It’s safe to say that I’ve allowed myself to get a bit behind with my podcasts over the past couple of months. Solve the World is now up to episode 88 and I have just listened to episode 85. Apologies to Dante for my lack of updates through blog. Although I am still mad at him for a certain thing that happened in Don’t Scream – episode 84.
However, having just finished 80 Hertz (while curled up in bed and ready to sleep) I knew I had to get up and write this blog post straight away. Who cares that it’s week late, who cares that I seem to just randomly post about certain episodes and then disappear off the face of the earth?
This episode. This episode. This episode. Everything about this episode was perfect. This episode comprises really of three sections that entirely mingle in together. It is Jenn (Jenna) at her therapy session, it is Atticus’ blog posts, and it’s the song about Christ being risen. From Atticus’ blog posts we get how broken he feels, there are touches on his religious feelings which tie in well with the song that is being played. Atticus has a sense of loss and a sense of not being good enough which draws right from the Glass House episodes, when Atticus is haunted by the warped voice of his father telling him he was a coward and a failure.
However, really, it is Jenn’s side of the episode that is the most interesting. Jennifer Dash has been known by so many different names throughout her journey in Solve the World. Jennifer Dash, Jennifer Free, Jennifer Calling, Naeme (I’m so unsure of this spelling?), and now Jenna Finn. With all of these names we’ve seen a different side of Jenn, a different aspect of her personality, her being and a different part of her life. In this episode we get the consequences of that.
The Plague has essentially caused the end of the world and people are trying to rebuild from what little they have left after it now. Jenn (Jenna) is one of those people and she is in the high number of people who are seeking physciatric help for this. With Jenn, we see an inability to escape the world of adventure and drama and trouble but also the struggle with coming to terms with everything she has seen, everything she had experienced – which is often very much different at her hand.
I believe the hatred and confusion Jenn(a) feels towards her hand is a physical embodyment of the mental reaction she is having towards everything. Within this episode Jenn(a) is put through a number of questions in relationship to her relationship with her view of herself and her memories from a theory by Eve Berstein Carlson (which can be found in full here). Jenn(a)’s answers start at 3 and rise steadily throughout the questions until we hit
“Some people have the experience of feeling that their body does not seem to belong to them”
There is a long pause between the statement and Jenn(a)’s answer and the increasing sound of the ticking clock leads the eager listener to guess what it coming before it comes, but there is something heartbreaking in the pause. The tone that is used on the ten adds to it as well, there is a sense of Jenn(a) only now admiting to herself how bad these symptoms are that she had become so used to that she was able to ignore them or play them off.
After the answers that Jenn(a) gives, she is diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). In a brief description the NHS’ website tells us that “A dissociative disorder is a mental health condition that alters a person’s sense of reality. Someone with a dissociative disorder may have memory loss or may feel: that their body or the world around them is unreal. uncertain about who they are.” It is perfectly clear to see how Jenn(a) would end up here.
This episode has gone straight up there as one of my favourites and I have no doubt it will be one of the ones I remember the most, (along with: guideline one: dont kill, guideline one: dont kill, guideline one: dont kill, guideline one: dont kill) because it gives consequences and it gives realistic consequences.
The media is very quick to shy away from topics such as mental health and often the label of PTSD is stuck onto anyone who has been through a lot. One of the best things about independent work is that the authors will often be more willing to discuss harder and more sensitive issues because they won’t be desperately trying to make it “sellable”. Dante has clearly put a lot of thought, work, and research into his character of Jennifer Dash and rather than just sticking a label on, he had shown us the lead up to this diagnosis and made it one that fits the character we are seeing week after week.
An absolutely beautiful episode and I know I will be spending the next couple of days catching up on Solve the World to see what happens to Jenn with this new diagnosis in effect and the new tablets (and the fact that she currently still has the old ones). However, it’s not just the diagnosis I wanted to talk about.
Within the therapy session, there is a lot of talk about the reason Jenn chose not to join Miles in his quest. The therapist says a lot about how Jenn could have gone with him and probably still could, and Jenn ends up saying
I didn’t follow him because I didn’t want to know the secrets of the world
She continues by talking about the fact that she has learnt a lot on her journey and that she feels like there is only a limited amount left to learn and she doesn’t want it to suddenly all be learnt so that there is nothing left to learn later on. This sentence by her is really jarring to hear when thought of in relation to the story as a whole. Jenn is a girl who left her home literally to learn the world’s secrets and now, so much has happened, that she is saying that she doesn’t want to learn them anymore. In thi short sentence, it is clear to see how much has happened and how far the story has come from it’s humble begins with the slamming of a screen door.
[[Tangent: Hansel and Gretel is my favourite fairy tale and the analogy made me so happy.]]
But I relate a lot to Jenn(a) at this point. She doesn’t want to go not because she doesn’t want to do it but because she doesn’t want to have finished it. She doesn’t want to get to the end and have that “what now” revelation. She’s rather know the adventure was there waiting for her, it was still something she could do. She longs for adventure but she can’t bare the thought of knowing so much that she has to stop. It reminds me of a moment in Doctor Who when the Doctor has to admit he doesn’t know something, but he adds “But that’s good, the day I know everything? Might as well stop.”