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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.

Beth DurandBut 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 a park.

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 over.

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 her past.

Members of Beth's Household — the Alters

LizzieLizzie, 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 ran off.

Neither Beth nor Tristan has yet remembered their first chance meeting.

SamanthaSamantha 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.

AmandaAmanda 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 alters.

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.

Molly DurandMolly 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.

BitsyThe 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 her faults.

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 yet seen?

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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