The Human Division, Episode 10: This Must Be the Place
by John Scalzi, read by William Dufris
Length: 44 minutes
Hello, and welcome back (you missed me, right?) to the Human Division Listen-A-Long! This week, come hang out with the family for the holidays. So pass the spoilers before they dry out, and let’s get going!
Staying with our structure, we step away from the B-Team proper, but this week – we spotlight one of my favorite characters – Hart! I dig that the last two episodes we’ve segued from the B-Team have spotlighted other characters we’re familiar with (the most recent being Lt. Heather Lee). I hadn’t actually realized Hart wasn’t on the Clarke in the last episode…instead, he’s on shore leave, visiting his family for Harvest Day, which is Phoenix’s equivalent of Thanksgiving, complete with the dysfunctional family. So much so, he bookends his stay with his family at a hotel.
When he gets home, Hart is forced to do some soul searching by his family (and his dad’s chauffeur, whose lived above the garage most of Hart’s life) about what he’s doing with his life, and what he wants to be doing. Is being a CDF diplomat really what he wants to be now that he’s grown up?
The answer is: YES! And Hart gives a nice little speech/toast at the Harvest Day dinner about why that is: because he gets to help people and aliens reason together.
So, this is interesting. First off, this is not at all what I thought it was going to be when I heard people (including Scalzi himself) noting the polar reactions to this episode. I half expected to find out Hart and his family were the ones pulling the strings behind all our CDF, Conclave, and Earthlings woes. Instead, we get a slice of family melodrama. We get to see where Hart comes from, and why he does what he does. There’s no whacky aliens as there were in last week’s episode, and there’s very little that’s definitely science fictional about it – other than everything else that’s happened in every other episode of this story, I mean. But hey, I am totally okay with a change in pace and a very relate-able and mundane slice of life. And when I say mundane, I want to clarify I like stories that feature our humanity in the mundane.
Now, I admit, I do kind of wish there was more going on with Hart in his (probably) only moment in the spotlight, but generally, it’s pretty nice and affirming little episode, and we get the feeling that even Hart’s dad is supportive of his decision to continue as a CDF diplomat in the end.
Too bad all families can’t have that kind of aha moment together over the holidays! So raise your glasses, and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!
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