John from Cincinnati: His Visit: Day Seven
(S01E08) Zippy, Zippy, Zippy, can we talk? I'm hoping you can telepathically help me out here. You're the great "cruise director" after all. We've got two episodes left, and we're heading towards something big. Shaun is going to be "gone," Barry (and his buddy Teddy) are building a theater while David Milch yells mean things at them over "The Tennessee Waltz," Bill and Freddie have teamed up and John has gone all cosmic internet stalker with the help of a trance-like Cass. Help a sister out, Zip. What the hell is going on here?
John has turned from harmless to threatening, and not just because he bares his teeth at Tiki statues. We don't know if John's father means well. This is pretty firmly in keeping with both the Book of Revelations and stories like Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger where the nature of good and evil are relatively complicated affairs. I find it interesting that everyone has just plain accepted that John is superhuman in some way, but I guess seeing a guy commit hara-kiri and suffer no wounds will convince even the skeptics.
Let's do a quick count. Who's not having visions now? Or, if not visions, telepathic conversations, levitating spells or one shot resurrections? We can add Barry and Freddy to the visionary list. Poor Barry even seemed to pull Shaunie into his sad nightmare in an abstract, Twin Peaks-y kinda way. Hearing the things we can assume the man who molested Barry said to him when he was young was heartbreaking. I'd probably still be talking to my teddy, too, if I had experienced that barrage of messed-up insults.
There was just too much going on in this episode that made zero sense so I'll just say that I felt for our girl Kai, so unappreciated and now avoiding her own "sometimes you just need to stick around" advice. I'm also glad to see that Cissy booted Mitch, and that Butchie hit the waves. The surfing sequence that opened the show was great. When they do bother to ride the waves on this show, they capture the experience in an especially naturalistic way.
And, the symbol. Yes, the symbol. Most folks on the John from Cincinnati boards at HBO think of it as the "Monad" symbol. I've also heard stick symbol, binary code for "zeroes and ones" and, from one of our commenters last week, an antenna. Hell. Dessert topping? Floor wax? You're both right.
Here's hoping we get some sweet elucidation over the next two episodes. I don't need concrete answers. I'm comfortable with the other shoe dropping several navel-gazing conversations and a bottle of wine later, but I wouldn't mind knowing if John's father's words are intended to help or hurt us.