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Question about "Summer Goodbye"

Comments on Question about "Summer Goodbye"
borisandbelarule
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Posted May 25, 2010 - 10:13 PM:

Took a midnight walk on a beautiful moonlit Chicago-area night tonight, and listened to "Summer Goodbye," all the while exuberant because we're heading full speed INTO summer.

Anyway, the show (as most Quiet Pleases are) was interesting, but I just... didn't... get... the ending. When I got back home I read the wonderfully presented transcript here, and I still... didn't... get it.

What the heck happened? A guy murders someone with his wife as an accomplice, they run, and then they're chased by a hitch-hiker who likes to start fires. All the while I'm thinking that this is the guy Noel killed, but then it turns out to be the ghost of a totally unrelated guy who also committed murder?

Why would he hassle Noel and Madeleine? And if this was all about payback, why would she be the one killed, when she didn't do the killing and was totally regretful that Noel did it? Were we supposed to feel good for her that she got the easy way out, rather than have to suffer through a hanging, like Noel was talking about earlier?

Hey, by the way, I've been a member of this forum before, but it was a long time ago and I guess I was eliminated with absence and time. But this walking program I'm getting into for the warm-weather months means I'll be listening to a lot more OTR while I'm putting on miles.

Thanks for having such a forum for Quiet Please. I wish there were similar ones for the other grand old radio shows from the 30s-through-early 60s.
borisandbelarule
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Posted May 26, 2010 - 9:34 PM:

Honestly, Celia, I will NEVER buy one of your products just based upon the way you spammed the entire page.
Paul
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Posted May 28, 2010 - 6:15 PM:

Ghosts are territorial. They harass anyone who wanders into their territory just because they're bitter. I don't know if there's a reason why he shoots Madeline, I guess he was aiming at the imaginary police and she was in the way or playing their role.

Having it be the ghost of the guy he killed would be a little too standardly contrived I think. Better to have him stumble into some history by accident. It doesn't need an overly neat moral message.

The concept, I think, is that history can inhabit a place. The incident imprints itself on the location and sort of plays in a loop forever, catching anyone who wanders in.

borisandbelarule wrote:
Were we supposed to feel good for her that she got the easy way out, rather than have to suffer through a hanging, like Noel was talking about earlier?


I don't think so. If it were trying the emphasize the justice angle, it'd end with Chappell's character hanging -- but it's not about that, for all we know he has a great lawyer who gets him off. So I don't think the story is trying to moralize.

Edited by Paul on May 28, 2010 - 6:20 PM
borisandbelarule
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Posted May 28, 2010 - 10:28 PM:

I kind of figured that he was headed for the gallows eventually, and would get his just desserts. I hadn't figured on the stumbling into history and having their plans ruined by coincidence angle, Paul. That sounds quite reasonable to me as a plot explanation.

I really did think while listening, though, that Madeleine would somehow get out of it unscathed, because she was so adamant that she regretted what had happened. And after all, she wasn't the shooter. Ah, well. Her death added to the grittiness of the episode.
Paul
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Posted May 31, 2010 - 1:12 AM:

She's far from innocent, though, so I can't feel sorry for her. She was all for the robbery and came along to play an active role in it, she's just a bit of coward and/or has enough sense to know that killing the guy raised their chances of being caught and increased the pending punishment.
borisandbelarule
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Posted May 31, 2010 - 9:51 PM:

So if you were on a jury, Paul, and they were both brought before you for sentencing, you'd give her the death penalty, too? While I agree with you that she isn't really to be felt sorry for (it's pretty seedy to grab a dying man's satchel of money), but I probably wouldn't send her to the gallows.

It's pretty clear from their conversations that she was in it for the robbery, but had no idea that Noel was going to shoot the guy and was pretty shook up after he did it. Noel, on the other hand, seemed just fine with doing what he felt he needed to do to get money. Willful killing is in a category by itself, IMO, when it comes to paying a penalty.

Anyway, it's nice having dialog with you about this, Paul. I'm planning on listening to several episodes over the summer, and maybe stir up some conversations here about them.
Paul
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Posted Jun 07, 2010 - 2:03 PM:

I suspect that if Madeline had been the one holding the gun she'd have pulled the trigger too in the moment. She was just lucky enough to not be holding it, despite her support for the plan. Naturally she'll find it easier to regret the killing since she wasn't the one faced with doing it, merely the one reaping the rewards.

I'd have to listen again to be sure, but my impression was that Noel had no idea he was going to shoot the guy either until the guy interfered with their robbery. By committing armed robbery you implicitly agree to shoot people if they don't cooperate, and you can't shoot to stun, so Madeline was in agreement with everything that forced the murder but just gets to feel morally superior for technically not being the one pulling the trigger. And I think Noel would be upset about it if she'd been the one pulling the trigger -- he just has to be tough about it to block his conscience now that he has done it.

I wouldn't give either of them the death penalty because I oppose the death penalty. I'd give her 15 or 20 years though, and him life (though with a parole option maybe, because it was an unplanned murder committed on the spur of the moment in a robbery). The difference in their sentences isn't because Madeline is necessarily a better person, but simply because we have to punish people for what they've done and not what they might've done under a different scenario.

Edited by Paul on Jun 07, 2010 - 2:07 PM
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