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Author Topic: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!  (Read 2882 times)

TordelBack

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #30 on: 06 May, 2021, 08:40:22 AM »
You've both done better than I. I get the overall point, but the mix of identities defeat me. I suspect there's some sort of confusion occurring between script and art, because McCann's setup and concept are strong, and the artist is no less experienced a hand than Glenn Fuppin' Fabry, and it really feels like it should make sense. But as it appears on the page, not to me.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #31 on: 06 May, 2021, 11:30:13 AM »
Ok, thanks Colin that helps.

Here’s my take after a bit of cogitating at what’s going on.

Both Janet and Henrietta are taken to Covington Institute on the same day, to “correct” there personality defects. The difference between them is that Henrietta is actually bad: a disruptive, vicious bully whereas Janet only has the potential to be bad, as she’s been screened by the anti-social liability monitors and found to be lacking empathy. This would appear to be accurate as she witnesses a dog being fatally run over and has no visible reaction to it.

After they both arrive at the Institute, Henrietta and others intimidate and bully Janet. They presumably see her as easy prey as she is sullen and withdrawn rather than outwardly hostile and imposing like the other patients.

The Institute is aware that the patients will bully each other before they are given treatment, and this is actually part of the process. The treatment works by capturing the victim’s memories of being bullied and then playing them back to the bully as a kind of scenario whereby the bully becomes an incorporeal confidante of the victim that can understand the victim’s private thoughts as she lives through being bullied. It’s basically forced empathy.

When Janet’s thoughts and experiences are played back to Henrietta in the treatment room, her name is changed to Jane. This might be a patient confidentiality thing. I guess Jane’s mum being called Janet in the scenario is a clue that “Jane”, an imaginary construct in the sim is borne from Janet, the real girl and fellow patient. Interestingly, everything we have seen of Janet’s experiences is played to Henrietta in the sim, including the diagnosis, the decision to be sent to the Intitute for treatment, and the dog dying. I believe this is to help Henrietta identify with “Jane”: they both probably resent the treatment, and Jane’s lack of reaction to the dog probably (in a interestingly parodoxical way) help them to bond: Henry finds it easy to empathise with Jane as they both lack empathy.

At the start of the treatment, Henry is resistant. When Jane is asking questions of her, the answers are dismissive: “I don’t know Jane. not my dilemma” etc. When Jane finally retaliates with her filed down toothbrush, Henry finally sympathises with Jane’s plight and with her “Me, too Jane” response finally expresses remorse for the way she treated Jane or Janet. At this point this strange of the treatment end and she is exited from the Sim.

The last panels show us that Janet is also having similar treatment and reliving the same scenarios. Or possibly sharing the same scenario. It would seem to be an iterative process where the aim is they act a bit nicer each time as they gain empathy. Possibly they’ve never actually met in the real world and that the bullying in the institute has only ever been in the simulator. This would appear to make more sense as Janet is seen to on the point of gouging out one of the bullies, eyeballs. So I actually think all the bullying that happened inside the institute is actually simulated and maybe even all the other girls are computer generated characters, although this is left ambiguous by the story.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #32 on: 06 May, 2021, 11:36:40 AM »
Think about it some more, I actually think it’s clear Janet and Henrietta are participating together in the same scenario. Everybody else in the simulation is an NPC. Janet knows Henrietta as Henry, and Henrietta knows Janet as Jane to protect patient confidentiality. They’ve never really met, and it’s probably designed to that they will never meet. Changing their names helps maintain that.

broodblik

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #33 on: 06 May, 2021, 11:38:18 AM »
Great now everything makes more sense. The only thing that still does not add up for me is the part on the first page where the dog gets run over. This does not add anything to the story.
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MumboJimbo

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #34 on: 06 May, 2021, 12:31:01 PM »
I think the dog running over bit is to emphasise Jane(t)’s lack of empathy. I think the very first panel is Jane watching the dog being run over dispassionately. She finds is confusing as she’s unsure what she’s meant to feel, and asks Henry. Henry doesn’t know either as she’s Henrietta who equally lacks compassion.

GordonR

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #35 on: 06 May, 2021, 12:36:20 PM »
Short version: it’s a VR Prison story.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #36 on: 06 May, 2021, 02:11:28 PM »
Longer but still short version: it’s a story about a machine that links people telepathically in a VR scenario to teach them empathy

I, Cosh

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #37 on: 06 May, 2021, 03:17:18 PM »
Longer but still short version: it’s a story about a machine that links people telepathically in a VR scenario to teach them empathy
Either I'm a psycopath or the bit everyone else seems to be missing is that the actual twist is that what Henrietta learns from the Empathisator is that doing bad things can be fun. Especially if you're going to have it empathised out of you later anyway.

Or, to put it another way: "I was cured alright!"
We never really die.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #38 on: 06 May, 2021, 03:29:33 PM »
Ooh, I think you’re right, Cosh. Only, to my reading, it’s Janet that breaks bad. Henrietta gets cured as intended.

Sean SD

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #39 on: 12 May, 2021, 12:21:24 PM »
Dredd All building up to a conclusive confrontation. I've probably said before how I like Niemand's take on these tales: his inhabitants of MC1 are often more sympathetic, with Dredd and the judges as looming threats rather than the central protagonists. It lends things more of an optimistic and tragic air, the droids brave yet pointless stand being a good example of that. Great art, top story, top stuff.

I agree I think these Niemand Dredd's are great in the way they explore MC1 a bit more rather than just have Dredd and the judges as 'central protagonists'

Sean SD

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Re: Prog 2229 - Crunch Point!
« Reply #40 on: 12 May, 2021, 12:28:24 PM »
My Top 3 for Prog 2229 :)

Same order as Prog 2228 basically for the same reasons as well

1st - Dredd - Niemand Droid and Loyal Sludge-Jock droids
2nd - Thistlebone - Art style changes for memories of the past
3rd - Feral & Foe -  You need to stay for the festival  ;) ;)

Usually don't mind the Visions of Deadworld one offs and shorts but this one didn't work for me this time