Good Cop, Bad Cop

Dear Insane Children, 

We continue to work through some of Alice’s memory scenes from the time period prior to the fire (PF). And this morning, Adam sent over another batch from the scenes where Lizzie and Alice are playing in the living room, break a tea set, and are scolded by mom. 

All of this is meant to link into an eventual reveal… but I won’t say more on that because spoilers

So the scene setup is… 

(Slumber Encounter #4 – Guilt)

[Requiem, K. 626: Lacrimosa – (Mozart)]

A cut scene plays as Alice continues to spin joyously, as she spins alone, an ethereal memory unfolds around her. She is watching another memory of her past.

Alice is very young. Lizzie is laughing with Alice, as they both hold hands, spinning together in the family living room. As they spin, Alice fumbles her step, and trips, knocking over a porcelain tea set. It shatters on the ground, and Alice cuts her knee badly on the broken white shards as she too hits the ground.

Crying, Alice does not know what to do. She squirms, watching the strange red liquid cascade from her wound.


Oh Alice, you’ve taken another tumble! Here, let me help you.

Lizzie’s words are warm, and soothing. Alice stops crying as her older sister bandages her knee.


There, good as new.

Alice and Lizzie smile at one another.

Hearing the ruckus, Alice’s Mother enters the room.

Alice’s Mother is shocked, and disciplines the girl’s foolish behaviour.


Girls! This area is not for playtime! And look, Alice you’ve hurt yourself again, and ruined our tea set. When will you learn?

Alice’s eyes widen as she blinks back her tears.


It’s off to your rooms for the both of you. No supper!

As the girls sadly saunter off to their rooms, Alice’s mother is left cleaning up the mess. Both girls are stopped by their Father as they leave. He kneels down eye-to-eye with Alice’s height and addresses them both.


Lizzie, I expect a better example from you. You must look after your little sister. Not just when she’s hurt.

Lizzie cheekily jests;


Oh, the little adventurer can take a tumble or two.

Their Father smiles,


That she can. And she will.

He then addresses Alice. Meeting her gaze, he explains;


There’s something to learn here for yourself, Alice. Your Mother might be harsh at times, but she only wants the best for you.

Run along girls, do as your Mother says. There’s a time and a place for games, and that time may be cut short as you grow. You’ll know when the time is right.

Alice watches her younger self and sister hold hands as they wander up the stairs to their room. Alice reaches out to the memory of her Father, he fades and crumbles to ash at her touch.


And to these more recent sketches, I replied: 

Short reply: ?D can work but I ?need to discuss with Alex some places where we work to soften the portrayal of Alice’s mom so that the audience doesn’t come away thinking she’s just a meany.

Long reply: ?I ?think all three compositions look good but… Again, speaking from the perspective of a parent, I feel D (with the pointed art) is too harsh considering the situation. Here’s why:

First, the mother’s primary focus would be on nurturing the injured child. You can’t nurture and scold at the same time – you have to choose between one of the two. And unless we’re trying to portray Alice’s mom as a mean-old-scold then I ?think we need to be careful with the angry-scolding stuff.

Second, Lizzie’s reaction would be warmer, closer, and more caring… right? ?She loves her little sister. And she knows these kinds of little accidents happen – because they always happen. Trust me, we have at least one accident per day around here… and except in cases of extreme carelessness (rare), the main focus is on soothing the child. The secondary focus is on soothing whoever else was involved in the incident – because if you’re there when a child gets hurt, you feel terrible about it… even if it isn’t really anyone’s fault.

W?ay to support both ideas: ?Keep (D) but also add a quick aside scene where Alice’s mom is seen giggling/laughing with the father – she was playing a part (perhaps too well) and they both know it. Lizzie knows it too. But the lesson was provided (as needed) ?and the girls (mainly Alice) won’t forget it too soon.

So given that context, which image do you think best achieves the goals for this scene?

The scene letters (A,B,C,D) are in the bottom right corner of the images. Let us know in the comments below what you think! 

From Shanghai with No Dinner, 


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