Dispatches From Elsewhere First Impressions

I wrote this over a year ago after first seeing the first episode of Dispatches from Elsewhere. As such, I’m not sure if the links still work, but we’ll see. I was able to watch episodes 2-4 after this since they were free to view on the AMC site, but I haven’t seen any of the other episodes.

Original Starts Here:


Hoooo boy. That hit me right in the feels.

So in case you haven’t seen it yet, because SPOILERS WILL BE COMING, apparently AMC tacked the first episode of Dispatches from Elsewhere on the end of The Walking Dead on their website. Here’s the link (go to 45 min if you’re not into zombies):

https://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead/full-episodes/season-10/episode-09/squeeze

It’s free to watch/no login, though I had a weird experience when I tried to watch the first time. It automatically tried to log me in anyway. And I do not have AMC, so it wasn’t happy to see me. Reloading and hitting escape worked. Thank you to Michael J. Andersen at ARGN for the link.

Here’s where we’re going to put the SPOILER BREAK.

Seriously. Go watch it. It’s actually pretty good.

Thoughts as I was watching it.

    1. I’m glad Hull and McCall are listed as “executive producers” insofar as I hope they’re not involved. While I loved the Institute, the Socio-ReEngineering event was too much of a fuck you. Followed by the similar fuck you of The Institute movie and the real fuck you of the Latitude Society.
    2. I’ve seen the start of this. This bit where Octavio Coleman talks about Peter and his life. It was a teaser released a week or so ago. At one point when Peter is working, there’s a chalkboard in the background with “EPWA LIFE” written on it. I suppose here’s where I should talk about the New Noology Network tie-in game. I had very high hopes for this. There’s a lot of information about this, and here’s a link to an ARGN article: NNN. The problem with the game is that they’ve got a lot of blurring of the lines between In-Game (IG) and Out-of-Game (OOG). IG characters are showing up in chat groups run by players which should be OOG. This causes players to wonder if other players are IG. And in games where clues about who a person is might lead to more information about the story, this creates a breeding ground for doxxing of players. It’s to the point where players are finding out the identities of actors playing roles in the ARG. This blurring of the lines makes me worry that Hull and friends are involved in the ARG portion. But I think he’s got a new project that’s more based on perfect discretion or whatever new bullshit “dance for me but don’t tell anyone about it!” power trip.
    3. The call out of this being based on “The Institute” is pretty funny. So a movie I’m technically in is mentioned on the TV show. That’s kind of cool.
    4. HA. ok, about 8 minutes in, and we’ve got what are now referred to as “Easter Eggs.” (Sorry Hmrpita) In reality, they’re just references to the original game. The map is the original map? Sure looks the same. I would need to grab it from the shrine to check. Is that Arye Bender in the bed with a hand on his chest? Oh yeah, and the building he’s walking up to has the three hooded figures that are on 580 California Street.
    5. “for those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see, a recondite family awaits.” damn. yeah. Or do they? or is there no family at all, and the people you thought were family, who were part of your “crew” will they get in and leave you high and dry? More Latitude bitterness.
    6. ok. We’re at the Induction center. So this is chapter 1. Getting the key at the security desk is a little off. in the original game, you’d go to security and let them know you were there for the Jejune Institute. You’d get a name badge. They’d send you up to the 16th floor. On the 16th floor, there was another desk where you’d get the key with the instructions attached. And the door was a single door, and with no little antechamber. No weird devices along the hallway either. All the weirdness was inside the room itself. Let’s go in, shall we?
    7. Inside. you’d hear the voice telling you to sit  down. this wasn’t timed, if I recall correctly. No countdown. But when you sat in the chair, the video would immediately start. There’s a slight missed opportunity in that the desk in front of Octavio, and the background behind Octavio might be the background behind the TV, but it’s uniform enough with the rest of the room, that it could be any part of the room. The actual induction video had odd pictures behind Octavio, arranged asymmetrically, so when you saw them actually on the wall behind the TV, it was clearly the same wall. Or at least obviously the same arrangement meticulously recreated. Let’s watch the original! Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. So the I.D.E.A. is what Jejune referred to as The Algorithm.
    8. So they’re departing again from the original in that Octavio doesn’t tell Peter not to read or fill out the induction form.
    9. AHAHAHA! So they DID keep that in, but someone ELSE is telling Peter not to do what’s on the form. It was a weird dissonance. Providing the instructions but telling you not to do it. I get why they changed it.
    10. Also, nice pen. We got pencils that said, The Jejune Institute on them.
    11. I kind of wish we could see what’s actually written on the cards. Even though it doesn’t get done.
    12. So Peter is running. Again, the layout of the buildings is different. In the original, you HAD to take the elevator down. HOWEVER, there was an admonishment to avoid the security desk and take a side exit.
    13. No hobo marks for finding the way. O” No time anchor. those were so good.
    14. Commander 14 is calling NOW? So. It’s too bad they didn’t use Harry S. Robins. You know. Dr. Kleiner from Half-Life? Dr. Howland Owl of the Church of the SubGenius? Anyway. So is it just me, or is the voice of Commander 14 very familiar? I mean, like, obviously familiar? Is there an attempt to disguise this voice, because I mean, is it? I guess this will be a thing.
    15. We’re through the hidden garden and on to the shop. Easter Egg! The Elsewhere Brick. This brick wasn’t so much a brick as it was a plaque painted like and mounted to a brick. The brick plaque was hidden in an external alcove of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral. A picture of it would also be on the envelope available for sale in the Asian Image shop a couple blocks away. The garden and shop seem to be compressing a lot of this together.
    16. Peter and Simone’s montage after the shop compresses the rest of Chapter 1, including finding the peep hole and seeing the missing girl. Eva has become Clara.

It was a nice bit of nostalgia. But I am now forever leery of Nonchalance. I hope to see the other episodes eventually.


So that’s the original write up. As I mentioned, I was able to see the first four episodes. I have also now seen “In Bright Axiom,” and whoa boy Hull-as-Max was a lot. Max is an asshole who fails upwards and gets his supper anyway. So yeah.