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Ulysses: Episode 6: Hades: Agent Caitlin 'Kate' Todd: 04/04/09
In the sixth episode of ?Ulysses called "Hades", Bloom and his kith and kin make their way to the funeral of a friend who died in a drunken stupor. In The Odyssey one of the crew dies after falling asleep on a roof in an opiate induced haze. His falling off the roof death serves as a moment of dark comedic humor that later haunts the surviving crew until things are put to right.
I don't think Paddy Dignam will be haunting Bloom. His death here is a reminder of the unexpected nature of life (and death). This episode and the ride to the funeral gives Bloom and the others to talk about death and those that they've lost. It has moments of humor but so far this the most serious episode in the novel.
?The theme of "unexpected death" brings to mind a three part story arch in the second and third season of NCIS when Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd was assassinated by Ari. Although I don't Ari as the early on-going "big bad" of the series I do like way in which the different characters got to say good bye to Kate in "Kill Ari" parts one and two.
Just as the different agents have their own way of approaching and coping with Kate's death, the different funeral attendees in Ulysses have different death stories to share. Interestingly, Paddy's death (and life) is only mentioned in passing compared to the many other people remembered. His death is perhaps too new to sink in or perhaps too expected to be a surprise or something worth morning. His death though is there to remind the mourning of others they have lost.
For the NCIS crew though, the death was too unexpected, coming right after Kate had been shot point blank but in the vest she was wearing. She stands up, cracks a joke and then is shot right through the head. The suddenness of her death makes saying good bye all the harder until her funeral she appears to her former colleagues to help them grieve. How she is imagined says a great deal about the person who is grieving and a bit too about her own personality.
Only Gibbs and Ducky see her as she is in death (bullet hole included). Ducky as the medical examiner has perhaps the most straightforward confrontation with her death: speaking directly to her corpse as he does with all of the bodies he examines. Kate, though, is special and even Ducky isn't immune, she talks back. For the others she is a Goth (Abby), a pin-up school girl (Tony) and a superhero and dominatrix (McGee).
The episode ends with the funeral and the burial of Paddy. Throughout both Bloom's mind wanders, thinking about the rites and comfort of Latin by hiding the worst of things away from the mourners.
Next Saturday I'll discuss Episode Seven: Aeolus which among other things has Bloom's thoughts on reading the Haggadah. How appropriate that it comes during Passover. Nothing has come to mind yet so next week's post will a surprise to me too. If you want to read along, Ulysses is available online at Read Print.
Comment #1: Monday, April, 6, 2009 at 17:19:22
Ah, NCIS ... how I love that show. :)
<"comment2">Comment #2: Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 16:36:22
Thanks for your comment. I adore NCIS. I hope you come back and read more of my Ulysses posts. Later today I'll be posting my thoghts on Episode 7 and talking about J. Jonah Jameson.