SFP

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  • pleasechangemymind

    Man, rip my heart out, why don’t ya? *dries tears*

  • Tom O.

    Damn, Patrick.

  • critically_damped

    But only sort of.

    Fully agree, Patrick.

  • Gotham

    FUCKING
    CALLED IT

    Although I have to say I’m not super fond of the new title of the webcomic, Pensive Male Secondary Character Turned Immensely More Relatable Fan Favorite And Actual Audience Surrogate.
    Less catchy.

    • Zorae42

      Psh, like he wasn’t a relatable fan favorite before all this.

      • Gotham

        Yes but now it’s like
        “What about Alison?”
        “What about Alison”

        • Philip Bourque

          Alison? Well so far she’s made a good pawn for Patrick.

        • 3-I

          For you.

          • Gotham

            …not sure I caught what you meant.

    • Scott

      1) I understand where you’re coming from; that’s why I can’t watch any of the Marvel Netflix shows. They all make references to Daredevil, also known as “Competent Protagonist Tries to Aid City Despite Constant Interference From Meddling, Stupid Asshole”. I mean, what was the production team on that show thinking? I mean, it’s Vincent D’Onofrio. Making the audience sympathize with morally broken characters is sort of his best skill. Meanwhile, Matt Murdock just comes across as a bumbling yet arrogant asshat who is in way over his head. At least, that was how I felt. Makes me sad, too, because I really like what I’ve seen of the Punisher but I just can’t stand that they want me to watch Daredevil in order to see him.
      2) That said, I don’t completely agree that Patrick has replaced Allison as the fan favorite/actual audience surrogate. We are certainly getting a much deeper look at his past and how that has affected his current world view but we have had the same thing with Allison to a much greater extent. Sure, we are working through the resolution of what has definitely been Patrick’s arc but I don’t think that alone makes him the audience surrogate.
      3) Of course, both points 1 and 2 are entirely subjective and different people are going to relate more completely to different characters. I know most people don’t have the same problem with the Daredevil show that I did and it is entirely possible that most people will agree with you that Patrick is currently getting far better character development than we have ever seen for Allison.

      • Weatherheight

        I have a feeling we’re seeing all of this so that when Alison makes a decision and acts on it later that this arc will justify that decision / action.
        Whether or not that decision will be a good one and whether or not this is all one big manipulation on Patrick’s part is yet to be seen.

      • pleasechangemymind

        I actually loved that I sympathized so much with Kingpin. D’Onofrio’s performance was amazing, and I liked that Matt was honestly struggling to keep up with him. He faces some very SFP type stuff in season 2 as well, which I like.

        At the very least, though, I’d highly recommend season 1 of both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Season 2 of Jessica Jones is also good if you like exploding anger issues, addiction, and shitty family dynamics, but season 1 is a goddamn masterpiece. And The Punisher was incredible. Honestly, ya don’t even need to watch Daredevil to see that show. Just know that Karen was somewhat sympathetic to him, and you’re good.

    • Taylor Elnicki

      If I had to pick a favorite it would be Feral. I find both Allison and Patrick to be slightly obnoxious (but in a compelling way that has brought me here 2x/wk for years).

      • Emmy

        I’d subscribe to a Feral spin-off so fast.

        • I want to agree. She’s the kind of character who is marvellous in small doses, but could get to saturation quickly without a break now and then. However.. that flashback where she was talking about touring the world, broadening her horizons..? Awesome Feral motorcycle world tour – that I’d pay to read.

    • JP

      It’s the superman syndrome. Superman has rarely ever been relatable, Although he’s the main character of his comic, and the most famous comic book character of all time, nobody ever really relates to him. He’s a power fantasy to admire and aspire to, but never one to identify with; and it’s always the people around him that are the relatable characters. In fact, the time when he was his most popular ever was when he fought Doomsday and subsequently died, it’s because at that point he became relatable… someone that people looked up to but was incapable of of living up to people’s expectations… the hopelessness, and just trying to do his best to survive and not let those he cared for get hurt, and barring that, at least protecting those he loved… it was his lowest and darkest point, and also the point to where he was related to the most.

      Allison is more relatable than superman, as she has her social flaws (evidenced by debate about her actions in previous comics), but even then, that debate stems from the fact she’s expected to be near-perfect in her decision making. That’s even in spite of the fact she’s constantly seeking greater moral understanding, but due to the way she seeks it, she still manages to be at least one step ahead of everyone else in that regard throughout the comic, meaning even on the moral scale she’s playing the part of Superman.

      So the end result is Allison’s role in her comic is largely the same as Superman’s is in his, because it’s a person’s flaws that makes them relatable. And Allison isn’t “Relatable Female Protagonist” (those are much more common), but “Strong Female Protagonist” – which comes with the storyline strengths and weaknesses thereof.

      In fact, I have to give Brennan serious kudos for how relatable she’s managed to keep Allison at all while not abandoning the “better than human” concept of her character. In short, Brennan is a better writer than the writers of Superman.

      • Scott

        I’d say that Superman may not have been all that relatable during the initial decades of his existence but I’d put that down as a product of what people wanted at the time. In the 1950’s, Superman comics weren’t designed to appeal to those looking for a morally complex and relatable protagonist whose struggles helped flesh them out. They just wanted someone who always knew the right thing to do and always had the power to do it. He wasn’t a power fantasy for readers to aspire to be, he was a comforting figure during an uncertain time; a fictionalized representation of the American Spirit that could right all the wrongs in the world.
        It has only been relatively recently that there has been this shift to make Superman more relatable and, depending on the writer, this has had mixed results. However, I’d say that the most well executed examples of this aren’t when the writers simply made Superman fight someone he couldn’t win against, it was when they made the challenges Superman faced more morally complex. I’d say that Superman is at his worst when the only challenge he is given is “here is a clearly evil person, can you punch them hard enough to save the world?”. I’d say he is at his best when he is faced with situations that don’t have a clear route for him to take and he has to make the best decision he can given the limited amount of his knowledge. Then, he can become sympathetic when we see him do the best he can to do what he believes is right only to then see that he made the wrong decision. That’s something that everyone can relate to because we have all been in a position where we were only trying to help and ended up making things worse. I like to think of the ending to Red Son as a good example.

        • JP

          I would say that’s a difference between Superman being at his best vs the writers being at their best. But I get what you’re saying. 🙂

          • Scott

            Yeah, it’s really hard to nail down one interpretation for a character who has been around for 80 years and written by god knows how many authors who have covered the full spectrum from absolutely amazing artists and visionaries to “who thought letting YOU write this was a good idea?”

          • JP

            Lol XD Fair enough.

            On the one hand you literally have writers so good they literally took down the Klu Klux Klan with their writing and on the other hand…

            well….

            … like that time Superman had to turn into a giant for some reason to use his X-ray vision as radiology to cure super-rabies…
            I mean, ignoring the fact that it’s the wrong kind of radiation for cancer, rabies is a different disease all together, so all he should have done is make his dog sicker. O_o
            https://goo.gl/images/EbNL2Z

          • Scott

            Honestly, I’d still take goofy Silver Age nonsense like that over the 90’s where every problem was solved by punching it until it dies.

          • Scott

            I actually haven’t seen that before. I’ll certainly have to check it out, though. It sounds fascinating.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Could be worse.

            He could use his vision to repair the Great Wall of China.

            …yes. That happened.

            https://youtu.be/FGVyXmiLOVc

        • Eric Meyer

          Superman doesn’t even HAVE to be sympathetic or relatable, I think. His is the pedestal, but that pedestal can be carved in many shapes.

          Personally, I like Superman when he’s incredibly powerful to the point of being capable of solving all the worlds problems, but then has to work to NOT do that. To BE HUMAN. In a way, the thing that Luthor is worried about- Superman overshadowing Humanity- is exactly what Superman is worried about- and the struggles he has finding a balance between ‘not being a god’ and ‘acting like he was raised- as a decent human being’. It’s a position that I can’t personally sympathize with (not having god-like powers, myself) but one that I find imminently fascinating to read about.

      • pleasechangemymind

        Here’s an interesting little interpretation that made Superman ten times more relatable to me. Just food for thought, YMMV.

        My partner is on the autism spectrum. Superman is 100% his favorite hero. And when asked why, it’s simple: he’s trying to navigate a world in which he does not have an innate understanding of the rules. He’s literally an alien, there’s no way he has the “hidden curriculum” that humans do. This is why, in part, Clark Kent is such a goober, and why Superman is so awkwardly formal and lawful good: he has to follow the rules that are explicitly stated, because the implicit rules that he was born with *were for another planet.* Under this interpretation, his whole story is of an alien trying really hard to act like a human, not as a human trying to control his alien side. It’s honestly kind of heartbreaking.

        I love this interpretation of the character. I don’t even know if I subscribe to it, but I love it. Hell, it’s the only thing that got me through Man of Steel (it was a crap movie, but interesting if you looked at it as “what if Superman was basically an autistic kid with zero social skills whose parents were way overprotective?”).

        This has been your completely off topic diatribe for the day. Thank you.

        • Gotham

          I don’t mean to be mean toward your partner, but it’s quite an interestingly perplexing interpretation. What do they make of the fact that Clark Kent lived as and thought he was a human until late adolescence by the vast majority of account of his fictional biography?

          • Eric Meyer

            I mentioned some of this above, but…

            First off, it depends on which “Young Superman” you’re looking at- the old-school one where he had his powers from the moment his swaddled form saw yellow sunlight, or the one where he developed them at puberty.

            I prefer the first, myself, and so that’s what I’ll use here, though some of the arguments carry over.

            If you look at developmental psychology, you see a couple things- stages of development- that are HEAVILY dependent on the intervention of outside forces of authority- parents, teachers, etc. And you can see what happens to humans who lack these outside forces at these stages, in the cases of Feral Children or victims of extreme neglect.

            One is the development of Morality (posited by Piaget and Kohlberg). First Stage morality is based around punishment and reward. Something is ‘wrong’ if you get punished for it, and ‘right’ if you get away with it or get rewarded for it. How, exactly, would Ma and Pa Kent be able to punish an invulnerable child? How could they withold treats from someone who could see through doors and rip through locks? By all rights, Clark should have grown up to be a self-entitled bully of a conqueror, taking what he wants because nobody can stop him.

            But instead, he’s advanced at least to Second Stage morality- where right and wrong are determined by social contracts such as laws and customs- and probably all the way to Third Stage, where right and wrong are based on internal decision making and situational judgement calls.

            So in terms of Moral development, at least, Clark is abhuman.

            And then there’s the issues of physical intimacy, the remaining stages of psychological development, the fact that a Kansas farmboy apparently managed to make it through 12 grades of school without making ANY friends whatsoever… (the Smallville TV series doesn’t count- all the character in that were non-Kansas natives introduced WAAAY before Clark met them in almost any other iteration of his origin story- except maybe Superboy and Lex Luthor stuff).

            He is, at the very least, extremely self-contained and self-motivated, but I’d posit that it’s him consciously working to fit in as a ‘human’ that been a driving force in his developmental cycle.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Very intersting. HAve you ever read Irredeemable? Is an interesting take on a superman-like who goes bad, who is driven from a sort of patological need for total love and adoration… and goes rogue when it fails. Pretty interesting.

          • pleasechangemymind

            Not mean at all! He was coming at it from a perspective of you-don’t-grow-out-of-being-autistic-you-just-learn-how-to-fake-neurotypicality, and along the same lines though you-don’t-grow-out-of-being-a-literal-alien. We know little to nothing about the typical childhood development of Kryptonians outside of the occasional Kara flashback. We don’t know if they develop the same way as humans, if their empathy or their adherence to social norms is the same, if it’s more a nature or nurture thing. We don’t even know how their biology and neurochemistry compare to our own. So, much like being raised without knowing he’s autistic and just learning to manage it while knowing something was Off, Clark was raised without knowing he was an alien and just learned to manage it while knowing something was Off.

          • Gotham

            This stroke the interest of my aneurotypical boyfriend (he has antisocial personality disorder), I’ll let him do the talking:
            What’s surprising for him is that being Lawful Good and the usual flow of social conventions don’t commonly match up perfectly. After all, paladin types personalities tend to be seen as stick-in-the-mud buzzkills (again, the way a vocal minority criticizes Superman). Since being accepted was so much more important to him than to adhere to a strict moral code, people who found it distasteful be damned, while growing up he was much more keen to “adapt” to the social setting he found himself in, when sometimes people expect a little irreverence, or a lot, depending on very complex social cues and context.
            Since he was bad at it and it wasn’t really anchored by a coherent personality, it ended up causing the most of his ostracization. This in turn led him to become extremely cynical about human interaction and in need of the therapy that led us to meet.

        • Weatherheight

          He’s also rather blatantly a Messianic figure as well, which further places the character in an “not of this world” context.

          I really like your partner’s perspective, though – I’d never considered it that way and adds a layer of interpretation I can fiddle about with.

          • And, interestingly for a character created by Jewish immigrants, in some representations he’s almost becoming the archetypal epitome of the “white Western saviour” figure. Especially when writers have him fight off human criminals to preserve American notions of law and order. A being with greater inherent power, privilege and status, swooping in to save poor, ignorant, damaged humanity from hurting itself, believing himself to not only have the right to interfere in this way but the ultimate responsibility. Yet in truth he’s not just unappointed, he’s not even a member of the group he’s trying to correct.

        • Eric Meyer

          THIS! TOTALLY THIS!

          Like, one of my interpretations of Supes is that he is _incapable of second guessing himself_. Like, if a situation changes, he can change how he’s reacting to it, but he cannot think that what he does is wrong. Which is why he throws himself so whole-heartedly into everything he does. And why it’s so lucky that it was Ma and Pa Kent that found him, and not, say, Ma and Pa Warlord.

          Like you said- he’s ALIEN. Completely different psychology, different neurochemicals released in response to stress or sadness or anger, lacking the basic developmental experiences of pain or weakness or fear… It’s not like Ma and Pa had a kryptonite paddle they could use when 5-year-old Clark decided to fly up and get the cookie jar off the fridge.

          I LOVE that interpretation of him.

      • TPounds

        Brennan identifies as male just FYI!

        • JP

          I did not know that, thanks for the info.

      • Gotham

        It’s not the Superman syndrome.
        The Superman syndrome is a whole other thing I have lots of opinions on, but Patrick is becoming a more interesting character to stand behind for reasons entirely separate from that.

        Alison doesn’t even qualify.
        The “problem” (that doesn’t really exist) people have with Superman isn’t his omnipotence (comic books are silly enough to throw meaningful challenges at it every week without fail), it’s the fact that he’s a Boy Scout. Same reason why Captain America is everybody’s least favorite MCU character before he grows a beard and starts supporting tyranny (these two facts can’t be separated yes)

        • JP

          What do you mean the two facts can’t be separated?

          *puts on fake santa claus beard*
          Kim Jong-un was right to state that his cause was just, and the might of a unified Korea is infinite. It is purely understandable that a man with power should seek to consolidate that power at all costs. Also, the real failing of Stalin was that he did not seek to consolidate Russia and the US into one blok via careful planning with Truman. And unified US/Russia, a Pan-Pacific state, would be able to serve as an unstoppable global police force.
          *takes off fake santa beard*

          Da FUQ?!? O_o

          • Gotham

            I /know/, right?
            It’s our burden to live in a world where we must massacre fascism /and/ deal with how sexy beards are

          • JP

            Maybe it depends on the style of beard?

            *pens on a charlie chaplin moustache*
            The source of the world’s problems? It’s a conspiracy by the Jews.
            *quickly wipes off, sets the brush on fire, puts on a paper goatee*
            You know, life would be so much easier if I would simply do a well-timed lie at every opportunity to seize power myself. I could easily crush everyone under my heel.”
            *rips off, burns it. Puts a large puff of black foam on my neck*
            What the… why am I wearing an ill-fitting fedora? But the real question is why are all women such Th…
            *quickly wipes it off*
            Yuck…. hmm….
            “Puts on a huge wax curly moustache”
            Hmm… quite a lovely day were having.
            Nice for an elegant stroll in the park.
            I suppose this isn’t such a bad look, would you say? Seems to be going righto so far.
            Now, about how to properly administer punishment to the slaves of my empire…
            *Rips it off*

            Hmm……

            *tries the Commander Riker beard from Star Trek Next Gen*
            We can do a lot of good, and following the rules helps us to keep doing good. However, you have to be flexible. Sometimes you have to bend the rules when they get in the way of doing the right thing.
            *takes off the last one and looks at it*

            I think we might have winner, but I kept having the urge to find some medevil mythological creatures and to screw with their heads?

          • Weatherheight

            Or random alien hotties and screw with their…

            ::bucks wildly and flails his ears as he get gets dragged out of the forum with a large shepherd’s crook::

          • palmvos

            ::breaks shepherds hook::

          • I LIKE my muttonchops, but it IS a challenge to keep reminding myself not to enslave Black people to work on my cotton plantation.

          • Tylikcat

            If your Steampunk isn’t socially subversive, it’s bullshit 😉

          • You can’t have the Difference Engine without Ada Lovelace, social subversion is positively mandatory!

          • Go for a nice, simple Van Dyke, then the only temptation will be to blow up Parliament.

        • David B Huber

          How strange. I was thinking how Superman and Captain America are my two favorite characters for just that reason: they’re Boy Scouts! Indeed, both aren’t just heroes -:they are Champions.

          A POV I found myself agreeing with is that Kal-El is unique because he really is Clark Kent. Superman is his secret identity. I’d argue the same for Steve Rogers…

          But I grew up reading Golden Age comics and couldn’t be less happy with DC’s direction for the characters I love.

          • Gotham

            That’s part of my very point! This kind of character is actually extremely popular (Sup and Cap are not the flagships of their own universes because comic books companies are dumb idiots), but toward a more silent majority.
            People who are more on the Batman side of things (it’s weird to call him “subversive” considering how well established Batman is, but well) are much more likely to publish their hot takes about how unwavering moral principles are boring, while others are just content to unironically /enjoy silly comic books/

            A wild concept I know

        • Ever read “Steve Rogers: PR Disaster”?

      • R Lex Eaton

        Not relatable…?

        *facepalm*

        Oh cripes. It’s been a good while since I saw this bit of faux wisdom.

        Gonna keep it short: anyone who complains about Superman being hard to relate to is missing the point.

        (Especially since Supes has been dealing with the “solving poverty is harder than reversing natural disasters” thing decades before Alison.)

        • JP

          To be fair, anyone who wants to catch up on supes…. well… people don’t catch up on supes, and he’s develops a bit of a rep at this point.

          • R Lex Eaton

            And that’s when you hand them a copy of All-Star Superman.

    • I think you’ve got the wrong trope transition. Patrick’s actually switching from Magnificent Bastard to The Woobie.

  • Tylikcat

    It’s a little hard to argue that he doesn’t want her there, right now, I think.

    • JP

      Agreed.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      He does want her there. Lord Boy and the others merry men probably disagreed (past tense, since they are probably destroyed right now).

      • Gotham

        Mane of Virile and Musky Hair Patrick was the one to /just/ say he didn’t want anyone in his mind

        • Tylikcat

          Especially considering that this started with a lot of him speaking in Alison’s mind, I’m going with her being an exception.

          • Gotham

            I don’t disagree with that, it’s the argument I was responding to that wasn’t convincing.

        • Are they in his mind, or Tara’s? It’s awfully floral in there.

          • David B Huber

            I’d judge this mindscape to be a construct of Patrick’s, a “sandbox” where he can encompass other minds without granting unbounded access to his. A true mind meld would be extremely intimate.

          • Gotham

            Whatever the case, it’s filtered through his anyway.
            But yes maybe Feral is operating a silent invasion and override of Patrick’s brain thought Poison Ivy’s tactics (and hey come to think of it that may be just why they are so lovey-dovey, plant powers are linked to love powers, aren’t they?)

      • Not necessarily destroyed, more subsumed back into the Id.

        (Monsters from the Id? Very Forbidden Planet)

    • Tiago Quintana

      “She reached an orgasm, it can’t have been rape!”

  • BMPDynamite

    (Sniffs, passes out tissues)

  • Smithy

    Ok,first I want to say that this scene is very emotional, tragic and pulls hard at my heartstrings.
    Still, I can’t help but want to add…
    Clevin is soooooooooooooooooooo dumped.

    • Dean

      Pfft, Patrick barely sees himself as a person, ‘boyfriend’ is still a long way off.

      • Weatherheight

        Wouldn’t it be hilarious if all of this is just an elaborate ploy to get Clevin away from Alison and into Patrick’s bed?

        I won’t post it here, but go to YouTube and search “Kids in the Hall + Surrogate”.

      • JustHere

        I was thinking along the same lines. I don’t think Patrick’s in any condition to be in a committed relationship.

        • Gotham

          Lest we forget how unstable a relationship with someone who knows your exact thoughts would be. Nah, I don’t see it ever happening.
          Casual hookup, though… (now we’re talking)

          • Tylikcat

            Eh, that would be the obvious reason why a person he was involved in should be his exception to letting people into his mind. (Especially since some of his issues are rooted in fear of what he really is, since other people can’t really see him.)

            No argument on not really being dating material, though.

          • Gotham

            I mean.
            At the end of the day, Alison has no power other thought. Everything that happens in this storyline is the confusing feedback loop the convolutedness of which we’ve discussed before. But on its absolute basis, all of this is images sent into Alison’s brain, not the other way around. She’s technically not entering anything.

            I do think Patrick is worth trusting, but still, it could still all be a lie. By which I mean, if the webcomic were to use that card, we couldn’t blame it for inconsistency.

            So trust still has to be involved with his mind, it always will be. But it is one-sided trust. He would never need to trust you. I find such discrepancies of power inadvisable when trying to build a relationship.

            And sure it’s definitely not fair for Patrick, if he is actually genuine, but life also wasn’t fair for the gas canister superdynamic, so

          • Tylikcat

            The exact mechanics of how speaking into another mind allow access to his mind haven’t been explored – but you’re clearly correct in the broad strokes. Still, it’s probably enough that they can work out their intimacy asymmetry, especially considering that they’re not looking at a power asymmetry as such.

            …but just because you’ve finally found someone who might not fail as a partner for major structural reasons, it doesn’t mean that it won’t founder on plain ordinary sorts of reasons. (I might have some experience here.) And, ah, there’s Clevin.

          • Gotham

            who’s that and why does it instantly sound boring

          • David B Huber

            “Intimacy asymmetry” – what a great phrase!

            I strongly suspect this “Patrick” is only Aspect #5. Alison should tell him about Gurwara’s incursion; if anything can reintegrate his personalities a threat of that magnitude should do it!

          • “all of this is images sent into Alison’s brain, not the other way around. She’s technically not entering anything.”

            If you think of her as running a remote terminal into Patrick’s mind, does it really make a difference? Her decisions are triggering a response, so she’s inside Patrick’s mind to some degree.

      • Smithy

        Oh, I agree on that being a ways off, but this is going to put a huge strain on Allison and Clevin ‘s relationship anyway.
        The thing is, now that Patrick has finally opened up like this Allison is going to invest all the energy she has in supporting him so he can rebuild himself, on top of Valkyrie. If Clevin feels overshadowed now, the fun is just starting…
        Additionally, Allison and Patrick have now both been in each other’s minds: they are arguably closer than most couples ever manage to be. Frankly, after the intimacy of what they’ve been through, physical intercourse would almost be… Anecdotal?

    • Teka the Budgie

      I can see it that way, but I also read the hug as being very friendly and supportive. Even if any romantic possibility ended the night she threw the mug they also will always have this weird and complicated connection.

      • David B Huber

        “We’ll always have Paris.”

        • Teka the Budgie

          We’ll always have duck season?

          • David B Huber

            Your version is more appropriate 😉

  • Tylikcat

    The art, and their body language in particular, is just exquisite.

    • Not just adorable – but ingenious!

      • I am also delighted with this art.

  • Laurelinde

    My question here is, is this Patrick? Rather more specifically, is this *all* of Patrick? This version certainly seems more…human, I guess (and more likeable) than the other pieces or elements we saw earlier, but is this just one final piece (empathy, or emotion, or something) rather than the whole? And will he be able to come to some kind of new modus operandi which incorporates the others or integrates with Anima et al? He (and Alison) may have to come to terms with the fact that there is more to him than ‘sad broken guy who needs a hug’ once they’re back outside his brainspace.

    • Philip Bourque

      I think a better question would be what is “all of Patrick”?

      • Laurelinde

        That too, in fairness. His statement about wanting to a person is heartbreaking, but he’s not entirely *wrong*. Who he is as an individual is so tangled with other people’s thoughts and memories, and partitioned inside his brain, that establishing an independent identity now is going to be incredibly difficult. However it would have normally happened as a young adult couldn’t happen for him given his extreme circumstances. And hell, consciousness is so complicated even in non-telepathic, non-traumatised people, how it works for him is anyone’s guess.

        • JP

          Well, it -did- work by partitioning things out, but Allison kind of ruined that so how it will work now is anyone’s guess.

        • Tylikcat

          Ahem, this might be in part because we have only the barest clue what consciousness even is. (People talk about this blithely all the time. But really. Very little clue.)

          Legally, Patrick damn well should be a person. The other question of serious import is what he considers himself – which may well change over time.

          • Laurelinde

            Oh definitely, that is what I was thinking about when I said that it’s complicated (and the more we find out about AI and neurology it seems the less we know.) Also agree that he is a person, clearly (that’s what makes it so sad!), but that the exact nature, limits, boundaries, circumstances, etc. of his personhood are currently kind of a mess, because he knows his own mind so little in some ways, and other peoples’ so well.

          • David B Huber

            Suppose this “Patrick” is only the fifth aspect? Is he still a person in his own right? How do you define a whole person when our childhood selves are subsumed by experience?

          • My immediate thought was that’s really going to hit the neurodiverse parallels hard. Teaching ourselves to pass is something most of us do at some point during childhood. I pretty much trust Brennan and Molly to get it right, but suspect there’ll likely be some comments I wince over.

          • Tylikcat

            My current take, that it’s a matter of personal identity, isn’t everyone’s thing. But I don’t have a lot of patience for other people determining what someone else is. If someone says they’re a person, good. If someone decides they’re not. Fine. FWIW, I decided to identify as human when I was, oh, twelve or so, and it’s always had a tenuous, immigrant sort of feel to it (and being a specific conscious decision is important. But I also wasn’t really raised to see myself as human.) And at that, my neurodiverse aspects mostly only indirectly effect my socialization. Though I wasn’t nearly as good at managing my presentation when I was a kid. (Of course now I’m likely to do things like present a bit as a charming but bumbling mad scientist because it puts my colleagues at ease, while letting me largely relax and be myself. It’s just so convenient, though not really respectable…)

          • Non-conformance is a social skill!

            My presentation wasn’t exactly great if avoiding being the odd kid was the aim, but I don’t think I ever considered not being human*, other than to recognise the ‘fan are slan’ meme and reject it.

            *OTOH I escaped your childhood.

          • Tylikcat

            For all that I bitch about my colleagues and their lack of manners, I thing there were some benefits to me of all the weird feedback, at least when I was young? (This is why I’m mostly exasperated that my colleagues haven’t gotten over it – I think that this kind of thing should be gone by the time you hit your twenties at the latest.) I mean, at some point I twigged to the fact that most people felt alienated at insecure… and at least a lot of my reasons for doing so were concrete and for specific and traceable things. (And all to frequently held, by, say, the neighborhood dogs. Which is just embarrassing.) And at the same time, I grew into being fairly good at social presentation, and organization, and otherwise faking the role of being socially adept and leaderlike.

            (Did I tell you about how I decided that being popular was pretty much a shell game about confidence and social signalling when I was in sixth grade, so I tried it? TL;DR, it worked, though I gave it up after six month or so when I caught myself presenting opinions from New Yorker reviews as my own because I didn’t actually like the music, and the self loathing was too much. But social performance always felt like a game after that… Of course, it wasn’t that much later that I was in EEP, when all the sudden the stakes were just so much higher.)

          • You successfully gamed the popular girl system?

            Of course you successfully gamed the popular girl system 😉

            And of course you would give it up. If you’re smart enough to do it, you’re smart enough to see it for what it is.

            I didn’t start to figure out the social cues things until later, and it’s probably still a work in progress. I’m still finding revelations about why certain managers took against me a decade on from it being an issue. (Okay, in principle correcting the CEO during his state of the company address wasn’t politic, but he was being egregiously wrong….).

          • Tylikcat

            Eh, I was in the gifted program by then, so it was that version of the popular kid system (mostly by not entirely gender divided at that age). Some parts of it were kind of fun – I enjoyed the clothes (though my version of enjoying the clothes and theirs weren’t entirely in sync). Some of the music. Mostly it wasn’t my people, it was kind of a pain in the ass, and the phase that followed was the one for which I earned the nickname “Butch”. (Which was probably meant to be cutting, but which I thought was hilarious and embraced. I was cute with a buzz cut when I was twelve, too.)

          • I can completely see you embracing that. For gifted kids, they don’t seem to have been able to read you very well.

    • Weatherheight

      This may be the Patrick that got locked away that contains all of Patrick’s humanity.
      We have yet to see if the other aspects survived the wave of whatever – the idea of integration of the disparate elements of Patrick may not yet be off the table.
      Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the missing part of Patrick is the one piece the others needed to fully manifest the full range of their abilities and the one piece needed to truly understand people in order to more fully, completely, and willingly motivate others into following the Final Solution?

      For some reason during this arc I’ve kept hearing snippets of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

    • David B Huber

      I think you’re right! Alison should bring up Gurwara’s incursion – I bet Patrick is totally unaware, and a threat of that magnitude mght be just what he needs to “pull himself together”!

  • ampg

    And here we have the central conflict of the love triangle: Clevin appeals to everything that’s human in Al, while Patrick appeals to everything that’s not.

  • ObviousPuppetAccount

    “I’ve always loved people”.
    Big word coming from mister “Maybe we should keep people in isolated tubes” “Sure I killed innocent people, but don’t think I lost sleep from it” “I killed a whole lot of people because it amused me” “Lives are there to be spent”.

    • Gotham

      It was a web of lies and some of us knew it instantly ♥️

      • ObviousPuppetAccount

        Well, he did actually kill people. Innocent people whose only crime was that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have also been given no reason to assume that he lied about those people he murdered merely because they annoyed him or Alison. Not to mention that he regularly drugs people and copies their minds, which isn’t really something you do when you view people as more than a means to an end.
        Honestly, Patrick is a real dick who might say that he cares about people, but his actions show that he obviously doesn’t.

        • Gotham

          So you’d rather assume that he’s lying now?
          Because I really think the narrative is telling us that his evil monologue back in issue 5 was all lies to shut himself away from Alison as far as he could. You can see how threatened he felt back then by her calling him a good person deep down. And I mean, I mean, he would have no reason to lie to his brainwashed mother about trying as hard as he could to not kill innocents.
          As far as thought freebooting goes, I don’t think the equivalent of internet piracy means you don’t deeply care about people. I deeply care about people and I download illegally all the damn time

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Yes, I’d rather assume he is lying now, because his behaviour has made a foundation on what his actual thoughts are more likely to be.
            He has actually caused innocent people to die. We saw the giant death robots he send out to wage his war in populated city centrums.
            Maybe he lied about murdering those people who protested outside of the hospital, I’ll give you that, but he definetly has innocent blood willingly on his hands.
            Sure, he says he tried his best to prevent people from being killed, but you don’t do that by sending giant robots into a city with the vague excuse that “the government is worse than me, so I have to kill innocent people to save innocent people. No, don’t think about the fact that the government uses that excuse all the time, they are worse than me”.
            Maybe he just wants to believe he is someone that loves people, because the idea of loving people appeals to him, but his actions show a manipulator who is willing to shed the blood of bystanders.
            Also, someone who loves people does not drug them, kidnap them, and take the information straight out of their brain without asking for consent. That is obviously different from illegaly downloading something. Though illegal downloading is still a jerk thing to do in most cases.

          • Gotham

            Welp, you must have /horrific/ opinions about your government if you’re not even willing to give the slightest leeway to the violence used when dissenting against authority.
            In my opinion, his only mistake was to /stop/ toppling the US government. And if its current state as of time of writing May 18th, 2018, doesn’t convince you that it dearly needs toppling, …boy, it’s not my opinions that are scary

            And I challenge you to find any structural difference between idea theft and illegal download.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            When someone downloads something illegaly they don’t drug anyone, kidnap them and sift through every thought in their head to take out their ideas.
            I’m not saying the American government is great, I’m saying Patrick is the exact type of person that makes governments awful. Someone who wants control over other people for their own good, who is more than willing to kill innocent people to “protect” the innocents. Patrick examplifies everything that could go be wrong with someone who wants to rule over other people.
            Resistance against a government isn’t always bad, even violent resistance can be acceptable in extreme cases. But when that kind of resistance is initiated by people like Patrick and they are using violence liberally like Patrick does, they are the worst thing that could happen.

          • Gotham

            Your criteria for what constitutes unethical use of violence by oppressed minorities could use some questioning.
            I mean, we don’t have the full wealth of details of how his revolution was going, his numbers, success and ressources, but people didn’t follow him because he tricked them into it. The way the government responded to superpowers in how someone like Alison experienced it stinks of corporate sanitization (and even as presented, I consider it absolutely unforgivable that they essentially trained a generation as child soldiers, and not nearly criticized enough) After all, we saw what Patrick himself had to endure.

            What he intended to do once in power, we don’t know and you cannot assume you do. I would have been the first one to criticize his first misstep as new tyrant of the US. Since it didn’t happen, his abandoned takeover doesn’t tell us anything about misuse of power.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            We know innocent people died.
            We know Patrick is a self admitted manipulator.
            We know Patrick wasn’t afraid to use giant death robots in populated cities filled with civilians.
            We know he has massive psychological hang ups that made him blow up emotionally against someone just because she got close to him, meaning he is a very unstable person.
            We know he uses his financial power in a very underhanded way to stop a genius from creating inventions to help the world.

            He’s a dick and if he had succeeded he would be a horrible leader.

            Also, just because I think violence should only be used in extreme cases doesn’t mean I think truly opressed minorities aren’t ethically allowed to rebel. I would appreciate if you would refrain from making baseless accusations like that.

          • Gotham

            – You know what I think of that one. That’s only a criticism those in power have to complain about the struggle of the oppressed that’s not strictly pacifist (and pacifism doesn’t work)
            – If anything, manipulation is more ethical than outright physical violence
            – The government wasn’t afraid to send Alison to “defend” these populated cities too. Whichever act is the most unforgivable has nothing to do with who was the instigator of violence, but the balance of power at play. The government will always lose that argument.
            – You are getting extremely desperate if you’re drawing on “emotional hang ups” to justify dickishness. Unstable people are not dicks, you dick
            – We know next to nothing about the details of his dealings and his reasons. But yeah, that is maybe the one thing he does that would make me give credence to to your opinion. Waiting to know more on that to cement my own thoughts.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            You got me. I’m secretly a facist that hates minorities and I am a dick for not wanting emotionally unstable people who can’t handle people liking them without pouring out abuse over them in power.

          • Gotham

            Oh no sass my archnemesis clearly when people I disagree with make whiny strawman arguments like my ex-girlfriends it has to mean I’m wrong

            If that’s all you can muster to defend your opinion then it wasn’t worth arguing.

        • Taylor Elnicki

          Patrick: but that was befooooore. My brain was all cooooncrete and fiiiilters.But now! Now I live in this nice plaaaants and yogurt fantasy. With all these plaaaants. Nothing to question here. Move along. Bip boop. Nothing to revisit. I’m an a-okay guy. yep. …yep.

    • Philip Bourque

      You always hurt the ones you love, or so I’ve heard.

    • Weatherheight

      On a completely unrelated note…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0iAcQVIokg

    • JP

      Not necessarily contradictory words, however.
      He could love people in general, but definately have exceptions. For example, his love for people may result in a utilitarian “for the greater good” to where he’ll kill innocents if he thinks it saves more in the longrun (such as blowing the cover off a conspiracy may do).
      Keeping people in isolated tubes is actually a pulled from a classic counter to a line of ethical thought (specifically countering that ‘good’ is what which ‘does the least harm’.) and is more meant to demonstrate that it’s a wrong thing to do (although may be a lament of frustration that doing so would be easier than what he’s trying to do.)
      As for those who amuse him… well, it may be specific people as revenge for certain things they did which brings about a certain level of satisfaction (seriously not condoning, however) such as prison wardens who will specifically room child molesters with “Bubba”.
      And “lives are there to be spent” is the attitude of someone who is fighting a war.

      Now, this isn’t condoning any of his other statements & actions from his Menace days, merely pointing out that it’s possible all the statements are potentially true from the same person.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      He always loved people, that is an unquestionable truth. Problem is, before doing that, he also wanted (in order of importance):repress his desire of love and his humans fear(Lord Boy); smash a corrupt hierarchy ed rule the world(Menace); act like a pure rational being (Anima); know fucking everything (record keeper).
      His love for people was justbtondown on his to-do list.

  • Anarquistador

    Why would you want to be a person, Patrick? It’s no fun.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Speak for yourself. Humanity is the thing that makes it all worthwhile.

      • Anarquistador

        Bah humbug.

        • JP

          Always choose to be yourself. Unless you can be a dragon. Then be a dragon.

          • Anarquistador

            What if I can be a demon?

          • JP

            Probably depends on the particular mythology. Demons vary from good guys to bad guys depending on the mythology.

          • Anarquistador

            What about a mindless Lovecraftian force for nihilistic destruction?

          • JP

            Depends on how you feel about speedboats.

          • Anarquistador

            Speedboats in general? Or speedboats piloted by intrepid Scandinavian sea captains?

          • JP

            Especially the latter, but depends on what time it is.

            But don’t lose your head over it… mainly because there’s replacements out there.

          • Weatherheight

            And Luxury Liners…
            And Famke Janssen…
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVFEVXIyu00

        • R Lex Eaton

          …who hurt you, dude?

          • Anarquistador

            You want the short list?

          • R Lex Eaton

            Short or long. I’m curious about what made you into such a misery-guts.

          • Anarquistador

            Well, the short answer is that I did it to myself. Picked the wrong things to believe in.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Not that it’s any of my business, but what wrong things?

          • Anarquistador

            Well, you know, the usual. Reason. Diligence. Being helpful. The inherent good nature of people.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I see. Lucky for you, we don’t live in the stupid world of the Purge. Real people don’t look for excuses to be mean to each other. People are generally good, and want to help each other. They get confused and frustrated, yes, as a consequence of irrationality.

            But if people were really as bad as some say they are, society wouldn’t exist to begin with.

            Sorry dude, I’ve heard this bit from too many college classmates who skimmed through Nietsche and tried to “blow my mind” to see cynicism as anything but a coping mechanism for fear of failure.

          • Anarquistador

            You’re still in college? Good, you still have time to learn. I pray you learn younger than I did. You’ll have a better shot at success.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Alright then. Thanks for the demonstration of why I don’t take nihilism seriously. Because otherwise, I might feel a little insulted by the assertion that, just because I’m able to see things as worth defending, I’m naive or delusional or I’ll “find out someday.”

            Speaking as someone who has had several years of experience and disappointment in how life works after college, I’ll just recommend you keep your dead-end worldview to yourself until you figure it out.

          • Anarquistador

            What you believe is worth defending is just that. What you believe. There are people who believe the exact opposite of what you believe just as strongly as you do, and that’s just what they believe. And there is no way to change their minds, because there is no objective rightness you can appeal to. There’s just what people think is right, and everyone thinks differently. It’s impossible to change people’s minds. All you can do is defend yourself from them.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Implying that every belief is equally valid? Even those that don’t hold up against facts and execution? Beliefs exist to be tested.

            Also, morality being a lie. There’s a venerable old warhorse. Morality can be subjective and change with context, yes. That just makes it less clear cut. It’s not proof that it’s nonexistent. (And don’t give me that nonsense of it being a human creation to prove it isn’t real–we invented it because altruism and a sense of ethics are useful both practically and philosophically. If morals didn’t exist–like so many other human accomplishments–it would be necessary to invent them.)

            All in all, that kind of thinking always ends with the conclusion “therefore it’s okay for me to act like a selfish jerk.” It’s not truth. It’s an excuse.

          • Anarquistador

            Right, because people always change their beliefs when facts contradict them.

            Morality is not nonexistent, it’s just arbitrary. If there is no objective standard for right and wrong, then there is no objective way to define it. At best, right and wrong are determined by majority opinion. At worst, it’s whatever the guys with the guns say it is.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Arbitrary, huh?

            So what?

            The assertion that power defines morals and ethics has nothing to go on. All the power in the world–either by having the guns or having the sway to influence those with the guns–doesn’t make wrongdoing anything other than wrong. You can claim that morals would be irrelevant in the face of power, but not that they are influenced by it.

            And power? What defines power? Taking life? Destroying property? Influencing others through money or charisma? Power is fickle and fluid and contextual, and those with sense know better than to place their faith in such a concept.

            Finally, and most damning of all… majority opinion defining morality is accurate. That’s the entire definition of “the common good.” To ensure the prosperity and happiness of the most amount of people. To solve differences without savagery. Again, it’s the entire reason society exists. People can be irrational and self-interested, but they are not inherently cruel.

            Morality is a concept that is not arbitrary, because arbitrary morality cannot exist. The function of morals and ethics is an evolved strategy of human beings banding together into groups for the sake of survival. And now we have societies–the biggest groups of all. The distinctions between groups only continue to fade to this day. Yes, the unfamiliar can be hard to comprehend and easy to vilify, but to claim that differences are impossible to overcome via simple human decency is just dishonest.

            Don’t misunderstand me. I know the line of thinking you ascribe to. I ascribed to it myself for far longer than I care to admit. Life is unfair, so gaining power is all that matters, you can’t change the system, so don’t bother trying, blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. That disease, that stasis, that surrender and comfort felt in the grip of despair. And it took me years to find a way back out of the pit that existential nihilism dug. But I did it. I chose life.

            Because nihilism and despair are only half of a worldview. Succumbing to them just doesn’t hold up under pressure. All beliefs, political, religious, or otherwise, should be challenged and tested on a regular basis, rather than simply being accepted on faith. By challenging and discarding flawed beliefs, people can replace them with newer, less flawed ones, and so grow as individuals and as a whole.

            TL;DR… Taking a cynical view of humanity misses the forest for the trees. If you don’t agree, then I don’t have time for you. I just feel sorry for anyone who lives their life in such a miserable way.

          • Anarquistador

            And I know the line of thinking you subscribe to. I wasted a decade of my life helping people and trying to make things better. There is no better. There’s just people toeing the line you draw in the sand, getting away with as much as they’re allowed to. I’ve had people tell me I should be grateful that there’s a law keeping them from killing me. That’s your simple human decency. It doesn’t extend to the people keeping you from getting what you want. It doesn’t extend beyond your own tribe, and when things really go to hell, anyone outside of your tribe is fair game.

          • R Lex Eaton

            *tilts head*

            That’s one way to live your life, I guess. Doesn’t seem to be much of an existence. Not much better than any other animal.

            I know it seems to be hopeless. I know that sometimes it seems you’re wasting your time. I also know that doesn’t mean it’s okay to simply embrace your worst impulses. That even if you’re right about everything you say you are, it only makes doing good all the more important and rewarding.

            If you really want to stay this way, Godspeed then. Contrary to what you said, I’m ultimately fine with your difference. As long as no one else gets hurt, you can keep to your own business. It just confuses me how anyone can ascribe to such an awful idea of how to get by in a meaningless world.

            You don’t seem very happy, is all.

          • Anarquistador

            I’m what I need to be.

          • R Lex Eaton

            And I’m what I choose to be.

            I try to make things better however I can. Lots of people need it these days. If I fail, then at least I tried.

            If you don’t want my take on it anymore, I’m not going to press you. I’ll let you be.

            Be kind.

  • Weatherheight

    Wonderful art.
    Wonderful words.

    I hope this isn’t a performance piece for Alison’s benefit – or Patrick’s benefit (It’s all so confusing).
    Anyone else craving popcorn and a pedicure?

  • JP

    Feels…

  • Teka the Budgie

    I like how every week in the comments someone is all “And MOAR evidence that Allision is eeeeevil” while each new page is like “Here is your weekly dose of feels.”

    • JP

      As one that was on the “pointing out about her breaking the wall without consent”, it wasn’t that “Allison is evil” but that “Allison is capable of making morally questionable if not hypocritical decisions.”

      As it stands, she currently sits on a Superman-like pedestal of “can do no wrong”.

      And those instances call that into question, and question the comic with “She might have done wrong, is the comic going to stick with the attitude that she can do no wrong, or will it address what she may have potentially done wrong.”

      Honestly, a simple,

      *Allison: “I shouldn’t have broken the wall before finding a part of you that consented first. I’m sorry, I made the decision I felt was best, but I know it’s still morally questionable.”
      *Patrick: “Even if you didn’t do it correctly, you still made the decision in the end, and I forgive you. It’d be pretty hypocritical of me to make moral judgements of you your first time in someone’s mind when I’ve done similar with more experience for more selfish reasons.”

      Just an admission of guilt by Allison and a moment of forgiveness by Patrick would be all that’s needed. But I fear the comic is just going to sweep that under the rug to keep up the perfect Allison image, much like DC did with Superman repeatedly.

      • Gotham

        “As the one pointing out about breaking the wall without consent” well haven’t you got some gall my man

        • Guest

          Please read again.
          It says “As ONE that was..”

          • Gotham

            Sufficiently vague to make me interpret it as “the one” with a missing article.

        • JP

          First off, I just said I was one of the ones pointing it out. I don’t want to steal the thunder from the first person to point it out.

          Secondly….
          If you mean gall as in “dogged bitterness and anger”, as in “That person is full of gall”, then generally no, except when it comes to systemic oppression or willful hypocrisy; I can be really bitter and angry against those two things, but that’s about it.

          If you mean gall as “impudence and willingness to face against opposition”, as in “Rosa Parks had the gall to be defiant against an oppressive system and protest by refusing to move ” then definitely. I have that in spades.

          • Gotham

            You said you were “one that was on the”, this wasn’t very grammatically explicit

          • JP

            Ah, sorry. Looking back, you’re right that my writing wasn’t very clear. Sometimes my thinking goes faster than my fingers and I slip up.

          • Taylor Elnicki

            Interesting study in this comment chain regarding how omitted words are interpreted by different people!

            I assumed the missing word was “team” or “side” or something like that as in, “As one that was on the “pointing out about her breaking the wall without consent” [team],”

            A missing “the” is another interpretation as in “As [the] one”…though this would assume more than one omission/mistake in the sentence (it doesn’t stand alone with an added “the”). Since the rest of your message was well written, I thought it was more likely you’d missed a single word rather than jumbled the entire sentence.

            I had a teacher (years ago, I’m ancient) who said, “Words are like quicksand, we run across the top to find meaning.” The implication being that to sit in words too long is to realize they’re arbitrary, meaningless sounds/symbols whose precise meaning (when examined closely) is often unique to each user. I believe this interpretation applies to language as a whole. It’s kind of a wonder we can understand each other at all. Ever.

            Glad I was running in the general direction of your meaning.

          • Gotham

            So, disclaimer, not my first language—though I’ve lived in New York for a decade now—but I leaned toward “the one” despite how jumbled that’d make it as the start of a sentence because it doesn’t sound natural at all to me to say it the other way. I’d say naturally “I am one [something] or “I am one OF [something]” obviously, or just “I am one.” in a response but then again, with an understood elision of “∅/OF [something]” (Like, “I’m looking for a rocket scientist” “I am one [rocket scientist/of the rocket scientists]…

            But I’d never say “I am one that [something]”. It sounds weird if the meaning is “among many” and not “this is something that defines me”

          • sisima70

            They are not mutually exclusive.
            That is, “among many” and “this is something that defines me”

          • Kizi

            I fully agree with you.

          • aseariel

            That’s an understandable confusion. While “I am one that [something]” is grammatically correct, I think it is a slightly more uncommon usage than “I am the one that [something].” I’m not quite sure it would be classified as archaic, but it has that vibe to me.

          • JP

            To be fair, as I child I spent -way- too much time reading Lord of the Rings and similar. I wouldn’t be surprised if my speech patterns are a tad archaic. For example, it’s hard to bring myself to spell light without the ‘gh’ but adding an ‘e’ on the end, which I know is a more modern spelling.

          • I’d say you’re entirely right to feel that way! Lite should only be used in specific circumstances, mainly when referring to a branded “feature-light” model (or implying the same about a product which is just a bit deficient). Or should I say “rite”? (No, I shouldn’t, we don’t want this to descend into blood sacrifice.)

          • JP

            And then you start delving into philosophy, and realizing that words are just arbitrary hooks to deeper meanings, and then you’re left wondering if we could understand those deeper meanings without the hooks to guide us to them and refine them, but you can’t be sure because those who delve into those meanings already have the hooks. And those that don’t have the hooks are animals, and we don’t have a way to communicate with animals clearly to see if they have these deeper meanings. Then you’re just left wondering what the whole point of everything is, and you’re not sure, but you won’t give it up because otherwise you would just become a hermit and that sounds boring, so you start working on more eloquent ways of defining concepts, and then have to reflect when other people present concepts using words that are self-defeating that on the surface sound un-contradictory but the meanings are contradictory, and you’re left trying to explain these things, and then you’re left wondeirng if you *should* try to explain things because maybe their less-refined defining is trying to convey a deeper meaning that you’re missing and that you’ll ruin if you get them to adopt your definitions, and then you’re left trying to figure out how much you should listen vs talk which conventional wisdom favors the former but obviously those who understand their views should have the greater amount of time explaining them, and then you realize that all of this has been in your head as one ridiculous train of thought and you’re wondering where all of your friends walked off to. Since they’ve gone off and grabbed icecream.

          • palmvos

            waiter… i need some strawberry vinaigrette for this word salad.

          • JP

            (Was intentional, trying to reflect flipping out over meaning of words that Tyler was mentioning.)

      • JustHere

        Allison never seems perfect to me. But I can sympathize with the dilemmas she faces – she often finds herself in challenging situations with no right answer. I accept that she is doing her best to navigate what are often no-win situations.

        This current situation with Patrick is a good example. I would not have done what she did – I wouldn’t have entered his mind in the first place – partly because of the danger to him and his inability to consent, but also out of concern for my own safety.

        But then, if Patrick died because of my inaction, I’d have to accept that. I can understand why a character like Allison would make a different choice.

      • shink

        I mean, she does and she doesn’t.

      • Tiago Quintana

        Plus Allison’s frankly simplistic arguments to Anima.
        Well, the first one (“Neither you nor Menace are actually in charge, the power you seek is irrelevant”) was good. The one about logic, though…

      • Natsumeg

        This kind of thinking can get a bit troubling though, because it’s too neat. It’s too clean. It seems to sweep people’s anxieties and fears and awkwardness under the rug.

        Personally, I desperately want the exchange you gave in the comic, because I want that to exist. And yet there’s a reason that kind of exchange would never happen in real life.

        I feel like in a situation that’s so emotionally charged, less words would get said.

        It would be, “I’m sorry.” Pause. Trying to find right words. “About being in your head”. Long pause because of all the emotions of guilt and yet determination, and guilt again at the fact that she found it morally questionable but would still have made it, so does that make her apology meaningless and cruel. Maybe some stuttering–basically tldr, there’s a reason why people don’t make these kind of declarations in real life, and when they do, it can come across as tedious or even condescending.

        And there’s the fact that Patrick might not be in a position to forgive her right away, not with words, if it is emotionally charged moment.

        The admission of guilt by Alison and forgiveness by Patrick WOULD absolutely be all that’s needed, but even by the clean standards of a story, that’s not an easy thing to pull off convincingly, and it’s not usually a good idea to pull that kind of thing off frankly through literal dialogue. It might also feel cheap if it’s just done through two panels. There needs to be some emulation of real life awkwardness and feelings of vulnerability and pain in order for an apology in a story to have power.

        It’s much more convincing through small gestures and actions that eventually lead up to something greater in the story, so it has more impact when words of apology and forgiveness are actually given.

        basically, tldr, I’m willing to wait quite a bit more before I start getting uncomfortable about the story sweeping all this under the rug.

      • Adam Wunker

        I almost feel like this is more real – sure, reality might be a bit nicer if everyone apologised for everything they did wrong, but there are a lot of situations where a person either can’t or won’t apologise for any number of reasons – pride, lack of self-awareness, different moral principles, etc. On some level I like that Allison is willing to say “this is what I’m doing, right or wrong” – and it’s also why I love Gurwara.

        Side note: “I love people, and I’ve always sort of wanted to be one.” Oof! Right in the feels.

        • JP

          Fair point… it may still yet be addressed, and I hope it is. But also just because we noticed the lapse in her values doesn’t mean that Allison realized it.

      • ruhrow

        I also feel as if many people in here were discussing this situation as if it were a sexual-type consent…where the action is completely optional and can be simply *not done* if circumstances don’t allow for ideal discussion. But I always read this as more of a medical emergency situation. There are rules and ethics governing overall actions, but when someone needs help and you’re the one who is there to provide it, it essentially boils down to “take the action that you feel is in the best interest of the person suffering the emergency, even if they can’t agree to it.”

        • JP

          I think the comparison to sexual consent (I was one of them) because stitching up a ruptured kidney, although physically invasive, nobody would really call it “intimate”. As far as doing something to someone that people can actually do, sex is about as intimate as it gets. But… someone’s mind… that is far more intimate than mere sex will ever be. There are very few situations in our world, in reality, where a person’s inner-mind can be violated (it’s not common, but they do exist). As such, people just can’t -relate- to a mental violation, they can’t understand how bad it is. But it is far worse than a sexual violation.

          This is why the comparison to a sexual violation – because people can relate to how intimate of a place the violation is happening in.

          That said, mental violations exist, and they are worse. They exist in various forms of torture that we have outlawed, as well as many interrogation techniques. There are also many forms of mundane mental violation that thankfully aren’t as intense.

          • ruhrow

            I’ve definitely had conversations with folks who found surgical intervention very intimate and were concerned on that front.

            But while I understand the invasive part, from Al’s end it’s more the medical version. Perhaps we can think of it as one of the rarer combos…say, someone with an obstetric emergency. Pretty invasive to come in unconscious and get a pelvic exam, but the person is trying to help and options are limited.

    • Gotham

      Hey, I’m just protecting myself. Last time they lovingly hugged, this happened.

      I hope she gets laser eyes this time.

      • JP

        I had forgotten about that time. Thanks for the reminder! Puts a lot of stuff in a better light.

      • aseariel

        Seconding the thank you for the link! The question Al has a few pages in afterwards, “Can you not read your own mind?” suddenly takes on a whole new angle after this sequence, as does Patrick’s expression afterwards. ._.

      • Pretty sure this is a callback to that previous time in order to indicate how much has changed since then, but hey. I suppose precautions are a good idea.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Urrgh, I know.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think criticizing her actions is necessarily equivalent to calling her “evil.” Characters can have flaws and make unethical decisions without being evil. Most of the recent criticism I’ve seen (some of which I agree with) has been in the vein of “this thing she did was ethically questionable, let’s explore that.” As opposed to back during the Max incident where there actually was a lot of “Alison is an evil tyrant who needs to die to spare the world her tyrannical tyranny” discourse.

      • Teka the Budgie

        It’s definitely gotten better overall recently but there’s something about this comment section that is still quick to jump on the “and this must mean Al is EEEEVUL” train when I think the comic is going more for the “isn’t it odd how often people’s virtues and vices are so closely intertwined” theme.

        Now, I’ve strongly disliked some other characters from a “strains suspension of disbelief perspective,” but I try to comment on a variety of storytelling elements because I’m not really aligned with either side of that particular debate, especially when it’s gone on so long.

    • Richard, Probably

      As the one who started the big thread on the previous page calling attention to a perceived parallel between Alison’s and Menace’s reworking of minds, I would like the record to show that I don’t think Alison is even a little bit evil. It’s just that even the most well-intentioned of us are liable to make problematic decisions, especially when thrust out of our depths, as Alison often is. Gandalf probably put it best: “[E]ven the very wise cannot see all ends.”

  • bryan rasmussen

    Man, Patrick wasn’t lieing about being able to manipulate anyone to do anything! She is really buying this, it’s the true long con.

    Also: next installment – Clevin, who’s that?

    • Johnny Awesome

      Clevin’s already been spun off into his own comic called “The Single Life”…

      and the ratings are terrible, everyone’s watching “The Patrick Show” on the other channel

      • Emmy

        This would be a great lead-in to “Feral Tonight” though.

        • Tylikcat

          “The Feral Night”

      • Weatherheight

        Aptly named, you are.

  • bryan rasmussen

    So I wonder if she’s still gonna turn him in within a few years if he doesn’t come with all his info on the conspiracy?

  • Tsapki

    Patrick and ? from The Specialists seem to have much in common.

    • Weatherheight

      I like that webcomic too!
      Wish its schedule were more reliable, but…

  • Suggestive plaaaaants. Lalalalala.

    • JP

      Plants ARE suggestive. They want you to hang out, and repeatedly suggest that you come visit.

      Seriously, it’s kind of awesome and kind of weird. Plants send out scents to invite predator species (all the way from predatory wasps to humans) to keep away herbivores.

      And Rye literally turned itself, on its own over generations, into a crop plant so humans would eat it since we cultivate and care for the plants we use as crops. Rye literally spend generations suggesting “Eat me!” to humans by mimicking wheat until we eventually turned it into a crop as well.

      Plants are very suggestive.

      Of course I’m assuming this is what you were referring to.

  • FlashNeko

    I wish I could be as possitive about this as most others seem to be. That I could take Patrick here at face (brain?) value.

    Yet, given all he’s said and done, I suspect a sizable part of him is thinking exactly four words:

    “Hook. Line. And sinker.”

    • Weatherheight

      “Good evening. Which seating would you prefer, Cynical, Sanguine, or Equivocal?”

      I would like this to be the redemption of Patrick, too.
      But so many of of the potential twists which seem plausible going forward link back to Patrick, which implies that something about this whole thing is either far more or not all what it appears to be

      • FlashNeko

        I suppose “Cynical” would be the best fit for my feeling that I would love to be proven wrong but something about this feels too… by the numbers in following the “woobiefication” script. Add to that we know how Patrick has a self-admitted history of emotionally manipulating people by presenting in ways how his victims/associates would like things to be and… yeah, hard to not think this is another wheel inside a wheel.

      • Zac Caslar

        I’ll take Sanguine, thanks. Redemptions arcs have to be tied to changes in actions and much as I think this is sincere nothing done = nothing proven.

  • David B Huber

    Touching. But despite being a truism there can be no deceit in a mind meld it seems a bit manipulative even to my naive eye.

    First, is this Patrick the whole person? Or just the fifth aspect, sauteed in Component?

    Second, this mindscape is a construct. Under demolition certainly but still only a stage upon which the players perform. Not a full mind meld.

    Third, even if Patrick can’t read (or subtly influence!) Alison’s mind in this environment he’s become a past master at manipulating others and may not be able to help himself.

  • Kid Chaos
  • eliza

    *sobs in lush green*

  • Panel Three: Sorry, buddy – i know that feeling well – i’ll be seventy soon, and i still haven’t managed it.

  • Danygalw

    “I love people. I’ve always sort of wanted to be one.”
    !
    I’m not—I’m not as *far* that way, as Patrick is, not by a long way. But—
    ah.

  • A Tiny Little Baby

    It’s amusing how the comment section always seems to think there are *at least* six layers of subterfuge behind everything anyone says or does in this comic.

    As someone who dissociates far too much instead of coping with emotions in a healthy way, I think this page is beautiful and cathartic after everything they’ve been through so far, and I really hope this is as genuine as it seems.

  • Jshadow

    Patrick is talking like an alien trying to relate to humans.

  • Lance Allen

    Just got caught up after a long hiatus. I never really got the whole Patrick Lurve that these messages seem to have, but this page, that last word balloon, really hit me.

  • Wikimancer

    I get Patrick’s meaning, though a lot of his past actions bring into question whether he really loves people. Also, you’d think that he’d have, at some point, read the mind of someone who realized that person = sentient being and been able to classify himself as one at that point.