Ah, yes… a bit of the ol’ “Diffusion of Guilt.” Somebody’s been studying their social psychology.
You know, I feel a little disgusted with myself, now - - commenting on a comment in Hulu’s talk-back - - but there's a post in question that actually does bring up something interesting. Basically, some discerning viewer expressed great displeasure with this episode, saying that he was quitting over the frustrating stupidity on display in the scene where the bystanders just stand back and do nothing as the poor victim gets bludgeoned to death in the middle of the park.
Now, are those people frustrating? Yes, they are. Are they stupid? Yes. But their frustrating stupidity is rather accurately represented. And I can speak from experience. Thankfully, I’ve never been in a situation like this, or like the infamous Kitty Genovese incident which it was likely inspired by; but I have seen an entire crowd of people act in a way that was confusingly opposed to what would seem like basic human nature.
The short version is that I was studying for finals one time in the lower lounge of my college’s library. I went there a lot during the rest of the semester, and I used to sit right by the emergency exit. Normally, the place was pretty empty, but it was absolutely packed on this day during finals.
So… the fire alarm went off. And without much thought, I went straight to the emergency exit, walked down a short hallway and was safely outside of the building in all of ten seconds.
I kept looking back to see if anybody was following… and nobody did. Every single person went up the narrow central staircase and they bottle-necked just as anybody thinking the situation through would expect them to. I waited outside for ten minutes, and watch how people were still taking their time getting out of the place.
Thankfully, it turned out that the alarm was pulled over a fake bomb scare. But it easily could’ve been a real bomb threat. Or a fire.
Now, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. I don't purport to be somebody with great “situational awareness.” But there I was, a normal guy, watching hundreds of college-educated people not taking the emergency exit because - - as best I can speculate - - they simply weren't thinking about why they'd been conditioned not to use it.
So yeah… no speculation about where the plot of this show is heading, this time. No breakdown of cool scenes and shoot-outs. I’m focusing on a very specific idea provoked by “Sweet Poison” here, because this is a very perceptive show.