11 Jan 2018

The Devil You Know - Commentary 23

Puny human versus rogue angel, in The Devil You Know Chapter 23.

Finally, I got to the end of the story!  Sort of.  The big problem here was that the odds were stacked against Ione.  One puny human against an angel?  A physical confrontation is out.  If Gemma’s team shooting him and an exploding warehouse didn't affect him in Chapter 1, Ione had no chance.  And that’s where the problem starts.  I needed Ione to prevent the world from becoming a massive battleground.  That means getting the rogue to stop.  Thus, Ione uses the one weapon she has – doubt.

When I added Ione's interest in LARPing, it was more to set up that Ione isn’t on the typical career track and that she will make choices not normally done.  Characterization, mainly.  I hadn’t expected that something I put in as almost a throw-away line to return like Checkov’s gun.  Then I called back to it when Ione started planning.  She’s making things up as she goes, mainly because I was making things up as I wrote.  However, there were a few ideas I wanted to use.  The big one was the idea of ineffability.  One cannot know the mind of God.  One cannot begin to fathom something that immense.  Ione placed some doubt into the angel’s mind.  All-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, so anything that looks to contradict that cannot be an error.  The 2000 film, Bedazzled implies that God and the Devil, the latter played by Elizabeth Hurley, aren't adversaries so much as partners in testing humanity.  The idea that devils and demons have a role does call into question the Plan, but that’s ineffability.

Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled (2001).
Ione’s other problem, as critical to Jack’s plan as stopping the rogue, was being accepted by the gangsters.  She’s an unknown face to them.  Worse, she’s wired.  Marco, though, knows her, at least from the previous meets.  Ione came clean on being wired and gave the crooks a convincing story.  No honour among thieves and all that.  The gangsters believe Ione because their own bosses would be as paranoid about theft by their own people.  It helps that Vampire LARPs can head in the same direction; a number of characters hoping to move up the hierarchy while framing others for failures.

I almost was blocked when I realized I’d need to figure out what sort of décor would on a mobster’s yacht.  Google didn't help this time around.  Turns out, mobsters aren't so willing to post photos of their gear where it can be found when searching using the terms “gangster”, “yacht”, and “interior”.  So, I had to stop and think like a mobster.  The result, expensive booze, expensive but tacky artworks, and not so much taste.  The idea was that the owner wouldn't have been raised to appreciate the finer things in life; if he had, he’d be in a different line of criminal activity, like embezzling and real estate fraud.  The other guide for the criminal element was, again, Glenn Frey’s “Smuggler’s Blues”.  It helped set the tone.

Friday, the return home, in The Devil You Know Epilogue.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, the breakdown of movies in 2017.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, hiatus week due to illness.  Sorry, folks.

1 comment:

  1. I figured it had to be a verbal battle somehow. The other angel angle (heh) that might have been possible aside from "doubt" would be somehow making the angel believe that they were doing the Devil's work, turning him off the plan... which might have been where Ione was going in talking about black-and-white cutting people down for jaywalking, but the "rules lawyering" angle fared better. Nice RPG callback, unintentional or otherwise.

    I do have a bit of an issue with the mood setting. Ione seems to be doing very well at keeping control and thinking on the fly, Jack even praising her... she jokes about the angel... then she's talking about shrieking and an evac. Then she's back to holding the choppers out there and being brave. It felt funny. Not implausible, just mood shifty.

    Also this paragraph: '' The angel sheathed his sword. "If we're done here, I'm going to go find someplace quiet so I can have a total breakdown." Ione held the briefcase close to her chest. ''

    I legit thought that the angel had said he was going somewhere to have a breakdown, like his worldview had been that upended. Leaving Ione to take care of the boat. Realized my mistake a little further down.

    The reason for the wire was incredibly clever (I'm a little surprised they didn't request hearing Jack's voice or something). The walking on water thing was funny (though he was flying later, did he need a running start?). I did not follow whatever message Ione was trying to send to Gemma about bosses, so I presume that's something for the Epilogue. The sword made for some nice moments of tension.