Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Angelo glanced down and saw a blossoming circle of red soak through his shirt.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Lordy, Ma Stokes’s death! I can’t say it wasn’t perhaps in some way deserved, nor rather satisfying, in a ‘comic-book villain gets their comeuppance while yelling about meddling kids’ way, but still. What a dreadful way to go. Especially as it was almost implied that she started the whole thing by calling out into the crowd? Good grief.
Then, before we have time to so much as blink, we’re back to the drama of the prologue, and suddenly the characters we have come to love are dying left and right. Nooo, Frank! Noooo, Angelo! And wretched Belial is still loose! And Jean and her baby might be dead too! So much for luck.
Matt’s Thoughts: Just before Christmas, I took the older kids to see The Last Jedi, the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise. The film had the interesting phenomenon of being well-received by the reviewers but also soundly trashed in some corners of the social media world by fans as being the worst of all Star Wars movies. My theory on this dichotomy is that the writers were probably a bit too skillful at anticipating every direction that fans were expecting the story to go and therefore deliberately sending the story in a completely different direction. The finale of the film was so clearly signalled from the beginning that we, as an audience, thought we could comfortably sit back and munch our popcorn, knowing exactly where it would go.
And then, spectacularly, everything we’d been set up for fell apart and the finale was nothing like anybody really expected.
Which is exactly the feeling I get from this chapter here. In every other time travel story from Back to the Future onward, the main character goes back in time and stops the bad things from happening. So what in the freaking heck is this where, despite everyone’s best efforts, all the bad stuff STILL happens??
Aargh! Where is the story going to go now? Brilliantly executed piece of pulling the rug out, Mr Jarvis.
Meanwhile, this chapter included the famous real-life Bethnal Green underground disaster. I was actually expecting this to be the disastrous event that dispatched Frank, Kath and Jean that Angelo was trying to prevent.
But, no, that’s a different subplot and this historical tragedy becomes the means of dispatching the horrific Ma Stokes. I can’t think of a Jarvis character that I’ve liked less. Normally, his villains are somewhat grandiose and interesting – they just happen to live by a moral code that involves the weak being destroyed by the strong. But Ma Stokes – she just has a spectacular nasty streak all the way through, with very little explanation as to why she got that way.
Unfortunately, especially as you get older, you realise that there are people in life that are like this and in some ways, they are more scary than demonic monsters. Because these types of villains we can all encounter in everyday life.