An Impossible Silence

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Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:20 pm

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Yes, as you said, it’s a remark that can make a perfect bridge to Shades of Grey. Because SOG has both the “womb” theme (the cave-in, with all the related symbolism), and the “confessional” theme (“It was not courage, it was love” – said on the threshold).

I love B&B because the themes that this little show offers are so deep that they are “basic”. And on that ground we can meet, coming from our different backgrounds. The need to be re-born (and I know that there is something specific attached to this way of saying in the USA, something about religion – but as an Italian, I just use it as a figure of speech), the need to be re-born in our lives, to have a “second chance” is one of them. The need to be “forgiven”, or at least “understood” is another one. Simple, fundamental needs of human beings. To talk of B&B is to talk of “the best part of what it means to be human”.

On to Shades of Grey
http://www.batbland.com/phpbb3/viewforum.php?f=138

Ciao,
S

p.s. Oh - this does not mean that the conversation about An Impossible Silence cannot continue here. The structure of this forum allows it, and it's a nice opportunity.

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:37 am

Along the question of 'Safe Havens' vs. 'A Haven, yes, but not 'safe'' there's an other bit of something that's caught my attention.

I'll post it here, even though it has little to do with the episode "An Impossible Silence." (It may actually have more to do with our next episode, "Shades of Grey."

Here's something silly about us that interests me, as it applies to you and me, and I say 'silly' because it's an almost delightful paradox.

You told me once that you see the tunnels as a womb, (which is both find and valid,) and I see them as a sanctuary, complete with confessional. (Also fine and valid, to the degree it's works as one.)

In other words, I'm seeing them as something very Catholic, - which you are- And my viewpoint is one I'm comfortable with, and it makes me happy to hold it,) yet I'd tell you I'm not even particularly religious, as I 'see what I'm looking at.'

You, on the other hand, see a 'womb,' whereas I'm the one who works with kids, and has a pair of those. "Growing kids" is kind of what I try to do, day in and out. Pulling them through the grade all year long is a 'birthing process.' (If I've done a good job, I have a bunch of kids who are ready to go 'up and out' into the world.

It's funny to me that you'd THINK I would hold your view, primarily, and you would hold mine, thanks to just 'who we are,' as people.

Just a fun observation,

Cindy

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:07 am

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Hey, you are right!
The idea of a “safe haven” gets a different taste in this view, doesn’t it?

I’ll open the thread for “Shades of Grey”, but the structure of this forum allows to continue our discussion about AIS here too.

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:08 pm

I was about to ask if it is time to move to the next episode, then I remembered that Eric and Ellie also 'needed that womb' as a place of safety, and in a large twist, the 'safety of the womb' turned out to not be so, for Ellie. (Ironic that she should survive so much, then die in her 'safe haven,' thanks not only to an unexpected illness, but one carried by a man she was falling in love with, in her young girl way.)

But as you say, those are (maybe?) thoughts for a different episode discussion.)

Just wanted to throw that in there, since I thought of it!

Cindy

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:45 am

This is going to 'jump the gun' a little episode-wise, but I also observe the healing that goes on below and find Cullen to be a wonderful 'mix' of character, that way. (This is someone for whom we think a 'healing' has happened, yet we find out that he is not so 'healed' after all, as he stabs Mouse. Winslow also, has a tough time, here. And unlike Cullen, doesn't seem so 'new' to the tunnels.

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And there’s the whole Fever episode. Or William, who “replaced” Winslow in a way.

My own view is a hair different, though similar. As I look at them, the tunnels are a sanctuary, and to a certain extent, they contain a confessional, for the confession (and hopefully the forgiveness) of sins. I don't carry that metaphor too far, but I'm 'aware' of it, if you will.

*
Wonderful comparison. As a Catholic, I am familiar with the confession. And believe me, it gives you a wonderful, pacifying new perspective… but it does not change one bit the struggle you must keep having with your “sins”. It just gives you the inspiring and invigorating certainty that they cannot win. Ultimately. In the meantime, you keep struggling.


Since it's a 'healing place,' a doctor might see it as a hospital. Since it's a hiding place, a person fleeing from their problems might view it as a 'safe haven.' or a sailor would call it a 'port in the storm.' "Womb" is an interesting designation, for me, since for me, that implies "A place where things grow, and are nurtured."
For Vincent, they represent an interesting and fine line. (One between 'home' and 'tomb.' Both words he'll use.)

*
But “tomb”, as far as I blurry remember, only in Third Season. When really every hope for him was being crushed. But I’m not familiar enough with all that to be able to discuss it.

For Laura (back to the topic at hand!) I think you are right that 'womb' works more than perhaps any other word, to a degree. It was the place she stayed in, and formed in, until she was ready to come out.
Though we see her again, in the show, do we ever see her as a 'tunnel dweller,' again? I want to think the answer to that is 'no,' That once she chose life Above, (and a love, above,) that she was not very much a 'woman of both worlds.' But I could be wrong.

*
Who knows? Life is a neverending surprise. Who’s more “lost” than Rolley? But we see that he’s the one who’s back, in the Third Season. Not exactly a comparison, as Laura found her new life Above, Rolley didn’t and still needed the “womb” or “haven” or “hospital”. But life – and writers’ creativity – can take the story anywhere.

I guess that for some, (Devin, for instance) leaving the womb was a fairly permanent thing, with no real desire to go back.
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Symbolically, Devin needed to “kill the father” even if he did not know he had one. And he did desire, and did go back. And found himself, his adult self. For him, the tale of growth is even more meaningful. From the Peter Pan syndrome to the reliable “brother” to Charles. For others, yes, of course, maybe the tunnels are just a stepping stone. It’s always, as you said, a matter of choice.
As Fathers tells to Laura:
Laura, this place, our world, means different things to different people. For some, it’s a place of healing and safety. To others, it’s our home. But all of us reach a point when we have to decide for ourselves what this place means to us. Perhaps, now is your time to decide.
Or to Eric:
Well you know, Eric, we only want those here who want to be here. No one’s going to force you to stay; no one will ever keep you from leaving.

It’s interesting that the flip side of such a tempting womb- haven- hospital, that is, the temptation to bury ourselves and hide in its warm safety, is only addressed, as far as I can remember, in Orphans, and Catherine’s “failure” is instead in line with the idea of facing the whole of the life, instead of running away to its protected corners. All other episodes push the protagonists “above”. Yes, we have the Fathers, the Marys, the Pascals and so on, but the episodes represent stories which deal with both worlds. Oh. Okay. Reconsidering. There is GBTC. Where a “real” baby needing a nurturing womb is depicted by the way, as well as her mother. More layers. Will talk of that when we come to it.

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:40 am

This is going to 'jump the gun' a little episode-wise, but I also observe the healing that goes on below and find Cullen to be a wonderful 'mix' of character, that way. (This is someone for whom we think a 'healing' has happened, yet we find out that he is not so 'healed' after all, as he stabs Mouse. Winslow also, has a tough time, here. And unlike Cullen, doesn't seem so 'new' to the tunnels.

I'm with you that the children Below probably come from a very demeaning or demoralizing situation. (Throw-aways, mostly, like Laura.) Jamie is wonderfully thorny/feisty at times, giving hints that she's familiar with having to 'fight her way through' a situation, and of course we know Ellie and Eric's story, and Laura's.

We do know that Olivia was 'tunnel born,' however, so that gives us a large 'age range' to play with, regarding such things. (Pascal, arguably older than Olivia probably was, as well, since he mentions inheriting his position from his father.)

Luke represents the 'next generation of tunnel born children,' and as much as we'd like to THINK that translates into 'an ideal childhood,' even for little Luke, we know that's not going to be true, thanks to what's about to happen after the events of "A Gentle Rain." (His father is going to go to jail and miss some portion of his upbringing. Perhaps a good bit of it. When Kanin gets out, who knows what he'll do? Momma must be so sad...)

While the overall 'feel' of the tunnels is 'this is a safe place,' (Indeed, the first thing Vincent says to Catherine is "You're safe, now.") we also understand that though this place is 'safe,' (and Shades of Grey begs to differ, on that one, among other episodes) it's not 'ideal.' It's not that 'Disneyfied' experience, where everyone is happy all the time, and all the residents are 'good,' and live free of strife.

Mishaps happen in the womb, too, I guess.

My own view is a hair different, though similar. As I look at them, the tunnels are a sanctuary, and to a certain extent, they contain a confessional, for the confession (and hopefully the forgiveness) of sins. I don't carry that metaphor too far, but I'm 'aware' of it, if you will.

Since it's a 'healing place,' a doctor might see it as a hospital. Since it's a hiding place, a person fleeing from their problems might view it as a 'safe haven.' or a sailor would call it a 'port in the storm.' "Womb" is an interesting designation, for me, since for me, that implies "A place where things grow, and are nurtured."

For Vincent, they represent an interesting and fine line. (One between 'home' and 'tomb.' Both words he'll use.)

I think all those work, and are shaded with their own subtle nuances. (smiling- the tunnels are large. They contain multitudes.)

For Laura (back to the topic at hand!) I think you are right that 'womb' works more than perhaps any other word, to a degree. It was the place she stayed in, and formed in, until she was ready to come out.

Though we see her again, in the show, do we ever see her as a 'tunnel dweller,' again? I want to think the answer to that is 'no,' That once she chose life Above, (and a love, above,) that she was not very much a 'woman of both worlds.' But I could be wrong.

I guess that for some, (Devin, for instance) leaving the womb was a fairly permanent thing, with no real desire to go back.

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:40 am

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Exactly, continuation and becoming, throughout the episodes. And due to my personal symbolic take on this show, I can’t help perceiving the Below world as a womb, a place of intimate, inner growth that colors everything I see in the series. Like I cannot help perceiving the Balcony as the other Threshold to Infinity for the Below/Above couple that is V&C yadda yadda…

About the Disneyfied children. Yes, sorry, my remarks are often tranchant, and I apologize, but you know and forgive me, don’t you?

You work with children, and special children at that. They are *wonderful*, but they are also easily damaged, and such damage is not easily healed. Those children below ARE damaged, but they don’t show us such damage. They generally represent them as “perfect” – disneyfied clichés. Not only after Chamber Music, I mean it in general. Only Mouse, in the next episode, is portrayed in a credible way. And Rolley, written by Ron Koslow himself. I’d have loved to see the story of the troubled child in the original Mitch Denton episode. Or the nightmares of Ellie and Eric, or Geoffrey, for whom we know a troubled past. Can we safely imagine that a great part of the children below have troubled pasts?

The portrayal of the ideal children of the tunnels contribute to the common perception of the “ideal” world Below – as if going Below magically changed people. It does, don’t get me wrong, but not magically. It takes a lot of work, like for Catherine. Like for Laura. I love when such “lot of work” is spelled out, because I consider it the most inspiring part of this show.

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:09 am

"Childhood" speaks largely to 'continuation' at a theme, (also one of 'becoming,' as children change and grow,) in ANY story, I think. (We hear Cathy reminisce about her childhood at very pivotal moments, as well, in both A Happy Life, and later still, in Orphans.) In a way, both of those episodes are about Childhood. (Catherine's particularly.) For Vincent's childhood, we get episodes like "Promises of Someday" and "Arabesque." -and many lines scattered in between the two, like "No child ever had a better teacher."

Something you said caught my ear, however, Sobi, and I wondered if you'd expand on it?

Why do the childhood depictions seem "Disneyfied" after Chamber Music, to you? Is it because the children no longer seem in 'real peril?' Or is it something else?

Thanks in advance for your consideration,

Cindy

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:39 am

It's a role for him (parenthood) that MIGHT have been intended back in "The Beast Within."

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Yes, absolutely.
If you put yourself in the shoes of a viewer who is watching the series without knowing what’s coming next, these first eleven episodes – in production order, that is, with ACS as second (but it works also as tenth) give you the impression that the world below is a shelter for vulnerable and smart children.

Then probably the rates became good enough to enlarge the picture, and in fact next episode, Shades of Grey, suddenly shows a crowded panorama – BUT the main character of SOG is still Mouse, young and “different”.

Ron Koslow wrote the first two episodes of S1, Pilot and ACS, and the happy ending of A Happy Life, firmly bracketing the story and placing it in the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. For the Second Season he wrote Chamber Music, whose protagonist is again a child.

I can add that, according to a tentative list of possible subjects of episodes for the Second Season, [http://www.batbforever.com/scripts/goodies/WhatIf/StoriesForTheSecondSeason.pdf]
we see that his Chamber Music (and its wonderful careless, happy rain scene) was the opening episode, which beautifully dovetails with the triumphal “Everything!” that ends the First Season, and the two other episodes he wanted to write are downright romantic for our couple:

12. "THE DARKEST NIGHT" - RON KOSLOW
Vincent tells the story of the darkest night of his life which lead him to Central Park where he found Catherine as she lay dying...
13. "SUNSET SUNRISE"- RON KOSLOW
Catherine wants to show Vincent the sunrise and sunset at a magical place of her childhood, a mountain lake. Their adventure begins as a quest to spirit Vincent out of the city but becomes a nightmare. But at the sight of the sunrise, they both agree it was worth it...


I think this is telling enough about what he had in mind – or, lat least, what I like to believe about what he had in mind.
His penchant for children – real children, facing the horrors of the Eighties in NYC, not the Disneyfied versions of the later episodes. Wonderful parental figures, in Father and Vincent, nuanced and placed in a complex relationship themselves. For me, in all its layers it mighty hints to the fundamental theme of the show – that is, personal growth.

And, on the other hand, it seems to me that Koslow had a healthy, happy vision of our dear couple and their destiny…

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 3:18 pm

Your description of that scene from the script reminds me of what an incredible, and often tenuous thing 'film' is. How just a few seconds more of a shot, (like the 'sentry-lover' one) can make such a huge difference, in a scene.

Camera angles do this, too. That part of the scene looks like it's 'framed' for the one camera shooting the scene. How much different does that look, I wonder, if instead of that distant shot, we have Vincent in close-up, instead?

From a distance, he 'seems' more reserved, and contained. In essence, 'the distance creates distance,' even if it doesn't mean to.

In a play, the entire stage is (usually) in view. The whole backdrop is there, and it's up to the actors to 'overpower the scenery' at times. Film can be so much more intimate a thing, basically saying "Don't look at the room. Look at the woman IN the room," (Or the old alarm clock, bell or buzzer. The hand with the gun, or the trusting smile.)

Terylene was/is a small woman. I noticed several camera angles which cut off/nearly cut off Vincent's head, thanks to the camera needing to focus on her beautiful, expressive, (often upset) face. It's a necessity, when showing her, and it not only emphasizes how physically small she is, (and how worthy of Jacob's concern, with that as an added given) but how 'large' her teacher is, and though much beloved, is almost literally 'out of the picture,' here.

Laura is growing up, and making a huge decision to 'leave her safe places and walk open handed among her enemies.' Vincent (her friend, he insists) is also obviously her 'parent,' and he's (gently, but firmly) telling her that it's all right to say 'good-bye.' That in this case, it may even be necessary. (And if it isn't, in this case, it soon will be. Laura is growing up.)

It's a role for him (parenthood) that MIGHT have been intended back in "The Beast Within." (the original script is MARKEDLY different than what got shot. In it, Vincent is a father figure to a young boy whom Mitch Denton corrupts, and ultimately, injures.) The final product was so far removed from that, it bore no resemblance to it, but the IDEA was definitely there, at one time.)

It almost begs the question, "Is Vincent the father figure (to Laura) that he himself wishes for, in Jacob?" The one who says "You must make your own choice," and reassures "All that you've endured has given you the strength for this.(?)"

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:15 am

Sorry we seem to have so many open topics on the table, between us!

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Sorry? Quite the opposite!


People trump the 'laws that stink,' (Joe's words) and Cathy has a clear conscience, (as the audience does) with her actions

*
Yes, exactly. A clear conscience. You know that I love the symbolism of our own life represented by the Above and Below worlds. Of course we are speaking of a tv show, with all the related inconsistencies of the episode filming, but ultimately the plots often bring to make decisions involving conscience. And, as you said, it’s ironic – and telling – that in this episode the bad guys are the cops, who’re supposed to be the good ones.


As to Jacob being right, (and he often is, or at least, he's 'not wrong,' if you will,) it's that voice of caution that so balances the show, and in essence balances 'us,' if you will. Vincent's counter to it, interestingly, isn't to say "You are wrong." Or "No, never!" (He may THINK it, and he certainly acts counter to Jacob's recommendations, but verbally, the 'line' I think we get which counters it seems to be from "Orphans," "Go with courage; Go with care."

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Neither in this episode, nor in any other episodes of the show we see that Vincent “listens” to Father and changes his mind. (Apart from Remember Love, of course, which is so evidently a dream and it’s V who gives the voice of his own fears to Father.) Quite the opposite, it’s Father who often is left speechless by V’s rejoinders. I think it is because, first of all, Father was a wonderful parent, and taught Vincent to be free. Same as Vincent is doing with Laura, in similar situations of objective limitations. And second, because Father chose for himself the safety and the conviction of the faith in the goodness of the world below, versus the menace of the world above. Vincent did not. Vincent is still “young” (another time I’ll bring canon evidence that he’s same age as Catherine, not yet thirty) not only in age but in his (great) expectations. {Tangent… the fandom is currently composed of people the same age of Father. In the beginning, it was composed of people the same age of Vincent. It gives quite a different flavor to the present approach and discussions and dreaming about the show versus the powerful inspiration of the early days.}

And yes, Father is wise, and has known what it means to be hurt and disappointed, so that he can create a safe place for the vulnerable and hurt ones, as he himself knows very well such hurt and disappointment. “Who needs this grief?” you ask. Well, Father did. In order to create that wonderful world. Did we, the crushed viewers of the Third Season? Perhaps. I’m not familiar with other fandoms, I can only speak for myself. What I can say is that it’s not entertainment that this show gave me, it’s the powerful need to deny what I saw and to re-affirm Hope, after I was horrified to see that in the “real” thing it was destroyed. I said earlier that the Above/Below world is an extraordinary symbol of life. So, killing Hope was killing it *for me*, for my life. And, with a clear conscience, like Catherine, like Laura, I had to stand up for Hope and make a choice. Such “courage” was fulfilling in ways that simple entertainment would probably not supply.
C - What she did took great courage.
V - Laura is a remarkable person. She feels… everything… deeply. She embraces life. It’s how she survives.
C - You’re worried about her coming up into the world.
V - Her strength is her vulnerability.
C - I think she’ll be fine, Vincent … I really do. She had a great teacher.


Yes, she (and we) had a great teacher. Who lived all that first of all himself, and that’s why he can teach to others.


Janet Rivenbark commented to me recently that S3 was some of Ron Perlman's finest work, that Vincent became deeper, and more nuanced, and that Ron's portrayal of him had a kind of strength and maturity that shone through

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Yes, I remember that the Third Season was excellent from many points of view. Except that Vincent was not the “Teacher” who showed us the wonderful paths to the depths of our souls any more. HE lost his soul, that is, the inspiring longing to connect Above and Below, replaced by a “credible”, even brilliant plot. As a (amateur) playwright myself, I was in awe at how they managed to concoct out of the blue a scenario which prevented Vincent from dying (“if you die, I die”) and gave him purpose enough to believably and interestingly continue the Season. Excellent entertainment.

Cathy herself takes an beating from this unexpected quarter. Vincent comes in too late to stop it, but in time to help her to her bed. Catherine, injured, appears vulnerable to us, as she surely must, to Vincent.

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Not only. She’s beaten because of Laura, a tunnel dweller he asked her to take care of. He’s using/enjoying the wonderful possibilities his relationship with Catherine offers, like in ACS. But for the first time, she’s hurt because of this.


She asks him to stay near, and he does so, taking up a defensive position near the balcony doors of her bedroom. I've heard fans take exception to the scene, as he holds himself distant from her.

*
{Someone noticed that V enters C’s apartment only in the episodes whose title contains the word “silence”… :P }
It’s not that I want to object what’s evident in the scene, of course. Vincent does hold himself distant from her. But it’s also evident that until that moment, Vincent stayed close, and tenderly lay compresses on her forehead, caressing her hair.
Here is how the earlier script I’ve got describes the scene:

Vincent gently presses a cool, deep cloth to Cathy's forehead. He removes it and listens for a beat. Thinking she's finally asleep, he begins to back away.
C - (barely audible) Vincent...
He bends over her to listen.
C - Please stay... I need you close.
V - I'll watch over you... don’t worry. Just sleep.
Cathy, now comforted, closes her eyes. Vincent retreats to sit -- facing her -- on the two steps leading to the balcony.
TIME LAPSE DISSOLVE
WIDER ANGLE of the scene. Cathy sleeping, and Vincent, her sentry-lover, watching over her in the moonlight, keeping her safe.


It seems to me that what was suggested in the script is not what we get in the filmed scene, which evokes not a “sentry-lover”, rather a reserved one. Who was bent on her bed until then though, caring and tender. And who did not cover her beautiful legs to keep her warm. I can understand the director idea of panning over those beautiful legs, but I can’t help thinking that from where he stands, he has a perfect vantage point to enjoy that view… :wink:

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:07 pm

Laura is an interesting character to explore that with, (the world Above with what it has to offer, both good and bad, vs. the world Below, both good and bad,) not just because of this episode, but because we'll see her walk that same path, to a certain degree, in "Sticks and Stones." (Where the deaf gang is the next group of 'castaways and throwaways' who decide to form their own society outside the law.

Laura, it seems, is fated to continue to walk that path, just as Vincent and Catherine are.

The show liked to both 'put Catherine in a situation' and 'not put her in one,' if you will, regarding the law. On the one hand, we never see her fretting over the fact that a society of people are siphoning off power and water, (or what not,) Below. (And thank goodness we don't.) We even see her helping to save two children in ACS, and get them Below, (rather than, say, place them with a better foster care.) People trump the 'laws that stink,' (Joe's words) and Cathy has a clear conscience, (as the audience does) with her actions

But in AGR, for instance, that's not 'the law is sometimes shortsighted,' it's a person in pain (Mrs. Davis) vs. a person in hiding, Kanin Evans. Just what Cathy might do or say if Kanin decided NOT to turn himself in, we'll never know, since the show didn't push the issue to that place. Likewise, here in AIS, Laura volunteers to go Above and testify, sparing Cathy the dilemma of trying to figure out how to get a drug pusher off of death row, (New York has the death penalty) when she knows he's both reprehensible and innocent ... of murder, at least.

When those situations arise, Vincent's voice aligns closely with Catherine's, his Topsider love. Moral responsibility has no boundary, for him. I doubt he just started feeling that way since meeting Catherine, but if he ever had any doubts, they're clearly banished, by this time. Whether it's because he wants the world Above to be Just and Fair (just as he wants the world Below to be) or he has some other reason, I'm not sure if the show tells us. (And of course, there's a certain amount of irony here that the cops are the bad guys, since they're supposed to be the good guys.)

Which leads us to....

Cathy herself takes an beating from this unexpected quarter. Vincent comes in too late to stop it, but in time to help her to her bed. Catherine, injured, appears vulnerable to us, as she surely must, to Vincent. She asks him to stay near, and he does so, taking up a defensive position near the balcony doors of her bedroom. I've heard fans take exception to the scene, as he holds himself distant from her.

As to Jacob being right, (and he often is, or at least, he's 'not wrong,' if you will,) it's that voice of caution that so balances the show, and in essence balances 'us,' if you will. Vincent's counter to it, interestingly, isn't to say "You are wrong." Or "No, never!" (He may THINK it, and he certainly acts counter to Jacob's recommendations, but verbally, the 'line' I think we get which counters it seems to be from "Orphans," "Go with courage; Go with care."

Watching the show seemed to need that, too. Had I known it was going to end badly BEFORE I ever watched the pilot, I (in all honesty) may have simply skipped it. Who needs this grief? Who wants to fall in love with characters, knowing their fate is so harsh? The real world has harshness enough, no need to introduce it into my fantasy realm. (Even though 'fantasy' is often harsh. Every series has a villain.) But after I watched the pilot? After I saw, and heard, and fell in love? Ahhhh, well. You know love. "We do not what we ought..."

When 'the madness is up there?' "Remember Love." When "There is no safety up there!" remember "You're safe. You're safe, now."

I don't know if they were written 'meaning' to be counters to each other. But as it turned out, they ended up as such, I think.

Would (or should) I avoid the show, for the sorrow that it became? (A sorrow both unexpected and unplanned, by its creators?) I could. We all could. (And for those who can embrace what the show became, I can only echo Jacob here, and marvel at your courage.)

Janet Rivenbark commented to me recently that S3 was some of Ron Perlman's finest work, that Vincent became deeper, and more nuanced, and that Ron's portrayal of him had a kind of strength and maturity that shone through. She's probably right that it is. I may never know. (And then again, I may discover that, just as she has, by watching the episodes again.)

But if I avoid the show because it ended badly, that sets me on a path I may wish to avoid. (My own life isn't going to end that well, if I understand 'ending' the way I think I do.) Do I not live it, either? (Or do I lose my joy for it, because it will end, one day, and most (if not all of it) will be for naught?)

The problem with nihilism is a bit like the problem with Jacob. Even if it's essentially right, it's a tough philosophy to embrace, and have to live with. (And like most 'isms' it's not wholly correct, and has its flaws.)

Sorry we seem to have so many open topics on the table, between us!

Cindy

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:08 am

It ALMOST seems like a conflict of two different perceptions of the world, vs. two different realities. (I say 'almost' because Jacob isn't wrong in his notion that the world Above is 'too dangerous' for Laura. But for a well placed basement pipe and a Vincent intervention, Laura would have paid for her bravery with her life. So there is that.)

*
Yes, indeed. But Father IS right. He is right to be afraid of the dangerous world above in this episode, as you have said, and he is right about his wary attitude in the whole show, as ultimately there was no happy ending, rather a terrible ending. He is right to be jaded, diffident, protective and so on. He is right to consider the world above a crazy place and the world below a safe sanctuary. In fact the point of the whole series, I think, is precisely to decide wether it is worth “leaving our safe places and walk empty handed among enemies” or not. Without a guarantee that there will be a happy ending, just because it’s the right/just thing to do. In a way, the disastrous ending of the show is a perfect testament to this idea. Of course it was not expected, it happened. We all have been deeply hurt by S3. So, if we could, would we choose to go back and NOT watch the show at all, now that we know the grief we suffered?

I don’t think I’m digressing, because this episode is precisely about what is right=just to do, not what is safe or prudent to do.

And it’s difficult to define what is just, isn’t it? This show is really walking a thorny path. Vincent and his world are out of law from multiple points of view, and Catherine is a lawyer and a District Attorney. In almost every episodes some kind of border is trespassed, and her loyalty challenged. Because right and wrong are possible only if compared with shared rules. If the two worlds have different rules, right and wrong become relative. But this is true not only for the different worlds, it’s the same for the different individuals. You and I have different priorities. The whole show, I think, is about trying to see “beyond”. To understand the others and their priorities. To welcome the differences. It’s not only a matter of protecting the vulnerable ones. Yes, healing versus hiding. Vincent, the epitome of Below, the secret Beast in the middle of the Labyrinth, keeps emerging from the darkness of such depth to see the moon. There is beauty Above. It would be easier to deny it and enjoy a different beauty and march to the beat of a different drum, proclaiming that all other beats are wrong. It would be easy to tell Laura: stay – or go. She would be happy to be told, perhaps. Instead, she has to decide by herself. And she may very well decide that risking to go above and be hurt is worth the while, like we fans may decide that this show is worth the heartache it caused and be grateful instead for the “creative” denial it prompted.

S

Re: An Impossible Silence

by cindyrae77 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:32 pm

Hmmm. (And as always, you make me think, here.)

Thematically, we get not only Vincent in this one, but Jacob, and the almost inherent 'conflict' between the two, regarding the world Above.

It ALMOST seems like a conflict of two different perceptions of the world, vs. two different realities. (I say 'almost' because Jacob isn't wrong in his notion that the world Above is 'too dangerous' for Laura. But for a well placed basement pipe and a Vincent intervention, Laura would have paid for her bravery with her life. So there is that.)

I try to keep that in mind when discussing Jacob, for the same reason it's good to keep such things in mind when discussing Vincent. It helps me to not paint him unfairly, when I'm characterizing him. (It's tough to characterize Jacob as 'overprotective' when he's not exactly wrong, at times.)

For Jacob, the world Above is 'the madness is up there,' and this episode confirms that his view hasn't changed, or softened, any.

FATHER
I understand the problem enough to know it isn’t ours.

VINCENT
Does our world exempt its people from moral responsibility?

FATHER
No, it offers them sanctuary from an impossible madness.
Especially those who most need to be protected … like the girl.

VINCENT
Laura is no long a girl.

FATHER
She’s still vulnerable. Exposing her to something like that …
Vincent, here we’ve given her a chance to heal.

VINCENT
And to hide. I know Laura’s pain. When she first came here
her soul was broken, and our love helped
it to mend … but the time will come when she
will need to grow beyond all of this … beyond us.

FATHER
You think that time is now?

VINCENT
Without Laura’s word, Catherine has no case.
An innocent man goes to prison.
That should mean something to you.

FATHER
Our priority is still to Laura.

VINCENT
Before you said the problem was not ours.
Well … neither is the decision.

---

Both of these characters say so many pivotal things, here. (Also, when Vincent is describing the abandoned Laura to Catherine, he openly says "It broke my heart." That isn't a 'light' pronouncement of how he felt.)

Vincent is firm. (Does living Below absent us from a moral responsibility to the rest of the world? - It's a problem they'll face again, pointedly, in "A Gentle Rain," with largely the same results. Kanin Evans, too, will choose to go Above, and 'do the right thing.')

"I know her pain." says Vincent. And of course, he does. There are unmistakable parallels here, as both were abandoned (by their respective parents, we assume, - we know it in Laura's case, we suspect it, in Vincent's) But which pain is he speaking about, specifically? The pain of being abandoned? The need to grow beyond "all this?' The pain of being different, of being 'cut off from others,' the way Laura's deafness does for her, and Vincent's beast-like appearance does for him? The pain of seeing crime, yet not being able to testify? (Do we assume Vincent has been in that position also, at some point? It's likely that he has.)

And in the end, we get Vincent's conclusion that any conversation between him and Jacob is moot. Laura, (no longer a child) can (and must) make her own choice in the matter. Even Laura's request of 'tell me what to do' will be rebuffed, by Vincent.

We know this is a hallmark of Vincent's character; that 'choice' be both offered and accepted, by those affected.

I try to look and see if his interactions with Catherine have this same flavor, and to a great degree, they do. With Catherine, too, he tells her that her life, her choices have made her strong, and that she must use that strength to do all she can, and ultimately, all she must.

Also, interestingly, with both Laura and Catherine, he seems fairly certain that the choices will ultimately take them away from him. (Whether he feels that the separation will be either temporary or permanent is perhaps anyone's guess. He tells Laura that of course she can come back, and that she'll always have a home, Below. When Catherine left for Providence, he also indicated that she should go see the "world of wonders, of possibilities," and though he didn't mention that she'd be back, (because she might not be,) he didn't say she couldn't, either.)

Both Father and Vincent see the world as it is, a risky, sometimes perilous place. But Vincent steadfastly sees the 'wonder' of it, and the need to do justice in it, in both the world Below and the one Above.

It's interesting that Catherine is a lawyer, then, when you think about it. In that while Jacob sees 'justice' as a thing primarily owed to those Below, by those Below, Vincent sees it as a thing owed to all, by all. He is very concerned that a man he's never met, (and not a good man, we come to understand in the episode) go to prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Catherine either (not sure how to say this,) seems to either 'speak to that part of him' that wants justice, or it was always a thing about her which he found compelling. (He didn't know she was a lawyer when he rescued her, but it was a thing he knew at some point, after.)

As a lawyer, she's a 'justice giver.' As a woman of two worlds, she can help to give that both Above, and Below. (She's already helped Jacob out in SOO and we know she'll do more, come AGR.)

Vincent himself asked her to become involved in "A Children's Story," and worried for her in "The Beast Within," fearing perhaps that she was pushing herself too far, even though he agreed with the merits of prosecuting Mitch Denton.

Vincent almost seems to have a 'relationship' with both 'justice' and 'choice,' While perhaps we could say Jacob has one between 'justice' and 'safety.'

It's that second dynamic where the two bump heads, and it colors each of their perceptions not only of the world Above, (and Below) but also of Catherine, to some degree, perhaps.

As a side note: The closest Vincent and Catherine came to an open conflict (besides the "Providence" scene in NIBAC) was when Catherine feared that Vincent was on the wrong side of the law, in Terrible Savior. It was literally nightmare inducing, for her.

Does that mean she may not fear him as a Beast, but she feared him as an unjust one? (The woman who states steadily "I am not afraid" clearly was, in her nightmare on the balcony, in TS.)

Sorry if these observations are all over the place, episode wise!

Re: An Impossible Silence

by 222333 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:42 am

*
Just a few scattered thoughts for now.

You know that I like to look at the single episodes as part of the whole overall story. AIS is the 11th episode. We are gradually being introduced to the Tunnel world and its dwellers. So far we’ve perceived a big world, we’ve seen glimpses of its inhabitants in the Pilot, we’ve heard others mentioned (“Mary” waiting for children to carve the pumpkins in Masques), like in a roughly depicted background ready to be filled with characters. Apart from Father and Vincent, what we really know of this secret world so far is that it’s populated with children, because we’ve been extensively introduced to them. Then we’ve seen a strange, secluded woman, Narcissa, living beyond the perimeter of the hub and of the “rational” vision represented by Father, but whose advice Vincent decides to seek, enlarging even more the incredible confines of this incredible world, literally and symbolically.

In this AIS episode we see yet another “strange” character, who summarizes everything we know about the tunnel world, a warm shelter for the vulnerable ones: Laura, who’s a child, a teenager actually, and is deaf. And then we see the huge pipe system and Pascal, an odd individual as well, so devoted to his pipes that he even sleeps in the pipe chamber. In the next episode, Shades of Grey, we finally see the whole community. Something is about to change, from multiple points of view. (*)

So, we have several themes here, all wonderfully symbolic.

We are extensively introduced to the tunnel way of communication, with the pipe chamber and its master… in the same episode whose protagonist is deaf, and cannot make use of it (ok, she’s ultimately saved by it, but you get what I mean). It’s an episode about finding one’s own voice, and the motivations to do it. Laura has a truth to communicate, and she bravely chooses to do it. Silence Is Impossible, despite the loyalty to the tunnel world Father cherishes, despite the fear of losing the safety of the well known environments and relationships.

Laura is a teenager, and this episode shows how she leaves childhood behind and becomes an adult. Leaving the warm womb of the tunnel world and facing the wide world Above. Also Joe was a teenager when his world was disrupted by other teenagers, forcing him to grow in the hard way. That wound is still bleeding and, for a moment, the need to heal it was blurring his perception of what is right, if less satisfying.

Vincent, unlike Father who “All he sees is that he’s losing one of his family”, and who represents the other fundamental facet, in this take, of the parents’ difficulty of facing a child growing into an adult, Vincent stands out like a real mentor, who deeply loves and understands his pupil, so much that he “speaks” her language, literally and figuratively, who’s worried about her but at the same time pushes her to be brave and trust herself. He’s a true selfless mentor, but, apart from the symbolism, he’s also the beast who is bound to live Below and let Laura and Michael and all the others go and live “the life that cannot be” for him. I think that he’s pushing them to live such forbidden lives for their own good, sure, but I think also for him – for pride, projection, interest, whatever. It’s a trait of his whole personality which we must remember if we want to understand him – the “real” him, not what we want him to be.

S


(*) According to to Lynn Wright, even Catherine’s apartment… http://www.classicalliance.net/funstuff ... thapt.html

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