02 April 2014


Early Edition: Traffic Jam

If I were big on Twitter, I'd get my followers to tweet pictures of their newspapers
and then retweet a selection of headlines from all over the world

I grew up around so many TV sets that I must have caught a couple of Early Edition episodes back in the 90s. But before I started seriously watching the show, my clearest memory of it was that it got a special mention in a Sunday Mass homily--which pleased many members of the congregation. But it wasn't my family's usual church, so I guess I wasn't in the demographic. A pity.

And the mission is clear . . . right?

Remember my theory that "tomorrow's newspaper" is more of a reflection of the present than a window to the future? Well, this episode is backing me up! For it is only after our hero has talked himself out of saving a six-year-old girl, reasonably pointing out that even the most magical newspaper in the world has no right to dictate his day-to-day activities, that the headline suddenly changes.

I love a plot that thickens like porridge

You might be able to rationalise why you shouldn't help one individual who already gets a fair shot (There are already bystanders who call an ambulance, right?), but 190 people who perish in a horrible accident raise the bar to where your powers of rationalisation can't make a clear jump. But then you'd have another problem, because the death of the six-year-old girl and the jetliner crash happen at virtually the same time, in different parts of the city--and yes, there's still that horrible traffic jam making it impossible to get from Point A to Point B with any real efficiency. So even if you're now willing to do something heroic, you still have to choose between two tasks. Your move, Hercules. 

I won't give away the rest of the plot, because I'm cool like that. But I will say that this episode's writing and execution means it shall certainly end up in my Top 5 Early Edition episodes of all time!

Your Turn to Be the Hero: Which of these accidents would you choose to prevent?


Bob Wallace said...

Chicago, blech. Been there 15 times. I'd never move there, or to any big city.

Enbrethiliel said...


I could live anywhere with a significant Catholic population. I don't think Gary Hobson is Catholic, though, any more than the very similar Peter Parker was.

Belfry Bat said...

Interesting ambiguity (the paper's, not yours): refusing to do something about the bicycle led to [a] the forecast plane crash? or [b] reporting the forecast plane crash?

Which is to ask: is the paper being a moral agent (in an obnoxious way) or an impartial extrapolator? or is it just that it wants attention?

I mean, how is one supposed to prevent a plane crash, from the ground, from outside the airport? But if there's a causal link between the bicycle and the plane (a family connection?)... but how is one to know these things???

Enbrethiliel said...


I really like the idea of the newspaper being a character with its own personality quirks and motivations! But I can't answer the rest of your questions without giving away the rest of the episode! In fact, I worry that despite my best efforts, I just did . . . =P

The three friends don't really have a plan for stopping the plane, but they figure that inspiration will hit as soon as they're at the airport. One of them suggests saying that they're from the Federal Aviation Administration in order to ground the plane. How does that strike you? LOL!

Belfry Bat said...

Not to worry! my mad deductive delusions are on strike today; or at least they are exhausted by the needs of ordinary mathematical thinking.

Enbrethiliel said...