Please

As you guys know, I am deeply in love with The Black Tapes podcast and its close cousin, Tanis. This week on TBT, Strand, the grouchy, brilliant skeptic whose whole purpose in life, it seems, is to poop on all of the supernatural fun of the show (but who keeps the mysterious, unexplained black tapes in the first place), has returned from some kind of manly breakdown, a scruffy mess in need of help from Alex, our plucky protagonist, in the search for his wife.

He begs her. “Please.”

He says that word, “Please,” in such a way that I’m swooning a little, like some Victorian in a too-tight corset, just thinking about it.

So, a lot of people, people who enjoy TBT, give it some shit for the not-stellar voice acting. I disagree in that I think it’s a deliberate style choice, which either does it for you or doesn’t. I don’t think it’s poor acting. I have lots of reasons for this belief and I’m right.

But my main reason is that there is something going on between Strand and Alex. Well, no, it’s over, whatever there was. That’s obvious both in the text of the show (in that he hangs up on her and then vanishes) and in the way he says that “please,” the way you beg an ex-lover for something, the way you use that quiet voice, that desperate voice, the one that says “Remember how vulnerable we were in private? I am that vulnerable now and I need you.”

But there was something going on between them. I think it started when they went on a trip together and we heard it in the way he asked her if she was going to leave the recorder running.  And we’ve heard it in the way she calls him “Richard” when she’s annoyed with him, like she can’t believe their physical intimacy didn’t buy her a level of trust with him or make him take her more seriously.

i don’t think there’s anything in the context of the show–no words spoken–that confirms the affair. I’ve listened to the whole thing twice now.

The affair, to the extent it does or doesn’t exist, is a story being told in the ways those actors say ordinary words in what passes for mundane conversations.

That’s a remarkable piece of artistry.

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