Mark Reads ‘The Westing Game’: Chapters 21 / 22

In the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of The Westing Game, SO MANY QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED AND YET, I’M STILL LOST. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Westing Game.

Chapter Twenty-One: The Fourth Bomb / Chapter Twenty-Two: Losers, Winner

I am so close to the end of this, and Raskin is ON FIRE.

  • These chapters are SO EXCITING, so I apologize if the video for chapter 21 is basically me speed reading. I CAN’T HELP IT. I want the next sentence BEFORE I’M EVEN DONE WITH THE ONE I’M READING.
  • I admit I was initially quite confused about Turtle being the bomber until it was spelled out that she was merely covering for Angela, who had orchestrated the first three bombs as a way to… get free? I’m not really sure why she did it.
  • Taking Doug’s place, Theo follows Otis around, only to discover that Otis accompanied Crow to her soup kitchen. Y’all, what is he doing? This is the first time he’s with someone else, and his actions are… real! They’re genuine! He’s helping Crow at the soup kitchen, not snooping around and doing… stuff. I don’t know what stuff he’s doing.
  • Really, I do love that Theo not only feels gross about spying on these people, but he also feels gross about Sam Westing devising this game and turning everyone into monsters. And I think that’s an important bit in this chapter because Theo isn’t the first person to realize that Westing might not have pure intentions here. I don’t like Sam Westing! He’s kind of cruel.
  • HOLY SHIT, JUDGE FORD LIVED AT THE WESTING HOUSE. Oh my god, oh my GOD. Her mother was a servant and her father was the gardener on his days off. I still don’t know why she felt insulted by her clues, though. SKIES AM SHINING BROTHER?
  • But let’s just talk about the even bigger reveal than that: Judge Ford grew up playing chess with Sam Westing. Not only that, but he was needlessly cruel and insulting to her in the process. In the last game they played, he sacrificed the queen just so he could taunt Josie-Jo Ford with the inevitable checkmate.
  • Turtle Wexler, I can’t. In order to protect her sister, she planted a fourth set of fireworks and ended up burning her own hair. Turtle just makes me so relentlessly sad. She tries so hard to win affection and love from those around her, and only Flora seems to give it to her!
  • Well, Judge Ford and Sandy do, too. Judge Ford quickly figures out that Turtle is protecting her sister and that they’ve all been needlessly dismissive and insulting to Angela Wexler the whole time. I love that this turns into an examination of all their behavior towards Angela and how sexist and demeaning it’s been.
  • Look, this chapter is not the first time I’ve proposed that Sam Westing is still alive, but I’m now 100% sure he never was murdered in the first place. There was a wax dummy in the Westing House when they all arrived for the will to be read.
  • Which would mean that Sam Westing has to be observing the events of this game somehow. I’ll get to that in a second.
  • It’s a testament to the confusing and convoluted nature of this mystery that despite that Angela and Sydelle recognize that the clues are lyrics from “America, The Beautiful,” I actually don’t know if I can celebrate yet. I may have been right, but it doesn’t matter because I haven’t figured anything out. Did I forget clues? Am I missing some? DAMN IT.
  • I might feel worse for Grace Wexler if she wasn’t so awful. Seriously! How can you talk about your own daughter like she does? I was happy that Jake finally vocalized what needed to be said, which was that it might be understandable that Turtle would lash out when her own mother CLEARLY DOESN’T LIKE HER. However, the whole conversation that Jake and Grace have in the elevator is more sad than anything else, and even I have to admit that this whole affair has been bringing out the worst in some of these people. Jake’s admissions about his own self-esteem and worth were totally unexpected, but do a lot to add context to his characterization in the book.
  • The same goes for Angela, who is once again not treated as an individual worthy of attention in any context outside of her wedding. And the bomb clearly distracted everyone from the wedding. Which was her desire… right?
  • Otis Amber… goddamn it, it can’t be that easy, can it?
  • OKAY, SO IF SAM WESTING’S CORPSE WAS MODELED AFTER HOW HE LOOKED FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, THEN CLEARLY HE WOULDN’T LOOK THE SAME ANYMORE. Oh my god, how did I miss the detail about the severe facial injuries? I didn’t realize this one on video, but! Dr. Sidney Sikes: crushed leg. I am goddamn sure that the person with the limp is not one of the heirs, but Sidney Sikes, who also is the dentist, who also has to be the one who assembled the disguise for Barney Northrup. He had dentures with crooked teeth in his office!
  • So… Barney Northrup is Sam Westing… maybe? Would that mean Eastman and Sandy are also Sam Westing, if we’re going to go with the whole “directions of the compass” theory? However, that makes no sense because Northrup just fired Sandy, so they’re two different people. Damn this book and its millions of possible red herrings!!!
  • Sandy is convinced that Otis Amber is Sam Westing, but Judge Ford thinks the strangest thing when he says this: “If Sandy was correct, she had played right into the man’s hands – Sam Westing’s hands.” WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SAY THIS? What the hell do you know about Otis Amber that you’re not telling us?
  • And then, to top off this whole ridiculous adventure, Crow is convinced that she’s the one in danger in the Westing Game. SHE IS CONVINCED SAM WESTING IS STILL IN HIS HOUSE. Oh my god, if she’s really Mrs. Westing, then this is 100000% TOO MUCH TO DEAL WITH. Does she know? Maybe she can’t remember???

Please note that the original text/videos contain uses of the words “mad,” “crazy,” “dumb,” and “stupid.”

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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