OK, some reflections on this concluding saga: Here’s what we know, The HRB send a team back to prevent Wells Davis’s death. They don’t know who killed him, but they know where he was shot, so they figure they’ll kill the murderer before he or she gets to Wells. So, they turn up at Wells’s office and wait around until the time of the shooting; when they see someone approaching at the appropriate time they reason that it must be the killer (seeing as Wells is supposed to die any second, and so shoot. Remember, the Rectifiers take a view of time such that before they go back (relative to their own experience of time), the past was different and didn’t already include their intervening in events. Of course, as the comic reveals, the man they shoot was in fact Wells Davis, and there was no murderer to catch other than themselves.
So what’s going on? Well the first, and most obvious, thing all this tells us is that it was always the HRB that killed Wells Davis. Why did that happen though? Well, we see that Wells had written and dies holding his own ensurance log. He writes it and acts in such a way to guarantee that the HRB agents come back in time and accidentally kill him. But why would he do that? The shooter recognises it as a message: “there was no murderer, it was us all along, and it always will be.” There is a wider message that Wells is trying to get across here that relates to every case the HRB undertake, one about the correct view to take of the fourth dimension (time).
It’s not just in this case that history always involved the HRB’s intervention, it will be in every case: the view that there is a `first run’ of history which can be rectified is mistaken, and Wells’s sacrifice is supposed to show that. If there was a first run, then he couldn’t possibly be killed by the HRB (because he wouldn’t be killed on the first run without their intervention to prompt them to rectify him). So in every assignment they’ve taken, the death that they go to prevent was either: i) an accidental murder committed by the bureau through their staging a murder/accident and being unable to pull the victim out of the time stream, or ii) a successfully staged event where a dead clone was left in the victims place. The point being that every case they take will be one that, by necessity, already includes their intervention.
This raises a few more troubling thought: the HRB takes the view that if the victim dies during the attempted rectification its not ethically a problem seeing as they were going to die anyway. However, it now looks like the Bureau is the only reason that they were in danger in the first place. What’s more, the possibility of writing ensurance slips in the past to bring rectifiers back means that the Bureau’s methods can be abused (possibly for assassinations).
I’ve always enjoyed time travel stories, especially trying to make them philosophically coherent. The idea here was to expose the mistake in thinking of time as something that you can go back to and change around (a la Marty McFly in Back to the Future – great movie non-the-less!). Feel free to give your own thoughts on time travel below!
This week’s comic comes in genuine comic book style layout (or something like it). Not going to lie, this took me a great deal longer than any post I’ve done before; mostly due to the need for many panels to get the narrative across (click for a higher res version of each page). I think it turned out nicely for the first long comic (hopefully you feel the same).
I’m planning some more week long series, but not for at least a week, so normal sagas will resume for the time being. See you all tomorrow!