“Nevermind” by Leonard Cohen (2014; these are the new lyrics excerpted in Black Maps and Motel Rooms)
I could not kill the way you kill,
I could not hate,
I tried, I failed.
You turned me in, at least you tried.
You side with them whom you despise.
Memory plays a key role in True Detective Season 2’s penultimate episode, Black Maps and Motel Rooms. The average short-term memory span of an animal is 27 seconds. That means your cat or dog is unlikely to remember something unless it seriously affected its well-being, says National Geographic: “Animals store away useful information about what could help them survive.” Most people don’t realize that a dog attack can result in compensation for those who suffered injuries, even though having pets is nice you never know when a thing like this can happen.
In the 2003 study, researchers learned that “‘…humans’ ability to remember arbitrary events is unique.’ This ability is also called episodic memory, and it allows us to remember almost any occurrence, however trivial, for long periods.” Animals’ memories “aren’t based on ‘memories of specific events….a cat associates its carrier with danger, for example. Such memories are very robust and will stay for a long time—even for life—in animals.'”
Humans also have strong associative memories. If a child burns his hand on a stove, he’s unlikely to touch it again. An experience with a minor stressor tends to build resilience. But if a child experiences serious trauma, he may have the opposite response: he could be overly sensitive to similar stressors, even decades later. Not only that, his cortisol levels, his fight-or-flight reaction, could reach such a high that they numb his body and brain—making certain details of the traumatic event impossible to remember. He dissociates or detaches from it in an effort to survive.
We saw this kind of reaction very clearly in Antigone Bezzerides in True Detective‘s “Church in Ruins,” when she was able to remember the face of her childhood captor for the first time, during a similarly stressful current-day situation. The “sex party” triggered a memory of his face that she’d unconsciously repressed. Often, when people are mugged, for example, they remember what the gun looked like more clearly than the face of the mugger.
A child, one would think, has stronger dissociative tendencies than an adult when dealing with trauma because the child is still a dependent individual, and is still creating his ideas about how the world works. In last season’s True Detective, our two cops were investigating a serial abuser and killer, so they could prevent the abuse and murder of more women and children. But this season, the detectives themselves are the abused.
Whether a crime lord or a solver of crimes, our four main characters this season are each overcompensating for a perceived lack and a sense of internal chaos. The season’s main climactic event showed a house full of prostitutes, being paid to let powerful, wealthy men do whatever they wanted to them. While they might think they are the ones in control because they are taking the men’s money (as Vera Machiado seems to believe), these women are still putting themselves in a very vulnerable situation that is rife for trauma. They are willingly attending a party where the theme is, as Athena reminds Antigone, “fuck or run.”
As David Spiegel, M.D., explains in his 2008 article, “Coming Apart: Trauma and the Fragmentation of the Self,” “The essence of traumatic stress is helplessness—a loss of control over one’s body….During and in the immediate aftermath of acute trauma, such as an automobile accident or a physical assault, victims have reported being dazed, unaware of serious physical injury, or experiencing the trauma as if they were in a dream….Humans process vast amounts of information. We can function only by being strategically selective in our awareness. To do otherwise would be like having every stored file in a computer open at once, or all the contents of one’s office file cabinets spread out on the desk at the same time. Emotional arousal typically leads to increases in recall—most of us remember September 11, 2001, with more than average detail. However, we frequently try to control our emotional response to traumatic events, sometimes at the expense of recollection of them. Chelsea Clinton, who was living in Manhattan on 9/11, wrote in a magazine article that she started walking downtown toward the World Trade Center after the attack but hours later found herself uptown, with no memory of how she had gotten there.
“Research bears out that blocking emotion about a trauma can also block memory of it….The pressure to forget is greater when children are abused by a trusted caregiver, who might cue memory retrieval unavoidably. The only way to prevent persistent recall of damaging memories would be to adapt internally and to deliberately avoid thinking of such memories—in Freud’s terms, to push them away from consciousness….Why does this happen? For one thing, people naturally enter an unusual mental state during traumatic experiences. Their attention is narrowly focused….Dissociation can further isolate memories, by separating them from common associative networks in the brain that would make associative memory retrieval easier. Thus trauma can elicit dissociation, complicating the necessary working through of traumatic memories. The nature of the acute response may influence long-term adjustment….However, though dissociated information is out of sight, it is not out of mind. The information kept out of consciousness nonetheless has effects on it.”
And so Ani is unaware of how her detached memory of her abuser is impacting her daily consciousness—which is why she can so easily slip into her little-girl frame of mind when she describes killing the Russian guard: “That piece of shit tried to choke me out. He put his hands on the wrong…I’ve been waiting my whole life for that. I think I even went looking. That’s my whole life. And when I ran out of the woods and they found me—.” Ray, confused, says, “The woods?”
It’s interesting how the brain can prevent someone from clearly remembering something so painful, and the stress of the experience could make that person later avoid similarly stressful situations. They limit their experience of life because there are certain areas they know to be fearful of, much like the cat and his carrier when it’s time to go to the vet. And yet, at the same time, that person can “go looking,” as Ani puts it. They can find ways to strengthen themselves and then actively pursue a similar event. Because this time, they won’t be the victim. This time they will be in control.
Is this an overly defensive, maladjusted approach to life? That one would narrow his experience so much simply to seek revenge? Or is this about the triumphant victory of the spirit—a drive of a person’s soul, once that soul really wants to promote growth and healing?
My vote is for the latter. It’s evidenced in the setting of most of this episode. In “Black Maps and Motel Rooms,” we often find our protagonists in a cozy, enclosed, womblike space, exiled from the rest of the world, in a room that looks like this:
This, my friends, is the largest display of the flower we’ve been talking about all season: the rose. It’s a profusion of them. In a town like Vinci, where the land has been poisoned and growth is impossible, Ani and Ray have discovered a bountiful garden.
A lot’s been made of the vague or confusing dialogue this season, or the prolonged, awkward stares. But they are only awkward if you look at them superficially. There is a lot of complex emotion and processing going on in these characters. It’s why the following exchange between Ray and Ani is the most pivotal of any episode:
Ray: This is gonna be hard on my son. The things he’ll hear about me.
Ani: We can get out of this. We get that girl’s story, walk her into the feds. Fucking CNN. I’m sorry. I brought you back in this.
Ray: No, I made a choice. A long time ago. I, uh, I thought everything came from something else. But it came from there. You had something like that, too, once, right?
Ani: It’s not something I talk about.
Ray: Well. It’s one of the things I admire about you.
Ray pours himself and Ani another drink.
Ani: You’re not a bad man.
Ray: Yes. I am. Do you miss it?
They sit in silence. After a while, Ani takes Ray’s hand.
This conversation is in direct relation to what Frank Semyon said to Stan’s boy one episode ago: “Things are gonna be hard for a while, but you’ll come out. ‘Cause you got him in you. His fight is in you. Sometimes—sometimes a thing happens, splits your life. There’s a before and after. I got like five of them at this point. And this is your first. But if you use it right—the bad thing—you use it right and…it makes you better. Stronger. It gives you something most people don’t have. Bad as this is, wrong as it is…this hurt…it can make you a better man. That’s what pain does. It shows you what was on the inside.”
When Ray says “do you miss it,” he is talking about Ani’s innocence (“You’re the most innocent person I’ve ever known,” Eliot tells her before he goes into hiding). Does she miss the more carefree time she experienced before that moment that split her life, as Frank calls it, the four days she spent trapped in the woods with her molester. We don’t know yet if Ray’s “thing” he’s referring to, from whence everything has come, is an episode of similar childhood abuse, maybe at the hands of his tough-cop father, or if it’s the moment he took a man’s life thinking he was his wife’s attacker. It’s probably the latter, but in any case, he is recognizing in this scene that the traumatic experience he had has put into motion a chain of events and decisions that led him to where he is now, sitting in that rose-gilded hotel room with Ani. He is aware for the first time that while he thought everything came from “somewhere else,” it actually came from within him. Or from his spirit’s need to heal itself.
Just look at the name of the stealth bomber he wanted to make with Chad: The Spirit. Ray fully embraced his role as a father with such gusto because his own childhood was such a disappointment. He chooses to turn a blind eye to the “black rage,” the impulsively angry violence he displays from time to time as an adult, the violence that likely mirrors his father’s violence towards him. He has to turn a blind eye to it—because to face it would mean to allow himself to truly feel his anger towards his dad, and that would be far too painful for him.
Ani’s father, Eliot, strove to become a different sort of father than his own, who he tells her in this episode was strict and rigid, and he ended up with a daughter he could not protect. He wanted to avoid raising a child who viewed the world in fear, and yet that is exactly what he ended up getting. Ray wanted to protect Chad from feeling any stigma about his upbringing and his dad, so he wouldn’t have to face the world the way Ray has. And yet, look at the mirrored statements—Gena tells him that he makes Chad nervous. In Ray’s dream after being shot, he says “My father made me nervous.” And his dad says from the other side of the booth, “Maybe you were already nervous.”
We get the world we deserve. That’s this season’s theme. Are you going to allow your past trauma to shape who you are and blind you to the truth? Or are you going to open your eyes—not only to the criminal underbelly of society, but to the shadow side of yourself? Are you going to face head on who you truly are, and see clearly for once your own true motivations? Or are you going to continue to blame your deficits and limitations on fate or happenstance?
Most people function blindly in life, in one way or another. They have their forms of self-protection and are utterly incapable of seeing the scared child underneath. So thank God for siblings and friends. Because Ani has Athena to tell her the truth, and Ray has Frank, and Frank has Ray….and Paul…sort of has Emily? Well, who does Paul really have?
Paul is the most suppressed of all the characters this season, and that’s why his death was the most sad. Well, it was probably the most sad because in addition to all that he’s suppressing, he seems to be the most genuinely good, unselfish and well-meaning of the bunch. He was the hero in the shootout. The characters owe him their lives. He seems to be the best at hunting down clues. He pieces things together faster than everyone else. And he seems to have the strongest moral code. He is “trying to be a good man,” as he tells Em. This can’t be easy when you had the kind of shitty, woe-is-me mom he had.
But Paul’s mom revealed a few episodes ago how she sees homosexuality—and how she likely raised Paul:
Cynthia: How pregnant is she?
Paul: Almost four months.
Cynthia: Mother of God. Of all the stupid… You’re a good-looking white man. And you want to get in shoot-outs and become somebody’s husband. You could do anything you want.
Cynthia: If I was a man, I’d have had the world. Dumb bastard.
Paul goes to a closet and pulls out a backpack. He looks through it.
Paul: No, no. No, no, no. No. Fuck. Paul runs into the other room.
Paul: You took it. How the fuck could you?
Cynthia: Took what, Paulie?
Paul: You know what! The money! The money I brought back from Afghanistan. 20 fucking thousand dollars, Cynthia.
Cynthia: That bag? Oh, Paulie. You’ve been back four years. I thought that was something you left for me.
Paul: Something I—I hid for, what, you to find? That’s my stake. I’m having a kid.
Cynthia: Well, how would I know that?
Paul lifts up his shirt to show his scars.
Paul: I fucking bled for that money. What did you do with it, slots?
Cynthia: Now listen. You knew I was out of work. I had every reason to expect a little help.
Paul: I’m making a family. I know that don’t mean shit to somebody like you, but it fucking matters to me!
Cynthia: Don’t you fucking tell me I don’t care about family. I was a dancer, but I carried you. And I brought you up alone. You could have been a scrape job.
Paul: You wouldn’t even know whose it was.
Cynthia: You ruined my career, you ungrateful asshole. I carried you for nine months and I’ve been carrying you ever since with your weirdness. You’re strange. All your good friends, the boys. Yeah, I know about you, Paulie. Yeah, I know.
Paul: You shut your fucking mouth. You fucking poisoned cooze.
We hurt the ones we love most, right? Here we have a woman who couldn’t own up to her own responsibility in the mistake she named “Paul.” Why? Maybe she got pregnant after having sex with his father one time, maybe the condom broke. Who’s to say? Still, her pregnancy had to have been a traumatic moment for her, because it ended her career, and the man she loved seemingly left her by the roadside. She evidently has a very complicated idea about what it means to be a man, and her anger and resentment are so ingrained that she has unwittingly passed this onto her son. It is her emphasis on strong men—note her favorite movies are Clint Eastwood flicks—that has so limited Paul’s ability to respect himself for who he truly is. His personality is a construct, made by her…as is so often the case with parents who live through their children vicariously. She didn’t have the necessary body parts to be a strong, attractive man, so she decided that her child had to be. It was the only way he could make up for what he cost her. She’s not capable of seeing Paul as his own being, separate from her—her smothering is so obvious that the first time we meet her, she has her body draped all over Paul rather inappropriately.
And Paul probably did grow up feeling bad for his mother. Why else would he willingly peel skin off of fried chicken for her? It’s one of those things. When you have a parent who has been a victim of something, or acts like they are a victim of something, it’s very difficult to stand up to them and express your own needs, which they clearly aren’t meeting. It seems that in Paul’s case, he was the parent all along, and Cynthia was the child.
And if you can’t express your true needs to your parent, your caregiver, then how the hell do you ever expect to be able to truly express them to yourself?
Paul does a shitty job of taking care of himself, just like Cynthia did a shitty job taking care of him. He has drives and desires that greatly conflict with his beliefs of what he is supposed to be, and that’s unfortunate. Because his struggles cause him so much shame that he’s incapable of seeing the truth of who he is—probably the best detective in this entire show.
As soon as he agreed to go meet the source of his anonymous texts this episode, and he called Ray to tell him he was afraid of what he was about to walk into, I just said out loud, “He’s done.” It’s surprising to find Miguel was in on it all along, because he seemed like a source of actual love and trust for Paul. So that in itself is a death blow. But then he leads him to this secret underground realm, one that apparently nobody seems to know about. Much like how nobody seems to know that Paul is actually gay.
It’s never revealed how many potentially innocent people Paul killed as a mercenary with Black Mountain (what is the deal with the color “black” and this show? We have Black Mountain, the Black Rose cafe, Ray’s “black rage,” the Kali statue (whose skin is pitch-black), the black ravens, the title of this episode–”Black Maps and Motel Rooms,” Ray’s black aura…I could go on…), but it’s terribly ironic that he might die as a victim of the very same crew (which has changed its name to Ares). A lot of people are up in arms this week about how Burris could find the exact location where Paul might exit the tunnels, if he survived. But for all we know, the Vinci police could have had cops positioned at every exit. Remember what Miguel tells Paul before they descend to his doom: “You’ve got eyes all over you.”
In a way, Paul has to die the way he does. The shot of Emily watching “Splendor in the Grass,” a film about star-crossed lovers whose limitations, whether placed on them by society, economics or their parents, make it impossible for them to consummate their love, is so heartbreaking and touching. Because who among us would not readily know, just telepathically, when the object of our affection and devotion has perished? Emily hasn’t been told that Paul was shot down, but somehow she just knows.
As Miguel tells Paul, “If you’d just been honest about who you are, nobody’d be able to run you.” Not his mom, who stole thousands of dollars from him; not Miguel, who professes affection and care but is actually working for someone else; not the press or the police force, who are all just using him in one way or another.
In the end of the film, the female protagonist, played by Natalie Wood, quotes Walt Whitman: “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind.” Emily doesn’t know yet that this is exactly what she is about to do.
“Nothing can bring back the glory in the flower.” The innocence shared by the film’s stars, before life started complicating things. This is what Ray misses, and wants to know if Ani does, too.
It is the acknowledgement of this (and a lot of booze, and an end-of-the-world mentality) that forces them into each other’s arms this episode. Yes it feels forced and awkward, but that’s because it’s less a product of true romantic love than it is a sense of relating to one another on a spiritual level. They are experiencing a moment of a shared feeing, a knowingness about life, that is so powerful that it almost requires a physical union, too.
We get the world we deserve. So did Paul? Funny how Ray and Ani always refer to him as “the kid,” and while they are busy getting it on while in solitary confinement (note the name of the hotel, “Molera,” which means “soft spot”), the kid is getting shot down in a secret underworld (see “closet”), that mirrors his mind (this is where I could tell you all about the underground tunnels dug by the Lizard People in L.A. in the 1930s, but I’m not talking mythology this week—not much anyway—so feel free to click here and explore this on your own). His assailants are no different than the voices in his head that he could never quiet completely. If he could have just been open to the truth of who he is, perhaps he would have gotten a different world, a different outcome, right?
The other characters who have died this season, haven’t they each met a similar demise?
We don’t know the whole story yet about what happened to Caspere, or what his life was like, but once we do, it will become clear that he likely got the death he deserved. What we do know is that he was an active part of a homicide, or at least the cleanup of a homicide, in which two children were forced to watch their own parents get brutally murdered. Word on the Web this week is that Laura and Leonard Osterman, the orphaned kids, had the strongest motive to take out Caspere. And as Erica, Caspere’s secretary, appears in Tascha’s party pictures and conveniently also goes by the name Laura, the chances are good that she’s their girl. But then who is Leonard?
We know that whoever chauffeured Caspere in that stolen car from the movie set was a man, not a woman. Could it be the only person we’ve seen Laura/Erica converse with other than our detectives (at least this is what many are theorizing)? The enigmatic set photographer, who was seen working in front of a mask he might wear later on and an actor holding a lit torch? If anything, those two clues point to his involvement with torching the car while wearing the baby-faced mask, and then running away—but they don’t indicate that he’s the killer. One has to guess though that he and Laura would be quite motivated to cut out Caspere’s eyes. The city manager has often been described as a man who “likes to watch.” They themselves were forced to watch something horrible that they’ll never unsee. Seems like some kind of perverse justice, if you ask me.
And what about Dixon? Didn’t he go the way he likely deserved to? He was part of the original crime, at Sable Jewelry during the riots. As Holloway says to Paul, “He always had a nose for secrets.” He was hunting down the blue diamonds, but couldn’t find them. The situation with that is still a bit too fuzzy to unravel…but I do believe they represent purity/innocence in some way. Taking those from the store illegally and never accounting for them meant a loss of innocence in the now-corrupt cops, Burris, Holloway and Dixon. Caspere’s giving the diamonds to Chessani evidenced the same. Chessani’s taking the diamonds, and even the way he runs his town….well he might have been just plain evil from the start—it was handed down via generations, “like the Kennedys,” he says.
Ray’s father said in a previous episode that Burris and Holloway were smart—they got out of L.A. and got jobs in a place where they could stand to make a shitload more dough. But they had to sell their souls in the process. And Dixon…well he actively misinformed his partners, telling them it was Ledo Amarilla responsible for Caspere’s death. That it was Amarilla and Rulfo who pawned his stuff, so of course they were the culprits. He and Burris both pinned this on Amarilla, because they knew his headquarters was a cookhouse—by sending their detectives off into that battle zone, they were killing two birds with one stone. They never expected Amarilla to survive, nor did they suspect Ani, Ray and Paul would make it out alive. They severely underestimated their capabilities. And Dixon died for it.
These guys have been so corrupt and underhanded for so long that they are willing to take out anyone to conceal their crimes. We don’t know much about their backstories except that they were once good cops…but I’m predicting Chessani, Burris and Holloway are going to meet miserable and fitting ends tonight, in True Detective‘s final episode, “Omega Station.”
(By the way, anyone else see the irony in Holloway’s discovering the photos of Paul after Dixon was gone? Remember how Dixon asked Ray to “burn all of his shit,” in case anything ever happened to him?)
I want to talk a bit about that word “Omega” (and imagine I’ll be doing so even more after tonight’s finale). But for now, let’s get to what Frank Semyon’s been up to.
In the long line of characters who get the world they deserve, Blake Churchman stands at the head. His name alone implies purity, but he’s the farthest from pure as they come. He’s the most villainous of them all, because he’s two-faced. It’s like he took every piece of wisdom Frank gave him except for the loyalty part. When Frank gave him a beating his episode, some of which involved pushing his face into glass and squeezing blood out of him with his bare hands, did it remind anyone of that rat Frank squeezed to death in his basement as a child? He said he smashed it into the ground until its blood oozed all over him. That is exactly what he does to Blake in this scene. And then he shoots him in the stomach and watches him die on his floor, like some kind of psychopath.
Yeah, Frank is NOT a good man.
It’s scenes like that which have made me question him all along. Yes, Blake deserved punishment for his multiple betrayals. But there’s a difference between punishing and taking on the role of God, deciding who gets to live or die. In Frank’s world, he’s allowed to be God if he wants to be. Because who was there to make sure he was OK, to make sure he didn’t die, just when he needed someone most? His own father. And our parents, whether we realize it or not, are the closest concept we have of God when we’re young. Frank had to become God for himself, if he wanted to survive, and he’s done so ever since.
There is no way that Jordan is with him 100% in all this. Her reactions to things are so elegantly concealed, but there’s just something there in how she acts. Something in her slowed-down delivery…the way her wheels seem to be turning. She seems to often be saying one thing while thinking something else. But then she often has moments of sincere love for Frank. Frank Semyon is a highly enigmatic character, but his wife is even more so.
Bravo to the set designers for making sure, as Uproxx pointed out this week, that Frank had the words Caution or Danger behind him in so many of his scenes this season, not to mention the proliferation of fire extinguishers. Granted, he does own casinos and clubs, so these things are generally in abundance—but it was all excellent foreshadowing for the way he’d torch all those establishments to the ground.
He seems to have built up quite an arsenal for some kind of huge battle that’s about to take place. And I guess he’s planning on running away with Jordan after it’s done, and starting over. It’s what they’ve talked about numerous times this season—whether working on a farm or in an Applebee’s. But something tells me she’ll have a turn-around in the end. I think perhaps, despite his strong loyalty to some, Frank has misled Jordan and kept huge portions of information from her all along—and there is no way you can experience a truly healthy relationship if that’s the case. Trust is the foundation of love, and Frank is a person who’s incapable of experiencing complete trust. And can you blame him? After what he went through as a kid? Jordan tells him so that one morning, when he tells the rat story; she says she wonders how many more stories he has like that. It’s like they’re both sort of OK with being a mystery to each other. And we don’t know yet what her backstory is, but I think the end for Frank and Jordan will have something to do with his realization that she’s been keeping some secrets from him, too.
Much like Ani faced her greatest fear in “Church in Ruins,” Ray will probably have to come to terms with having murdered the wrong man this episode. He needs to find a way to set himself free, for his spirit to rise above this entanglement. Remember how when he visited the doctor and learned of his miserable state of health, he stared at his chest X-ray before leaving, narrowing in on the heart? The doctor asked him, “Do you want to live?” Ray has a broken heart, but I think that will be repaired this episode when he learns that his son is truly his own.
We’ve talked a lot this season about religious symbolism and how identifying with a group can lead to corrupt shared beliefs. Ani, Ray, Paul and Frank all seem to come from abusive homes, from a family unit that could not fully be trusted. So they developed powerful personas, developed trust in the ultimate authority in our secular modern world: the lawmakers and the police. Or, in Frank’s case, what he deems to be the truly powerful men—those who are able to bend the law for their own financial gain. There’s a reason that the only place in town that has the name “garden” attached to it is Vinci Gardens Casino.
We’ve watched them all get fucked over by their chosen authority. As Paul puts it this episode, after Davis dies, “She was our only authority. You and her are fugitives.” Now all that’s left for them is facing themselves. Sometimes you need everything stripped away, your physical reality that you’ve been so attached to, in order to realize that something needs to change in you. That it is you who’s holding yourself back, not your situation.
Let’s talk a little about “Omega” now. This final episode is called “Omega Station,” which has to have something to do with the Good People and their belief system and perhaps involvement in Caspere’s death and the underhanded doings of the state and Vinci lawmakers and corporations. Or perhaps it’s referring to Catalyst and McCandless and whatever secret society he and his powerful friends take part in. Last week, I called them potential Freemasons, and I still think we’re going to see some of that revealed this episode. They are the most extreme example of these walking wounded, because they’ve sold their consciences, their souls, in exchange for power and wealth.
According to Wikipedia, “The Omega Point is a spiritual belief that the universe is evolving toward a higher level of material complexity and consciousness. The term was coined by the French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955). Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, namely Christ, who draws all things into himself, who in the words of the Nicene Creed, is ‘God from God,’ ‘Light from Light,’ ‘True God from true God,’ and ‘through him all things were made.’ In the Book of Revelation, Christ describes himself thrice as ‘the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.’
“Frank Tipler uses the term Omega Point to describe what he maintains is the ultimate fate of the universe required by the laws of physics. Some have argued that it is pseudoscience…Key to Tipler’s exploration of the Omega Point is the supposition of a closed universe evolving towards a future collapse. Within this universe, Tipler assumes a massive processing capability. As the universe becomes smaller, the processing capability becomes larger, due to the decreasing cost of communications as the systems shrink in size. At the same time, information from previously disconnected points in space becomes visible, giving the processors access to more and more information. Tipler’s Omega Point occurs when the processing capability effectively becomes infinite, as the processors will be able to simulate every possible future before the universe ends….Within this environment, Tipler imagines that intelligent beings, human personalities, will be run as simulations within the system. As a result, after the Omega Point, humans will have omnipotence, able to see all of history and predict all of the future. Additionally, as all history becomes available, past personalities will be able to run as well. Within the simulation, this appears to be the dead rising. Tipler equates this state with the Christian heaven.”
Reminds me a bit of Carlos Castaneda’s theories, that if you wanted to transcend into heaven, you could.
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, so it is often used to connote the end of something. According to Wikipedia, “The letters Alpha and Omega in juxtaposition are often used as a Christian visual symbol….They are often shown to the left and right of Christ’s head, sometimes within his halo, where they take the place of the christogram used in Orthodox art.”
[Remember what we said last week about the right and the left? The good and evil sides?]
“This symbol was suggested by the Apocalypse, where many believe that Christ, as well as the Father, is ‘the First and the Last’; ‘the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ Clement of Alexandria (2nd century, philosopher and commentator on pagan and Christian information) speaks of the Word as ‘the Alpha and the Omega of Whom alone the end becomes beginning, and ends again at the original beginning without any break.'”
Now, the word “station” usually means one of three things: “a place where buses, trains, etc., regularly stop so that passengers can get on and off; a place where someone does a job or waits for a task; or a person’s social or official position in relation to others.” So if this last episode is titled Omega Station, then surely it implies the last stop, in many different ways. It is the last stop for this transportation project that the whole season has revolved around, it’s likely the last stop in the careers/stations of our main characters. Or, it could mean something else.
Station can also refer to: “a complete assemblage of radio or television equipment for transmitting or receiving; the place in which such a station is located.” Receiving. A station is a receiver of sorts.
Last week, we talked a little about the “X” symbolism at play on the show. The letter X has many different meanings, one of which, like Omega, is “the end.” But the letter X, as seen in the Box I Ching, a Chinese divination system similar to Nordic runes, or Tarot cards (anyone notice, by the way, the prevalence of playing cards in this episode?), means something else entirely. When placed in a box, it means The Receiver. This is the female counterpoint to the I Ching symbol for The Creative. It is similar to the last definition of “station”—it is receptive to what comes in.
But when the X stands alone, appears outside of the box, the symbol means The Power of the Great: “The [symbol] points to a time when inner worth mounts with great force and comes to power. But….there is danger that one may rely entirely on one’s own power and forget to ask what is right. There is danger too that, being intent on movement, we may not wait for the right time. Therefore the added statement that perseverance furthers. For that is truly great power which does not degenerate into mere force but remains inwardly united with the fundamental principles of right and of justice. When we understand this point—namely, that greatness and justice must be indissolubly united—we understand the true meaning of all that happens in heaven and on earth.”
Greatness and justice must be united. So maybe while the X’s we’ve seen and the Omega part of this last episode’s title seem to be the end of something, they really only mean a transition to a higher level, much like how the Mayans predicted the end of the world but it was really just the end of an era. It is when Ani, Ray, Paul and Frank can see the bigger picture and the parts they play in it, instead of focusing too heavily on their own victimhood and their personal need for justice—that is when the murder can be solved. Because that is when they all really open their eyes.
Until next time, “You might say my ship’s come in.”
“Mom kept calling me her baby, and Dad kept calling me his little girl. Dr. Judd, don’t they realize I’m me?”
—Deanie to her psychiatrist, Dr. Judd (Ivor Francis), following a visit from her parents, in Splendor in the Grass