The pacing of the arc 2 finale was originally intended to be quite different. Behaviour and Hypothalamus were originally to be one episode, but their length meant they got spun out into two. The result is that this chapter and the next form something of a 2-parter, which I quite like in terms of making it feel ‘big’.
This is when we really get to see how each of our three leads react under stress. Combined with Marv’s reservations about Cal, it’s a good opportunity to undermine a lot of the status quo in terms of character relationships.
The Interlude chapters so far have been interesting side stories, expanding the story but largely remaining separate to the main events. This chapter is where those two worlds violently collide, and having the insight of the previous Interludes gives us a very different perspective on events, primarily giving us much more empathy with Simons.
Without the Interludes, this chapter would be about our heroes getting some answers from the Faceless Bad Guys. After all, their only direct encounter with them so far has been when Holt shot Marv’s arm off. It’d still be an exciting scene, I think, but with the extra knowledge we have as a reader this whole sequence turns into something else. We know Wynton Simons. We know he has a family, that he’s a kind man. We know he even has empathy with the inhabitants of Locque. Cal, Kay and Marv don’t know any of that, and it creates dramatic irony which elevates the chapter to a more interesting level.
It makes everything considerably more grey. This isn’t a 24-style interrogation in which any means are justified. The stakes are unclear. There’s a fuzziness to the situation of which only Marv is properly aware.
So, this chapter keeps things contained, to a degree. It’s the next one where it really hits the fan.
Soundtrack: T2, again.