Sometimes you need to pit your hero against a superior tactician, maybe with the additional advantage of surprise. Your hero might develop tactics of their own by the end of the story, but handling that initial encounter can be tricky: how to let your hero survive without using dumb luck as a cheat, or worse, making the antagonist suddenly get stupid?

One method is to make a plot point out of whatever makes your hero distinctive, the actions they perform that most others wouldn’t. Not even the best tacticians can anticipate every action a person might take, like doubling back just to spend five more minutes on a freaking intercom in the middle of the street, trying to shout-win an argument that’s poked her right in the mommy issues. JJ isn’t looking around much right now because really, who would plan for the target to double back on her own trail?

Had Shanna not done this, she would have kept the original appointment with Chrissie that was set up via PMs on Xan’s computer. JJ would’ve shown up at that agreed-upon time and place, found Shanna and maybe Chrissie too, and, well, that would’ve been that.

This is the last time I’ll mention my clashes with Flo for a while, but another one of them was a partial inspiration for this scene. Let’s just say it takes some pretty intense argument for walking the streets of Philadelphia alone to feel like a preferable alternative.