Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Private Eye 10, originally released March 19th, 2015.
Drew: One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever got was from my older brother as I was preparing an essay for my college applications. I don’t remember his exact words, but he advised me to ease off a bit on my conclusion, which he pointed out was trying way too hard to wrap my essay up with a grand statment of purpose. It’s a common tendency, but it’s easy to understand why: the end is your last chance to leave an impression on your audience — better make your big point now, whether you’ve earned it or not. That tendency becomes even more treacherous when the work in question is meant as a kind of critique of modern society, where the very idea of an ending might feel forced, and any kind of grand statement would feel particularly heavy-handed. It should be no surprise that the sly-as-ever The Private Eye 10 avoids this pitfall altogether, offering an ending so subtle, it might actually be too ambiguous. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Richie Root are discussing The Private Eye 7, originally released June 20th, 2014.
Patrick: If there’s one thing all high concept stories suffer from, it’s a strained Third Act. So much of our fun up to that point has revolved around realizing a unique, compelling world. When it comes right down to executing on all of the promises laid out in the previous chapters, thematic beats have to take a backseat to action beats. Even when a sci-fi story finds a way to make that final moment a clever twist that asks questions which reinforce the central theme (like in Looper or The Matrix or Blade Runner), the meat of the Third Act is frequently less about the important ideas in action and just settles on being “in action.” When that action is executed with the grace and style of Private Eye‘s creative team, well, maybe that ain’t such a bad thing. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Private Eye 5, originally released December 21st, 2013.
Drew: There’s a touch of irony that the greatest mystery in a detective story is the detective himself, but mysterious detectives are the best. The questions that surround their existence reflect and emphasize the mysteries they’re hired to solve. If that seems too tidy, bear in mind that the mysterious detective falls out of the format of a detective story: while he is busy grilling everyone else about their pasts, his stays conveniently in the dark. Some stories largely ignore this aspect of their detective, treating them as a force of nature designed to solve cases, but many more have mined rich emotional connections from their heroes’ mysterious pasts. In this way, Private Eye may bear more in common with Blade Runner than just its futuristic LA setting. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Private Eye 4, originally released October 8th, 2013.
…it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.
Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins
Drew: As a child of the 90s, assured at every moment that it’s what’s inside that counts, the above sentiment confused me when I first heard it. The obvious difference is that, while after-school specials were focused on appearances and prejudice, Batman Begins is trading in ideologies. That is, the best of intentions don’t amount to a whole lot if you don’t act on them. Feeling guilty for being a jerk doesn’t actually excuse jerky behavior. Unfortunately, the practicalities of life force us into hypocrisy, as we cling to moral ideologies that we can’t actually measure up to. Think about how much you read compared to how much you want to read (or worse yet, how much you think you should), or how often you exercise, or call home, or see your friends. We want to be “better,” more ideological people than we are, and only occasionally do we put on a Batsuit to right those wrongs. Private Eye 4 finds DeGuerre reaching one of those ideological breaking points, only his goals aren’t nearly so noble. Continue reading →