Whether it’s historical inaccuracies or plot holes you could drive your car through – sometimes it feels like movies and the people who make them are ruining all the fun. Plus more letters from fans.

Christopher Nolan’s obsession with MagicK.

Greetings Rob and to all of the members of the PGS! It’s been less than a week since I last wrote in, but this idea has been itching away at me for months now and I think I’ve finally figured out how to express a small portion of it.

Sorry for an ADDENDUM up top, but I’m writing this second paragraph after writing the body of the letter to forewarn you that this may be the first in a series of letters relating to this topic. I have about 5 pages of research notes total and barely got to half of those ideas while writing all of this. Apologies if it’s a bit light on some details you may be wanting, but I tried to keep it tight and just include the bare bones stuff to get my point across. If you Rob or anyone in the PGS is interested I’d be happy to follow up and get more in depth into some of the things I mention. ALSO please know that I don’t really have a conclusion yet as to why the things I point out are present, but I’m hoping to get there by writing out more of these thoughts and sending more letters. Okay back to the letter

In September of 2020, I was lucky enough to be able to see Tenet in theaters while visiting my brother in Saint Louis. What were my thoughts? At the time I honestly couldn’t quite tell you. It was my first time back to the movies since seeing The Hunt in March, just a few days before all of LA shut down due to the impending threat of the pandemic. I felt so excited to just be in a theater again that I didn’t fully trust my own slowly forming opinion of what I had just seen. The two things I knew for certain were that I enjoyed the hell out of the experience, and that I was confused in a way I hadn’t been since first seeing Primer.

Immediately after getting back home to LA I knew I had to see it again. Luckily enough, Orange County had recently opened their theaters back up and I was able to see it in glorious IMAX the second time around. Now THIS was what we were all meant to see. Divisive plot and sound mixing aside, Tenet is a feast for the eyes in a way very few movies even have a chance to pull off nowadays.

I’m not really writing in to talk about the filmmaking of Tenet, though. I know that ground has already been well tread, along with explanations of the plot and the timelines of certain characters. I wanted to talk about some of the more esoteric concepts within Nolan’s filmography, ideas that can be found sprinkled throughout a handful of his films but have become much more blatant in his more recent works. I want to talk about Nolan’s obsession with Magick and Occult Initiation. Let’s start with an explanation of the former.

Christopher Nolan … so, just where is he getting his creative inspiration from, anyway?

Yes, you’re reading that right Rob. Magick with a K. I’ll assume you know the difference, but for the PGS, Magick with a K is a term that comes from Aleister Crowley’s infamous Thelema religion, the impetus for the modern day Church of Satan. It can be traced back to older sources, specifically the Enochian Magic of John Dee, the original 007 (google that for an interesting history lesson) but is traditionally defined as “The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Getting deeper into that could take hours, so for now let’s just continue with the simple idea that some people believe that the real world can be tangibly manipulated through mundane acts of will as well as ritual spells, seances, etc. Whether this is a reality or not doesn’t really matter here. What does matter is that Nolan seems to be infatuated with it.

The other infatuation of his that I mentioned is Occult Initiation. From the supposed condemnation of John The Baptist by the Knights Templar initiates during the crusades, to the very real forced naked confessions and mud wrestling of the Ivy League’s Skull & Bones societies (shown best in The Good Shepherd) the idea of occult initiation has been very present in our society for thousands of years, regardless of people’s belief in such groups.

Initiations such as these are supposed to represent the alchemical death and rebirth of one’s being, and also the Promethean transformation of man into god that can only be achieved through the pursuit of knowledge. When presented in films in particular, these concepts usually help form the structure of the standard Hero’s Journey, which itself is inherently Promethean.

However, in the case of Christopher Nolan these structural tools are also often used as plot points, narrative devices, and even the names of certain characters or brands/companies in his films. Some examples of this are references to the Lazarus story in The Dark Knight Rises, such as Bane’s story of rising out of the darkness of the pit into the light, Bruce eventually having to do the same thing, and then of course the backstory in the comics of The League of Assassin’s ties to the real Lazarus Pit of legend, a pool of eternal life that restores youth to the old and life to the dead. Lazarus is also the project name for NASA’s plan in Interstellar. The amount of symbolism in that film alone deserves its own letter honestly, so I’ll hold onto it for now.

Examples of his more literal interpretations of the alchemical death & rebirth are the cloning technology in The Prestige, killing yourself or dying in a dream in order to wake to reality in Inception, and the Protagonist’s voluntary suicide at in the opening of Tenet only for him to wake up and be enlightened to the “real war”. The situation from Tenet being the most obviously initiatory.

Tenet also seems to be the most obviously saturated in the idea of Magick. The scene with the scientist explaining inversion to The Protagonist is the best example of this. “Don’t try to understand it, feel it” was a bit of dialogue I saw get a lot of flack online. This line however, is indicative of what I believe the film is really getting at, which is that an individual’s perception of time and space can affect reality. Once a person is shown this, they can then attempt to influence reality with their own will and intention. The scientist says “You have to have dropped it” when the Protagonist tries to pick up the inverted bullet without touching it. He then closes his eyes briefly, seems to visualize having dropped it, and then he’s able to pick it up. This is illustrating that his intentions matter as much if not more than his actions.

What’s most interesting to me is how the script seems so lazy in its attempts to pass this all off as science. The scientist at ones point claims they believe it to be some type of fission that is causing this phenomena, and that someone is intentionally streaming these objects back to us for the purposes of destroying the world. The sci-fi facade of Tenet’s plot is only really held up by one other line, in which the Schrödinger’s Cat theory is brought up, although not directly named. The scientist says, in regards to the bullet “It wouldn’t have moved if you didn’t put your hand there. Either way we run the tape, you made it happen.” This implication that some form of quantum mechanics is involved with inversion allows the audience to accept it as science without much question.

It is my belief that this isn’t laziness, but is actually a very specific choice made by Nolan. Why he made that choice, I still don’t quite know. Did he want to make a movie about magick, but sci-fi is just an easier sell? Is he Is he trying to tell us something about how our will and intention can shape our world more than we know? Or am I completely wrong, and he just wanted to make a massive, globe trotting stunt spectacular that gives Donnie Darko a run for its money in regards to coherence? I guess we may truly never know, but as you can most definitely tell at this point, I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.

-T.J. S.

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More conflict over FIGHT CLUB – is it a cause or an effect of our social decline?

Hi Rob,

I thought the discussion on Fight Club was pretty amusing. It seems to me that the writer of the article dismissing Fight Club as a destructive proto-fascist text just shows that different people can get VERY different things out of the media we all consume. I hope this letter isn’t too political for Robservations, as I know you don’t enjoy getting overly political when there’s great genre fiction to talk about, but at least it might distract you from Ezra Miller as Trashcan Man.

The article does start well. It’s true that the “end of history” narrative was a big part of the Clinton-Blair-Schroeder axis that guided the western world through the ’90s. The end of communism did create a certain change of mission and identity for the “Great Powers” of the world. We probably don’t need to talk about the crisis Russia faced (and is still contending with), and China wasn’t yet the enormous economic and political threat it has since become to the power of the the US and its allies, but it was a huge cultural shift. Movies like Top Gun, Red Dawn and Rocky IV (the REAL end of communism, IMHO) didn’t really make any sense any more. The “end of history” wasn’t just about that, though.

At the same time as the end of the Warsaw Pact, the triumph of Reaganism/Thatcherism was more or less complete. Clinton was not an FDR or even a Jimmy Carter. He, like every Democratic President since then, would have been a Rockefeller Republican in earlier years. Here in the UK, Thatcher said her greatest achievement was Tony Blair, because she had turned the formerly socialist Labour Party into a party that adopted the essence of her philosophy. The “Third Way” that guided Clinton, Blair and Schroeder, along with a number of leaders in other wealthy Western nations, was basically right wing economic policy with a bit of socially conscious window dressing. As Thatcher famously said, “there is no alternative.”

The Thatcher years had also led to consumption as a lifestyle and an economic driver, not merely the process of attaining life’s necessities. Shopping was a pastime, a hobby, a form of entertainment, not just buying what we need. Conspicuous consumption, the idea of being defined by the labels on our clothes, the size of our homes and the power of our cars, was how we expressed ourselves rather than through our communities, our jobs, our churches, and our families.

These combined to create a real sense of alienation for young people in the 1990s. Generation X was known for being “slackers” (sidebar: Richard Linklater is a genius) who didn’t care about anything and were disengaged from politics and the reality of life. “Reality Bites,” indeed. Other big issues were happening too. Here in the UK, we saw a huge amount of deindustrialisation through the ’80s and early ’90s, so traditional male jobs were gone in many of our big cities.

In their place, came jobs in the service sector, which were increasingly “feminine” roles. Feminism also had an increasingly powerful voice in our culture. That’s not a bad thing, but for men without jobs or at least without meaningful careers, many of who grew up in fatherless homes and whose masculine essence no longer had a viable outlet even in the military (which had less and less value in a world without a major enemy), it certainly began to feel for some as though being male was a personal failure.

It’s out of that cultural milieu that Fight Club emerged. I can’t speak to the book; I’ve never read it. But the film is certainly a commentary on that world. The Narrator IS defined by his possessions. He is neutered by his life. He does a job that saps his soul and which he knows is without moral value, but he sees no other options. After all, how else can he afford all those goodies in the IKEA catalogue? It is the very emptiness of his life that leads him to the support groups. His therapist suggests he goes there to see what real suffering looks like, but instead he finds an outlet for his own pain.

It’s easy to see him as an emotional vampire; indeed, that’s exactly how he sees Marla at first. But the fact that this man experiences real emotional expression and finds camaraderie in a room full of men who have literally lost their balls and, in Bob’s case, started to physically resemble a woman, is not a coincidence. The Narrator’s pain IS real. His life is utterly without meaning, and even his therapist has told him his suffering is meaningless. It’s only natural that when someone comes along who offers him a different path, he pursues it.

Enter Tyler Durden. Yes, Tyler is an “alpha.” He runs his own business, refusing to do meaningless work for someone else’s profit. He is confident, witty, knowledgeable, wise, and rejects all the bullshit that society has tried to force on him. He is everything The Narrator wishes he could be. He offers The Narrator an explanation for everything that’s gone wrong in his life, from the failure of fathers to the emptiness of consumer culture. He literally sells the over-consumption of the wealthy and powerful back to them, in a sick, twisted explosion of irony.

Ed Norton in a BTS photo from the set of FIGHT CLUB.

The Fight Club itself is the ultimate expression of masculinity. Tyler gives The Narrator (and eventually thousands of other men) a chance to BE MEN, without shame or apology. Through violence, arguably one of the defining features of masculinity, he grants The Narrator the chance to truly express himself for the first time in his life. All his deeply suppressed rage at the society that has neutered him can be unleashed and, instead of being condemned, it is celebrated and praised.

Over time, that rage becomes more focused. Tyler creates Project Mayhem, which gives members of the Fight Club a chance to become something more than themselves. Indeed, they give up their individual identities and devote themselves wholeheartedly to The Cause. They resemble an army in many ways, with uniforms, regulation haircuts and brutal basic training. Of course, they also resemble a cult, where individual identity is sacrificed to the teachings of a charismatic leader. It’s notable that the targets of Project Mayhem are corporate art (representing the commercialisation of what should be a more noble pursuit) and cloned coffee shops (representing the increasingly soulless corporate world.)

Project Mayhem, as Tyler warns us, is with us everywhere. It is the men who do degrading, low-status jobs. It is the men who work for minimum wage in meaningless jobs, not creating anything or self-actualising in any way, but instead serving rich food to wealthy gluttons. They have no hope and no future, so their anger grows until they are subsumed into a cult of violence and revenge on society.

The Project Mayhem soldiers in the back of the car don’t wish to be violent soldiers of the revolution. One wants to paint and one wants to build his own home. Nobody has given them those options before, though, so instead they follow Tyler’s more psychotic goals because he tells them that those things are possible if they just believe in Project Mayhem.

Crucially though, it’s when Project Mayhem’s objectives become clear to The Narrator, that he starts to realise how dangerous it all is. He’s suddenly aware that it IS a cult, and he tries to deprogram some of the members, particularly when Bob dies. But by that point, Tyler’s teachings have gone too deep and the cult can no longer be controlled. It’s only then that The Narrator begins his frantic search for REAL understanding, to find out who Tyler Durden really is.

What he learns is, of course, the big reveal of the film: he has been Tyler all along. This gives the viewer a whole new perspective on the film. Firstly, the beginnings of the Fight Club, when Tyler asks The Narrator to hit him, is actually an act of self-harm. The Narrator wants to hurt himself, as Trent Reznor put it, to see if he still feels. In the vacuous world in which he lives, physical pain is the only way he can find meaning. Fighting other men then becomes the only way to express his pain.

But the fact that his first fight is with Tyler makes clear that the whole process is self-destructive. When we realise that all the “lessons” Tyler has taught him were actually his own thoughts, we realise that Tyler’s confidence and insight were all there already, but he was too trapped in his own ennui to see it. When we see Tyler and The Narrator’s contrasting attitudes to the new recruits, we see that the good cop/bad cop dynamic is actually playing out inside his own head. When he realises that he’s been fucking Marla this whole time, we see that he had the possibility of a redemptive love, if only he had been able to conquer his own demons.

The WHOLE POINT of the film is in the duality. Yes, The Narrator’s life IS without meaning and the world IS full of soulless Starbucks and empty consumer culture. The answer, though, is NOT to give in to the “burn it all down” instinct that the Tyler side of his personality represents. Tyler is a warning to the viewer of what happens if men allow their ennui to turn into destructive – in fact, SELF-destructive – urges.

The story of Fight Club IS a satire on the emptiness of modern culture and how that can suck the life out of men and the beauty out of art, but it’s also a commentary on how easy it is for men to end up going down dark, dangerous, ugly paths if the right person comes along and tells them that they have all the answers. In the end, The Narrator can only save himself by achieving some self-awareness and killing Tyler, destroying the “toxic masculinity” that resides inside his own mind. Of course, by then the damage is done and even though the woman, his redemptive love, is there with him, the outcomes can’t be changed. Once Project Mayhem has been unleashed, it’s already too late. Tyler/The Narrator isn’t in control once the idea has been released into the world. In the end, all there is is destruction.

My point is that the author of the article you read out simply doesn’t understand Fight Club, and anyone in the “alt right” or any of the other groups he cites who sees Tyler as a role model and Project Mayhem as an ideal method of organisation has seriously missed the point too. It’s absurd to hold a film responsible for people who completely misunderstand its meaning. Fight Club is not Birth Of A Nation. It doesn’t celebrate hatred and violence. It very explicitly criticises toxic masculinity, while also giving excellent insight into why hateful and dangerous ideologies slide so easily into the minds of vulnerable men. If more people understood what Tyler Durden really is and where his ideology ends up, maybe fewer of them would be so willing to follow people who espouse similar “burn it all down” attitudes.

Anyway, I know this was a really long letter, but I thought it was important to talk about a film that actually has something to teach us, if only we’re willing to learn. I hope the author of that article is paying attention. He might learn to love an incredible film, and maybe also learn something real about the social problems he identifies.

Thanks for all you do.
-Kenny McB.

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A review of how JJ Abrams ruined even more childhoods.

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

This is a review for the screenplay of a film which was never made . This is my second review for a new thing I am trying to do, with the first review being for the Harlem Nights script, though I am not sure if you read that letter.

Anyways, this unmade screenplay I am reviewing now, is for J.J Abrams’ Superman: Flyby.

A storyboard from the J.J. Abrams, never-produced film: SUPERMAN: Flyby.

This script would have definitely made a very controversial film if made, due to the fact it takes many liberties with the Superman lore.

The liberties to the lore are, Krypton does not explode, Jor El is a king instead of a scientist, Jor El actually once visited Earth and chose the Kents to raise his son, Lex Luthor is a government agent who is revealed at the end to be Kryptonian, Jor-El has an evil brother called Kata Zor, Kata Zor has a son called Ty Zor who is basically a General Zod type character, Jor El becomes a prisoner and dies by performing a sacrifice type thing in prison, and Kal El is sent to Earth in the hopes he will fulfill a prophecy of ending a Kryptonian civil war.

Despite these changes, I actually liked the story being told. It’s not perfect, as there are certain things I would expand on or just wouldn’t do. I was not of a fan of Luthor being Kryptonian and a government agent. The Lois Lane love story was really rushed. There is flying kung fu which I found to be a bit ridiculous. Superman defeating Ty Zor and the other Kryptonians at the end was too quick, since he dies fighting them, then meets his father in Kryptonian heaven who tells him everything, and then he comes back to life to stop his cousin and the others.

Another problem I had was the franchise set up, which was incorporated into the script, as this was meant to be a trilogy. There is a character on Krypton who is a prisoner, and the script mentions he will play a bigger role in the sequel. The end of the script has Superman leaving Earth for Krypton.

While I think this script had problems, I did still quite like it. It is a first draft, so it does need polishing. Abrams did write a second draft, which fixed a lot of things from what I read, but it is unavailable.

I’m not sure how the final film would have turned out, if made, but it would have been interesting to see. Interestingly, Abrams really wanted to direct the film from his script, which might have been his directorial debut instead of Mission Impossible 3 if the project went forward, but Warner Bros looked at McG, Michael Bay, and Brett Ratner for directing. Eventually, Bryan Singer came along which lead to Superman Returns, ending any development of Flyby.

That is my review of Superman: Flyby.

Here is a link to the draft of the screenplay that I reviewed (if any of you are interested in reading Abrams’ first draft). 

Thanks, live long and prosper.

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Calling Captain Contradiction … you’re wanted on the bridge of the U.S.S. Discovery.

Greetings Rob or as I call you “Mr. Imagination Connoisseur”, “The Great Nitpicker” and or “Capt. Contradict”. You are an Imagination Connoisseur who nitpicks many fictional works and occasionally contradicts himself in most cases I dismiss it but this time I had to write in.

“A Different Perspective”
I’ve grown used to your anti-matter Discovery rants and in all fairness you call out a number of blaring issues that Discovery has but on your season 3 show #597 you went in hard on what the writers did to the “Guardian of Forever” but you also contradicted yourself as well.

Now first I must state that I know “The City on the Edge of Forever” is Trekdom’s all-time favorite episode, but for me I must say that I so dislike this episode, maybe as much as you dislike Discovery as a whole.

ST:DISC’s Michael Burnham looking for the cause of “The Burn.”

First, as a whole I don’t like time travel stories even though ST the Voyage Home was very good there are too many open holes and unanswered questions for me to take “The City on the Edge of Forever” serious. We learn that this object the Guardian of Forever has been sitting here for,,, well forever and yet those that created it are long dead. We’re they conquerors, scientist etc. We’ll never know and what a missed opportunity that none of the other Trek spin offs excluding “Enterprise” ever followed up on that.

Ok let’s say they were enlightened (whatever that means) and they created and used the “Guardian of Forever” to guide younger civilizations yet they up and left or were destroyed, by who or what we never learn but they leave the Guardian behind. The Guardian sits here for thousands of years even witnessing the Earth’s beginnings yet no other space faring culture ever came across it to ask it a question nor to use it in whatever manor they choose. But suddenly the Guardian begins sending out time ripples, why? That’s never explained and when the Enterprise goes to investigate “Bones” wipes out Earths past.

Now Rob isn’t that a paradox? Isn’t that the grandson going back in time who accidentally kills the grandfather, so how can the grandson go back in time to accidentally kill the grandfather if he was never born?

See right there is my problem and this is why I so dislike time travel crap so much. This is just one of the reasons why I dislike this episode. To me the original writers did a piss poor job developing the Guardian and just used it as a plot device to tell this off beat Kirk love story. I found the “Paradise Syndrome” a far better Kirk love story.

Oh Mr. Imagination Connoisseur you display so little imagination here with this Discovery episode. You fault Discoveries writers for going back and using the original idea of the Guardian, they cast Paul Guilfoyle as its AVATAR. And that’s just how I and so many of my friends saw that. In this time and time line if Klingons approached the Guardian it would present a Klingon Avatar now honestly where is that such a terrible idea?

The Guardian claims to be so much more, both machine and being yet neither, it is its own beginning and ending. Alpha and Omega. Hmmmmm! Only God has that title how blasphemous. Yet it has no moral compass and or rules which would prevent anyone from accidentally and or willfully altering the past, present, and future.

Now hold on Rob, here is a little conundrum for you; What if someone wanted to go back and undo the Guardians creation? The way the original writers framed the Guardian it would be OK with that and would allow it. Hmmmm! Not a bad premise, what would be the outcome of that?

Even Kirk wants to use the portal to go back and prevent Bones from accidentally injecting himself now that’s for a good reason but how many other cultures, and or individuals would want to use the Guardian for evil? When Kirk and Spock reset the timeline and they all come back all Kirk says is “let’s get the hell outta here”. What!?! No Federation task force, no Star fleet planetary security to prevent malevolent cultures from misusing this thing? They just leave it? Really!?! And Trekdom considers this to be the best episode? Right!! (Said like Dr. Evil)

Rob you then go on to compare the Guardian to Stonehenge now I don’t see the correlation as the Guardian practically claims to be deity you contradict yourself when you said “its all fantasy now because the Guardian can now travel around Swing!!!!! And conjure portals. And that no one can pick up Stonehenge and move it all around”, yet Rob ancient man moved those rocks and built Stonehenge. And Rob the Guardian is a time machine that claims to be its own beginning and end. Talk about fantasy!?!
I guess Rob for me and others like me who don’t see a big difference between fantasy and Sci-Fi in fact their always grouped together Fantasy & Sci-Fi. I’ve long accepted that fantasy is a lie/make believe and so is fiction that’s the definition of fiction, so concerning Sci-Fi and I’m stressing the word Fiction which means LIE because someone is lying about the science period.

I find it puzzling that you Mr. Imagination Connoisseur find it so improvable on a show where anything can happen, anything! That the Guardian couldn’t have learned how to evolve. We all hoped for Data to evolve, in fact that was Data’s main story arch to become more human. Yet he was vastly superior to humans but he wanted to be more human like. The Changeling Probe evolved, Voyager 7 with a little help from a machine world evolved, The enterprise D evolved and became a living entity for an episode. Hump! I see a pattern forming here. So for the Guardian to grow beyond its limitations being able to move, hide it’s self if need be, and in order to interact with life forms have the ability to project it’s self in a friendly familiar pattern? Where is that so horrible? Why is that such bad writing? I found what the Discovery writers did to be very logical and after all these years they made the Guardian acceptable for me.

Now Rob if it’s just the truth that you don’t like the Discover writers taking liberties with such a beloved character from such a beloved episode I understand. But the way I see it the Discovery writers fleshed out a character/plot device far better than the original writers ever did.

You then accuse Discoveries writers for being cheeky and wanting to change everything, just to change everything. But isn’t there this copy right thing that there MUST BE A 20-22% difference from the prime line? Oh my! All you Nit pickers seem to forget that so easily. See Rob for me its first and foremost in my mind when I watch Discovery, in fact this is how I’m able to watch and enjoy Discovery. Because “Discovery” and “Picard” are both in an alternate time line in another universe, a universe where logic isn’t always logical and the science is a bit more,,, fanciful.

Rob I’ll end with this you end all your shows with “every person you meet has a story to tell that you have yet to hear and all you have to do is listen”.

And that gives me hope in there being a place like this for like minded people to share and discuss the things they love and enjoy, I hope this Difference of Perspective leads to a broader mindset.

Hailing frequencies closed and Rob the word is given.

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Were there plot holes in S2 of THE MANDALORIAN? Yes.
Will it keep us from seeing S3? Not on your life!

Greetings to you Rob, the Moderators, and all of the Post Geek Singularity members currently watching or simply listening in.

Today I would like to discuss some thoughts I have regarding this most recent season of the Mandalorian. But first I would like to borrow a quote from The Marathon Man and ask, “Is it safe?” After all, we are not that far removed in time from the season finale and who knows, there could be some out there who hasn’t seen it. To those few uniformed (In your best salty pirate voice), “I warns ye’ now! Thar be Spoilers ahead!”

I will state for the record that I am very pleased with both seasons of the Mandalorian. I have enjoyed meeting new characters inhabiting the Star Wars Universe as well as getting more lore about a period that has been pretty spotty in that regard. Technically, the advent of the Volume technology has been simply amazing and the Show Runners emphasis on Practical effects on set during shooting has really helped bring back the feeling and flavor of the Original Trilogy.

From the S2 final episode … Grogu (Baby Yoda) finally looks upon the face of The Mandalorian, played by Pedro Pascal.

One of the elements of story telling that I find always helps is when the actions and decisions of the characters happen organically out of the events surrounding them. That is, when our characters must make a decision to act, it is seen as a natural reaction of that character to do so, not that they are doing something simply because the Plot demands that they do this or that. A skillful writer will usually be able to craft the story so that we arrive at the end of the story with out being aware of these manipulations.

In this Second season I came across a few instances where I felt the needs of the Plot were a little too obvious and our dear Mandalorian, Din Djarin, made some decisions that seemed pretty out of character to me.

One of these was in Episode 0206 ‘The Tragedy’ when, in his encounter with Boba Fett, he is asked to remove his Jet Pack during their negotiation. I’ve no issue with him taking it off in that instance but it did seem an odd request for Boba to make. My issue is with the actions that follow. When the Imperials show up, Dins first thought is for Grogu, naturally. But what does he do? Does he grab the Jet Pack from the ground and fly up to make sure Grogu is safe? No, instead he beats feet up the hill. When he gets there he finds the young lad surrounded by an impenetrable energy field. Deciding Grogu is safe, Din returns to help Boba and Fennec fight the Imperial troops. This fight takes him further away from the area where he left his Jet Pack so that when the Dark Troopers descend on Grogu’s position he can’t even get up there to fight them, how convenient.

Did I like the episode? You bet I did. Seeing Boba Fett show up was awesome and I was gratified to see that Ming-Na Wens Fennec Shand was still alive. The action was wonderful. But seeing elements of the plot so clumsily obvious took a little sheen off of the final product for me.

But I think my biggest issue is with the story decisions made near the end of the season finale. Yes, the BIG ONE, the reveal of the year where “a million voices suddenly cried out” in delight and wonder. I have no issues with that, I was very happy to see Luke wrecking shop on those Dark Troopers.

What I found odd were the decisions being made by our characters on the Bridge of that cruiser as they waited for the Dark Troopers to pound their way through the door. They set up with their blasters pointed at the Blast Doors, the heroic last stand! Except that Din already knows that the Dark Trooper armor is pretty resistant to blaster fire, having repeatedly fired point blank at the one he finally stopped with the Beskar spear. Perhaps the Heavy Repeating Blaster Cara Dune was using might put some punch on that armor but we don’t know for sure.

What we do know is that our hero’s have in their possession two weapons we know can take them out, the Beskar Spear and the Dark Saber. But no, Din sets up with his blaster, as do the others, with their weapons. It’s like they forgot those two weapons even exist. What a lucky thing Luke Skywalker arrived to save their bacon right?

It’s like these trained warriors suddenly forgot how to set up a competent defense. And it certainly was convenient that just as the Dark Troopers were making some decent damage on the Blast Doors they stopped because one warrior arrived to fight them. What? They have two Platoons of these things. Surely the AI controlling these things would have allocated the ones at the door to continue what they were doing? But sure, isn’t it cool to build up the slow reveal for one of our favorite Jedi’s? The party on the Bridge watches the screens in amazement as this Jedi Warrior cuts his way through the Droids like they were so many paper dolls.

What would actual, competent warriors have done if they were stuck on the bridge in that situation? They hadno knowledge a Jedi was going to save them. They had 3 people in Beskar armor, 2 in light armor, a Beskar Spear, a Dark Saber, and a Heavy Blaster which may or may not be able to punch through that droid armor.

I would expect Din to pick up the Dark Saber, who cares about ownership right now, we are possibly fighting for our lives. Din hands the spear to Bo-Katan and tells her to go for the neck. Cara could either hand the Heavy Blaster to Koska Reeves because she is in Beskar armor, or use it herself but she would be more vulnerable to blaster fire from the Droids. Fennec could possibly use her sharp shooter skill to get shots off at either the eyes or the neck of the droids. What would be imperative though is to control the point of entry.

Here is where story telling makes a difference. Instead of our characters acting like their lives depend on each and every action they make at this instant, their actions become subservient to the plot and they make decisions that serve the plot, not the character. Their decisions in this instant do not feel organic to the story.

Even if the Droids had stopped, as they did, we would have seen our characters behaving logically to the demands of the situation. But how much more exciting and full of tension would it have been had some of the Dark Troopers continued to pound away at the door while the rest attempted to deal with the interloper coming from the other direction? While Luke fights to get to the Bridge our band of warriors tries to hold them off on the Bridge. Perhaps the Dark Troopers break through but their pounding has damaged the door so much that it will only open large enough to let one through at a time. Din and Bo-Katan use the Dark Saber and Spear to try and fend them off but the numbers start making it difficult to keep them out as one after another tries to get through the door. It’s a race against time.

How much better might that scene have become?

Certainly I would love to get the chance to ask Jon Favreau and Peyton Reed about their decisions regarding this. Rob, you are a creator, a filmmaker, what are your thoughts regarding when a characters actions become artificially subservient to the demands of the plot rather then growing organically to meet the situation?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. At least it was not as long as the last couple of letters I have written. Cheers!
-Julian M.

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