The orchestra of modest prestige was surpassing itself with a flawless, even revelatory, performance of the great symphony. It ends with an elegant, quiet, dying fall. And on the final note: BLAT!
I can't avoid alluding to this somehow, so how do I bring it up in my review?
Richie during the Apocalypse That Wasn’t when he would see angels and demons alike on the streets of LA: Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them knooooooow.
Lucifer: *Appears because of some operation or something in LA*
Richie:….CONCEAL, DON’T FEEL, DON’T LET THEM KNOOOOOOOOW
Richie promptly calls in sick to work and hides under his bed. After stocking up on non-perishables, including All The Chocolate, the complete works of Monty Python, and his Sword. (Probably won’t do much good, but it makes him feel better!)
Meanwhile Lucifer sees that that one human he ran into at that gas station in Utah apparently lives here and is quite the celebrity. And has been calling into work sick since Lucifer has arrived.
On a more serious note, if Lucifer did find out that Richie was Gabriel’s son, I honestly don’t think that Lucifer would hurt him, not if Richie didn’t try to attack him first (which Richie wouldn’t because he is not suicidal, thank you very much). He might place a hand on Richie’s cheek and just look at him for a moment (look at him and, now that he knows, see how much he looks like Gabriel). And then leave him be.
After that, Richie might notice that there is a demon or two who tail him, but make no effort to approach him or hurt him. Rather they’re there to make sure Heaven doesn’t find out about Richie and that Richie is left alone.
Because Gabriel was Lucifer’s favorite brother, after Michael. Because it hurt to kill him. So he can leave Gabriel’s son in peace and make sure that his peace is not interrupted by others.
He can at least do that.
Oh good grandpa, Richie probably hasn’t been that frightened since It touched him and let slip that they were relatives. The parallels are all too striking; Richie is terrified, and he’s bracing himself to *run*. Forget all the rules, forget his self-imposed resolve to stay off the radar, if ‘Uncle Luci’ makes one move towards him, he’s off and running.
Gabriel was the Messenger. Was, perhaps, one of the fastest entities in existence - when he wanted to be. Richie might be only half-angel (mortal soul and angel fire, a combination that is frankly terrifying in its implications to the entirety of the supernatural world) but he is still fast. Luci does anything more, Richie will *run*. …probably to Bill, honestly, to ask if he can hide out in Underhill for a little while and have a nervous breakdown.
It doesn’t come to that, but even Luci might be a bit hurt by the sheer fear in his nibling’s grace.
No, but you see, this means that after the plug gets pulled on the apocalypse that wasn’t, there are demons who know what Richie is. And probably try to use that to - blackmail him or kill him or use him as leverage. …Richie ain’t having that. It’s probably the first time he takes up his sword and uses it to fulfill the purpose it was made for; he’s still messily sick afterwards. He’s never killed anything - anyone - before. (He heals the humans hosts if they’re still alive and sends them on their way, blessedly absent of all memory of what happened to them - and then he thinks of the parallels with Derry and the Forgetting, and he laughs to himself.)
And years later, Richie adopts Uncle Luci’s son. It’s - funny, the way the world works in circles.
Richie is utterly petrified and Lucifer can tell and…he doesn’t blame him. Doesn’t blame him when Lucifer killed Gabriel. It was to defend himself, yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lucifer turned his younger brother’s (his favorite younger brother) blade back on him and killed him with it. And this boy, because that is all that Lucifer can really see him as, just a boy, a fledgling, not even a hundred years old yet, this is Gabriel’s son and he knows who Lucifer is and Lucifer does not doubt that Richie knows what Lucifer did.
So, in retrospect, when he sees how frightened Richie is of him, Lucifer doesn’t try to touch him. He raises his hands in the universal gesture of “I’m not a threat, I’m not going to hurt you” and tells Richie that he is going to leave him alone now. That it is all right. That he will ensure that no one, Heaven or Hell, bothers Richie again and then, after one last look, committing the face to memory, he leaves.
And Richie just crumples back against the door to his room, sliding down, breath beginning to hitch. There are several calls to the Losers that night and they all fly out to Los Angeles the next morning. Their Trashmouth needs them.
I do wonder, however, just how Lucifer found out about Richie being Gabriel’s son…
Poor Richie. The demons who tailed him are loyalists who wouldn’t hurt him because they were explicitly ordered by Lucifer not to allow harm to come to him, but after Lucifer is trapped back in the Cage and Crowley takes over…Probably someone finds out they were on a special mission for Lucifer and tortures them for the info and then kills them once they’ve got it. This might also be the instance where someone was stupid enough to threaten Richie’s mom.
Richie is protective of Jack and will not allow any harm to come to him.
Lucifer might even think he’s being kind. That he hasn’t just torn open old memories of the only other paternal family member Richie had the misfortune to run into being ‘friendly’. Personally, I - think that Luci regards himself as being ‘generous’ enough to spare Richie - after all. His father might have been Luci’s youngest brother (the youngest of the Four), but his mother? A mud-monkey. And Lucifer hates humans.
…maybe he deludes himself into seeing Richie only as Gabriel’s son. But - I’m not sure.
…I’m pretty sure that Richie starts making arrangements to move to a new apartment, at any rate. No, it wouldn’t really help, but - he’s never really going to be able to stay there without remembering his ‘Uncle Luci’ surprising him in his own damn home, the one place he was supposed to be safe…
Considering that there is speculation that the powerful being that Castiel meets in the Empty in Season 13 is, in fact, Gabriel, I am holding out hope.
Meanwhile, one day, Richie suddenly gets a huge power boost (or rather the power that was already there, but suppressed by Gabriel is let loose). Which would have been in the middle of the Apocalypse That Wasn’t. Makes me wonder if Heaven and Hell detected it as Richie wouldn’t have been living in Derry under its umbrella that hides anything unusual. Might give Lucifer a case of whiplash. He just killed Gabriel. Why he is now suddenly detecting Gabriel’s power in California?
Last October I watched but never wrote about Norman Foster's Woman on the Run (1950), a famously near-lost noir painstakingly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Film Noir Foundation and released last year onto home media as a double bill with Byron Haskin's Too Late for Tears (1949). Part of the delay is that I liked but did not love the former film as I did the latter with its stone cold antiheroine and uncompromising final shot; this one suffers more from the congealing sexism of the nascent Fifties and as a result its emotional resolution leaves a tacky taste on my teeth and an inchoate longing for the advent of no-fault divorce. If you can bear with its limitations, however, Woman on the Run is worth checking out as a thoughtfully layered mystery and a fantastic showcase for Ann Sheridan as an unapologetically bitchy, unsentimentally sympathetic protagonist, a rare combination in Hollywood even now.
The 1948 source short story by Sylvia Tate was titled "Man on the Run" and the film begins with one: late-night dog-walker Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) who takes a powder on learning that the murder he conscientiously reported—and witnessed at close enough range to know the killer again—was connected to a high-profile mob trial. A failed artist with a bad heart and a marriage that's been on the rocks almost since it launched, he looks tailor-made for the dark city, a loser coming up on his final throw. The camera doesn't follow him into the night-maze of San Francisco, though, to face or keep running from his demons in the kind of psychomachia at which an expressionist genre like noir so excels; instead the point of view switches almost at once to his estranged wife Eleanor (Sheridan), wearily deflecting the inquiries of the hard-nosed Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith, who will always look like Lieutenant Brannigan to me) with flat sarcastic cracks and an indifference so apparently genuine and total, it can take the audience a beat to recognize the depths of anger and resignation that underlie lines like "No, sometimes he goes to sleep and I walk the dog." Ever since Max Ophüls' The Reckless Moment (1949), I have been wary of assuming the limits of women in noir, but Eleanor still stands out for me in her flippant, abrasive intelligence and her willingness to look bad—she knows it shocks the conservative inspector that she isn't all housewifely concern for her man and she needles him with it, referring to the dog as their "only mutual friend" and dismissing the bare kitchen with "He's not particular and I'm lazy, so we eat out." Faced with the possibility that Frank has taken his brush with the underworld as an excuse to run out on his marriage, she's more than half inclined to let him. But she's not inclined to let him get killed, especially not playing star witness for a police force whose last star witness got whacked while Frank was watching, and so in the best traditions of amateur detecting, complete with dubious Watson in the form of "Legget of the Graphic" (Dennis O'Keefe), the flirty tabloid reporter who offered his services plus a thousand-dollar sweetener in exchange for exclusive rights to Frank's story, Eleanor sets out to find her missing husband before either the killer or a duty-bound Ferris can. He's left her a clue to his whereabouts, a cryptic note promising to wait for her "in a place like the one where I first lost you." In a relationship full of quarrels and frustrations, that could be anywhere, from their favorite Chinese hangout to the wharves of his "social protest period" to the tower viewers at the top of Telegraph Hill. Let the investigations begin.
I like this setup, which gives us the city as memory palace after all: Eleanor's memories of her relationship with Frank, what it was like when it was good and where it failed and how it might be reclaimed again, if she can only find him alive. She is almost being asked to perform a spell. And while I suppose she could have done it on the sympathetic magic of a Hollywood backlot, it is much more satisfying to watch her revisit real statues and sidewalks, real crowds unaware of the private earthquake taking place in their midst. Hal Mohr's cinematography is a street-level document of San Francisco in 1950, with a cameo by our old friend Bunker Hill; he can organize shadows and angles as effectively as the next Oscar-winning DP when he needs to, but he keeps the majority of the action on the daylit side of noir, the lived-in, working-class city with Navy stores and department stores and parks and piers and diners and lots of California sun, which only looks like it shows you everything. The literal roller-coaster climax was filmed at Ocean Park Pier/Pacific Ocean Park, last seen on this blog in Curtis Harrington's Night Tide (1960). Back at the Johnsons' bleak, hotel-like apartment, Eleanor mocked Ferris for "snoop[ing] into the remains of our marriage," but increasingly it seems not to be as cold a case as she thought. Going back over old ground, she discovers new angles on her missing person; nondescript in his introductory scenes and ghostly in his own life, Frank Johnson becomes vivid in absence, hovering over the narrative like Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) or the title character of Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) until his wife begins to see a curiously attractive stranger in the place of a man whose familiarity had long since bred hopelessness. To fall in love with someone who might already be dead, to find someone in the process of losing them, these are the kinds of irony that noir thrives on and Woman on the Run derives as much tension from the audience's fear that irony will carry the day as it does from the actual unknowns of the plot, the killer's identity, Frank's status, Eleanor's own safety as her sleuthing calls for ever more active deception of the police and reliance on Legget, who keeps saying things like "I'm sorry I was so rude a moment ago, but it's always discouraging to hear a wife say that her husband loves her." He is another unexpected element, not without precedent but nicely handled. In most genres, his pushy charm and his genial stalking of Eleanor would mark him as the romantic hero, or at least an appealing alternative to a husband so avoidant he couldn't even tell his own wife when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Here, with a triangle already established between Eleanor and the husband she knows and the husband she doesn't, the reporter is a fourth wheel at best and the audience hopes he accepts it. Without a reciprocating spark, it's not as cute as he thinks when he encourages Eleanor to call him "Danny Boy" ("People who like me call me Danny Boy") or leads her casually under the same wooden coaster where he used to bring dates, his contribution perhaps to the film's romantic psychogeography.
Honestly, I don't even dislike the resolution on the strict level of plot. By the time Eleanor realizes that the place where I first lost you isn't a bitter dig at a bad memory but a hopeful allusion to a good one, the audience is sufficiently invested in the reunion of these long-fractured lovers—despite the fact that we've never once seen them together, even in photographs or Frank's sketches and paintings—that to frustrate it would feel deliberately unfair, although of course in noir that never rules anything out. They're both taking chances, not just with their lives but their hearts. Frank who always runs away is standing his ground, risking being found by a gunman and a partner he's disappointed. Eleanor who has built such prickly defenses is lowering them, making herself reach out rather than preemptively rebuff. You want to see that kind of bravery rewarded, even when heart conditions and prowling killers aren't involved. What I dislike in the extreme is the film's attitude toward this conclusion. In its examination of the Johnsons' marriage, the facts of the script assign plenty of blame to Frank, an artist too scared of failure to try for success, a husband who retreated from his wife as soon as he felt that he'd let her down, a man who could talk about his feelings to everyone but the woman he was living with. The dialogue, however, insists repeatedly that the ultimate success or collapse of a marriage is the woman's responsibility—that it must be Eleanor's fault that her marriage went south, that she wasn't patient or understanding or supportive enough, that she has to be the one to change. It's implied in some of her encounters; in others it's stated outright. Inspector Ferris constantly judges her as a wife and a woman, even once asking "Didn't your husband ever beat you?" when she tells him to back off. He's the dry voice of authority, the hard-boiled but honest cop; I want to believe that Eleanor is decoying him when she apologizes for not believing his criticism sooner ("I guess I was the one who was mixed up—a lot of it's my fault anyway—I haven't been much of a wife"), but I fear we're meant to take her at face value. He's too active in the film's ending not to be right. Hence my wistful feelings toward California's Family Law Act of 1969. Sheridan's acting carries her change of heart from resolutely not caring to a clear-eyed second chance, but I almost wish it didn't have to. At least she has a good rejoinder when Frank queries their future together, wry as any of her defensive cracks: "If this excitement hasn't killed you, I'm sure I can't."
The movies with which Woman on the Run links itself up in my head are Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady (1944) and Roy William Neill's Black Angel (1946), both stories of investigating women with ambiguous allies and ghostly romantic patterns; Sheridan's Eleanor is a harder, less conventionally likeable protagonist than either Ella Raines' Kansas or June Vincent's Cathy, which may account for why the patriarchy comes down on her with such personified, decisive disapproval, or it may be the distance from wartime, or it may be some other idiosyncratic factor that still annoys me. The fact that I can read the ending as happy rather than rubber-stamped heteronormativity is due almost entirely to Sheridan, who never loses all of Eleanor's edges, plus the final cutaway to the Laughing Sal on the lit-up midway, rocking back and forth as if a husband and wife embracing is some great joke. Maybe it is. What makes this couple, so fervently clinging to one another, so special? He writes a nice love-note. She climbs out a skylight like nobody's business. They named their dog Rembrandt. This reunion brought you by my particular backers at Patreon.
I was thinking how I came up against that wall around the same age, a bit earlier, and went looking for "world" stuff or just anything not English, US based, "western culture" wanting to see anything possible. Anthologies were good or looking by specific country or ethnicity. I would root through any library or bookstore. Encyclopedias too. The indexes of books were super instructive. It took just years for me to have any real handle on the depth of the problems of histories but it was clear from the beginning that A LOT WAS WRONG. I didn't go into that (right now it is better if I listen to him than talk about my own thoughts)
Anyway! I'm so, so proud of Moomin and his excitement about scholarly things. I feel like no matter what he does in life he will have that kind of love of books and knowledge and stories.
He also really loved Gilgamesh so I am going to show him those awesome debates online between Hoe and Plough, Fish and Bird, etc.
Warning: This poem contains some intense material. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes anxiety, forboding, fear of communication, many references to Shiv's awful past, because the inside of Shiv's head is always a warning, feeling trapped, boundary issues, impaired consent, talking about scars, extreme body modesty, touch aversion, references to past malpractice in mental care, touching which is unwanted but permitted, graphic description of past abuse, poor self-assessment skills regarding physical and mental complaints, defensive lying which has become a reflex to the point that Shiv often can't tell the truth even when it would benefit him more than a lie, vulgar language, resistance to help, minor violence (not directed at a person), emotional flashbacks, overload, desperation, scary basement memories, and other challenges. This poem may be extra-stressful for people with a history of therapeutic abuse, toilet abuse, and/or child molestation. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 22, 2017 is:
nuncupative \NUN-kyoo-pay-tiv\ adjective
: spoken rather than written : oral
"He left me a small Legacy in a nuncupative Will, as a Token of his Kindness for me, and he left me once more to the wide World." — Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1791
"He did leave a will in which he bequeathed everything to Rebecca; but it turns out that John's will was not a written will. It was a nuncupative will, which means on his deathbed, John verbally told persons how he wanted his estate divided or dispensed." — Sharon Tate Moody, The Tampa (Florida) Tribune, 27 Dec. 2015
Did you know?
Nuncupative (from Latin nuncupare, meaning "to name") has been part of the English language since at least the 15th century, most typically appearing in legal contexts as a modifier of the noun will. The nuncupative will originated in Roman law, where it consisted of an oral declaration made in the presence of seven witnesses and later presented before a magistrate. Currently, nuncupative wills are allowed in some U.S. states in extreme circumstances, such as imminent peril of death from a terminal illness or from military or maritime service. Such wills are dictated orally but are usually required to be set down in writing within a statutorily specified time period, such as 30 days. Witnesses are required, though the number seven is no longer specified.