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Date Posted: Wednesday, February 01, 10:29:39pm
Author: JayBee
Subject: Specifics re Paul (r)
In reply to: Nell 's message, "I think the reason that I was interested in this (r)" on Wednesday, February 01, 09:13:49am

You make some interesting points, although I'm not sure that the gender background (Steven and Willie on the one hand, and Madeline and Corinne on the other) is as significant as you make it.

Yes, you get to learn a lot about Paul as a person, and about his values or lack thereof, based on his treatment of these four people. But what do we learn? I think the theme that is common to all four is that Paul -- irrationally, and quite unreasonably -- expects the people in his life to be completely and unwaveringly and in fact probably *impossibly* loyal to him.

Let's take Steven versus Corinne, for example. Paul abandoned *both* of them for the sake of his ambition. Steven never recovered; Corinne, apparently, did. Corinne moved on with her life and married another man instead of pining away and dying of grief the way a "proper" widow should (and as Steven *said* his mother did -- but was he being somewhat untruthful, out of either shame or anger that his mother didn't share his obsession with finding Paul?). Steven, in contrast, built his *entire life* around a form of hero-worship of Paul. In Paul's mind, this may have translated to: loyal son, disloyal wife.

Madeline, too, may have been a victim of this mentality. Don't forget, his abandoning her at the Red Cell facility came pretty shortly after *she* abandoned *him* -- where not only did she leave Section for the sake of another man, she nearly killed Paul in the process. We, the viewers, can chalk it up to whatever bizarre neurosurgery she'd had, but how much of her behavior came from genuine feelings unleashed by the medical treatment? (She was described as being completely "off-profile" by Paul himself.) One can't be sure, and perhaps Paul felt he couldn't be sure, either. So, whereas he had once seen her as the loyal and reliable right-hand person, for whom he *would* set aside his ambition not once but several times in earlier seasons, he now felt doubts.

Willie is the most ironic case -- Paul had *thought* he was a loyal friend, but the viewers learned otherwise. Do you really have any doubts that if Paul had learned the truth about him, that we would have seen a level of wrath beyond anything Paul had ever demonstrated before?

So this sort of pathological need for loyalty is what I think drives Paul, and I believe he applies the same (unreasonable) standard irrespective of gender. Furthermore, it does indeed serve as a good symbol of his behavior in the larger scheme of things. Just as he demanded an absurd level of "loyalty" in his personal relationships, he demanded the same from Section operatives.

That Madeline killed Charles is also part of - to me - the issues raised by a consideration of 'adultry' as a larger metaphor. She killed him *because* he was her husband - if he had just been any old operative trapped on a deep cover assignment (leaving aside the likelihood of that!), she would have brought him in and drained him dry of all intel before deciding his fate. I think you could argue that she believed to kill him was, in this instance, all she could do to protect him. It was her last act of loyalty or fidelity to their relationship, to him as a man, to save him from what would inevitabely come, and at her hands, if he was returned to the Section.

This is, in fact, exactly my thinking on this issue, except that I don't see how you can use "adultery" as a metaphor here. In fact, it's perfectly plausible that she may even have committed adultery while married to Charles, for all we know, but *still* remained faithful to him in this more important (to me) sense.

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