Now, you're probably wondering why I'm so down about this. Isn't spending time with Vicki better than spending time with a watered-down mini-Rayford aka Judd? But truth is none of the characters really have any distinguishing traits. As said in a comment on a previous snark, the characters, for all we know about them, might as well be pinballs with little name-tags attached and as many of my readers will point out, they have as much control over the plot as pinballs do over their own path. Here's a challenge for my readers: name some traits of some of the characters mentioned. By traits, I mean personality traits, not ethnicity or background. So no going, "Uh...Lionel's the black guy, right? or "That dude's Jewish."
Vicki and Mark are walking down the hallway searching for Claudia. They find her but she doesn't have the Super Special Awesome Zod-Mark and the GC are closing in on them. But it turns out that the GC do have a few brain cells to rub together, because it turns out this whole thing with Claudia was a trap.
I'll admit I skimmed through most of the next part. Forgive me, but it's really impossible to snark given that it's just a boring collection of action verbs which have no consequences because nothing ever happens to the good guys. If you're wondering, Vicki and Mark are saved by a black maid named Florence, who's so stereotypically black that I wonder why there aren't massive protests over these novels. Then again, Ellanjay seem to be ignorant and proud of their ignorance of anything outside of White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male.
Florence has Vicki and Mark climb into the laundry because we can leave no cliché unused in these novels. And just because I believe in spreading suffering around, I'll provide a sample of Florence's dialogue:
The woman hummed the tune again, stopping long enough to say, “My job’s the same as the Lord’s in a way. I take the trash out and make sure it gets put in the right place. He takes our trash and puts it on the cross where Jesus can take care of it. Simple as that. Hmm hmm hmm hmm …”
I'll end this chapter for you: they escape without any trouble and I'm bored to death with the whole thing.
Next, we begin with Darrion bravely watching the news. The news is essentially this: Nicky is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life. Also Darrion smirks about how they haven't connected the sores with The Mark.
Nothing happens on Lionel's end so let's just skip to Judd.
Well, nothing's really happening there either, just a lot of thinking. He's mad at Lionel for getting separated from him, making me wonder if I need to dust off my "Ho Yay" tag. And we get another mention of Ryan! Judd actually apologizes for having been such a jerk to him. Too bad, Ryan's dead making any such apology completely pointless.
Judd talks on the phone with Vicki and I suppose we're supposed to read unresolved sexual tension between the two, but given that the writers know nothing about how teenagers act towards one another, it comes across as them trying desperately to come up with an excuse to pair up a pair of paper dolls. I'll sum things up: Vicki is worried, Judd talks about what a jerk he was to Ryan, Vicki's all "He knew you cared in the end," and then they hang up. Mac shows up and David Hayseed is dead. Given that I don't think Hayseed made any appearances in this series, I don't see why we should care.
I'm throwing in a third chapter because the snark's a little skimpy.
Judd and Lionel are hanging around talking, when Chaim, still calling himself Micah, shows up to give his speech. I won't go too much into detail about this speech as it quickly devolves into the standard altar call, but let's start:
“Of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived, One stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of influence. More schools, colleges, hospitals, and orphanages have been started because of him than because of anyone else. More art was created, more music written, and more humanitarian acts performed due to him and his influence than anyone else ever. Great international encyclopedias devote twenty thousand words to describing him and his influence on the world. Even our calendar is based on his birth. And all this he accomplished in a public ministry that lasted just three and a half years!
“Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Savior of the world, and Messiah, predicted that he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Centuries after his public, unmerciful mocking, his persecution and martyrdom, billions claimed membership in his church, making it by far the largest religion in the world. And when he returned, as he said he would, to take his faithful to heaven, the disappearance of so many had the most profound impact on this globe that man has ever seen.
I could also point out that in addition to all these great humanitarian acts, Jesus has also been the inspiration for the Inquisition, numerous pogroms, and to top it all off, the Holocaust. You can't point out all the good that's stemmed from Christianity without acknowledging the bad.
“For years skeptics have made fun of the evangelist’s plea, ‘Do you want to be saved tonight?’ and yet that is what I ask you right now. Do not expect God to be fooled. Be not deceived. God will not be mocked. Do not do this to avoid a confrontation with Antichrist. You need to be saved because you cannot save yourself.
“The cost is great but the reward greater. This may cost you your freedom, your family, your very head. You may not survive the journey to safety. But you will spend eternity with God, worshiping the Lord Christ, Messiah, Jesus.”
What if instead of doing this in order to avoid a confrontation with Nicky, they're doing this in order to avoid the fires of hell? You can't say, "Don't convert out of fear!" when that's what your characters do! It just doesn't work!
I'm going to quote 1 John 4:18 again, so you can see how Ellanjay fail.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
After Chaim's speech, Rabbi Ethan Ben-Eliezar and his wife come up to Mr. Stein being all "How could we have been so blind? How was we supposed to know that your attempts to extinguish our culture were for our own good?" Well okay, they don't say the second part but it's implied. They then ask about The Prayer, giving Ellanjay yet another excuse to quote it in its entirety. They say the prayer and stop being ignorant Jews and become RTCs, thus losing what few distinguishing traits they had.
That's where I'll leave you. Sorry to do so much summarizing but like I said there really isn't a lot to snark.