Recap / Penny And Aggie Missing Person Suspicious Minds
"Some people measure good and evil based on convenience and comfort. Like heels and flats."
In the early morning, following their police interviews over the Cyndi kidnapping case, Katy-Ann goes to find Duane and encounters Jack and his parents along the way. Jack jokes about the possibility of his being sent to "Gitmo," but neither Katy-Ann nor his parents are amused. Katy-Ann asks Duane whether he thinks Charlotte could have been the perpetrator. Duane is astonished, having thought Katy-Ann had gotten past the history between Charlotte and her. Katy-Ann responds that she's already forgiven Charlotte for attempting to frame her, and is trying to forgive her framing of Sara, but still hasn't forgiven the fact that such deeds make all Christians look bad by association and lead others to walk on eggshells around her. Asking Duane whether he's religious, she notes silently from his nervous denial that he understands. Duane, in any case, insists Charlotte isn't who she used to be, but is now interested in literature and ethics. Katy-Ann, suddenly reflective, suggests that Charlotte is troubled by her past as a "petty" criminal and must wonder, despite trying to reform, what might lead her to revert. Duane senses it may no longer be Charlotte she's thinking of, but points out nonetheless that he's her alibi.
Some time later, at Charlotte's house, her mother manhandles her, demanding to know what she's done that would make the police suspect her. Charlotte's answer "Nothing" results in a slap. Her mother claims that if that were so, Charlotte wouldn't have asked for a private interview. Thinking quickly, Charlotte claims she did so because otherwise her mother would've done all the talking, making her (Charlotte) appear guilty and give them an excuse to persecute her for being someone who "walk[s] the path." (She also claims it must've been Braz who did it.) This succeeds in mollifying her mother, who allows her to go back to sleep.
Some time earlier, Penny catches up with a sheepish Aggie as Nick leads her to his car, and Aggie requests a few minutes alone with her. Anxious, Penny asks Aggie whether she knows why Brandi's being detained. Aggie confesses to having told Agent McBell about the Xena incident. The furious Penny says this is one time she should've acted like her mother, and refused to cooperate with the police. Ignoring Aggie's taking offence to this claim, she insinuates further that Aggie only told on Brandi for the attention.
Aggie explains that it was a drunk driver who killed her mother. The driver survived, and some time later, she and Nick looked into the criminal case "for closure." Although the court found him guilty, the defendant tried bringing in friends as character witnesses. These friends, she says, were all too willing to overlook what he'd done, for the sake of "convenience and comfort" (see page quote). Aggie says that's not her way, and neither was it her mother's, so she warns Penny never to invoke her memory to "guilt-trip" her again. Somewhat mollified, but still unconvinced Aggie did the right thing, Penny asks whether Aggie really thinks Brandi is guilty. Her answer is that she thinks Brandi might
Aggie claims that while she can never be "okay" with Brandi's use of violence, and can't forget it, she has tried to forgive it, for Penny's sake. At this, Penny recalls with shame how she had once been unable to forgive Katy-Ann for telling on her and Rich. So when Aggie, sheepish once again, wonders whether Penny can possibly forgive her,
Penny readily does so, even though she's still upset. "You are how you are," she tells her friend, and admits she can't force her to be otherwise.
With that resolved, Aggie suggests that they get "the team" together and try to investigate the Cyndi case themselves. Penny points out why this won't work: not only do several of their friends and acquaintances not get along, or are busy with their own agendas now, but even the two of them can't agree on the suspects. "It's up to your friend the Fed now," she tells Aggie as their parents come to take them home.
The chapter ends with the revelation that Cyndi is gagged and bound with duct tape to a wheelchair, inside a toolshed. Her captor is Charlotte.
- Abusive Parents: Charlotte's mother. Given her reaching for the liquor cabinet after dealing with her daughter, she may also be an Alcoholic Parent.
- Anachronic Order: The amount of rainfall, or lack thereof, at various points in the chapter show that it doesn't take place in strict chronological order. Thus, the strip with Charlotte and her mother, where it's pouring, takes place after the discussion between Penny and Aggie, which ends when the first few raindrops are starting to fall.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Discussed. Penny argues that this is the correct approach to dealing with the police, and claims that's what Melody would've done.
- When Aggie warns Penny never to use her mother's memory to make her feel guilty again, she says that was only amusing when she thought Penny was "a dumb bitch who didn't know any better." This is an indirect reference to Dinner for Six, in which Penny, in retaliation for the soda-spraying prank, said "What would your parents say?", a comment which, though intended to hurt (as they were still enemies then), Aggie merely brushed off by responding, with a wisecrack, as if both her parents were indeed still alive.
- A more direct Call-Back is to Bridge Out, in which Penny rejects Katy-Ann's plea for forgiveness.
- Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. The comic's very first arc sees Penny discover that Aggie's greatest vulnerability is her Missing Mom, and consider using it to devastate her. However, in this chapter, when Penny invokes Melody while arguing with Aggie, her purpose is to drive home her point that cooperating with the police, particularly by telling on a friend, isn't something Melody would've approved. Because of this—and because Aggie has by this time made peace with her mother's passing—Aggie is not devastated (as she was when Marshall did use it to hurt her). She merely calls Penny out for presuming to know what her mother would've done in this situation.
- Conflicting Loyalty: In deciding whether to tell the police about Brandi's assault of Xena, Aggie faced a choice between her moral principles and loyalty to her friends (not only Brandi, but Penny and Michelle, who were all counting on each other to keep it a secret). She chose her principles. "There's got to be justice, even for Cyndi."
- Death by Origin Story: As in What You Can't Teach, this is a non-Superhero instance, showing how Melody's death contributed to the person Aggie is today.
- Idiot Ball: Aggie's suggestion that she and Penny get their friends to investigate the crime struck some readers as Out of Character and showing a lack of common sense, given that, by providing so much information to the FBI, she presumably trusts them to solve the case. (Not to mention that they're also professionals, with skills and resources which Penny, Aggie and friends would lack.) One explanation may be that Campbell wished to quash the idea, suggested by other readers, that "Missing Person" would end up like "The Popsicle War," in which adults were useless and the main, teen characters saved the day.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Although Katy-Ann initiates the conversation with Duane about the extent to which Charlotte's truly reformed, and the possibility that she may have backslid and thus become the perpetrator, it soon becomes evident she has Jack in mind because she now has doubts about him. Duane lampshades this by asking her, "Are we still talking about Charlotte?"
- Shout-Out: The chapter title is that of a song by Elvis Presley.
- Too Soon: Judging from his parents' and Katy-Ann's reactions, Jack's joke about possibly being sent to Gitmo.
- Wham Episode: The end of the chapter.