14 May 2015

Unruly - The Great Jennifer Round-Up Chapter 7 - Commentary

The Jennifers have returned.  Welcome to the commentary for "New Threat".  Note that the title shown was incorrect and has been updated.  Please read the chapter first before continuing.

There is a reason why Jennifers clump together.  The seniors at the Academy have a five year age advantage, and all of them are at the school for reasons that would have them seeing jail time or worse.  Mind, the latter is something the Jennifers and the seniors have in common, but the older girls have had five extra years to hone their skills.  Now add a student who knows how chemicals interact with the human body and you have to feel a tad sorry for Juliana.  I didn't have to do much research on the drugs Laura mentions.  Before I got into science fiction and fantasy, I read spy thrillers.  Scopolamine is the classic truth drug, administered to spies in the 60s.  It's been replaced since then, but amobarbital does have a negative reaction with caffeine.  Death-levels of negative reaction.  I have filed that information away for future use, not necessarily with the Unrulies.

For those wondering about the green jacket, the girls of St. Dymphna have a pink blouse, plaid skirt, and a green blazer.  Other schools with uniforms in the area avoid the colours of St. Dymphna and the Academy, trying to not get caught in the eternal war between the two schools.  The schools in the Catholic board use darker colours in the Unruly-verse, reflecting reality to a degree.  Schools in the public board don't use uniforms, but have school colours, just like the real world.

As seen earlier, Skye is cranky when rudely awakened.  Laura is downright mean when she's overtired.  Skye does understand and took the new girl's side over Caitlin and Autumn.  Caitlin lacks empathy at times, which goes along with her ego.  Autumn is just taking the opportunity to get back at Laura for being used as a guinea pig.

The Headmistress may well be aware of why Laura isn't in class.  After all, she knows that Caitlin accessed her daybook.  The uniform is the last step for Laura to become an Unruly.  She's now part of the school.  Perfect timing, really, for Caitlin has a plan.  Laura hasn't had the time to get a rivalry of her own with anyone at St. Dymphna, Mackenzie notwithstanding.  Skye doesn't really have one, either, except on the court, but she's been up all night.  Autumn and Caroline?  They have a history that will be revealed at some point.

Once again, I ran into an old nemesis, naiming public places.  Again, I don't want to use a real place unless that place is so ubiquitous that not using it stands out.  This time, I needed a name for a coffee shop that was considered neutral grounds between Caitlin and Verity.  Then I realized I had the name right there, Neutral Grounds, and the café's raison d'etre soon became obvious.  With schools like the Academy and St. Dymphna, the baristas are also bouncers, to make sure that no trouble starts.

The scene with Laura and Mackenzie grew organically.  If you see the beginnings of something more than friendship, you're not alone.  The budding relationship is something that wasn't planned but came out of their scenes together.  Sometimes, when writing, events happen that aren't expected.  Will the relationship last the full school year?  Too early to tell.  Mackenzie is the driving force here, at least for now.  Laura isn't as sure of herself as Mackenzie is.

Tomorrow, the new Unruly episode, Basketball Night in Canada begins.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Phantom of the Paradise.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, hiatus week with news about Lost in Translation.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of /Lost in Translation/.


  1. I'm of two minds here. On the one hand, it's good that there's a plot between the two schools that transcends this arc, in terms of the uniform thing. (We already kind of had a greater arc with Laura's own plot, but that's more character based.) On the other -- I'm hardly in awe of the plotting the mystery people are doing. Part of it goes to the way things rapidly de-escalated through Chapter 6, which I remarked on. Part of it is because, well, I don't see any greater plan.
    More information might help. Juliana said they were "approached with a deal". What deal? For food? For tear gas? Did the mystery people actually have inside information about the Jennifers' traps to propose the deal, or was it a crime of opportunity? (By the way "given our stuff" is unclear as to whether Juliana's manga was stolen, and the deal was to get it back - which is creepy - or whether the stuff was simply the riot gas and material for traps - which is less so, because obviously the Jennifers didn't know how to use it effectively anyway.) Also, Mackenzie didn't remark on anything happening at St. Dymphna... wouldn't it make more sense to attack simultaneously, pinning each blame back on the other school, so they wouldn't have time to think about it? For that matter, how IS Caitlin so sure that it's not someone at St. Dymphna who has a sewing skill and a desire to stir up trouble? There was no evidence to the contrary, aside from Juliana not recognizing the people, assuming she would even know.

    I guess we'll see where it goes. As to the Laura/Mackenzie thing... one of the major issues with serials is reading something over the span of months, one can forget details. I don't remember how the "deceit" thing went down any more. I remember Laura having no uniform looking for info, I remember her mentos and pop bottles, I don't remember Mackenzie's reaction. x.x If you're seeing to increase word count, sneaking that into Laura's third person account might be an option (or maybe I'm more forgetful than most). As to the... well, pulling Laura down into the same chair with her, my jury's still out on whether Mackenzie's sincere, lacking people she can cuddle with at her school, or actually interested in a relationship of sorts. It was only one scene. Laura needs to be careful she doesn't cling for the sake of having someone. (I do note that Laura's sensitive nose isn't put off by Mackenzie's perfume, if she wears it.)
    It was a good way to end here though. And "Neutral Grounds" was a brilliant name, by the way - they know how to market themselves. Small pity we didn't get to see Caitlin's reaction when Laura passes on the message about the day book. I also wonder if Jenn is at all bitter that she wasn't given an offer... perhaps she was too smart for it?

    1. Some of your questions on the first hand will get answered in Basketball Night in Canada, though not right away. St. Dymphna has two things going for it that wouldn't lend itself to their younglings disappearing; the first is that they don't have free-range half-feral girls roaming their campus; the other is the presence of nuns. Nuns are scary.

      The deceit Mackenzie refers to is from The New Girl, Chapters 2 (http://thechaosbeast.blogspot.ca/2015/02/unruly-new-girl-chapter-2.html) and 5 (http://thechaosbeast.blogspot.ca/2015/02/unruly-new-girl-chapter-5.html). Caitlin used Laura to spy on Verity in Chapter 2 and Mackenzie discovered the deception in Chapter 5.

      The Mackenzie/Laura relationship is still budding. It probably won't survive past graduation, depending on how hard the girls work on it. The relationship also has major hurdles in its way, from the rivalry between the two schools to the nuns of St. Dymphna to Mackenzie's parents.

      Thanks. I couldn't think of anything else, though Common Grounds may have crossed my mind briefly.

      Jenn will return. She wasn't supposed to show up so soon, but she just pushed her way through.