Multiplicity: A Look at Beth Durand and Her Alters
Ever since Beth Durand was first introduced in ASF's first season,
this troubled young woman has been an unsolved puzzle. To the outside
world, she is fractious, insecure, distracted, even scatterbrained.
Many are impatient with her inability to remember simple events
or dates, not to mention her mood swings that make her behavior
impossible to predict. She has few friends, and she keeps even her
closest relative her brother Clark at an arm's length.
the ASF audience knows what others don't: that Beth lives an unusual,
confusing existence due to unrecognized Dissociative Identity Disorder.
In other words, Beth shares her life with several other individuals,
all of whom are fully-formed with their own thoughts, emotions,
memories and even physical attributes but all of whom exist in
a single mind.
Beth herself is largely unaware that these others her alters
exist. Whenever one of the alters has control of her consciousness
and body (the totality of which is called 'the household' by the
alters), Beth ceases to function on her own. It's as if she is sent
to another dimension, only awakening when the alters return control
to her. From her perspective, life consists of a series of unrelated
events, where time and memories can't be trusted. One moment she
might be in her bedroom; the next, she'll find herself walking in
This, to her, is normal. Although she's aware that others don't
seem to go through the same confusing pattern, Beth can't comprehend
an alternative. When she recently went through a period in which
none of the alters reappeared, the experience was exhausting and
frightening. Every moment was, for once, her own, and she hated
it. She missed the comfort of escape, of having no memories to brood
Beth's greatest fear is not only that other people will discover
how strange and disjointed her life is, but that she will be punished
for being different. And for Beth Durand, to be known is to be punished.
Perhaps that's why the continual appearances of Tristan Campbell
in her life have shaken her to the very core. He seems to know her
or he thinks he does and what's worse, he wants to get even
closer. She's utterly unaware that two of her alters have been very,
very close with Tristan over the past couple of months. All she
knows is that Tristan has called her, tried to capture her in a
passionate embrace the night of the opera, and then showed up on
her doorstep angry and demanding answers. But Beth has nothing to
give him. She was not the one to meet him at the Lighthouse nightclub,
and she has no memory whatsoever of having gotten to know him, much
less made love to him.
To her, he's a stranger. And in almost every way, she's a stranger
to him as well. Tristan has known every inch of her body intimately,
but the reality of Beth eludes him.
Now the relationship has resulted in a pregnancy, a physical impossibility
as far as poor Beth is concerned, since she has no recollection
of making love to anyone since returning to Schuyler Falls three
years ago. Though she has denied the truth so far, it can't be held
off forever. For the first time, she has a vital clue to understanding
the nature of her existence. It will be only the first step in a
long and treacherous journey to the truth of her present ... and
Members of Beth's Household the Alters
only four years old, is a sweet-tempered but fearful little girl
who hasn't yet learned to control her sometimes overwhelming emotions.
She is very innocent, far more so than her companion Bitsy, and
while she is easily brought to tears Lizzie also loves to play.
Lizzie usually makes an appearance when Beth is afraid or lonely.
In fact, it was Lizzie who was the first to meet Tristan Campbell
a man who would later have a profound effect on the household.
During the first season, Lizzie was very upset at Beth having taken
her back to Schuyler Falls. One day while Beth was walking in the
woods, a bad memory involving a forest resulted in Lizzie appearing
and collapsing in hysterical fear. Tristan who had never met
Beth prior to this came across her tearful form and was able
to comfort the strangely childlike young woman.
Lizzie quickly connected with Tristan, even hugging him warmly
in gratitude for being so kind to her, but when she was calm enough,
Beth reappeared. Beth grew alarmed and embarrassed at realizing
that she'd been curled up on the ground, and couldn't understand
why this strange man was holding her so closely. She immediately
Neither Beth nor Tristan has yet remembered their first chance
Malone, 26, is confident, highly sexual, a risk-taker and expert
at pretense. She is somewhat contemptuous towards Beth, whom she
sees as restricting her chances for an adventurous life. Determined
to live to the fullest, Samantha was fascinated by Danielle Nichols,
who leads the life Samantha herself desires. Samantha took on Danielle's
identity as a lark, and visited the hot nightclub The Lighthouse
in order to pick up men.
One night she seduced Tristan Campbell still under the pretense
that she was really Danielle Nichols and the two started a searingly
passionate affair. Samantha revels in wild sexual activities, and
helped Tristan get past his own inhibitions. The whole thing was
a game to her, and in general Samantha has little interest in settling
down. Thus it would require another member of the household to take
the relationship to the next, deeper level.
Malone, Samantha's twin sister, is as passionate as her sister
but less wild and thoughtless. She's lively, artistic and empathetic;
she's the alter who takes the most care to keep Beth safe. She often
takes positive steps for the household (the group of alters and
Beth) where the others tend to be more self-destructive.
Amanda feels things very deeply, much like Lizzie, and dearly wants
to know the joy of true love and finding contentment. Though it
was Samantha who began the affair with Tristan, it was Amanda who
continued the relationship, taking it past sex into love. Innately
understanding Tristan's lingering heartache over the loss of Camilla,
Amanda coaxed him into sharing his emotions with her, and finally
allowed him to move beyond the past.
She hated lying to Tristan but was too afraid of losing him to
reveal the truth of her multiple existence. Now, following Tristan's
discovery of Samantha/Amanda's false identity as Danielle, a heartbroken
Amanda has been forced into inactivity by Molly, one of the other
Amanda and Samantha's names have a genesis that will be revealed
later in the storyline. As is clear from their last name, Samantha
and Amanda are not actually members of the Durand family (so far,
this is a unique trait among the alters). For example, neither considers
Elaine or Clark to be either their mother or brother.
Durand is the oldest member of the household, in her early seventies.
She is the caretaker, protecting Beth and the younger alters even
when it means hampering their growth or curtailing their ambitions.
Though strict and old-fashioned, sometimes even bitter, Molly can
also be gentle and supportive.
Notably, Molly is the only voice whom Beth acknowledges, although
Beth doesn't actually realize the extent of Molly's independent
existence; instead, Beth hears Molly as the spirit or guiding words
of her beloved grandmother. (Molly Durand was her father's mother,
and lived near the Durands when Beth was a child. Beth has had some
memories of running to her grandmother for comfort when other kids
bullied her after school.)
Molly has expressed a great deal of resentment and anger towards
Elaine, and in the past has appeared often in arguments Beth's had
with her mother. Since her namesake Molly Durand was Elaine's mother-in-law,
perhaps the conflict isn't unusual.
During the twins' affair with Tristan, Molly complained vociferously
about the deceit and the danger involved. She had mixed feelings
about Tristan himself, coming out once to speak with him and warn
him that things were out of control, but disapproving of his willingness
to sleep with a woman he believed was married. When he discovered
that 'Beth' had lied about her identity during their affair, it
was Molly who took charge of breaking things off with him, using
cruelty and coldness to convince Tristan that the relationship meant
nothing to her.
Once that was taken care of, Molly displayed her superior position
within the household by 'locking down' Amanda and Samantha as protection
and punishment for their behavior.
one member of the household whom Molly seems unable to control is
Bitsy. At age 8, Bitsy is an angry, destructive child
with a sharp mouth and a stubborn streak foreign to Beth herself.
Foul-mouthed and resentful of the other alters, Bitsy knows a lot
about what's going on within the household, despite the secrets
that others try to keep from her. She seems to be the judge and
jury for every unhappy memory, insecurity or failure that Beth has
ever experienced, and often expresses loathing towards Beth for
Bitsy appears in times of extreme anger, shame or stress for Beth.
Her quick temper once resulted in Beth's firing from her last job
at a clothing boutique; another disturbing memory involves causing
the Durand family pet to 'disappear' back when Beth and her brother
Clark were children.
The name 'Bitsy' springs from a childhood nickname given to Beth
by her parents, although in the first season Beth reacted strongly
against her mother's use of the affectionate term. For one so young,
Bitsy has a great deal of power within the household, and is quite
possibly the most dangerous to Beth's future.
There are still so many unanswered questions regarding these individuals
living a unique, shared existence. How, when and why did the alters
first appear? Did they splinter from Beth's own personality? What
do their different ages represent? Are there other alters we haven't
And perhaps the most pressing question of all: can they should
they be integrated into Beth?
As Beth's story continues to unfold, we'll continue to learn more
about each of these individuals.
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