07 April 2014


Early Edition: Special Delivery

It was actually not the arrival of "tomorrow's newspaper" that turned our hero Gary Hobson's life upside-down. If you insist on a spatial metaphor, it arguably threw him for a loop; but the real big change of his life came a bit earlier, when his wife threw him out.

This episode opens with the troubled couple sitting in the waiting room of a divorce attorney, reading different newspapers. She's stuck with today's news, which means all the stuff that happened yesterday. He's busy looking over the future so that he knows what to do today. This doesn't prove that they're a poor match, but it does highlight the disconnect between them.

As for other connections . . .

Admittedly, anyone who gets the next day's paper is going to find relationships a little hard. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that others will find having a relationship with him hard. Take his best friend Chuck Fishman, who does his best to distract Gary from his divorce with something fun, like a Jacky Chan film festival or a screening of Jaws 3D . . . and doesn't really notice that Gary is already distracted by the night's list of wrongs that must be set right. They're literally not on the same page, but that doesn't mean their relationship is doomed.

Besides, the newspaper kind of likes Chuck. =P Bat was so right when he guessed that the baffling broadsheet has some agency in each story as well, though the show doesn't ever admit it.

Unless you read between the lines
. . . or peer behind the photos ;-)

The happy news story about his best friend is one which Gary doesn't feel the need to change, although Chuck begs him to. LOL! I find it a little curious that Gary seems to think Chuck should resign himself to this "fate," when Gary himself devotes most of his day to reversing other people's "fates." How all this works out, I'm not going to say, because that would spoil your fun. ;-)

It's much more interesting to note that Gary himself hasn't shown up in the paper yet. At least he doesn't seem to read headlines like "Mysterious man prevents convenience store robbery". I think this is because the paper--like the good moral agent it is--never assumes that Gary's choices are a done deal, but depends entirely upon his free will to make them. But does this mean that the paper doesn't respect Chuck's free will?

Without giving away the ending, let's just say that the paper violates free will no more than a friend of yours does when he refuses to get you out of a jam that you both foresee coming. (We've all said no to friends, right?)

The paper pulls some other tricks here--not just on the characters, but also on the audience! It's a cute episode, but doesn't stand up to a second viewing or get people talking around the dinner table as well as the last one.

Your Turn to Be the Hero: What are you most likely to be featured in the newspaper for?


Jenny said...

I liked this show but it definitely got tedious after several seasons.

Enbrethiliel said...


It's so nice to see you again, Jenny! =) If you recall any of the other episodes I'll blog about, I hope you comment on them, too.