Betrayal at House on the Hill
No, Fumiaki, you shouldn’t be holding Maya’s hand and trying your best to console her. You should be slapping her for thinking she’s at fault for her strained relationship with her father.
Everything we’ve seen about her father shows that he was an obsessive type who drove away his wife and daughter in pursuit of his occult studies. If a guy really cares about his family and their well-being, he doesn’t coop himself up in his room with a bunch of old, musty books while neglecting their emotional well-being. Having Maya remember some obscure, childish wish for a “monster school” doesn’t put all of his actions into perspective.
First off, I just don’t buy into the idea that he created the school for Maya. The dude was clearly obsessed with this shit long before she made that innocent little wish, so there had to be some driving force behind the creation of the school other than Maya’s Christmas request. Seeing Maya break down like that over remembering something so trivial and thinking that’s the reason why he did what he did while he was alive smacks more of youthful delusion than genuine revelation. Maya’s emotions are getting the best of her here. She really wants that reconciliation with her father’s memory, and she’s grasping at straws to find some rationalization for his neglect. You’re still a kid, Maya, so I can’t blame you for being a little clueless. I don’t see this as poor characterization (Up to this point she’s been a pretty strong character who can handle any shit that comes her way) so much as it’s a bad decision on Maya’s part. She needed that emotional release, I just think she’s getting it for all the wrong reasons.
And even if her father created the school because of Maya’s wish, does that really justify his actions? No decent father would be so single-minded and ignore the immediate needs of his kid in order to fulfil some request like that, and he certainly isn’t going to turn around and smack his kid to the ground for being a typical kid that wants some attention. So if he did do this for Maya’s sake, it does put his actions into perspective. The catch is that said perspective isn’t Maya’s conclusion. If Maya’s dad was willing to go to those ends to create this school, and in doing so genuinely thought he was doing it for Maya’s sake, he was a god damn lunatic. That’s the kind of obsessive behavior that makes you slowly back away from someone, never turning your back to them lest they stab you with the Speak of Longinus or some other occult artifact lying about. And that makes Maya’s breakdown all the more disappointing, since it ends with her saying she turned her back on her father. No, Maya, that bastard turned his back on you. Even if his motivations were “pure” and he was doing it for you, his actions show that he cared more about the wish than he did about you. Substituting the action for the person who will benefit from the action is the sort of deranged thing that gets someone locked up in a padded cell.
So, yeah, I don’t mind Maya’s emotional reaction to all of this. She needed that catharsis. I just don’t think we’re supposed to agree with Maya’s assessment of her father’s actions. The dude was a fucked-up wacko, and the only person who should feel otherwise is Maya.
Also: That little girl didn’t deserve to be “saved” in this two-parter. After the first episode, I figured she had been neglected by her father, much like Maya. Turns out that wasn’t really the case. Yeah, he was a little distant and was caught up in his work, but he never did anything on par with Maya’s father. The argument we saw between him and his wife sounded like a situation where they were both in the wrong. The guy had a rough job that kept him away from the house, and his wife apparently didn’t understand that. At the same time, when he was at home, he wasn’t putting enough effort into maintaining his family life. This comes off more like an unfortunate circumstance where neither parent “gets” the other rather than a case where either parent is at fault. And it was the mother that abandoned the family, leaving the father to take care of the girl. While the father was a little too “realistic” for such a little kid, being so blunt about the non-existence of Santa Claus, he didn’t leave the girl out in the cold like I initially believed. She was told to spend time with the landlady we saw in the previous episode, someone that obviously cared about her. The father may have been a little emotionally distant, but he was clearly looking out for the girls well-being.
The girl died because she was an idiot. Simple as that. No sane child would sit out in the cold and allow themselves to freeze to death waiting for Santa Claus. Staying up all night to wait for him is one thing, but any kid with a semblance of common sense would realize that it’s way too damn cold and would go back inside. Kids can be stupid and make bad choices, but they also have the same survival instincts as the rest of us. A kid that’s so stupid that they willfully sit in the cold to the point of death isn’t really deserving of our sympathy. It isn’t like the girl had some sort of mental problem that robbed her of certain basic mental capacities. She was just a normal kid who apparently was too dumb to say “Wow! It’s really cold out here. Maybe I should be inside so I don’t die.” No “normal” kid in real life would make such a decision, so it’s hard to sympathize with a fictional character that makes such an idiotic decision. Having to wander the Earth for eternity being incapable of moving on seems like a fitting punishment for this girl, and I don’t think she was worthy of the “salvation” she received at the end of the episode.
Let her suffer for eternity!
Also Also: I finally found something I like about Pod Girl other than her car. When she finally meets up with the Vice Principal and the VP’s trying to get Fumiaki to go back to her place, Pod Girl makes a few snarky, underhanded comments towards the VP, doing so while smiling sweetly and speaking in that squeaky voice of hers. She’s clearly not as cute and innocent as she lets on. Even if she isn’t an alien sent to distract Fumiaki or whatever, she has some spunk. Helps justify her taste in cars.