All right, I'll stop fangirling and get to being vicious now. But I still think my tangents are a lot more interesting than anything in the actual series and I stand by that opinion, dammit!
The chapter begins with Mark. In case some of you haven't figured out what ultimately happens to Mark, just remember that apparently torture is ineffective against brave RTCs, angelic all-powerful servants of the One True God can't actually do anything that would affect the outcome in any way, and, well, let's just say it's a common gambit in the Left Behind-verse: Ellanjay want to dispute my accusation that the End of the World as We Know It, doesn't seem anymore traumatic than stubbing your toe, but they can't actually have a Main Character (the characters who matter) actually suffer so...
Like I said in previous posts, were it not for the fact that Ellanjay were too chicken to have Zod or TurboJesus speak in anything but Bible Quotes, I suspect there would be a scene where one of them would break down, sobbing as they confessed that they wish they could be as tall or manly as St. Rayford or Our Buck. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but again, I have a feeling it's not by much. Because in the great hierarchy of the LB-verse, I suspect that Our Buck and St. Rayford out-rank even Zod and TurboJesus. They are the Alpha and the Omega, the ones for whom the universe exist to serve, the laws of reality warping and bending in order to fulfill their desires.
I suppose our hearts are supposed to bleed for poor Mark, but the tone of his opening section more comes across as whiny and petulant. Apparently Mark is shocked, shocked that a Worldwide Dictatorship run by Satan, doesn't care too much about the comfort of their enemies in transport.
MARK awoke in the back of the bus, handcuffed and aching. His right leg felt like it was hanging on by a thread. His belt was still buckled tightly around his knee. His eyes stung, and he realized blood had trickled down his forehead while he was unconscious. He leaned forward to the seat in front of him and rubbed his eyes for relief.
Right...you know what would have improved this scene? IF ELLANJAY HAD DONE EVEN FIVE MINUTES OF RESEARCH ON THE NAZI REGIME OR REALLY ANY BRUTAL DICTATORSHIP! BECAUSE IF THEY HAD, THEY COULD MAYBE WRITE SOMETHING THAT'S A LITTLE MORE DRAMATICALLY COMPELLING!
Because if they had actually studied history, they'd know that humans can be nothing if not inventive when it comes to finding new and more ingenious ways of horribly torturing people. Heck, you don't even have to research dictatorships; probably the good ol' US of A is pretty damn brutal when it comes to the transport of prisoners to Gitmo. But let's not delve into that kettle of fish, right now. Let's just accept that Ellanjay simply Can't Do the Research because if they did, they might stumble onto concepts like Cognitive Dissonance and who knows what would happen...
Mark knew of others who had been captured. Chloe Williams had no doubt been questioned by the GC, and while news reports said she had given lots of information, no one believed it. He shuddered at the thought of facing the guillotine. If he was going to die as bravely as Chloe, he knew he would have to have God’s help.
I’m not going to die, Mark thought. My friends are going to find me and get me out of here. Period.
Were it not for the fact that I'm lazy and I don't know how to do videos, I'd put in a video of myself pointing and laughing just to amuse my readers. Because if you haven't figured it out from all the numerous clues/spoilers I've given you, MARK IS SCREWED! HE JOINS THE ROSTER OF CHARACTERS WHO DIE IN THIS SERIES! GOD DOESN'T DO JACK EXCEPT SEND SEVERAL ANGELIC VISITORS WHO BASICALLY GO "THERE, THERE!" AND LEAVE WITHOUT ACCOMPLISHING FUCK-ALL! EVEN THOUGH THERE'S NO REAL REASON WHY THEY CAN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING! AFTER ALL, LAST TIME A MEMBER OF THE YTF WAS CAPTURED, IT APPARENTLY WASN'T A VIOLATION OF THE SACRED ETHOS TO SEND AN ANGEL TO BUST HIM OUT AND EVEN PROVIDE A SPACIOUS RIDE SO SAID TRIBBLE ISN'T THE SLIGHTEST BIT UNCOMFORTABLE!
YET FOR SOME REASON, WHEN CHLOE AND MARK ARE IN TROUBLE, NOW YOU'RE JUST SHRUGGING YOUR SHOULDERS AND BEING ALL, "I FEEL REALLY BAD FOR YOU AND I COULD DO ANYTHING TO SAVE YOU, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO!"
:pauses to take a deep breath:
I know, I know, I've used this clip before, but it just seems so apt. Besides I probably put more effort into finding said clip than they ever did into this series, so I feel somewhat justified: "Fuck you!" MAY YOUR STOMACHS BECOME BLOATED AND YOUR HEADS PLUCKED OF ALL BUT THREE HAIRS, ELLANJAY!
All right, all right, I'm done caps-locking for now. Hopefully I haven't violated some kind of Internet ordinance where they'll send me to a place where they'll make me read comments on online news articles until I start begging them to attach electrodes to my genitals instead.
They park the van and the GC soldiers come to take a look at Mark. If any of my readers suffer from heart conditions or PTSD, let me warn you to brace yourself for the horrific stuff they have in store for Mark.
The soldier sneered and keyed a microphone attached to his uniform. “He’s awake, sir.”
“Condition?” It sounded like Commander Fulcire.
“Looks a little dazed,” the soldier said. “Still breathing.”
“Give him some water. Nothing else.”
The soldier unscrewed the cap from a bottle of water and held it out. Mark opened his mouth, and the man poured a few drops in. Then he poured so fast that Mark choked, coughing and sputtering.
How horrible! The Satanic NWO is giving him water to drink! We all know that if the positions were reversed, Mark wouldn't dream of giving his enemies anything less than the finest non-alcoholic grape juice to drink or caviar to eat! Because RTCs, unlike the Satanic NWO, follow Jesus, who prayed for the people nailing him to the cross, and Paul who said:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
In fact, Token Jew's theocracy/dictatorship is a microcosm of God's Kingdom and God's love, where everyone has freedom of speech and lives in peace, so long as everything you say, is perfectly in line with what Token Jew says.
I swear, I didn't plan on spending so much time on this first section, but buttons were pushed. But I must ask, if anybody has some kind of medical or psychological training, while I know your face won't free too much if you make that face too long, is it possible that if you spend too much time being sarcastic, will you eventually lose your ability to express any other emotion?
I suppose I should apologize for all the Simpsons clips, but the show premiered when I was five and I've been watching it since. Given the formative impact it had on me, I should be grateful I'm capable of stringing together any sentences without inserting a Simpsons reference. I highly suspect if my brain was dissected or something, you'd find a large section devoted to storing Simpsons quotes.
Anyway, the GC are all sneery and the section ends with Mark lying back and thinking of Jesus then we cut to Judd.
As you probably guessed, nothing really happens. But then again, nothing really ever does. I have never understood the character of Dr. Manhattan** more than I have at this moment. Because at this point, walking around naked and exiling myself to Mars is starting to sound better and better.
There really isn't much to talk about. Lionel Whalum has taken over the Magical Co-Op with no talk about how much reorganization that would involve. But then again, if I were to ask Ellanjay how exactly the Magical Co-Op is run and operated in the first place...well, I'd make another Underpants Gnome joke, but even the Underpants Gnomes have put more thought into their plans than Ellanjay have. In fact, I suspect if I were to ask them anything about how this all works, yeah, the inside of their brains would basically be a test pattern.
There is some brief mention of St. Rayford, but I don't think I'll put him in the tag, since he's only seen and not heard.
Rayford had agreed with a daring plan by Chang to bug an upcoming meeting in Baghdad, where Nicolae’s ten kings were supposed to appear. Judd had asked Chang if he and Vicki could be part of the tech crew, but Judd knew Rayford would have the final say. Judd didn’t know much about the plan, just that Chang hoped to use hidden cameras and microphones. There was even talk of Zeke making special disguises for everyone.
Yeah, this meeting thing has been mentioned before, but so far, they haven't answered the one question about it that's been driving me nuts: WHY IN ALL THE NAME OF WHAT'S HOLY DO THEY NEED TO EVEN BUG THE DAMN MEETING?! THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO A DAMN THING TO STOP IT, SO WHY EVEN BOTHER?!
This is somewhat like Raiders of the Lost Ark where as many have pointed out, the plot still would have resolved itself even if Indy just stayed home and played canasta or something, but at least, Raiders had some damn awesome stunts that made it worth the viewer's time. Plus the people who got their faces melted off WERE FUCKING NAZIS WHO'D PROBABLY DONE SOMETHING TO DESERVE IT, UNLIKE MOST OF THE NAMELESS DAMNED IN THIS SERIES!
I know, sorry for all the capslock abuse. Now, I know how Sideshow Bob felt when he was like, "Gene Shalit gave this a good review and I'm the one in prison?!" Because this shit gets published and I'm still getting form rejections for my stuff?!
Eventually I'll also cut back on all The Simpsons references; I just don't know when.
They check out the YTF website only to discover that the all-powerful Satanic NWO has changed the contents so the website now praises Nicky instead of condemning him as the anti-Christ! How entirely unexpected...
But they receive a phone call. The rest of the YTF is okay and Chang promises to jam satellites until they're at the new safe house.
There's a brief thing with Mark. It's just him crying and asking God for help. Where it not for the fact that my heart has been curdled and turned utterly black by the beyond subpar writing of this series, I might actually care. But I don't, so let's move on.
The chapter ends with them doing various hacky things and finding out the news about Mark. Again, I know next to nothing about computers or hacking but even I know hacking isn't synonymous with fucking magic!
They read an email from Fulcire.
This confirms phone conversation that there will be a press briefing this afternoon, Fulcire wrote. We’ll go over the raid in Minnesota and the capture of this new rebel. We do not have a name yet, but I assure you we will by the time of the briefing. Though he’s young, we think we’ve caught one of the big fish in this so-called Young Tribulation Force.
Anyone want to break it to Fulcire that he didn't actually catch a big fish, just a minor character who broke off from the cloud/collective and is now having his fifteen minutes onstage? Like I've said, there have been so many minor characters introduced, all of whom lost any distinguishing characteristics after saying The Prayer, that I'm forced to conclude that 90% of the time, said minor character is just part of a roiling collective, only breaking off occasionally to do stuff on their own before safely returning to the cloud once more.
The YTF are all "Oh noes!" and as you probably guessed, they're like, "We should pray for him," as opposed to doing anything that would actually help. Though doing stuff would be a violation of sacred Tribbles ethos and Mark has said The Prayer, so he'll get bamfed into Heaven anyway.
The chapter ends with this line:
Vicki, Judd, and Lionel spent a few minutes praying for Mark and asking God to protect him. “Let Mark know that you love him and that you’re there for him,” Vicki prayed.
"And whatever you do, don't actually do anything that would actually help Mark, even though you're supposed to be all-powerful, all-present, and all-knowing, and could easily rescue him in the time it takes me to wiggle my eyebrows."
At least that's what Vicki should have said.
*I don't know what everyone's Rocky Horror story is, but mine was, I was channel-surfing, stumbled onto VH1 airing it, was like, "What the hell is this?!" and my virginal mind was never the same again. I keep thinking that someday I'll attend a live show, but given that I live in a Podunk town in the Buckle of the Bible Belt, that's not going to happen for a while. Heck, I'd be willing to actually be in a performance, so long as I can play one of the tuxedo-wearing goons in the Time Warp number. Because you have to be really comfortable with your body to play any of the other parts in Rocky Horror and I'm not that comfortable with my body.
**I've mentioned in previous posts my undying hatred for that movie by Zack Snyder (that I won't name because I'm trying not to alienate my Internet buddies the way I've alienated everyone else in real life. It's the one about a guy with an S on his chest, suffice to say), but I have to admit that when it comes to Watchmen, I'm actually willing to cut Snyder a little slack. He was adapting a dense comic book story that was very much tied to the medium it originated in to the cinematic medium which has entirely different rules from the comics, knowing that said story has an insanely rabid fanbase that would leap down his throat if he made any changes to the material, even if it was to make the story flow better. So, I cut him some slack. Don't get me wrong, his adaptation is still a muddled mess that never lives up to the opening minutes set to "The times they are a changin'" but I let him slide because he had an impossible task and because like I've said, I don't really care about Watchmen. For me, Watchmen falls into a category I call "Good but gives me very little pleasure to read." I can see the greatness and recognize the skill and craft involved, but really it's not an enjoyable read.
But Superman...let's just say I care about Superman and before I go into another frothing rant, I'm just going to post a link , inject my self with tranquilizers, and bow out. I should probably warn you that clip still is pretty wrenching even if you don't know the full context of said clip. Heck, it gets me every damn time even though I know the DCAU inside and out. Seriously DC, why don't you have the guys involved with the DC Animated Universe write your movies? Do you guys hate money and all the stuff money can buy? Money can be exchanged for goods and services, y'know.
All right, I'm done. I've violated enough Internet ordinances for this week. See you until next time, readers.