Nice variation on our “hands on top of hands” cover theme, here.

This chapter, to my mind, is significantly better than 23 but still showing signs of our mid-run creative struggle. I hoped, and I think Phil hoped, that it would achieve a West Wing flavor, livening up the minutia of government with poppy dialogue and strong character beats. If Phil or I had been bringing our A-game, that may have been what y’all got. But I was pretty withdrawn after the conflicts of the previous chapter, and Phil’s free-floating anger turned inward into self-vituperation. After a strong start, he grew almost paralyzed when it came to producing pages anytime before the last minute. The result is interesting on the page-by-page level but doesn’t build much momentum; it vacillates between trying to get into the minutia of government and procrastinating from doing that.

That may suit the personalities involved, but that fact may mean that the personalities involved didn’t match the story we were trying to tell. I’m usually into experimentation: when a TV series decides to structure an episode like Memento or do a magic realism pastiche when it’s normally a straightforward comedy, I’m there for it. But re-reading this one does feel, fundamentally, like we were trying to be something we weren’t.

That said, Phil put a lot of tasty morsels in the stew, and there’s a big, meaty chunk coming up tomorrow.