There’s a thing in crappier action movies whereby characters entirely forget major events and tragedies by the end. The protagonist’s motivation – “MY WIFE!” – are dismissed, with the film having moved on to raw action and payoff rather than handling characters realistically. TAKEN is a good, relatively recent example of this.
By this point in A Day of Faces I was aware that I was running the risk of falling into the trap. With all the reveals and action it would be extremely easy to go from one plot beat and action set piece to another, never pausing to find out what is actually going on with our characters. The opening of this chapter is specifically addressing that point, and anchoring events back to where Kay started.
That’s something genre stories often get wrong, becoming so caught up in their own lore that they lose their real world anchor. A good example is The Matrix trilogy. The first film is ostensibly set in our world, until we discover the truth. It’d about one of us – Neo – breaking free. Much of the action takes place in our world, and is thus relatable. The sequels dispense with the Matrix being our world. We don’t really see it as a space with real people, and it becomes less clear what the heroes are actually fighting for. Sure, there’s Zion, but that real world anchor got pulled up. By the time the third film rolled around, ‘our’ world was just a playground for a big fight. Blade 2, to take a peculiar example, much as I love it, also fails to root itself in anything resembling the real world, and thus you never really feel like much matters. I should clarify that by ‘real world’ I mean whatever the status quo was for the characters; it doesn’t have to be the ACTUAL real world we live in. Most of Lord of the Rings is about visiting nice places to make the case for it being worth fighting for.
Anyway, Kay comes from a fairly ordinary place. She’s not an action hero, so should never feel comfortable in the new space she finds herself in.
Aside from all that, this chapter is a bit of a deep breath before the plunge, setting the scene for the arc 2 finale.
Score: Terminator 2 by Brad Fiedel, specifically because of Sarah Connor’s attack on Miles Dyson having certain parallels.