Joan of Arcadia
The Fire And The Wood

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The Smallest Catalyst

Kevin and his mother have gone to a small fast food place with a drive-through window. A cute girl is handing him the food, commenting that it's "Animal Style" and she likes that, too. I don't know what "Animal Style" is, but posters in our forums say that it's a California/In-N-Out Burger thing. I looked it up, and apparently, "animal-style burgers come with lettuce, tomato, extra spread, pickles, grilled onions, and mustard fried into the patty." Kevin grins, "I don't even know what it means, I just like the way it sounds." This all came across less dirty than it reads here. When she tells him the price of the food, she says, "I'm giving you a ten-percent discount because you're cute." Mom hands him the money to pay for it. Yeah, that's hot. Kevin's all smiles: "Oh, they got the cute discount. I bet you get that a lot." She replies, "Yeah, but I only extend it to the super-cute." Helen, who's been smiling patiently through all this, finally pipes up: "Hello...sitting right here...I'm his mother." Also helpful. Cute Girl greets mom with a sing-song "Hi!" She tells Kevin to come back soon and ask for Barbie. Kevin: "Well, if you're Barbie, I'll do that." She tells him he's funny. She's easily amused. He drives off, and then stops at the exit to the street, pausing for a moment before turning to Helen and saying, "I'm starting to like the vehicle." That was sweet.

Joan is walking home from Adam's place through a sort of courtyard area. Oh, God help me, there's a mime. A Mime God? Will it be a throwaway bit like Neck-Brace Cheerleader? No, no it won't. I love mimes the way most people love bagpipes, gum surgery, and lumbar punctures. The mime walks into the scene, and directly into a post -- right next to Joan, but she's too distracted to notice. Then he starts following Joan, which she does notice right away. She tries to dismiss him; he imitates her. He pretends to poke his eye on Adam's pointy sculpture, and then pretends to admonish her. Joan: "This is why people hate mimes." The mime claims people don't hate mimes, they just say they do. Believe me, clownface, I am not just saying it. He says it's the opposite of opera. Joan: "Isn't there a law that says you can't talk to people?" He says, "Hey Joan...I remain silent, I get criticized for that, too." She realizes it's God, and sighs. She sits down and says she's not getting it: "I joined AP Chem -- so what?" Mime God pretends to lean his elbow on something. She says she obviously has to do what God wants, but she doesn't get it. Mime God starts pulling an imaginary rope and adding all sorts of descriptive gestures as he explains, "AP Chem brings Adam Rove into your home, where he tells your mother about a car in the impound. Now your brother has a car. Get it?" Joan: "I -- I got Kevin his car?" Mime God: "Me, working through you, working through Adam, working through your mother, working through..." Oy, with the middlemen. You'd think God would just cut to the chase, instead of playing some kind of existential telephone game. Joan puts her hand to her forehead and asks him to stop with all the pantomime: "It's very distracting." Mime God sadly agrees, and explains, "What Kevin does with that car depends on his own free will, which is another reality strand. Back on this strand, your father meets Adam, which compels him to exchange pleasantries with Adam's father, who passes on his inflated impressions of your father to his counterpart at the fire department, who happens to be the brother-in-law of an arson investigator who risks his job to pass information to your father, so that he can arrest an arsonist..." Questions: First of all, Will wasn't compelled to be pleasant to his night janitor before he knew their kids knew each other? And: Roebuck appeared at Will's door with the information just hours after Will met Adam. There was no time for any of this intervening jazz that Mime God's spinning out about Will being nice to Adam's father or people yammering to each other about Will. Big continuity goof. Joan: "Wait, wait, wait, wait...I caught an arsonist?" Mime God: "That's just on the Adam Rove reality strand." Joan, getting one of those glimpses of the universe that threatens to implode your mind: "How far does this go?" Mime God: "All the way, baby." He starts trembling and shaking and making like he's struggling to stay upright against a tide of wind or water. Joan asks, "Always for the better?" Mime God: "Better is how it works with me. An infinite good in an infinite universe. Trust in me, Joan...that's all I ask!" He pretends to blow away altogether, grabbing a post and hanging sideways just before miming off.

Will and Michael are waiting in his office; someone brings in Chief Wyatt. He asks, "What's up? Where's the fire?" He strikes me as the sort of dolt who never gets tired of asking that. Will tells him that he's going to need a lawyer, and that Daghlian's going to interrogate him about the death of the guy in the arson case. The DA (whose name I don't think we ever got, but it's Gabe Fellowes) busts in at that moment, looking pissed. Wyatt says, "Thank God you're here." Fellowes warns him to shut the hell up and stay that way. Daghlian asks Wyatt to come with him, and warns him that he's going to be arrested if he refuses. Wyatt gives Will major stink-eye before leaving with Daghlian. When they're gone, the DA asks what he's got. Will says it's all in the warrant package. Fellowes asks for the recaplet. Will says they can tie Wyatt to the device and the accelerant, and place him at the scene, and that Wyatt had a motive. Will explains about the Badger Hill thing -- in which the DA is also a shareholder. Fellowes says that as a public servant, if he or any other public servant owns any shares in Badger Hill, it's through a blind trust. Will doesn't care that it's all at arm's length. Fellowes sells Tommy out immediately: "You say you have Wyatt on physical evidence? There's no need to include Badger Hill in the official evidence package." Will insists that it's evidence. The DA thinks it's irrelevant, and that Will can convict Wyatt without it: "It's unnecessarily inflammatory." Will: "My people provide your people with evidence. How you use it is up to you." Fellowes points out that he can't suppress anything in the official police report. Geez, what a crazy law. Will makes it clear that he doesn't care how things look. Fellowes says Will's job is as political as his or the mayor's. Will doesn't see it that way. Fellowes asks if Will has wondered why he was hired for this job: "An outsider...one who's never held a top position? It's because you have a reputation as a pragmatic man who understands the importance of playing ball." Will: "Apparently, we were both misinformed." The DA leaves, sort of smirking darkly to himself.

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Joan of Arcadia

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