Reader Commentary on ASF Episode #6.05
By Joseph McDonald
Note from ASF author Kira Lerner: to enhance the interactivity of ASF, I’ve solicited these reader commentaries, which will be written by an avid ASF reader and community member. All opinions are completely independent and may contain criticism and/or praise, or simply ruminations on individual storylines/characters/the webserial as a whole. I have no editorial control over what’s written (except maybe regarding typos–what can I say, it’s my job!). Please enjoy and share your feedback. Thanks for reading! — Kira
Welcome to the official About Schuyler Falls Reader Commentary!
For those not in the know (which is… all of you!), I have been asked by Kira to write down my live play-by-plays down on the blog. So from now on, once you have read the episode, you can migrate to the blog to see my thoughts and reactions. I will try and summarise as I go along but again you should really read the episode first.
And now the post!
Episode 6.05: Via Dolorosa Part I
Scene 1: We pick up almost immediately where we left off with this storyline, with Ian seeing Daphne getting shot. The thugs start attacking him. They tell him to ‘shut the fuck up’ and then begin talking among themselves. Ian learns that they plan to keep him as a hostage. He tries to fight back but it clearly isn’t working. The thug starts choking him as he silently asks for someone to help them.
Commentary: I think I’ll outline the post thusly, summarising and then commenting scene by scene. Anyway my primary reaction to this is Oh Ian… It’s gotta be rough seeing the girl you fancy (I hesitate to use the word ‘love’) and your rival shot and stabbed.
But this whole thing must seem completely surreal to him right now – if it weren’t for all those punches and nearly being choked to death, I imagine it must seem like a dream – a particularly bad one. The only other character with which I’ve been getting this sensation is Hannah, and understandably so.
Scene 2: Ian wakes up in a limousine. Turns out the whole kidnapping thing wasn’t exactly planned. Still Tag is prepared to roll with it. Ian sees and hears the whole church massacre while I mentally tell Tag to fuck off because damn! That is evil. Tag does what all the evil villains do and rants about why he’s getting revenge. He slams Ian’s face into the glass partition.
Commentary: Seriously just go away Tag! I cannot even deal with you right now.
Lordy poor Ian. (I had a feeling before I even sat down to read this episode that I’d be saying this a lot). For all he knows, his family is dead right now. And he could be tortured, messed with, etc.
Even without the knowledge that Ian survived this, I wouldn’t think he’d die anyway because he’s a hostage. He’s far too valuable. Then again I guess if the ransom is paid, the kidnapper doesn’t have to follow through.
This is pretty heavy so far so on a light-hearted note… look, I’m the son of a church organist so this may have only occurred to me but that sign saying ‘no parking during services’ at the top of the page in the scenery box thing? Seems harsh to me. Of course now I’ve typed that, it doesn’t seem harsh at all. Naturally.
*Resists sudden urge to google ‘Via Dolorosa’*
Scene 3: Cameron stops shooting at the attackers to look for his family. He finds Danielle but not the children. Not at first. But after a while, he finds Becca trying to protect herself from the gunfire. She seems to have been shot in the thigh. He then locates Adele and Simon who both seem okay (considering the other injuries). He breathes a sigh of relief and then realises he hasn’t come across Ian. He then comes across Justin’s body and I start tearing up again because FUCK.
Excuse me a minute.
*downs alcoholic drink*
A paramedic asks Cameron to come outside to ID some bodies. He recognises Daphne immediately but not Tyler. They then show him the bloody trail Ian left behind. He’s questioned by some cops but doesn’t answer. He then vows to kill every last Vaughan man until he finds his son.
Commentary: If ever I said this webseries drove me to drink before, I didn’t mean literally. But I challenge anyone not to be emotionally affected by the description of Justin’s body. (He was, what, five? That’s just all kinds of messed up right there!)
Anyway back to the point of the episode, I’m torn!
On one hand, I’m all in favour of Cameron getting revenge on the Vaughans because it might lead him to his son. And because I like Ian. I don’t want to see him get hurt.
On the other hand, I was shouting at Nick for wanting revenge in the first episode because if the Nicholses weren’t in the mob, none of this would have happened. So if I’m suddenly supporting Cameron in his mission, doesn’t that make me a hypocrite?
Maybe I should read on before making my mind up.
And like I said in the forum, of course Adele survived. The whole state of New York could be completely destroyed by an earthquake and she would survive. Because she is invincible.
Scene 4: Ian regains consciousness. He’s in some dark room somewhere (today is specific day!). He manages to get up, and, as if waiting, Tag and a couple of heavies enter the room. Ian feels resentful that his father and uncle managed to win a mob war against the Vaughans without protecting their own (and really, who can blame him?). Apparently Ian has been out for ten hours. Tag offers to tell him what happened to his family but Ian fails at giving the acceptable answer and is punched in the gut for his troubles. Tag lies that Ian’s family is either dead or dying (and I really wasn’t expecting anything else from that douchebag). But Ian believes Tag anyway.
Okay apparently I was wrong. They’re going to kill (or attempt to kill) Ian anyway? Okay then. Taggart gets a hammer and strikes Ian’s kneecaps (OW!!!). He screams as Tag takes a second swing.
Commentary: Oh lord.
At least I was wrong about Tag killing Ian. But I’m not sure the alternative is much better because OUCH!!!
I think the only scene more painful to read (physically, I mean) than this was that scene in The Blackthornes where Suzanne broke Lon’s manhood. But this really is a close second.
I do hope the rest of the episode isn’t just a chronicle of Ian’s torture.
And my god, he knows about Justin’s death as well. Okay I may be fixating a little too much on that particular mortality but something like that is just soul-destroying!
I literally cannot think of a single good reason for Ian not to give up and die right now. And that’s just sad.
Scene Five: Apparently Cameron and Tag have been speaking. Tag congratulates Cam on staying alive but then ruins the moment by having Cam listen to Ian being tortured (lordy!). Tag tells Cam not to have anyone trace him else Ian gets it. Naturally Cam doesn’t listen.
He then thinks back to his introduction to Hannah Tierney who was probably a pole dancer or something before meeting and marrying Nick. He respected her for not rising to Danny and Adele’s japes, and respects her even more so now. She asks about his family and he fills her in. She seems resentful that Simon saved Adele’s life but he doesn’t blame her.
He asks her what she’s planning for Justin’s funeral. He puts a hand on Hannah’s shoulder, mainly to feel her touch (although he’s not attracted to her). He offers to take care of everything. Hannah wonders why so he tells her he needs to keep busy. She realises the Vaughans were behind it all. She shouts at him for continuing the mob war then screams at him to get out. He begs her again to let him plan the funeral and she grudgingly agrees.
As he approaches the elevator, he thinks if he plans a funeral for Justin, he won’t have to for Ian.
Commentary: These summaries are getting longer and longer!
Anyway I’m glad Hannah showed up. Still torn but glad. She reinforced my original arguments on the mob war. In that the Nicholses should get out before they’re all sleeping with the fishes.
But I’m still torn. Because Ian? Is being tortured by… there are no words for Tag right now. Apart from maybe ‘sick in the head.’
The one thing I’ve loved about SkyFalls (and I’m not gushing, this is my honest opinion) is the idea of the Nicholses. In one sense, they’re supposed to be villains. Pick a crime and they’ve probably done it, or ordered someone to do it.
And yet they’re not being presented as completely evil. Nick and Cam especially are three-dimensional characters. I for one still care about them. I even like Nick! (he will only be a favourite when he gets out of the mob. I’m not a complete sucker!)
And that’s why this particular moral dilemma works. Because yes being a mobster is all sorts of wrong and evil on so many levels. But in this case, Cameron doesn’t really have a choice, does he? Not one that I can think of anyway. Because Ian’s being tortured.
Full disclosure: If that were my son? I would probably be doing the same thing. If I were in the mob of course.
This episode so far is brutal but gripping! And for me, it’s solely because of that moral dilemma.
Scene 6: Ian’s lost track of the time but thinks ten to twelve days have passed. He starts to give in to the knowledge that maybe his father is dead. He realises he’s grown grateful for Tag in allowing him to live. He’s got food, water, and a drain so the basic necessities at least are covered. He hates himself for not being stronger (Oh Ian… and there I go again!). After all the beatings and torture, Tag seems to revel in taunting Ian out of hatred.
More graphic descriptions of torture. This definitely ranks as the most painful episode of Skyfalls ever!
He apparently fought back a few days ago, when he was drawn to a green apple Tag was eating. As per usual, Tag’s going on about family, loyalty, and how and why the Nicholses are shitheads. Talk about your one track man! And of course as soon as I say that, Tag goes on about wanting a piece of Becca (there is absolutely no way I can summarise that paragraph without coming off skeevy, is there? Because ewwww!!!) Ian reacts appropriately and I clap. Tag keeps on about Becca until Ian is sufficiently provoked and puts his hands around Tag’s throat.
Commentary: Kill him, Ian. Just do it. Seriously some guys do not deserve to live.
I cannot put into words how much I HATE Tag right now. It’s almost close to ‘hate him so much, I’d organise a church massacre just to kill him off’ except I wouldn’t organise a massacre because I’m not sick in the head UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE!!!
Okay so Tag only said this to provoke and torture Ian mentally. I get that. I do. But it was pretty torturous for me to read (in a good way…. is there a good way?). I don’t even like Becca and…
There really is not a lot for me to say except to rant about what a fucked up piece of shit Tag is. And that could take several pages. So in the interest of finishing this week’s commentary off, I’ll just go to the next scene.
Scene 7: Ian was obviously punished for his little rebellion, and he’s now wheezing thanks to his cracked ribs. He holds onto the hope that Daphne is alive (since Tag hasn’t mentioned her) and tries to remember being embraced by her.
Tag comes in with his thugs, holding a noose (gulp!). He’s bored with Ian’s company so has decided to kill him (naturally!). Ian meanwhile is wondering whether to escape through the open door.
Or he’s letting Ian go? Wait, really? What the hell is happening here?
Seems Tag is sending Ian off with a message. Knowing him, it’s probably Thank you for checking out the Tag Vaughan Torture Workshop. Please come back soon for more hammertime! Ian agrees to pass the message on, not that he has much choice. He says that if the Nicholses attempt any kind of revenge against the Vaughans, they’ll all die.
Tag tells Ian to close his eyes. The noose slips over his head and onto his eyes. Tag tells him if he does anything against orders, the noose will tighten. They take him outside and put him in a car trunk where he begins to fear for his life.
After a while, he’s taken out of the trunk, the rope around his hands loosened and shoved into some grass. One of the thugs tell him to wait until they’ve gone to move. He frees himself after they’ve gone. He’s been dumped on a highway access road. Alive but fearful for his family.
Commentary: Well at least Tag followed through on his promise, I guess?
I don’t really have a whole lot to say at the end of this episode. Which is pretty unusual for me.
It was very painful for me to read (I don’t just mean physically but it took me four days to recap this) because I’ve spoken to family members who have had relatives tortured by the Serbs when I was in Kosova. To see the same type of thing happen again here, in albeit an entirely different setting, is a little weird. And I’m not sure whether it needed to be that graphic, especially considering we knew Ian lived before the episode even began.
But that nitpick aside, the reason why it was painful generally is because I’m invested in Ian in particular. He’s not a favourite character of mine but he’s just outside the list.
And of course the character development following this must be a writer’s dream!
Anyway that’s where I shall leave it. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this episode. There will be an article like this for the remainder of the sixth season, and then we go on the Great ASF Reread! Which I hope some of you will join me for because it’ll feel lonely with just me!