Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Episode 47 : This Is Who I Am

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(The Dark)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 47 : This Is Who I Am

The episode opens with a view of a thriving city under a clear blue, late summer sky. The streets are noisy with activity—cars and pedestrians alike commuting to work, people going about their business. The voice we know to belong to Skull Kaiser introduces himself as Richard Shields, tells us he is a state-employed psychologist and begins to describe his bitter-sweet, if not melancholy, view on life. He confesses that he's just realized that all his life he's unconsciously aimed to be nothing more than average and he's achieved just that. The weight of the realization is beginning to take its toll, however. He can't sleep at night, he's becoming more and more withdrawn, and his interest in human relationships is beginning to dwindle. For a long time, he says, he thought life dealt people their circumstances and they had little power to affect their own fates. As he goes, we continue to view different parts of the city. We see a mugging take place, we see the faces of those on their daily commute, and despite the apparent affluence of the city, few seem happy here, especially when taken with the tone of Richard Shields's voice over. He now realizes that, to be truly happy, he must take steps to effect and ensure that happiness. He sees that, throughout his life, he's made choices that have put him exactly where he is. He has no one to blame but himself. He wonders if at age 30 he can undo a lifetime of sabotage and forge a new life for himself, though he doesn't sound terribly hopeful.

We follow Richard Shields, dressed in a modest suit, into his office (this is the same office we saw in the previous episode, but it's clearly prior to when the all the destruction took place). He greets and is greeted by various people in the office as he moves past the reception area. He knocks at Dr. Gordon's door before entering. Dr. Gordon, about 20 years Shields's senior, begins to chastise Shields much like a child who isn't living up to a parent's expectations. Shields takes it all silently, nodding and vowing to do a better job. The view of the two shifts so that we can see that Gordon can see out the window past Shields. Gordon starts to wrap it all up, saying that there's one more thing, but there is a flash upon the lenses of Gordon's glasses and he stutters. We can see as we zoom in on the reflection in Gordon's glasses that a building has just been run through from above and all but destroyed. Gordon makes no mention of this, there is no sound or movement to signify that it's really happening; Shields is completely oblivious to it; Gordon's left eye simply twitches beneath the lens absorbing it all. Shields wonders what's made Gordon pause and prompts him to continue. The dust settles somewhat in the reflection and we can see the vague outline of the Undead Vine. Dr. Gordon takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes as if he's tired and smiles, saying that Shields's relationship in the office with Jennifer is inappropriate and that he needs to curtail his interaction with her. Shields stammers, unable to say anything in response and bows his head with a forced nod, his face furiously red with embarrassment.

Shields steps out of Gordon's office, closing the door behind him and stands just before it with his head still bowed. He wonders to himself if in fact people AREN'T in control of their own fates. A woman's voice begins to intrude upon his thoughts, as if from very far away. It's repeating a question that eventually brings him out of his reverie and almost shocks him. Jennifer is standing before him, asking if he remembers. His look of confusion and near-shock cause her to remind him of their plans for lunch. Shields questions himself first as to why her inquiry should seem like deja vu and more, why it should set his nerves off so. He recovers and tells her that he won't be able to meet her after all. Now she looks confused and a little concerned, but Shields puts her off and says that he's very busy. She accepts this, though can clearly tell that something isn't right.

We cut to Shields sitting at his desk with his face in his hands. He flip flops between thinking himself a victim of fate and that he must have some control over it. The faint sound of a music box can be heard and the light begins to fade.

The room is once again in its post-holocaust state and Richard Shields/Skull Kaiser is sitting at the desk once again wearing only a pair of tattered pants. He shudders as he becomes aware of the change. He asks himself if that was a dream, complaining that some things seemed so clear at the time, but now details were growing indistinct. He becomes frustrated and shouts out to the voice, demanding to know if that was a dream or if this is a dream. He's answered with the familiar taunting laugh. After getting the laughter out of her system, she tells him simply that she's helped him answer a burning question and that he should be grateful. He responds by saying that he doesn't know what's real and what's imagined. She answers him, saying that of course that's the case, because she's a professional. He asks a solemn and confused, "What?" And she breaks into laughter anew as the episode closes.

To Be Continued...

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