In the sixteenth chapter of Deadline, Shaun is held accountable for what he’s done. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deadline.
I think it’s risky of Mira Grant to write from the point of view of a protagonist who is so deeply flawed, but I must say that I appreciate it a great deal. It’s a challenge, I imagine, and it’s one that she’s handling super well. Finally, the people Shaun is surrounded by are telling him that he needs to stop being so oblivious. His intentions might be good, but that doesn’t erase the ramifications of his actions. And that is an important thing to acknowledge, and I’m glad the text makes this clear. Plus, this whole situation is genuinely complicated, and I’m happy that Grant isn’t being reductive about these characters’ feelings. Alaric has his own emotional problems with Shaun, as do Maggie and Becks. Each person gets to express this in their own way while recognizing that deep down, this is a family or as close as you can get to one. They all care for each other. They are not just employees who happen to work together. In this sense, I can see how Joss Whedon’s writing has heavily influenced Grant. That’s not to say that Whedon has a monopoly on the idea of non–blood-related families forming to reach a common goal, but it’s just something I’m reminded of.
ANYWAY, WOW, EVERYTHING IS AWKWARD. I’m not surprised by that, per se, especially since the ending of chapter fifteen guaranteed that. Dude, Shaun, what have you done? I didn’t expect that Alaric would so openly criticize Shaun’s other problems, though. He flat-out tells Shaun that he’s sick of the way everything revolves around his reckless quest for revenge. And look, I want Shaun to find out who really killed Georgia, too, but Alaric has a point. After The End Times just got a lead on the biggest news of EVER, and Shaun’s busy doing whatever he wants for himself.
At heart, that’s the problem: Shaun is so self-involved that he’s oblivious. That’s partially because Georgia is still with him. It’s as if his sister and best friend never left, and that sucks away his attention span. Well, not only that, but it prevents him from getting close to other people, from thinking about their well-being, or from considering how the things he does affects other. It’s only when Georgia does speak up that he thinks about these sort of things. In a way, having Georgia’s voice inside of him is destroying him and keeping him together at the same time. As Alaric says, they don’t have the time or energy to be tearing at each other’s throats, so Shaun needs to figure out how to balance these elements of himself.
I was super stoked with the way that Maggie put Shaun in line. She did it with a matter-of-fact interrogation of sorts. It’s in her best interest to keep the house in order, obviously, but she’s clearly close with Becks. She doesn’t want to see her get hurt, either. But I think she was genuinely surprised to realize that Shaun is as thick as he is. Like, to some extent, I’m sure she knew he was oblivious, but it’s almost as if she’s deflated in her anger once she comes to understand that Shaun really has no clue what he’s done. Again, intent doesn’t erase effect, but on a personal level, I think it’s perfectly fine for someone to acknowledge that someone did something in total ignorance. Hell, I bet we’ve all done this before! I’m sure many of you have felt insulted or hurt by someone, and you later came to understand that they truly had no way of understanding how what they did hurt you, and you cut them some slack. I’m not about to give anyone a rubric on how to deal with this sort of shit because, again, this is a personal thing. It’s on a person-to-person basis. What I came to realize about both Maggie’s and Becks’s reactions was that they decided that Shaun really didn’t get this, so they pulled their anger back. And that’s their choice!
That’s where a lot of Becks’s rage comes from. She thought that Shaun had recognized her attempts to get him to notice her, and that he treated her badly despite that. You know, it wasn’t even until a few chapters ago that I noticed her efforts. Regardless, Grant gives Becks the space in the narrative to let her anger flow forth, and I’m happy for that. She doesn’t just accept Shaun’s apology and move on. As Becks says, she’s a big girl. She can handle herself. Ultimately, what happened wasn’t Becks’s fault, and she’s never made to feel that way. This is all a complicated mess of feelings, y’all, but that doesn’t mean that some progress can’t be made. By the end of their conversation, I felt like Becks and Shaun understood one another at the very least. My hope is that Shaun is able to recognize what parts of his behavior are beneficial to the group and which ones are destructive. That’s a hard thing to parse, but he’s got to do it if he’s going to keep this group together.
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