Persecuted, Part 3
So, as John luckily drives away from his surveilled home, to do…whatever he wants to do now, we cut to a bit later that night, when the board of his ministry gets together to talk about the situation. Now, I’m sure the filmmakers did not intend this to seem like an evil and clandestine meeting when they shot it in such low light, with the little table lamps illuminating the men from below to make them look slightly sinister…but that’s the effect.
HOWEVER, we see that one of the members of the board is Dean Stockwell. So, for me, this movie has just become 3000% more awesome, because Dean Stockwell is one of my very favorite actors of all time. I’ve loved him ever since I was a kid and watched him portray Admiral Al Calavicci on Quantum Leap. But he’s awesome in anything, including when he’s playing the most evil of Cylons or when he’s running a home for wayward teenage girls who are going to sell their babies.
Anyway, he’s the voice of reason here, finding the whole meeting kinda pointless until they can hear John’s side of the story. Which seems quite optimistic of him. Slimy Brad Stine pulls a Trump, standing up and yammering on and saying nothing of substance, mildly implying John’s guilt. Al looks displeased.
Then Slimy Brad Stine starts talking about the evil legislation, that he wants everyone in the room to sign. Um, why??? Why would a board of ministers even need to sign some legislation that hasn’t even passed yet?
(Still, we learn a tiny bit more about the evil legislation: that it has “earmarks” for compliant ministers and “a very generous tax advantage package,” though I don’t see how a church can have a bigger tax advantage than the one they already have, which is: they don’t have to pay them.)
Meanwhile, John heads back to the scene of the crime. I note again that this is the THIRD thing he chosen to do with his time, wad of bills, and car. Before exiting said car, he pauses to read the Bible and have a cry. Interestingly, he prays,
“If I have done this, if there is any iniquity in my hands, let my enemy pursue me and overtake me.”
IF? That’s bizarre. We have seen that John has a few flashes of what happened; that is, of the girl crawling all over him snapping pictures. But I still can’t imagine there is anything that would suggest to John that he is in any way responsible for what happened. He knows he stopped his car and saw a girl and was then knocked out, yes? There’s nothing that implies that John might think he went on a bender that he doesn’t remember or anything. Odd.
Then, right there at the scene of the crime, he decides to go to sleep in his car. Look, dude, when I suggested that, I didn’t suggest you do it AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME.
He has a dream (or something) where he wakes up shaking and calling for MonicaMelissa. She’s facing away from him, sitting in a chair, so I kinda think it’s either a flashback to when his daughter was just born, and/or to him coming off a bender. I dunno, and I don’t think it really matters.
He wakes up, still at the scene of the crime, which includes a trailer with a bunch of stoned hippies living in it or something. I dunno, I’m pretty square.
Still though, seems short-sighted of the villains to do their bad deed right in front of the hippies’ trailer home…
And I am vindicated when it turns out to be one of the hippies who recorded the whole incident. Luther buys a copy of the recording off the hippie chick without batting an eye.
Then bizarrely, the FBI wants to have a talk with Slimy Brad Stine. Then then, Senator X-Men has a meeting in his fancy house about the legislation, and the priest crashes it, posing as a different priest who was actually invited. Whatever, I don’t see the point.
So John calls the priest, who I guess must also have given him a burner phone:
“I have it, Dad. I’m going to the police.”
This is the first I’ve heard of this! What kind of crazy shit you trying to pull, movie?
The priest is John’s father? The Catholic priest is RTC preacher John Luthor’s father???
Holy weird fucked-up-ness, Batman!
Okay, okay, I know some priests become priests later in life, even after raising families of their own. Hell, I listened to a Catholic radio show one time where they were bemoaning the lack of men who want to join the priesthood these days, and were saying that some widowed older men join the priesthood. Hell, they made it sound almost like a retirement option. But I’m sorry, this is just WEIRD.
And the weirdness of the whole situation aside, why did John think it was safe to go to his dad after he became a fugitive? If they had his own house and his wife under surveillance, wouldn’t they do the same for his father?
Ah well, guess not.
Anyway, Priest Dad actually advises John not to go to the police. AGAIN. Because “you’re in their way.” They meet up, and Priest Dad shows John a really bad photo of Senator X-Men and the girl, and tells a convoluted and nonsensical story about the girl being adopted by some lady only three days ago.
Priest Dad also expositions that Senator X-Men is the Senate Majority Leader, which again raises the question of why the hell they need some TV preacher’s support to pass any legislation. Priest Dad then ties it all to evil and persecution:
“…it’s what [Senator X-Men’s] a part of, the people he’s associated with, what SUMAC is trying to do, what this legislation is bound to do, the results. … You ask the people in this country, round here, about the persecution of Christians, most times people will just smile and say, ‘No such thing. Not here, can’t happen.'”
Um, okay. Look, dude, they’re not doing this to John because he’s RTC and they’re just mean ole atheists. They’re doing it because they inexplicably need his support for their stupid bill. It’s a plot device, not persecution.
Anyway, Priest Dad once again does not offer John sanctuary in his church, but instead has gotten him a hotel room (this despite the fact that ten seconds later he says, “the eyes of the world are on you.”)
But before going to his hotel room, John finds and confronts Slimy Brad Stine. He pulls a whole we’re-still-friends fakeout, giving him a note to give to MonicaMelissa. All the note says is “Hotel Blue, 717 Central Ave 90125.” Then John fucks off.
(Now, I don’t know if this is supposed to be a clue or what, but the Hotel Blue at 717 Central Ave. is actually a real place in New Mexico. But the area code is wrong. In fact, 90125 is a Yes album. Whether this is a mistake, or a code between the couple will be interesting to see.)
Next we know, Senator X-Men is getting a late-night call from the President, who tells him a ridiculous yet folksy and threatening tale about when he was a lil boy down in the Deep South, son, and once kilt him a rattler with his bare dadgum hands. This all leads to the revelation that the President is in on the whole John mess, or at least was aware of it. The Prez then says he washes his hands of the whole thing, which it seems a bit late for. Then again, we currently have an untouchable “president,” so what do I know?
John takes a refreshing dip in the hotel pool, because I guess he doesn’t have anything better to do with his time, while Priest Dad watches the recording of John being set up and the girl being murdered. Priest Dad leaves a message on John’s phone, because “I think I’ve found something here.” Of course, he doesn’t give any details, and a good thing too, because then there wouldn’t be any suspense created when two bad guys murder Priest Dad ten seconds later!!
Okay, so this is your standard conspiracy movie he-was-killed-for-knowing-too-much bit, but this is a conspiracy that the conspirators are still trying to pull off. So it seems pretty counterproductive to kill the victim’s own father. That just makes John look victimized. Why not just overpower the priest, take and destroy the recording, and let Priest Dad look like a raving loon who would say anything to save his son?
Slightly later that night, John bursts into Priest Dad’s room as though expecting something awful, though there is no reason he should. This leads to John’s crisis of faith moment, where he rails at God (“Are you not true to your name?!“).
Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t last.
Until next time!