TEC: Chapter 27: Evil Shane

Yeah, we all know Shane is evil.  Granted, LaPhillips think he’s evil because he’s a nonbeliever working with The Seven (TSAN).  But he’s also evil because he’s a dickish employer and abandoned his Ambiguously Gay son.

And now he’s also evil because he’s a domestic abuser.

Stephanie comes home from South Carolina (where she was on her vague and pointless assignment for THREE WEEKS, it seems).  She’s made the decision to leave Shane, and now Phillips backbuilds a series of events in which Shane was on the edge of violence with Stephanie, punching walls and the like.  Which just seems highly out of character for Shane, but that’s just the beginning.

Stephanie still has her own place, but has been staying with Shane more often than not.  Despite all this backbuilding about how scared she is of Shane, Stephanie takes the time to pack two big suitcases with her things, despite not knowing quite when he’ll be back.  And, of course, Shane does come back, just in the nick of time to see the suitcases.

So he screams at Stephanie and slaps her across the room and throws her suitcases at her head.

And it is just so, so wrong.

I don’t mean just the domestic abuse.  Of course that is incredibly wrong.  But Shane just doesn’t seem the type.  And I know that asshole abusers don’t walk around wearing signs, but everything we’ve seen of Shane so far shows a man who solves problems (and people he considers problems) by making them go away, not by battling them head-on.  He hadn’t seen his ex-wife and son in years–out of sight, out of mind.  When anyone displeases him in the slightest, like one of his employees, he just fires them and/or ditches them.

So I just get the feeling here that Phillips wanted Shane to do something evil, because he couldn’t be bothered with the more complicated idea that Shane and Stephanie might have it out with words and their usual mutual manipulation.  And it’s only natural that Shane would be abusive.  He’s not a Christian, after all!  Never mind that it’s nonsensical character development.

In fact, after knocking her out with her suitcase, Shane carries Stephanie and the suitcases down to her car and deposits them all in it.  So when she comes to, there she is, beaten and bloody, with a lipstick message on the windshield that “NO ONE RUNS OUT ON ME.”

So this might seem like the time to go to the police, but Stephanie doesn’t.  And yes, I get that many women don’t leave and don’t report abuse, but Stephanie really has no reason not to.  She has no children to protect, and no concern over Shane’s reputation.  This is a relationship of just over a year, and she has no history of abusive relationships, either for herself and in her family.  In fact, she’s a nationally-known television journalist with a huge platform to expose Shane.

But no, she goes home, washes away all the evidence, and sleeps until she gets a call from Shane’s secretary, who tells her that she’s fired and Shane is going to blackball her.  Which seems like a plan doomed to failure, given Stephanie’s success and reputation.  You’d think after being fired without cause, Stephanie would be snatched up by another network within the hour.

Anyway, Stephanie just rolls over and thinks of God.  Yep, she calls Murphy’s words to mind about having happiness in the midst of sorrow, and she doesn’t have that (gee, shocking), so she talks to God and makes the transaction.  She also thinks this:

I’ve really made some poor choices, and they’ve affected my entire life.

Huh.  It’s almost like Phillips is implying that Stephanie’s choice to have a monogamous sexual relationship without a wedding ring was an obvious precursor to abuse and professional ruin.  Fancy that.

I dunno.  It’s just that making Stephanie into someone who doesn’t even consider going to the police when she’s been beaten into unconsciousness, followed by this talking to God about “poor choices“…well, I guess there’s only thing a good Christian woman should do when she is abused: pray about it.

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Posted on May 8, 2016, in The Europa Conspiracy. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. There’s no way it would be advantageous to the writers to suddenly turn the book into, “and then Stephanie went to the police and Shane got locked up.” They could show that Shane has the police in his pocket by having her go to the police, after which they make the evidence disappear and laugh at her instead of helping her, but despite the horrible godlessness of the world, the statement “police corruption exists” is itself a highly controversial one in LaHaye/Phillips’ circles. And anyway, where in all of this would be the central role for Murphy? Better to have her mind go to his advice (which was, of course, “pray,” not “if he hits you go to the cops,”) and then get back to him.

    • Then she can join Shari in Murphy’s back-up harem of pretty-but-not-supermodel women who hang around manly Murphy because he’s so much better than their godless boyfriends. Where they’ll serve the same role to Murphy as Hattie did to Rayford: “I could, but I won’t”.

  2. Shane’s reaction makes even less sense if you remember he isn’t just a man who’s girlfriend left him: He’s also a man who’s neck-deep into a murderous global conspiracy. And his girlfriend knows it. I don’t think he gave her all the details, but she knows he’s in over his head with this shadowy group. And he told her who the biggest (human) enemy of this group is, and he has even ordered her to make contact with this enemy.
    So from a perspective of pure self-interest this is absolutely the stupidest response imaginable. He hurts and insults her, cuts all ties, does everything to make her hate him more… but he doesn’t in any way make it difficult for her to now spill all his damning secrets, either to a competitor who’ll hire Stephanie now, or just straight to the manly Murphy, the only man (who’s not also divine) that the Seven fear.
    Given his rather unusual position, he either should’ve pulled out all stops to try and convince her he does love her and of course he’s willing to marry her and please give him another chance, or sicked Talon on her. Preferably both. (Sorry for any uncomfortable real-life implications of this advice, but as I said, Shane isn’t in a normal real world situation.)

    • Particularly remembering that he’s also implausibly rich. Another option would be something like: “Sorry it’s gone bad. Tell you what, it might be awkward if you keep working for the network, and that’s kind of my fault, so here’s a million bucks to tide you over while you look for a new job. No hard feelings, eh?”

      After all, it’s been implied that fresh popsies for him are two a penny…

      • Sure, bribery, flatery, murder…y? Just about everything would serve him better than this temper tantrum.

  3. Rainbow Moonglow

    I think I said this about another “suddenly, this character who has shown no signs of doing this horrible thing does this horrible thing” reveal: In real life, domestic abusers, rapists, or serial killers look like anybody anyone could know, but fiction has to make sense. And this doesn’t make a single iota of sense, it was just done to make Shane seem that much more evil, as if siding with the Bad Guys wasn’t enough.

    • There needs to be the appearance of a cause, yeah. Maybe life has been good for Shane until now, but suddenly he’s being thwarted by Those Pesky Christians, and he wants to take it out on someone.

    • Also, people in real life who “suddenly” do horrible things often have some history of doing less horrible things in the same vein. Someone who doesn’t know them well might not have had any opportunity to see it, and someone who does might be oblivious or might rationalize away the warning signs, but decent fiction should show it.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for May 13th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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