8 Dec 2016

The Soul Blade Chapter 8 - Commentary

Brenna recovers from her night of ghost hunting, in Chapter 8, as the commentary catch up continues.

Gary isn't as calm as he appears.  He is well aware of the family heritage he married into, but Brenna going through a wall is still something he shouldn't just shrug.    However, Brenna is mobile, so the wall couldn't have been that bad.  I do hope that the interaction between father and daughter comes across as familiar and caring.  I'm not as touchy-feelie as either Gary or Brenna here, so I hope the scene has the right touch.

If it's not clear by now, Joni doesn't like Missy.  To Joni, Missy is this outsider who moved in and started showing Brenna the seamier side of life.  Tall, tan, blonde, outgoing, and there for Brenna to talk to; Joni's a tad jealous.  It doesn't help that Brenna learned how to sass-talk.  There is a rift between mother and daughter, one that Joni is trying to mend.  Brenna is very much a daddy's-girl, though.

Amazing how certain references seem to occur all at once.  A few weeks ago, I reviewed the 2016 Ghostbusters remake.  Shortly afterwards, I found a box set of The Real Ghostbusters, the animated adaptation.  A second season episode, "Collect Call of Cathulhu"(sic), featured, naturally enough, the Cthulhu Mythos as created by HP Lovecraft, to the point where viewers could track down the original stories and be prepared for what happens in them.  A week after that, I find The Nekonomicon, or The Book of Cats for the RPG, Call of Catthulhu*.  Now, a Ghostbusters reference, bringing the chain back full circle.

Brenna doesn't like having to wear her glasses, something which her entire family is well aware of.  Part of the scene was really to pad the word count, but it did show Brenna as not being perfect.  Grace gets a decent line, too.  The younger Halliday sister is well aware of the family legacy; she just likes pointing out how weird her sister is.  They behave as sisters, and no one knows how better to get under your skin than family.

The receptionist at the doctor's office is new, even though I should have mentioned that somewhere.  The regular receptionist would know of Brenna's visits, if not the details.  Brenna isn't just going to tell a random stranger that she needs extra-strength birth control pills.  Dr. Womack was also Joni's doctor, so there was someone that could goad Brenna into getting to the office.

The next few phone calls set up upcoming chapters, even at a point when I was still trying to figure out where I was going.  Brenna's cousins on her mother's side get introduced here, starting with Summer.  Brenna's aunt is a little more creative with her daughters' names than Joni was.  Rae is the youngest of the cousins, and does her own investigations at her home.  Joni's family expanded the ghost hunting from previous generations; they really don't have the fear of witch burning that past generations had.

There was some planning, once I got started.  I worked out future scenes so that I had a target to aim for.  The phone calls are part of the setup.  Hopefully, the payoffs work and aren't too telegraphed without also being so far out in left field.

Tomorrow, Trish has second thoughts in The Soul Blade Chapter 11.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Superman.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Young Frankenstein.
Sunday, the commentary catch up continues with The Soul Blade Chapter 9.

* Deliberately spelled as Catthulhu, as players play cats fighting off creatures man was not meant to know.


  1. I would agree that Brenna's relationship with her father is familiar and caring; he knows how to help her out without actually stepping in and doing it himself. Brenna does come across as a little clueless/helpless though, in that he's the second to coax her to DO something about her problems rather than hang out in her room, after Missy. (Third if we include Bert, but that was out of her control.) Related, her dad was all "You got thrown through a WALL, there could be damage, go see the doctor". Her call? "Hey. I'm having hormone issues." WALL, Brenna! They fit in people emergencies like that! Bring up the hormones while you're being checked out for the WALL! (I'm not saying it isn't believable, given where her mind is, but it does make her seem helpless.)

    Along a similar line, Joni doesn't seem to be trying to mend a rift, as you say here. Brenna is described as facing the fridge when she shows up. The back of her shirt is torn up, as described soon after. Yet no "What happened" or even Gary's "Where did you go" it's almost immediately to "What bar?". I dunno, the bar where they rip your shirt and leave gouges in your skin?! Brenna's snide remark felt right on target. For that matter, why did Joni hang around the house, and not go CHECK on her daughter? Joni seems to be about duty first, daughter second. I do wonder as to Bren's swearing, but as a teacher, I always wonder about it - I don't suppose she could remark on the WALL to get Joni off her back. (I guess it feels a bit like the narrative is torn between whether the wall was a big deal or not. Choose?)

    The call to Summer was good. Not only because it harkens at the main plot but because it shows Brenna getting proactive. Also, magic, huh. I AM a bit surprised that Missy checked into a hospital after midnight (by the wagon's clock), needed stitches (despite the driving), and was then checked out and able to drive herself home (??) very early, only to think she "should be up" at ALL the next day, let alone the next morning. She's a trooper.

    1. Oh, good; there was a point where I was worrying that they seemed a little closer than that. Brenna's sheltered, I guess; some of that is self-imposed. She's reluctant to go out, even after being tossed through a flimsy wall. Gary's trusting that Brenna will go to an ER if she's seriously hurt. He may also be a little busy himself, but that wouldn't take away from his concern.

      I didn't say Joni was good at mending the rift. And she's still making the same mistakes she did in life. Joni does have other things she watches over beyond just Brenna. Joni just doesn't like Missy. (The wall wasn't that strong; it's old wood that has been weakened through exposure.)

      Brenna did have to get to work. :) And magic. Because if ghosts exist, why not magic? It's not like I wasn't hiding that with Tricia's scenes previously. Missy runs her business, so she's going to get in whenever she can. She is a trooper.