TEC: Chapters 64 & 66: Anti-Semitism and the Climax
Phillips tries to inject some last-minute suspense in these last three chapters. So he takes us through Murphy and Levi’s breakfast convo, then the showdown with Talon—but then cuts off to spend some time with the Seven before cutting back to the showdown.
But I am on to his wily games, and will just deal with the whole showdown right now.
The next day at breakfast, Murphy and Levi get to chatting, having heard nothing about the falcon-related deaths. In fact, the first thing they talk about is Lehman:
“You know, Michael, I had a hard time going to sleep last night. I kept thinking about Dr. Lehman’s discovery. It could easily become the catalyst for sparking war against Israel.”
“Funny you should mention that. I had the same worry.”
“Yeah, funny you should mention THE ONLY THING WE TALKED ABOUT ALL DAY YESTERDAY.”
Murphy sensitively segues the conversation immediately into anti-Semitism. He tells Levi about articles he’s read about anti-Semitism. Not because he cares about Levi’s safety and comfort, mind you, but because a rise in anti-Semitism is yet another sign to Murphy that “we are moving toward God’s final Judgement Day.”
Levi says that he sees lots of anti-Semitism in the U.S., and Murphy is off to the races:
“I think [the anti-Semitism] revolves around four concepts.”
Yeah, Murphy proceeds to Christiansplain anti-Semitism to an Israeli Jewish man.
Murphy brings up the old Jewish-control-of-everything canard, the Israel-Palestine situation, anti-Americanism/anti-globalism (huh?), and simple “dislike for Jews as a race,” which would kinda seem to cover several of the previous concepts, but Levi nonetheless praises Murphy for his deep insights.
Murphy has no answers (big surprise there), but he’s “just glad we’re friends.”
Oddly, Murphy fails to consider that the belief that Jews are hellhound might explain at least a bit of anti-Semitism.
Their conversation is cut short by Levi’s phone ringing. Unlike with Murphy, we learn what Levi’s ringtone is: the theme from Exodus.
Now, this just so happens to be a gorgeous piece of music…and Murphy laughs at it. Whether this is because a majestic classical theme is ill-suited to a tinny ringtone, or because the choice of music is just so on-the-nose for our one Jewish character, I do not know. But the call is to invite Levi and Murphy to “our final showdown with Talon and his crew.” (No, really, that’s how Levi puts it.)
The other Mossad agents have “followed the man with the mustache to an old warehouse section of Et Taiyiba.” Curiously, they don’t mention where they followed Talon from, because nobody yet seems to know about the massacre at the oil field.
So they get there, and Levi has one of the agents hand off an extra gun to the archeologist who has tagged along. Man, remember when this story included the character detail of Murphy being an expert archer who never went anywhere without his bow? Phillips sure forgot about that in a hurry.
Levi picks a lock to the building they think Talon is in, and Murphy reacts like an impressed nine-year-old:
“Pretty cool,” Murphy exclaimed.
Dude, you found Noah’s Ark. How are you impressed by basic lock-picking skills?
Then, as they split up…
…and Murphy is promptly startled by a kitty cat.
Well, that’s one more reason to hate cats. You either love them or hate them…there’s no neutral ground.
Does Phillips try to come up with the most banal statements ever for Murphy, or does it just come naturally?
Alerted to their position by Murphy’s cat problem, a firefight with Talon and his goons ensues. Meanwhile, other goons outside the building fire in a few rocket-propelled grenades, setting the building ablaze.
The three Mossad agents outside hold their positions and don’t rush in to help, because “No one is to escape.”
Yeah, and they promptly fail in that whole prevent-escape thing. Because Talon busts out, driving a Land Rover holding four of his goons. One of the Mossad agents (Isaac, if you care), manages to kill one, and gets a bullet in his own leg for his trouble.
And yes, everyone else escapes. Which is significantly more than “no one.”
And the building is destroyed.
(And Phillips has effectively failed to convey any sense of drama or urgency or suspense with this splitting-the-chapters ploy, because we know Murphy and Levi are in the building, and we know Phillips won’t be killing them. They’re obviously going to make it out, so why not just do the whole scene at once?)
So we cut back to the last chapter of the book, now inside the building. The Mossad agent we only just met has of course been killed, and Levi has been injured and knocked unconscious. So it’s up to Our Hero to get them both out of the burning building!
Murphy also realizes that Talon and his crew have left, and has one last stunning insight for us:
Then he finds a small tunnel that “must have been an emergency exit for the terrorists.” So he drags Levi through it, and gets stuck, and gets sorta unstuck, and then realizes that he doesn’t know if the tunnel actually leads anywhere, or has been caved in by the RPGs/fire, and…
The book ends. Murphy ponders all this, and ponders Isis, and Cliffhanger Ending.