Issue 1CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22BreakPage 92 Issue 2CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50 Issue 3CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3HolidayPage 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31p 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78 Guest ArtTuesdayWednesdayFriday Issue 4CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52 Issue 5CoverPage 1Page 2NewspaperPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60HiatusPage 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145Page 146Page 147Page 148Page 149Page 150Page 151Page 152Page 153Page 154Page 155Page 156Page 157Page 158Page 159Page 160Page 161Page 162Page 163Page 164Page 165Page 166Page 167 Issue 6CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145 Bonus Content1234 Issue 7CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 93Page 94Page 95 Show Comments Morri … holy crap, she killed his father???? Julia McGuire Nah, I think he’s helping her move that money like he mentioned in the last page. Tylikcat That’s a super primitive way of moving money. Weatherheight Images of a scene with a monolith and wheelbarrows full of cash being pushed about by apes with background music from Also Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss were evoked by that short sentence… Dean Unless she’s burying the dog. Is anyone else thinking ‘Texas funeral’? 21stCenturyPeon I’m wondering if she’ll make Patrick bury the dog. Dwight Williams His grave as much as the dog’s? Weatherheight That would be a cool twist – this is all some other little boy that Patrick “absorbed” and Patrick can’t differentiate it from his own memories… Insanenoodlyguy what’s the tool box for though? You don’t need anything but the shovel to bury somebody. Weatherheight You need tools to pull the teeth and cut off the fingertips and feet to help hinder identification of the body and it’s safer to carry the lye you’ll use on the face and abdomen in a second tier container. Insanenoodlyguy For your own dog? I find it unlikely she’s going to kill patrick right after he proved his value! Weatherheight Not as dark as you thought you were huh? 😀 Insanenoodlyguy I named myself a mentally unbalanced noodle man. I’m about as dark as a 12 year old in a black t-shirt insisting listening to Lincoln park makes her one of the goth kids. Franklin J Gomes I bet she tried to murder Patrick. Weatherheight Excellent, someone else whose mind has a twist even nastier than my own. Glad you’re on board! 😀 AdamBombTV Maybe they’re going treasure hunting? Sara Finn My thoughts are that she is going to “get rid of the problem child” the same way she “got rid of the problem dog”, only the child strikes back and enter “Menace”. I’m hoping not, but that box is too small for the dog… …and Patrick the child already knows this. Danygalw Children are often larger than dogs. Johnny Awesome That looks like a toolbox to me… (though why she’d need that I have no idea) Hopefully she’s not putting a dog in there, it’s got a carrying handle. If she needs a convenient way to carry her dog’s corpse around she’s even worse than we thought. hahaha! That’s some Hannibal Lecter level evil Kirt Dankmyer Yeah, that’s a toolbox, guys. There’s a lot of screwed up here, but she’s not planning on putting a corpse in there. Ian Osmond Possibly a fishing tackle box, but it’s small for that. Olivier Faure Allison, I know you try very hard, but you’re a dumbass sometimes. You’re talking to the static memory of a child who can’t hear you, while his mother is taking him out at night with a shovel. There is zero chance that whatever follows is going to be “okay”. 3-I Compassion is a feature, not a bug. Tylikcat Luckily, Patrick of this scenario can’t hear her. Compassion has failure modes, just like everything else. Sure, good things come out of it – but being a dumbass and invalidating the reality a child is experiencing is not on the list. 3-I “Invalidating the reality a child is experiencing.” By telling them that their life won’t be terrible forever. She isn’t saying “It’s not that bad, toughen up.” She’s saying “It will get better.” I seriously cannot believe that you guys are judging her this harshly for having an instinctual response of “attempt to comfort suffering child.” Zinc There’s no doubt that Alison has good intentions here; she is also factually wrong about how this memory is going to play out, and this sort of empty promise is not really comforting to Patrick. This echoes Clevin’s attempts to comfort Patrick, and his harsh response to those platitudes. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-28-5/ http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-31-5/ Kid Chaos Alison uses COMPASSION: it’s not very effective. 😓 Zinc Of course it will be okay. Patrick survived and grew up to be a well-balanced, moral, mentally healthy and stable person, as we well know. Packy Anderson His mother’s hand isn’t blacked out. Why is her hand not blacked out? Alex Hollins There’s always ONE feature that isn’t. Her lips, her legs, her shoes. This time its the hand holding the shovel. Its… Either well researched, or the artist or author has some experience with this kind of PTSD. It’s a very common effect of traumatic memories. The fading and hyperfocus on what was important at that moment. In my case, its almost always his mustache or his eyes that I can see clearly. occasionally his boots. Thomas S Thankyou for this bit of life experience shared. It illuminates the webcomic for me more. Gotham I love how it’s Alison who needs reassurance. She’s not (that) dumb, she knows memory Patrick can’t hear hear, she’s mostly saying that to convince herself. He can’t read minds in there, but lil’ Patrick sees this enough that she’s the one to get a pat—clever—on the back for all the distress that his own childhood is causing her. Allegedly. Which makes the last sentence all the more cruel. What kind of emotional rollercoaster are you subjecting the frail invincible goddess to, Pat Nightsbridge …I don’t understand how people think that Patrick is controlling his own emotional and power-related breakdown. David Brown I’ve traumatized my own psychotherapists with my past before. Again I get Patrick from his own perspective. I’ll just assume from this point that he’s me. Scott Not controlling the entire breakdown, per se. I think the idea is more that each of the Patrick “aspects” is a somewhat self-functioning entity and that they each have their own agendas. So it isn’t so much that people think that real world Patrick is faking his own breakdown in order to lure Allison into a mind meld where he can force her to see the world his way. Rather, now that Allison is inside Patrick’s head, each of his aspects are attempting to manipulate her. That and the well documented fact that memory is faulty have led to people questioning the validity of what Allison is being shown. Eric Meyer I still think that’s not actually Allison’s mind, and rather an Ersatz of her that Patrick’s mind created when it read the real Al’s intent of “Entering his mind to help”- the real Al will wake up with zero recollection of having done this, but at that moment this Ersatz will vanish due to Pat’s mind detecting that it ‘should’ because of its own beliefs. Nightsbridge I feel like the fact that we’ve seen real Allison get a nosebleed in the real world from getting punched here might be a slight complication for this theory. Elaine Lee I agree that normal human memory is faulty to an astonishing degree. But the creators of this comic have not established that Patrick’s memory is faulty. Super powers. Scott They actually did. When Allison was walking through the Hall of Memories, the keeper of memories (or whatever he was called) showed her Patrick’s happiest memory. Allison pointed out that the scene playing out in that memory was actually incorrect and that Patrick’s emotions at the time altered the way he was remembering the event: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-52-5/ Insanenoodlyguy But it was Patrick’s memory. Off slightly, but the important parts were there. So maybe Dad’s tone was more panicked or less panicked or something. Maybe mom was more emotional with the dog and less clinical because Patrick finds her terrifying and the memory makes her even scairier looking/sounding. It is unlikely that anything of significance has been changed. What do you imagine he’s altering/getting wrong to manipluate Allison? To be clear though, that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to manipulate Allison, not saying that. Just that he’s using what he believes actually happened to do it. Insanenoodlyguy There’s faulty memory and there’s straight up fabrication. They are going to bury a dog. Patrick’s mom killed his damn dog or he’s a straight up liar at this point. Memory is faulty but you don’t construct a narrative this long or rich that actually traumatizes you. And if it was somebody else’s memory, why the fuck would he ever keep it? 3-I People desperately want to believe that Patrick cannot possibly be an abuse victim, because that interferes with their preconceived notions of him. Therefore, the only solution is to presume that he is actively deceiving Allison and the reader. In addition, they are claiming that memory is faulty despite the fact that in fiction, we are generally meant to assume that what we see is reality, for the same reason: assuming that what we are seeing is the actual truth of Patrick’s backstory would ruin the power fantasy that has been built up around him. Gotham What? No. The preconceived notions of Patrick we had /were/ of him having the most traumatic of upbringings. It was never stated but always alluded to, like when he said he had no friends and was an unstable fourteen year old. If anything what we’re seeing up there is the absolute opposite of surprising. People question the narrative because the context would allow for that to be the case, what with being in his mind and all, but also most importantly /because/ we’re instinctively rejecting how… /expected/ all of this is. People were in disbelief the other day because killing the dog is literally a trope namer, the lamest trophy there is to win. A power fantasy that had been built up around him what are you on about JeffH I love the link to the “Shoot the dog” trope site — I didn’t know that site existed, and it’s very cool. That said, the definition of “Shoot the dog” you linked to on that site doesn’t seem to match the current situation. The “Shoot the dog” trope is founded from “Old Yeller” — a “bad” (or morally questionable) thing is done because there is no good option to take. Let the dog suffer or kill the dog — Killing the dog doesn’t make you a horrible person. This seems to me to be a Kick The Dog trope, cranked up to 11. We’re showing this purely to demonstrate how horrific (and apparently unnaturally strong) Patrick’s mother is. And I agree, it is pretty over the top, to the point where it’s reasonable to question if it was real. Mitchell Lord It’s actually a similar trope, that was removed. “Rape the Dog”. It was folded into the Moral Event Horizon trope. Kick the Dog is for an act of pointless cruelty. Moral Event Horizon is for a act of cruelty that is so over the top, there’s no going back. JeffH Snapping your kid’s dog’s neck in front of him just might meet the criteria of Moral Event Horizon… Weatherheight “I love the link to the “Shoot the dog” trope site — I didn’t know that site existed, and it’s very cool.” We’ll leave meals outside your room while you fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole that is TVTropes.com. I lost 18 hours in that site once – bathroom breaks and two fridge raids were the only breaks. Insanenoodlyguy Oh crap you missed that one? Watch out, wiki serfing on tropes can eat up hours of your life at a time! Zinc I think this is really misrepresenting peoples’ arguments. I haven’t seen anyone claiming Patrick couldn’t possibly be an abuse victim for whatever reason – what I have seen are claims that the amount of abuse suffered is excessive and over the top, for various possible reasons: Patrick manipulating Alison was one of them, Patrick’s memory being simply faulty another, and some people just claimed it as bad writing. Others (including myself) just don’t find it excessive at all, especially considering he eventually became a supervillain. And the argument that the memories might be faulty, despite this being fiction, is well founded – we have already been presented with a misremembered scene of Alison laughing along with Patrick, and that memory was much more recent. Scott To build off of what Gotham said, fiction also has a subversion mechanic called “The unreliable narrator”. This mechanic takes advantage of the fact that audiences tend to assume that what is playing out is an accurate recreation of events and subverts it by having a point of view character who is either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting the events being described. Think of The Usual Suspects where *Spoiler for the film The Usual Suspects* the big reveal at the end of the movie is that the entire movie up to that point was complete fantasy. All of the scenes that the audience was shown were just the lies that the narrator was telling in order to escape criminal prosecution. Other examples include the movies Fight Club and A Beautiful Mind. Now, with that said, we have already had a scene where the comic told us to expect the memories to be faulty. In this page: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-52-5/ Allison points out that the scene being shown never happened that way and that Patrick’s emotions have changed how he recalls the events. Now, the fact that Molly took enough time to build up a moment where an unreliable narrator was so clearly established only makes sense if she plans to pay it off further down the line. Because of that, some people are already trying to guess what parts of Patrick’s memories are unreliable and why and how that is going to play into Allison’s interpretation of Patrick’s character. Eric Schissel haven’t seen that film, but a book series I like (Laundry Files) has gone interesting directions when the author reminded the readers that most of the instalments are work diaries, hence subjective (and not free of the thought that the contents might be viewed, too), hence unreliable, … Insanenoodlyguy I like now how in Worm (and for those who don’t know it if you like this comic you probably should be reading the webnovel Worm and then it’s bridge Glow-Worm and sequel Ward), we’ve gotten an interesting contrast between our first self-narrated protagonist’s take on events, where all of her actions are what needed to be done, and the prespective of others, many of whom think she was a monster, far far beyond the obvious expectations of a supervillian. Kerlyssa wait, there’s a fucking sequel to Worm?!? Zinc Yes! Go read it now! It only started late October, so you “only” have three arcs to catch up on! https://www.parahumans.net/2017/10/21/glow-worm-0-1/ Insanenoodlyguy Go. Go now start with glow worm 1 it will link you to ward when it is done. Weatherheight I just remembered a very young Christian Bale in a movie called American Psycho (playing Patrick (!) Bateman [no relation to Norman Bates] ) – another splendid example of this trope. Once the shoe drops, it reframes the whole movie up to that point. Mitchell Lord Except ‘faulty showing of what we see’…is a MAJOR element of fiction, including, not only the Usual Suspects, but Jade Empire, where you are shown a flashback that is BLATENTLY a lie…and the ‘real’ one is verified. Part of the problem, is that it may be going TOO far to justify Patrick. (Since a lot of his actions previously are…kinda overboard). Plus, he has been established as VERY manipulative before. And the author has pulled some bait-and-switches with characters before… Weatherheight Heya Mitchell! Seems like it’s been a while? Have I just been inattentive? GaryFarber The phrase “unreliable narrator” is a thing, you know. 3-I Did you not notice the other people going on at length as if I’ve never heard of it? I mean, my god, I am attempting to restrain myself from getting into arguments here, but seriously, guys, do you not see each other’s responses? Debbie Jackson She knows that Patrick survived this, and wants to reassure. She doesn’t know how much of Patrick actually came through this experience unscathed enough to truly be considered to have “survived”. dragon Assuming she’s not an idiot, she would realize premeditated murder of a telepath is a bad plan. That, plus him being “useful” means the shovel is not for him. Zinc I agree that the shovel is probably not for him; I disagree that premeditation is necessarily a bad plan against a telepath. It is bad against a telepath with the means of defending himself – which does not describe Patrick at that age. As a child, he is probably slower and much weaker, physically, than Pearlaudia, especially armed with a shovel. If he is alone with her, his telepathy will not help him escape physical harm if that’s her wish (assuming the offensive, disruptive projections we’ve seen in these chapters are a new aspect of his power, which seems likely). He could try to shake her resolve by talking, but I get the feeling that Pearlaudia is not the type of person to be easily moved or stopped by words alone. It seems to me that the best method available to Patrick to protect himself from harm by Pearlaudia is to make himself useful to her (at least until he could escape safely) – which seems to me to perfectly match his words and actions on the previous page. Weatherheight Pearlaudia – a 5 movement opus by Schopin-hour in praise of the common pomaceous fruit of the Rosaceae shrub. Eric Schissel or was for him but many a slip twixt cup and lip… Pol Subanajouy So…it looks like we are graduating to cleaning up evidence. Or at least this is the implication. I guess we are going full bore with a tragic traumatic back story then? And, due to Patrick’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if the tragedy actually physically happened, his perceptions may be so garbled that it may as well have happened. Zorae42 This memory seems like it’s also going to be a bad memory but it’s not locked away like the others and will take them back? Maybe what’s going to happen next is only mildly tragic? Or has something else relevant that merits it not being behind a max security barrier? motorfirebox It’s beyond the barriers (i.e. outside of what Patrick consciously remembers) but it’s not contained in the largest barrier (the contents of which have not yet been revealed). Peter G I think that his mother has the shovel to bury Skip’s body (Patrick’s dog). I predict that this memory is traumatic to Patrick because he kills his mother with the shovel by the end of it. Weatherheight That would also be cool – it gives Patrick a experiential link to Daniel. Or he’s manipulating as he’s done in the past. The suspense is palpable, isn’t it? 😀 Gotham Also: I’ve been lenient on the story so far, and I know some definitely haven’t as much, but if Pearldia forces Patrick to bury his own dog you’re going to hear the sound of flipped tables from across the Pacific. (And from the goddamn Moon if turns out Skipper isn’t completely dead and he can hear his thoughts of paralyzed agony as it shovels earth back on his body) Meghan I think it has something to do with last page where he told his mother that he could help her move the money. Mechwarrior I don’t think memory-Patrick would be nearly that okay if he could hear Skipper’s continued thoughts after what Claudia did. Debbie Jackson Artistic licence aside, the box his mother’s holding isn’t nearly large enough to contain Skipper’s mortal remains. Most likely it’s a strongbox full of the cash he referenced before. Insanenoodlyguy Lets go with the trauma congo. They are burying illegal money in case. But they are going to do it in his dogs grave. So they’ll dig it up, open the casket, and then Patrick has to see his dog’s corpse! (This is probably not it, but that’d fuck up most anybody I think) latesleeper I am afraid that you might be, actually too optimistic thinking its just a dog that Patrick is supposed to help bury here. Alan_A Anyone else notice that the driver in the final panel is barely present, sort of a rough stick figure, compared to the passengers, who are solidly rendered (at least as shadows)? Another indication that elements of the memory are at best… sorry for this… sketchy? Weatherheight I upvote this mostly because the pun is AWESOME! Urthman I’m confused. Are these supposed to be memories that Patrick put “beyond the barrier”? Is Alison’s presence forcing him to involuntarily revisit these memories? Is the breakdown of the barrier the problem Patrick is having that she’s there to try to help with? motorfirebox These memories are definitely beyond the barriers (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-58-4/). But there’s also another, much larger barrier (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-61-4/). Weatherheight This seems a reasonable analysis. Urthman Oh right. She fell into this ambiguous area chasing the image of the wacky professor. Reading this comic one page every few days makes me dumb. Insanenoodlyguy The part beyond the barrier is mom’s thoughts. I think more then her appearance (but also here appearance) That’s what’s really being censored. JohnTomato “Mom” still has her hooker heels on. I doubt she’s going far from a sidewalk. bryan rasmussen hmm, what was it Patrick said – something about if you can read someone’s mind you don’t need thought control to make them do whatever you want. I mean if you have someone who was sort of into you and also wants to save every cruelly put upon thing in the world maybe you come up with a convincing back story of how rough you had it and she will want to do whatever you want done at the end of all this. maybe Ilm just paranoid though Tsapki Certainly a possibility, though it is tricky to say how much power he has inside his own mind since it was pretty firmly stated that he lacks the ability to read his own mind. Weatherheight And, of course, our source for that information…? Patrick, who mere pages before essentially admitted that he’s an expert manipulator… D*rned rabbit holes, they’re everywhere! Weatherheight Or maybe you’re just paranoid enough… motorfirebox So, this is interesting. Remember when we found out Patrick can’t read his own mind? As we’re seeing, it actually seems like he can—or at least part of him can. Some part of him, currently represented by child-Patrick, was not only able to view his mind from the “outside”, but to actively manipulate it. There are a couple different ways this could turn out. One way is that the main Patrick personality was simply lying about his capacity to read his own mind. Another possibility is that he wasn’t lying, and that these secondary “personalities” Alison is interacting with are just figments of her and Patrick’s currently-shared imagination. That is, Patrick blocked out some of his memories unconsciously, through the same process as many other people who block out traumatic experiences, and the child Patrick is just some kind of shared metaphor rather than an actual entity existing in some kind of astral plane. The third possibility I can think of is that what Alison is seeing can be taken at face value—Patrick’s mind can be represented and interacted with as a sort of interior reality, which is maintained by fully- or near-fully self-aware personality fragments that can manipulate that interior reality (and thus Patrick’s mind) consciously, likely as an effect of his biodynamic abilities. The third one is interesting because one thing it may imply is that Patrick actually wasn’t lying. The outer Patrick, the one that consciously interacts with external reality, may have himself been walled off from the rest of his mind via these mental barriers. (I suppose this could also be true in the second scenario.) The outer Patrick may have been blocked off from the ability to read his own mind, for the sake of maintaining that outer personality’s sanity. On top of all which, of course, is his powers getting worse—so much worse that the original barriers can no longer fully contain the locked-away portions of his abilities. Gotham Interesting ideas, but I think we’ve reached the point where the rules are just not clear and strict enough for speculation to carry any weight. It was to be expected with such a fantastic setting—there’s a reason it takes Inception half a movie to set up its universe before it actually starts—but this is frustrating because such a loose worldbuilding means 80% of the interesting interpretation we’re coming up with is entirely our own and a good, good lot of it will never be expanded upon. Like Brennan I love you but how dare you create a scene where we’re technically inside barriers but not “the BIG barriers” and we’ve visually seen neither of those two kinds of barriers and ALSO why are we so far from the Hall of Memories why would the Component be some kind of teleportation portal instead of a gate to a more nested sub-dimension AND ANOTHER THING I’m still not clear on the “Patrick can’t read his own mind” thing what does it actually mean can /I/ read my own mind Weatherheight I had issues with the “I can’t read my own mind” theory too (see responses above for details). Insanenoodlyguy It means that you can’t tell when you are full of shit. You ever do or say someting you know was wrong, but you convinced yourself or just were feeling a certain way and at the moment it felt right? Maybe later you realized how lame that was, but not at the time rigtht? Pat knows when other people are doing that at the time. He assumed he never did it to himself. But how would he know? That was the real trauma when Allison laid in on him with “This is bulshit Pat.” it wasn’t that his worldview was shattered so easily by another’s. It was the realization that the thing he always knew others were doing but not him, was in fact also him all along. It was a full blown existential crisis. Also then somebody threw a mug at his head. Insanenoodlyguy No, he can recall his own memories. You’ll note there’s three people who’s thoughts we haven’t felt at all so far: The doctor who abused him, his mother, and himself. He blocks the thoughts of the people who’ve traumatized him, and his own thoughts are silent because he can’t hear them. Giacomo Bandini Bah. I don’t know you guys, but i’m not liking at all the child patrick part. Until then the ark was great, as usual, but now.. i feel i’m facing two equally bad choices: – Or Patrick is a cliche supervillain created by the consequences of childhood abuse by a psicopatic mother; -or he is a superevil mustache twirling villain who is tricking Allison for whatever evil reason. And to be honest… i find both this options very boring. Not interesting. Personally, i would have liked so much more a normal childhood. You do not need to have your mother kill your dog to become a pychotic, once you factor telepathy. It have been SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING to see his power destroy the boundaries of his childhood innocence, by exposing him to the lies and irrationality of the world far too soon? How is a boy suppose to develop, when he can hear the thoughts of his father fatasizing about his secretary while making love to his mother? How can he rest in his mother’s arms, while hearing about all her fears and anxiety and insecurity? That are interesting questions… which i fear the story missed an opportunity to answer. Weatherheight There is stil room for what you prefer while also fulfilling the trope you eschew… Giacomo Bandini Not really. I think that at this point it’s pretty clear that Patrick’s life had been principally shaped by the psychopathy of her mother. The rest is of little importance. Nightsbridge You can write that story yourself if you’re interested in seeing it told. Fairportfan What is Mommy Dearest planning… …and what’s in the trunk? Weatherheight “What’s in the case?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrZB5n0tNAI Ian Osmond Let’s see. It’s either night, or very early morning, and she’s got a shovel and a toolbox or tackle box or something. I figure, what’s going on is that it’s a fishing tackle box, and they’re going to go dig worms for bait, and go out to the fishing hole before dawn, and catch some trout and have some lovely mother-son bonding time and patch up all their differences. Right? Weatherheight I did not consider that. Silly me, I thought that was a tool box with burglary tools and a kill-kit. I’m so ashamed of my hateful assumptions. 😀 Hermitage Hm, so Chibi Patrick had to leave what is apparently the one non-garbage memory beyond the barrier to 1) prevent Allison from trying to punch her through all her problems 2) escort her through evil villain backstory memories so horrible the Adult Patrick collective wants nothing to do it with during their war for supremacy and 3) get bashed with Allison’s uber-empathy as she observes his past. And then probably go hunt down Guara who is probably ransacking this part of the mind-space too (if he wasn’t just bait to lure Allison out). Chibi Patrick deserves *all* the cookies after this. saysomethingclever So i recently returned to reading SFP after a long time away and i’m not sure i’m caught up on the fanon reason that Mom is depicted in shadow. My initial impression was that he couldn’t read her at all, but is the consensus that Patrick edits her out as much as possible due to his trauma? What other theories are out there? Weatherheight Theories so far – 1) He is unable to read Pearl/Claudia at all Previous page pretty much scotches this idea. 2) He was previously too afraid to read her thoughts – capable of doing so but blocking her out. also sketchy – but with a lessening of his fear or developing coping strategies to deal with her as evidenced on the previous page this is kind of plausible 3) He has actively or subconsciously excised the details of his memories of Pearl/Claudia for some reason. Plausible but not yet confirmed – we appear to be moving that direction 4) He is constructing a pigsh*t fantasy to show to Alison and everything he implied / told us earlier about the limits of his power set was also a pigsh*t fantasy or he’s overcome that limitation. Have I missed one? Gotham The silly one I said that one time, where Patrick censored her out not because she’s cruel but because she’s really really ugly. /TECHNICALLY, it hasn’t been invalidated yet./ Zinc You missed the amazing theory that Pearlaudia is actually a robot/terminator from the future. Link: https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-63-4/#comment-3688891024 saysomethingclever that was great, thank you! //scratches behind his ears Vespayik Does the website look really weird for anyone else? Like the header is broken and I have to scroll past the whole archive before I get to the page? Darkoneko Hellsing no ? Are you my dad? Not getting over that dog. Nope. Darkoneko Hellsing Well, uh, this uh keeps escalating.