Categories > TV > Joan of Arcadia > Adversary0 Reviews
The first episode for an imaginary season three; six chapters. Joan/Ryan. As Helen struggles with questions about why evil exists, Joan begins to understand that she has the ability to shape her in...
Lilly winced slightly as she sipped her coffee. "Is this about charism again?" she asked warily. "Because I'm not sure how much more I can tell you. Having, you know, never gotten to experience it," she added bitterly.
"Oh, no," Helen assured her.
"It's about the nature of evil," Helen continued.
Lilly raised one eyebrow. "Oh, good," she said wryly. "An easy one."
Joan and Luke were sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by books. "I am so not getting this!" Joan said.
Luke looked exasperated. "What's not to get?" he asked. "What are you missing?"
"Crucial brain cells?" Joan snapped.
Luke sighed. "No, seriously," he said, "I can only help you if I know exactly what it is that you don't understand. Where does it get confusing?"
"At the very beginning," Joan told him, her shoulders slumping. 'It wasn't fair," she thought to herself. 'If I have to single-handedly fight the devil, I should at least get some sort of exemption from exams.'
He took a slow, patient breath. "Okay. Well, in setting up any equation we begin by defining our terms."
"Which means?" Joan prompted.
"It means you decide what each variable represents," he said. "For example, we can define x as any number-let's say five-"
"Okay, wait. Why do we have to do that?" Joan interrupted.
"Because if you don't define a variable, it's just a meaningless symbol," Luke explained. "You have to decide what you want it to mean."
"But what if I define it as something else?" Joan said. "Can I do that?"
"Yes!" said Luke enthusiastically. "When you're setting up your equation, you can define your terms however you want. But remember: if you change your variables, you change the problem."
Joan looked thoughtful. "So then...I'd get a different answer?" she asked.
"Exactly," said Luke.
Helen picked up her coffee cup and stared at the surface of the liquid, her social smile slipping away to reveal some of the anxiety she felt. "It's just, with everything that's happened lately-the vandalism-I can't help but wonder why," she said. "I mean, why does God let that happen? Why doesn't he just destroy the evil?"
Lilly blinked. "You want God to vaporize the vandals?" she asked cautiously.
Helen shrugged. "Yeah. Maybe." Then she relented. "Well, no, not really. I just want you to give me one really good reason why I shouldn't want that."
Lilly looked thoughtful. "Well," she said eventually, "Origen said that eventually everyone, even the devil, would have to be reconciled to God. So maybe destroying people who do evil is wrong because it's too easy? Maybe we're not supposed to give up on them."
Helen considered this. "That's a good answer," she said, sounding slightly surprised. "Hey, how come I've never heard of Origen?"
"Probably because of the part where a lot of his work was dismissed as heresy," Lilly said, and Helen sighed deeply.
Climbing into bed, Joan replayed her last conversation with Ryan for the millionth time. "A worthy opponent," she muttered out loud. "An enemy." She tried to ignore the way her stomach clenched with anxiety at the thought of doing battle with someone who had so many advantages, so much influence. 'Why me?' she wondered yet again. 'How could God possibly think I'm a match for Ryan?'
Then suddenly it hit her, and she sat up in bed and turned on the light. "Wait a minute," she said to the empty room. "Why am I letting him define the terms?"