Gustave: Since I know you’re my father now, tell me more about you
Erik: Well I taught your mother how to sing
I lived in a basement
I started a fire
Gustave: Too much information
Erik: I also killed people
It’s striking how far away Levi sits from everyone here. The rest are all gathered ‘round the table, but not Levi. He sits alone at the far back, observing, listening.
He knows where this conversation is going. When Hange turns to Erwin to ask what could possibly be in the basement, the entire next page is a series of closeups of Erwin and Levi. Levi has the look of a man who knows the inevitable approaches. And what comes next is this:
Erwin declares that retaking Maria will commence in two days. They will find out for themselves what secrets lie in the basement. Everyone is fired up, smiling. They rise and depart, talking amongst themselves – all except Levi, whose head hangs low. I never noticed before that he doesn’t participate at all in the roundtable discussion. He doesn’t say a single thing.
The first words he speaks are to Erwin alone after he’s shut the door. What follows is what he’s been thinking about while sitting in that chair.
Levi’s not interested in the basement, nor its contents. “This may be jumping the gun” he says. It is. Levi wants to know what happens if Erwin never makes it out of the basement, or even to the basement. His sole concern is Erwin. Not anyone else, not the soldiers, not Hange, not even himself. “I’m asking because I don’t know if you’ll make it that far” he says and his face is pained, the shadows under his eyes accentuated.
You might even say that he’s being kind of a dick, what with saying Erwin’s crippled and is likely to end up as titan bait. And Erwin even forlornly clutches his hollow sleeve like a teenage girl whose insecurities are made visible and thrown in her face. But then, in the lower third panels, this scene becomes something else. Levi’s coldness takes on a new shape, and becomes the cheesy equivalent of tearfully throwing stones at your dog to stop him from following you into danger. Levi frames his request to leave Erwin behind as not wanting a liability on the field.
He’ll tell the others he didn’t want Erwin on the field because of his missing arm (implying that it is only a cover – he is not actually a dick, after all. Not to Erwin anyway). Hell, Levi will bitch at Erwin in earnest until he gives in. He does bitch. Erwin dies and everything is over, he argues. Erwin’s brain is what they need, not his fighting. And finally, that staying behind is the best choice for humanity.
Erwin does not agree and begins to give his reasons in his usual silvertongue manner, but is quickly interrupted by Levi who let’s him know that’s all bullshit and they both know it, and he better drop it before Levi breaks his legs. And Erwin laughs, gives up the charade and reaches for honesty: Erwin must see the truth with his own eyes when it is revealed. This, he says, is more important than humanity, more important than his life.
And what can Levi say to that? Erwin will not be swayed. Look at Levi on the next panel. Isayama has chosen to frame him from above, making him look even smaller. He can’t even look at Erwin anymore. He’s looking down, his hands hanging at his sides. Levi looks utterly defeated.
He slams the door on his way out, and goes off to drink alone in the dark (look at that beer mug!!), where he overhears the trio’s dreams for the future, probably thinking of his own, and Erwin’s, and I imagine the people he’s lost and is sure to lose again.
tl;dr: Everyone’s talking about the mission and the basement and all Levi wants is to protect Erwin. My wittle bb ;___;
Meta-analysis of Joe’s arc throughout the seasons of Halt and Catch Fire, as far as 4x06, and thus a warning for spoilers. Also, this is a long one, because Joe Macmillan is after all a complicated guy.
JOE’S START-UP SHRINE – THE BASEMENT
Where Gordon’s shrine was
always an almost sacred location to him before meeting Joe and it became a
shrine when the right person did an all nighter in his garage, Joe did not have
a pre-determined location. Joe just feels he wants to work with someone when he
meets that person. The person comes before the location. And he will seek them
out anywhere, wherever they are. He wants to work with Gordon since he saw him
at Comdex 81 and he wants to work with Cameron when meeting her at his lecture
in Austin Tech. He seeks and needs people who have a conviction and dare to
oppose him. After all, we know Joe – dog with a bone. Gordon and Cameron both
do that, but in different ways. Gordon grounds him, Cameron inspires him.
Gordon can say “Enough! What you want right now is not realistic at this point
in time.” Cameron says, “What you want right now is not enough. We can do so
much more.” So, he has chemistry with both of them, but only the chemistry he
has with Cameron is inspirational and sexual. Because of the background story we have
about Simon, it is not sex that inspires him, but rather inspiration that turns
The basement setting as a
shrine begins to be established for Joe within the first ten minutes of the
series: he meets with Cameron in a bar to scout her professional potential, has
a peek-a-boo argument with her, gets drunk and before long he has sex with her
in the bar’s basement. Basement screams instinctual, primal, uncontrollable,
and subconscious. The connection created and sought here by Joe and sought
after in later seasons in this location comes forth from a primal subconscious
need, often masked by rationalizations, rather than a deliberate conscious
Just to clarify how primal
this first sexual encounter with Cameron was, I’ll remind you of the mating of
cats: lunges, luring, cornering, mounting, and painful barbed finish for the
female who lashes out and screams at the tomcat. That is pretty much how Lee
Pace and Mackenzie Davis acted it to me. Later once hired, Cameron decides to
work on the BIOS in the basement instead of her designated cleared out cleaning
room. It is in this basement that she initiates and establishes a sexual incubating pattern:
whenever Cameron is mentally and mathematically stuck on a problem, having sex with
Joe gets her unstuck, lifts her mentally into having a higher overview. And
they celebrate their anticipated success for Comdex 83 in the basement (before
Bos gets arrested).
Ishizu Ishtar might be the distinguished lesbian contrasting to Malik’s dumbass disaster gayness but that’s just because Ishizu is several years older and got through her dumbass disaster gay years before the events of the manga. Malik has hope yet .
Besides he can just always stand next to Yami Bakura and seem like 10x more functional and well adjusted comparatively
South Hadley’s first fire brigade was actually Mount Holyoke’s, formed by students of the college in 1895. It was arranged by the school’s Athletic Association, and headed by the Association’s captain. Girls were chosen “not because of muscle, but because of mind,” as the captain believed calmness was more important than strength in fire fighting. Members of the brigade were popular (even idolized).
In 1909 the gymnasium (now Blanchard) basement caught fire, and the students were quickly on the scene. The college watchman had been in the basement trying to stop the blaze. The students got him safely out of the building and put out the fire. Since there were no other people in the building, the life-saving students instead evacuated the gym equipment so it wouldn’t be damaged. Once the fire was out, the students didn’t linger but went straight back to bed for class in the morning.
A reporter for The New York Herald in 1911 asked the students if they wanted to petition for “a regular fire department of men,” to which the lieutenant replied “we would have the fire out before the men rubbed the sleep out of their eyes. A man’s fire department indeed! Men are all right, of course, when they just come to call or when they are needed to carry out the Prom programme. Then sometimes it is nice to have one take you to Amherst to a football game, but as for their being a necessity or more capable of fighting fires, the idea is ludicrous.”
The students would also help fight fires in the town. On one occasion the local school building caught fire and the Mount Holyoke fire brigade was the first to arrive. They immediately started removing furniture and wetting the flames with buckets and a hose. They had largely saved the building by the time another local department arrived.
As a reporter from the New York Journal wrote in 1895: “They could, doubtless, run a railroad if they wished; to operate a gold mine would probably not be beyond their abilities. No opportunities have arisen for such enterprises, to be sure, but young women who are capable of organizing a fire brigade, and in addition are capable of actually fighting fire after they have organized it, would scarcely stop at anything.”
Newspaper photos of the fire brigade :: Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections :: circa mid 1920s