Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Story Notes - Test of Freedom and Rocken

I thought this might be a moment to talk about Rocken, the "Man With the Cane" in Monday's episode.

This story, Test of Freedom, is actually the first act in what is currently a trilogy (though the third act is scattered enough that I might find that it wants to split into two).  And the whole series, which started with The Wife of Freedom, is one where you have to question "Who is the protagonist?"

In this case, it really is a matter of each character being the hero of his or her own story.  It is a soap opera and the threads weave around and include different characters in different ways.  Rocken is one of the antagonists, if you see this as Jackie's story or Mary's story.  Or even Penelope's story.  But for them, there are multiple antagonists and Rocken is just one of them.

But for Rocken, the story is very linear and consistent, and I do think that in this particular arc of stories (Test of Freedom, and then next two, League of Freedom and Beast of Freedom) Rocken is, secretly, the main protagonist.

Sure he'll disappear for a while, but then he'll come back with a vengeance (literally).  And in the end, he'll be the one who comes the furthest and has the most interesting transformation.  And even in this story, he is the only one who truly is transformed, even though it's entirely internal.

I debated whether to simply fold Episode 31 into the previous episode, because it's so short, and not much really happens there.  But, in terms of Rocken's story, I think it really is a quietly significant episode.

It's a tipping point for Rocken.  Sure, he comes out seeming rather benign just now, but the fact is: Rocken a very dangerous man, capable of incredible brutality.  He is under control partly because he believes there is no hope for anything to change.  As such his rage and disgust is under control because there is no help for all that is wrong with the world.  He can survive by rationalizing.

And, as it says in the story, he threw his soul away as something useless to him.  And Jackie keeps picking the darned thing up, dusting it off and handing it back to him.

Which shakes Rocken up a little, but since he has no hope of things getting better, or ever needing that darned soul again, it doesn't change things... not until Mary and Penelope show up to save Jackie.

Because the ladies bring hope with them.

And that's a dangerous thing to give to a dangerous man. It starts a slow leak in his armor. So in the end, I'm glad I made it a separate episode.

Tomorrow, we find out what's happened to Jackie. And next week I'll start blogging for reals again.

See you in the funny papers.

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