24 July 2015


Early Edition: Superhero

You'd think a psychic would see his own death coming . . .

In all fairness, assuming that "seers" in general exist, it's perfectly reasonable to say that they wouldn't see their deaths coming if they weren't in the habit of looking for them.

In our discussion of the previous episode, I suggested that Gary's receiving The Paper was a kind of psychic power. He's not anyone's idea of a clairvoyant, but you can't deny that he's got clear insight into the future. And I must have been picking up "vibes" from the Early Edition writers, because they totally go with that idea in this episode!

Or maybe they're too busy looking for missing children . . .

Has anyone else wondered at the relative ease with which Gary has been able to carry out his missions? If a complete stranger knocked on your door and told you not to take the metro that day ("Never mind how I know. I just know."), or called you on the phone and told you not to start a minor home repair project you had been planning for that afternoon, would you do what he said? Well, okay, you'd probably snap at the guy and tell him to mind his own business . . . but would you still take his advice? That's the crucial point--and for seventeen episodes in a row, Gary has been winning with it.

And I'm happy to suspend disbelief for him. We'd have a totally different show if he weren't so effective at what he is called to do. (This very episode makes that case!) But then we have to come up with a plausible explanation for his success. My theory that The Paper is part of a supernatural call allows for Gary to have a second charism of being persuasive--a monolingual gift of tongues, you could say--but even I don't want to accept it as the only explanation. An additional possibility I've been flirting with is that a good number of the people he helped were willing to let a total stranger influence their actions because they were open to the existence of psychics.

Well, not totally open. In this episode we see someone with similar supernatural "visions" trying to help someone out and getting written off as a creep. We also get an interesting insight into why people would be willing to give psychic/clairvoyant sorts a chance. Their clients don't necessarily believe in what they say, but do love that another person seems to care. And when you live in a big city like Chicago, where you'd barely know your neighbours, it might move you more than you'd ever guess if a total stranger took the time to be a friend to you.

So for this post, the question I wish readers would answer is not about what they would do in Gary's place, but what they would do in the place of someone who meets Gary . . .

Your Turn to Meet the Hero: A handsome, kind-looking stranger who doesn't want anything from you has just told you to take a different route for a commute that you have made nearly every day for two years because "he just knows" that it will end badly this time. What do you do?


Brandon said...

I liked the opening bit here because Gary ends up wasting time trying to get the attention of the lady in the pool, when what he actually needed to do all the time was wake the lifeguard so that he could do the saving. I think this is a pretty plausible template -- more plausible a storyline than some of the ones we've had, for all that it was less than two minutes.

I doubt I'd pay much attention to the stranger.

Enbrethiliel said...


I did also wonder why it took him so long to think about the lifeguard; but in fairness to him, when you've been focussed on zeroing in on the actual mark, the roundabout route takes a while to occur to you! (Or so I think!)

Yeah, I wouldn't listen to the stranger, either. Someone who already has some connection to me, on the other hand, I'd give more consideration to, even if the "reason" were still just "Never mind how I know. I just know."

Brandon said...

I think so, too. I think the primary issue is not belief or trust but knowing who it is you're dealing with. We've sort of seen that on this show with Detective Crumb, who doesn't particularly trust Gary or generally believe him, but has come to be willing to work with him at times when he would certainly just throw someone out of his office.