18 Jun 2015

Unruly - Basketball Night in Canada Chapter 5 - Commentary

The Unrulies continue their investigation into the fixing of Skye's basketball game.  Welcome to the commentary for "In on the Fix".  Please read the chapter first before continuing.

The opening of the chapter is an attempt to balance the apparent collective swoon the seniors have for their English teacher and the fact that a percentage of the girls are homosexual.  After all, Laura has no interest in Mr. Baker, but it is unlikely she'd be the only one.  Fortunately, a few details have come up in previous chapters that help.  The big one is that each Unruly is in competition with the rest, even if they work with each other.  Caitlin and Autumn are the obvious; they're trying to one-up the other with Mr. Baker.  However, and completely unplanned, Skye hasn't gone ga-ga like her roommates.  While that means I need to figure out Skye's love life at some point, I do have some Unrulies who aren't smitten.  Others will appear.  Fawna is, but her sister?  Not so much.

Laura's continuing crisis led to an impromptu research session during NaNoWriMo.  NaNo, as mentioned on the blog a few times, has a goal of writing 50 000 words in 30 days.  The goal is best reached without having to stop mid-writing to look up details.  However, Unruly was done mostly by the seat of the pants.  Episodes were conceptual, followed by a quick plotting either on the bus or just before falling asleep to figure out the direction.  Seldom were any major scenes worked out in full before writing, though highlights were there.  Details were worked out as they came up.  Laura falls well outside the system.  Ontario has a number of requirements to get a high school diploma which homeschool students do need to follow.  Laura's background, though, messed that up.  She doesn't have the required credits, tests, or volunteer hours.  Ms Stone could smooth that over if she wanted.  Laura is at the Academy because of a witness protection program; her identity as "Laura Jones" could easily get paperwork that covers the missing requirements.  The end of year episode, when it gets done, will need to take all of the above into account.  Laura has someone hoping to go to the same university she does.

School cafeterias are a common source of humour.  Anything done lowest bidder has the potential to be of lowest quality.  Laura's thought was that if students got sick on the food, a new company would have to come it.  Flora had the same idea.  The company is well aware of the type of school it has a contract with, though.  The Headmistress does know what she's doing here.  The seniors have a choice; eat the terrible food in the cafeteria or make their own.  For younger students, it's incentive to learn to cook.

Laura's approach is a lot more blunt than her roommates'.  She's used to dealing with and working with criminals who responded better to violence than diplomacy.  Caitlin prefers the subtle threat of violence, with Skye doing the looming, and Autumn prefers social engineering.  This isn't the first time that Laura jumped to the physical.  Back in The New Girl, Laura wanted gas grenades.  Even in The Great Jennifer Round-Up, Laura was ready to call Caitlin's bluff about using drugs to interrogate Juliana.  Subtle, Laura is not.

Getting the Unrulies around is turning into a bit of a chore.  The girls should be old enough to drive, but none of them are crazy enough to leave a vehicle where their classmates can get to it.  Bicycling is an option, though, again, that means trusting classmates.  That leaves either walking or cabbing.  With the Academy on the outskirts of Oshawa, walking would take a good chunk of time.  Cabs, thus, become the preferred means.  Drivers are well aware of the dangers of entering the campus, and some aren't thrilled to have potential supervillains in with them.  Oddly, money isn't that much of a problem.  The Unrulies are inventive in acquiring wealth.

Caitlin's approach became the highlight.  Her method is to find out as much about her target as possible, then use her knowledge to throw the victim off-stride.  Here, she just lets Autumn rattle off the details found.  Bree was outmatched before she left school for the day.  Laura pointed out a potential problem I saw while writing the chapter; if the three Simcoe students were friends, why weren't they together?  Fortunately, her roommates are smart and figured it out for me.

Tomorrow, the new Unruly episode, Chapter 6, "Mall Trawl".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the pixelacious June news round-up.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the history of adaptations continues with the 60s.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.


  1. The audible 'snapping' sound you might have heard there was your mention of homosexuality in conjunction with Laura not swooning on Mr. Baker, whiplashing into her interest in Mackenzie. Could she actually be...? If so, it's subtle, or I'm dense. In particular, we haven't seen her swoon on Mackenzie - but we haven't seen her push away the metaphors either. Which could merely be because of good poetry writing. Regarding courses, there are online and summer school courses, but I don't see there being enough in a single school year without some sort of exams to demonstrate knowledge. Which, if they don't exist, you could always invent. Hm, Laura seems to be taking over the "Basketball" arc a bit.

    Interesting about getting the girls around. Good thing the money isn't an issue (somehow). It's nice when characters answer things for the author.

    1. I don't think Laura is aware yet; it's been a question at the back of my head. Laura's also starting to get her feet under her in her new home, so she'll be more comfortable being herself soon enough. Worst case, Ms Stone just creates the paperwork for Laura's early years at the Academy, since "Laura" doesn't really exist. Ms Stone wants to make sure Laura can pass her classes and required exams; she's not graduating an inferior product. I didn't intend for Laura to take the focus, but she has outstanding issues. It's the reason why the next arc/episode has a Vamsi focus.

      I figure that if an Unruly can't raise the money needed for a cab, she doesn't deserve to be an Unruly.