238 – Resurrections

 
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Some topics are so good they just keep coming back, almost as if they won’t stay dead, which is why today we’re talking about resurrections. You’ve probably heard that bringing a character back from the dead will create problems for your story, and it certainly can, but it turns out there’s a bit more nuance than that. Listen as we discuss how characters might be brought back, what effect that has, and why no one was surprised that Jon Snow didn’t stay dead. Plus, we guess everyone in the JJ Trek timeline is immortal now?

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Saru

Jon Snow

The Lightning Lord

The Red Priest

Battle of the Bastards

Ramsay Bolton

Constantine

Harry Potter

Aslan

Lazarus

Lazarus by Leonid Andreyev

Buffy Summers

Neo

Clarke Griffon

Mind Drives

Agent Coulson

Spock

Leonard McCoy

Genesis Planet

How It Should Have Ended: Into Darkness

Transporters

The 6th Day

Primer

Dr. Pulaski

Tuvix

Eclipse Phase

Lady Stoneheart

The Mountain That Rides

Angel

Cordelia Chase

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Transcript

Generously transcribed by Innes. Volunteer to transcribe a podcast.

You’re listening to the Mythcreant podcast with your hosts Oren Ashkenazi, Wes Matlock, and Chris Winkle.

[Intro Music]

Wes: Hello, you’re listening to the Mythcreant podcast. I’m your host Wes and with me today is-

Chris: Chris and

Oren: Oren.

Wes: And today we’re talking about resurrection stories. Stories like this are so popular it’s almost as if they won’t stay dead.

Chris: Oh, no…

Wes: And I’m done.

Oren: Well they stopped for a while, but then they came back from the dead.

Wes: But then they came back from the dead. Once I started thinking about this I was like, oh my gosh, even if we don’t think of physical body resurrections, then there’s figurative and spiritual, moral resurrections. Everything can be a resurrection at this point, I think. We’ll try to figure out what’s going on in storytelling with resurrections today. How do you want to start us off? Oren, got a thought?

Oren: Well, it’s interesting because I looked at my notes and I saw that when I compared them to yours and Chris’s that I was defining resurrection as much more narrowly. I was specifically imagining stories in which you kill the protagonist – maybe not the protagonist – but you kill a character and that character comes back and is not dead anymore. In my mind that was really all I was imagining it as, but you two seem to have a much broader field of- Also I was very much like don’t do it, it’s bad.

[Wes and Chris laugh]

Wes: It can be super bad if it’s not done right, and if you do it the odds of it being done not right or probably high.

Chris: My opinion about resurrections is about the same. I’m assuming that a character dies, not just is thought to be dead, but actually supposedly dies in the story. I think one of the discussions we had earlier was about fake-outs. I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about how often these are fake outs and when they’re not fake outs. Just be clear, a fake out – which we discussed in another podcast – was when the storyteller is deliberately trying to make the audience think a certain thing happened when that’s not really the case. Oren, you had a much better definition.

Oren: Did I? I don’t remember what it was.

Chris: Maybe not. That’s probably your definition.

Oren: Probably. That’s a good one.

Wes: Yeah that works.

Oren: I think maybe what you might be thinking of is that a fake out isn’t just that you see it happening within the fiction, it is specifically – in my mind at least – defined by the storyteller using meta tricks to try to convince you that a thing is about to happen. For example, in Star Trek Discovery when the main characters are getting shot at by aliens in theory, they could all die but we know they’re not gonna. When they don’t die, that’s not a fake out even when their ship starts to explode around them. But in that one episode – spoilers, I guess, but that episode has been out for a while – where we think Saru is going to die, they give him a lot of sudden character development and then give him a tearful goodbye speech and those are all things you would do if he was actually going to die. In universe, there’s no way to tell he’s more likely to die from those things, but out of universe we know those are signs he’s actually going to die.

Chris: I would say that a resurrection qualifies as a fake out when you think the storyteller is trying to make the audience think that the character is going to be permanently dead, and then they are miraculously resurrected as a twist. Where in some cases you could have- I think a lot of resurrections are fake outs, but I think in some cases you could set up the expectation that that might not happen, there’s already miraculous healing powers around, or other mechanics to make the audience think that this is possible and sort of changed our expectations a little bit. I read this one Dragonlance book [Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman] where a character was dissolved in acid all the way down to their bones.

Wes: Super dead.

Chris: Super super dead dead. Usually that kind of graphic description is used by the storyteller to reassure the audience that this character really is dead because if you’re vague about it at all, there’s so many fake outs that the reader will probably think this character is coming back. I took that as a symbol that this is super permanent and then another character just called down a miracle from her God and then this character was suddenly back again and I was angry I think I put the book down at that point. I was just done. Now maybe I would have been less angry if I’d cared about the character that died. I didn’t. But that definitely felt like a fake out to me. Now granted somebody else who’s actually used to the D&D universe, because there are resurrections in D&D, might have felt differently and had different expectations.

Wes: Seems like for a real and believable resurrection to me, it seems like the body needs to be not past a certain point right because- I don’t know. I think in that situation where D&D has the reincarnation spells it’s like, ‘Okay. Well, we can bring the spirit back in a different body.’ Then at least there’s change; it’s not just all of a sudden this person’s back and fine.

Chris: Right. Reassembling the body after it’s been dissolved in acid or burned to ash or something is really unusual in most stories. So here’s a funny thing. When storytellers, especially in shows, try to tell people that a character is permanently dead, but everybody knows that’s not true like Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.

Wes: Oh boy. Oh boy. [Wes laughs]

Chris: We already have magical resurrection happening in the story, so it’s already set up. I think it would have been really easy to just let everybody know that he’s coming back and use that for the drama of the moment. But the showrunners are like, ‘No, he’s totally dead.’ [Chris and Wes laugh]

Chris: He’s obviously not dead. He’s obviously coming back. That wouldn’t have been a fake out except for their weird insistence that he was actually dead when he clearly was coming back.

Wes: Also too because he effectively lies in state for a while until they bring him back. That show had plenty of missed opportunities, but I really was so intrigued the first time when watching the show and you see Beric Dondarrion and then the Hound just kills him in that duel, and then the Red Priest right there brings him back. And then how his body is all scarred, he’s missing an eye and he talks about how every time he comes back he’s a little bit less and even that little teaser is fascinating and you’re like, ‘Okay. How is Jon Snow going to change? Is he?’ And he doesn’t do anything other than just say that when he was dead, there was nothing and then kind of have a death wish during the Battle of the Bastards with Ramsay Bolton. That’s it. There was just nothing. Nothing interesting happened, except he just sat back up and got to work again I guess.

Chris: Which brings me to the other big point I had about resurrections and storytelling. By definition, there was a negative outcome to the character, a negative consequence. They died. And then that was taken back. The big question to always ask is why did that matter? We shouldn’t be able to take important events out and have nothing change, that’s just really unsatisfying it will feel more like pointless drama. Basically the death has to do more than kill the character, has to matter in some other way for the whole thing to not feel really pointless.

Wes: A good example for me – this happens like right at the climax of the movie – is in Constantine, the Keanu Reeves movie. He realizes, I guess spoilers, he realizes what’s happening. I think Gabriel, Tilda Swinton, is about to help Mammon break into the plane and he realizes the only thing he can do to stop this is to die. And so he kills himself. The twist is that Satan appears and he makes a deal and Keanu Reeves gets to go to heaven and then he gets resurrected by the devil. He comes back and he’s changed a little bit in that he stopped smoking cigarettes. His body is intact but that was still plot crucial; he didn’t die for no reason.

Chris: Yeah, that’s the heroic sacrifice technique. That’s also used for Harry Potter for instance and I mean if we also want to include Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia), it’s the Jesus route.

Wes: It is very much the Jesus route, although I kind of always find that funny. Jesus gets all the credit for being resurrected but Jesus resurrects a bunch of people. A bunch of people come back from the dead in the Bible and apparently the apostles also bring back people from the dead too.

Chris: Really?

Wes: Yeah. I’ve had to dig into this.

Chris: Jesus is just the most famous instance.

Wes: Well, I guess the thing is that Jesus resurrected some people like Lazarus and so he has that power but then he dies but he gets- I guess maybe he self-resurrects. I mean God resurrects him, but he is God, so I’m not too sure. I don’t know. I kind of always thought that he brought Lazarus back from the dead, what happened? There’s actually a really good – I’ll get the author to you Oren – but there’s a really good Russian short story called Lazarus (Leonid Andreyev) in the translation and it’s about what happened. It’s a fallout with that character and it’s basically he exists and travels a bit and he ends up going to Rome and the whole point is that people who have extended eye contact in conversations with him get changed because he’s carrying with him whatever happened in that afterlife. It’s a really weird short story, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever read that did that ‘what if?’ Well hey, what if Lazarus kept living and something happened? What the heck would that story look like?

Chris: It sounds like there was an impact on the fact that he’d come back from the dead. He wasn’t the same. I always think it’s best if the character is not exactly the same so that even though you’re taking the death back it still matters to the character. Whether it’s just the fact that they are facing trauma as a result of their death, which Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) in season six would be an example of that death making a difference. Buffy comes back in season six, but she’s definitely not happy anymore after what happened, so it’s not just like taking that back. Back to the Harry Constantine and the heroic sacrifice. I think the key thing in both of those stories is that, in Harry Potter and in Constantine, that it was important that the character thought they weren’t going to come back from the dead.

Wes: Yes. That’s a really good point because that’s key for the reader to believe that the death is also going to stick.

Chris: It also gives the character good karma. The character earns their ending by being willing to lay down their life for other people. We still get to have our happy ending even though they’ve done that but they proved themselves that way and that’s why the death matters. In Constantine, that’s sacrifice is what sort of turns around his fate. Now he has a possibility of getting into heaven whereas he did not before.

Oren: I mean just putting this thing at the end also is usually just a way to avoid the problems with a resurrection because the main problem with resurrection is that once you’ve done it now the audience trusts you a lot less. It’s the same as with a fake out where you thought the character was dead, but they weren’t except worse because now we know that even seeing a body doesn’t mean for sure that they’re actually dead. Now it’s hard to take anyone’s death seriously at that point. That problem can be better or worse based on how badly you explain the resurrection process. If you do a good job, you can explain why it can’t happen to anyone else logically, but that doesn’t change the fact that narratively it has happened. Now we know you’re willing to do it and that you would do it again, but if you put it at the end, who cares? As long as it’s set up properly and it has the right emotional feeling and payoff that’s fine. There’s a reason why we didn’t continue with Harry’s story after that, and there might be more Constantine movies, but not that I know of. Actual Constantine in the comic, if I recall correctly, comes back from the dead a lot and it did have that problem with like, ‘Yeah, okay, whatever Constantine’s dead again.’

[Wes and Chris laugh]

Wes: I was thinking about this. Heroic sacrifice is a good way to talk about that. I was thinking about Neo in the first Matrix movie, that’s a resurrection, but what type of resurrection is that? I can’t quite describe it. He keeps being told he’s The One and then, I don’t know, there’s no indication that there’s some kind of like divine intervention stuff. It’s almost a fate resurrection or something like that.

Chris: Yeah, it’s hard because in visual stories like that there’s a lot less ability to explain what is supposed to be happening in this character transformation. He obviously undergoes some sort of personal transformation because he gets shot in the Matrix and his heart stops beating and then he comes back to life and he’s able to just control everything in the Matrix. The closest thing we have is the fact that Trinity tells him she loves him, calling him back, so we can guess that he fights his way back based on feeling her love or whatever and it’s maybe a battle of will type turning point there.

Wes: Another self-resurrection. He is Jesus.

Chris: But he doesn’t die as a sacrifice for anything, right? He just gets randomly shot a bunch of times. In this movie, it’s about the power of your mind to see reality differently because that’s how basically magic, you could say, inside the Matrix works. The important point is that he had to believe in himself not being dead. But it’s really hard because with those kinds of visual media a lot of times you’d have to read into things unless they find a way to make it clear and many movies don’t so we’re left guessing about exactly what that personal transformation process was.

Chris: Another resurrection that was not a fake out, that did make a difference, is in The 100, season six. The main character ends up basically dying but her body is perfectly intact. Somebody steals her body, and this is a process that normally the person is dead. If that was their body, that’s it. They’re gone. There’s nothing bringing them back. Now there was really no question that she would come back because she is the main character.

[Wes laughs]

Wes: Always fun when they do that on TV shows.

Chris: They left her out of an episode or two for a little suspense, but I don’t feel like it was a fake out because I don’t think they were really trying hard to convince anybody that she was gone. In that story even though she comes back and takes her body back – and they have a pretty good explanation for how she survives the process too – her death starts off a greater conflict. There’s a conflict between two different people as a result of her murder.

Wes: Yeah.

Chris: Now bringing her back means that person in her body doesn’t have a body anymore, and so we have this bigger conflict that results so it still matters that she died.

Wes: That’s good. That made me think of the other one I had in my notes which is Coulson’s death in The Avengers movie. His death is a catalyst for them. I’m sure it was all planned, but then we get Agents of Shield and he’s in that and then that’s a catalyst to jumpstart our intrigue. We can be like, ‘Oh my God, how is he alive? We all have to watch this show now.’

Oren: Gotta get something to get you through the first season I suppose.

Wes: I mean and that was, I liked that, that was why I watched the first season. I just have to know how Coulson came back and that was a nice side plot to their adventures and what not. That was done well, I thought, as far as having a death matter and then using it for a whole new show to keep me interested for a little bit.

Chris: It certainly use technology that can’t be used again. Going back to what Oren was saying about stakes; it might be worth talking about that a little bit more.

Oren: I didn’t watch far enough into the show to find out what the explanation was on how he was resurrected.

Wes: It’s science. You finally get a flashback of some machine zapping his brain a lot.

Oren: That’s what I thought. Is there any explanation for why they couldn’t just do that to anyone else who died.

Wes: They didn’t say.

Oren: Is this a very specific, he got stabbed in the heart and we have a machine that specifically repairs those. I remember thinking it was really contrived when it came out because it was like, ‘Alright, I’m sure they have a science explanation. I don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad. It sounds like it was actually pretty bad.’ Beyond that, they all have to pretend that he’s dead, which is the weirdest part about that because that actor can’t go back. They can’t have that actor come back to life in the movie continuity. So instead he’s only alive in Agents of Shield and we just let the Avengers keep thinking he’s dead for basically no reason and it’s very confusing and weird and seems like a pretty transparent ‘Oops. We actually shouldn’t have killed that character’ moment. It’s Marvel so they don’t give a shit they’re just going to keep doing whatever they do. That’s the primary reason why characters get rezzed (resurrected). It happens in bad books too, but it’s most common in film and movies where characters are killed and then for production reasons, they need that character back, so they rez them because they’re not going to let a little thing like storytelling quality get in the way of having a recognizable fan favorite character in the show. God, no.

Wes: It used to be that if you didn’t see them die that it was a chance that they would have the option to write them off as truly dead or bring them back, but now the fake outs are just terrible because like Chris was saying it’s a very descriptive visceral death and then they just bring it back anyway. All right, whatever.

Chris: If there’s not a descriptive visceral death the character is clearly not dead.

Wes: Even then, who knows? Maybe their body gets dissolved in acid and they still come back.

Oren: The advantage of books is that you can plan better than it is possible to do in movies and TV shows, movies and TV shows have a whole ton of constraints on them other than what makes the best story and books have a lot fewer of those but by the same token, we also cut books a lot less slack. In a movie or TV show we’re more willing to accept that that guy came back from the dead because we don’t want to watch Star Trek without Leonard Nimoy. So yeah, he got resurrected in the new movie and we accept that and it’s kind of annoying but whatever. But if that happened in a book, that would be very transparent. Why didn’t you just plan for him not to die?

Wes: In the original series, Spock’s resurrection is that they launch his body into- is it a star? A new forming star system or something like that?

Oren: Yeah, it’s way more complicated than that. Okay. So-

Wes: Yeah, let’s do this.

Oren: The way they explain that in the movies is that first, because they weren’t actually sure if Spock was going to come back when they were filming the movie but as they filmed it Leonard Nimoy got more into the role. He was actually like, ‘I actually want to do this again.’ They put in a little scene where he has a quick mind meld with McCoy. Then in the next movie, they explained that oh, actually he transferred his consciousness into McCoy and he expected them to take his body back to Vulcan where his father was going to put the consciousness back in the body that was theoretically still dead from radiation poisoning, but also now a little bit rotted.

[Chris laughs]

Oren: I don’t know how they thought that was gonna work. Also, they didn’t tell anybody and apparently Starfleet procedure is to immediately have a space funeral when someone dies. You don’t consult the relatives. They had a space funeral and they shot his body onto the Genesis Planet which is full of magic science juice that makes things come alive and that healed his body somehow. Then he had a blank body with no mind because as we saw after Spock put himself into McCoy he clearly had no mind left except that he obviously did, so that part doesn’t line up either but-

Chris: [jokingly] Look, it’s just data okay. He made a copy of his mind. There were two of them.

Oren: Right but why doesn’t the new [body] that was rezzed on the Genesis Planet have a mind? But anyway that happened, so now because of a complete coincidence, they’re able to take his now healthy, but mentally blank body back to Vulcan and put the mind juice back in it. For some reason that’s just a thing they know how to do on Vulcan and I don’t know why they know how to do that. That’s a very odd thing for them to be able to do considering how rare those circumstances would be.

Wes: As weird is all that is I still much prefer that to the new Wrath of Khan where apparently Khan’s blood cures death.

Oren: There’s a good reason for that! Which is that that movie is terrible.

Wes: I knew it, there had to be a reason.

Oren: But at least in Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock they waited a movie. If you just watch Wrath of Khan, you get your beautiful Spock sacrifice and its really nice and you can kind of compartmentalize that from the later movie. Most people skip the odd numbered ones anyway, so Spock’s just back later. Who knows. Where as in Into Darkness, not only is the blood thing pretty hokey and also much more front and center whereas the Vulcan resurrection technique was kept much more mysterious until the very end. It was easier to pretend it made sense. In Into Darkness it also all happens in the same movie, so if there’s no break to appreciate the sacrifice – also Kirk’s sacrifice is a very silly sequence that doesn’t really work very well, but that’s a side point.

Wes: There’s a good How It Should Have Ended [episode] about that movie about how Kirk and Spock are like, ‘All right, on to our next adventure!’ and some Starfleet officer to comes up and goes, ‘Adventure? No, we don’t do that anymore’ And they’re like, ‘What are you talking about? Isn’t Our mission to explore the universe? [The Starfleet officer is] like, ‘No, you guys cured death. All Starfleet has time now for is elder care.’ That is so silly. Let me just…

[All laugh]

Oren: That is another problem with that scene to be honest. In Into Darkness they perform a very rookie mistake in not making their resurrection system at all limited. All they need is Khan’s blood or theoretically the blood of any of his super people and for a while maybe they would have to pump it directly out of him, but they can probably synthesize whatever’s in there.

Chris: Well, if we’re going to get into that, we do have a talk about the Star Trek transporter and the fact that it is a human printer. The humans are transformed into data and then they can be printed out like a 3D printing machine. So then there’s no reason they can’t just keep a backup copy of all the people somewhere.

Wes: Isn’t that like the whole- I completely forgot about this movie because it’s not good, but that Schwarzenegger movie where that happens. They do that. It’s called, I want to say Sixth Day or something like that. I might be wrong. Because he, I forget what he does, but for some reason he goes and does something and then kind of blacks out and he goes home and he sees himself there with his family and then it’s just a whole who’s the copy thing. This person had made this tech where they could pull the data out of your brain through a retinal scan and then make a new body for you. I totally forgot about that movie.

Chris: Wow. That movie sounds kind of like Primer, but Primer uses of course time travel shenanigans so that the protagonists have copies of themselves. There’s some wild Schwarzenegger movies. I don’t think I’ve seen that one.

Wes: There are quite a few aren’t there.

Oren: The Star Trek thing is particularly irritating because they actually use the transporter to resurrect Dr. Pulaski at one point. Okay. Well now you’ve gone beyond the implication that we could use the transporter to resurrect people and now we just know you can. So… another reason why no one should ever die on Star Trek.

Chris: [meaningfully] Now Oren, let’s not forget Tuvix.

Oren: Err… Eurgh… Ugh.

[All laugh]

Chris: We’ve talked about Tuvix a number of times in this podcast. For anyone who is not familiar, there’s a Star Trek Voyager episode where the transporter accidentally combines Neelix and Tuvok into a character that’s named Tuvix and they make a big deal about the fact that Neelix looks and Tuvok are dead, and are morning them, but they have this new person who’s really cool. Then the characters decide to kill Tuvix to resurrect Tuvok and Neelix, even though there’s no reason the transporter can’t just, you know, materialize a new Tuvok and Neelix. There’s no reason to murder Tuvix. He begs for his life during the show.

Wes: Oh boy,.

Chris: It’s bad. Anyway, we’ve talked about that many times.

Oren: Star Trek is kind of unique among all the franchises because very few other franchises are a.) continuous, so they all technically take place in the same universe, and b.) based so heavily on introducing new novel technology every week. Star Trek has by far the greatest concentrations of tech goofs of any franchise simply because it has so much more tech than anyone else. And also, you know, other reasons, they could have tried harder to keep the tech consistent but they’re not gonna. Whereas something like Battlestar Galactica doesn’t really introduce new tech very often. Or Stargate, Stargate also has a fair number of tech inconsistencies, but not nearly the same number, because Stargate doesn’t depend nearly as much on the introduction of new tech to provide novelty as Star Trek does.

Chris: Granted even if they weren’t introducing new tech every week, just the tech that is introduced as being on the Enterprise in The Next Generation, the transporter and the replicator is in itself enough to break many many plots. That was always a bad idea. As Oren has suggested before, just changing the way the transporters work a little bit so they open up a micro-wormhole and actually move a person with their physical body would fix so many problems.

Oren: Yeah, just get in there. Get through the micro-wormhole. None of this dematerialization nonsense. Honestly the other alternative if you have that kind of technology is Eclipse Phase. I’ve tried Eclipse Phase and it’s very hard to construct meaningful stories in Eclipse Phase because you can come up with stakes other than someone dying, but you would be amazed how much of the conflict in, especially a violent RPG like Eclipse Phase because a lot of Eclipse Phase is going to be gun fights, you’d be amazed how much of that just depends on the risk that someone could die, even if that’s not the main conflict. Once you take that out, it’s just hard to tell a story. The paradigm shift that it requires from you is a big leap that a lot of people have trouble making. When I listen to a lot of Eclipse Phase games, they all kind of have a polite fiction agreement to pretend like dying is still a big deal. It’s not. But that’s the way they handle it, so I know it’s not just me having this problem.

Chris: I will say that The 100 season six has something that’s very nearly like a lot of cyberpunk mind drive tie technology like in Eclipse Phase and Altered Carbon, but they have a couple modifications that make it work a lot better. One is that there’s no cloning. They have a mind drive, but they don’t have cloning technology and that’s really important because people can’t just make bodies for you to download into and taking somebody’s body kills them. A person can be resurrected but it does require murdering somebody. It’s something the antagonists do.

Oren: It also helps that they have a limited number of those chips. They do a bit of hand waving by pretending that you can’t store the mind information on any computer besides those chips. But I’m willing to give them a little bit of the benefit of the doubt on that one because they are dealing with broken down incomplete technology.

Chris: Yep. That’s the other thing is that it’s a post-apocalyptic setting, so that means you can’t just make more of the tech. You’ve got what you’ve got. You don’t have the ability to engineer new stuff and manufacture new stuff and that helps.

Oren: I would say that there’s a possibility for resurrection to do something kind of interesting if you go where I assume the Game of Thrones books are going with Catelyn Stark who is now Lady Stoneheart.

Wes: Oh right, her.

Oren: Because her resurrection, she’s all messed up and it’s not clear if her mind is messed up or if she’s just mad because fair enough. I’d be pretty mad too if the Red Wedding happened to me. But her physical body is pretty messed up. That at least again feels like it sort of actually has a lasting effect and it wasn’t just ‘Yay Resurrection! Whoo!’

Wes: That’s interesting. She can’t talk right?

Oren: Can’t she? I think she can talk a little bit.

Wes: But they really cut her throat up.

Oren: She’s bad at talking in some capacity. She communicates, I forget exactly how.

Wes: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m thinking about resurrection, but the 3 Rs, resurrection, reanimation, reincarnation with Lady Stoneheart and then there’s The Mountain and I don’t know. The limits between those three options about where their mind sits in relation to how they were before death. I think that must be some kind of important differentiator.

Oren: Not to get too far into sandwich discourse, but I would say that in this case we can at least draw a pretty clear line that a resurrection requires the same personality and if it’s The Mountain who is basically just a giant zombie now, that’s not a resurrection, that’s just a zombie that you made with The Mountain’s body. And if it’s a resurrection and it comes back as a significantly different person, I would say that that’s also a different thing entirely. Whereas even if you bring back the same personality inside a different body, I would very easily say that qualifies as a resurrection in all the ways that matter.

Wes: Didn’t somebody get resurrected in Teen Wolf and something else caught a ride on the way back? Was that a plot of that show?

Chris: It happened in Angel?

Wes: Yeah. It probably happens in plenty of shows.

Chris: In Angel, the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia comes back from- Although she didn’t really die. She was called to be a higher being. But she disappeared. She comes back, an evil god catches a ride with her. Certainly the idea of somebody getting resurrected and having something evil hitch a ride from the dark realm of death or Hell or something from which they came, I’ve seen before. I don’t know how many stories I’ve actually consumed that had that premise, but I certainly heard of it. But that’s an interesting way to make it so that there’s a consequence for the resurrection. It could provide a reason if it’s really bad why people don’t want to do it again. Granted, if that’s the only restriction, a lot of people will decide to try anyway.

Wes: Yeah. Sure. They’d be like, ‘This? This isn’t a big deal at all. It’s fine.’ It’s a demon.

Chris: But you’re grieving. You might be willing to go. ‘Yeah, this is terrible demon, but at least I’ll have my loved one back. Maybe the demon won’t be a problem.’

Oren: Also, people are pretty good at figuring out ways to mitigate side effects. That’s a thing we do a lot. Once you start making it a cost-benefit analysis, that way lies some problems.

Wes: The Oren’s Guide to Resurrection. Here we go.

Oren: I mean how many demons are acceptable to have your loved one back? We’re not here to make judgments.

Oren: All right. We are pretty much out of time though. I think we are going to have to call this podcast and resurrect it next week, but it’ll be fine. We’ll be back. Don’t worry about it. All right, before we go though. I want to thank a few of our patrons. First is Kathy Ferguson who is a professor of political theory in Star Trek. Second is Ayman Jaber, you can find his stuff on thefantasywarrior.com. And finally, we have Danita Rambo and she lives at therambogeeks.com. If anything we said piqued your interest you can leave a comment on the website at mythcreants.com and we will talk to you next week.

[Outro music]

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178 episodes