Our Past Self
If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you say? Thats the theme of today’s episode as we explore Janice’s past and present, colliding together in a medley of trippy ideas and themes. Although we’re no closer to understanding just what’s going on, the final few scenes involving Fredwynn do give some indication that we might be getting some answers sooner rather than later.
Episode 3 of Dispatches From Elsewhere sees us return to Peter, Simone and Janice all pedalling after Fredwynn. Octavio suddenly interjects though and gives us some background information on Janice through the use of a cartoon. We see her pedalling on a bike with her partner Lev and together they seem to be living their best lives.
Everything is fine until Lev falls ill and leaves her to wander through this life along. It’s a scene that mirrors the opening montage in Up and after this brief trip down memory lane, we return to the present.
Janice questions whether the game is really evil and they follow the car to a garage door, which unfortunately closes before they can follow it in. Janice decides they’ll do what Fredwynn would do and infiltrate the company. She manages to talk her way into the garage but as they enter the room, they find Fredwynn missing and the boot of the limo empty.
Fredwynn suddenly phones and tells them the mystery runs deeper than they know, going on to implore her to get the envelope from Octavio which will answer their questions. Unfortunately the leader of Jejune arrives and talks to them about Commander 14 and his idealistic notions.
They go on to discuss what is really real before Janice asks for his jacket, given how cold it is backstage. Instead, he invites her out into the crowd for the big group presentation. After hearing more about Jejune’s history, Octavio uses her as a volunteer on the stage. Here, he introduces her to a VR construct that relives her memories – with one in particular showing her on her wedding night.
Midway through the construct, Janice is told to step back 3 spaces and sees herself in the mirror where she witnesses the old her from the wedding. As they talk, old Janice tells her she’s ashamed of what she’s turned into, as Janice rips the headset off. After thanking Octavio for his help, the trio prepare to leave the stage when suddenly Commander 14 and the Elsewhere Society burst through the doors.
A fight ensues in the conference room while Janice and the others leave. Out the back, they come face to face with Fredwynn who stands waiting for them. It turns out he has the script for today’s events and it turns out Elsewhere and Jejune are the same and all of this is one big game.
Janice hands him the envelope she snatched from Octavio’s jacket and heads home, where she greets Lev who’s bed-ridden and ill, telling him about her day. As the camera pans out, a little boy in clown make-up smiles as he watches from outside the window.
With more insight into Janice and another episode chock full of bizarre imagery and ideas, Dispatches From Elsewhere continues to tumble down the rabbit hole for this latest instalment. Hopefully next week should provide some answers, especially given Fredwynn’s adventures and seemingly uncovering the script around what’s happening… unless this is all another layer of the game of course.
There’s certainly enough here to make this one of the more unusual and memorable series on TV right now but whether the show can push past that to deliver some compelling narrative and character work remains to be seen. Both Peter and Simone are reduced to background players this week and while that is understandable, especially for this Janice-centric episode, quite what will happen after next week’s Fredwynn episode could decide just how Dispatches From Elsewhere will play out in the future. Only time will tell whether this is an act of pure brilliance or convoluted madness.