Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The medium is the message

I recently read 'Beyond Black' and this led me to watch the repeat of the whole first season of 'afterlife' on ITV3 this week. Both feature a medium called 'Alison' with a troubled past and a love/hate relationship with a sceptical associate.Why are mediums so frequently called 'Alison' in fiction?

Watching repeats brings out the story arc. I think the relationship between Alison and Robert is an excellent and strange one, at marked odds to TV conventions of partnerships. and well worth unpicking. Incidents I used to think were flaws I now perceive as features.

I found myself getting quite annoyed with Alison in this watching. why are you always so sure you are right? Why are you so hostile to sceptical psychologist Robert? Because how can you be so confident you really are a medium, and not mentally disturbed?

However,suppose she was disturbed rather than sensitive: the whole thing seems more interesting. Alison is socially less powerful than Robert in every way. She is a lonely middle aged working class woman with emotional problems. He is a middle class academic with money, status and friends. She is less educated than him, less attractive,and works in casual minimum wage jobs. And yet in every encounter she dominates him. She destroys him ruthlessly, and unfairly, and undermines his confidence and power.

If you take the 'spiritualism' out of the equation, it's the story of a member of the underclass fighting a member of the elite, using every trick and lever at her disposal. It's the story of an unloved low-status woman keeping a high-status man tied to her emotionally. 'Your dead child is begging you to stay with me'. Bloody hell. If you think they are both imagining the dead child then this is a strange relationship.

Last night they were both hallucinating a woman being suffocated by her husband, and Robert was holding Alison down on the bed saying 'This isn't real'.

So in other words it has a level of kinkiness which is way beyond Mulder and Scully. I suspect for this reason the two of them will never get it on. But funnily enough, even if they do, it won't deflate the tension. I do hope they maintain this bizarre subtext in the new series.
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