Early Edition: Bank Holdup
But why does it come with a furry fiend?
Now that Breaking Bad has raised the bar on plotting, it's a little difficult to go back to the way TV shows were twenty years ago. But Early Edition is just so vintage that I can't help myself. So here we go with another TV-based blog series!
If you never watched the show, it's basically a thirteen-episode answer to the question, "What would you do if you got tomorrow's newspaper today?"
Does anything here look interesting?
The Pilot does a good job of covering all the bases. We review the parts of a newspaper and learn who the three main characters are. I guess it makes sense that the former all work in a brokerage firm--or at least it does in the light of my impressions of the stock market. More so than most other professions you could name, brokers seem to need tomorrow's information today. In fact, you could say that they need next minute's information this minute . . . which makes me wonder whether Early Edition could be rebooted for our world full of digital media and real time updates. Future Feed doesn't have quite the same ring to it, though.
Anyway, two of the three friends have a lighthearted romp living through the next day's news . . . until night falls and our hero realises he missed one of the darker articles.
Would you do anything about this?
And then the story basically turns into Spider-man with a magical cat instead of a radioactive spider.
Of course, there are legitimate questions to ask at this point. Where does the newspaper come from? Why does it come at all? And most importantly, does knowledge of unfortunate events in the future obligate a person to prevent them in the present?
(A quick aside now . . . I'm suddenly reminded that my original plan from last February was to make Early Edition, Season 1 my Lent 2014 series, the way The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort is my Lent 2014 book. Back then, they didn't seem to have much in common, but now that PREDESTINATION seems to be my word for Lent 2014, I have to admit that they make an interesting tag team.)
If you had asked me the last question before Lent started, I would have replied in the negative. Our domain is the present: I don't think we should interfere in the future any more than we should interfere in the past. If someone told me that a baby in my neighbourhood would grow up to cause the deaths of ten million people in concentration camps and many more in a terrible world war, not only would I not attempt to harm the child, but I also would try to stop anyone else who did. It's like that Horror story about someone going back in time to kill Adolf Hitler as a infant, only to learn, upon returning to the future, that another child had been raised in the dead one's place and that the replacement grew up to be the Hitler we know. Nice job, buddy.
It's all very neat until Early Edition comes along to tease our ethics a little . . .
Can you "spot the differences"?
The unexpected twist is that the news stories change. This means that last minute's tomorrow is not necessarily the same as next minute's tomorrow, because of things that we do this minute. So how are we to take this?
Well, I don't know about you--because I never know about you--but I'm still sitting pretty in the space-time continuum. Something that changes with the present is part of the present, and therefore, part of our domain. The characters aren't getting a vision of what will be, but a reflection of what is happening now. And whenever they are arguing about what to do, the main thing the text of the moment tells them is what the current consensus is. In this particular case, the death toll goes from nine to ten because one of them, frustrated by the other two's hesitation, independently decides to prevent the bank holdup on her own.
There's clearly a difference between the Chicago Sun-Times and a pack of Tarot cards. I'm glad that I don't get the former (and its cat--shudder!) delivered to my door every morning, but neither would I hinder the actions of someone who did.
The Roving Reporter Wonders: If you could look at only one thing in tomorrow's newspaper, what would it be?