Nothing’s Free, Little Girl

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I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

Will: "Oh my God, I know about the rape/strangle chick. I do not need to hear the story again. But I do need to know what you're thinking, pulling him in on a one-punch assault of a prep-school dad, which is not the same thing as murder, which is what we both want him for."
Gabe: "Maybe you should go talk to him."
Will: "About what, GABE?"
Gabe: "Will, you are very familiar with me. I guess we used to know each other, which is why Joanna also is very familiar with me. It remains unexplained. But in any case, he is chained up in 'the Box' and has waived his Miranda rights. Just question him with some questions. Surely you have curiosity. Surely the Bureau has not yet ground that out of you."


Will: "I am certainly not a Federal agent, if that's what you're thinking."
Edward: "Smooth."
Will: "Hey, did you kill your sister? Because you said you were home all night, but we have a picture of your car on surveillance."
Edward: "Wait, so is my sister's death a homicide now?"
Will: "Only in my mind! But I noticed you like punching people a lot. And she got punched."

Speaking of first-draft writing, here's an exchange that doesn't pass muster from the script that brought you Newsstand Guy, Newsstand Tantrum, Soccer Game Dick Dad and that pair of jokes I didn't even bother recapping:

Will: "All I want to know is where you went the night that your sister died. It's a simple question. It ain't hard."
Edward: "I went three blocks down the street to my house and watched my kids through a window, which is what I'm reduced to doing since I separated from my wife. Then I got something to eat. There, you happy? Let me ask you something, why are the Feds involved with this?"
Will: "You still haven't answered my question. Did you kill your sister?"

You know what he's saying, but the entire rhetorical weight of the end line rests on at least credibly drawing a line between the beginning of the conversation and the end of it, with their various tangents nested inside: It's meant to give the illusion that either Edward is twisting the conversation or Will is proving he's single-minded and outwitted him, so the last line has the zip of "aha!" plus the vim of "I noticed you evading the question."

But the problem is that neither of those things are actually happening, and then it's messed even more up by Will actually posing more than one question -- even wasting our time talking about them as questions and referring to them as questions -- which means the answer to "You still haven't answered my question" is, "Which one, because you keep saying the word question and then moving the goalposts." There is no way for an actor to protect himself from looking stupid when presented with bad writing like that, because it's writing that knows where it wants to go but not how people get there.

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