Dispatches From Elsewhere returns this week with a deeper dive down the rabbit hole as further clues to the game and what’s really going on starts to materialize. Between Clara’s story, the various different fourth wall breaks and the medley of visual styles being used here, Dispatches From Elsewhere continues to impress with one of its strongest episodes so far.
Episode 5 of Dispatches From Elsewhere sees the group head down to the basement where they find Clara, unblinking and smiling. Only, it turns out this is actually just a painting. Fredwynn switches on the lights and examines a cabinet that holds a clue on the side of a torch. “Turn off the lights so you can see”. The light on the cabinet happens to be a UV light and as they shine it on the walls, text illuminates up with Clara’s past.
We then jump back through time to see things from Clara’s perspective. She grew up in Fishtown and was determined to transform this dreary, mundane town into something fantastical and hopeful. Fredwynn clings to key moments in this tale as they get to the end of the words on the wall, involving a painted window Clara walked through. Fredwynn uses this to find their next clue in the bathroom.
Given the room smells strongly of chemicals, Fredwynn uses a match to light the next room full of words and they continue on the story.
Clara meets Mateo, Kimbra and Sanjay in Fishtown; the trio that she wants to be her best friends. As they talk, she pitches the idea of changing their story to them but given they don’t see what she sees, she berates their lack of faith and sets to work in creating “The Idea”.
Behind a large curtain on the side of a building, she creates a strange painting/hologram that amazes the town. As the curtain falls and reveals a beautiful waterfall, this one moment manages to bring the entire town together. She tells the ice-cream vendor (who crashes his truck and inadvertently allows free ice cream for everyone) that she’s honing her Divine Nonchalance in a bid to create her Elsewhere Society.
Peter theorizes that Clara’s obsession with art may mean this is Simone’s moment to shine. She heads up to the art gallery and decides not to re-enroll. As they talk, Simone realizes she needs to find her own Divine Nonchalance and leaves.
Peter comes to the same conclusion at his work, courtesy of Clara’s voice in his head. As he plays ‘Good Vibrations’ on the PC from his playlist, different areas around the town light up and dance to the song too. Only, Peter’s boss is none too happy with him for doing this and fires him.
Meanwhile, Janice learns someone sent a random text on her phone to her husband’s carer while Fredwynn learns more about Clara’s story and how she transformed the town, as he reads the text on the wall alone. It turns out Fishtown’s transformation brought a shadowy figure who demands to speak to her.
As Peter and the others find the next clue hidden in yarn, they learn that Clara was recruited to work with Octavio at Jejune Institute. The only catch is that she has to go it alone and leave her friends behind. As she heads back to Fishtown, she tells Mateo and the others she declined this offer and decided to stick with them. Unfortunately this doesn’t sit well with Octavio who snatches her up off the street, courtesy of a cartoon depiction of this occurring.
Fredwynn and Janice go their separate ways after the story and as Simone and Peter talk, it turns out she has a message from her Professor regarding the mural – Clara’s story is true. As the episode closes out, Octavio snaps his finger as we’re left to ponder what really happened to Clara.
Dispatches From Elsewhere bows out with another strong episode this week, one that sees more development surrounding Clara and further clues around just what the end-game is here. Interestingly, Clara’s development with her quartet of friends together seems to echo that of Peter and the others, especially with the teasing glimpses that Peter may actually share more in common with Clara than he first thought.
We’ve seen this before with Peter in the past, with road signs changing and the streets brightening as he’s given more hope. As Clara has the ability to give others hope and transform her community too, it makes sense that Peter has been stifled and given such a mundane, inconsequential life to prevent this happening. Are the Jejune Institute behind this? Seeing Peter play ‘Good Vibrations’ (a nod to his hidden powers perhaps?), embracing the happiness and subsequently transforming everyone around him to feel the same way only reinforces this idea.
Quite what the rest of this colourful puzzle box has in store for us remains to be seen but it seems apparent that Dispatches From Elsewhere has plenty left up its sleeve, making it one of the more memorable and intriguing shows on TV right now.
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