Okay, now that the Cheryl subplot has been wrapped up with the kind of unsatisfying resolution we've come to expect from Ellanjay, let's see what we've got to deal with this week.
Okay, read ahead and from what I can tell, it's more dull and unmemorable than really bad. Maybe I'll finally be able to cut back on all the F-bombs. That's probably a good thing. I'm not opposed to profanity, but I do try to cut back, because if you use a word too much, it loses all power. What if the worst case scenario comes about, complete with the Four Horsemen coming right down the block? You don't want to have used up all the good words that adequately describe the situation you're in.*
As though anticipating all the times I've mentioned how Lionel has virtually disappeared from this series, the first section is told from his perspective. There's really not much to snark, just Lionel finally meeting up with Vicki's group (after being delayed by
Since, like I said, this first section gives me very little to snark about, I'm going to open the floor to widespread speculation. We all know that Lionel disappears for chapters at a time with very little mention as to what the hell he's doing. The question I'm going to ask is Why? And don't say "Bad Writing!" I want some creativity here. Is Lionel jaunting off into another, better-written dimension? Maybe he's one of the rulers of Narnia or a digi-destined, to name a few possibilities. I've also suggested that maybe Lionel is Judd's Tyler Durden or Harvey, but I want to hear some of your ideas. I love crazy fan theories. Anything to liven up this series.
Okay, Vicki and Janie have been cleaning out Cheryl's cabin and for all of those who complained about how very little compassion Our RTC Heroes were showing to a troubled girl who needed help (like me, for example), well I will give them some credit in that they do, however tentatively, mention that our heroes may have been :gasp: taken the wrong approach in dealing with Cheryl. It's not much, but you should know by now that I grasp at whatever crumbs of human decency I can find in these books.
Vicki and Janie had worked on Cheryl’s old cabin since Vicki had returned from her trip. Food wrappers littered 382 the floor. Clothes were thrown about, and Cheryl’s cot hadn’t been made for weeks. Though Marshall had assigned cabins and put at least two people in each (he said the partner system was best), Cheryl had stayed alone, which was fine with everyone else. But Cheryl’s solitary life had come with a price. Vicki wondered what might have happened if the girl had roomed with someone who could have helped her think through the situation with Ryan and the Fogartys.
Like I said, it's only tentative in its critique of Vicki's patronizing, at best, cruel and insensitive, at worst, attitude towards Cheryl, but I take what I can get. I will point out, though, that no one in this series has pointed out that something must have gone wrong in the arrangement between Cheryl and the Fogartys if Cheryl felt she couldn't just talk to them about wanting more involvement in her son's life. But I have a feeling that will never be brought up, now that Cheryl's safely on the bus.
Anyway, Vicki hears the commotion and hopes that Judd and to a lesser extent, Lionel, have finally arrived. Okay, they do make a point of saying that when Vicki sees Lionel, she immediately runs up and hugs him, but I still think she was probably more concerned about Judd. Because you know, in spite of the writers' assertions otherwise, that Vicki is primarily concerned about getting laid before God takes away sex for everyone. I suppose she could have just done the horizontal tango with one of the guys she's actually spent meaningful time with (like I said, it's only recently that Vicki and Judd were even on the same continent), but that's probably not going to happen. Even though, she could have just asked God for forgiveness after having premarital sex and by RTC logic, she'd be free and clear.
Yeah, there are so many problems with the abstinence-only approach to sex education (chief among them, that it doesn't work), but I can't help but think of all those RTC kids who manage to save it for marriage, only to be disappointed as hell on their wedding night, because your first time is rarely as magical as it's hyped up to be. I picture them going, "The hell?! This is what my pastor/parents made such a big deal about?"
Lionel takes her to Judd and the next section is told from Judd's perspective.
The first one to reach Judd after he stepped out of the car was Mark. There were no words, just hugs and slaps on the back. Judd and Mark had disagreed about a lot of things through the years, beginning with Mark’s involvement with the militia movement, but now all that seemed forgotten. They had both seen enough death and had been chased by the Global Community enough to know that any squabbles in the past were easily put aside.
At first my response to this paragraph was essentially: The hell?! Because as I recall, it had been several books since Judd and Mark exchanged a syllable with one another, but then I recalled in the books that correspond to book 2 of the adult series, there had been a bit of a fight because Mark wanted to join a militia and :gasp: do stuff to fight Nicky (violating the sacred ethos of doing nothing held by Tribbles everywhere) and Judd, being a good Tribble, was opposed to it. As you can guess, Mark wasn't as fortunate as Taylor and Hasina and did eventually come to accept that Judd, by virtue of being a Main Character, was right. But given that I'm fairly certain the series was still in the single-digits, you can't blame me for having almost forgotten about it entirely. Especially since it was never mentioned after it was resolved until now.
I'd browse TV Tropes in search of their term for this kind of writing, where rather than showing us the steps between A and Q, the writers' just shout "Q!" and hope we don't notice that they left out everything in between, but TV Tropes is enough of a time suck as is and I need to get back to the review. There is a reason that TV Tropes has a page entitled "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life."
There's some chitchat and stalling, before the writers finally get Vicki and Judd together. Trust me, when I say that the following paragraph is way more accurate and entertaining if you read it with the idea that Judd's just desperate to get laid. Yeah, I overuse that joke, but they make it so damn easy!
Judd had never felt so focused. He knew everyone was watching, wondering what he would do, but he concentrated on the girl at the end of the path.
Vicki had changed since Judd had been gone, like the others, like he had. Her red hair was shorter, and Judd liked how it accented her face. She looked older, more mature.
"And by mature, I mean mature enough that sleeping with her won't count as Statutory." Judd then waggles his eyebrows and sprays on more Axe Body Spray aka the body spray choice of dudebros and insecure douchebags everywhere.
We also get further examples of Ellanjay's steadfast opposition to one of writing's sacred commandments "Show Don't Tell" as they tell us about how Judd has totally changed guys! They even mention Bruce "Dead and Useless" Barnes, though as I recall, nobody has given more than a passing thought, since they stuck him in the ground some time back in the single-digit books. We also get a mention of Ryan Daley aka that guy who will probably somehow remain a Butt Monkey even in death.
Anyway, if it sounds like I'm fast-forwarding through all this, like I said, I am. All that happens as the chapter draws to a close, is Vicki and Judd are happy to see each other again and Ellanjay continue to assert that Judd has totally changed, in the desperate hope of convincing the readers. Anything to get out of doing the actual work of showing how Judd's changed.
And that's all I'm going to give you for Tuesday. I know, kind of a skimpy snark, but I read ahead and the next chapter had a lot of material and there will definitely be a ragedump, so I hope you don't hold the skimpiness of this week's snark against me.
*Always found those who complain about bad language to be just a wee bit disingenuous. The whole thing involving the PG-13 rating where you only get one use of the F-bomb (and said use must not refer to the sexual act) is a prime example of the silliness involving profanity. Because apparently hearing the F-bomb more than once in a feature-length movie will irrevocably scar you for life.
I especially get mad when people complain about profanity usage in movies like Saving Private Ryan. When shit is blowing up all around you and your best friend is lying on the beach with his guts hanging out, I think you've earned the right to use whatever words you want! Unless they believe that everyone, whether they're a Victorian Lord or a street kid from Brooklyn, should use the same language no matter what the situation. Or in other words, the people in Saving Private Ryan should have turned to each other and said, "I say, old chap, this really steams my beans" as their friends blow up around them, lest they offend the RTCs in the audience. [/soapbox rant]