Have you missed this column? I bet you did. In fact, we’ve had multiple e-mails asking what happened to it, all of which resulted in me promising I would get on it soon and then having a wrench in the works. Apologies for not covering the book for a few months now. We’re back on track!
To make up for it, we’re going to cover all three issues we missed in the next three days — one at a time, as to not overload anyone. Granted, with certain information coming to light thanks to subsequent issues, a few of doors may be closed (or maybe not…), but I am going to treat this column as if there is no subsequent information. That’s the idea, anyway.
So, let’s start with that cover.
Jon Hughes, But A Bit More Sinister
This is the obvious reference to discuss, but that cover by Rodin is a direct homage to the famous poster for the the Breakfast Club. While the plots of the two stories are relatively different (ones about a gang of misfits who grow to be close friends, and one is about an attempted murder), the way all the characters are positioned is pretty perfect:
- Dane as “the Jock,” which makes sense given how he’s very much been the “macho” character so far
- Hoodie as “the Criminal” — need I say more?
- Bobby as “the Brain,” which — if he is just a figment of Elle’s imagination like we’ve theorized, makes a lot of sense
- Jo as “the Basket-Case,” as she’s the one seemingly hit the hardest by Elle’s attack, leaving her a — wait for it! — basket-case. (But, well, not in a strictly literal sense).
- And of course, Elle as “the Princess,” since she is the main character of our story.
Unintentional? Possibly. Well-put regardless? Absolutely.
The Cast Grows
Last issue introduced the Who’s Who page to help point out names and faces in an immediately sprawling cast. But if 12 people just weren’t enough for you, the cast now grows larger: we’re now up to 14 with the addition of Frankie Burton, hospital nurse, and Antoinette Wallace, Dr. Geller’s wife. I hope you’ve got a good memory for names and faces!
On top of that, Harold Crenshaw’s bio has now been updated to “Comatose, Psychiatrist,” having previously been “Unknown, Possibly Deceased.” Keep your eyes on the little details, because they’ll all certainly help.
Since We Last Met
When last we did this article, Harold Crenshaw just showed up in the dream space that Elle is currently inhabiting, revealing that he does indeed know who she is. Here’s the complication, though: as the scene continues, good ol’ Doc Harry pretends that this isn’t the case. When grilled by both Elle and Bobby, Harold’s response is that he learned her name from when he entered the room in his own hospital bed. And yet, for someone who was knocked unconscious, it seems rather suspicious that he would be able to glean such information — a fact completely overlooked by Elle and Bobby. Given that we know he has some connection to her, his subterfuge seems largely suspect.
There are also a few choice lines from him, specifically: “Fascinating. You… we’re… here?” Harold goes on to express a general lack of understanding of the place that they are in (describing it as “some sort of metaphysical manifestation of the brain” and “a coping mechanism as we cling to life,” but all things considered I have a hard time believing he doesn’t know more than he is letting on.
Either that — or perhaps his time in The Place deteriorates his memory in a fashion? Elle herself doesn’t remember how she got here, and we’ve chalked it up to trauma induced memory loss. Crenshaw had a car crash and ended up right next to Elle; he plays it off as a coincidence, and while I find it doubtful there is of course the very big possibility that his memory is in fact hurt between his accident and when he arrives.Continued below
Ghost (Not the Patrick Swayze Movie)
Remember that time we made a comment about Jane Russell being in in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, not Rosalind, in our first Bridging the Gap? Well, look what came into play here. Elle too notices the incorrect nature and calls out to Jo, and just like she’s able to inhabit other bodies temporarily (as seen first in issue 1), she is able to communicate to Jo through Jo’s dreams.
And upon doing so, what is immediately called into play?
Jo’s dream catcher, which we called attention to from the first issue. We’ve in the past called attention to the potential of the realm Elle currently inhabits as being a dreamscape, and even noted that dreams are probably pretty important, but this seems to confirm it.
So here’s the question: did Elle contact Jo because the two are close, or did Elle contact Jo because Jo was dreaming of Elle? It’s also important to note that Elle is giving into her mind at this point and ask her brain to show her the one person who knows her, which is Jo, and I’ve thrown out the theory that Jo could perhaps have strong feelings for Elle, perhaps in a more than just friends way. If Elle is able to reach out and connect to Jo, it stands to reason there needs to be some form of connecting link.
Or, perhaps not. Perhaps they can connect simply due to being best friends. Of course, since they connected on some level, Jo takes this to mean that she heard Elle through her coma, which will come into play soon. (It’s funny to me, by the way, that Jo’s reaction is “Elle spoke to me!” and not “Oh, that was an odd dream I just had. Funny how my subconscious manifested itself as my best friend to correct me about a movie thing I was thinking about.”)
Also, just in case you were wondering, the line is “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Great song. Also also, humorously enough, Jim McCann notes in the back matter that the Rosalind element was a happy accident that just sort of worked out well.
A Tricky Panel #1
In the following scene when Dr. Geller returns, we get this shot of her hand:
I’m not quite sure what to make of this. What is Geller holding in her hand, and why?
The 7-Day Candle Thing
This is a bit difficult to me, if only because the only point of reference I have to go on is that there are candles, what look to be some kind of Buddhist/Hindu deity statues and a quick reference to green being better for “healing energy.”
If my assumptions (and associated Google searches) are correct, the healing energy element is related to chakras, which would in turn relate to Hindu and Buddhist traditions. A chakra is where a person collects energy in their body, divided into seven places for different potential powers. While the suggestion is to use green (the heart chakra), Jo is using purple candles, which can in turn relate to two potential chakras: 1) the crown chakra, which deals with spiritual connectedness (think of a traditional religious head covering, but not on a strictly literal level), or 2) the third eye chakra, which deals with the psychic realm of the mind. I can’t ascertain which hue is correct, but the third eye seems more likely.
To my understanding, the candles are mostly for the purpose of aromatherapy to be used during any form of spiritual practice. Like mood lighting, but with the focus of bringing you to a spiritual place. Combine this with Jo continuing to repeat the lyrics for “Diamonds…” and we can safely assume that that is her prayer, so to say.
That said, flames around an oxygen tank is not the best thing to do in a hospital.
A Tricky Panel #2
What’s Frankie smiling so smugly about?
I’d comment about how he knew more about chakras than I did at first glance, but there’s a line for that.
A Tricky Panel #3Continued below
Nothing Jim McCann and Rodin Esquejo are doing isn’t on purpose. Frankie should be watched, like a hawk.
We get a scene of Elle’s father at work in this issue, and two things strike me as interesting:
1. The name: NFP. I think it’s safe to say the P stands for Peterssen, but unless I missed something, what does the NF stand for?
2. The Fifth — Elle’s dad makes reference to someone named “the Fifth” needed a report. What kind of name is the Fifth? And could that be the F in NFP?
I also must note: Mr. Peterssen’s secretary seems to have a bit of a Joan from Mad Men thing going on, if I do say.
The Memory Wall
Alright, so here’s a pretty big scene. Elle mentions that what she needs is a memory to give her a clue, and what happens is she slips into the wall a bit and sees this:
If you remember from last issue, Ed Sr has a photo from what we can assume is her birth, featuring Elle in an infant incubator and Doctor Hammond having a mysterious chat with his wife. Now we know that Elle is important in a medical sense to Crenshaw, and that there’s something unique about her in terms of a talent to traverse this mindscape.
It is then safe to understand that in this room with the shifting wall, she essentially has control of the images she sees to a subconscious extent — when she wants to see someone who knows her, it shows Jo. When she wants a memory that gives her a clue, she sees this. McCann even describes the wall of Elle’s dreamscape house as “the Memory Wall”, so it’s safe to say that the attributes I’ve added to it aren’t too far off the reservation.
We have a clue and enough additional evidence to state — perhaps to an obvious extent — that something was done to Elle to give her this “ability.” Something artificial, and something perhaps to do with propofol (the hypnotic drug alluded to in issue 1). The more we see, the more it seems that this dreamscape is Elle’s world, with everyone else just taking up residence in it.
So: is it possible that whatever was being done to Elle was being done specifically to develop mind-related talents and ability? Maybe not to the extent that someone was trying to bring a Jean Grey archetype to life, but certainly something along those lines?
Miles Is Not Hoodie, But He Knows Who Is
In issue #2, Miles barely escaped with his life from an exploding building that was — assumedly — detonated by Hoodie. Now he sports his own in a similar fashion, just to make things a bit more difficult. Of course, Miles is confronted by someone at the hospital whose face we don’t see, who encourages Miles to leave due to Mile being an accomplice in … something.
Let’s now talk about this scene that we skipped:
Elle’s brother is asked by Doctor Hammond to be at the hospital. He HAS to be here, remember?
But it wouldn’t be that easy… would it?
And, by the way — I know I was casting an odd light on Frankie, but I think it’s safe to say it’s not him. Why? Shoes. Frankie and Gellar’s shoes, from earlier in the issue can be seen in the above image attached to the 7-Day Candle Thing section, and as you can see in the above panel the shoes are of a different character.
To Be Continued
At the time of writing this, we know what the above image is, who it refers to and what it means. That’s the accident that comes along with this article being delayed.
That said, it’s still a pretty great cliff-hanger.