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Observing The BlackGuard Entry 4: Mercer And Odan

27 Mar 12
Jerrod Smith
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5 comments

This entry covers the mentor/student relationship that seems to have formed between Odan and Eli Mercer.

Whenever I see Odan and Mercer interact with one another, I think of a “black sitcom”. I could picture Mercer as the once famous professional athlete who returns to his former high school as a no-nonsense coach. Upon returning to the neighborhood that he worked so hard to escape as a youth, he sees that the current generation of students are disturbingly content with the less-than-desirable conditions of their education system. Among these students is the knuckle-headed Odan. Odan is that student who is far from “book smart”, but still has much talent and potential.

In most sitcoms, the relationship between these two would slowly develop from rebellious student and strict teacher to the young protege and his mentor. I don’t quite see things happening that way with these two. If Mercer really were Odan’s high school coach, I get the feeling his highest hopes would be just to get the boy to graduate school and earn a minimum wage job. I’m certain Mercer sees a ton of skill in Odan, but what he does not see is a hero deep down in him (This is the part where Odan would say “pause”). If he can just prevent Odan from becoming a menace to society, then he will consider his job done.

There’s probbly even less respect coming from Odan’s end, though. It’s apparent that the young ninja has issues with authority. I think this may be anger that stems from the absence of his father in his life. Many boys that grow up without a father gravitate towards father figures. Odan does the opposite. He has no interest in gaining Mercer’s approval. The only reason he puts any effort into executing Mercer’s commands is to show everyone he’s as good as he says he is.

You know, the more I discuss the relationship between these two, the more I’m convinced this would make a great TV show…

– Dr. Hugo Cranium

Next Entry: Melanin and Doome

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Observing The BlackGuard Entry 3: Sequoia And Doome

20 Mar 12
Jerrod Smith
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7 comments

In today’s entry, I’ll be discussing the odd dynamic between Darius Doome and Sequoia.

This has probably been the most difficult relationship to analyze thus far, most likely due to the lack of communication between these two. It is as if they speak two different languages, with Sequoia speaking the language of sensibility, and Darius speaking the language of… well, crazy.

Darius is, undoubtedly, insane. He revels in insanity. He surrounds himself in it. If it’s normal, Darius Doome is not interested in it. As a result, he seems to disregard Sequoia almost entirely. Her rational way of thinking is of no concern to him. If anything, he seems to be just as confused by her view of the world as she is of his. Oddly enough, through Darius’s eyes, Sequoia is the crazy one.

One thing that I find interesting is how little Darius’s insanity concerns Sequoia. Sequoia seems to be the glue that holds The BlackGuard together. She tends to hold the responsibility of keeping everyone on the same page. Her method of dealing with each teammate differs from person to person. Her way of keeping Darius on track is doing absolutely nothing at all. She may not understand most of what goes on in that fractured mind of his, but if there’s one thing she gets, it’s that Darius loves a unique challenge. As long as The BlackGuard continue to face dangerous (and unusual) opponents, such as this “Crucial The Ape”, Darius is prepared to face it. Ironically, the most unstable member of The BlackGuard, is the one Sequoia worries about the least.

– Dr. Hugo Cranium

Next Entry: Mercer and O.D.A.N.

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Observing The BlackGuard Entry 2: Staples And Odan

09 Mar 12
Jerrod Smith
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4 comments

Today’s entry covers what is quite possibly the most antagonistic relationship amongst The BlackGuard: Jonnie Staples and O.D.A.N.

At first, one might see Staples and Odan as having a sibling-like rivalry. They bicker constantly, ruthlessly insult and criticize one another, and compete with each other in every way possible. The amount of effort that Mercer has to put into controlling their violent outbursts against each other, while simultaneously leading them in battle, reminds me of a father trying to separate his two sons in the back seat of a car while driving.

As I’ve watched Odan and Staples more closely, I’ve come to the realization that “sibling rivalry” is not a strong enough term for their relationship. They passed simple rivalry a long time ago. To put it simply, they hate each other’s guts. Their mutual contempt for one another appears to be deeply rooted, most likely originating from a time before they were even drafted into BlackGuard. Neither of the two seems to be willing to divulge what event started their long-running hatred. Considering how simple-minded Odan can be and how clearly psychotic Staples is, I wonder if even THEY can remember their first encounter.

It’s funny, though, how having each other as rivals makes them both more useful to the team. Both Odan and Staples have apparent issues with taking orders. Mercer would have a much harder time getting them to do anything if it were not for each wanting to prove himself better than the other. If the mission is to save innocent bystanders, then Odan wants to save more people than Staples, and vice versa. As long as they’re competing with each other, they’re always performing at the top of their game. What Mercer should be worried about is how effective either of the two would be without the other.

Next Entry: Darius Doome and Sequoia

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– Dr. Hugo Cranium

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Observing The BlackGuard Entry 1: Mercer and Melanin

27 Feb 12
Jerrod Smith
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7 comments

I have begun my sessions with the super(hero?) team, The BlackGuard. They are quite unlike any other group I’ve counseled before. In the short amount of time I have spent amongst them, I’ve noticed a bevy of complex relationships among the members of the group.

In these series of entries, I will be discussing how the teammates see, and interact with, each other. There will be a total of fifteen entries, each covering a different pairing. Without further ado, I’ll begin the first entry with subjects Eli Mercer and Afia Melanin.

What makes the dynamic between Mercer and Melanin so interesting is the fact that, at first glance, one would think they have a lot in common. In a way, I guess they do. Both seem to take a great deal of pride in being of African American decent. Both see that the black race is far from reaching its true potential. Both are dedicated to seeing that the race moves forward. Both agree on the destination. Where they differ is on the path to take.

Mercer feels the best way to help African Americans is by focusing on the problems within the race, eliminating them, and then uplifting his “brothers and sisters”. Melanin, on the other hand, focuses her attention on destroying what she perceives to be the enemy (the white man). I’ll put it this way: If, metaphorically speaking, blacks are at ground level and whites are standing at the top of a latter, above our heads, Mercer works daily to build another ladder for his people to climb so that they can stand on equal ground. Melanin would rather just push the whites’ ladder over, preferably into a pit.

Mercer is well aware of the harm Melanin’s brute strength combined with her radical nature could do to race relations. I’m beginning to think his reason for recruiting her into BlackGuard was less for her rehabilitation and more for the sake of preventing her from bringing about a full-on race war.

Melanin respects Mercer for what he has accomplished in his life, but believes he does not have the conviction to bring about the “revolution” they both seek. She prefers to take the fight to her opponents, which often puts her at odds with her leader, who does not have quite as much confidence in her as she has in herself.

I guess this is a good place to stop for now. Next Entry: O.D.A.N. and Jonnie Staples.

– Dr. Hugo Cranium