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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hand of God (Installment #2)

Episode Six: Hand of God
Installment #2: Darkness Reign O'er Me

We are greeted by the chiming of the bells as the sun shines brightly above the tower of the church. (For those of you who are devout Catholics know that this means it’s time for the prayers of the Angelus… of course.) The setting, which is in total contrast to the night before, brings us to the nearby park where swish someone has scored two points on the basketball court. As the ball travels through the basketless rim, we see this fine specimen of a hand reach up into thin air to retrieve it.
(Yes, for all you SU hand lovers out there, play the dvd in slow motion at this part.)
Paul, who has obviously had enough of a workout, throws the ball to someone and says, “That’s it. I’m done.”

As Paul walks toward the bench where he has placed his bag and water bottle, he is approached by none other than… Detective Krantz. This officer certainly wasted no time hunting down the mystery man in the journal. For a moment, they share some small talk. Then Krantz cuts to the chase when he makes a statement about Paul once being a resident at St. Jerome’s and that Father Calero says good things about him. Paul quickly concludes that this guy wasn’t in the area to watch a pick-up game of b-ball.
The man introduces himself as Victor Krantz from the Boston P.D.

After making a schmoozing comment about Paul being a guy who likes to help out, Detective Krantz asks him if he knows a woman named Gretchen Albright. Krantz seems to put Paul’s politeness to the test when he follows up with the fact that she was murdered in her kitchen around six o’clock the night before. So instead of continuing to be part of some kind of verbal entanglement, Paul volunteers his whereabouts for that time. He reveals that his job is to investigate strange things and that he didn’t kill anyone. Krantz, seemingly satisfied for the moment, begins to leave.
Abruptly, he turns back to ask,“Do the words, ‘God is Nowhere’ mean anything to you?”
Paul responds with a very straightforward, “No.”

Later that day at the Sodalitas Quaerito office, Paul approaches Alva regarding Gretchen Albright and questions him about who she was. He knew that Alva would be a source of information since the phrase, “God is Nowhere” was brought up earlier. And yes, Alva did know quite a bit about Gretchen.

In a flashback scene, he explains the paranormal experience of her blood forming the words,
God is Nowhere.

In an attempt to decipher this blurry chapter of his life, Paul painfully wonders, “Why am I different?” The only response he gets from Alva is “It’s the kind of message that reveals the reader…isn’t it?”

Times lapses. The sun is beginning its descent and soon everyone will be calling it a day. The camera provides a picturesque view of the Boston skyline with shades of blue, orange, yellow, and dark gray hanging over it like a huge umbrella.
It is a soothing time and all is becoming quiet.

Back at the office, Evie is on her way out when she asks Paul if he was planning to work late. When he tells her that needs to find the hemography files that Alva has compiled, she directs him to Alva’s office.

Upon discovering the door to Alva’s office is locked, Paul attempts to pry open the sliding glass window with a screwdriver.
Well, this screwdriver ‘has a mind of its own’ as it shatters the left side panel causing most of the glass to disperse inside Alva’s office.

Realizing that he probably wouldn’t fit through the opening, he resolves the matter by using his elbow to shatter the other side. Why not? They’re going to need a glazier anyway.

We all know that Paul finds himself in compromising situations and this is no exception. He enters Alva’s office head first, as if going down the slide in a water park. Clunk! Ouch! Hitting the floor hurts a bit more than hitting the water. And…landing on all that glass had to be comparable to lying on a bed of nails. But, there’s not a scratch on him.
He is bloodless for a change.

Paul wastes no time locating the hemography file and starts to sort through it. The first piece of information in the folder is a picture of the message written in his blood…”God is Now Here.” Yes, this is the exact way he read those words the first time he saw them. Next, he finds a “God is Nowhere” message written in someone else’s blood.
Then, there’s the “Help Us” message!

Clearly, Paul is overwhelmed by the contents of this box. But nothing shocks him more than finding the etched portrait of himself that bears his name below it and the date 3-25-98 scrawled on the back of it. I’m sure he’s wondering who drew this and why.

Unable to restrain his urge to proceed, he reaches into the box to unveil anything that may pertain to him. This time he finds transcripts that tell of a series of dreams that involve him on different occasions. In a slight frenzy, his eyes bounce from word to word…never really stopping long enough to fully grasp all the details.

However, his eyes do take notice that one of the dreams mentions his father.
Like the vortex in a whirlpool, he is pulled down deeper into the files.
When it becomes too much for him to handle, he lifts his head and looks away.
He could take no more.

Things are not back to normal the next day at the Sodalitas Quaerito office. Paul and Alva are engaged in a confrontation about the break-in and about Alva holding back information concerning the hemography files. Paul is so confused and angry that his voice trembles and tears well up in his eyes.
His anger and frustration are displayed as he kicks a chair across the room.

When he composes himself and sits down, Paul informs Alva that he has done some research about the six people who were mentioned in the hemography file. Paul discovers information that Alva did not know…four of these people were murdered in the last week.
Alva should keep his files updated!

The setting switches to Paul’s apartment. (It needs some decorating. Maybe a little Feng Shui?) Once again we get to view those fine hands.

The shades are drawn and the sunlight from outside is glowing brightly behind them as he collects and packs his belongings into his leather bag.
He hears a knock at his door. It’s Evie.

Obviously perturbed, she struts through the doorway, folds her arms, and asks what went on between Alva and him. Paul informs her that Alva has been keeping
details from him about the “God is Nowhere” people. She is awestruck when
he tells her that four of these six people have been murdered and that he is off on a mission to Denver to warn Danielle Franklin, one of the two surviving people.

As he packs he includes his bible and rosary beads. No doubt he finds strength in prayer...a big influence for him at the seminary. Evie is genuinely concerned about Paul.
(A hug would have been nice.)

The installment closes with a view of people scurrying around at Denver Airport. Suddenly, the action switches to slow motion. Through the crowd of people, our young murderer emerges looking like a foot soldier on his next mission.
The haunting sounds of “Apple of Sodom” by Marilyn Manson accompany him…

“take this from me…hate me/hate me
take this from me…hate me/hate me
one, two, three/he is a speed-bump mannequin
one, two, three/he can’t move to stand still…”
(Oh, my!)

My Thoughts…

Not too much room for comic relief in this installment. But it truly is fun to analyze the fine interpretation Skeet provides for us through his acting skills. Of course, we also all know that he is absolutely, breathtakingly charming, handsome, sexy, tall, playful, etc., and we find it difficult to take our eyes off him anyway.

I am going to say that the message of this installment is embedded in Paul’s question to Alva, “Why am I different?” Obviously, this is a question that haunts him and presses on him like a weight he must carry wherever he goes.

It is really interesting how this story is unfolding at this point. We have sympathy for Paul as we watch him try to unravel some of the mystery of who he is. And, we watch him conclude that he is the only one who can be responsible for finding out.

Your Thoughts…

There is something unique about all of us. And we all know there's something unique about Skeet. So...
  • If Skeet Ulrich asked you, “Why am I different?” what would you tell him?

Back in the pilot episode, “The Ferguson Syndrome,” Paul meets Alva for the first time. (I watched this episode again while compiling my notes because I wanted to get a better understanding of how Alva came into Paul’s life.) As they sit across from each other in a booth at a local Boston diner, they touch upon the incident that involved Tommy. (Paul instantly recognizes Alva as the man who was watching through the car window as Tommy was about to save him.) They also discuss the paranormal phenomenon of hemography.
Alva tells Paul that he is someone who can help find answers. He also says that they may be able to help each other.

  • How do they help each other?

Let’s revisit that same scene in “The Ferguson Syndrome,” where our dying Paul sees Alva through the car window. Tommy notices that Paul is looking back at something. When Tommy turns around to look, he sees something Alva may refer to as ‘significantly different.’ He sees a frightful image. (Yes, Alva can be frightful, at times.) He turns back to Paul and hurries to say the words, “I hope you feel better soon.” (If you look back at that scene, you’ll see a quick flash of a ghoulish image…one which a topic in a future installment.)

In “Hand of God,” Alva uses the words ‘significantly different’ when he explains to Paul that the people whose names are in the hemography file saw, “God is Nowhere” as opposed to what he saw, “God is Now Here.”

  • What do you think Alva meant when he said, “It’s the kind of message that reveals the reader…isn’t it?”
PS...Thank you, Skeetrfan, for narrowing down my screen caps and adding them into this installment. I'll be a little more selective next time. LOL