S9’s mytharc, we are led to assume that, somehow, Skinner and Doggett and Reyes stamped out the interest of alien-men-in-government and every other enemy that wanted Mulder's head and they all… proceeded as normal? Or Doggett and Reyes didn’t but Skinner did somehow…?
BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER, LOOK AT THIS SHINY MOVIE AND THE PRETTY GOATMAN.
Also, yes, the beard needs work. However, I just remembered that beard oil is a thing but also that hair oil is a thing; and the idea that men might be taking better care of their beards than I do my own locks makes me wanna give them a thumbs up. (…But not Mulder: the texture on his face makes me want to cringe backward from the epidermis to the dermis to the subcutaneous layer of my skin.)
Mulder “who believes that anymore” was a great line to for his first facial introduction (not bothering with technical phrases, gotta keep chuggin’); and his reaction at Scully’s snarky “they do at the FBI, apparently” and both of them being like “uhuh, they wouldn’t listen to you/us years ago” was a great nanosecond of screentime and I want more.
Mulder's walking wonky with a feverish passion behind his eyes; and I recognize that insanity from the fervor of spending too many hours indoors and online with nothing else to do but brood.
ALSO, he and Scully both make complete sense here and I cosign this scene.
(...Yeah, I know, we’ll get to those ones later.)
Scully getting around Mulder’s mood and straight to his interest and then igniting his sarcastic “oh” within a sentence or two is masterfully them and yep, I cosign.
Mulder choking on the “I am just as happy having them out of mine” denial stuck in his throat…. also: yes, Scully has a point about the FBI as discussed above but WHY do they want him out of their hair?? There were more people who had death wishes against him than there could be people in positions of power that support him; and with no CSM or Consortium hand-holding their superstar through trials and tribulations because he could “expose” them… again, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Mulder’s being really petulant and I love it but also he’s being too petulant but in a good way, in a sarcastic “at the end of my rope and I’m only barely being polite” One Son way.
Scully's honest “I worry about you” is touching, that’s nice.
I just realized: y’know how DD wrote The Unnatural because he wanted to hear Mulder and Scully talk like normal people, not just regurgitate the plot points back to each other with flowery, long-winded expressions (which are great, don’t get me wrong)? Welp, they sound more… human? natural? broken in? here; and I like that aspect.
Mulder looking at Samantha’s pic and knowing he can’t not help an innocent was a perfect character moment: great writing, thumbs up. (Reminiscent of his prior pattern of reluctantly helping people he disliked or was annoyed by-- Max Fenig in Fallen Angel, Krycek in Sleepless, Skinner in Zero Sum, Crump in Drive, Doggett in Alone, etc.)
He accepts the FBI’s offer; and Scully’s relieved; and I advise you to keep that in mind for later.
The Big Problems Set In
Whether Mulder and Scully called and told the FBI where to pick them up or the FBI sent a helicopter out, unprompted, as a power move is unimportant in the minutiae but incredibly crippling in the larger narrative: it flew TO Mulder’s house to pick him up. There is no way Mulder is undercover or in hiding any longer; and that means, at this point, Mulder is committed. The end, full stop, point blank, period.
The movie is broken and it's only 10 minutes in. From here on out, it will try to claim that Mulder is losing Scully by running further into the darkness; but the reality is, he has no other choice because there is nowhere else to run to regain his freedom AND to not put Scully at cross ends (or in danger) with the FBI.
He CANNOT back out: if Mulder withdraws from this deal with the FBI, he has to leave his home, go on the run again, and risk more aggressive recapture and imprisonment and probably broker another deal to escape full penalty at. a. minimum.
It would be insane for him to back out at any point in the future. He knows it, the FBI knows it, and more importantly SCULLY knows it: she’s the cautious one in this relationship; and she would have weighed the pros and cons before telling Mulder the FBI's offer. Yes, she tends to react without thinking at times-- asking Mulder for his IVF donation without long-term plans, for example, (link here)-- but something as precious as her partner’s life, the only person she sacrificed everything for, would be carefully guarded and protected.
Surely, she wouldn’t want him to back out at any point; especially because she has constantly suspected their own allies in the FBI all the years they’d been there, even Skinner, over and over and over. There would be no inducement or reason for her to trust the FBI to let Mulder stop on his whim (or hers, or theirs); and it’s a good thing she doesn’t do that. …Right?
NOW: would it be in her character to want him to stop? Absolutely-- that’s who she is. But to place him in an impossible position then demand something even more impossible on top of it, after Mulder’s hands are effectively tied until the case is solved? That’s what’s character breaking for her. We’ll get to that.
What’s going to be even more frustrating is that Scully will ultimately break their partnership (or start to) because of jealousy over another woman... for script reasons. (Don’t believe me? I don't blame you. But we'll get to it in a future part.) And that’s the show’s greatest flaw: the writers enjoy playing “are they, aren’t they” with Mulder’s driven passion and Scully’s jealousy and wish to be his priority. What’s worse is he prioritizes her more than any other human on the planet, even in this movie; and, at this point, Scully knows and has made peace with how Mulder is (all things.) To sacrifice their growth and trust in each other because of illogical reasons... we’ll get to that.
“Past is the past” says Dakota Whitney. That might be enough for Mulder in the long run but it certainly won’t be for Scully. …RIGHT?
Monica name recycle which is a staple and yet not a Monica Reyes who could have had pull to have Mulder and Scully pulled in on the case… oh, well.
Yes, Mulder has precedent to write off psychic phenomenon evidence when given to him by his enemies-- he’s petty that way-- but can you imagine how annoyed he was when it came out the psychic was a religious guy? A former Father? An issue that used to pit he and Scully against each other? (I see what you did there, writers.)
So: we have religious angle to separate Mulder and Scully in this movie. Also, we have jealousy over Dakota Whitney-- this movie’s nicer variant of Diana Fowley and Detective White and Phoebe Green: a gal who wants Mulder and writes Scully out of the picture despite very obvious rumors and even more obvious clues in the present-- to drive a further wedge (will be discussed next time.) What else could go wrong?
What I do like is that this movie sets up Mulder’s priority list that aligns with his previous character iteration: he wants to chase monsters, but not at the expense of people; and, further, when he doesn’t want to chase monsters, he still will for the sake of others' lives.
Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Chris, did you have to make Father Joe a pedophile?
Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I understand, I do, that it’s about people who want to redeem themselves, who are afraid of the monsters within, who are burdened with a greater purpose, BUT NONE OF THE PEDO STUFF HAS TO DO WITH THE PLOT.
For instance: Roland’s autism directly correlated with the X-File of his case, Marty’s blindness with hers, as well as all the other men and monsters with supernatural powers or inhibitions. Having a random and prominent flaw that doesn’t contribute to anything in the movie is, quite honestly, a waste of precious run-time; and is another example of the movie’s paper-thin story structure that it tosses around willy-nilly.
Tune’s catchy, though.
Okay, the movie’s editing is weird again. We’ve already “seen” Father Joe in the beginning; so repeating Mulder’s introduction style (angling towards everything but the man’s face) is noticeably repetitive and out of place.
Scully going for the man’s throat is a great set up for her and Mulder’s banter but
issssssssssssssssssss out of place, especially considering they need information out of the man and don’t know how he’ll react to fierce, off-topic interrogation. Yes, harming children is a no-no for Scully, and harming them especially in the name of her faith is a BIGGER no-no; however, she was never this tactless before, not even with John Lee Roche. Further, she stipulates this is Mulder's case, which means she jeopardized his interrogation with her sniping. Not only was it out-of-character, but it could have put an end to the only lead Mulder had to help out the FBI. Her professionalism is rusty, and further, she is sacrificing the highground for a dig at the man’s ethics. It’s not very Scully, is it?
“Maybe it’s not God doing the sending” so this was personal, Scully, that dig had nothing to do with the case except for your own want to defend your beliefs against this pedophile. You’ve never done this in the past; and you and Mulder have worked past any insecurities you might have had with regards to your faith. So, THIS means you’re insecure. Maybe those years on the road have you overthinking or rethinking; but, regardless. it’s rolling back the character growth you achieved in all things and needed to be handled with defter care.
If the writers were trying to establish her as a bloodhound this movie ala her old self, they can’t start it out with her being listless and downtrodden and suddenly break that in ways that would harm Mulder’s (and her) investigation and then shove her back into listlessness... and then repeat that cycle over and over with no rhyme or reason.
Also, Whitney is being established as the woman who looks to Mulder, always, because she has a big, fat crush on him that the writers will exploit for maximum drama.
FATHER JOE SENDS SCULLY OUT-- why. Negative energy didn’t inhibit psychic ability in previous cases. If Father Joe's so wimpy that someone watching him with disdain while he does his whammo makes him insecure and unable to… I was gonna say perform, remembered his altar boys, and cringed internally. Anyway, then he needs to be reminded who's in charge here.
The dialogue cracks are beginning to show: Scully’s parting line is cringe. Even though it doesn’t sound natural to say-- that’s never stopped The X-Files before-- what makes it egregious is that there is no connective tissue to her statement. When talking, there is a leadup to a point and a comment that follows it, etc. etc. Scully’s statement-- “Maybe what you see is a way to try to make people forget what you really are”-- is responding to nothing; and is randomly stated. The equivalent of the teacher telling Timmy to go sit in the corner and Timmy randomly yelling "You're not my mom!" before doing so. It achieved nothing; and made her look like a five year old that can't grasp the finer points of communication (because she only reiterated what everyone else in the room already knew.) Also, it sets up Scully as a disbeliever to Mulder and Whitney as believers; and, of course, this puts Scully through a hackneyed journey back to belief even though she doesn’t disbelieve in psychic ability any longer, etc. etc.
The question becomes: if this is a new pattern to her behavior, it will remain consistent. Another problem, too, remains. We (the audience) are not given a good reason why this rational character is behaving outside of her own interests. Scully has training and years of experience that being on the run for a year and in medicine for four? is not going to erase. It’s setting her up to be sloppy and messy with her decision-making skills; and we are given no reason why Scully is this way now; and, further, why she directly contradicts this new pattern in other scenes.
Scully getting scared by Mulder on the pedo colony balcony is a scene I didn’t know existed and I like and he was a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal snot for doing that and yay, it’s Mulder.
And also, I have another nitpick: Mulder, although he has backed off and let Scully handle her own issues with sexist cops and the like in the past, would never let a crook dictate the terms of where Scully is supposed to be: Scully would decide to walk out when she didn’t believe a word their suspect was saying, not because she was expected to leave. Mulder didn’t advocate for her here, put his foot down, or even blaze up and insist Father Joe stop playing games. Strike one against Mulder's characterization.
JUST AFTER I MADE THOSE POINTS Scully admits she was wrong and Mulder immediately defers to her. Which… uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, time to break that down.
This doesn’t seem like a lot; but that tiny detail completely demolished Father Joe’s introductory scene AND Mulder and Scully’s first scene back in the FBI saddle.
“All I had were questions-- you challenged him.” That’s a very Mulder thing to say… in other circumstances, but not in this one. Here, Mulder shouldn’t have “just had questions” especially because he was bugged that the other FBI people were a little too doe-eyed about Father Joe; and that annoyance would have made him act out on the priest. Furthermore, Scully’s fury against criminals IS something he loves about her BUT was out of place here, too. And all of this is negated because Scully left, anyway, and he didn’t stick up for her. It’s like if Scully and he were middle schoolers and their classmates kicked her out of a group discussion only for him to wander over after it's done and say, “you did great back there, sweetie!” without sticking his neck out for her at all. It smacks of spinelessness, the opposite of Fox Mulder.
Great acting by DD and GA; but terrible, terrible scenario.
The precedent has been set that Scully will lash out, get shunned to an outer circle, and Mulder will ho-hum, let it happen, get his info, and give her a pat on the head later. That’s never been them; and this pattern is immediately broken by a following contradictory scene. This back-and-forth cycle continues, over and over, flip-flopping Mulder and Scully in and out of character, and further damaging the script with one-off, disconnected responses.
Also, aren’t Mulder and Scully past this unnecessary drama of poking the bear (an old, Irish? pedo priest) before they get their necessary information? ESPECIALLY NOW WHEN MULDER'S FREEDOM IS ON THE LINE.
Scully finding out Mulder is humoring Father Joe and deciding to leave the situation and beat them all to the car NOW is in-character; but--
wait. WAIT. NO, I WAS WRONG. SCULLY’S JUST LEAVING LEAVING??? WHAT.
Okay, another essay time-- wow, I’m not even 20 minutes into this movie, HOW-- before we keep going: Scully leaving, now, because she doesn’t want to humor Father Joe has never stopped her in the past. Ten seconds ago she and Mulder were bantering, five seconds ago she bantered as she left, one cut later she’s somber and serious and dour and down and Mulder has to chase after her. WHAT HAPPENED IN A MILLISECOND to change her entire attitude, especially since she doesn't have a new piece of information to react to?????
Sees Father Joe is being humored (tilts head back in her normal, almost-amused, incredulous style):
Makes a bantery “It’s been fuuuuuuuuuun” remark and an upbeat “no thanks” remark:
Walks off (which is dangerous to her partner, will talk about that in the below paragraph) with a bantery “anyway, he doesn’t want me here” handwave:
Mulder is amused (but knows he has to go convince her):
MILLISECOND LATER with no new info or reaction “This isn’t my life anymore, Mulder”:
SO, we’re supposed to assume Scully wanted to hand Mulder over to the FBI from the start, sit back, and just let him run willy nilly around with them without her being there; and only came along because he asked her to come but still bailed on him when she didn’t like the case…?
Let’s take John Lee Roche as an example of why Scully wouldn’t react this way: during that and Grotesque and even Folie a Deux, Scully had Mulder’s back even against her own professional interests. She only left him in FTF and One Son because she thought Mulder didn’t need her any longer. Scully’s nature has always been to ride along, even when she doesn’t want to-- How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, an excellent example: even before her keys were stolen, she was still trying to talk herself out of joining Mulder. But now, NOW when it’s inconvenient, she decides to skip out? Now she has even less excuse: this is her partner’s freedom on the line; and he stipulated FROM THE GET-GO that he needs HER to work WITH him to solve this, BEFORE she called the FBI to agree.
THIS is not Scully. THIS is ridiculous.
Now, to those who are reading this and thinking, “well, she could have done that”-- true, Scully could have. Anyone can do anything, IF there is a logical reason or it’s in a person’s best interest to take that action. For instance: Never Again was in-character for Scully because it fit into the mold of previously established reactions to father figures and feeling second place. Why this isn’t in her character is because the two keys to Scully’s loyalty-- being prioritized and depended upon as well as valued and trusted-- are being handed to her on a silver platter and she’s rejecting them (AND her partner’s safety) because she doesn’t wanna do it. Again, that’s never been who Scully is: Scully does the hard thing because it needs to be done; and she only shirks or avoids the emotional mirror being held up to her while still doing her job. There’s a life on the line here-- two, possibly, if Mulder doesn’t follow through on the deal-- and Scully would rather dump the problem in his lap when the logical, realistic, and easily graspable answer is do this case for a few rough weeks or months (because Mulder has always worked fast), then have unlimited freedom and time to go back to doing what she wants. This is not the place to write in this reaction: have one for Scully if, in the discussion for his freedom, Mulder starts pushing for reinstatement instead of simply finishing this case and letting his past go. That’s not what happens here (at the very least); so it makes no sense for her to be doing these actions-- especially with the information she and Mulder are working on-- now.
Scully says “You’ve done all they’ve asked for you to do” as if implying that Mulder’s finished his task NOW, RIGHT NOW-- that one talk with a psychic has won his freedom. …I’m sorry, how did she conclude this and where was this established?
Mulder was brought on to find an agent; Scully thinks that agent is dead, so oh, well! You’re done here, Mulder, let’s go~.
Scully. You know and Mulder knows and I know that the FBI said one agent but really meant the whole case. Don’t be stupid. You’re not a stupid person. They never stipulated either way, c'mon, you were there, you know this.
The problems aren't over AND IT'S ONLY 20 MINUTES IN.
Next pet peeve: as a general rule, Mulder is understanding with those on the wrong side of the law; however, Father Joes is a pedophile. Further, we’re not shown the scene where Father Joe has humanized himself, his reasons, or even his current character enough to justify the soft way Mulder is dealing with him.
All we have is that--
Father Joe isolates himself in a compound.
Father Joe told Scully to leave the room when she barked at him.
Mulder handles Father Joe gently despite him being a pedophile and despite him kicking Scully out of the interrogation (which sets up her feeling of being left out.)
Mulder is sitting in the car with Father Joe (and Whitney) and not Scully despite the two of them driving to the same place together.
Father Joe’s castration and inner torment is not brought up until later when he wants to appeal to Scully.
So, for all intents and purposes, Mulder is being needlessly sweet to a guy that confessed (at this point) to touching more than a couple altar boys and ostracized Mulder's partner just because he’s… psychic. Does Chris not remember how Mulder was initially not nice to Samuel in Miracle Man until after he pulled the Samantha card, was never nice to Modell in Pusher, and still picked fights with various witnesses because of their personal decisions? Again, the only time Mulder was nice or at least professionally kind with flawed characters was AFTER they owned up to or tried to atone for their sins…and, AGAIN, we aren’t shown that scene between he and Father Joe. AND THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SCENES BETWEEN THEM BECAUSE IT SETS THE TONE FOR THEIR PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP. It falls into the “reply without a preceding remark” territory that I mentioned about the dialogue, except this time it's with characters. Really bad.
The writers try to save the interaction by having Father Joe sympathize about Samantha whereas the other agent up front doesn’t… but that only breaks the scene even more.
Male agent up front believed in psychic Father Joe before Mulder was even asked aboard the case.
Male agent up front believes in psychic abilities but still pokes at the man who was an “authority” on them by mocking Samantha’s “E.T.” abduction.
Male agent has been professionally distant and disdainful from the get-go; but it’s in HIS best interest to not create rifts with Mulder who is helping Father Joe help the FBI (and him) find their missing agent.
There is nothing in male agent’s character to suggest he is an irrational man; so, therefore, his random poke only serves to undercut his teammates’ efforts thus far to find and bring Mulder on board. This would waste everyone’s effort and precious time.
This scene only serves as a convenient excuse to simultaneously lore dump about Samantha and attempt, too late, to humanize Father Joe. Lore about Samantha is fine, but not if it contradicts (read: breaks) male agent's character. And humanizing Father Joe is pointless here because every monster can sympathize with others in their own crooked way. A truer test of character would be to show him go out of his way or comfort zone to help another person-- and that isn't what happens here.
Will I do a part two? Yeah, probably: I need to get to "the split" and Skinner and the vacation-- can't leave it (not even) half-done, after all.
Thanks for reading~