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Recap / The Midnight Gospel S 1 E 5 Annihilation Of Joy

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Clancy discovers that the Universe Simulator has created a prison planet for wayward simulated beings. Clancy visits the planet and meets Bob, an angry prisoner.


  • An Aesop: Mindlessly lashing out won't help you find a solution to your problems. Staying calm, being civil to other people, and paying attention is the best way to escape a bad situation.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Bob eventually escapes the cycle of death and rebirth and finds his place in Indra's Net.
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  • Character Development: Bob starts off as a violent, easily angered prisoner. Going through many deaths in attempting to escape the prison in a "Groundhog Day" Loop leaves him in a Despair Event Horizon. By the final cycle, Bob becomes a Badass Pacifist who manages to escape the prison without harming anyone.
  • Death Is Cheap: Characters who died in previous episodes, including Glasses Man, Trudy, and Jam Roll, are shown to be prisoners in the epiphanic prison.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bob's death and rebirth in the prison is an allegory for the cycle of death and rebirth in Hinduism and Buddhism. His escape from the prison and return to Indra's Net is an allegory for moksha and nirvana.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Bob repeatedly dies and reincarnates in the prison until he learns to control his anger, refrain from killing others, pay attention to his surroundings so that he can avert his own death.
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  • Extra Eyes: The deities who judge Bob have spherical heads covered in dozens of eyes.
  • Fantastic Nirvana: The episode ends with Bob achieving a state akin to Nirvana by resisting violence and selfishness, whereupon he ascends into Indra's Net and vanishes out of existence, finally escaping from the endless cycle of death and rebirth.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bob begins the episode as a mindlessly angry prisoner whose violent reactions to frustrating situations get him killed, repeatedly. Part of his character development involves controlling his anger so he can focus on escaping the prison.
  • Helpless with Laughter: Clancy is completely derailed when Jason explains the Buddhist perspective on reality via World of Warcraft, leaving him giggling helplessly and unable to speak for the next ten seconds. Later, Clancy's remark about using a sausage for a snorkel causes both of them to crack up, and the two of them can only laugh uproariously as Bob is killed yet again.
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  • Jerkass Gods: Zig-zagged. The multi-eyed deities who weigh Bob's heart when he dies are forcing him to reincarnate into a violent, hellish prison until he figures out just what he's supposed to learn. However, they are not without pity. They allow Bob's tormented heart-demon to drink their tears and nurse from them when he is overcome with despair. Not to mention how they finally give Bob the tool for escaping the prison once he learned his lesson.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Upon dying several times, it takes Bob escaping the prison without hurting anyone — prisoner or guard — to finally be granted freedom of the timeloop.
  • Objectshifting: Clancy takes the form of an anthropomorphic xylophone in this episode, his first non-organic avatar in the show.
  • Running Gagged: The first episode to not have a planet destroyed just as Clancy departs.
  • Resurrection/Death Loop: The default state of the inmates of the Soul Prison, being doomed to spend eternity dying and being reborn in their cells. Over time, it begins to seriously wear on Bob's already-tattered sanity, to the point that he is reduced to Broken Tears upon being resurrected for the fifth or sixth time.
  • Tron Lines: After Bob returns to Indra's Net, Clancy finds himself in an empty landscape composed of these. Blowing on his shofar does nothing. Eventually, a door opens, allowing Clancy to return to the Ribbon.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Bob's ranting voice is masculine and gruff, but once his tongue grows back, his singing voice is feminine and beautiful.


Video Example(s):


Buddhism and World of Warcraft

Jason, a Buddhist psychopomp, compares faith-based pursuit of brownie points to grinding in World of Warcraft, prompting Clancy to break down in hysterical laughter so extreme that he barely notices the ongoing fight in the background.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / HelplessWithLaughter

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