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Old 06-24-2006, 06:17 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 265

Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
"Sometimes i think they might never come back" and that wandering expression, which seems to suggest that she is really referring to her son. the only thing that doesn't fit into play is that if she doesn't realize that he's dead than what does she think happened when she picked up the shotgun and it went off? that's the one thing i still can't figure out.
As I see it, Sadie's mind cannot accept what she did, and because of that, she has retreated into this fantasy that Houston is just out hunting. The woman shot her own son (and it's gruesome; the housekeeper is so traumatized when she says, "He had no face!"). No mother could deal with that. She didn't do it on purpose, clearly; she was caught up in trying to get Houston to stop beating Lilah. Notice she doesn't say that she fired the shotgun, only that it went off really loud. She has snapped and has blocked what she did. We know she is crazy because she cannot reconcile what she remembers happening ("That's when I picked up the shotgun...") with the fact that she killed her son ("When Houston comes home from huntin'...") Everybody knows she's crazy (I get the impression she was mentally fragile from the get-go, the way everyone is so protective of her), and that's why Lilah keeps insisting that she herself killed Houston, and the "Cap'n" is so eager to agree to let Lilah plead guilty and avoid the death sentence.

This is one of my top ten episodes, mostly because of the creepy atmosphere, the sweaty heat, the sing-songy craziness of Sadie ("Lord, child, can you scream"), Sam's desperation to prove Lilah's innocence, and Lilah's matter-of-fact acceptance of her fate. I love the racial interplay (the way Shuggie totally doesn't get why she can't call Lilah names, the way Lilah convinces herself that Houston loved her), and the underlying religious theme: the housekeeper is persuaded by Scripture, even after she refuses to swear on the Bible, and Lilah only begins to fight back when she realizes her "confession" falsely invokes the name of Jesus.

This is grown-up story telling at its best. Beautiful script, beautifully done.
School's out! Remember, behind every loose ball there is a running child.
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