TEC: Chapter 3: Laura…er, Shari

Let’s pop right to Chapter 3, as Murphy returns to work after the canyon escapade, since it’s super-short.  In fact, the chapter is just barely over one page long, but that’s long enough to reinforce the extremely creepy way that Murphy equates his 21-year-old research assistant with his dead wife:

“This doesn’t have anything to do with Methuselah, does it?” [asked Shari]

Her words sounded just like something Laura would say.  Ever since Laura had died, Shari had taken over the job of worrying about him.

Yeah, we know:

With Laura gone, Shari had taken up the post of chief worrier on his behalf…

This is also the chapter in Ararat in which Murphy worries that his constant lying to Shari will get him “in trouble” with her.

I also mentioned back then that there are sound psychological reasons why poor, friendless orphan Shari would cling to this surrogate father figure, no matter how much he lies to her and belittles her and pawns off responsibilities onto her (like those puppies from Ararat, that are never seen again after Shari adopts them).

And I’m sure Murphy has his own reasons for treating Shari (and thinking of her) like a surrogate wife (without the sexual component, natch).  Emotionally, it’s a lot “safer” for him to think of Shari that way, than it would be to build a relationship between two equal adults.  The power imbalance in their relationship, both professional and religious, means Shari will never challenge him or argue with him the way Isis, for example, might.  So Murphy gets the comfort of thinking of Shari as Substitute Laura, without having to actually act like a partner in an adult relationship.

Oh, and the only other thing that happens is that Substitute Laura gives a message to Murphy: Pastor Bob Waggoner wants to have lunch with him.



Posted on January 18, 2016, in The Europa Conspiracy. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Wow, with the first chapter being how it was I was expecting to see a lot more padding here.

    Seriously, one page? This doesn’t really seem like something worth devoting an entire chapter to. Maybe LaHaye just told the writer that the book had to have X number of chapters, and the writer figured bull like this was the easiest way to accomplish that.

  2. Tim LaHaye: poster boy for “I couldn’t make your beliefs look half as bad as you already did.”

  3. I’d say it’s an improvment over treating her like his child, but in RTC circles that’s not all that different from treating her as a wife-minus-the-sex.

  4. RTCs don’t build relationships between two equal adults. And I’m not saying that to be snarky: there’s always, in all the presentations of “how people should be living their lives”, an inferior/superior component to any RTC relationship. The idea that you could have two people neither of whom can overrule the other would seem to them a recipe for chaos.

    This book really is following the outline of the last one, chapter by chapter, isn’t it?

  5. I’m kind of wondering now why Shari wasn’t made the romantic replacement for Murphy’s dead wife instead of Isis . . . I know Isis was set up as such in the first book, but that was under another writer and it’s not like the new one couldn’t change things if he saw things differently. Yeah, Shari is Murphy’s student and a professor dating their student is unethical (not that Murphy is around enough to really count as Shari’s professor) but time has passed in these novels; I think it’s been like a year so far, at least? Eventually Shari won’t be in college anymore. And we know what will happen to Paul eventually, assuming they’re even officially dating (I don’t get the impression they are, but I may be wrong) so there won’t be any problem there. And Shari would really make for a much better Good Christian Wife than Isis, even after her Stepfordization.

    • I agree with you, but I can see why they didn’t go with Shari as the love interest. 1) Murph gets TWO wimmenz for his love interests and 2) Isis is still a heathing heathen and thus must (eventually) be converted, thereby fulfilling the bingo square of “hero non-Christians comes to Jesus.” And by getting saved, there is no longer any barrier preventing Isis from being an acceptable wifey for Murphy.

      • And since Isis isn’t a co-worker, Murphy only has the options of marrying her or never talking to her again. Because “men and women can’t be friends”.

        • The easy answer to that is for Isis to be tempted into joining the evil organization Murphy’s fighting against (since she’s not a RTC, she wouldn’t realize how evil they truly were) and then Murphy would have to figure out a way to brainwash – ahem, convince her to rejoin his side by converting her to RTCism.

          And I have trouble believing Isis will be an acceptable wife for Murphy even post conversion in canon – even post-Stepfordization she’s not submissive enough, still sees Murphy as an equal, and tries to make him treat her as one. He’ll have to beat her spirit down quite a bit before she agrees to marry him, and I’m not sure how much longer the series goes.

  6. I wish more of these were written; as bad as they are, I’ll take them any day over the tedium of Left Behind. Chapters like these are a good reason why Babylon Rising wasn’t renewed though; I hate these super quick chapters that could easily have been integrated into a longer one.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for January 22nd, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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