The Blackwell Franchise: Joey Uses Rosangela Part 4 (2700 mots)
I wish I could find a meaning to the different designs of the gateway to infinity but... no I can't. Apart from the obvious opposition between lightdoor+stone and waterdoor+metal (Deception).
4-More Sex Subtext and Inconsistencies
It happens several times in the franchise that the medium role directly enters in conflict with Lauren and Rosa’s sex life. It’s not a coincidence, the medium role is a denial of desire and the savings replace a sex life.
Cecil B. Sharpe strongly flirts with Lauren and she ruins everything by bringing back the memory of Sarah Brown to him. Once she’s done it, he won’t talk to her anymore.
Claude is starting to be attracted to Rosa when he asks her to come and chat outside the gallery (he is rejecting Josie). But Joey follows them without any scruple, Rosa keeps on chatting about the Countess who suddenly appears and strangles the guy. Without the ghost stories, this could have been the moment of Rosa’s first kiss. Even if Rosa wanted to talk about the Countess, she had had to "seduce" the guy in order to get his attention, and that's probably metaphorically why the Countess appears and kills him. He was happy with this chat with Rosa and realises that she doesn't care, she's just looking for intel.
Jeremy gets killed obviously.
As I said above, Madeline incarnates duty and absence of desire, absence of a libido. Jocelyn on the contrary strongly wants a sex life. When we are introduced to her as a host, she constantly talks about going dancing (metaphor for sex).
So, it’s time to ask the five thousand dollars question: Where does Joey stand in all this ? Well, Joey is a repressed homosexual.
“Danny is important to you.” Is a line of dialogue of Madeline. “Your aura, your energy changes when you speak of him.”
Joey dies to save Danny, he hates the guy’s relationship with his wife: “they’re in a band if you can call it that… Danny wants to make it big but a… But nothing. Danny just needs to focus on earning an honest living. That’s all.”“Jocelyn might wanna hear them play.” “Save your eardrums, that’s my advice.”
There’s also these funny lines between Joey and Peter Fielding (gym club owner):
“I heard that you give personal training session.”
“I can pencil you in.” “When you come to our session… don’t wear a suit.”
The repressed homosexuality explains the belief that life is meaningless and joyless. When he dies, Joey remains on earth because he was forced to repress his deeper self all his life. He is extremely judgmental towards Lisa Tenzin because she represents the fact that Danny truly loved his family life more than him. He was hoping that Danny would have changed his ways. Instead, he blamed his family for Joey’s death while remaining with them.
He hides Danny Marconi because the man represents his true desire. If Rosa knew about this, it would become a very strong argument against the intrusive ghost. “You loved Danny, you know what it is to be deprived of love ! You know how it feels to be miserable ! How dare you ask me to inflicts this to myself !?!”
Joey, the inaccessible joy, appears in the Blackwell family because Patricia Blackwell’s husband (who has no name) doesn’t satisfy her sexually. He is described as moody and grumpy by Jack in his letter to Lauren. Hence the very funny letter to Lauren in which little Jack writes: “Mum locked herself in the bathroom, I thought she was with someone named “Joey.”
If Jack’s dad never showed any sign of attraction to his wife, it is very understandable that Jack never becomes aware of women’s libido and marries a “Mary” (Maria) The holy virgin.
It’s not a coincidence that Joey’s presence should mean no “privacy” or “personal space” as Rosangela words it in their first conversation. Very early in the franchise it is stated that Joey represents the impossibility of a sex life that which is particularly horrible for Rosa who has remained "in the closet" since Lauren turned crazy.
Lauren isn’t Rosangela and the reason why she cannot reach “Joy” is different from her niece’s. I don’t exactly know how to explain it, but Lauren’s brother is preventing her from living an autonomous life.
Let’s just take a look at the story of your stereotypical (heterosexual) family on a sexual level. The father and the mother are attracted to each other. To certain extent, the kids learn about sexual attraction by looking at them. The boy tries his luck with the mother and the girl tries her luck with the dad, they both get rejected but in a way that doesn’t mean they’re not unattractive (oedipal stage). They can then look for another sex partner who is not the sibling because they now understand the taboo that there is between family members. These steps are important for the construction of an autonomous individuality.
In the case of Patricia, Jack and Lauren, things went differently… so differently that we’re not even given the name of the father. Lauren and Jack weren’t able to witness attraction between their parents. Jack isn’t aware of the fact that it’s ok to acknowledge his attraction to a woman. Lauren might not know it either. More, they didn’t build a strong barrier against incest because when you don’t know about people’s libido, then your sister isn’t that different from any other girl, and your brother isn’t that different from other boys.
I’m not firmly stating all this, I’m just trying to make it obvious how messed up things could be in the Blackwell family.
Jack and Lauren are not on an equal foot though. If the dad is withdrawn, it means Lauren will be more likely to experiment with other men; whereas Jack is more likely to be eaten up by his mother, because she’ll be trying to cope with her frustration. And that’s exactly the situation that we find, Lauren calls her brother “my baby brother” he is naïve, whereas she is conscious of having a very strong sex drive.
Her smoking all the time is a symbol of this (and of the fact that she is killing herself) she is constantly aroused that which is very understandable as she is deprived of any sexual activity but spends her life in the company of an attractive man. It’s torture.
I think that actually, the hosts might derive sexual pleasure from saving ghosts. Lauren needs a cigarette after each savings. Joey mocks her because a “burst pipes get her wet.” Rosa states “I’m wet, I’m filthy” after the yacht adventure etc…
The two savings of Unbound are to be linked with this messed up family situation. On the one hand, you have a mother, Mavis Wilcox, who had an unhealthy relationship with her son (non-consummated incest) and who refused to move from her apartment as a mean to make him feel guilty for deserting her.
On the other hand, you have a jazz player who is in love with his sister and forces her to play a duet at the end of each concert. By doing so he reasserts his position as a lover. It’s even more meaningful when Cecil Sharpe isn’t invited. Sarah is in love with Cecil and he should have opposed these final duets. Because he didn’t, Sarah became ill and lost her voice: psychosomatic rebellion against her brother’s incestuous love. And she died.
Both of Unbound stories could bring Lauren to question her own and to understand the problem that lies beneath everything in her family.
When Lauren and Joey save these people, they make the statement that their attitude and expectations “were fine”; that which they were not at all.
At the end of Unbound, because of Mavis and Isaac’s savings and of her meeting with The Countess, Lauren finally cracks and calls her brother, allowing him to think that his feelings for her are acceptable. Worse, by doing this, she might actually be accepting him as a sex partner. I’m not sure of that, and it’s not that important. Simply, both savings of Unbound are easy to link with Lauren's situation, just like all of Rosa's savings are easy to link with hers.
What matters is that when Joey says that it’s a very bad idea to call her brother, he is right. And I’d like to underline the fact that it’s really not obvious. Lauren sees ghosts, why on earth should this prevent her from visiting her family from time to time? Is it not more suspicious to run away from them? And actually that’s how Jack learns about Lauren’s weird behaviour. The reason why she avoids her brother is not Joey on a literal level, it’s joy on a metaphorical one. Her brother is attracted to her and she doesn’t know how she could say “no” to him. More, she could actually be ostentatiously avoiding him so that he discovers the truth, that which he is really close to do.
Anyway, the important point here is that, the car crash is a consequence of Lauren going back to her brother. The car crash is Jack and Maria’s couple collapsing and the two of them not overcoming the pain.
My guess is aheum… Jack and Lauren slept together and Maria learnt about it. I’m not asserting this one bit. I could imagine something a lot less disturbing like, Maria becomes very jealous of Jack’s attitude towards Lauren and their couple collapses. No need for sex. But well… incest happens.
Lauren ends up with her brother’s baby. How symbolic is that ? And it drives her crazy because Rosangela becomes the signifier of Lauren’s crime: “I have my brother’s baby.”
Again, the fact that Jack’s wife should be called Mary reminds us of the virgin Mary, the woman who got pregnant without having sex. Rosangela is born of an asexual mother. I don’t know exactly what it could mean on literal level, that Jack is like his father ? Sexually inactive ? I think that he is attracted to Lauren.
I don’t know how to explain it, but… if it is the fact that Lauren has a sexuality that kills her brother, then it is Joey who kills Rosa’s parents. I don’t have that many arguments to support this idea but to me, it works perfectly. Lauren proved to be unsubmissive, Joey gave up and decided to look for an easier prey = the little girl.
I’ve just talked about Joey killing someone. I don’t know how he could do that but the rules of the world of Blackwell are so complex and so often bypassed by the characters that anything is worth considering. The ghost of The Countess roams around killing people. Of course, her link to her host was severed but still, she can kill people. The Deacon created a demon inside Rosa’s head and also made the door disappear.
The door vanished. The demon created with the same energy as the ghost of The Deacon. That's a lot of different powers and potential possibilities.
Madeline remains locked in the void for about a century, Joey manages to escape it in five minutes. Madeline grabs a priest and lifts him. Lauren sits in a corner of her mind for twenty years, even her death doesn’t change anything, Rosa finds the strength to leave it in five minutes. Madeline possesses Rosa. At the end of the game Rosa hadokens life into Joey.
I’m not saying that the universe of Blackwell is random but that there doesn’t seem to be a rule that cannot be broken or bypassed. So, I’m sure that a malevolent spirit guide could find a way to reach living people and kill them. I could very well imagine him killing Rosangela’s parents as well as Danny Marconi. But well, if Joey could kill someone, Jeremy would be the perfect target and the timing makes it impossible.
Amongst the elements that I still don’t understand, there’s also the fact that the “mental platform” that faces the light which change in each episode should be the same for Jocelyn and Rosa. Madeline herself is surprised by this: “This place… well no matter.”
And so, in the end, Rosa falls on all four and start… eating snow !?! It’s a very undignified behaviour that is very disagreeable to watch and is thankfully eclipsed by the fact that once she’s dead, Joey now embodied, walks to her dead body, kneels down, takes her in his arms while crying and gives her one last kiss… wait no… he tries to make her… grab his necktie ? What is that supposed to mean ? “Take it !” “take it !” What a strange vision. Did he think she was his pet ?
Again, Joey leads Rosa like a lapdog. These are the f***g last words he'll ever tell her and he cannot find anything better than "I won't become like Madeline." Do you know why ? Because if he told her something like "I love you," he would help her fill the void inside her head. He would give her positive energy that would help her fight back. Instead, he promises something from which Rosa cannot derive anything positive.
Overall, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joey uses Rosa to come back to life... even if the author of the game himself said it's not what it's all about :p. He isolates her, he prevents her from finding anything fulfilling thing in her life. He deprives her of positive energy to keep her spirit alive and healthy as Lisa would put it.
Madeline is only able to take control of Patricia, Lauren and Rosa because Joey has weakened them dramatically. She gives the final blow but when she does, it is because she is stuck in the void. She is far from being as selfish as Joey is.
There is one thing that I wish I could prove, and it's that it's Joey who makes Jocelyn Contis desert Madeline. In other word, Joey would be the starting point of everything wrong that happens in the franchise.
There are several element that point in that direction. For example, when Jocelyn reproaches Joey her murder, he doesn't know what she is talking about at first, as if he had done several things that could make him "the worst."
How could Joey not know what she is talking about ? To me, it looks like he is thinking of two things, one of which The Countess is not supposed to know.
And the fact that Jocelyn shouldn't remember ever having cut the link is quite intriguing too.
This is a common narrative trick that we all know: the acknowledged crazy one who is actually telling the truth.
The fact that spirits can possess humans like Madeline does at the end of Epiphany to Rosangela is quite suspicious too. Who tells us that Joey isn't aware of that already ? He discovered so much on its own, without the help of anyone.
And there's Gavin who has already managed to come back from the dead before he met Rosangela it seems..
My point in all this mess is that there is a possibility that when Joey is saved by Jocelyn and Madeline, things don't happen the way we think they do. My problem is that I don't have a solid hypothesis, I'm actually quite surprised that there shouldn't be a more obvious ambiguïty in that scene.
There is another element that I don't understand. Joey is saved in 1931 but appears to Patricia Blackwell in 1961. He is supposed to have become a spirit guide because he was the last ghost to have been saved by Jocelyn and Madeline before their link was cut. It can't be, or there's an unexplained gap of 30 years.
To me, everything indicates that Joey triggered the betrayal. For example, by possessing Jocelyn. But when you watch the scene, what happens couldn't be more unquestionable. I cannot see where the trick could possibly be.
And so, if he "escaped" the white light in 1961, if the story starts in 1961, why did he need to be the last ghost that Madeline and Jocelyn saved ? It represents a huge coincidence that is never explained. Was he supposed to become Jocelyn's new spirit guide for example ? Is this where his betrayal lie ? Did Jocelyn become crazy because he managed to infest someone else ? I don't know. This story still holds a lot of mysteries for me.
Edit: hypothesis. I don't believe there could be only one spirit guide/medium team on earth. There's no reason why it should be limited. However, for some reason there cannot be many in the same area. So, I think, Madeline was the NY spirit guide until 1931. Then Gavin until he managed to possess somebody after having gathered enough positive energy in 1961. Then Joey. It's not important but the 30 years gap tickles my curiosity.
Irony is a device authors use to create excitement and interest. Irony is showing a discrepancy between the reality and what appears to be true. Using irony allows authors to create more lifelike situations within their written works, situations that can surprise and can show the complexity that exists in the real world.
When he asks Rosangela if it is irony, we can consider that Joey refers to the fact that she was a literary person, even though they don't exchange one line about literature in the whole franchise. But if you know what irony means, you can see that what Joey is asking is "Do you understand that this was planned ? Did you see it coming ? Is it irony to you ? or is it not ?"