Original edition of this strip did not have Carol in the tags for whatever reason, which prompted some weird speculation that HR was taking someone else into his confidence. Was there a Carol 1.0? Did she discover too many morals at the wrong moment, leading HR to eliminate her and groom some new ingenue? Interesting thought, but there wasn’t time for that in his timeline as I see it, nor would that have suited his transformation.

I mean, to be clear, he’s already got blueprints to put people in tubes, and he has to be aware that they probably wouldn’t aid his purpose willingly. He’s already taking steps down a dark path. But it’s important that he be charming and likable here, because his ability to charm Carol is the entire point. This is how he enlisted her: this is the story she told Shanna about four chapters back. He just wouldn’t be able to do that, in my view, if he didn’t believe he was forming a real emotional connection here. How true that belief is has already been explored elsewhere.

TIL that you’re not supposed to fold up schematic documents like that as if they’re scrolls. But I doubt Carol, an MBA with a minor in philosophy, knows that, and HR’s probably already convinced himself he’s above that kind of rule. These schematics kind of are his magical scrolls, after all.