Arc Thoughts: Plague

Arc 12, Plague, has come and gone, and though it’s been nine Arcs since I started doing it, opening an Arc Thoughts post still feels awkward.

This was a fairly decent Arc, though it doesn’t feel quite as clearly self-contained as many of the earlier ones. Right now, it feels like we’ve entered a larger Arc divided into multiple parts – though maybe that feeling will change with the upcoming Arcs.

Plague acts as a beginning to the Slaughterhouse Nine’s reign of terror over Brockton Bay, and tells the story of a) how the Undertravelers got fucked over by Hookwolf, b) how the candidate game came to be, and c) the Shattering and its immediate consequences. It tells each of those stories well, but feels oddly… incomplete because all of those qualify as unsubtle setup for the larger Slaughterhouse testing plot arc.

(Despite the numbers, I was somewhat caught off-guard by 12.8 being the final regular chapter of the Arc, though I did recognize the final line for what it was.)

I don’t think that’s something to hold against the Arc’s quality, though. It just means that the Slaughterhouse testing arc is going to be a fair bit longer than a lot of the stories we’ve already been through and I should adjust to that.

The Arc title

The most literal interpretation is of course in relation to the pest control Taylor did at the beginning. That may have been, I suppose, mirrored at the end with the Slaughterhouse Nine eradicating a large portion of the pests from the previous Arc, the Merchants.

More importantly, though, I think the Plague is meant to be the Slaughterhouse Nine themselves. This Arc is about the Plague setting into the city and beginning to show its symptoms by killing a large portion of the population.

Prediction review

From Arc Thoughts: Infestation:

I’ve kind of accidentally covered just about everything already, but let’s summarize:

We know that Bitch, Armmaster, Hookwolf, Noelle, Regent and Panacea are all now targets for Slaughterhouse testing. This might be lethal for some of them, as I doubt the Slaughterhouse members will hold back. However, I doubt we’re losing Bitch, Hookwolf or Regent – Bitch and Regent because plot armor and Hookwolf because he’s probably the most competent fighter out of all of them, besides maybe Armmaster, and better equipped defensively than anyone except maybe Noelle. Besides plot armor, it would be more interesting to have Bitch actually join the Slaughterhouse Nine and become an antagonist – at least temporarily – than to have her just die.

This hasn’t really come into play yet. I ended up speculating more on this over the course of Arc 12 – we’ll have to see how this goes in the upcoming Arcs.

Other than that, a couple predictions from the end of Arc 10 remain active:

Dragon’s attempts to locate Taylor and communicate with her may come back in Arc 12. However, it might end up being a bit much to have that on top of the Slaughterhouse plot (though that didn’t stop us from learning about Dandelions in the middle of a Merchant brawl), so it’s possible that gets pushed back to Arc 13.

Yeah, this is still on the back-burner, and probably will stay that way for a while. In other news, the bank robbery starts next Arc, I’m sure of it.

And, if someone attempts to kill Jack Slash, they will either fail, or do it too late.

No direct attempts yet, though Taylor considered it. What are the odds she’ll regret that decision when it’s too late?

I mean, if it isn’t already too late. I do suspect Jack’s challenge against Theo is more important than it seems.

But yeah, if I were to describe what I think Arc 12 will be like in one word, it’d have to be intense.

Ehh. Not as intense as I was thinking, though we did get some nice tension with Skitter’s city rush, and the Mannequin battle was good.

am pretty curious to see how the Arc deals with the fact that there are other characters we care about who are going through the same thing as two of the Undersiders. Maybe we’ll have some Interludes to help out with that? Though it is worth noting that Wildbow seems to have a rule against using the same POV character for two Interludes (which is probably part of why Alec wasn’t the POV in 11g, besides Cherish’s power and personality being better illustrated from within her own head), so he’d have to show us the perspective of someone else close to the action. Perhaps even one of the attacking Slaughterhouse members, though that might be a tad redundant.

I think this one will have to carry over. It’s worth noting that Interlude 12 shows that yes, Wildbow is still willing to give the remaining Slaughterhouse members Interludes from their own perspectives on top of what we already saw in Arc 11. Though Interlude 12 was far more about the Slaughterhouse Nine as a whole than about Jack himself.

Primarily, though, I think we’ll be focusing on Taylor and the other Undersiders doing what they can to protect Alec, and maybe Rachel if she does eventually decide to tell the others anything.

Rachel’s secret did come out sooner than expected, though not much has been done with that yet due to more pressing concerns. But yeah, protecting Alec and Rachel is explicitly part of Tattletale’s game, so this too is going to carry over.

Predictions for Arc 13

At this point, I think the nomination game is going to take at least a few more Arcs to finish. In Arc 13, though, the game’s definitely afoot.

If we’re doing two nomination turns per Arc, we’ve got Mannequin and Cherish in the spotlight of the next Arc, with Mannequin specifically being tasked to deal with Skitter. A doll in search of revenge and a sister who might be in no particular hurry to help her candidate succeed even if it does make her look better. And they’re both super deadly.

Yeah, things are kicking off now.

Besides that… I suppose I already said everything I need to above. A couple things are carrying over to Arc 13.

So… yeah! That was Plague! See you soon for lucky number 13!

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