The homework for the episode:
Martha: The Walls Around Us, 2015 novel by Nova Ren Suma
Pete: Doctor Who S9 e6 “The Girl Who Died” and s9 e7 “The Girl Who Lived” (2-parter)
Maren: Atonement (2007 movie directed by Joe Wright, starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy)
Amber is in a high security prison for violent girls. Violet is a dancer on the path to Julliard. Orianna is the strange girl who unites them both, in a story about the walls we build and that are built for us.
The Doctor saves a girl, and a Viking town, and realizes he has duties beyond simply saving a life.
A girl sees something she thinks she understands, but what she says afterward causes grief and heartbreak for many in this World War II drama.
Our theme this week is forgiveness as we plumb the depths of some…pretty strange stories, to be honest. Stories that we have a lot of strong feelings about!
Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: Iron & Wine’s new album, Beast Epic
Martha: Season 4 of Top Chef
Maren: CityLab article by David Lepeska: “How Bon Iver Saved Eau Claire”
Let’s get this out of the way: Martha is a garbage reality tv show fan and at some point she’s going to make her hosts watch some episodes of…something. For now, she’s basking in the glory of Stephanie Izard’s win on Top Chef as the first lady winner. Pete thinks Martha probably has heard a lot more Iron & Wine than she thinks, and both he and Maren lose it a little when she mentions she may have seen him at Jazz Fest? Maybe? Maren gets to school everyone on how Bon Iver is revitalizing Wisconsonian territory.
And then…and then we all had a lot of feelings.
Big Questions for Forgiveness
- How successful are characters in achieving forgiveness?
- Should characters pay a price in their quest for forgiveness? What price do they pay?
- Does forgiveness need to be reciprocal?
- What function is forgiveness playing in the narratives?
- Are forgiveness and absolution the same thing?
Martha’s not a Doctor Who fan, don’t @ her. We dig deep into semantics here, and it may be the first episode where that’s a good thing! Across all three media, we encounter characters who are seeking forgiveness in some capacity or another: from their loved ones, from themselves, on behalf of themselves. Are they successful? What defines success? Is, perhaps, the act of seeking forgiveness enough to warrant it? We also get meta and look at what role we as an audience have in being able to forgive characters. This is a good ep for looking at how an audience interacts with a narrative, and how that may or may not effect the way in which you interpret a story – having more emotional cache with a character from a serial narrative, for example.
On September 13, we’re talking about how You Can’t Go Home Again with special guest Cory Ruegg. Your homework for next episode:
Pete: The Fifth Elephant, 1999 novel by Terry Pratchett (part of the Discworld series
Martha: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans
Cory: Gone Home, 2013 PC game available on STEAM
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