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  Previously, on Traipsing Through Silent Hill

Previously, on Traipsing Through Silent Hill...

  Welcome back, Traipsers! It is I, Jonathan Charles Bruce, here to guide you through the gross and sticky world of surreal horror! Last time, Harry had stumbled upon a room in Alchemilla’s basement, discovered a photo of Alessa, met Lisa and spent the entire time insulting her, and then died.

  Oh, how I miss Travis.

  Anyway, Harry didn’t really die because he somehow managed to sign all the appropriate paperwork and that’s who were left with as a protagonist. Instead, he wakes up in the exam room where last we saw the magnificent Dr. Skeeves.

You... may not want to be sitting on that, Harry.
You... may not want to be sitting on that, Harry.

  Once again, Harry wonders if this is the real life, or if it’s just fantasy. I can understand, as it seems like he’s caught in a landslide with no escape from reality. No matter what, though, he doesn’t have to ponder it for long as Dahlia Creepy Woman shows up. She scolds Harry for being “too late”, but doesn’t explain for what. I mean, she sent him on this stupid errand without the slightest inkling of what the fuck he’s supposed to do. But whatever! He was too late to stop whatever super important but indescribable thing needed to be stopped!

  Harry says, “It’s you,” with slightly more respect than he gave Lisa, to which Creepy Lady responds with “Yes. Dahlia Gillespie.”

::drops mic::
::drops mic::

  So… it’s nice that she finally gets around to introducing herself to the player. I mean, back in Nullrigins, she never even got an onscreen mention until Travis was huffing cocaine. The first time we meet her in this game she’s probably gone swimming through her own private stash of the good stuff, so don’t expect anything near a reasonable conversation with her. But go right ahead and use whatever cheap tactics you have available for some semblance of mystery. It won’t feel bullshitty in the least!

  Anyway, Harry demands that she tell him everything, which is hilarious because even if she dropped the lunatic-in-a-brown-sack-and-tie act and took the time to explain things with small words and in short bursts, the guy would still go “Huh?” after every fucking line.

  She says that the town is being devoured by darkness. There’s more cryptic gibberish, kind of implying that—once again—she is having a second, even stupider conversation at the same time she’s talking to Harry. Which, at this point, is kind of her thing, I guess. Anyway, she ends with her super-duper ominous:

If I say it enough it'll be a real thing, goddamn it!
If I say it enough it'll be a real thing, goddamn it!

Riiiiiiight. Outside of the fact that she’s touted her omniscience in about four different ways in our conversations with her, I’m seriously doubting this. If you were so fucking great at predicting this stuff, why is it still happening? Whatever you’re doing (nothing), keep it up, champ.

  Game, set, match, you attempted-child-murdering nutjob.

  Anyway, how does Harry respond to this “explanation”?

If you just replace every one of Harry's lines with 'Duuuuuuuuuuuuh,' he'd be a billion times more likable.
If you just replace every one of Harry's lines with "Duuuuuuuuuuuuh," he'd be about a billion times more likable.

As if you had any doubt.

  Dahlia goes on to say that Harry must, “Believe the evidence of [his] eyes.” So, that evidence points to the fact that there’s a nightmare world just beyond the realm of humanity? Thanks. Even without the whole “evidence of my eyes” part, the knife wounds Harry has sustained up to this point probably are a whole hell of a lot more convincing than some rambling old woman we found in an abandoned town’s church. But, sure. I’ll believe the evidence of my eyes as soon as I can scoop them back into their sockets.

  She tells us that our next destination is the other church in town, which I’m forced to assume is the place where we fought the demon in Travis’s excursion. I mean, the initial area didn’t seem very churchy, but crawling for forty-five seconds did reveal a pretty swanky pad for cult-related meetings and the like.

  Oh, she’s not done yet. Because of course she fucking isn’t.

  Instead, she reaches deep into her ass/pocket dimension and pulls out a… um… thing. She says that it’s all up to Harry (WE’RE DOOMED) because it is beyond her abilities now.

You, and only you, can figure out how many licks it takes.
You, and only you, can figure out how many licks it takes.

What, pray tell, is beyond your abilities? Like, you do realize that just saying the town’s being devoured by darkness means nothing, right? Because normally that just means it is nightfall. Give us something tangible to work with you fucking idiot.

  Then, as she is the master of the non-sequitur: “Have you not seen the crest marked on the ground all over town?” Ha ha ha, what the what, lady? Did we turn over two pages at once? Also, by “all over town”, did you literally mean that one place in Midwich? Was there supposed to be one in Alchemilla? Because I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything here. Did I need to be looking for those things? And how exactly was I supposed to intercede in its creation? Did you want me to shoot whoever is doing it?

  You know what? This entire thing is so flimsy. What the fuck was the entire point of coming here, anyway? Presumably to intercept Alessa, but we’re never told, are we? In fact, we never see any evidence that she was there in the “tossing this seal down” capacity. Was it so that Harry could find out about the secret basement? What good would that do? Would that not result in him possibly getting evidence to suggest that he shouldn’t listen to you, Dahlia?

  Christ, you are outstandingly shitty when it comes to this whole conspiracy shit, Dahlia.

  Harry somehow manages to put two disparate events together to form a new response: “So that’s what I saw in the schoolyard.” Oh, shut the fuck up, Harry. You have no idea what she’s talking about, nor do you understand anything. Just stop.

  He asks what it means, to which Dahlia says that it is the Mark of Samael and that we’re not to let it be completed. Then she just kind of leaves. To his credit, Harry does try to get her to stop by asking and reaching out after she’s already left, but since no one takes Harry seriously, she doesn’t listen.

B... but I'm the hero! You have to sta-ay!
B... but I'm the hero! You have to sta-ay!

Once she leaves, we regain control of our idiot writer.

  So, apparently what Alessa’s working toward is the Mark of Samael, which Dahlia says like it’s supposed to mean something to Harry. Which it doesn’t. Because he’s just kind of blundering around at this point. What does it do? We’re never told! Further, we know that she’s lying to us, too. Why? Because the god’s name is Samael. That note that we came across in Origins said they’re trying to bring Samael into existence in order to… do… something. Presumably, what Alessa is doing is trying to stop this, so why would something called the Mark of Samael prevent Samael from returning?

  No, I’m going back to the idea that it’s a Flauros mark. Demons can be trapped in a triangle/pyramid device, as I explained in Origins, so that’s what Alessa is doing.

  “But Dahlia said it’s the Mark of Samael!” I hear you shout. Well, she has no reason to tell Harry the truth and we know that she isn’t telling Harry the truth. Sure, this begs the question of why she would lie when the truth would be just as impenetrable to Harry, but this is the woman who thought it was a good idea to fake her daughter’s death yet still rely on a hospital to keep her alive even though it works against her interest. I have no desire to try to explain her very specific brand of stupidity.

  You can watch the whole Lisa/Dahlia scene below. I didn’t include it in yesterday’s post, because that would have spoiled this super-pertinent and ultra-thrilling bullshit.

Now that gameplay has resumed, we can pick up the lollypop she left behind. Picking it up reveals that it happens to be an antique shop key. How Harry divines such knowledge is beyond me—do antique stores, by law, have uniquely designed keys? Or is it just the designers assuming we’re stupid again?

You get one guess.
You get one guess.

If we investigate it, it claims that the name of the store is the Green Lion. You know what it doesn’t reveal? THAT THE GREEN LION IS AN ANTIQUE SHOP.

And is that just shitty, oxidized brass or something? What is going on with that fucking key?
And is that just shitty, oxidized brass or something? What is going on with that fucking key?

  Wait a minute.

Spooooooooky!
Spooooooooky!

What the hell was the purpose of that little vignette at the start of the hospital level? Does it retroactively make us late to an event that we had no way of thinking was going on at the time? I’m serious, what did that thing fucking do? It’s not like we had to put two and two together with that as the central clue, as Dahlia just tells us where to go. There was no fucking point!

  Harry could have just woken up, been confused, then thought real hard and remembered the vision of Alessa wandering into the antique shop. Or it could have happened after he passed out with Lisa. The next time we’re outside and we look at the map, he could have been all “Hm? There’s an antique store… Maybe that’s what I saw…” and then marked it on the map. When he gets there, the door has been blown off its hinges.

  Instead, he’s just told where to go.

  See, this is another reason why I get so frustrated when people bash on Travis. Harry has precisely zero agency and essentially the same motivation (saving a damsel). At least with Origins, the attempt at making Travis have a connection to this shithole town and its 956 residents actually makes it so that, while his agency is questionable, it’s somewhat there. Harry is just lead around by the nose (by a goddamn villain, mind you) and no one seems to care.

  After picking up the key (which you can also leave behind if you’re exceptionally thick), we discover that if we cut through the medicine room, every door in the hospital is now jammed shut. Even the one out to the lobby. So we have to take the most direct path to the exit, but the game allows us to go back if we so choose only to lock us into one specific path out. Why the hell would they do this? I mean, it would be an opportunity to collect the red liquid again if you missed it the first time, but no!

  Regardless of the bizarrely forced path out of the hospital, some deranged woman who has given us no reason to trust her has told us we need to go to some creepy “other church” to stop some nebulous something from happening. So for reasons beyond the understanding of mere mortals, WE ARE HONOR BOUND TO OBLIGE.

  Don’t worry about just how we’re supposed to stop the seal from forming or what exactly we can do when we get there. I’m sure the Flauros we have in our inventory will take care of it. It does sound like a great name for a cleaning agent.

Behold! The only place where the Green Lion is identified as an antique shop!
Behold! Literally the only place where the Green Lion is identified as an antique shop! Upper-rightish. Trust me, it's there. And technically, it just says "Antique Green Lion", which could mean something else entirely. Like maybe it's a key to the green Voltron lion or something.

  The trip to the antique store is uneventful. Harry has marked it on the map just in case you didn’t go exploring before wandering into the hospital. But before we do that, let’s check out the post office across the street! Unlike in Nullrigins, we have access to the fire escape alllll the way up to the roof. Outside of what I’m sure is amazing view on an actually fogless day…

Wow! I can see... um... nothing. Nothing from here.
Wow! I can see... um... nothing. Nothing from here.

… the post office just has a really ominous ambient noise that gets louder when you’re on the roof. It’s pretty creepy—almost insect-like. When you leave, it dies down, but resumes as we draw closer to our destination.

  So, let’s see… this was telegraphed with the vision at the start of the hospital, the marked map, the map normally having both “Green Lion” and “antique shop” written on it, the key magically telling us it was for an antique store, and the music becoming louder as we head toward it. You know what? I’ll even ignore Dahlia’s direct orders, too. She said the “other church”, so I guess that’s just a little too hazy to be considered telegraphing. Which ultimately surprises me, considering that the developers thought we desperately needed handholding after our afternoon snacks of lead-based finger paint.

  Five. Five ways.

  Argle bargle I KNEW THIS DAY WOULD COME.

  So there you have it. A whole lot of “Harry, go here!” followed by Harry doing exactly what he’s told. Join me next time for the glorious return of a character in Holy God, Shut the Fuck Up Already.

BONUS:

Harry was sick of everyone ignoring him. This time... this time, they'd pay attention.
Harry was sick of everyone ignoring him. This time... this time, they'd pay attention.

Purchase Project Northwoods at Amazon.com.   Purchase Washed Hands at Amazon.com   Purchase Improbables at Amazon.com.

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