L.B.: Under cover

L.B.: Under cover September 5, 2008

Left Behind, pp. 465-468

The final chapter of Left Behind tells us about Buck Williams’ conversion and about Buck’s big confrontation with the Antichrist and about Buck’s confusion as everyone around him becomes tangled in the Antichrist’s web of lies. The big finale, in other words, is all about Buck.

And where is Rayford Steele during this end-of-the-book Buckapalooza? Last we saw him, more than 20 pages ago, he was back home, puttering around the house and mumbling about his flight schedule. We’re about to check back in with Rayford, briefly, but then it’s back to Buck for the last few pages. Rayford seems, in the second half of this book, to have slowly diminished from protagonist to protagonist’s girlfriend’s dad.

I can’t help but wonder how this played out in terms of the dynamic between our two authors. Our dual protagonists are transparent Mary-Sue surrogates for Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, and both authors seem invested in asserting their vicarious manly heroism through their respective avatars.* So I suspect there was, at the least, some discussion over the way that Buck/Jerry is hogging the spotlight in this final chapter while Rayford/Tim is sidelined. The resolution of that discussion may have something to do with the fawning praise of and deference shown to Rayford — I mean, to Captain Steele — throughout this final chapter.

Then again, this is a chapter in which the hero’s heroic feat consists mainly of mutely crying and then running away, so maybe LaHaye wasn’t too upset that it wasn’t his stand-in performing such feats.

The POV-switch back to Rayford is also a bit awkward in that we find him watching the press conference from earlier in the day. So instead of the usual “meanwhile, back at the ranch” transition it’s more like “a while back, back at the ranch.” This switch really should’ve happened a few pages ago, before Buck started fielding angry phone calls from Stanton Bailey and Steve.

To his credit, throughout most of this book Jenkins effectively uses the change in perspective to propel the story forward in time. He checks in with Buck early in the morning, then cuts to Rayford at noon, back to Buck in the evening, etc. Unfortunately, the momentum this contributes can’t begin to make up for what Jenkins gets wrong with this cutting back-and-forth. Where most writers use such scene-switching as a tool to avoid long stretches of logistical details, Jenkins uses them to squeeze in more of that sort of thing. He loves cutting to Buck just before he gets into a cab to ride to the airport, following his POV for the entire commute, and then, just as Buck finally arrives where he’s going, Jenkins will cut back to Rayford who is getting into his car to drive to church. It’s as though these switches were designed to get as much commuting and as little action as possible.

Here Jenkins cuts away from Buck, who is talking on the phone, and switches back to Rayford, who is watching television. That makes this, by Left Behind standards, an action-packed sequence.

Rayford Steele, Chloe and Bruce Barnes watched the U.N. press conference, straining to see Buck. “Where is he?” Chloe said. “He has to be there somewhere. Everybody else from that meeting is there. Who’s the girl?”

Well, if it’s not Loretta or Marge Potter, then it must be Hattie, since, post-Event, there only seem to be four women on earth.

I’m also not sure how Chloe would be able to recognize “everybody else from that meeting.” Nicolae, sure, she’d recognize him — he’s on the cover of People magazine** — and maybe Chaim Rosenzweig. But the Steeles have no idea who Steve Plank is and the assorted ambassadors and viziers of the OWG would be for them — as they are for us readers — an amorphous, faceless, nameless blob. From Chloe’s description, it seems that all of these people are gathered behind the podium at this press conference, which is what I imagine it would look like if, say, the Polyphonic Spree won a Grammy.

Rayford stood when he saw her and silently pointed at the screen. “Dad!” Chloe said. “You’re not thinking what I’m thinking?”

“It sure looks like her,” Rayford said.

“Shh,” Bruce said, “he’s introducing everybody.”

Oh, great. That was our one chance to find out who all those Other People in this chapter are and we missed the whole thing ’cause the Steeles were talking.

“And my new personal assistant, having given up a career in the aviation industry …”

Rayford flopped into a chair. “I hope Buck wasn’t behind that.”

“Me, too,” Bruce said. “That would mean he could’ve been sucked in, too.”

“A career in the aviation industry” makes it sound like Hattie had been designing engines for Boeing, but the way Nicolae introduces her is less strange than the fact that he introduces her at all. This has to be one of the weirdest and most surreal press conferences in the post-history of the world:

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure you have some questions about the bloodbath that has just taken place in my inner sanctum. Rest assured, I will answer those questions, pronounce my regrettable benedictory obituary for the deceased, and then brainwash you all into believing an implausible lie about what actually occurred. First, however, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you the surviving members of my cadre of global dominion, beginning with the emperor-prince of the Great States of Oceania and working my way up to my press secretary, my botanist errand boy, my driver and, finally, my eye-candy personal assistant …”

The news of the Stonagal suicide and Todd-Cothran’s accidental death stunned them.

L&J seem to think that the Steeles and Bruce would recognize those names, but why would they? Stonagal is a shadowy, behind-the-scenes power broker, somebody who works hard to keep his name out of the headlines. Todd-Cothran holds a prominent position, but it’s not like being the head of the London Stock Exchange would make him a household name in Illinois. I don’t recall ever seeing Clara Furse chased by the paparazzi.

In any case, if the Steeles do know who Stonagal and T-C were, it certainly wasn’t from reading anything that Buck wrote.

“Maybe Buck took my advice and didn’t go,” Bruce said. “I sure hope so.”

“That doesn’t sound like him,” Chloe said.

“No, it doesn’t,” Rayford said.

Running from danger? Actually …

“I know,” Bruce said. “But I can hope. I don’t want to find out that he’s met with foul play. Who knows what happened in there …”

Ooh! I do, I do! I already know what happened just like I already knew that Hattie was Nicolae’s personal assistant before you silly characters did.

Jenkins never gets tired of this technique — trying to make readers feel smarter by constantly telling them more than he tells his characters. It’s kind of like the opposite of suspense. Instead of withholding information and then revealing it for dramatic effect, he tells readers everything that’s going to happen beforehand, then congratulates them for always being one step ahead of the characters. That congratulations seems a bit cheap and patronizing, but it plays well with LB’s target audience of prophecy enthusiasts. These are people, after all, who have followed Tim LaHaye’s lead in believing that the Bible is, above all, a book revealing secret prophecies about the future. Once again we encounter the chicken-and-egg question of which came first, the atrocious writing or the atrocious theology.

“Who knows what happened in there, and him going in with only our prayers?”

… and our names, and our plans for a secret Anti-Antichrist guerrilla force, and the location of our headquarters …

“Who knows what happened in there, and him going in with only our prayers?”

“I’d like to think that would be enough,” Chloe said.

“No,” Bruce said. “He needed the covering of God himself.”

“The covering of God” is evangelicalspeak (with a Pentecostal/charismatic accent) for God’s protective presence. It suggests a kind of Daniel in the Lion’s Den divine intervention. That story, evangelicals believe, is a Fable That Really Happened, and the fabulous takeaway message is that we Christians need that same protective “covering of God” that Daniel experienced.

That’s all well and good. His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me. I believe that much too, but the particular idea conveyed in this particular phrasing has nothing to do with the sparrow or with the rain that falls on the just and the unjust. This “covering of God” is a special blessing conveyed upon special people who ask for and receive God’s special favor.

And we need this special favor because, like Daniel, we face persecution. Daily life, these believers believe, is an endless series of Lion’s Dens.

This brings us again to the weird, self-contradicting persecution complex that shapes and drives so much of American evangelicalism: the paradox of the persecuted hegemon.

If you ever encounter someone face to face who believes this, who insists that American Christians are “persecuted,” try to enjoy the ride. First remind them that America is, in fact, the wealthiest nation on the planet and that most Christians here enjoy a wonderful standard of living. They will argue, defensively, that this is because America is blessed by God due to its being a godly nation based on “Judeo-Christian” values. Repeat that back to them, though, and they will counter, just as defensively, that America is an ungodly place, a Babylon in which RTCs are a persecuted minority under constant threat from an elite majority [sic] in the schools, the media and the government. Repeat that back to them and they will change gears yet again, becoming even angrier and more defensive. How dare you suggest that America is Babylon? …

You can do this all day.

Those two, incompatible*** portraits of holy/unholy America don’t strike them as a contradiction because they both effectively serve the same purpose: self-congratulation. Both constructs reassure the persecuted hegemons that they are good. Or, at least, that they are better than those people over there.

Apart from the idiopathic persecution complex, though, this particular form of the idea of “the covering of God” also reflects something of the self-helpish, if not outright self-centered, nature of contemporary American evangelical piety. This could be summed up in a perverse paraphrase of John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what you can do for God, ask what God can do for you.”

“Follow me,” Jesus said to Andrew, and to Peter, James, John, Judas, Mary, Mary and, well, everybody. “Follow me.” But this kind of piety isn’t about following Jesus, it’s about enlisting Jesus to follow us, blessing our agenda and shielding us with “the covering of God.”

The world, you see, is just like that tarmac at O’Hare. We are beset on all sides by carnage and suffering and the cries of the dying. But with the covering of God, we can safely overcome every obstacle in our path — all those broken, injured and needy people — carefully threading our way safely home.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Mary Sue-ism and joint authorship don’t fit together comfortably. The latter requires the ability to keep one’s ego in check while the former is all about ego run amok:

“So I just had a few questions about your draft of the final chapter …”

“You mean the part where Buck swings in and kills the Pirate King?”

“Right, um, see I’m just not sure that Buck should be the one to kill the Pirate King, I was thinking that –“

“But the Pirate King can only be slain with the sacred sword of the Chosen One.”

“Yeah, see, that’s what I’m saying. That’s why I really think Captain Steele needs to be the one to –“

“Wait, you mean you think Captain Steele is the Chosen One? I thought it was clear that Buck …”

Et cetera.

** The special rush-to-print edition announcing the new “Sexiest Man Remaining on Earth After the Mass Disappearances of a Third of the Planet.” Because what else could People possibly have to write about post-Event?

*** Incompatible, yet still similar. One could argue that these conflicting notions of America: Christian Nation and America: Persecuter of Christians function as two different ways of expressing the same idea, just on a different scale. Both narratives reassure the believer that they are part of a righteous remnant surrounded by wicked unworthies. When such believers are asked to consider their lives on an individual or local scale, they resort to the latter construct, in which America is Babylon and Christians here are persecuted. When they are asked to consider a larger, international or global scale, America becomes their surrogate as the righteous remnant. Same idea.

And, no, I don’t really think that we should “enjoy the ride” or view these poor folks’ cognitive dissonance as a source of amusement. That might seem like all you can do, since you’re not likely to find you’re getting anywhere in your conversation with them. But, as an evangelical myself, I refuse to accept that anyone is hopelessly lost. So my serious advice, should you find yourself face to face with a persecuted hegemon, is this: Disallow plural pronouns and insist on the active voice.

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  • American Gladiators II has its moments, but it’s forgotten some of the campy charm that made the original great. When I noticed I’d probably not see another “Darrel Gholar wrestles Nitro out of the Conquer ring” moment, I lost interest. Also, the new version is too talky. Nobody needs an interview after every event. The audience never taunted or rooted against the contenders before, either. The show could silence three-fourths of the music too.

    A: Does the apostrophe/plural discussion count as a dead horse yet?
    B: Sorry, but you would be correct to say 1930’s and you would be correct to say RTC’s. At least in the UK you would be.
    Seriously, I love people that get all agitated about grammar while not realising that the internet is an international thing.

    In the States 1930s (more than one year of the decade starting with 1930) and RTCs (more than one RTC) is correct, just as in the States “neighbor” and “theater” are correct, rather than “neighbour” and “theatre.” When American children use the British spelling, the teacher marks it as the wrong answer, and has authority from Daniel Webster to mark it as the wrong answer. When American children use the British pronunciation, their classmates whack them with the giant Q-tip. Doesn’t matter that the spelling/punctuation/pronunciation is correct somewhere else. It’s also 5 o’clock somewhere, but that doesn’t mean the boss will let you go home. :)
    The screenwriters’ (i.e., more than one screenwriter, plus there is a possessive) commentary from A night at the Museum includes a few lines about the Roman general and Egyptian pharaoh speaking with an English accent. The writers then riffed on how many films include Important People Who Speak With An English Accent and asked, “does the States have daddy issues with the English still? Is that why the accent?”
    It’s surprising how few people notice this, but let Prince Caspian give the Telmarines (inspired by Conquistadores) a Spanish accent, and the message boards debate it in excruciating detail for days.
    Now we’re done with the dead horse. Unless it’s Texas, and he comes back to life at night.

  • The Old Maid

    I meant to add that since our host is a Yankee — although, according to New Englanders, not a Real True Yankee — his preferences would be the local standard, and he can distribute or shelve the giant Q-Tip as he pleases.

  • The true arbiter of spelling and punctuation is not any style manual (UK or American), but Microsoft Word. If it passes the spellchecker, it has to be OK. Word doesn’t flag apostrophe-s as an error, so it’s OK. (My own personal teeth-gritter is people using “loose” for “lose”. Again, Word says it’s OK.)
    The “correct” use of apostrophes is for making possessives*. No possessive, no apostrophe. The proper way to do funky plurals is with quotes — the plural of “a” is “a”s.
    * and contractions. Different argument.

  • The letter from the evangelical who changed his mind about public prayer was on worldnetdaily, not beliefnet. It makes for fascinating reading.

  • cjmr

    The true arbiter of spelling and punctuation is not any style manual (UK or American), but Microsoft Word. If it passes the spellchecker, it has to be OK.
    You’re joking, right? Please tell me you’re joking. Micro$oft Word has the most kludgy, error-ridden, insidiously awful spell-checker and grammar-checker I’ve ever seen! And then people think after they’ve run the darned thing, that counts as having edited their work!
    *bangs head on desk*

  • Jeff

    Funny you should say “gladiators”, Praline.
    This is better, because Gina “Crush” Carano is the awesomest American Gladiator EVAH! She’s never moved an inch on her platform. Awesome, I say, AWESOME!
    I wanted the contestants on that clip to do well!
    Normally, I root for the competetors as well. But there’s just something so amazing (dare I say awesome) about Carano’s attitude. She doesn’t boast, she doesn’t mock the contestants, she doesn’t have a “gimmick” because she doesn’t need one. (She totally ruled the Mixed Martial Arts competitons before joining the Gladiators.)
    Also, the new version is too talky. Nobody needs an interview after every event.
    I agree with that!

  • Thanks for the link, Doctor Science – you’re right, it’s fascinating. One thing that leaps out is that the man obviously felt no middle ground was possible: either he rudely remained seated, thus offending his hosts, or he stood up, which constituted worshipping what he saw as a false god. The idea of standing quietly for the sake of etiquette while not actually worshipping in a Buddhist way was clearly unacceptable to him.
    The experience of going through the forms for the sake of courtesy is one that’s familiar to any agnostic; I’ve stood and sung hymns at plenty of churches while not being sure whether I agreed with their tenets – and, indeed, stood for prayers and hymns which said stuff I violently disagreed with. I figured, ‘Their house, their rules, and I’m not going to make them like my opinions by being a jerk about them’; principles are about behaving well towards people, and behaving badly towards people who don’t see eye to eye with you is a betrayal of whatever principles you profess to hold. But this didn’t seem to work for him.
    I suppose, being an evangelical, you’re supposed to proclaim your faith at every opportunity, which makes standing up and saying internally ‘I don’t actually believe this, God’ a compromise that doesn’t work: you’re not just observing the forms, you’re failing to proclaim The Truth. Credit to the man for realising that it would have been extremely bad manners to proclaim his beliefs in the middle of a Buddhist prayer, but it is striking that he’d reached middle age without it ever occurring to him that his prayers put other people in that exact position – he had to be in that position himself before he saw what everyone else was used to. (And that it surprised him that the majority ruled even when he wasn’t in it; he says I supposed that the duty of offering the pre-game prayer rotated through the local clergy and we just happened to arrive on the night that the responsibility fell to the Buddhist priest, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have supposed that a rabbi would get the next turn in his home state.) He sounds much more sheltered than he realised.
    I noticed, too, that he said If a school administrator had ever tried to stop one of my kids from carrying a Bible, participating in voluntary prayer, or openly discussing their faith with another student, I would have sued him back in to the Stone Age. Is that an Evangelical thing or an American thing? It sounds an extremely aggressive opening gambit: you’d think that he might have said something along the lines of ‘I would have demanded a conference and reminded him of our Constitutional rights to freedom of religion and expression’, or something that involved talking to the imaginary administrator before declaring all-out war.
    All of which says to me that a lot of Evangelicals are misinformed about how to sell their religion. Most neutrals don’t want to join a faith that involves whipping out the heavy artillery at the first sign of conflict and feeling that showing consideration for your hosts by standing up is the morally wrong, ‘easier’ option rather than the option that, by making you look like reasonable people, is probably a better advertisement for your faith. Aggression and inflexibility are alienating qualities, yet the demands of his faith seem to call for him to foreground them in the name of spreading the word. He seems to be a man of good instincts; it’s a shame he has to miss the games in order to negotiate the contradictions.

  • Also, in many cases – the usual caveats about making sweeping generalizations apply and are duly-noted – any belief that does not square with fundagelical beliefs is viewed to be, by default, Satanic.
    I had a boyfriend in Texas (DFW area, not rural) once who you’d never peg as being anything more than generic weddings-and-funerals Christian. We first noticed each other in a discussion of Spider Robinson and Robert Heinlein! But when I moved to Silicon Valley and happened to mention pagans in a phone conversation, he popped out with a matter of fact “they’re all Satanists”. Pushed to elaborate, he claimed that anyone who wasn’t actively for Christ was – intentionally or not – for Satan.
    He also didn’t see the humor in the Unix Daemon T-Shirt story – he thought the gentlemen in question were totally right to react the way they did.
    That was the end of that relationship.

  • hapax

    Praline: Is that an Evangelical thing or an American thing?
    An American thing, I’m afraid. Pretty much the default reaction to being insulted, inconvenienced, made uncomfortable, or not getting your own way is “I’ll sue!”
    Oddly enough, it goes hand-in-hand with a knee-jerk loathing of “trial lawyers.”

  • regarding the daemon t-shirt story: A long time ago, I worked at Progressive Insurance near Cleveland, OH. I was a COBOL programmer (and did a lot of Y2K changeover stuff).
    Anyway, we used Lotus Notes as the platform for our email and other collaborative stuff.
    When you made a mistake sending an email, or the system had to communicate with users for some reason (not the IT staff, but the system itself – automatic messages, etc.), the email would come from “Mailer Daemon”.
    While there were several Christians in my group, one guy in particular had a LOT of trouble with that. He would say things like “I don’t want to get mail from demons!”

  • Jessica

    Sorry to not have gotten back to you earlier.
    You wrote
    “Jessica, I’d like to know if they can come up with any examples of “the government” telling any pastor what he can preach in his own church.
    Of course, they may be confusing the church with, say, the public schools, or the town council, or the Congress, or something like that …”
    Well, of course not. That’s why it’s just paranoia. It’s the nameless, faceless amalgam of “Gays” or “Satanists” or “Unbelievers”. They’re all out to get the Christians.
    But, because Christians are willing to interfere in the lives of non-Christians they think that the non-Christians will fight back just as hard. They think that those opposed to them will attack the centers of Christian organization, that atheistic control of church dogma is the ultimate goal of every non-Christian.
    IMO, everyone would leave everyone else alone if we all stopped telling other people how to live their lives.

  • SchrodingersDuck

    What I find most interesting about that article is the sentence “Yet when placed in a setting where the majority culture proved hostile to my faith and beliefs, I … could not act decisively to defend and proclaim my own beliefs“. What hostility was there to defend against? No-one was trying to convert him or attack his faith – indeed, the implicit assumption of the organizers was probably that the entire audience was Buddhist (or sympathetic to Buddhism).
    The attitude strikes me as being not unlike the football fan who travels to France to see a match, then complains he was victimised when they played La Marseillaise before the kickoff, rather than his own song. I suppose he did better than the football fans, at least, who often boo the opposing team’s anthem/theme song/minute silence for deceased fan.
    The true arbiter of spelling and punctuation is not any style manual (UK or American), but Microsoft Word.
    Ah, but is that set to US English or UK English?
    Still, if Word is now our spelling guide, I guess I can spell “liaise” as “liase” with impunity.
    (Incidentally, Word ignores any word with numbers in it, which is why it accepted 1930’s. It would also have allowed 1930s, 1930es, 1930z and 1930’es’es’s’es)

  • “Yet when placed in a setting where the majority culture proved hostile to my faith and beliefs, I … could not act decisively to defend and proclaim my own beliefs”. What hostility was there to defend against?
    It’s the with-us-or-against-us symptom, I fear. Either you agree with him that he’s found the supreme truth, or you don’t – in which case, you think he hasn’t found the supreme truth, which challenges his whole worldview. Of course, you might be undecided about whether he’s found the supreme truth and not particularly care, but he’s not going to stop caring just because you don’t.
    But yes, even though he seems to be a decent man, it takes less to make him feel victimised than most people.

  • The attitude strikes me as being not unlike the football fan who travels to France to see a match, then complains he was victimised when they played La Marseillaise before the kickoff, rather than his own song
    Cue classic scene from Casablanca (which, going by the Time Magazine archives, also happened a fair bit in real life).

  • Amaryllis

    Michele:I was a COBOL programmer (and did a lot of Y2K changeover stuff). Anyway, we used Lotus Notes as the platform for our email and other collaborative stuff.
    Oh you poor dear- triply cursed! I hope you’re feeling better now? Ten or so years was enough recovery time?

    Prialine: It’s the with-us-or-against-us symptom, I fear. I’m afraid so. “I wouldn’t think what I think unless I thought it was right. If you think something different, you’re saying I’m WRONG. And that’s an attack on ME.”
    It’s interesting that between the conflicting demands of “Thou shalt not worship false gods” and “thou shalt not make a scene in public,” he chose what would seem to most people to be simple courtesy. And sad that he felt he had to absent himself from any more games to avoid being placed in a similar situation. (Not that missing all the football games would be any great deprivation for me, but I expect his feelings were different.) Still, at least he gets the point when he’s hit over the head with it; many of the “America is a Christian country” crowd would just be screaming about paganism in the schools.
    I remember reading a Victorian novel many years ago, whose title and author now escape me, where the Staunch English Protestant found himself attending a service at the Vatican, and did not mind at all Making a Scene. “I’m not afraid of you, Mumbo Jumbo, though you do have fetish!” (or something like that). So you see, there’s progress!

  • Jeff

    Lamarckian evolution rules it out among Adam’s descendents
    Lamark was the one who thought that “obtained” physical characteristics could be passed to descendants (cut of a puppy’s tail for enough generations and you can get puppies without tails — even without slective breeding).

  • Wesley Parish

    And then people think after they’ve run the darned thing, that counts as having edited their work!cjmr

    Herein do we find the explanation for LaJenkins!

  • Ursula L

    There is another possible motive for Buck’s strange behavior here, particularly his reluctance to publish without others backing him up.
    Back on the Longest Day, Buck made a deal with Nicky Mountain, not to publish in return for protection from Nicky’s thugs. At this point, if he publishes and everyone else is publishing the same thing, he’s still covered by the deal, and protected. But if he publishes on his own, he’s the one breaking the story, and he’s broken the deal and open to attack. He’s trying to have it both ways, both divine protection from (the threat of) Nicky, and demonic protection from (provided by) Nicky.
    Also, back when discussing the Longest Day, it wasn’t clear why Buck was believing Nicky’s promises of protection. Now we know that Nicky has the magic mind whammy. Back then, Buck was unprotected by god, so he might have been mind-whammied into believing the deal.
    Of course, both of these require more continuity than is allowed by L&J’s writing, but it is an angle that would have been nice.

  • Amaryllis: Oh you poor dear- triply cursed! I hope you’re feeling better now? Ten or so years was enough recovery time?
    LOL! Yes, I seem to have gotten over it by now. :-)

  • ohiolibrarian

    Chloe says “Who’s the girl?”???
    Didn’t Chloe spend all that time in the bathroom with Hattie just a couple of days ago? (Or was that meta-Chloe?)
    In my town, a porn shop that’s been around forever is named “The Lion’s Den” but I doubt they are referencing Daniel.

  • ohiolibrarian — are you from Washington Courthouse?

  • I’m going to speak up for Buck; statistically speaking, someone has to. Buck may have cut a deal with friends of the men who tried to kill him. Buck may have run out of the investigation into their deaths. But on some level Carpathia must sense that he did not hypnotize everyone, and with the red herring of “Cenni” he now knows who. After all, a line in the book does have Carpathia saying, “I told you, Buck, that I would take care of it” just as Carpathia kills the two other villains. So if Buck decides to get the story out into the world before he too gets whacked, that’s not completely unreasonable on his part. It’s not exactly Chakotay scribbling down the events of ST: Voyager “Unforgettable,” but that may have been Buck’s intent.
    Chloe says “Who’s the girl?”???
    Didn’t Chloe spend all that time in the bathroom with Hattie just a couple of days ago?

    Chloe is harder to explain. A charitable guess is that Chloe needs glasses. When Hattie dies — not that much of a spoiler; it’s a doomsday series, everybody dies — Chloe tells her father that “clearly Fortunato [bad guy] just incinerated someone on television!” But she can’t see who it was, no matter how “clearly” she says she saw it.
    As for the constant references to “girl,” this might be the authors’ writing style catching them up. It was common years ago to refer to unmarried women as “girls” no matter what their age. Notice how even this audience didn’t catch the reference until it was pointed out that Chloe is younger than the person she is referencing.

  • Alger

    “Rest assured, I will answer those questions, pronounce my regrettable benedictory obituary for the deceased…. ”

    Does this remind anyone else of this…
    “– they bein’
    partickler friends o’ the diseased. That’s why they’re invited here this evenin’;
    but tomorrow we want ALL to come — everybody; for he respected everybody, he
    liked everybody, and so it’s fitten that his funeral orgies sh’d be public.” ?