SFP

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  • Gotham

    Called it.
    But I really do wonder what was the point. Patrick has basically four seconds left to say “told you so”.

    And did we really need to be reminded that Claudia is a heartless asshat? That was pretty well established as is

    (Gotta love Alison’s pondering hand under her chin though. She didn’t call it. Alison hasn’t seen enough cheesy villain backstories)

    • Aresius

      Isnt it more like a ‘gasp’ gesture? Either way she didn’t expect it xD

      • Dwight Williams

        “So I’m not gonna have to chase her down after all, huh?”

      • Scholiast

        It’s definitely a “gasp” gesture — hand half-raised to mouth in shock.

      • Gotham

        Gasps gesture usually are with the whole hand or at least fingers over the mouth, though? As is the hand gesture more resembles the classic 🤔, granted her eyes fit more the scene.

    • CanuckAmuck

      did we really need to be reminded that Claudia is a heartless asshat?

      This isn’t about reminding everyone what sort of person she is, it’s about the memory of this incident having been until now sealed away and not dealt with.

      • Gotham

        The incident would have been just as traumatic if he shot them in their sleep, why make it *more* so

        • David Brown

          The greatest feeling I know isn’t “I told you so”. It’s when the person you were giving advice to, who refuses to listen, has what happen to them that you warned them about, and they come to you and say “You told me so”. No reservations at that point, no arguments. Just you’re right.
          That might be why Patrick did it this way. Plus it’s more about him being able to heal himself than to just kill them.

          • Tylikcat

            Ugh. This really depends on the subject matter.

            “Please, this thing you’re supporting, it’s not viable, I totally understand why you’re supporting it, but if y’all don’t get a better practical basis together, history is going to repeat itself and you’re going to end up in a worse situation and probably with a body count.”
            “You have been corrupted by your conservative education!” (This should have been a tip off to everyone. My education is not particularly conservative.)
            *horrible things happen*
            …I am so, so sorry.

          • Gotham

            yeah I feel like whichever way we’re talking about the exact same thing
            It would have been less seemingly out of nowhere if we had witnessed a scene earlier of Smol Patrick feeling distraught because he tried to tell his dad mommy was bad in the head and Dadtrick dismissing his concerns.
            As is, we have to infer that’s the catharsis he wanted and that’s not good writing.

          • Weatherheight

            I get that, too, but mostly what I feel is abiding regret that someone I care about has done something self-destructive again and that odds are they will do it again and there’s squat I can do to prevent that recurrence.

            Being right isn’t the charge it was in my youth.

        • CanuckAmuck

          Would it have, though? That’s subjective. Regardless, still not the point.

          • Gotham

            It’s subjective whether killing someone or forcing someone they love to murder them instead is more traumatic? Are you a bot?
            And you were the one to say the point was how traumatic it is now you’re doing a complete 180

          • CanuckAmuck

            Are you a bot?

            Whoa, no need to get upset and start name-calling just because someone disagrees with you.

            And you were the one to say the point was how traumatic it is now you’re doing a complete 180

            How so? I still think so, I just don’t agree with you that one particular course of action is objectively more traumatic than the other.

            Just chill and maybe switch to decaf, yeah?

          • Gotham

            You take me way too seriously.
            And your theory still has not addressed my—sole—question that the convolutedness of that traumatic revenge scene still has to make up for narrative purpose.

          • CanuckAmuck

            I don’t have to address anything – it’s just your opinion that it has to.

          • Gotham

            …it’s my /opinion/ that narratively, plots have to have purpose?
            I mean, sure, like it’s my opinion that air exists

        • Beroli

          Your two clauses have the form:
          A=B, B>A.

          Either it would have been just as traumatic the other way–or it’s been made more so. In your next comment, you respond sarcastically with:

          It’s subjective whether killing someone or forcing someone they love to murder them instead is more traumatic? Are you a bot?

          so clearly, we (to stand for you and me, not to include CanuckAmuck) agree that B>A is the correct formulation.

          At which point, it’s not about convincing the audience that she’s heartless (the audience members who have recently posted questioning that she’s a sociopath aside). It’s that Patrick, whether motivated by hopes that he could get away with only killing one of his parents, or wanting both to suffer for Skipper, or, most likely, convincing himself that it’s 100% the former while it’s actually more like 80% the latter, did do this, not shoot both of them in their sleep.

          • Gotham

            Yes I do think what he’s doing would come to wreck him much more what I meant by “it’s just as traumatic” was “if the point was to showcase origins of trauma, showing something simpler would have been sufficient”.

            I don’t know if I buy your theory though, because she doesn’t seem to suffer much at all. Sure, maybe he cooked up something even more fucked up for her next page but as of now it seems like he resented him /so much more/ than her and it… doesn’t compute at all with what we’ve seen is all

      • ruidh

        Am I missing something here? This is somehow a memory of a previous event? With Allison standing right there?

        • R Lex Eaton

          It’s the memory behind the reinforced door they passed. Alison and the fifth Patrick are just watching it play out.

          • ruidh

            Yeah. I had to go back and reread. I had forgotten the context.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Nu prob.

    • Tylikcat

      The whole point of a gut stab is that death is slow. (Which is more awful.)

      • Gotham

        I joke about the “told you so”, this feels so not Patrickesque.
        Which is why I do seriously wonder about why make it such a scene, it’s got to be something more than taking his revenge on /him/ and giving agency and power to /her/, this is weird

        • He’s talked before about how, because of his power, he could make people do things and this was what he did rather than killing people directly. If his father couldn’t think well of him, then for Patrick’s own functioning he needed his father gone. This way he’s dead with an obvious killer Who Is Not Patrick. It wraps the situation up neatly, rather than giving any outsiders a hint that this was an act of Menace and that there could be potential insight into his past and reasoning.

          And if Patrick dissociates himself from his feelings, it all makes sense from the point of view of a supervillain! But there were, in fact, a lot of feelings involved. Thus why it’s beyond the barrier and (until just now) blocked out.

          • Gotham

            That’s a great possibility, trying to cover his tracks, but he’s quite stuck now for how to kill his mom with the same method. Not sure a “kill yourself” will work on that heartless gaze.

            And I really don’t like how likely it makes it so that he ends up /not/ killing her.
            (Sure he could have done it all so she ends up with life in jail but what’s preventing her from saying “it was Menace, he was my son, he forced my to do it with his mind because that hasn’t been debunked publicly yet”.)

            Also, he has an army and robots who could do that for him and call it collateral damage so that he doesn’t have to broadcast his presence with an UNCONSPICUOUS HELICOPTER
            And if he really wants to do it himself, just ask the henchfolks to kidnap them and do it somewhere safer where their bodies are never found

            The only reasonable explanations left are either
            • he has a point to prove, in which case I’m curious which
            • in a shocking turn of event, he doesn’t plan on killing her at all (which would truly be the worst)
            • …he doesn’t have the guts to do it himself?

    • JeffH

      I feel like it was important to Patrick to prove it to his Father. He wanted his Father, who was demonstrably in denial, to realize that his wife was a monster, and by ignoring it, he was an accomplice to how Patrick was treated.

      I’d also speculate that Patrick, through his mind reading, may have realized that nothing short of being stabbed was going to convince his Father.

      • Gotham

        Like I said elsewhere, it would have been nice to have seeded how that denial affected and hurt Patrick a little more in that chapter. I do think it’s likely but we’ve spent so much longer focusing on the mother that tonally, …it almost feels like a twist? Which is certainly not intentional.

        Unless I can call it twice in a row and next page is Patrick saying “come mother we have work to do I missed you dearly so”

    • Noone

      Alison has mastered the “dull surprise” look.

  • Thomas S

    … Binks …

    … …. processing …

    … blinks again ….

    … …. still processing …

    … crumbs?!

  • Olivier Faure

    Sorry, Henry, but at that point it’s pretty much your fault. You really, really should have seen this coming.

    Also, copy-pasting my recent comment:

    Patrick, I can understand the appeal of playing Saw games on people to make them reveal their true horrible inner self, but trust me, it’s way more fun to do it to people you *don’t* feel a personal connection to, otherwise the only person you’re hurting is you (and whoever ends up stabbed).

    • masterofbones

      This has a point though. He is diverting the hatred his father feels towards him onto his mother, thus protecting his mind. He might very well intend to keep his father alive.

  • Fluffy Dragon

    Patrick saw it coming, just didn’t think it would be quite that … quick?

    • Callinectes

      God: “…I think I’ll try that flood thing again.”
      Abraham: “You wish for me to build an Ark, as my ancestor Noah?”
      God: “Uhhhh… no.”

      • Khno

        Abraham: “Wait, did you mean the other only son?”
        **STAB**

        • Nexxo

          God: “WOULD YOU JUST STOP STABBING YOUR KIDS ALREADY? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU? DON’T YOU RECOGNISE A TEST OF FAITH WHEN YOU SEE ONE!?! Jesus!”
          Abraham: “Who’s Jesus?”

          • Khno

            God: my son!
            Abraham: did you stab him?
            God: wat?
            Abraham: did you stab your son too?
            God: NO!
            Abraham: Oh, I see. And in future?
            God: I’m not the one who… I won’t be able to do anything ag.. listen, nails don’t count as stabbing!

          • Ganurath

            Angelic Messenger: “Spears, on the other hand…”
            God: “You be quiet.”

          • Mechwarrior

            What about spears?

          • Scholiast

            LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!

    • Akiva

      I mean, there’s a Shoah-era version of that story where Abraham kills Isaac and g!d brings him back. For obvious contemporary reasons. 🙁

      There’s also a theory that it was written when El and Adonai were still two separate gods: one of them is the god of the first half, who demands the sacrifice of children, and the other is the one who saves Isaac.

      • Weatherheight

        That was interesting to me when I first learned that. One wonders if the time that the Hebrew people spent in Egypt picked up an element or two of Amon-Ra, another two great gods that go great together.

        • Mechwarrior

          The Hebrews as a group never spent time in Egypt, the Book of Exodus has no basis in reality. Though they certainly could have learned about Egyptian gods through all the traders that traveled back and forth through the region (both theirs and other tribes’).

    • Revanche

      IMAO, God should have chewed Abraham out for killing an innocent kid for no good reason.

    • Gotham

      He literally mindread it coming. Doesn’t seem his eyes spell surprise, rather fear because hell this is creepy

  • trev006

    “Hah… of course you know, you’re a telepath…”

    “… dear, you only have to be sentient to know about me. I think the dog figured it out faster.”

  • Aresius

    So…how did that make them think better of you, Patrick?

    • Julia McGuire

      Well he can’t think badly of him if he’s dead.

      • Aresius

        We do not know what happens to personality imprints in his mind when their owners die. What if he’s had to deal with his murdered dad in his brain all these long years?

        • Well, if so, then, no… he would have been behind the barriers. ;-;

          • Weatherheight

            i dunno, there’s lots of space in those walls…
            “Baby Clothes…”
            “This place has got everything.”
            “New Oldsmobiles are in early this year!”
            “Pier One Imports…”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l3CGibsWT8

            The only “persons” we saw inside the walls were aspects of Patrick and clear minions, Alison, and apparently Arjun. That seems to imply that those other people aren’t ambulatory but more like holocrons; statics structures that can be accessed and experienced.

            Then again, maybe not… 😀

          • Khlovia

            Regarding the video: I think that if I were a large company that had shelled out large money for product placement in a movie, and learned that the “placement” consisted of being smashed to smithereens to audience laughter, I might try to get my money back….

          • Weatherheight

            I kind of wonder if they got residuals or something as part of the contract, or if it was straight “pay to be seen”.

    • IanB

      The problematic one was the father, who is (per conversations so far) a “normal” person with innate feelings that, while potentially masked, can’t be controlled.

      Mom is a sociopath, so she can likely reframe her thoughts pretty easily if there is a (to her) rational reason to do so.

      “If I think well of him, I get to live. My, what a fine fellow he is!”

      • Khlovia

        “He’s very impressive! Look at what he’s accomplished! I may not have been the most nurturing of mothers, but at least he can’t complain about the quality of the chromosomes I provided! (Obviously his father’s chromosomes provided nothing useful; look what a little wuss *he* is, er, was.)”

  • Chabneruk

    “You see, Henry, you gave me stab-ility. But now I have to cut you off. Have a knife death.”

    But seriously, this must hurt. He obviously deluded himself about his feelings and his wife’s personality for his whole life and now she has taken that from him as he dies, completely alone, although his son and wife are right there. And Patrick must feel his despair.

    I wonder if Henry would have been a better person with another partner. Not sure if he deserved such a gruesome death. But then he condoned Claudia trying to kill Patrick.

    • Austin Coté Williams

      To be fair, though, no one dies from being stabbed in the stomach – at least not right away. He probably has a good 30 minutes of lying there bleeding and thinking over his life choices before he dies.

      • Kid Chaos

        Well, that makes it even worse. 💀

      • Chabneruk

        Which is true. My first guess was that Patrick would explicitly ask for a stab to the stomach so that his father could change his mind (start hating the mother, stop hating Patrick) and that Patrick had some method to heal him afterwards.

        But then this struck me as extremely risky. How would Claudia know where the stomach is? She might hit another vital organ by accident instead. So it may be simply what it appears to be – a very gruesome punishment for attempted child murder.

        • Austin Coté Williams

          He was still able to talk, so we know she didn’t somehow hit the heart or lungs. Stomach, liver, intestines… pretty much anything in that general area would be awful to be stabbed in, but not an immediate death sentence.

          • zellgato

            Also cought up blood though.. which only happens with lung or air track stabs..
            So she def went up through the stomach and knicked his lungs at least. Just not both lungs.

          • Tylikcat

            Well, this could be the comic convention of coughing up blood, which just means it will eventually be mortal. Or maybe he bit his tongue really badly when she stabbed him or something? I mean, that gotta have smarted.

          • Austin Coté Williams

            Ooh – fair point, that.

          • zellgato

            I think thats why “in that time” patrick and “current patrick” have such specific visual looks..
            He was expecting a lighter stab? but the mom quite enthusastically stabbed… more so than his prediction..

          • ruhrow

            You’d be surprised at how much damage people can take to heart and/or lungs and keep talking. And also at how quickly a hemorrhaging spleen can take you down.

        • Tim F

          I wouldn’t overthink this. Patrick wanted to make a point before he kills them both.

      • David Claughton

        Just enough time then for Patrick to put the gun in Henry’s hands, along with the comment “I only said *I* wouldn’t shoot you”.

        • magnetoo

          He didn’t say he wouldn’t shoot her if she did it: just that he would shoot her if she didn’t.

      • David Brown

        But it’s all in Patrick’s mind, or maybe he’s connecting them all to each other. Either way, this isn’t happening PHYSICALLY.
        The question is, is this Patrick’s psy-copy of his parents, or are they connected? Did the stab cause a brain hemorrhage?

        I’m thinking Patrick isn’t actually letting his father die here for real. They are connected, and he’s forcing his father to see his mother as she truly is. Either that or he actually is dying of some psychically-induced freeing death.
        I’m sure he’ll kill his mother anyway. He was just making a point.

        • Darkfeather21

          Pretty sure this is a memory.

          • Austin Coté Williams

            Seconded.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          I’m not sure why you think this didn’t happen physically. Patrick would have no need to heavily censor some fantasy he came up with.

      • zellgato

        Except she so didn’t stab him in the stomach.. way way too much splatter, and he’s coughing up blood now too.
        maybe.. she stabbed through the stomach….but she had to have hit deep and higher too

        • Tylikcat

          I suspect this is “stomach” colloquially, not stomach anatomically. Though hey, I wouldn’t put it past her to know her anatomy really well. She might be a dissection sort of gal.

      • bryan rasmussen

        now father, I can save your life and kill your wife or you can die as you have lived, in terror of this sociopathic monster.

      • DaktariD

        Well, see, it depends on the placement of the knife. The inferior vena cava, which collects and returns blood from the the lower half of the body runs the length of the torso. It holds a large percentage of the body’s total blood volume (it acts as a sort of reservoir). A knife wound which penetrates the ivc can cause unconsciousness in seconds and death in short order. I forget where I learned this. It’s one of those useless factoids stuck in my brain.

        • bryan rasmussen

          So Patrick runs the scenario is his mind and concludes – Mom is no good with a knife or basic anatomy, stabbing dad in the stomach gives a 75% survival rate when my doctors get him. After showing him what she’s like he will love me when I kill her. And if it goes wrong I’ll just heavily censor this moment from my memories.

          • Rosensweig

            I don’t think he has the ability to censor memories (yet). We all know the powers he has now, but this is a memory from early in his development.

      • Graeme Sutton

        Uh… do you know what the aorta is?

        • scottfree

          He doesn’t want his father to instantly die. “Stabbed in the stomach” is a lingering, sometimes survivable wound that drives home the fact that “I’m right about how your wife is a sociopath.”

        • Austin Coté Williams

          Isn’t that right against the backbone, though? That’s not a very long knife and …well, I guess that Patrick’s dad doesn’t have a lot of paunch to him, but she would have had to stab deep in order to hit that. …I think?

          • Tylikcat
          • Weatherheight

            Well, that’s helpful…
            Are these ranked in order of effectiveness?
            Of course, now I’m a little worried that you have such a manual close at hand…
            😀

          • Tylikcat

            *rolls eyes heavenward*

            I teach anatomy – with a focus on neuroanatomy. One of my hobbies/vocations is rehabilitative work. Another is martial arts. Aka, the twin arts of taking bodies apart and putting them back together. Now, the image above was just ganked from google images (searched transverse section L1 aorta). In terms of clearer instructions for a quick death? Oh, sweetie, do you think I need a manual?

            (None of this lessens my personal commitment to ahimsa, though that can turn into a pretty involved conversation.)

          • Weatherheight

            Oh my friend, I know YOU don’t need a manual.
            I was wondering if you’d taken up consulting work on the topic. 😀

          • Tylikcat

            Not on the quick death side! (Well, I suppose, it does come up not infrequently in martial arts discussions, come to think of it.)

            I do consult on complex spine injuries, and some chronic pain conditions, but since I’m a researcher, not a clinician, it’s purely as a hobbyist.

      • Sengachi

        That depends. I mean sure it’s possible for abdominal wounds to kill you slowly over days. But it’s also possible to hit the aorta and that’ll bleed you out about as fast as getting stabbed in the heart.

    • bryan rasmussen

      how do you know he condoned it, she might just have told him Patrick ran away.

      • motorfirebox

        He’s not that dumb.

      • Chabneruk

        Because he pretty much stated it two pages earlier: “As it seems unlikely that you will return to believing that I simply drowned in the river after rolling out of mother’s car”.

        Clearly speaking to both of them.

        • Khno

          Rolling out of mother’s car isn’t literally contrary to ran away. It can be the first step.

          • Beroli

            Drowning in the river, however, is entirely contrary to any form of “survived.”

          • Khno

            Oh you’re right, I misread/mistranslated that part, sorry.

        • bryan rasmussen

          forgot, on the other hand she could say that crazy kid rolled out of the car and drowned and neglected the why was because she was taking him to her favorite killing spot.

    • pleasechangemymind

      I don’t know. He may be a victim of emotional abuse in his own way, but he is — as far as we know — a neurotypical adult. He doesn’t have the “excuse” (I use the term loosely) for his actions that Claudia’s sociopathy gives her. He let her try to kill their son. He let her abuse Patrick, experiment on him, and neglect him. He allowed this to happen to his child and did nothing to stop it, even enabled it. And he won’t even admit it because he wants to see himself as the good guy.

      Between Henry and Claudia… I honestly don’t know if I can say which one is worse.

      • Natsumeg

        so we have the extraordinary evil of action (Claudia’s attempts at murder and other illegal activities), and the evil of indifference and banality.

        It’s not hard to see why Patrick might have a warped perspective on people. I think it’s unusual for people to practice evil the way Claudia did, but I think a lot of people practice small acts of willful forgetfulness every day.

        I don’t condone torturing animals and inflicting abuses on sentient creatures, but it’s what I’m implicitly condoning whenever I eat meat. I’m using this example because I think most people eat meat, and everyone who does knows the implications–I think we just try very hard not to think about it too much. It’s probably why meat is packaged the way it is in stores.

        I think the environment needs to be protected, but I don’t always separate out my trash, my recyclables, and my composts. I know for a fact that my roommates don’t do it either.

        I just want to live my life quietly and enjoy as much as possible, but I’ve lived in a few other places in the world for me to question whether my mundane and privileged life is predicated on a lot of abuse and trauma on people in other countries and less fortunate individuals on my own country. Well I don’t even ponder–I pretty much believe it.

        In small doses, this doesn’t really make me evil. it doesn’t make anyone. Since many grew up in this system, the way to tackle the problems are in incremental steps. I want to make clear that I don’t think anyone who eats meat or don’t recycle is evil.

        The point here is that Patrick grew up with an extreme example of gross negligence and willful ignorance. His father is someone who believes that as long as he doesn’t DO anything evil, he’s good.

        So for Patrick, I wonder if every little banal act of evil is going to remind him of his father. I wonder if this is why his image of people is infused with so much bitterness. I wonder if it’s harder for Patrick to distinguish between the extreme cases with the more accepted kinds of apathy. After all, from what we’ve just learned, he still cares about his parents very VERY much, and maybe that has some sway over what Patrick considers ‘normal’. If there is even a slight connection between the way people carelessly ‘forget’ to sort their trash and the way his father carelessly remained ignorant of things right in front of him, it’s no great surprise that he believes the collective human race can’t do the right thing without a centralized figure forcing them to.

        This also makes me think that he truly cares about Alison, since she and her family and her life is like the ultimate counterpoint against the way his own parents lived. Not only does Alison go out of her way to do the right thing and seek out the right thing to help people, she also expects others to as well. Even if the mug incident hadn’t happened, her very existence poses a threat to whatever warped ideology Patrick might have developed under his parents’ influence.

    • a_lethe_ia

      enablers.. like fuck em.. fuck em so hard. >:[

  • Thomas S

    A stomach wound can be recovered from, a gunshot to the head, less so.

    I did think the “Shot” Patrick speaks of might be a polaroid … and of Patrick gives his parents a one way ticket to a far far away place, like a ticket to Mauritius.Also, it took that long to wield a knife against the person who you share your life with?

  • Sazazezer Mililpilipi

    Yay. I totally called it.

    …wait a minute.

    • Dwight Williams

      Yeah.

      This is not the kind of thing one wants to be correct about.

    • Philip Bourque

      I don’t think it was that hard to predict.

  • Danygalw

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    • Danygalw

      mAYBE? He called? An ambulance and police? Before he came in??

      • Scholiast

        No. He definitely didn’t.

  • Lostman

    Should we really be surprised at this.

  • Weatherheight

    I wonder if Patrick can only read thoughts (the rational articulation of experience) as opposed to reading minds (with the pain and emotion and other darkness). I’m guessing the latter based on his facial expression, but…

    If the latter is the case, that’s some formidable force of will with memorex-Patrick; he just experienced getting gut-stabbed and he’s still holding the gun more or less steady. Color me impressed.

    Sure you did, Claudia – like he was a well-fitting pair of shoes.

    • Aresius

      He did feel the death of Skipper, he must have felt his father’s too

      • R Lex Eaton

        I’m thinking that’s a point in Weatherheight’s favor. Feeling the thoughts of a dying person wouldn’t be nearly as traumatizing as feeling everything else.

        The way I see it, killing another human being is already psychologically horrifying. That horror would be compounded many times over if you were able to feel what they feel as you kill them. Thus, killing someone with telepathy or another mental power would either mean the telepath has never done it before, is a sadist, or is completely cut off from anything resembling empathy.

        I guess Patrick is lucky he doesn’t have THAT particular telepathic knack.

    • There’s no way he could have felt the unacknowledged hatred and disgust his father apparently felt only subconsciously towards him if his ability to read others were limited to only their consciously rational “mental voice”.

      • I believe it’s still unclear if he just ascribes people feelings based on a very flawed understanding of how they work or what they are. Like, he could think Dad hates him because he’s read some hateful thoughts and decided that’s what hate feels like.

        Though it sure looks like he had Mom figured out as someone incapable of empathy.

        • Tylikcat

          I think Patrick’s track record speaks to him having a pretty good understanding of people.

          • He certainly has a good intellectual understanding, but to me it’s always seemed he’s missing some essential, shall we say, component.

          • Weatherheight

            I see what you did there…

      • Weatherheight

        I didn’t make myself clear – the difference I was striking at wasn’t “Conscious versus unconscious”, it was “physical sensations versus the abstractions of those sensations”.

        Practically everything we experience starts as a physical sensation/iconic input, which we then abstract, drawing associations and conclusions. As an example, women can remember feeling pain during childbirth but that pain is not re-experienced whenever a woman recalls the pain of that childbirth. Tylikcat can probably explain this better.

        As an example, Patrick knows that his father was just stabbed because that experience abstracts fairly quickly (“I was just stabbed and by golly that hurts.”). The question I have is over whether he also feels the pain itself (which is a form of empathy) or whether he just get the stored rational data. The latter doesn’t preclude the memory of pain or memory of feeling or unconscious thoughts; it’s conceivable that he has learned to read emotions in others without actually mirroring/experiencing those feelings himself.

        There’s evidence that he does feel emotions of others rather than just the abstraction of those emotions, but this scene makes me wonder if he’s just been faking that…

        • I believe that he experiences the experience of the person experiencing pain. That is, he may not feel the pain physically, but very likely is able to read the experience of another person *being in physical pain* – and everything associated with that including the shock and visual disruption and so forth. That’s my understanding from the way this comic has visually presented his subjective mind-reading experiences first-hand. I believe it to be more than simple abstractions.

          • Weatherheight

            I think you’re probably right – but from what I hear, no gut wound is a cakewalk. The fact that he’s not curled up in a small ball has me reconsidering the position, is all.

          • Nexxo

            Lifetime of experiencing the suffering of thousands of people, all of the time, at the same time, without filter. You learn to develop some psychological defences against that, I’d imagine. Dissociation, bunting, stuff like that.

          • Weatherheight

            Probably. I do wonder if he hears a constant background buzzing, something like white noise, from most people, and it’s only the ones who “matter” to him (giving the broadest possible version of the word “matter”) that really pop up above the background noise.

    • Stephanie

      If I remember right, he can read pretty much everything. He was able to absorb all the expertise of those drugged scientists, who weren’t in a position to rationally articulate their experiences.

    • Tylikcat

      This is probably not the first time he’s experience such, though I’d guess this is unusually intense, due to his relation to the people involved.

  • The shock and horror on Menace’s face in panel 4. Is it possible that even he didn’t expect her to do it? Or just that feeling his own father’s horror and betrayal as he lays dying is too much to handle?

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Remember that he fears this woman, even in the present day. No matter how strong he is now, this is the monster who was ready to kill him as a kid. And she just re-affirmed that she’ll kill easily, even those she cared about (in her way, as she put it). Just because she can’t hurt him the same way anymore doesn’t mean those fears are evaporated.

      • allneonlike

        I wouldn’t put any bets on “she can’t hurt him in the same way anymore.” I doubt Patrick is in any way, shape, or form as prepared to shoot that gun as Claudia is to use that knife right now, and I don’t think that’s something he planned for. Not good.

    • I read it as unbearable grief. That he knew what was going to happen, and that he knew that it was going to hurt this much, and it does, and that doesn’t make it hurt any less

  • Scholiast

    We all saw this coming.

  • Richard, Probably

    I just want to make a small note in appreciation of how the red painted on Claudia’s nails is different from the red of the blood and the red of the background. That would have been an extremely easy corner to cut, but the fact that it wasn’t not only demonstrates the evident attention to detail on display in this comic, but but also neatly maintains separate symbolisms for each red.

    All of the reds speak to horror and pain. The background red is the distress and agony Patrick experiences thrumming through the air in that bedroom. The blood displays the results of physical wounds, raw and freshly inflicted. But the nail polish might be the worst: the evident, but always literally-manicured cruelty of the wearer.

  • Franklin J Gomes

    Claudia: “Well, we both know you don´t need to kill me.”

    Patrick: “Yes mother, thanks to your incapacity to emotionally connect with other persons, your feelings about me are a neutral void, thereof I have no need to silence your toughs. But…

    Option 1: …I still have a very human need to even the score. So, enjoy the life sentence you will get for murdering your own husband.Farewell.”

    Option 2: …I REALLY loved that dog.”

  • HanoverFist

    Called it.

  • Lheticus Videre

    “…Okay, sociopath. Now I see it.”

  • Keja

    I wonder… Perhaps Patrick inherited his mother’s sociopathy/psychopathy but his telepathy has offset that because he experiences normal people’s thoughts and emotions.

  • MoonicaMusing

    That moment when you realise Menace’s full face mask was less about hiding his identity, and more about hiding his haggard, mal-nourished state.

  • zellgato

    Whelp even patty boy looks mildly surprised there.
    SHE DIDN’T LISTEN PROPERLY! She did not stab him in the stomach at all… Stomachs don’t splatter that much.. and he wouldnt’ be coughing up blood. She went deeeep

    • palmvos

      it is somewhat possible that the artists did not know this. though as someone pointed out- keep it vague- ‘stab father so he dies’ might have worked better. or perhaps the murder suicide theory was the original plan.. and mom figured it out, and countered it.

  • Jshadow

    Called it…

    Now Patty’s gonna shoot her, isn’t he?

  • FlashNeko

    I’m… a little disquieted by how it’s being said someone who has, by all indications given so far, been the victim of decades of emotional abuse somehow “deserves” this fate.

    And for enabling that abuser to take that final step of “ownership” over their victim, just for the sake of his own personal comfort, I have to say I feel LESS sympathetic to Patrick than I did before.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      He is an accomplice. Patrick even explained why.

      • FlashNeko

        All Patrick said was “You’re actually angry at me!”

        He never went into WHY dad might be angry under all that fear and self-hatred. Almost like he couldn’t understand why someone might have conflicting emotions in a situation.

        It’s almost like not understanding the underlying emotions to a thought has been a consistent part of his narrative from day one.

        • Giacomo Bandini

          That’s not relevant. What is relevant is that in the end, he is (mentally) siding with his abuser, his psychopathic wife.
          He hates the big bad Menace who wants to take over the world, but not the little Claudia who had already taken over his own world. He resents the big tyrant but not the small one: he is guilty of hypocrisy.

          • FlashNeko

            Except it IS relevant? Incredibly so? Like, that’s how insidious the form of mental manipulation being implied here is.

            Plus there is no point at which it’s said he doesn’t have any hatred for her. Just that any hatred he could feel has been buried beneath all of his other feelings.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Does his being being a victim of abuse makes him unable to stand trial? I say he is still responsable for his own actions, even the mental ones.
            Beside clearly Patrick had said that the father hates him but not his wife, “you have being married to a psycopath for 20 years, and i m the one who gets your scorn?”, and his father even defended her.
            The mind reader in the room is testyfing exactly that, that he is feeling hate for his criminal son but not for his wife, and while he could be lying, there is no apparent angle for him to do so.

          • palmvos

            A lot depends on depth of reading. and discernment. I suspect that far more parents have what the child would read as hate then might be at first supposed. family dynamics are unbelievably complicated. there’s a whole menu of options to pick from to create these feelings and that’s without a budding superpower that creates a whole new level of creepy.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            No. It is simpler than that. Henry loathes the flashy psychopath Menace who use mental manipulation to assess dominion overthe world, while at the same time he welcome his servitude under the thumb of his psychopathic wife, and he keeps this evident contraddictions on by lying to himself.

        • Well, that’s the thing. Patrick knows a lot of people who’ve done a lot of bad things, including himself, and he knows exactly why all of them have done it. If Patrick decides someone has to die, or that he wants that person to die, it’s with full knowledge of what in the person’s mind drew them to those actions.

          His father committed evil actions. That doesn’t mean he deserves to die. But it’s hard to make a clear argument that ANYBODY deserves to die. It’s not clear that his mother deserves to die — she doesn’t have the capacity to be any better than she is, without strong external help. The world may be better off without her, but that’s not the same as her deserving to die.

          You could make an argument that her father, as someone who DID have the capacity to be better, is MORE culpable. I’m NOT making that argument, but it’s not completely ridiculous, either.

          Patrick is being unnecessarily cruel here. Because cruelty is NEVER necessary. He’s doing evil things, which is why it’s such a painful memory to him. If he’d simply carefully and humanely eliminated his parents, I think he could justify it to himself as necessary to make the world a better place. But this is revenge, and he knows it.

    • Tylikcat

      Huh. I thought the whole point of this memory in the narrative is that it was so awful that Patrick repressed it – that it was, perhaps, the worst of his walled off memories. I see this as just awful all around.

      That being said, while I wouldn’t say deserve, I also am wondering by what logic you’re letting Dadrick off the hook. Unless you’re going to say that Patrick is in error (and so far, I think evidence is against that) he seems to have at the least had deeply enough mixed feelings about his own son that he didn’t have a problem being complicit in his attempted murder, and blamed his son for his wife’s psychopathy (or whatever he told himself was going on with his wife.) Remember how young Patrick was when this happened. His involvement might be very different, but I don’t think evidence points towards him being a passive victim here.

      (As a side note, my mother was in a somewhat similar role. Of course, I went on to spend many years in contact with my mother after I cut contact with my father.)

      • FlashNeko

        I dunno, the controlling nature of most of her dialogue towards him, and this page specifically with the “I loved you in my own way” line, is classic abuser behavior. And she’s had another decade plus on top of the years she’s already had in their relationship to warp the narrative to her favor in his head.

        Note that in the earlier scene where we see his anger playing out in his head, none of it is directed at Patrick directly but either at the wife or just the crazy circumstances of the situation (and also a little bit at himself).

        And he isn’t there for the bit where Momtrick is driving Patrick off to kill him, so we do not actually know if he was complicit at all and only knows what his abuser, his captor for all intense and purposes, has said about the situation.

        Like, I’m willing to be proven wrong if we get conclusive evidence he was in on it all along? But there has been nothing to suggest he has been complicit to any of this beyond his being terrified of the mother and not being brave enough to either run away or break it off legally… which happens to a lot of abuse victims.

        • Patrick is a supervillain. That he would blame his complicit parent who did not protect him from abuse–which is something a lot of abused children do–is believable. That Patrick specifically–a supervillain who has some really messed up ideas about his own emotions–would then decide his father needs to die to protect Patrick from his father’s own thoughts isn’t a huge shock.

          I know for myself, in a lot of ways I resent those who didn’t actively abuse me as a child even more. “You weren’t a monster like them and yet you still let this happen,” etc. Victimhood in one context does not absolve them of the moral imperative to protect–or, hell, at least empathize with and comfort!–their child.

          • Khlovia

            My hypothesis about that–despising the enabler even more than the (direct) abuser–is that the victim comes to view the abuser almost as a force of nature. You fear a tornado, but you don’t hate it–there’s no point in hating it; it’s a *tornado*. But the person who dives into the storm cellar just in front of you, and then shuts and bars the door, leaving you out there at the mercy of the elements? That person has earned your fury.

        • Tylikcat

          I think in this case it’s meant to portray her as a psychopath, but I’m not really quibbling about whether she also abused her husband, because the line between being a victim and being an enabler isn’t clear, and people often cross that line – often, many times. (I will include some of my mother’s soliloquies, if you all would like examples, but seriously, it gets dark.)

          This, for me, is the troubling piece. There was a vulnerable child involved, and Dadrick chose to blame him rather than trying to protect him, taking responsibility, or blaming Momrick. Whatever the hell was going on with him, he failed as a grown up, and yeah, he was complicit. It’s one think to want to help and not to be able to – or to be to frightened to. That’s not what’s going on here.

          • Khlovia

            This is the TL;DR version of my reply to Seastone, above.

            The notion that a parent is supposed to–is evolutionarily programmed to!–love and protect a child even at mortal risk to the parent is so deeply inherent in everyone’s consciousness that whenever there’s a fail in that regard, the failing parent is seen as a monster, as utterly unnatural.

            Even when the failure is merely weakness, like cowardice.

          • Tylikcat

            Personally, I’m willing to put a lot up to intent. Cowardice? Eh. Blaming Patrick and saying he made Claudia turn bad? Burn him in a fire.

          • Olivier Faure

            I disagree with that. My personal feeling on the subject is… there’s no excuse for failing. Weakness or cowardice doesn’t get you off the hook.

            Henry let Patrick be abused for years, and apparently didn’t do any of the things he could have done to make things better, even when his wife tried to murder his son. From then on, it doesn’t matter what exact part of his emotional makeup lead him to this, the fact is that he’s a “would let his son be abused and even murdered” sort of person, and he’s showing no sign of change; so he deserves what he gets.

          • palmvos

            the danger with your perspective is that there is no limiting factor. or to be a bit more obvious about the problem.. some modern genocide survivors would like to have a word or two with you…

          • Olivier Faure

            … yeah? The logic is the same. If your government is kicking down doors and killing minorities and you’re pretending nothing happens and re-electing this government… well, I wouldn’t say you’re evil, because politics are complicated and this example is simplistic, but you’re part of the problem.

          • Khlovia

            Where on Earth did you get the notion I think anything at all lets him off the hook?!

          • Tylikcat

            This is perhaps a fine distinction, but I also don’t give a shit about the glorified parent child connection. It’s the vulnerable child who is in your care and who is your responsibility bit – screw genetics or why they came to be there.

          • Noone

            Well, a child should really be more than a responsibility. Parenting done well has to be a labor of love, not one of duty. That’s probably why people put so much emphasis on the emotional connection between parents and their children.

          • Tylikcat

            But does that only come with genetics? My point isn’t about love versus responsibility but that this doesn’t have to do with being parents as such. You don’t have to be a parent for that kind of passive complicity to be awful.

          • Noone

            If you aren’t talking about parents, who are you talking about?

          • Tylikcat

            Well, the obvious ones are anyone else in a position of responsibility towards the child who might be aware of the abuse – housemates, babysitters, teachers, ministers, relatives, etc. etc. But in my community back home, it tends to be a larger circles of friends who know the family as well, who step in if they see anything not working. (The degrees of “not working” usually aren’t particularly extreme – I’m thinking of things like a teenager coming to their parents saying that they think they are depressed and would like to see a doctor about it, and the parents declining. People in the community – including mental health professionals – stepped in both to support the teen and to talk to the parents about how no, this was really a terrible way to handle the situation, your teen is doing their best to be mature and responsible, you need to stand by them. The parents decided that maybe a doctor’s visit was a good plan… It was all pretty friendly.)

          • Tylikcat

            Oh, and how could I have omitted doctors from my list above! What was I thinking? For a non-random example, ER doctors who look at a five or six year old with vaginal trauma, and a documented history of vaginal trauma, and shrug and figure it’s no big deal can pretty much go straight to hell in my book.

            (Okay, it was a different time, and I’m not actually angry with them as much as I am frustrated with the situation? Gah.)

          • Noone

            Ah, now I understand. I thought you were only talking about the connection between children and their parents, not indirect care takers or observers. My bad.

          • Tylikcat

            My response was to Khlovia’s bit about the evolutionary programming of parents in particular. To me, Henry failed in a pretty major way even if he wasn’t Patrick’s parent. I mean, imagine if he was Claudia’s boyfriend, and only saw the last few chapters – I’m still massively unimpressed by him.

          • FlashNeko

            I just really hate the concept of “because he wasn’t mentally/physically strong enough to break free/try to save his son, he must have been complicit and deserves nothing but scorn and death.”

            That really feels like the side of Toxic Masculinity that doesn’t get talked about as much. But that’s apparently just me.

          • Tylikcat

            I started out making it clear I don’t think this is what he deserves – just, at the same time, I am troubled by portraying him as an innocent. It’s a little hard for me to get particularly het up about toxic masculinity when I’m trying to hold him to the same standards I hold my mother to.

        • Olivier Faure

          I’d say: too bad for him. Being an abuse victim isn’t a “get out of jail free card”, and one way or another he’s complicit for the abuse Patrick went through. If he didn’t know, then he should have known.

          When your wife comes back in the middle of the night without your son and goes “Oh he drowned I guess”, being a coward isn’t an excuse for staying with her.

  • Philip Bourque

    I was hoping she’d display knife throwing skills, but meh. And now menace shoots her anyway because that’s the obvious move now.

    • George Talbot

      Oh no. The obvious move is to hand Dad the gun so he gets ‘revenge’ and shoots Mom. Now it’s a tragic domestic squabble, not a murder, and evidence of Patrick’s manipulative skills to kill his own parents.

      • Weatherheight

        The convoluted version of me wants him to call the cops and to get her committed.

        I mean, come on, wouldn’t this be great?
        “My son is a supervillain and he mind controlled me to stab my husband! Why won’t you believe me?!?”
        “Ma’am, you reported your son was dead ten years ago; now you’re saying he’s alive and forcing you to kill people?”

        K-CHANK!

        • Beroli

          Unfortunately, in light of the fact that Patrick’s already apparently been on TV making threats and demands, it would be more likely to go, “My son is Menace! I thought he was dead ten years ago, but he faked his death! He came back and mind controlled me to stab my husband because he knew that living with having done that would be far worse for me than dying…*sob* *sob*”

          • Olivier Faure

            “I should have known something was wrong with him the day he… he… mind controlled me to kill our doooooooog!” *sob* *sob* *sob*

          • Weatherheight

            Yeah, you’re totally right…
            But I wish you weren’t… 😀

  • Pol Subanajouy

    How accurate are we thinking Patrick is in his assessment that his mother was a sociopath? I’m still wary of believing these memories as presented totally, but at this point it would seem odd to not take the narrative at face value for such a big reveal.

    • Tylikcat

      I was in team “I’m going to go with it until presented with evidence to the contrary,” so…

    • CanuckAmuck

      How accurate are we thinking Patrick is in his assessment that his mother was a sociopath?

      I’m guessing a telepath of his calibre, just from the sheer number of minds he has been in and his ability to navigate them so easily, could tell that she was …off.

  • R Lex Eaton

    …Cripes!

    She didn’t even wait a moment! And I’m actually wondering if she actually thinks this will save herself. If not, then that’s hyper cold, even by psychopathic standards.

    I wonder how Patrick is going to carry this memory going forward…

    • Nightsbridge

      I think she likely thinks the slim chance that it would save her is worth murdering her husband here.

  • 12th

    “I loved your income contribution. I loved the veil of normalcy you provided my life. I loved your obedience, and your silent, tacit approval of my actions regardless of how hurtful they were. I loved your self-delusion that we were happy, and I loved how that provided a shield against the prying eyes of our community that there was anything wrong with our lives. I loved your deluded patience, your sacrifice of your own happiness and self-care, your inaction, and insecurity. I loved all these things because it allowed me to love myself above anything or anyone else.

    “Are you going to shoot me if he doesn’t die fast enough?”

    “…”

    “Henry, I’d love for you to die faster, if that’s possible.”

    • Khlovia

      Accurate.

  • JohnTomato

    No one dies that quickly from a belly wound. It’s a long, drawn out, circus of pain and misery.

  • dinner cat

    I know there are some more important things happening here but my first thought was “oh Patrick is left-handed.”

  • Professor Harmless

    For some reason, what I keep coming back to for this entire scene is that Patrick really didn’t have to do it this way. There were a hundred different ways he could have simply had them killed. A quarter of those would have simply looked entirely like accidents. He could have simply had them kidnapped and exiled to a remote island somewhere beyond his range.
    Instead, he chose to make one last attempt at some form of reconciliation. To reach out one last time to connect with the people who had ultimately created him, for better or worse. I’m not saying this in anyway excuses his actions, but rather it is an excellent illustration of the character of the person displayed before us.

    • I think it’s straight-up revenge. And I don’t blame him for it, either. I mean, yeah, it’s evil, but it’s understandable.

    • Nightsbridge

      I think he also didn’t want to kill them. He knows their minds. He knows his father wouldn’t stop hating him. But he has to try. Has to believe it’s possible . . .

    • R Lex Eaton

      This series has great character work. What can we say?

  • Zero-ELEC

    Yep, sounds about right.

  • Ophidiophile

    Cao Bei, you called it.

  • Johnny Awesome

    I don’t want to be a Negative Nelly here, but I am starting to think even Dr. Phil couldn’t save this family.

    • Mechwarrior

      Dr. Phil just plays a doctor on TV.

      • Johnny Awesome

        I always suspected he was an evil ultra-right wing oil baron but I had no proof

        • Without being hyperbolic, Dr. Phil is a con man who puts on a show for ratings and doesn’t give a damn about the well being of his guests. During an episode about alcoholism, he provided a guest with drugs and alcohol because he wanted them to look fucked up when they came out.

          http://deadline.com/2017/12/dr-phil-guests-given-drugs-alcohol-while-seeking-treatment-1202233364/

          A while back, he had the host of Bumfights (a show where they offer cheap pittance to homeless people to get them to do dumb shit on camera) and even played a promo for the show.

          He then immediately kicked the host off the show and declared that he refused to advertise that guy’s stuff. Y’know, the guy whose show he just advertised.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x1hsC-YKAA

  • Potato Patato Von Spudsworth 3

    Yup. The “next page” button chose the perfect time to disappear. Hello, commenters. I’ve been desperately wishing to comment since the start of this thing. This whole comic is so…intelligent! I’d write a massive rant, but there isn’t much that hasn’t at some point already been said and appreciated.

  • RobNiner ♫

    Share that LOVE with you family today : ) for that free exp!

    • R Lex Eaton

      High five for the Undertale joke!

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    zero hesitation.

  • Lisa Izo

    The funniest thing I notice about this page is that Patrick has called his mother a sociopath, and everyone agrees, but when I was calling her a sociopath in the comments when she snapped a dog’s neck, there was so much rancor and anger towards those me that I was shouted down and made the subject of multiple personal attacks, then banned from the forum.

    You’re all such massive hypocrites. This is my only post I’m making from this account here.
    No need to ban this one too. Just want to point out the hypocrisy. Bye.

  • Filthy Liar

    Well, with any luck he doesn’t need to kill his mother. The sociopathy might mean she doesn’t hate him/feel strong emotions at all.

    • Noone

      You have a strange definition of luck.

      • Filthy Liar

        I suppose. He’s probably done enough damage to himself with the slaying of his father via proxy, and it would be nice if he could walk away from this without doing more damage to himself. I suspect he’s going to kill his mother though. Do you think that’s the right thing to do?

        • Noone

          Not really, but it seems odd to kill your neglectful abuser and than spare the abuser that has actively tried to kill you, your dog and just stone cold killed the other abuser.
          Dadtrick was just a weak man, Momtrick is a monster.

          • Filthy Liar

            She’s also one that isn’t harmful now. He’s not getting hurt by her fear or resentment etc. just his dad’s.

  • i fUCKING GASPED

  • Weatherheight

    The comments for this page have been a lot of fun to read and mull over. Lots of really interesting points being made – even those I’m not sure I agree with are very thought-provoking and challenging, in a good way. Thank all of you for making my life a little more considered and thoughtful.

  • allneonlike

    What was it Claudia said/thought on the first page of this chapter? When Patrick’s intrusive memories of this scene were making it into Alison’s dreams? “Break me as fast as you can. I’m trying to kill you. One day you’ll put me back together.”

    One of the two people in this showdown already has zero hesitation about violence against family members and a medical condition that makes her focused and effective in the event of an adrenaline rush. Now she has a knife! The other one is a weeping teenager who was brought to the point of collapse because his parents were thinking mean things about him. Patrick seriously miscalculated here, Claudia is not going to go down without a fight, and I don’t think that’s something he really anticipated. Patrick might have intellectually known that she had the capacity to kill him when he saw her kill Skipper and was loaded into the car, but watching your parent harm others and threaten you is still really really not the same thing as having them actually try to kill you, or watching them actually kill another human being for that matter. I would feel a lot better about the situation if Alison really was there with him, because I think things are about to get very, very bad for Patrick.

    • Filthy Liar

      I mean, if she killed Patrick she’d be utterly correct to do so, but there’s a reason he gave her the knife. His dad hated/feared him, his mother probably has zero feelings for him.

    • Aresius

      That sentence was attributed some pages/comment sections ago to the very long-haired-Patrick that’s next to Allison. As in he was asking Al to break his inner walls and stop Lord Boy before these issues got her killed, in the confidence that she will be able to help him recover from this whole Jungian ordeal.

      On the second paragraph, Patrick has a gun and Claudia seems to be turning her back on him…

  • Alex

    I have seen these tropes before, but I love how the genders of Patricks’s parents are switched in relation to said tropes.

  • Just thought of a question: how do you think Patrick’s father was planning on finishing that sentence?

    I realized that many people might assume he was trying to say, “Good God, Patrick! What sort of a monster are you?”

    For me, I assumed he was about to say, “Good God, Patrick! What sort of a monster do you think your mother is?”

    • Olivier Faure

      Eh, could be either way.