TMA Season 3 Countdown: Favorite Institute Member
Because Sims has his very own day set aside, I’ll reserve my flailing about Jonathan Sims, idiot and paranoiac and occasionally suicidally brave individual, for later. For now, let’s talk about my other favorite Institute member for the @pilesofnonsense countdown. This one was tough, because I really love Elias Bochard, and could meta about him all day, but in the end he really couldn’t compete with Martin.
Martin at first glance is the sort of character who is built for the audience to love. He’s sweet, caring, a bit of a mother hen … basically custom made to make us like him. But he’s also far more interesting than he first appears. Despite my belief that his demeanor is genuine, and that he really does care deeply about his colleagues, and especially about Jon, he also spent a very long time lying to them all about basically everything about him. I doubt we’ve even got the full story of why Martin was forced to drop out of secondary school to take care of his mother, or what led him to applying to the Institute under a fake master’s degree and a fake age, but there are layers upon layers of lies that build him up. And because of that, we do have to question what about him that we’ve seen is genuine.
The caring is genuine. He seems like a natural caretaker, who became a bit pathological about that when he had to take care of his mother. He’s also resourceful. He successfully faked being almost a decade older than he really was, and faked an advanced degree, to the point that I’m not sure who in the Institute really knows the truth about him aside from Jon (I suspect Elias does).
His slightly dim demeanor, though, may well be an act designed to make him less noticeable and therefore less likely to be questioned. If he wasn’t that reliable and not that smart, he wouldn’t be chosen readily for projects that he was supposed to have knowledge about that he really didn’t. But being able to successfully convince people that you’re even a not-very-bright graduate student when you’re a high-school dropout? Yeah, Martin’s a lot smarter and a lot more tenacious than he lets on.
Even more than Elias’ backstory, I want Martin’s filled in more. I want to know what happened to his mother. I want to know about the decade he’s worked in the Institute, what he’s seen, what he knows, and what he suspects. I can’t wait to see him probably step into the shoes of the Interim Head Archivist while Jon is walkabouts. And I both can’t wait and dread to see what that position might do to him.
(Also, I forgot to add initially that he writes aggressively mediocre poetry in his spare time and records it on tape for THE AESTHETIC, which I find hilarious).