Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

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Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:33 pm

On a different note, this must have been a very difficult adventure to prepare for as a GM. Between Zane and Ray, there's a lot of ability to sort through deception and misinformation. The barrage of deception that was thrown at the characters was very impressive.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:39 pm

Well, the only tool of deception that I used was Judy Bannister's power of Memory Rewriting -- Illusions of the Mental sense type, which she could use on herself or on those within her immediate vicinity. (I had another character planned to have a Mind Shield implant to make mind-reading harder but not impossible, but it never came up.) The trick is to balance how much deception you put into a scenario against the PCs perception abilities, so that the choice to take all those abilities becomes meaningful.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:32 am

Chapter Six

August 31, 2009 to September 25, 2009

So with the adventure I'd planned to last another week and a half, at minimum, now in a shambles, I drew on three main plot elements that had demonstrated they could work with this group -- the Charlie/Callie/Raven situation; introducing new cast members; and Toxic's storyline.

With the lattermost, I decided to pick up the threads of the story I'd left hanging from Chapter One. Once again, however, the PCs introduced twists to the tale that I could never have anticipated. This was most blatant in the way that Zalman's necromancy turned Toxic's talk with her father into an actual conversation, as well as introducing knowledge from beyond that meant that, once again, Toxic's trip to the family Kellerman mansion to possibly get framed for murder was off. But Zane also surprised me and Toxic by offering to come along for the heck of it; as she stated later in the episode, this was when her opinion of him started to shift, which turned fairly quickly into a romance that I doubt anyone expected. Donnie's unexpected support when things began to go south, while set up a bit by him asking Toxic for help shopping for Mallory, also set up another friendship. We'd already established Charlie and Toxic's comradery, but this chapter also elaborated on it by having Charlie stand up and say no to a friend when she thought that friend was making a mistake.

Meanwhile, we were introducing Robin and Tuo-Fa. The fact that Robin's characterization was not unlike Ray's was brought up in the adventure proper, and it's probably fair to say that they were both appropriately played as being very young and impulsive. What's interesting in retrospect though, is how much that led to Tuo-Fa's similarities to Ray being ignored. Like StickMan, I think Arthur Eld had a very definite preference for a more action-filled game than he was getting. While I tried to satisfy him with fight scenes in every chapter, it was really only a matter of time before he lost patience ... but I'm probably getting ahead of myself. I also used the newbie status of these two characters to introduce some new concepts, like the sparring rules, and to bring Savant's scheming into view. I honestly wonder what would have happened if Songbird had gotten the upper hand in that sparring session and Savant had offered his 'help' to Wuxia.

Finally, Charlie's date. I think I went more than a little bit overboard in transcribing the synopsis of Les Miserables that I found instead of linking to it so that ClassDunce and Donnie could shape their posts appropriately. The Rant and Rave interruption of the end was basically an attempt to give those two a game mechanical challenge instead of the characterization challenges I'd given them elsewhere in this episode. It really was more than a bit reminiscent of "The Heist", wasn't it?

Well, no more delaying it. ClassDunce wasn't all that happy about the reveal, early on in this chapter, that Charlie was being two timed, and he was absolutely right ... which unfortunately led to the break up, because I couldn't see any way that Callie's relationship with Charlie could continue without it becoming really the case that the Raven was using her to keep an eye on the Project, which was a pretty unheroic thing to do. I did have plans for Charlie to eventually learn the Raven's secret identity, with the intention that the first time the Raven called her by her first name would make it all fall into place in Charlie's mind. I don't know what would have happened then, but it would have been interesting, beyond doubt.

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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Jalinth » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:33 am

This was one of my favorite sections of the game. There was no way that Zalman wouldn't make an offer when someone said they were going to a grave yard. It was his first art and one that really some validation on it's usefulness in an acceptable manner.

Then we went shopping for toys. The murderer, the mafia leg-breaker, and the necromancer help the second story man buy a dolly and a teddy bear for his little girl. This section made me ever so happy.

My picking up the six cans of Jolt Cola for Zalman was a call back to his first experience with a coke back in chapter 1. I think I reference again later, but I'm not sure.

The ritual with Toxic was fun to do. I was fully aware of her issues with fire. Zalman wasn't lying when he said why he chose it, but he was also testing her. A bit of a jerk move, but Zalman did tend to go for the tough love school of thought.

Toxic passed Zalman's test with flying colours. This really cemented her on his list of valued people, as the Mantid Queen learned later. Obviously we will talk more of that later, but I was SO glad that Donnie proved to be a better man then most.

[Edit - And re-reading the rest of the chapter I realize that Davies flat out mentioned Mantid Queen as a possible member of Omega's Annihilists here. Care like that is why I used his stuff for my Joes game.]

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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:06 am

OK so here's my little retrospective on Robin. Much like it was for Tattooedman, Project Freedom was my first lasting PBP game. I had gotten into a couple others but they never got off the ground.

I went into the game with the expectation (intention?) that Robin would be disruptive to the team. Though not quite in the way that it happened. Of course, how was I to know that an NPC was going to facilitate the whole thing? I had actually intended to try to get Robin close to Zane, as he was the "CEO" and also someone who might help her out with the nanites. But between Savant and Zane himself, that fell apart rather quickly.

I did have a couple of regrets. First, I played up the clothes ripping thing when it looks pretty skeevy in retrospect. I wish Davies had just told me "no don't make her clothes rip." Second, there were a couple of blow-ups that sort of got away from me. I'll probably get into more about that when they actually come up. But to my fellow players', and especially Davies' credit, nobody ever complained (publicly) about it. I was sure there times when you guys would be petitioning Davies behind the scenes to send me packing.

As for this adventure, I thought it was a very good microcosm of the entire Project Freedom game. There was the serious (Toxic and her father), the absurd (trip to the toy store), requisite "Wainwright is scary" moment, a little bit of combat, and a seat-gripping cliffhanger. As I remember it, the forums went down for a full day (or more) just as the van was figuratively jumping the last hill to the police station.

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ClassDunce
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by ClassDunce » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:53 am

I was not happy about the reveal.

I have two memories about Charlie's relationship with Callie, at this point, and that was an awesome joke I made where Charlie didn't know the difference between the terms Socialite and Socialist and the reveal that Callie was in a relationship with someone else while playing Charlie. I may not have reacted well to that reveal even if it wasn't much of a surprise. A lot of that was due to the fact that Charlie's interactions with Callie had been so earnest and genuine for her. But those are two words that would come to define Charlie through out Project Freedom, Earnest and Genuine. More so than just about any other character I've ever played.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:16 pm

I wouldn't agree that Callie was just playing Charlie, as such -- the crying jag that she had after the breakup was intended to suggest that Callie had real feelings for Charlie as well as using her as a source in exchange for occasional assistance. The situation really gets into the heart of how I see the Raven's mind working, with multiple personas (in the Jungian sense) at work. But it was a pretty unpleasant situation.

Anyway. I sent Arthur Eld a PM over at the other board and invited him to come over and join this retrospective if he'd a mind to do so. As such, I'm going to take a break from the update schedule this weekend so that we don't get too far ahead of where he came in.

Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:52 pm

I felt really bad for Charlie after the breakup, even with Callie trying to let her down easy. Which was too bad because I just always wanted things to work out well for her. Out of all of Project Freedom, she was probably most deserving of a second chance.

Between the goofy mob stories, bizarrely effective Q&A sessions and the colorful nicknames, Charlie was just an endlessly entertaining character. And despite her straightforward manner, she was never predictable. I don't know what else to say. Every interaction was great and she was probably my favorite character in the game.

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Tattooedman
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Tattooedman » Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:06 pm

I greatly enjoyed the goings on of the other PC's personal life - it gave an interesting looking into the minds of those characters. Plus it was all written well, which always helps. Reading that helped me to figure out how I should write things for Donnie.

To me this chapter let me venture out into new ground - character background. In the majority of my tabletop experiences character backgrounds don't come into play very much, in fact nearly never. When I started GMing for the group that changed a bit, but not a whole lot in all honesty, so having the chance to do so in PbP made the experience a lot more enjoyable to me.

At the time I had no idea if it would be interesting to anyone else to read, but one thing I quickly realized that the best way for me to write about Donnie's dealings with his daughter were to be very transparent in a way otherwise it would not come across as well as I wanted. At the time my personal life was in pieces as I was divorcing my first wife, who I had kids with, and honestly much of what was written was me channeling my dealings with my own children during that time. I won't lie some of things I wrote were difficult for me to write but looking back over things (because I've been reading ahead a bit because it's a good read IMO) I'm happy with how Donnie's posts read.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:04 pm

Okay, Eld's had plenty of time to show up, so I don't think he's interested. Let's move on.

Chapter Seven

September 28, 2009 to October 8, 2009

This was basically the prelude to the big adventure I'd been planning, but it was also an attempt to portray a "typical day at work" for Project Freedom that did "go horribly wrong" but didn't lead directly to the next big thing. I particularly wanted to give Wuxia and Songbird a chance to show off their abilities outside of the pvp situation they'd gotten into last time, and we managed that rather well. One thing that I also had in mind was to give Charlie her flying power, but a blown Concentration check meant that was delayed a little bit. The chapter saw the first real clash between Zane and Robin, and it was just as entertaining (for me at least) as watching Ray clash with Charlie had been, some of the time. (The fact that it was resulting from my-I-mean-Savant's scheming may have had something to do with that.)

This was also the group's first PL11 adventure. Naturally, to celebrate that I sent you up against a PL15 opponent. Wasn't that nice of me?

Another fun aspect was using some more of the mythology that came with the Freedom City setting, either officially (I relied rather heavily on the Freedom City Atlas: Pyramid Plaza product in designing the scenario) or by my own design (such as the new Beacon and Scarab). Also making their debut here were the Legendary Angels, a Freedomverse take on Japanese magical girls. I also hoped to portray AEGIS as being a little more professional and capable than they had been shown to be in previous adventures.

This adventure was also supposed to have repercussions in the future, as the undercover agent you helped to extract from Overthrow was going to be back for a future adventure. That didn't pan out, of course.

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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:10 am

Davies wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:04 pm
The chapter saw the first real clash between Zane and Robin, and it was just as entertaining (for me at least) as watching Ray clash with Charlie had been, some of the time. (The fact that it was resulting from my-I-mean-Savant's scheming may have had something to do with that.)
It's nice to hear that you were amused by the whole thing. I always wondered how everyone else felt about it and whether it was disruptive as it seemed at times. I'm occasionally amazed that Arkrite ever spoke to me outside of the game at all ;}

I'm still mystified that Zane went straight to "I'll lobotomize you" over Robin pushing Phaethon out the window but made almost no mention of the insubordination and hair-trigger, mission jeopardizing temper. That exchange at the end was a hell of a lot of fun for me.

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Arkrite
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Arkrite » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:43 am

With the lattermost, I decided to pick up the threads of the story I'd left hanging from Chapter One. Once again, however, the PCs introduced twists to the tale that I could never have anticipated. This was most blatant in the way that Zalman's necromancy turned Toxic's talk with her father into an actual conversation, as well as introducing knowledge from beyond that meant that, once again, Toxic's trip to the family Kellerman mansion to possibly get framed for murder was off.
Again, your ability to roll with the players and change things on the fly never failed to impress me.
I really don't have the words to really describe it, but the feeling of agency it gave when we played was amazing. Your player could change the course of a game, your actions were important.
I can only imagine the extra work and stress it caused you, but from my side it just made your game amazing.

But Zane also surprised me and Toxic by offering to come along for the heck of it; as she stated later in the episode, this was when her opinion of him started to shift, which turned fairly quickly into a romance that I doubt anyone expected.


Zane had a few obsessions, some of which were easier to pick up than others.
One was family. He didn't really have one, he craved it, lived vicariously through others and didn't want to see others lose that.
The loss of somebody you loved was something Zane understood.

And when he saw that kind of relationship crumbling between Toxic and Wainwright... he acted against his own best interests to try to preserve it.

To answer nobody's question: I never expected the fallout from that decision.
My whole plans involving Toxic up to that point was: Avoid her.
And when that failed it was: Don't invite a situation that would get me destroyed by Wainwright.
... Needless to say I apparently failed my way into something special ;~)




Like StickMan, I think Arthur Eld had a very definite preference for a more action-filled game than he was getting.
One of the things I loved about this game was that you could have an entire session about downtime and the interactions between the players and the NPCs alone.
Seeing a necromancer helping an ex-con buy a doll for his estranged daughter? Gold.

The entire game was defined by these interactions be they PC and PC or PC and NPC,

So I was always baffled by Tuo-Fa who seemed to have no real interest in interacting with anybody.
Which was his choice, and seemed to be what his character was designed to be, but it always seemed like he was cutting himself out of the game unless there was a fight.
It just seems like a shame that he missed out on so much.

In fact, I'm afraid it took me a while to figure out who Tuo-Fa was when you first mentioned him. I don't really remember him interacting in any major non-combat events.

Well, no more delaying it. ClassDunce wasn't all that happy about the reveal, early on in this chapter, that Charlie was being two timed, and he was absolutely right ... which unfortunately led to the break up, because I couldn't see any way that Callie's relationship with Charlie could continue without it becoming really the case that the Raven was using her to keep an eye on the Project, which was a pretty unheroic thing to do.


I was heartbroken when that happened to Charlie.

Okay, let's touch on her.
I loved Charlie. Out of all the player characters she was the one I could never get a perfect hold of. She was a bizarre combination of contradictory things.
I don't know how to properly describe her, but as Toxic described the three required things needed for a good team: Charlie was the heart.
I loved how I could know Charlie, yet not be entirely sure how she'd approach a situation. Getting punched out by a pissed off jealous wife resulted in attracting her attentions, rather than resulting in Charlie's ire.
Could not have called that.
At her core, though, she was loving and caring, and I think it's safe to say regardless of how the player cast looked at each other, Charlie was the one character that almost all the PCs got along with.

Even Zane counted her amongst his honest to goodness friends, even if he didn't act the part.

Which is why I'm ever so glad he never found out about what had happened, because it probably would have resulted in an infuriated Zane confronting Raven and I just can't see that ending well for Zane in any way, shape or form.

So, yeah, seeing Charlie's love and affection being used against her was heartbreaking. It made for an interesting story, but it did paint Raven in a rather negative light from that point on.

Jalinth wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:33 am
Then we went shopping for toys. The murderer, the mafia leg-breaker, and the necromancer help the second story man buy a dolly and a teddy bear for his little girl. This section made me ever so happy.
This.
I remember the huge epic missions, I remember the life or death incidents, I remember the fights to save the city, to save the souls of the teams on occasions. I remember the big damn hero moments.
But when I think of the happy times for our heros? This is one of the things that immediately comes to mind. It was weird, it was silly, and thanks to both the GM and the other players, it was just so much fun.
Shock wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:06 am
I was sure there times when you guys would be petitioning Davies behind the scenes to send me packing.
Never even considered it.
As much as I love to hassle you, Shock, I was impressed by how you played Robin.
Not because I liked her, but because she reminded me of things I had seen in real life far too many times, and this ability for her to learn, grow, understand her failings and then completely backslide right back into the same flaws. It was very human, it was very real, and I was really impressed by it.

But it also drove me nuts ;~)

I'm sitting there at the screen cheering when she finally learns her lesson (again) about being used by another man for their own ends in spite of her well being, seeing her make those first few steps towards bettering herself... then booing, cursing and throwing popcorn at the screen as she allows herself to be pulled right back into Savant's machinations.

I'm glad Robin was in the game.
Shock wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:52 pm
Between the goofy mob stories, bizarrely effective Q&A sessions and the colorful nicknames, Charlie was just an endlessly entertaining character.
I still remember her telling a story about Nicky the Nickname.
Davies wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:04 pm
Naturally, to celebrate that I sent you up against a PL15 opponent. Wasn't that nice of me?
I honestly thought that Robin had gotten herself and Charlie killed when she took the fight outside. So many panic attacks.
Shock wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:10 am
I'm still mystified that Zane went straight to "I'll lobotomize you" over Robin pushing Phaethon out the window but made almost no mention of the insubordination and hair-trigger, mission jeopardizing temper. That exchange at the end was a hell of a lot of fun for me.
The part that made me laugh was that I forgot to mention that it was "with a drill". Which was always my intent.
So what was a horrible nasty real threat, due to his powers... was actually a very toothless threat considering how incredibly squeemish Zane actually was.

(To be fair, if you'd been paying attention you'd know that Zane considered the permanent altering other people's minds abhorrent which is why he never rewrote people's memories)

In all reality Zane had just lost his ever loving crap because he though Robin had nearly gotten herself and the entire team killed. And since the team was what little surrogate family he had he was very upset.
Amusingly Wainwright pushing Zane into the role of leadership also changed how he viewed the situation. It had been "I help because A) I don't want to go to jail and B) I like Charlie so of course I'll help" to being a matter of pride and responsibility.
Pride in doing things right, and responsibility in getting everybody home alive and safely out of jail.

So it was less a reasonable threat and more of a sitcom angry father sputtering "I'll ground you forever, and you're never allowed to have a boyfriend" ;~)

Which left him in a very tough space when Wainwright put Robin (the loose cannon) in charge of his surrogate family...

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ClassDunce
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by ClassDunce » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:32 am

Alright so Charlie jumping out of the building and taking the fight outside...

Up to this point I don't believe I ever had any intentions of Charlie learning how to fly. I didn't give the leaping attack a second thought before I did it. I just figured if Charlie missed with her levels of invulnerable and toughness then she would just crash land on the ground for a funny "Ow" moment and then just get right back up. Then Zane freaked out at Charlie for jumping out of the building. Then she had to learn how to fly out of pure stubbornness.

If it wasn't for that one impulsive idea from me and Zane just calling Charlie out for her own recklessness she would've remained just a Powerhouse for the entire game. Which is kind of standard for the choices I made with Charlie. I didn't plan things out for her, those of you who know me know that I'm not some kind Star Trek 3-Dimensional Chess playing guy. I tend to play it by the seat of my pants more often than not. Charlie really took up that part of me more than any other character. My impulsiveness.

I'm going to admit something. I never got the Legendary Angels. I got the reference, they were like the Sailor Moon girls, and I understood they were supposed to be kind of crazy. However I just never got them.

What I remember most about this chapter, other than the Sho' Right moment when Charlie decided that flying couldn't be that hard, was when Charlie hit on the AEGIS agent who was supposed to be monitoring the bar and the agent basically reacted as if she had been briefed on the fact that Charlie would probably hit on her.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:52 am

ClassDunce wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:32 am
I'm going to admit something. I never got the Legendary Angels. I got the reference, they were like the Sailor Moon girls, and I understood they were supposed to be kind of crazy. However I just never got them.
Basically, they came out of my realization that the end of the first season of the show, in which the entire cast dies (only to be promptly resurrected) had come out just a bit after the Death of Superman, and the decision that That Meant Something. I'll go into more detail when more of them show up.

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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:03 pm

Arkrite wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:43 am
Zane had a few obsessions, some of which were easier to pick up than others.
One was family. He didn't really have one, he craved it, lived vicariously through others and didn't want to see others lose that.
The loss of somebody you loved was something Zane understood.

And when he saw that kind of relationship crumbling between Toxic and Wainwright... he acted against his own best interests to try to preserve it.

To answer nobody's question: I never expected the fallout from that decision.
My whole plans involving Toxic up to that point was: Avoid her.
And when that failed it was: Don't invite a situation that would get me destroyed by Wainwright.
... Needless to say I apparently failed my way into something special ;~)
Interesting. I never picked up on that. I could tell that he cared about the people on the team, even those he didn't like. But when he was lecturing someone, it was always "MY team" and "MY orders."
Arkrite wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:43 am
The part that made me laugh was that I forgot to mention that it was "with a drill". Which was always my intent.
So what was a horrible nasty real threat, due to his powers... was actually a very toothless threat considering how incredibly squeemish Zane actually was.

(To be fair, if you'd been paying attention you'd know that Zane considered the permanent altering other people's minds abhorrent which is why he never rewrote people's memories)
This one was really funny in hindsight. I think I wasn't the only one that misread the intent there. And at the time Robin had no idea about Zane's thoughts on mind control so it really escalated the situation. If he had said just about anything else, like "hang you by your thumbs" or "pull out your eyelids" she would have realized he was just going for effect rather than making an actual threat.
Arkrite wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:43 am
Never even considered it.
As much as I love to hassle you, Shock, I was impressed by how you played Robin.
Not because I liked her, but because she reminded me of things I had seen in real life far too many times, and this ability for her to learn, grow, understand her failings and then completely backslide right back into the same flaws. It was very human, it was very real, and I was really impressed by it.

But it also drove me nuts ;~)

I'm sitting there at the screen cheering when she finally learns her lesson (again) about being used by another man for their own ends in spite of her well being, seeing her make those first few steps towards bettering herself... then booing, cursing and throwing popcorn at the screen as she allows herself to be pulled right back into Savant's machinations.

I'm glad Robin was in the game.
I appreciate the kind words. In the moment, it's sometimes hard to tell how you're being received.
Robin might have wanted to call it resilience but it was really stubbornness. Every time, she really thought that was going to be the time that she did it right. That would be the time she'd get one over on someone else. Anything else would be admitting defeat and she just wasn't going to do it. It takes a healthy amount of introspection to admit the way you go about life is wrong. Zalman made a similar transition but Robin just wasn't that far along in her journey.

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