Dreams I've had with this game.
Hi guys, I don't know if ever happened to you to dream with a game but to me it happened multiple times with multiple games. With this game in particular, I've had 4 dreams so far (that I can remeber). This is the game I’ve had most dreams with, probably because it’s my favorite. I thought I'd share with you because these may serve as ideas for Remedy (I don't know if they keep an eye on this thread) or someone writing a fan fiction or something or just because it's fun reading or whatever. I'm ordering the dreams from the coolest to the least cool. I keep a dream diary, so I know exactly when I had each dream.
Also, sorry if my writing skills sucks. I’m no professional writer and I don’t usually write. I'm just sharing this for fun. I just write my dreams. Although once in forever I like to write something as a hobby and just for fun.
P.S: I know some things in here doesn’t make sense to the game, but I just want to be as literal as possible to what each dream was.
Dream 1 (2018):
In this dream, I was in the vision of Alice. Starting Alan Wake 2 but instead of playing with Alan, you start it playing with Alice. She was drinking coffee and working as usual. The afternoon was almost turning into a night. She was in her apartment in New York. When she finally finished editing the photo she was doing all day long, she was tired. She just lay down her head in the desk and slowly started closing her eyes. She opened them up again just before closing them one last time before going to sleep. She got scared, for a glimpse she saw a man in a diving suit standing right in the corner of her room. A really old one, almost like an Astronaut. A light was coming out from his head. She opened her eyes again and got her head up, scared. She thought: “it’s just me going crazy, I haven’t been sleeping properly lately. I’ve been working too much, and drinking too much coffee isn’t helping on this matter”. She was packing up the things in the desk to put them in a more proper place. When she turned to put the photos in the drawer, the radio on the other side of the desk turned on but itself. A lighting stroke down really hard and close outside at the same time. It started to rain all of the sudden and it was raining really hard.
That radio noise, it had made her angry. She wasn’t right in her mind and her temper hasn’t been one of the best ones lately, she rarely gets angry and shout it out, but one time or another eventually even her would lose her mind. She hit the radio twice with frustration, she started looking for the off button. Right before she would turn the radio off, she heard a voice coming out from there:
Normally she would ignore it, but it called her name. If she didn’t hear anything more than someone calling her name, she would probably turn it off. After all it might’ve been just a radio guy talking to a random listener also called Alice. But the voice kept speaking, with a lot of interference. She clearly listened to the words “Find Alan Wake”. The only words she made out from the bad quality transmission were “Go to Bright Falls”, “Cabin”, “Witch”, “Come back”. The voice was very reverbed, like it was the man in the Diving suit talking to her.
It didn’t make any sense. Again, she was losing her mind. She just turned it off and came back to putting her things to the right place. When she was done, she looked again at the corner of her room where the man was standing again. There was a page there now, a manuscript page. She felt a pain in her heart. She grabbed it and just reading the first sentence made her mad. She went to her room, putted it in right beside her bed and went to sleep quickly and in anger, before she would hallucinate anything else.
In the morning, she woke up and looked again: the manuscript page was still there. She realized that that at least, wasn’t a hallucination. She started reading it. It was Alan’s writing. She could tell from the style of writing. Instead of telling a story or being a page of some book, the manuscript page was more of a message: a help message. It was telling her that Alan was still alive and in bright falls, but trapped, it had specific instructions that if she didn’t believe what was in the page, she could go to a specific location in bright falls where she could find proof and answers.
She thought it might’ve been a bad joke from one of the neighbors or someone that might hate her. Or that when she would arrive there, she would find someone trying to steal or kill her. But she thought it could be worth a shot, and if there was problem, she could go prepared.
She travelled to bright falls almost one month later, rented a room on a hotel and went to the location. It was an old shack almost falling into pieces, she found a shoebox on a desk. Inside it, it was the clicker. From this moment on she knew it wasn’t a lie, or if it was, someone had kidnapped Alan, and knew about personal things between her and him. She went investigating more and more for days, weeks, time went on and on. More manuscript pages started to appear to her from a strange light randomly: the man in the diving suit. She started to learn more about everything that happened: the darkness that took her, the dark place, Barbara Jagger and Thomas Zane. Little by little she started to learn and know everything that happened to her. She met a bunch of people in the town asking for information on Alan. She even met Cynthia Weaver, who revealed a whole bunch of details about what happened.
Instead of Alan saving Alice this time you would play with Alice saving Alan (at least in the beginning of the Game).
One day, a page gave her instructions to be at a very specific time and a very specific place. If she did what the page was telling her to do, Alan would be set free. The page gave her specific GPS coordinates to where she should be. She checked it before making into it. It was apparently in a random place in a random forest in Bright Falls. There, she would find a fallen tree. When she found it, she waited a few minutes to the specific time. While waiting, she saw how ridiculous all of this was, and thought to herself that it was all probably a bad joke, and someone fooled her into doing this.
When the time came, the clouds revealed the full moon in that night. It was big and ridiculously bright. The moonlight revealed some writing that seemed it was carved with a knife in the wood of the fallen tree, but it didn’t seem to be written by any human, the handwriting was way too perfect for someone who was carving it out with a knife. She read the words out loud. When she finished reading, a strong light started coming out from the tree and beyond, like that part of reality itself was torn and it opened a door to another one. From it, Alan got out.
The dream ended here.
Dream 2 (Dream I had today) (2020):
In this dream, it wasn’t a “real life experience”, but I dreamt in my vision, that I was playing Alan Wake 2. The game had just finished downloading, and I started it. I even remember that in this dream it had a game UI on it.
The game started almost exactly as the first one. It felt pretty nostalgic. It started with Alan narrating what was going on and he was on the sidewalk of a road. Differently, he was on a sidewalk of a road of a big city. It was really dark and it was night. It was really greyish. He knew he was in the Dark Place. He was, as usual, for these long 10 years, making and executing his plans to leave the Dark Place. But the Dark Place screws up your mind, so every now and then he used to forget things, losing his mind piece by piece. Even forgetting things about his own life. And usually he forgot the plans he was making to leave the Dark Place. Every time it happened, he would have either to remember what his plan was or he would have to start over.
The city was really big and plain, it had no mountains around. On his left there were many buildings with very space in between them, most of them with a big garden around and parking spaces. He could see a Ferris Wheel in the distance. On his right side, was a beach. And the vast, black ocean. It was a moonless day, so he couldn’t say where the sky and the water started and ended. There were no stars in the sky.
Both the beach and the city had literally not a single person in it. Although, there was objects in both parts that made it look like there were people in there 5 minutes ago. For example: in the beach there was a volleyball still bouncing. Opened bottles of beer. Glasses with beer and some others with water. Food still frying and hot. Like someone clicked something and the entire population disappeared. Literally all the lights of the city were off. No light turned on inside the buildings. No light poles on in the streets. The Ferris Wheel was off. All external and internal lights in the buildings were off. Even the cars in the streets were all with its lights off. There was not a single light on.
He had a manuscript page. Because of his recurrent forgetfulness, he didn’t remember why or what, but his objective was waiting for him in the building right before the Ferris Wheel. The manuscript page had the instructions for him to accomplish his objective. In it, it was telling the story of him finally leaving the Dark Place.
He had tried this multiple times, so he was going to do it, but he wasn’t putting his hopes on it, as it could as well be just another failed attempt.
He then started moving forward, while reading the manuscript page. In the manuscript page, there was an instruction for him to turn on the light pole number 354 (each one was numbered). You then have to keep moving, the numbers of the light poles were decreasing, until you reach the 354 one.
He pressed the button and turned it on. With the same speed that it seemed the people vanished; they came back. In less than a second they appeared, a whole lot of them, doing just what they were doing normally. Like nothing had happened. People drinking. Playing volleyball again. Cars started to move again. The city was full of people wherever you would look. They appeared much like when you turn on a light with a generator in the first game, appear, then fade a little, then appear in its full with a see-through effect.
The lights of the city came back in the exact same way and the exact same timing. Making everything more colorful. Lights from signs and motel names, taxis, much like New York at night, but light weirdly the light in this game was way more “focused”. All lights wouldn’t spread much, except the grey ambient light. Also, it started a song along with it. It was a song by Poets of the Fall or Old Gods of Asgard (can’t remember). It started like just starting a song from a broken vinyl player, with the song’s speed and pitch slowly going from slow to its normal. I remember it was not a metal or aggressive rock style, it felt like more of a “carnival song” with the same style as The Poet and The Muse, but with a little bit of a horror tone. It felt like The Dark Presence trying to scare Alan, saying “I’m here, and I’m not going to let you out”. People were passing by Alan like he was just another person, ignoring him. It felt pretty realistic. But he wasn’t going to let it fool him, he knew it was just another illusion.
I remember graphics in the game being insanely beautiful, with RT and everything.
You then would have to keep moving to your objective, but now there was a huge crowd in the sidewalk. He would have to go pass it to get where he wanted. Then in the game you would start walking in the middle of the crowd, I remember you could barely see anything other than people. But the objective was marked in the map in the HUD so you knew in which direction to go. You keep walking in the crowd with the song still playing and eventually, you lose yourself. Literally, it’s hard to describe this but: “Alan’s Soul got out from his body and started to randomly shift between bodies in the crowd”. At one point the camera of the game shifted from controlling Alan to Controlling another random character in the crowd. You then have to keep walking and with buttons and direction control, you would have to control these shifts between the people of the crowd until you finally find Alan again (Alan finds the correct body, well, his body) and keeps going. The camera shifts and changes each time you would make a “body switch” to control the character you just picked up. (I remember specifically in this part appearing in the screen you would have to use LB and RB to make the switch between left and right and using the Left stick to go up and down, in the dream I was playing in PC with an Xbox controller.)
This was the Dark Presence trying to stop Alan from getting out, eventually you would get to Alan’s body (otherwise you would die and start over) and get to your objective. The building was a store gallery. The exit to the Dark Place was in there.
You then started to walking in it, the exit was in the last store of the corridor on the left. The more you would go in the corridor, the more it would “extend” itself, so you would never get to it. Alan insisted and kept going. He started running. The more he ran the more pressure of the water of The Dark Place he would feel. The Dark Presence was trying to stop him again. Eventually various memories and illusions started to appear, trying to distract him or slow him down. Screams from Alice, stuff she said started to appear. Barry appeared too saying: “Hey Al! You are going to hurt yourself if you keep pushing and running this hard. Here take my Christmas lights to help ya!”. He threw them onto Alan with the intention to confuse him, making it harder for him to see and making him stumble on the wires. He almost fell. After Barry threw the lights onto Alan, the lights in the environment weren’t protecting Wake anymore, they were hurting him. Remember I said lights appeared way more focused? Now they were even more focused, each and every one piercing thorough Alan’s skin feeling like a thousand of needles hurting him. He kept going, he could finally see the door and the corridor stopped expanding, he was going the reach out for the door handle.
Until Darkness got him, a big smoke cloud of darkness evolved almost his entire body, like a hand grabbing a small object and pulling it back. It was just another failed attempt. He was going to get stuck again and would either die or have to start over. Until then something different happened this time: from the exit door a light came in, but the door didn’t open completely. It opened just a little bit, not enough for the light coming out of it to reach the big smoke black hand of darkness grabbing Alan. Alan was hoping that that light was going to free him of the darkness so he could reach the door. Instead, a person he didn’t recognize came out of the door.
- Come on, grab my hand.
It was a female voice, a voice he didn’t recognize. Because of the strong light behind the door he couldn’t say who the person was, but after blinking a little bit and focusing his vision a little more, he could see who the person was. A woman with red hair and in black clothing he’d never seen before. He didn’t know what was going on, but a person he doesn’t know to act in a way he wouldn’t expect was a very good sign. The probability of that woman not to be an illusion created by the Dark Place or something created by his imagination was very high. He reached his hand to hers. She grabbed his hand and started pulling him in the opposite direction that darkness was pulling him. The Darkness was strong, stronger than her. It started to pull with even more strength. She was going to lose him. She reached her other hand and she touched the darkness; she saw it hurt. She thought her touch was hurting whatever that thing was. Alan knew it was because when she reached her other hand, the door opened even more and the light came out to hurt darkness. The Darkness wasn’t going to give up so easily though. Even though it hurt like hell, it kept insisting and pulling Alan with even more strength. The women realized she was going to lose the man. Alan just lost his hope again. He was going to fail once more. Until he saw the woman do a strange thing: she putted her feet in a position appearing she was going to jump back, all of the sudden, with a speed and strength of a bullet, she gave a dash backwards, it almost broke Alan’s Arm, but they did get out of there.
Alan came out coughing water, he didn’t know exactly what was going on. He looked around to see where he was. He seemed to be in the headquarters of some kind of a big company, he wasn’t understanding what was going on. The place was dark and grey and empty. It seemed to be a kitchen of the place.
- Are you all right? – The woman said.
- I’m fine thanks. Where I am exactly?
- There’s no time, hurry and come with me.
Alan wasn’t trusting her yet. He was suspicious that it was all another illusion that he still didn’t leave the Dark Place. After all it felt really strange, a woman out of nowhere saving him and bringing him to this really huge Place that seems like a dream or something unreal, it might as well be just another thing to make him believe he got out. Even though it all felt suspicious, the woman seemed to be wanting to help him, and she looked like she knew the terrain he was in. Illusion or not, she was his guide to wherever he was. He decided to follow her with eyes wide open. She seemed to be in a hurry.
She was explaining things along the way. She led him into an elevator.
- I searched and read a lot about you Mr. Wake. Maybe you are the man who will help me out.
Still a little bit dizzy, he asked:
- So, you are telling me there was a secret organization investigating what happened to me and my wife, but they could never find anything. And you are the director of that organization?
- What’s your name again?
- Jesse. Jesse Faden.
- Well where’s my wife? Is she ok? Is she alive? How long have I been stuck down there?
- We will get into these details soon; I’ll tell you all of it. It’s just that… we have an emergency we need to get done first.
He looked at her with a suspicious look.
- What sort of emergency?
- Well, I was trying to find you because there’s this problem in my organization that deals with something that I call the “hiss”. It’s… something that I have to clean up. But… it doesn’t matter how much I clean up, there’s always more. I thought you with your writing skills could help me finally solve this issue. There’s… The people in this organization wasn’t agreeing with my decision that I should try to save you. They kind of… turned against me when I decided to do it. And they… kind of want to use you like an experiment.
- Yeah. You know… study you. Use you for research.
- This is bullshit. I’m leaving this building and I’m going for a phone first thing, either I’m calling my wife or my agent.
When he just finished this phrase, the elevator opened showing the door outside opened, there, there was multiple cars and armed agents waiting for them. Emily was in charge of them. The bureau waiting to have a fight with its own director.
Then in the dream it started the first fight: against men of the burial, Alan and Jesse fighting side by side. The dream ended after they were victorious in this fight and Emily ran away.
This was just the dream, but in my opinion, it makes no sense for the bureau to go against Jesse, but again, I’m just writing to the literal everything that happened in my dreams. In my opinion with exception of this part were the bureau turns against Jesse the rest was pretty well as a story thing. I think this part that I didn’t like is one of those parts where dreams start getting crazy.
Dream 3 (2016):
In this dream, I dreamt in the vision of Alan. He was travelling in a train to meet Alice. The train had big large windows in all wagons. You could see pretty well the ambient outside. The train was silver colored. The appearance of the interior of the train itself was expensive, felt like Alan got one of the most expensive train tickets in this travel. It had a pretty good number of people in the wagon, all of them seemed to be rich people. The outside view of the train on one his right was a big and vast ocean and a big blue sky, felt like it was still morning and a fresh day. That's why the light in the environment was very blueish. On the left side there were several houses in very close small mountains, most of the view was green with a lot of trees. The air was fresh.
He just got a call from Barry. They were talking about how sales on the book went pretty well. Wake's profit was the best one he has ever had. He was feeling pretty successful and smiled once he heard the numbers from Barry. After the conversation, he said then he would have to turn off. He was almost arriving his destination. He was going to meet Alice in the train station. They were going to do vacation somewhere in Europe together. I don't remember what exactly, but Wake was feeling the urge to get or to ask something important to one of the employees in the train.
He did ask one of the waiters that were close to him. The waiter said he would have to try in the next wagon. He got up from his seat and left his food on the table and went to the next wagon. Asked the same thing, the waiter said the same thing. The waiter had the exact same appearance from the previous one. Alan’s eyes showed a little bit of fear. When Alan showed signs of fear, the waiter, for a fraction of a second, smiled. Alan knew something was wrong. He didn't want to believe it though. He just wanted to meet Alice.
He went to the next wagon and this time he didn’t even bother. He just looked at the waiter and saw the exact same guy. He then he realized one more thing: the wagons were getting fuller of people and stuff inside, he started to see kitchen carts and all sort of stuff to fill in the empty space there. There were people standing up, making it hard to pass by. He kept going forward, in hope to talk to the train driver or some sort of manager. He went to the next wagon, again and again. It never stopped, like it was an infinite train. Felt like he was in some sort of loop, even though he was going in one direction. The waiter was present in each and every wagon, in the exact same spot. The more he kept going the fuller the wagons would get. The faster the train would go. Louder it was the train engine and the sound of the wheels would get. The louder it would get the sounds inside the wagon. The sounds of people talking. At one point it was almost impossible to go through the wagon because of so much people and objects in it. He started to jump over things. The train was going so fast that outside was nothing but a blur of the view. He started feeling the speed of it really hard, like it was going to tear his body apart. The environment was getting darker and darker. It got absolutely dark, when the vision with your eyes wide open, is nothing different from the vision with them closed. He heard an engine stop noise. The Train had hit something. He fell with the impact.
He opened his eyes, the “train” had crashed, he was reminded himself where he still was: The Dark Place. He was just inside one train that got eaten up by the Dark Presence and it was left there in the depths of the Lake/Ocean. He walked off of it. The train was all broken and beaten up. There was a train line under it, but it ended right there, sinking into the sand. He looked forward to a light pole that was right in the end of the train line. A blue/cyan light was coming down from it. Under this light, it was Barbara Jagger (In this dream, Alan knew she wasn’t defeated yet, even after using the clicker). He then was reminded of reality. He would have to fight off her again. He looked around to see where he was, he was in the bottom of the ocean. The Sand was purple. He was in a really vast and big place, almost infinite (imagine walking in those pillars of the foundation in control). There were big “things” made of light, the closest description I could get out of it were “giant mushrooms made of light”, emitting a cyan colored light. Around and up high them there was a fog made of darkness. Clouds and bubbles of darkness were constantly and randomly colliding with these “mushrooms”, making both parts hurt. Although there were these sources of light, the place was still very dark.
He started to walk off to find an exit to the place, he had a mission: end Barbara Jagger. After walking for a really long time, there was this big wall that felt like the end of the place, there was a door in it.
From here, the dream got blurred and I don’t remember much, only glimpses that Alan had to fight multiple levels against various enemies and taken. Going up in the Dark Place. All with the goal to make his plan work. He attracted Barbara Jagger to fight her in the place where he had the most advantage in terrain: the underwater volcano.
Barbara was standing right in the middle of the “lake of lava”, in a small rock. Only standing there was hurting her from the intense light of the lava. Alan was fighting her from a distance, jumping from wall to wall, from rock to rock. Using his flashlight and flare guns, he kept shooting again and again. His cloths got burned various times, he almost fell and died multiple times from the very light he was using to hurt her.
Eventually, her “darkness shield” fell off. But then she started to use other possessed things to protect her again. Alan would have to get closer, before her shield would recover again. He got close enough, jumped and grabbed her by the neck and drowned her head in the lava. He then let go, his hand burned by the liquid fire.
Dream 4 (2019):
In this dream, it took place right after the end of the game. I don’t remember much from this one. But Alan was standing in right outside the cabin, still in the Dark Place. Instead of trying to save Alice, he thought that just like he jumped into the Dark Place and was still alive, she probably was too. The environment was like the ending of the main game. In the part where you are outside the cabin, before you meet Barbara Jagger for the last time. But way darker and greyer. He looked back at the cabin and she was screaming, an illusion of Barbara Jagger behind her, taking her away. He ran for it but she disappeared, he decided to enter the cabin, he could write something so they could both find each other inside the Dark Place. He went to the back door (the cabin was slightly different in this dream from the one in game). When he opened, he felt something wasn’t right. He opened the door again to go back to the outside of the cabin and it led to a beautiful neighborhood, on a beautiful sunshine day. The Dark Place had shifted. Almost all houses were identical. Going on the small street, all neighbors seemed normal people. Weirdly way too normal. Strangely way too happy. All of them with smiles on their faces. Wearing way too normal clothing. It was playing a happy song in the background. One of the neighbors had it playing, the one (strangely) making barbecue in his front yard, open to all who wanted to join. Alan was confused at first, but he knew it was just an illusion. He went down the street and between the houses, trying to find an exit.
(From this point forward the dream turned into something else completely unrelated to Alan wake, so I’m going to stop it here.)
This is it, hope you had fun reading some of it.
submitted by DE-ZIX
And we love to be in the nothing-box: Recap of Before the 90 Days, S04E10
Hey guys, remember when April was 30 days long instead of 973? Good times. Remember when 90DF was two hours instead of three? Also good times. A recap shouldn’t require weight training and antihistamines, but here we are.
Let’s just crank out the three most ridiculous storylines in a single shotgun-blast paragraph, okay? Geoffrey? Should be in a Nerf prison so when people push him down, he bounces. Yolanda? How long can she present that same astonished expression before her face collapses? David? When we last saw him he was hovering in the doorway of a fake address, eagerly anticipating MmmmMmmm-ing the woman who isn’t there. An older gentleman answers the door, and assures David that she isn’t there, and he would notice a stunning woman walking the halls of his crumbling building. That she might be easy to spot in a crowd is something that’s never occurred to David in all the time he’s wandered around with his cellphone in the air. The elder gent says he feels sorry for David, and thinks foreign men are unlikely to create true relationships through pay-for-play online portals, because Ukraine’s best women aren’t interested in cyber slums. David sadly packs his suitcase and plods through the airport, lube bottle still half-full. “What signs was I ignoring?” He muses. “The ones that said ‘stop’ and ‘go back’?” He admits that if he got a message from her again, he would fall right back down the same hole he’s stepped in for seven years, and no helmet could spare him the insult of hitting his head on every rock.
Meanwhile, over in the FILL-A-PEEENS, Captain Mayonnaise is mining away at Rose, fracking all her fault lines. He’s finally freed himself from the shackles of inconvenience, and is excited to yank Rose away from the young child who doesn’t understand what’s happening. Rose is sad to leave Prince, but assures him she’ll be back soon, with a big bag of little hotel soaps. She tells him to say goodbye to “daddy,” and Ed awkwardly pats him on the back while explaining that a four star hotel is the only way he can know for sure that Rose will have sex with him twice before he reveals his intention to never marry her. What would poor Prince’s future be if he got stuck with Ed as a stepfather?
A.) “I can’t afford to bring Prince yet, but I will bring him eventually.”
B.) “I’m really starting to resent Prince, because he really takes away from my time with Rose.”
C.) “I swear, he was right behind me in the grocery store, and when I looked…oh, hello officer. You found him?”
D.) “I’m okay with Prince, but now I want a kid that’s mine. Yes, I know you’re 40 and I’d have to reverse my vasectomy. I think we’re ready.”
Before departing Ed haughtily decides against bringing up Maria’s bid for money, which is apparently a ghastly request after a night spent shivering and complaining in Rose’s crumbling hut. Remember when Tariq visited Hazel in the Philippines, and she told him she had nowhere to go after he left so he…got her an apartment? That’s what you do when you love someone.
“But how would that benefit me?” Ed is confused.
Still, Rose is cute and excited at the airport as she preps for her first take-off ever, and Ed negotiates a window seat so she can see the gorilla dancing on the wing, instead of the one sitting right next to her. The next morning, safe in their luxury hotel, Ed is ready to make Rose uncomfortable with the latest round of “gifts for myself that I present as gifts to you.” This consists of awkward underwear, and a teenager’s bathing suit. “My dog is called Teddy, and this is a teddy,” Ed declares, even though it isn’t. “Because nothing describes lingerie like a dog reference.”
Rose is visibly embarrassed and uncomfortable, since she’s just barely wrapped her head around having sex with this dude at all, and she can’t wait to accidentally lose this garment in the hotel trash can. Then the gifts keep coming, as he produces mouthwash, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. This actually happened, delivered by someone who clearly feels powerful due to Rose’s economic desperation. Somehow she resists responding to this with a bottle of shampoo chucked right at his dome, and a request for a personality transplant, but give her time.
“I’m concerned about your health, because disease in your mouth goes right to your heart,” Ed sciences.
Rose reminds this insensitive dolt that she told him before her breath is because of her ulcer, and the problem is her stomach. Ed insists this is the first time he’s hearing it, because he didn’t bother to listen the first time. Oddly, this doesn’t send health-minded Ed racing for a doctor, since really he’s just concerned about the surface symptoms that immediately impact him. She tells the cameras that she’s insulted and embarrassed, and thinks Ed is a rude person, and when she heads off to the bathroom to indulge his latest controlling, corrective impulse, she tells him he’s ugly, twice, and I don’t know if she’s talking about his inside or outside, but why limit yourself?
Sidebar: Seriously, fuck Ed. I’m not above a well-timed, “Honey, we’ve got to talk about your breath,” or someone thrusting a toothbrush upon me while laughing, but to present it as a gift and with the assumption that she didn’t have access to toothpaste or a toothbrush reads like an asshole how-to guide. How self-absorbed do you have to be to draw a conclusion about another person, decide it’s yours to correct, and then present that micromanaging as a gift? Fuck you, Ed. Never trust a man who generates their own nickname and isn’t an entertainer.
The next day he’s still going on about her breath, which Rose has decided to flavor with onions and garlic in a last minute bid to ward him off. Ed’s reveling in the tropical paradise he’s transported her to, and takes her to an island by boat, where they walk down a path packed with monkeys eager to demonstrate how thumbs have helped them as a species. A monkey comes out of nowhere and does a kick-flip off of Ed’s backpack, which takes Ed by surprise. Ed flails about in horror, fearing the monkeys will try to claim him as one of their own. The monkey menace returns, and one runs up and dunks on him, snatching the banana out of his bag, and Ed holds Rose’s body in front of his yelling, “Take the girl! Leave me, and take the girl!”
“I like monkey, I love monkey!” Rose declares, speaking for all of us.
Later, Ed decides to ruin a romantic dinner in a way that bests Stephanie’s prior efforts. Once they are seated and he makes some empty declaration about “taking it all in” he chooses to announce that he doesn’t entirely trust her. As someone who has offered no commitments and has done his best to lie, isolate, and use her, he certainly deserves unwavering loyalty. When the food arrives he says he’ll talk about the details later, which is some bullshit for real, and Rose insists she wants to talk about it now. He says that Maria texted him asking him for money, and he wants to know if she was in on it in some way. She wants to know if Ed thinks she loves his money, and not him. He just sits there, wearing that startled expression. The cameras pan to Rose’s knee bobbing under the table, which I suppose they want us to interpret as a sign of guilt, but I’m going with seething rage. She says that no, she didn’t know about it, and wants to talk to her sister. Ed asks if he can be there when she talks to her sister, for both pressure and shame purposes, and Rose says that’s fine.
Second side bar: How can these folks go to impoverished countries, meet people who will presumably become their family, only to hem and haw about their need for money? She is on this show with him, helping him get paid. Throw some coin her way, you miser.
Meanwhile, Rose says that she’s hurt and sad, and wants to hear her sister’s side of the story. Then Ed asks what she wants in the future, and she says she wants to build a strong family with two more babies.
While Ed was rambling on about trust, he conveniently neglects to bring up his desire to be the only child in the relationship. His vasectomy intentions are revealed again when he calls up his friend Rich, who insists that Ed has to tell Rose. Ed is hoping this can wait until she’s state side, where she can commence mourning the loss of a dreamed lifetime of multiple children. “I pray to God that she chooses us, and by that I mean chooses diapering me over her own happiness,” Ed bleeds to the cameras.
Now the moment I’ve been waiting for since the words “relationship coach” first screamed across my screen, Ash’s Awesome Men-and-Stuff Seminar. It’s rare that an episode demands a second round of popcorn so early, but this is challenging Ed’s pigpen for most amazing moment of the season. Who am I kidding? No it’s not.
Anyway, “Finding Mr. Right” has been scribbled onto the board of the conference room, and ten young refugees from a Women’s Studies class have skeptically arrived, notepads at the ready, and it’s going down for real. Avery herself is very nervous to see what kind of advice will spill forth from a man who doesn’t smoke weed, and the absence of it from her life in that moment really underscores all the red flags she missed. Is this about to be Ash telling women what to do, while blanketing it in basic jargon to create some false authority? Oh shit, she needs to be high for this.
Ash explains to all of us plebes at home that he can see the “lucrativeness” of all this self-improvement nonsense. I see that too, Ash, which is why I’m launching Fractalfay’s School of Culty Things That Might Help, But Probably Not. We’re going to kick things off with my first seminar, Seeing the Future: Are you sure you want to go there? Followed by my romance presentation, How to See Unemployment As a Relationship Fraught with Betrayal.
With that, Ash ignites! “This is about how to find a man and not kill him. Take my wife, please!” Ash begins, realizing at the last moment that he left his Tony Robbins headset at home, and there are no aisles to charge up and down.
“You see, women don’t understand a man’s brain. Men are like men, with masculinity, and manliness. You’ve heard of nonsense? This is man-sense, because of logic,” Ash is on fire. “Great, now men don’t think about what women think about, because they know deep down women just want to make them happy. This is because of femininity, which I’m sure you’ve learned about in douche and tampon commercials, which celebrate pink things, Barbie dolls, scrapbooking, and suspicious relationships with horses.”
The women are floored, and this presentation was definitely free, and no one is leaving BECAUSE WHY WOULD THEY?
“Great, now, women take a small thing, and make it very big. Like penises. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes, this makes men have to work harder to dismiss concerns. That’s because we are in boxes. Is this a chalkboard? Show of hands, who knows what a chalkboard is? Great, now who knows what a square looks like? Okay, who prefers a chain link blur? Here, let me draw a square with this chalk. Yep, that’s a box. Now, women’s brains are interlocked around taking care of other people, which keeps you very busy. Men, on the other hand, have this nothing-box where they store their thoughts. It’s empty, you see. That’s why we can go fishing for six hours, while you perform all the household chores and accumulate healthy resentment. Women think about that box all the time, and want to get in that box. Not for their own free time, but to decorate it, because it’s all about making your man’s life more superficially pretty.”
“With a flamethrower?” A skeptical lady named Alex interrupts. “To decorate, I mean.”
“No, that’s very masculine, and you need a man for the manning. This is something missing only a man can provide. Let’s all focus on that great, aching chasm that can only be filled by washing another person’s underwear.”
Everyone at the seminar: Dude.
Alex tells the also-laughing producers that Ash seems out of his depth, and this probably works better on fragile divorcees and women that describe their IQ test results as “circle.” Ash is quickly realizing that his “no specific system, really” works better in text messages.
“Yes well, let me call a lifeline, you see, yes. I’m going to run away now.” Ash dashes backstage to try and compose himself, while the women laugh at this condescending toolbag. Avery goes after him and asks if they can have a divorce before they’re married, on account of the sexism. She wonders if he’s unprepared, or fighting off the challenging symptoms of a ministroke, so she tells him to go out and talk about the love languages, and if he can’t remember all five, stop at three.
Ash returns, armed with the knowledge of Buzzfeed quizzes.
Ash: Let’s talk about love languages. There’s French, running away, sulking, this potato, and astrology. As women, you must accept that your sitcom doof of a spouse will never sort this out, so you must observe his love language, and respond accordingly.
Incredulous woman: Wait…we’re supposed to figure it out for THEM, while they do nothing?
Ash: Yes, exactly. Women are very emotional, while men are busy being president. Now, let’s get back to how to serve man. You need men for passion to be present, because lesbians don’t exist.
Another stunned participant: Isn’t How to Serve Man a Twilight Zone episode?
Alex: Okay, but that gender thing you said? Most of my partners have been both masculine and feminine, and the relationships were still very sexual.
Ash: No. In YOUR mind. There was no passion. Trust me, I’m a science, and I’ve women’d before. No one knows your former relationships like I do. Have you heard of toxic masculinity? Well why not become inTOXICated?
Ash: No? Well, what if I talk more aggressively? Like I’m getting angry, and could Geoffrey at any time? Getting uncomfortable? Can you feel the masculinity rushing at you? I understand if this very simple, empty collection of incorrect observations is too much. It’s really sophisticated, you see.
Ash: I understand your concerns.
When this train wreck finally ends there’s not a support beam still standing in the train station, and Avery wanders over to him to suggest they go downstairs where she can throw up in a trash can, and work through the realization that she’s been dating a fixer upper.
Avery tells him that his way of thinking it very black and white, and men and women don’t like being told who or what they are. She says when the women questioned his cliches, he was so defensive.
Ash: Cool. Okay.
Avery: It really wasn’t clear. I’m just asking you what you mean.
Ash: Cool, I’m done. You can tell I’m a relationship coach by the way I sulk away from conflict. I think this is love languages two and three.
Avery: I’m telling you it’s not easy to understand.
Ash: Okay, this is women making something big out of something, so I’m going to climb into my nothing-box. You’re not supposed to have your own thoughts, you’re supposed to support my empty ones.
Avery: I don’t need to meet Cian anymore, I know why you got divorced.
They continue to storm off the pier, Avery walking three steps behind him, like a lost scene from the Handmaid’s Tale.
Speaking of masculine horror, Tom is in NYC, searching for ways he can stretch this 15 minutes of fame into 20. He’s writing a note to Darcey that he claims will allow him to “speak at last” but it apparently can’t be mailed, for reasons. He claims to be sad about how things went down when they were both in the city, and categorizes his tirade about her being a joy-sucking vampire with a weight problem who will always detonate her relationships as being “slightly rude.” Okay, Tom. Ever respectful he now insists that she hear what he has to say to her, which is apparently different from what he said to her face, and what he said to his new girlfriend on his old phone.
“Yes, very good,” Ash interjects. “It’s important to not give women choices.”
They finally arrive, and Stacey answers the door with a GTFO. Stacey wore his ass-whooping coat for a reason, but Darcey is willing to engage him if such things reveal how to filter Tom out of her TV show. She knows Tom is prepping to knit this into some sort of victim sweater, revealed by the lie-lines in his forehead. She tells him it’s too little, too late, and that she doesn’t want his parting emotional manipulation.
“I’m closing my heart off,” she declares, demonstrating her passive-aggressive quick draw. Tom tries to hand her the letter hastily scrawled on hotel stationery and not even placed in an envelope, but she says hard pass, and retreats into the comforts of her mansion. When Tom plods off Darcey asks Stacey to fetch the letter, and tear it up before she considers reading it. She says she loves herself, and that prevents her from taking Tom’s shit, while Tom mutters about how soon she’ll be 55, which is when women die.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, in news that shocks absolutely no one, the stretched-out “mommy approval” storyline is reaching its climax, as Usman and Lisa once again meet with Queen Mother. Usman insists that his would-be wife is a doctor who will arrange for him to make a lot of money in the states, and will allow his hip hop career to flourish. He’s already written that tender expression of love earworm, and the repeated play on the show means he’s successfully infected the dreams of the 90DF faithful. Oh yeah, and she loves him, so there’s that. Queen Mother realizes she’s going to have to see BGL every day until she dies if she doesn’t give her approval and get this woman out of her country already, so she says fuck it, fine, stop. BGL is riding high, and has to “refrain herself” from tackling the fam. Since Hausa culture and Queen Mother’s sensibilities don’t allow Lisa to get within three feet of any of Usman’s family members, Lisa scrambles to kiss her hand in gratitude. Finally, they can accelerate to the part of the story where Usman is denied a spousal visa.
Later on Usman declares their intent to merge elements of Nigerian and American weddings, and he goes ring shopping with his older brother Muhammad. At the jewelry stand a case is produced from behind the counter, and Usman declares he needs something that isn’t too shiny, because he wants a simple, plain, boring, uninteresting ring that Lisa requested to reflect her personality. This scene has all the romance of a greasy donut bag. He declares that Lisa won’t like the ring anyway, because complaint is just talking to Lisa, and Usman has the look of an already defeated man. Muhammad challenges his brother, and asks if he’s sure he wants to get married. Then he charges Usman with promoting peace in the relationship, and Usman gives him the dafuq? look, and demands to know if he’s even met Lisa.
BGL and Usman go out for fruit, and get pineapples and pawpaws. For the record, Ohio and PA have pawpaws too, so I have no idea why she’s looking at it as some kind of exotic fruit, unless the only fruit she knows appears in liquor glasses. She takes a bite of the PawPaw, and doesn’t like it, and Usman has no reaction because he’s used to this. Lisa seizes this pause to remind Usman of her list of demands, and asks if he forgot the next thing he’s supposed to do, which is apparently getting down on his knees and propose to her. Normally this would be a romantic gesture, but with Lisa this is dominance. Usman responds that he wants to talk about their problems, and Lisa is already defensive.
“A Hausa man always controls the house,” Usman explains. “If there are two kings in any kingdom there will be war.”
“Yes, exactly. It’s your masculine energy. Please, continue,” Ash is there for him.
Usman: With all the ordering around, you can’t do that, because I’m not a child. But I can order you around, because I’ll be the head of the household, you see.
Lisa: That’s disrespectful. Not when I do that to you, because I’m not even going to bother to acknowledge my own behavior, but the idea of you doing that to me. Maybe we shouldn’t get married.
Usman: You can advise me, but you can’t tell me what to do. This is a warning of exactly how much control you will have after we are legally wed, since you’ve already overplayed the only card in your hand.
Lisa: I’m going back to the hotel to see if I can find another card.
In the Australian outback, Steph is getting ready to meet Erika at a botanical garden for a round of apologies. She arrives wearing an impossible pair of shoes, limiting their walk around the garden to approximately 10 yards. Steph apologizes for the ongoing influence of her insecurities, and Erika reminds her that everything she’s been angry about since she arrived is stuff she already knew about. Steph explains that she didn’t know what her emotional response would be until it happened…which makes sense. These two seem to be getting somewhere, and they agree they want to keep trying.
Later they go to visit Roy, a 77 year-old aboriginal man from the Northern Finders ranges, who introduces himself as a master carver, which they inexplicably find funny. Roy makes boomerangs, and Erika thinks throwing a boomerang is a way of introducing Steph to a part of Australian culture. Steph dressed for the occasion by wearing cargo pants as a dress, and I need to know why Erika didn’t stop her.
Roy asks Steph what brought her to Port Augusta, and she says Erika, whom she describes as a “special friend.” Steph isn’t sure what his response will be to their sexuality, so she opts to play it safe. This is fair, especially considering that at the start of the season Erika made a point of mentioning that homophobia is still an issue in Australia. Roy says he’s not throwing the boomerang because he’s too old, but he’ll show her how to do it for the entertainment of the audience. Steph makes several attempts at proper boomerang throwing, and then scampers off after the boomerang to try again. Erika reports that this better resembles the fun, loud, silly Stephanie she met online.
“That’s terrible. It should come back to your hand,” Roy declares. Steph makes one final attempt, which she prefaces by saying the success of this throw will determine whether the rest of her trip will go well. She chucks it, and Roy helpfully pronounces her improved. That’s good enough for Steph, and she gleefully hugs Erika, before they thank Roy and depart. How did they not buy a boomerang from this dude?
Erika then takes Steph shark cage-diving with great whites, because she’s determined to make this the trip of my dreams. Steph is afraid of open water, and boats, and the sky, but they’re at least laughing at Steph’s perpetual discomfort at this point, which makes it way less annoying for Erika and all of us at home. Despite her fears, Steph acknowledges this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation, and asks for a triple-sanitized mouth piece (which, in light of current events, just seems smart). They get in the water with partially zipped wet suits, while sharks crest the water snatching up whatever bait the bold boatsmen tossed in the water. The 90DF editing team delivers yet again with the Jaws soundtrack playing menacingly in the background. They see some sharks, and Erika says she’s proud of Steph for putting on her weighted belt and hitting the water.
As they head back to shore, Steph gives Erika the Heimlich maneuver, and they squeal about “sea puppies” and kiss inside a skeletal shark mouth for a photo. They both begin to worry about their parents not knowing the true nature of their relationship, as Steph ponders sending the photo of them kissing to her mother. Erika is ready to come out to her parents, because the secret aspect is hard on her, but understands Steph’s hesitation.
How different would this story be if Steph had kicked things off by admitting that she hadn’t been in a sexual relationship for a year, and had limited experience with girl-on-girl loving, and was therefore slightly intimidated? Perhaps she’s been hiding on youtube for too long, which is totally different from hiding on reddit, which is just the right thing to do in the midst of quarantine, or because it’s a Thursday.
Next week, Darcey sends that appreciation key back to its lock (reminding us of her value in the 90DF universe), for some reason we have to see Tom again, Ed tells the truth (maybe), Ash feels attacked because his fake expertise fell apart, David calls up a PI, and a man declares he won’t marry Lisa and Usman while Lisa attempts to growl him into submission.
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