A friend in need...

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

Thanks for your answers to my Poltergeist: The Legacy nit-picks. I did say I had plenty more where those came from, so here goes... Don't say I didn't warn you!

1) Why is it that Derek seems to know a good proportion of the victims in the first season? It's usually an old friend, or a friend of a friend, or some such, that calls Derek and asks him to look into some spooky goings-on. As he's supposed to work for a secret organisation it's a little worrying how many people just call him up and ask him to come and look into something. Remember, the Legacy organisation is hidden behind a charitable organisation that funds archaeologists' digs and restores old artefacts, etc. It looks like a pretty poor cover story, as everyone knows who to call when their friends are possessed.

2) SPOILER ALERT! In the episode Sins of the Father, can you explain what the ending is all about? The bare bones (no pun intended) of the plot is that a guy called Michael (another one who knows Derek) is charged with abusing his son. Someone has been beating the kid up, but it is not Michael - it is a poltergeist. (Hurrah, a poltergeist-based story - about bloody time!) It transpires that the poltergeist is a dead boy who was also Michael's son. The man's previous girlfriend committed suicide and their son drowned. At the end of the tale Michael offers up his life to stop the poltergeist plaguing his living son. Where is the justice in this? Michael has done nothing wrong. It's not his fault that his girlfriend killed herself, nor his fault that his son drowned. So why does everyone think that him giving up his life is a fair deal?

3) In The Tenement, a landlord is made, by the courts, to live in his own block of flats while they are being refurbished. The tenants all move out and he moves in. Is that normal?! Can a court do this - especially when he has made it clear that he employs someone to look after the building (basically subletting it to someone else)?

4) Also in this episode, Nick has issues with sending Alex into the field on her own without backup. Where has he been for the last several episodes? Alex is always going off on her own on missions while all the others handle other missions together.

5) In The Thirteenth Generation, Derek just happens to be giving a guest lecture on witchcraft in an area where strange witchcrafty goings-on are... er... going on. A girl who has experienced some odd things instantly spills her guts to Derek. Why? As far as she is concerned, he is just a guest lecturer and would probably be of no help. Would you tell someone you don't know something that might get you locked away as a nutcase? I suppose I should be thankful that, for once, this isn't one of Derek's old friends!

Yet more nit-picks to come...!

Liam Bowker

Johnny Fanboy replies:

1) Many of Derek's friends also have dealings with the Legacy, or move within those circles. For example, Derek's buddy in The Crystal Scarab is also an archaeologist and is well versed in the powers of ancient artefacts. The fact that Derek shares the Legacy's secrets with such specialists isn't really surprising or a breach of security. It's not like he's spilling the beans to all his mates down the pub.

If I was Derek, though, I might get a bit miffed that his friends keep calling upon his expertise during his personal time. It's like any other skilled profession, as when chums of IT specialists ask whether they could take a look at their faulty computer, because "you know about that sort of stuff, don't you?" or when pals of proofreaders ask whether they could have a gander at a book or a letter they're writing, because "you know about all that spelling and punctuation malarkey", or when mates of sci-fi columnists ask whether... No, wait, hang on... I was forgetting, I don't have any mates.

2) I don't think anyone actually shrugs this off as a case of "hey, shit happens". Michael has hidden his past from his wife and child, and while it's not his fault that his old girlfriend and son died, the poltergeist seems to crave attention, as though the ghost is angry that Michael never told people about his past. Once Michael has told his family and owned up to his role - however small - in the tragedy, the ghost leaves them alone. Michael's offer of self-sacrifice is a demonstration of a parent's genuine love for his offspring. The fact that he would give his life to save his surviving son implies that he would have done the same for his dead son if he could.

3) The courts probably can do this. It depends on how good each side's lawyers are! The fact that the landlord employs someone else to look after the building is neither here nor there - at the end of the day, he is one who is ultimately responsible for the block's safety. He is also trying to prove a point that the building is indeed safe to occupy.

4) In the previous cases where Alex has gone out on her own it has usually been to small investigations where little or no threat is involved. Nick expresses his (entirely justified) concerns about her welfare only three episodes after the pilot, so he hasn't taken that long to speak up.

5) Sometimes it's good to unburden yourself to a stranger. Also, if you had a spooky encounter, wouldn't you want to talk to someone who seems to have a good knowledge of such things? If you went to the police or the FBI or whoever, they might not take you seriously, whereas a man who appears to make his living from lecturing on the occult would be most unlikely to try to get you sectioned for telling him about an odd experience that you have had.

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