Today our podcast is about stories that only do what you expect – PSYCHE, it’s really about fake outs! We bet you were really surprised by that sudden reveal, but was it a good thing? Did it add to this paragraph, or was it just a cheap trick? You’ll have plenty of time to think about it because that’s what we’re talking about today, except with real stories and not the intro text to a podcast. We discuss why storytellers use fake outs, how they can do more harm than good, and some instances where they actually worked. Plus, the only story we could think of with a triple fake out!

Transcript

Generously Transcribed by Chelsie. Volunteer to transcribe a podcast.

Chris: You’re listening to the Mythcreants podcast with your hosts Oren Ashkenazi, Wes Matlock, and Chris Winkle. [opening song]

Chris: This is the Mythcreant podcast. I’m Chris and with me is Wes and Oren; and I’m afraid to tell you we are all dead.

Wes: What?

Chris: Yep. We just got killed and — psych! We’re really alive.

Oren: Oh, wow. Whew. Okay.

Chris: Yeah. Sorry. Wasn’t that SO convincing? I totally fooled all of you.

Wes: You faked me out. [Chris and Wes laugh]

Oren: Yeah, I was, I was extremely convinced. There was a lot of extra tension and drama because I thought we were all dead.

Wes: What a clever use of like, you know, a twist. I never saw it coming. [All laugh]

Chris: So this time we’re talking about fake outs; and it’s good to clarify what a fake-out is. So I would personally define a fake-out as when the storyteller tries to make it like, convince the audience that something happened in the story, then they later reveal: nope, that never actually happened. And there might be similar things that we could call fake-outs, too; but the thing that’s different is that we’re kind of undoing what has happened in the story. And a lot of times it comes off as the storyteller tricking the audience. It doesn’t always come off that way though. Sometimes they can come off positively. But the most popular uses of it are for character deaths, and dream sequences are another one that audience members often get really mad about. Where we have a dream sequence that’s really tense, and then we reveal: oh, it’s just a dream; never mind. It didn’t really happen.

Wes: So the key thing here is it’s different from a plot twist because it’s revealed that something didn’t happen; as opposed to like ‘psych! I wasn’t really helping you; I was just plotting your demise’ or something like that?

Chris: Yeah.

Wes: Okay.

Chris: I think it also counts if the storyteller is trying to convince you really hard, something WILL happen.

Wes: Yeah.

Chris: And then it was like, ‘wait, last minute plot twist. It’s not happening after all.’ It really does depend on the storyteller trying to convince the audience of something that is not genuine to the story in some way.

Wes: Okay.

Oren: And I would say the key definition of the difference between a — cause like, a fake out is a very specific subset of plot twists. For example, a plot twist is: “Luke. I am your father.” That’s not a fake-out. That is a plot twist. Even though that changes what we thought was the case. Cause we all thought that Darth Vader killed Luke’s father and then we find out, no, that’s different. That’s not a fake-out because the key difference is that in a fake-out the storyteller is using certain understood tools to convince the audience that something is happening. These are meta tools, not story tools. So for example of a fake-out, a latest Star Trek: Discovery episode, the one from, I think, two weeks ago now. So spoilers, if you haven’t seen that one, I think it’s the fourth episode.

In that episode, the episode fakes us out to think that Saru is dead. And they do a bunch of things that you would normally associate with a character dying. So these are meta tricks. Like they have Saru, you know, say a tearful goodbye. They’ve also had Saru and Burnham’s relationship has just advanced in this episode. Not that — they’re not romantically involved, but you know, their friendship has developed and Saru just got to do a really cool thing. And he has his goodbye farewell speech that he gives. These are all meta clues that a character is going to die. These are the things that we associate with a character dying. So it’s not just that Saru is in danger; because characters are in danger all the time and we don’t think they’re going to die. These are things that we would expect to happen if Saru was going to die. And that’s what makes it a fake-out. That is the, I think the defining characteristic of a fake-out.

Chris: Right? It’s like, you can tell the storyteller isn’t just letting events happen naturally. They’re deliberately manipulating events to make the audience think a certain thing that is not true.

Wes: This is so interesting because it’s almost like the opposite of dramatic irony, right? Because in dramatic irony, we know stuff that the characters don’t, right? And then this is like, we don’t know these things, and then all the actions are to eventually reveal the fake out. Like, oh man; how fascinating.

Chris: But yeah, but the Saru death is a really good example. It goes on forever. We — Okay. So at the beginning of the episode, near the beginning of the episode, we introduced this idea that Saru is dying, right? And it doesn’t look great, but there’s lots of Star Trek episodes where they declare a character is dying, but then it continues to go and then the other, big external plot resolves, but he still appears to be dying. And then they have this super-touching scene that they stage between Michael and Saru in his quarters, his shirt is off, we see his quarters is full of greenery. So it’s like, really pretty. And then they have this like, prolonged talk about their relationship that’s, again, it’s just like a last conversation before a character dies.

And it goes on so long and really convinces you that there’s no way they would put in all of this investment unless that character was actually going to die. And I found it very upsetting, because you have to remember that killing a character that your audience likes is an upsetting event. And I think sometimes the storytellers so get into this drama. And again, the Discovery writers are just, they’re definitely into manufacturing drama. That’s like their entire thing. So when you think a character is going to die, that’s actually upsetting too.

And it just left me feeling very manipulated. I mean, I’m glad Saru’s not dead; but the whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth. As opposed to like, there was another episode I saw of The Next Generation recently called ‘The Next Phase’. In that episode, early in the episode, they declared that Geordi and Ensign Ro, one of the kind of B-cast are dead; but it’s like early in the episode you know that Geordi is not going to just die, he’s part of the main cast, right? So they do that; and then later, in a later scene, they’re like, oh, they’re still here, but they can’t interact with anybody. Are they ghosts? Obviously not. You know, so that kind of play is fine because everybody has that kind of, their sort of safety blanket, you know? They know that it’s not real, and so they can kind of enjoy the tension of the situation without the idea that one of their favorite cast members is actually getting axed, making them upset.

Oren: Yeah. Right. Because, in that episode, in the next phase, they don’t do the things that you would expect them to do if a character was already dead, like we don’t see a body and stuff like that. Right? So we just know they disappeared into a transporter accident, but we’re like, okay, yeah, this is tense and cool; but we also know that when they disappear in a transporter accident, that could mean literally anything. And the thing about the Discovery fake out — and this is the same thing with dream fake outs — you know, dreams are just a popular tool because you can do all of the things that you would normally not be able to walk back. It’s like, yeah, we showed everyone dying. And like, normally you can’t do that because then everyone would be dead and people can’t just walk back up after being dead. And, you know, in most stories that would completely destroy any credibility, but you can do it with a dream and it’s technically accurate, you know? And that’s why the dream fake-out is so popular.

Chris: I will say for most dreams — I mean this might just be me; but I don’t find dream fake-outs as upsetting anymore because as soon as they do something they can’t walk back, I know it’s a dream. [Laughter]

Oren: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Chris: It’s like, okay, this is a dream. It’s like that meta information is there, you know, and makes it so that you kind of know. You know, I think that, again, the dream fake-outs would actually get more upsetting the more resources and time the storyteller puts into actually convincing the audience that it’s real, as opposed to just having a fun moment, which can be valuable. Like in the episode ‘The Next Phase’, they attend their own funerals. You know, we play with the idea that they’re dead; but we, the audience, know those actors aren’t getting cut.

Oren: Right. And the dream sequence in particular is obnoxious because all it does is reveal that nothing you just saw actually matters, cause it’s a dream. Dreams happen. They’re weird. They basically don’t mean anything. Like, they don’t have a huge amount of impact on actual life for the most part. So the idea that like, oh, we dreamed about a terrible thing happening. It’s like, yeah, I do that every night. [Chris and Wes laugh] You know, it’s like, why did I have to — why did you just show me that? And dreams can be used to show people, to show things, and to develop character in some way. It’s not impossible to do that; but when you spend a lot of time on a dream just to reveal that it’s a dream, it’s like, oh, yeah, sure.

Chris: I do think you can do, a really good play with dreams in debating whether or not they were real, or they really happened. For instance, in The Matrix, Neo has this like, really horrific experience with the Agent; and then he wakes up. And it’s like, okay, you know, we feel some relief. It’s not real. Later he figures out it was real.

Wes: Right, yeah.

Oren: Mhmm.

Chris: And so you can also have dreams kind of like something weird happened in the dream. I wake up later, did that actually happen or not? Or maybe I was like sleepwalking and it kind of partially happened, but not exactly the way I remember it. So you could definitely with dreams, play with how real it is and have it still feel like the dream matters in some way. And we’re not just like, that was cheap drama that we created in the moment. I also think dreams work pretty well if you really do have like a horror genre. So I think Teen Wolf did a fair number of sequences where people are dreaming and there’s like some intense body horror.

Wes: The horror there is, the dream is actually serving a purpose to like maybe reveal their feelings that they haven’t expressed directly.

Chris: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Wes: You know, it’s like, they’re anxious. Like they’re concerned about something. Maybe they haven’t had an opportunity to express that to another character or something. And so then the dream medium becomes a way for us to feel what they’re feeling. But it has to matter in the actual events of the story. Otherwise it’s a waste.

Chris: Yeah. And I also think that with a horror show and things like intense body horror dreams, sometimes the point is because the show is just supposed to be an intense show and the dream can kind of deliver that experience.

Wes: Yeah. Good point. Yeah.

Chris: And which I also feel like teen Wolf does. And of course, there’s, you know, when you have magical powers, there’s still the question of when are our dreams real in some way? So, you know, they can be used to good effect. Dreams aren’t always bad, but people will often get really mad if it feels like the storyteller is trying to make you think that the dream is real, only to reveal that none of that mattered.

Oren: Yeah. Right. You can show things in dreams that reveal things about character or what have you; but a dream where you just kill everyone and everyone dies, that usually doesn’t reveal that much.

Wes: Nope.

Oren: Like, you know, there has to be something else going on to make that interesting. Like, here’s a fake out that’s not actually a dream, but it employs similar logic. And here’s one of the few fake outs that I could think of off the top of my head that actually works. It’s in Star Trek Two, the Wrath of Khan. And this starts with Captain Savik, who we’ve never seen before, commanding the Enterprise to go into the Neutral Zone to rescue a freighter. And things just get worse and worse, and the ship is being destroyed, and everyone on the bridge is dead. And that’s like all the main characters, except Kirk, he’s not here for some reason.

And Savik is like, you know, clearly she’s a Vulcan, but she’s like as flustered as Vulcans get, because things are going, everything’s going wrong. And then, okay. Reveal: this is actually a simulation. And that’s very similar to a dream fake-out. But for one thing, it works much better for a couple of reasons. One, there’s like just enough that’s kind of off about everyone’s reactions to make you think maybe something’s wrong. Like, maybe something’s not quite happening the way — like the way that they all like — and maybe I’m reading more into the scene than was actually there; but like the way that they fall across their consoles when they die, just feels a little overacted because the characters are acting, right? And so that’s interesting.

It also shows us an important aspect of Savik, which is her fear that she’s not ready for command. Uh, and unfortunately that never really gets addressed later with the Savik character. That’s too bad, but whatever; it sets up the whole question of the no-win scenario, which is important later in the story. And then from a meta perspective, that scene was also very important because the entire fan base was in a rage because it had been leaked — almost certainly by Roddenberry — that Spock was going to die. And everyone was like, you can’t kill Spock. You CAN’T kill Spock. And they were all prepared to hate this movie. And so they have this scene at the beginning where Spock dies at the beginning and it’s like, okay, now we all feel better. And like —

Chris: Wait, doesn’t he actually die though?

Oren: Yes, he does.

Chris: [Laughs] So that was like a reverse fake-out, where the fake-out was that the character would live.

Oren: But his actual death is really good and like literally everyone loved it. They were like, in a better mood for it, by the time it happened cause some of the negativity had been dispelled by this opening scene. At least, that was my read on it. This is me reading about what other people wrote about it at the time. I wasn’t there.

Chris: That’s very interesting. Like, no, really, the character is not going to die. Just kidding, the character is gonna die. [Laughing] It’s not what we usually see in most cases.

Oren: Right. Well, and there’s also a lot of speculation that Spock was originally going to die much earlier in the movie. There’s like a scene where there’s like a really dramatic moment where a character dies, but he’s like a new character that we don’t know. But there’s a lot of drama around his death and there’s a lot of speculation that this was originally where Spock died and they changed their minds and decided he needed a more meaningful, heroic sacrifice.

Wes: Right. Yeah.

Oren: The thing about Discovery’s fake outs — and this is not unique to Discovery, it’s just an easy one to talk about right now — is that, by faking out that Saru was going to die, what they were doing was faking out that they were going to make a mistake; because Saru dying would be a really bad thing because Saru is actually quite good for the show. He’s a very interesting character. He’s kind of unique. He has an interesting backstory that they hid for some reason.

Chris: They also just need more characters that are just kind of stable bedrock characters in this show. You know, quirky characters are great; but when you have too many people with too much drama, having a character who’s just kind of solidly there is nice.

Oren: Right, and so them faking out that they were going to kill Saru was basically them faking out that they were going to make the show worse. And the thing is, they’ve done this before. Discovery has killed several characters that they really should have left alive because Discovery never met an edge it didn’t want to lord over. [Chris and Wes laugh] And so what they’re doing at this point is they are putting a gun to their own foot and threatening to pull the trigger. And they’ve done this several times before, so we believe they’ll do it again. It’s a very weird setup.

Chris: Right. I mean, I wrote a post on how to like, convince people that you’re going to kill one of your main characters even if you’re not. But I put in a cautionary note with that, like, just be careful. Yes, it can definitely increase tension in the story; for some stories, it’s appropriate. If the story is really that kind of brutal survivalist story, and that’s what the audience knows that they’re signing up for, and that’s what it’s all about. But, you know, in a lot of stories, even if it raises the tension, it’s not really raising the tension in a good way. It’s, again, a little too upsetting. Another instance of this where there was a successful fake-out of a character death for me, was in Cabin in the Woods.

Wes: Oh, yeah.

Chris: Joss Whedon pretends to kill off the character Marty. And I’ve seen so many fake deaths, but usually if you don’t see the body being torn apart or set on fire or something, that person is still alive. In this he used a clever kind of a scene cut, followed by like seeing Marty’s blood enter into this ritual chamber that very much suggested Marty was dead.

Oren: Wait, isn’t that the character who gets like, stabbed in the back by a sickle?

Wes: He does get cut up. It’s the character that was kind of immune to whatever they were pumping in through the air because he was high all the time.

Chris: It was the comic relief character.

Oren: It’s been a while since I’ve seen Cabin in the Woods, but I have an objection to raise, assuming I’m remembering this correctly. I have a pretty strong memory that when that character turned out to not be dead, I just had a really hard time believing it because he’d been injured so badly. Like, he had been stabbed in the back with a sickle, if I recall correctly, that was like, what? How was he still alive?

Chris: So I remember the main thing about him was that he was dragged into an underground chamber.

Oren: Okay.

Chris: So we saw him — I mean, I don’t remember; maybe he was stabbed in the back, too. But I think mostly he was, we saw him being dragged into a grave basically. And then we didn’t see him being torn apart in the grave. And then we saw his blood, you know, coming to fill this ritual thing, right? So we saw that his blood was being harvested.

Wes: But that’s a good fake-out, because somebody else had already died at that point so we were familiar with what was going to happen. When somebody dies, the blood goes, and it fills up the proper vessel.

Chris: That’s very true. We’d previously seen a character die, more gruesomely than seeing their blood fill the thing, right? And so when we see him dragged underground and then see the blood fill the thing — you know, and this is a horror movie, right, it’s quite plausible to kill off characters — so we did it, then we brought him back; but for my first watch of Cabin in the Woods, the period in which I thought he was dead was the was the one part of the movie that was not a good experience for me. Because he was like the comic relief character and he was a really fun character to have around and I was just upset that he was dead.

So, I mean, again, that’s just a thing to keep in mind. I think there are some stories like Game of Thrones — and you know, Game of Thrones definitely has worn off some of its idea that anybody could die throughout the show. Now we can see that there are definitely characters that have had plot armor. At least up until the last season; we’ll see what happens in the last season. But I think some of its original appeal was the idea of this ultra realistic ‘there’s a fight and the good guys won’t necessarily win’. You know, anybody could get axed, right?

Oren: Yeah. That was definitely extremely effective on the TV show because you couldn’t tell who the POV characters were. [Laughter]

Wes: Yeah, good point.

Chris: But I mean, again, that was a kind of show where it added to the appeal; but there’s just a lot of stories where that is not appealing inherently.

Oren: One fake out that I actually thought was very good was from Infinity War. Where — and like the setup to leading into this doesn’t make any sense, but this is where the Guardians of the Galaxy go to get one of the things [one of the infinity stones] from the Collector. And even though they know that Gomorrah is the only one with the information for Thanos to be able to succeed at his plan they decide to take her right to him — that doesn’t make any sense, but once they are actually there, and they have this interesting setup where Star-Lord is pointing a gun at Gomorrah who has been captured and Gomorrah is like, you need to shoot me. And Thanos is like, taunting him.

And this seems like he might actually do it, and that Thanos will have to find some other way to succeed with his plan, because it’s early enough in the movie that that could actually happen. And it’s kind of an interesting fake-out. And then he pulls the trigger, and the gun shoots bubbles, and it’s actually kind of comical, and it makes Star-lord feel bad, which I love, because I hate him. [Laughter] So that’s good. And you know, Thanos, it’s just kind of, that’s like one of the few points in the movie where Thanos really works as a character cause he’s not really pretending to be sympathetic or nice. He’s just a super taunting, manipulative jerk. And no, granted, the scene does rely on a magic reality twisting power that Thanos never uses again; so, you know, you win some, you lose some. But it’s a cool fake-out.

Wes: And that punch-line he drops, too, before he leaves. It’s like, I like this guy. He’s just like, rubbing it in. That scene is also piggybacking off of the Gomorrah fake-out right before it where she thinks she kills him. So it’s just like back to back, oh, this didn’t happen. You know? I think that one’s better with Star-Lord, but yeah.

Chris: Yeah. And I think Thanos had just gotten the reality stone. So it was kind of fitting with the power he had just obtained to alter reality. And it has, you know, we find out he didn’t — Star-Lord doesn’t actually shoot Gomorrah. Like we think he’s going to, but we also, it has like a lot of character ramifications. It’s like, what’s worse than having to kill your loved one?

Wes: Yeah.

Chris: I mean, and then it’s like, I did this and now I have to live with the guilt of having done it, but it also didn’t work. It’s a complicated character situation. And similarly, I think that, you know, going back to the simulation thing, I think that fake-outs that have a foreshadowing effect, also makes it so that the fake-out seems to create some purpose. Like in some cases we can have simulations in some stories that their purpose is to show how hard it is to achieve the objective. We have a simulation; that simulation fails. It’s a reflection of the fact that we can’t find a solution that will work.

Oren: Another weird set of fake-outs that I really didn’t like was the triple fake-out at the end of Last Jedi with Luke Skywalker. Okay, so first one: it’s like, oh man, Luke Skywalker just died by a lightsaber. Ooh, no, he didn’t, he was projecting his consciousness. It’s like, okay, that’s actually kind of cool. I’m fine with that. That’s not a power I thought he had, and certainly opens up some odd ramifications, but whatever. The fact that he’s a projection is actually foreshadowed in several interesting ways. So that actually works for me. And then it’s like, okay, now he’s actually going to die, because the stress of using this projection power was too much; and that also seems to fit. But then, no. No, he doesn’t die, he gets back up. And I’m like, oh; okay. I guess he’s gonna live. That’s interesting. I didn’t think he was gonna — and then he dies. [Laughter] It’s like, what, what, what is happening? Is he, is he actually dead now? I don’t know.

Wes: Oh man. Oren, I need you to read the script then I just need you to narrate all the events in that movie.

Chris: Yeah. I do think any time that you are trying to have an audience be uncertain and you are going back and forth, making the audience think one thing or the other starts to get old really quickly. That reminds me of various times when you have kind of a will they or won’t they situation where it feels like the storyteller’s deliberately setting it up so they’ll get together. But no, they won’t. Or the ‘who will she choose’ situation? Oh maybe she’ll choose him. No, maybe she’ll choose him. Or which of these two options, you know, especially when you have few options and you’re trying to cultivate uncertainty. If you go back and forth you know, create drama by going back and forth and being like, oh, it’s going to be this one; no, one’s going to be this one. And it really does get old, very fast. It does make the audience feel manipulated. It’s just definitely a contrivance. And so I would say that this Luke Skywalker thing is example of that. We’re playing a little bit too much with the idea of whether or not he’ll die. And you know, if you did, you can get away with it like once or maybe twice.

Oren: So another thing to think about with fake-outs is that once you pull them, the results still have to be satisfying. And I have noticed that a common problem with fake-outs is the author does the fake-out and then like, doesn’t know what to do with this result that’s different than the story was set up to support. Like Iron Man 3 is a great example. And they were definitely in  little bit of a difficult situation with Iron Man 3, because in Iron Man 3 they decided to pull out the only Iron Man villain that anyone’s ever heard of, the Mandarin. Which is a really problematic villain, because his evilness is based on the fact that he’s Chinese. That’s like his entire concept. And it’s like, this is bad. That’s a bad villain. So they’re like, okay, so we need to subvert this somehow. So they do an interesting thing where they set up the Mandarin who’s like, “I am the evil Mandarin.” And then like halfway through the movie we get the reveal that that guy is actually an actor. He’s like a British actor who’s been paid to pretend to be this Mandarin dude to like lure Tony Stark off the real trail. I’m like, okay, that’s kind of neat.

Wes: It was so funny, too. Ben Kingsley did a great job in that role.

Oren: Yes. Right. And so it’s like, okay, who’s the real villain? And it’s like the real villain is: some guy. He’s this guy; you met him at the beginning of the movie that one time. You remember that guy?

Wes: Yeah, that flashback where you didn’t like his idea.

Oren: Yeah, that guy! He apparently was really mad that you turned down his business pitch and you didn’t want to be an angel investor so he became a supervillain. It’s like, that’s an interesting motivation.

Chris: It reminds me of the Incredibles.

Wes: Yeah, the Incredibles; that’s exactly it.

Chris: Exactly like the Incredibles. This kid wanted to be your sidekick, and you were like, uh, no. And then he became a supervillain. We’d have so many supervillains. [Laughs]

Wes: Moral of the story is just hear people out, be nice, and help them if you can.

Oren: It was like, you should definitely invest in everyone’s weird ideas when they come to you, because you never know when turning them down is going to create supervillains.

Wes: In Tony Stark’s case the idea is like, you wear these mechanical suits, that’s still like a separate thing. If we could just power YOU — and Stark’s like, “That’s stupid. It’s not my idea.” [Laughter]

Oren: And you can tell that it almost feels like the first half of the movie was written with the idea that the Mandarin was actually the bad guy; and then in the second half, they’re like, no, it’s actually this dude. And it doesn’t feel like there was anything set up in advance to actually support this dude as the villain. The closest that the ending gets to having any kind of closure or satisfaction is when Pepper Potts gets like, you know, magic superpowers that are a bad thing because at least we know he cared about Pepper before that happens. Right. It’s still not great; but it’s better than random some guy. So you know, that’s just a thing to be aware of. If you want to use a big fake-out like that, you really need to be prepared to continue the story after the fake-out.

Chris: Yeah. I mean, similarly, there’s just a lot of reveals that, you know, what previously happened didn’t actually make sense after the reveal. It doesn’t line up anymore. Or my favorite is the people who seem really villainous until we revealed that they’re not a villain. And then they’re suddenly really nice. Or vice versa.

Oren: Yeah, oh god. The villain in Pacific Rim 2, which is a terrible movie in all ways, is like that where she’s not the villain, but she seems like she’s the villain. She’s the evil, Asian business woman archetype, which is pretty problematic. And she’s like super cold and rude and mean. And then like, we reveal that she’s not actually the villain and suddenly she’s super nice and friendly and she wears her hair differently. [Laughter] And I would sometimes forget who this person was. I was like, who’s that mechanic that they have? Where did she come from? It’s like, oh right, she was the bad guy before. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah. I just think fake-outs tend to be tempting because they’re a way to create a lot of tension and drama without the constraints of actually making things happen that could have ramifications in the story.

Wes: Yeah, and they’ve happened so much at this point that we basically expect it. It’s like what you said, Chris, it’s like, oh yeah, somebody’s dead. Nope, not really. I mean, just immediately you’re doubting it and expecting to be faked out at this point.

Chris: But I think on TV shows, especially, there’s a lot of kind of shortsighted storytelling where they’re just not thinking long-term; they’re thinking about, ‘how do we make this moment really like powerful or full of tension or fun?’ and not really thinking about how that moment feels later. Which is the problem with a lot of fake-outs where it’s cool right now, but then after we have a reveal the whole thing sours. And now we don’t like it anymore, you know, because a lot of screenwriters were very good at creating tension. And TV shows: it’s hard to plan ahead. It’s not like a movie where the whole story is sat down and revised by multiple people. In a TV show, there’s a lot of almost ad-libbing with the canon; so I think they are particularly susceptible to fake-outs.

Oren: Yeah, that’s true. All right; so we are definitely out of time. So this is the — and this is not a fake-out, this is actually the end of the episode. [Chris and Wes laugh] But before we go, I wanna thank two of our patrons. First Kathy Ferguson, who is a professor of political theory in Star Trek. And, second, Ayman Jaber. You can find his stuff at thefantasywarrior.com. For those of you listening at home, if anything we said piqued your interest, you can leave comment on the website at mythcreants.com. Otherwise, we will talk to you next week.

P.S. Our bills are paid by our wonderful patrons. Could you chip in?

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