Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Aftermath 5/5

The town meeting is still sitting in silence as Broder walks up and down the aisles. He asks if anyone has anything to say, but Doc Baker just hands him the newspaper. Reverend Alden asks if Broder's question has been answered. Broder calls the House of God a "house of liars". Reverend Alden seems unfazed by this, but Mr. Ford is about to crack. Jonathan notices this. When Mr. Ford stands up to tell Broder the truth, Garvey punches him out and says that he will claim the reward. Doc Baker tries to interject, but Garvey tells him to butt out. Jonathan tells Broder that they have Mary as a hostage, but Broder says that he'll do what he can. I think Broder has a glass eye.

Broder rings the church bell and assembles the posse. Jonathan tells Broder that the horses won't be necessary, but the leader tells him to shut up and take them to the hideout. Jonathan leads them over a hill to the old Taylor place. The posse moves their horses to the hill crest before dismounting. The posse surrounds the house and aim. Broder yells out a warning to the James boys that they need to come out of the house now or they will fire. Nice that they are trying to protect Mary. Just think of those savings, taxpayers! Meanwhile, Jonathan is shooing the horses away. Jonathan rejoins the men-folk and tells them that the horses are spooked and they need to get the posse wagons out of town. After a few moments, the shooting stops and the posse investigates the house. They quickly discover that this house was not the hideout. Wah wah.

Over at the actual hideout, Jonathan arrives with two horses for the James brothers. Jesse apologizes to Mary but she is unresponsive. Jonathan suggests that the boys leave town while the posse is preoccupied. They take his advice and leave. Charles thanks Jonathan.

Back in town, the posse is still trying to track down their horses. Jonathan walks into town with a horse and Broder is not amused. He pulls out a revolver and tells Jonathan that he "has plenty to answer for." Garvey, is all "what, me?" and tells Broder that he was chasing down the horses because they were spooked by the gunfire from earlier. Charles vouches for Jonathan. You know, it's a good thing Broder didn't ask why Mary was with Charles because that might have tipped him off that someone was at the hideout. As Broder mounts his horse and begins to depart, Jonathan asks if he caught the James brothers. Broder just gives him an icy stare and then the posse leaves.

At the next church service, Reverend Alden gives a sermon recapping the recent events. He meditates a bit on the blurred line of right and wrong and ultimately it is up to everyone to individually make peace with their conscience. We can see Mary contemplate this before she looks over at Bobby. She then voices over that, while the James brothers escaped that day never to be seen in Walnut Grove again, Bobby Ford met up with Jesse six years later. Jesse did not survive that encounter.

The Aftermath 4/5

Frank pulls down the shade then hobbles over towards the table. Jesse is sitting down as Mary wrings her hands. "There's gotta be another way," Frank says. Jesse says this is their only chance since they don't have horses and Frank won't be running away any time soon. Mary finally processes the situation but asks to verify that the brothers will kill her if the bounty hunters try to stop the James brothers. Jesse assures her that the situation won't escalate to that level, but Mary is not consoled by the formality. "But I liked you," she weeps. Frank is still not keen on having a hostage and tells his brother no. Jesse is finally annoyed with this distraction and shoves Mary into a closet. Hehe.

Charles and Jonathan are inside the mill trying to hatch a plan that will allow Charles to get to Mary. Jonathan is trying to present Charles with all of the options on the table, but Ingalls is determined to do things his way. It's go time. Charles climbs out the wheel window and lowers himself into the water. Jonathan is playing lookout as Charles maneuvers his way through the water under the bridge. He hides in some grass when he notices a posse member on the bridge. Jonathan notices this and starts to cross the bridge. He tells the guard "I feel asleep" and some other nonsense, allowing Charles to silently swim by. The guard doesn't notice.

Back at the hideout, Frank is keeping watch outside. He looks over at his brother and tells him the first rule of hostage taking: "A hostage is no good unless you're willing to kill that hostage. Are you willing to do that?" Jesse doesn't even flinch.

Meanwhile, the town meeting is in session. Reverend Alden informs the crowd that the posse intends to kill the James brothers if they are found. One man objects, stating that the brothers won't get a fair trial anyway, so he is going to tell the posse and collect the reward. Jonathan blocks the exit and shares the update about Mary being held hostage. How does he know that? All he knows is that Mary went to visit the brothers. The man decides to back down, but not before saying that he is against not telling the posse the info they want. Jonathan tells Mr. Ford to listen to him. Oh, of course he's Bobby's father. Thanks, show.

Anyway, the crowd is on Garvey's side since Mary's life may be at stake. Reverend Alden silences the crowd and says that he will only support actions that protect Mary. As he calls for everyone to be united in their efforts, the Reverend notices Broder's silhouette puffing a cigar. Broder turns the corner and tells Alden to finish his statement. The Reverend icily reminds Broder that this meeting is being held in a church, so ix nay on the oking smay. Broder puts out his cigar on the floor (classy), then recaps all the information he has so far. He goes on to say that half of the $5000 reward will go to the person who tells him where the hideout is. He passes around the newspaper to see if there are any takers.

A soaked and semi-shirtless Charles runs up to the porch of the hideout. Before Charles reaches the steps, Jesse steps outside with his gun pulled. Charles asks about Mary and then tries to reason with Jesse in an effort to let her go. Charles proposes an exchange but Jesse decides to keep both of them as hostages. Charles Ingalls still sucks at negotiations.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Aftermath 3/5

The church bell rings as the congregation files into the building. The Ingalls family runs into Doc Baker and Jonathan. They exchange greetings and Doc Baker says he hopes for a short sermon because "it's gonna be hotter than you know what" today. Caroline is somewhat scandalized by this. Really? Doc Baker tips his hat in apology. Just then, the sound of horses approaching causes those still outside to turn around. Caroline wonders who the riders are and Mary notices they are carrying guns. Isn't stating the obvious Laura's job? She still hasn't said anything! Charles tells his wife and kids to go inside while he and the other men-folk deal with the arriving posse.

The leader of the posse rides up and says howdy to the gentlemen gathered outside. He's looking for any information about the James brothers because they may have passed through the area recently. Charles asks if the man is a sheriff, but the posse is actually a group of bounty hunters. Charles, Jonathan and Doc Baker exchange a glance. The leader notices this and waxes philosophical about how bounty hunters may be unpopular but they save "you taxpayers a lot of money." Well, no. You're duplicating a service that is already being provided and paid for. Also, what taxes would be applied in this situation? Certainly not federal, since income taxes weren't established until 1918. Doc Baker also asks how the bounty hunters save money. The leader says that trials cost money, so the swift justice served by a bounty hunter gets to bypass that costly step. How considerate. Charles steps forward and tells the leader that the only people they have seen recently with guns are the bounty hunters. The leader suggests that the James brothers might be a bit more subtle than to brandish weapons willy nilly. He then hands a "Wanted" poster to Charles and asks for the townspeople to keep an eye out for trouble. Ominous music plays as they ride off. Doc Baker suggests that they go inside, but Charles hands him the poster first. They instantly recognize the pictures as Dankworth and Hobbes. Jonathan asks Charles why he didn't say anything. Charles responds that he didn't want them killed in cold blood. Doc Baker agrees but thinks that perhaps others should be made aware of the situation. Charles suggests a men-folk meeting during lunchtime the next day.

The bounty hunters ride past the Plaza De Hanson and Jesse see the commotion outside the front window. He has his gun pulled, but since the hunters don't stop Jesse determines that no one in town is aware of their true identities. Frank would rather just get a couple of horses and skip town. Jesse disagrees, saying that Walnut Grove may be the safest place for them to hideout at the moment.

"I wouldn't mind so much if I had a reason, but you won't give me one," Mary whines. We're back at the homestead with Bizarro Caroline laying down the law. Charles is sitting at the table quietly as Mary whines about why she isn't allowed to keep her job. Charles tells her she will find out later, but until then she is simply not allowed to work for the men. Mary reluctantly agrees and sulks her way up to the loft. Laura, who sat on the edge of the loft to watch the scene below, just holds her head in her hands and sighs. Does she have laryngitis this week or something?

Men-folk meeting. Actually, it looks like post meeting since Reverend Alden kindly summarizes that someone will travel to Mankato to tell the marshal there of the situation. The sound of approaching horses is heard again. The bounty hunters have returned and everyone looks concerned. "What are we going to tell them?" asks Nels. "As little as we can," replies Jonathan as he walks over to meet the leader. The leader is less cordial this time, reporting that witnesses saw the James brothers get off the stage in Walnut Grove the week before. One of the posse members happens to be the stagecoach driver and he was able to positively ID the guys based on the latest published photos of the criminals. The leader asks where they are but no one responds. "Harboring criminals is a serious offense," the leader warns,"we either get your cooperation or every building in this town is gonna be turned inside out. Believe me we have the authority." From who? Granted, my only knowledge of the world of bounty hunters comes from the Metroid games and Midnight Run, so unless this guy rolls up into a ball and starts dropping F-bombs I don't think he's legit.

Anyway, no one answers the leader's threat. Reverend Alden steps forward and suggests that they convene a town meeting. The leader is dubious about this, but Alden emphatically restates that they need a town meeting. The leader suspects that something is up, but decides to allow for a meeting in one hour. Oh, and they are going to seal the town. Jonathan says some of the kids in school live outside of town, so the leader says the kids can leave but everyone else has to stay put. The posse splits up to cover the exits.

Back at Maison Hanson, Jesse is in the front doorway and he looks perturbed. Frank hobbles over and asks his brother if the posse might have just been passing through. Jesse is not naive and he is starting to think of a Plan B. This could get ugly.

Miss Beadle is in the middle of discussing a lesson when Jonathan walks in. He asks to speak to the teacher and she excuses herself. We hear some whispers and Mary looks on with bland concern. Bobby is trying to stare her down. They are so going to make out. Miss Beadle returns and tells the class they will be dismissing early. After a brief cheer, Miss Beadle tells the kids to go straight home and that tomorrow will be the start of their Shakespeare unit. Yay! Oh, the kids don't seem to share my enthusiasm. The kids file out but Miss Beadle asks Mary to stick around for a moment. They have a chat about the recent Civil War unit and Miss Beadle believes that Mary got more out of it than any one in the class. Mary thanks her and leaves.

We see various outskirts of town and the posse keeping watch. The stagecoach driver and the leader, Mr. Broder, have a chat about the situation. The driver can't believe that the law-abiding, God-fearing folks of the town would hide criminals. Broder doesn't fully believe that they are law-abiding or even friendly. More flies with honey, Broder.

Laura and Carrie are running down a road that appears to be going back into town. Pa sees them and calls them over. He asks why they are back in town. Laura finally says something! Specifically, she left a book at school and returned to get it. Pa asks where Mary is and Laura reluctantly reveals that she went to thank Dankworth and Hobbes. Charles is not a fan of this development. Laura asks about her book, but Pa snaps at her to go home.

Mary is approaching the Palace. Jesse sees her through the front window then calls Frank over to watch this latest twist. Frank sees the look in Jesse's eye and tells him not to do what he is about to do. Jesse says "life's hard" and you gotta do what you gotta do. There's a knock on the door and Jesse invites Mary inside. Frank is not happy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Aftermath 2/5

That night at dinner, Caroline shares her reservations about Mary's new job. She doesn't like the fact that her daughter will be running errands for complete strangers, particularly one who is sick and may be contagious. I have to admit, it is a little weird for Caroline to be this judgmental. I could see her not liking that money is changing hands, but to dislike the idea of helping others outright seems a bit out of character for her. Charles assures his wife that Hobbes isn't contagious because swamp fever isn't contagious. She asks if he is certain it is swamp fever. Charles says no and is smart enough to leave out the conversation he had with Doc Baker earlier. Caroline declares that until there is a diagnosis, Mary may not work for the new guys. Mary starts to whine before Pa interjects that he will take Doc Baker to the Hanson Suites and get Hobbes checked out. Caroline approves of this compromise. I'm glad that Charles is already improving his negotiation skills.

As promised, Charles and Doc Baker ride out to the house the next day. Charles stays on the buckboard as Doc Baker knocks on the door. There is no answer at first, so he knocks again. P.K./Jesse asks "who is it?" and opens the door once Doc Baker identifies himself. They chat a bit about Hobbes' symptoms and the Doc says he is concerned about the convulsions. P.K. agrees with him but goes on to say that Hobbes has an overwhelming fear of doctors. Perhaps he has haphephobia (fear of being touched), trypanophobia (fear of inoculations), or scopophobia (fear of being looked at). Or maybe he just doesn't believe doctors in 1880 know what they're doing. Anyway, P.K./Jesse says that there's no way that Hobbes will consent to any procedure. Doc Baker just offers a polite reminder that his office door is always open if they change their minds.

Carrie is trying to read a book while Model U.N. bickers behind her. Miss Beadle begins banging her shoe on the desk to try to silence the maddening crowd. We don't actually see her do this, but you can hear her trying to restore order. She reiterates that the discussion at hand is about the causes of the Civil War and not finding the source of blame for the conflict. Mary raises her hand, stands up, and makes a speech about how the question of right or wrong is too deeply entwined with the factors that caused the war. First, there should be more standing in school when someone is making a point. Second, what she said would have carried far more weight at my school if she prefaced it with "I think I feel that..." Either way, Miss Beadle shuts her down by saying that it is possible to separate the two if one looks at why people felt the way they did rather than choosing up sides. A boy sitting behind Mary raises his hand, and before Miss Beadle calls on Bobby, he stands up and says "I SAY THE NORTH WON BECAUSE IT WAS RIGHT." He then calls out Mary for being sympathetic to the South's justifications for the war. Oh historical discourse, how I don't really miss you all that much. This triggers another round of shrieky bickering before Miss Beadle tells both of them to cool it and sit down.

After they sit, Bobby gets a monologue about how his family was raped, murdered, then raped again by the South. Uh, I'm paraphrasing. This whole time I'm just trying to see if Nellie is able to stay awake because she is struggling to do so. By the end of the story, Laura, Mary and Miss Beadle are all visibly uncomfortable. Miss Beadle states that this project may end up being canceled since it is getting a bit too personal for people. Weak. In my creative writing class in twelfth grade, we had to write a "poem" to someone we haven't spoken to in a very long time. Since my creative writing does not include poetry I decided to write something assy and sassy as a form of protest (something I did quite often in that class). Fortunately, the sharing of these assignments started at the other end of the classroom with people who took it a bit more seriously than I. One girl wrote to her sister who was buried. The teacher thought she said "married", but was soon corrected when the girl said, in the way one would discuss American Idol results, "no, miss, she was murdered." Take a lesson from THAT, Miss Beadle. Oh, and before she dismisses class Miss Beadle says they will vote on whether or not to continue tomorrow. What is with democratizing education all of a sudden, show?

Over at the mill, Mary stops by to say hi to Pa and talk about what happened at school. Laura and Carrie are sitting in the background and it just occurred to me that neither one has said a word yet this episode. I'm used to it with Carrie, but Laura has been present in three scene and hasn't made a peep. Anyway, Pa informs Mary that she can start working. Why would Caroline change her mind since Doc Baker did not examine the patient? I think the introduction of Jesse James has sent Walnut Grove into Bizarro World.

We rejoin Mary as she folds the sheets that were covering the furniture in the Hanson Condo. P.K./Jesse finishes up a grocery list and gives it to Mary. Hobbes also asks her to pick up any history books that might be available. Mary completely geeks out at this point and asks if he knows anything about the Civil War. He says he does and tells her they both fought for the South. "That's wonderful!" gushes Mary. She corrects herself, saying that she is trying to get information about the South's perspective but everything is told from the North's point of view. History is written by the victors, Mary. P.K./Jesse asks what she wants to know. Mary replies that she wanted to find out their perspective on the Quantrill's Raiders story that Bob Ford told in class. Why does that name sound familiar? Hobbes says that both sides did terrible things and asks Mary if she ever heard of something called Rule 11. P.K. tries to shush his partner, but Hobbes continues.

We find out about Rule 11 from Mary's report at school the following day. Basically, families in the region affected by Quantrill's Raiders had to prove their loyalty to the North or move out of the Missouri territory. This resulted in a great number of people relocating. Also, the abandoned property was looted and torched and many of the homeless and displaced were killed by Union soldiers. That is what we in the biz would call a PR nightmare. Bobby calls it a lie and challenges Mary but Miss Beadle interrupts to say that she knew about Rule 11. Bobby asks what does Mary's report prove and Mary replies that it shows that both sides did some pretty nasty shit. Bobby, the proto-neo-con, says those people affected by Rule 11 deserved it because they were traitors. The whole class is all like "really, dude? Just stop." Laura just shakes her head in shame, still not saying a word.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Aftermath 1/5

Pa and Mary are riding the wagon into town. Mary is prattling on about what the class has been covering in their history lessons. Specifically, discussing both sides of the Civil War. Pa is not too enthusiastic about the subject matter since the war has only been over for eleven years. Yes, what better way to begin learning from the mistakes of history by not engaging in the analysis as soon as possible. No offense, Charles, but that's the first step towards ignorance.

As the wagon pulls into town a man is shouting "good news!" repeatedly. I don't think you can count your time in Walnut Grove as part of your missionary quota, mister. Oh, it's a newspaper delivery man saying that Jesse James and his gang were involved in a botched bank robbery. A couple of the gang members were killed and Jesse's brother was shot in the leg. "Murdering, thieving scum," says one man who may or may not be Patrick Stewart, judging by the voice and delivery. Nels is holding the stack of papers and meekly reminds everyone that each issue is a penny as they walk away. Poor Nels.

Charles walks over to Mrs. Foster at the post office. A man in a brown suit is sitting on a bench outside the service window and he doesn't look well. It looks as if he may throw up but instead opts to fall out of the bench. Charles catches the man before he hits the ground. A blond man, unloading a wagon, sees the commotion and rushes over. Once the man in the brown suit sits back up, he blames his condition on swamp fever. A couple other people, including Mary and Mr. Hanson, stop by to make sure everyone is all right. The blond man says that the sick guy just needs to rest up for a few days. The blond man introduces himself as P.K. Dankworth and the man in brown as Mr. Hobbes. Charles introduces himself and his daughter to the two men. P.K. goes on to say that he and his partner were speculating nearby when Hobbes got sick. They wanted to get a hotel room but Mr. Hanson chimes in that the hotel is booked. P.K. is disappointed with the news and asks if there is another place they can stay. Mr. Hanson offers a house he can rent out for $4 a week. Hmmm, even in 1880's dollars that seems a little too low. P.K. doesn't seem to object though and hands Hanson some money.

Jonathan, who has also been watching this scene, takes another look at Hobbes and offers to get Doc Baker so he can take a look at him. Hobbes politely refuses as P.K. goes on to explain that they already know how to treat swamp fever. Jonathan seems a little wounded that he didn't get to help the new people in town and walks away with his tail between his legs. Charles offers to give the men a ride to the house. P.K. offers to pay Charles for his help but he replies "we don't charge neighbors." You know, that's how every other case on The People's Court gets started...

Whoa! It looks like the house that is rented out is the one that is later used for the blind school. $4 a week? That place is HUGE. Why can't Hanson be my landlord? Anyway, Mary and Charles help carry in Mr. Hobbes and his things. Everything is covered in sheets since no one has lived in the house for a while. Seriously? $4 a week, furnished, and they will have the entire building to themselves? I thought the place I just moved into was a steal but apparently I was wrong. Sorry, where was I? P.K. helps Hobbes onto the couch as Pa asks if they can be of any more assistance. He replies that they will need supplies so Charles offers to show them where the Mercantile is located. P.K. balks at this, saying that Hobbes' fever brings on convulsions so he would rather not leave his associate alone. He asks if it would be possible to hire Mary as an errand girl for twenty five cents a day. Mary's face lights up like a Christmas tree. Pa thinks for a moment before laying down some terms: Mary may only work after school and only for ten cents a day. Uh, Mary must take after her father because Charles Ingalls sucks at salary negotiations. Everyone seems happy with the deal, particularly Mary.

Charles is loading up some crates at the Mercantile. Doc Baker walks over and greets Charles and asks about the man with swamp fever. Charles says they didn't want to see a doctor since they already know how to deal with the fever and convulsions. Doc Baker was already concerned about the patients refusing treatment and now he is baffled as to how convulsions got mixed in with this. I guess that symptom doesn't mesh with the differential. Doc Baker leaves to consult his medical texts.

Back at the Hanson Arms, P.K. is removing a bloody bandage from Hobbes' leg. Hmmm, I don't think that's a symptom of swamp fever either. Hobbes calls P.K. "Jesse" and says that he is glad he avoided passing out earlier. P.K./Jesse agrees as he takes a look at the wound. Hobbes is glad that he only has a flesh wound, but he wonders how everything went wrong earlier. Hey, hiring Mary was Jesse's idea. Oh, they must mean the botched robbery, in which I think they may have been directly involved. They start discussing their Plan B since their gang is kaput. Right now the goal is to lay low and hopefully remain unrecognized until Hobbes' hobble is healed and then mosey on over to the Dakota to homestead or something. I think they would both agree that it won't be the most exciting endeavor, but at least there will be fewer bullets.