Monthly Archives: April 2018
Pastor Bob calls Murphy one evening (an unspecified amount of time later, and apparently poor Paul is still in the ICU, not that Murphy mentions this or cares), and calls back to the subplot (such as it is): faith healer J.B. Sonstad. Bob brings up Clyde, the parishioner from the first Solstad meeting, and turns out Bob encouraged Clyde to see a doctor to see if he was actually cured. Which may be the first productive thing either of the men have done with regards to this Solstad guy. Of course, Clyde’s kidney disease wasn’t any better, and Clyde’s response to this is to see another faith healer, this one “a psychic healer, someone named Madame Estelle. She lives in a old farmhouse on the outskirts of Raleigh.” Clyde has inexplicably asked Bob to go to Madame Estelle’s with him, so it would seem that Bob hasn’t been as clear in his anti-false-teachers sermons as he perhaps hoped to be. Bob also asks Murphy to go along with them, and maybe this is a cry for help, that Bob realizes, deep down, just how shitty of a pastor he really is.
After a condescending and insensitive swipe at Clyde (“When people face death sometimes they’ll try anything to escape the inevitable“), Murphy agrees to go, and also volunteers to “do a little research on psychic healing,” which you’d think he would have done before the first Solstad meeting. The two “men” also agree to meet that the good ole Adam’s Apple to discuss strategy or whatever.
In the stupid diner the next day, Murphy expounds on his perusal of Wikipedia, including Ze Arigo, a psychic surgeon, and Henry Gordon, a magician who debunked them, continuing the tradition of Harry Houdini. (Gordon, btw, sounds like he was an awesome dude, and I’m a tad surprised that LaHaye even brought him up, since it doesn’t sound like he was any kind of RTC.)
But all that takes a backseat (her) to Roseanne (or Rosanne, because the book can’t decide), waddling twice in two pages. Because she’s FAT, ha!
Murphy kindly points out to Roseanne/Rosanne that the vinyl seat has a tear in it, which horrific development the waitress immediately blames on teenagers (instead of, yanno, it being an old vinyl seat in a greasy-spoon diner. This leads to this bizarre statement from Murphy:
“It seems like evil is on the increase. Not just from kids horsing around destroying property like this seat, but keying and stealing cars…and other things like violent crime, terrorist bombings, murders, and wars.”
Wait, Murph, are you now blaming teenagers for all murders and wars???
Yup, remember, everyone—teenagers are to blame for everything!
Though Murphy might be a bit behind the times…
This discussion in turn leads into discussion of non-teenager Constantine De La Rosa, and apparently we were wrong, and LaHaye has decided that De La Rosa is the False Prophet, so the new Leon Fortunato, not the new Nicolae Carpathian.
Anyway, Murphy says that he is worried about Isis, since “I don’t think she has come to a point of faith in her life. I’d hate to see her begin to follow someone like the False Prophet.”
Yes, because all non-Christians naturally follow whomever shows up next on the scene. I mean, it’s not like Isis is a highly educated woman who has never shown the slightest inclination to follow any kind of religious leader, let alone a bizarre faith healer.
And may I remind Murphy that the whole reason they are even sitting there talking is that one of Bob’s own parishioners has begun following whatever faith healer happens along.
But this idea is so far from Bob’s mind that he instead decides to lecture Murphy about Isis:
“I’ve been a little concerned about you and Isis. It seems like this is beginning to develop into something more than just a friendship.”
“It’s moving in that direction.”
No, Murphy. It is there. It is developed. When you’ve kissed someone and told them you love them, it is not “moving in a direction” away from friendship. It has already moved.
But remember, we need to retcon this so we don’t feel Murphy is being a cad when he lusts after RTC blonde Swedish volleyball player Summer.
Bob alludes to the whole unequally-toked thing, and Murphy whines about it being “difficult when the feelings begin to grow.”
Dude, you have been lusting after Isis and stringing her along for, like, TWO YEARS now. Quit acting like this relationship is one month old.
“It might be best to end them before there’s no turning back, Michael.”
“I know. I’ve been thinking very seriously about it. It’s just hard.”
Okay, so Michael his either lying to Bob (because he’s been having lustful dreams about Isis and has made no move to end the relationship), or he’s lying to Isis, since he has made no move to end the relationship. Either way, dick move. (Har.)
Bob then has the unmitigated gall to pull the old plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea argument, and then to
pimp out suggest Summer Van Doren to Michael.
Murphy then trots out his pro-and-con list—both women “have it all” in the sense that they both are incredibly hot, but Summer is RTC and Isis is not. So love really is down to a checklist, not down to emotions. Bob, amazing faith leader that he is, manages to stick five cliches in one little speech:
“ There is no easy way around that, Michael.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Life is filled with choices. Some are east and some are very tough.  You have to look at the big picture.  Do you want to spend your life with the wrong person?”
And on the note that of course God will “enlighten you with the right answer at the right time,” Wagoner cuts scene, no doubt happy in the knowledge that he has not only conned Murphy into once again doing all his work for him, but has also torpedoed his relationship with Isis and flung Summer at him.
As Paul’s fate hangs in the balance, Phillips cuts away for several chapters to keep the suspense up. Having “caught up” with the Bible, we’re back with The Seven (TSAN!) at their Swiss castle, who apparently won’t stop…their incredibly bad hiring decisions.
Sir William Merton is understandably annoyed that Talon failed to successfully kill to co-eds. Hilariously, Talon, “who was used to just about anything,” is startled when Merton pounds a fist on the table. Then again, I’m not sure about that “used to just about anything bit,” given, again, his failure to take down two undergrads having a Netflix and chill night.
Despite Merton calling Talon “a danger to our mission,” the other six of The Seven seem to not care very much that Talon failed to do the one simple task they laid out for him. In fact, they engage in a “litany” (not actually transcribed) of childish infighting that seems quite unbecoming of the most powerful people in the world. In fact, this whole section is very confused, with nobody but Merton even seeming to realize what a boneheaded move they’ve made by sticking with Talon all this time.
They also seem to have no doubts in their minds when Talon vaguely assures them that “I will be able to fulfill any mission you desire.”
“Except if that mission involves killing two unarmed and clueless college students, alone in an apartment. Then there might be difficulties with fulfillment of mission.”
Nothing daunted, The Seven just direct Talon to read an as-yet-unpublished editorial by Shane Barrington himself. It takes up three whole pages of text, and rather half-heartedly calls out Constantine De La Rosa (aka Nicolae Carpathia), because even though he’s done some miraculous things, nobody really knows anything about him or where all his money is coming from. Shane basically promises to do an upcoming investigation of De La Rosa, and this really ticks off and terrifies The Seven. So despite their having multiple agents inside Barrington Communications (which is how they got this unpublished editorial, off Shane’s computer), The Seven inexplicably task Talon with…killing Shane.
Because Talon has done such a bang-up job so far with all his various killing tasks.
To add ridiculousness, The Seven report to Talon that Shane has been taking multiple sensible steps in his own defense. He’s hiring bodyguards and has ordered a bulletproof car and has a new and improved security system at home. So already, Shane is proving himself far more intelligent than Michael Murphy ever has been.
So Talon failed to take out one college student who bikes alone at night. And then he failed to take her out again, when she was having a night in with her not-boyfriend. And he’s failed to take out Michael Murphy for FOREVER, even though Murphy is the most predictable human ever, and has implemented none of the security measures that Shane Barrington has.
Great job at failing at everything, Talon! Here’s a new and much more difficult assignment for you!
In the car, being driven away from the castle, Talon muses on his failure. He blames himself for not waiting until Paul left the apartment before trying to kill Shari again. Now, first of all, why would a (supposed) world-class assassin care about one unarmed 21-year-old kid getting in the way of the murder of another unarmed 21-year-old kid. Second of all, Talon couldn’t kill Shari the day before, when she was all alone, so what makes him think he could kill her on Attempt #3 when she was alone?
But Talon’s self-esteem is nothing is not healthy, and he muses on other (unnamed) people he has killed. In a way, I suppose it’s a lesson for all of us in how to bounce back from failure. I’m just not sure The Seven would be as kind to Talon as he is to himself.