It took us three full drafts to get this concluding confrontation to its final point… and even then, John’s interpretation adjusted it a little more. I don’t remember for sure what drafts were whose, although I feel like most of the important stuff was Flo’s.

The hard part was letting go of all the things we wanted these two to say to each other. There’s so much left unsaid. “Y’never cared that he killed me… y’never really cared. Y’r goddamn celebrity couple was always more important than anythin’.” “Byron would have axed his EYES OUT before allowing himself to berserk again! HE KILLED HIMSELF WITH EVERY KILL! *YOU* WERE THE ONE IN COMMAND OF YOURSELF HERE! And you think you can wriggle out of your responsibility by venting old grievances and petty grudges? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, A HEAD OF HOUSE???”

But the more words we put in, the more it started to feel like intellectual rhetoric and continuity porn getting in the way of raw feeling. Some of our ideas were things we’d slip in later, in Chapter 37 or in the non-canon rap battle, but they didn’t belong here.

All that belonged on this page were a few cold facts: The fighting is over. Byron is dead. Syr’Nj and Bandit both believe that Bandit killed him. So Bandit might as well have actually done it, really. Bandit will not apologize.

Funny thing, though. I looked back at the script for this page, and panel 3 plays out a little differently there than how I read it here. Description reads, Close on Bandit, still woozy from the meds. A flash of regret and sorrow crosses her face: Byron was her friend, really, and it’s largely fear and panic and failure that’s made her say the things she has… And then panel 4 starts with, But those emotions aren’t quite done with her yet.

That might’ve been asking a bit too much for expressions to convey. To my eye, all panel 3 conveys is “woozy from the meds,” and it seems more like her limited wakefulness is still processing that he’s actually dead, not yet feeling one way or the other about it. You might read it differently.

I do wonder how it’d play with the audience if we’d let Bandit vocalize any conflict about Byron’s fate anytime after this moment. I do think the warmer feelings she had for him are still in her somewhere. But after this, she’s gonna do her best to bury them like they’re old tender memories of a toxic ex.