What a ride! Heartache, betrayal, revelation, more pieces in the Host/RAP/Click puzzle. No Broussard, but now we know what happened to the camp before he (and Amy Dispatch) showed up last week.
Vincent and McGregor have quite the complicated relationship! McGregor has a completely singular view. As he tells Vincent, “the human brain is utterly incapable of being both nuanced and passionate at the same time.” We know which side of that McGregor falls on, and that’s what has made him a successful leader. But he believes his way is the only path to the salvation of mankind. And if you dare question, you’ve put the entire future of the world at risk.
Vincent, though, is a questioner. Extremely uncomfortable with the lengths he’s gone for McGregor, and the things he’s done that are so far out of anything he ever thought he was morally capable of, he doesn’t know where to turn. He’s killed (and now we now what happened to Broussard’s Marine buddy with the Bugs Bunny tattoo), he’s ignored his instincts, he’s compromised his basic values. And now he’s being told that those instincts are wrong again – the Bowmans are double agents, waging a disinformation campaign designed to “demoralize the whole species.” Who, and what does he believe?
In the end, he believes Snyder. And that is the end, for Vincent. But he did what he thought was the right thing, not necessarily just for himself (although we never found out what “terms” he thought he’d ask for, if he had the chance, which obviously he didn’t), but for the “millions of people in the Pacific Northwest,” as Snyder insisted.
Does Snyder believe his own PR? I think he has no illusions about who he is, and he’s told the truth to Vincent about it. He’s a smart man, and a pragmatist, but not a good man. He’s had dual, conflicting but intersecting goals – to save his own skin and get what he can, and to save as many people as possible in the face of an impossible situation. He’s learned the subtle art of not saying something, of keeping as close to the truth as possible, or using his self-deprecating honesty to convince people that what he says is truth. “I’m willing to say I’m not a good person, I have no stake in this, I get nothing out of this, so believe me when I tell you….”
And I can see it, to an extent. As the show has progressed, I’ve gone from hating Snyder for his callous disregard for the people under his care, to an understanding of why he has done some of the things he has. He’s had information all along that he can’t share with anyone beyond those in the IGA (and information he’s learned along the way). He has people above him that he has to satisfy. But if you look at his actions through 2-1/2 seasons, he has, without talking about it, done what he can to minimize the number of people lost to the horrifying realities of the invasion.
And he’s using that combination of dishonest honesty again, on Vincent. Snyder is cool, realistic, convincing. I think that we can accept a lot of what he’s told Vincent about the RAPs as truth – there are only a few of them, they go ballistic when one is killed, and by listening to McGregor and allowing the RAP to be destroyed, he won’t be furthering the cause of the Resistance – he’ll be condemning millions to death. The information about Dallas is horrifying – after destroying 2 RAPs, which the Resistance there probably thought was a major blow to the occupation, the aliens unleashed a weapon from space that “turned sand to glass.” What he left out is that in letting the Occupation know where the RAP is, he’s condemning the camp. What would Vincent have done if he had that information? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one?
“I’ve never met a man who could have anything he wants,” Lt. Garland tells him. “Trust me, I’ve never been that man,” Snyder replies. But what does he want? Will he continue his subtle campaign to further his own star and mitigate the human losses? Will seeing Charlie’s body lying among the hundreds of dead make the cost of this campaign real for Snyder?
A Full Box of Tissues
Oh, Charlie…. in 2-1/2 seasons, you haven’t said more than 20 words. And now you’re gone. Charlie Bowman was the most underused character in this show. We learned very little about him in season 1, except that he was on his own, and Will did a lot of things against his own moral code to get him back. Season 2 didn’t give us a whole lot more – he was obviously traumatized, and had some difficulty reintegrating into his family. But he knew his family loved him, and that gave him a rock to stand on and regain his balance.
However… he exhibited an interesting set of urban survivor skills, learned, I’m sure, from having been held semi-captive for more than a year (two?), stealing, being beaten – and who knows what else. He had an instinct for approaching trouble. He had sullen angel face that made you want to believe him, but there was something in his curiously hard eyes that was more than a little scary. Wasn’t there a way to use him for the Resistance? As a mother, I completely understand Katie’s objection to putting her children in harm’s way, especially one that had already suffered so much. But would Charlie have been willing to fight against the system that put him through so much personal anguish? A system that promised to keep a lot of kids like him from having any kind of normal future, or even any kind of future at all?
As a reviewer, I see people all the time asking for side information – “but where are the pets? Don’t kids go to school?” If it doesn’t affect the main story, you’re just not going to see it. People having babies, where did the cereal come from – not important to the main story. But I really think that something more valuable could have been done with this fabulous young actor, Jacob Buster, and his character. Sure, Bram gets some story – he’s older, but maybe not quite as interesting. Even Gracie has had more interesting scenes (including the little card-playing scene in this season’s first episode – a last-minute addition to fill out time, according to the show’s podcast).
So what does Charlie’s death mean for the Bowmans? I think it’s no spoiler to assume that Will, Katie, Bram, and the injured Gracie get away from the camp without further major damage – Ryan Condal and Wes Tooke couldn’t be so heartless as to shove another loss on us so soon. But will this child’s death fuel their fighting spirit, or cruelly quench it?
And for those of you who were looking forward to a McGregor/Broussard matchup…. I think we knew last week that wasn’t going to happen. But I did miss Tory Kittles this week!
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