24 Apr 2015

Unruly - The Great Jennifer Round-Up Chapter 4 - Commentary

Laura is still a hostage of the Jennifers.  The young girls chose which of Laura and Autumn was the more valuable.  Autumn didn't like the answer.  Welcome back to the commentary.  Please read the chapter first before continuing.

I've moved some long stuff off screen.  Caitlin threatening the juniors, I felt, is best left implied instead of shown.  No one really needs a chapter with Caitlin just ripping into younger girls like a drill sergeant.  The Jennifers returning Autumn was also left off-screen.  Having Autumn appear tied to a bed lets the audience have their imaginations run away with themselves.  The opening scene shows that Caitlin will focus on her needs, including putting herself ahead of her roommates.  Sure, she didn't know Autumn had been returned for a refund, but stopping to do her English homework while two of her roommates are the prisoners of the Jennifers is Caitlin taking full advantage of the situation for her benefit.

Down in the Lair of the Jennifers, Laura's still investigating.  Being new herself, Laura doesn't get that the Jennifers are the school's version of a Star Trek redshirt.  Thus, the nameless, faceless horde who would've had a different look each time one of them appeared if this was a webcomic starts to get names and individualized.  Not the intention when I started, but that's how the story evolved.  So far, it's just Jenn and Kristie, but now that I've started, Laura will meet others as needed.

Jenn is serious about keeping Laura until her missing classmates are back.  Laura has reasons for not wanting to disappear, specifically, the trial against her father.  Jenn also has noticed that Laura doesn't treat the Jennifers like everyone else her age does.  Laura makes a point of learning people's names.  Her little bit on politeness is based on events that have happened in Ontario; it is not unknown for gangs to murder rivals and leave them in fields.

Juliana's footlocker wasn't planned, but came from needing to keep the story moving.  I had an idea of what happened, now was the time to start revealing.  Juliana's belongings became key.  As Laura explains, there's a difference between leaving willingly and being forced.  If a girl was allowed to get some of her things before being taken away, she might leave a clue behind, either something of hers that she's never seen without or making a point to be messier or neater than normal.  A girl who leaves of her own free will is just grabbing her good stuff.  Laura's reasoning is filtered through her background.  She may have thought about the situation a little much.

The last sentence of the chapter is Laura starting to get into how life at the Academy works.  There's something she wants, there's something Jenn wants, there's room for negotiations.  Poor, Jenn.  Laura is scaring her, more than Caitlin ever could.

TomorrowLater today, Chapter 5, "Early Morning Shenanigans".
Also tomorrowtoday, over at Psycho Drive-In, continuing the history of adaptations with the early years of film.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, The Equalizer.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.


  1. It's sometimes a bit of a toss-up in terms of what to show and what not to show, but I think you made the right decision there. It wouldn't be too flattering to Caitlin's character.
    Laura's kind of an interesting wild card - and I think part of what makes her scary is how she says in a matter-of-fact way what others would use as a warning or a threat. Also, she doesn't seem to be able to get drugging off her mind. Does basement living do that to a person?
    Here's another interesting thing to consider - why didn't whoever took the students return for more? Was it because it was a crime of opportunity, that cannot be repeated? Was it because they only needed a certain number of girls? Or was it because the ones who were left behind were somehow immune to the invitation?

    1. And, sometimes, it's best to let the readers fill in the blank spots with their own imaginations, based on what they already know.

      Laura's background is far different from her roommates'. She might be the only one to have first hand experience with the criminal justice system and the Toronto underworld. You know the phrase, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"? Laura prefers her strengths in pharmaceuticals over an unknown, like writing poetry.

      Those questions will get answered at some point. The Jennifer rustling was a test run for the most part, but since the perpetrators don't appear yet, it's a piece of info that's still hidden from the reader. The Jennifers left behind were, well, immune is a good word. Lacking in trust is a good phrase here, too.