Episode 25 Transcript

25 - Asset 43, Meetings 1-6
by lauren shippen

[sfx: beep of recorder]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, Disciplinary meeting number one. I have not had direct contact with the asset for some time. But given the events of July 2nd, I thought it best that I took over all communication from Agent Green.

[sfx: knock on door]

Director Wadsworth: Come in.

[sfx: opening door]

Director Wadsworth: Sit down, Joan. Please Joan, we might be here for a while. Much to discuss. 

[sfx: closing door]

Director Wadsworth: Well, you’ve been very busy, haven’t you, Joan? I’ve been in DC for the past two months, dealing with some very important government business and I had to leave in the middle of a meeting with the joint chiefs to rush over here. Now, can you imagine how embarrassing that was for me?

Dr. Bright: Did you call me in here to brag about your DC contacts?

Director Wadsworth: I suppose I should have known better than to leave headquarters in the hands of Agent Green. Sweet man, but not exactly the brightest. At least by our standards. Very loyal, though. I imagine it was that quality that drew you in. I always thought you could do much better, Joan. 

Dr. Bright: I don’t really think that’s any of your business. 

Director Wadsworth: Then again, I understand the appeal of being with someone who doesn’t challenge you. You probably enjoyed being so superior - you always did have a hunger for power, Joan. That’s one of my favorite things about you. 

Dr. Bright: Am I here to be psychoanalyzed? 

Director Wadsworth: No, no, although, don’t you miss our talks? Even a little?

Dr. Bright: Can anyone really miss mandatory, bimonthly psychological evaluations with their boss?

Director Wadsworth: Surely they didn’t feel that way - I always had a good time talking to you, Joan. In fact, I’d say I’ve missed talking to you. 

Dr. Bright: What am I here for, Wadsworth?

Director Wadsworth: Oh, Wadsworth? I know it’s been a few years, but surely we haven’t reverted back to our code names. Oh, that’s right, you still use yours. I knew you still had a soft spot for us. You know you’re welcome back any time. 

Dr. Bright: Am I? Even after-?

Director Wadsworth: Right, yes, let’s get to the subject at hand, shall we? You were responsible for breaking and entering and the escape of one of our subjects. 

Dr. Bright: I haven’t been in this facility for two years until today. 

Director Wadsworth: Right. Of course. So it’s pure coincidence that the perpetrator is a patient of yours and the only subject to escape was your brother. 

Dr. Bright: Unlike your patients, mine are allowed to walk free when they aren’t in my office. I am not responsible for how they choose to spend their free time. 

Director Wadsworth: Can we not go through this whole thing, Joan? I know you did it. You know you did it. That’s going to come out eventually, so let’s just skip ahead, shall we?

Dr. Bright: I see you value my word as much as ever. 

Director Wadsworth: I may not have always agreed with you, Joan, but I always trusted you, little good it did me. 

Dr. Bright: Oh. Oh, you want to talk about trust? For someone who was supposedly a “friend and mentor”, you certainly had no qualms keeping the secret of experimenting on my brother.

Director Wadsworth: Perhaps if you hadn’t kept your brother a secret in the first place, we never would have had to go behind your back. 

Dr. Bright: Oh, so it’s my fault that he got kidnapped and locked up?

Director Wadsworth: “Kidnapped” is such an ugly word. 

Dr. Bright: What would you call it?

Director Wadsworth: Protection. 

Dr. Bright: Please-

Director Wadsworth: Mark was completely unequipped to go roaming around the world by himself. Who knows how many atypicals he would have encountered. And on international soil no less - not all governments are as forgiving as ours. The amount of damage he could have done-

Dr. Bright: Mark has perfectly good control, he always has-

Director Wadsworth: And you really think he would have continued to hide his ability? He’s not like you, Joan. He doesn’t have a secretive bone in his body. 

Dr. Bright: Don’t pretend that you know him. 

Director Wadsworth: I’m just going off of what you’ve told me. You were always worried about him. Granted, I didn’t know why at the time-

Dr. Bright: You just sat there. You sat right there and let me talk about how I scared I was when he went missing. And then you would go downstairs and torture him. 

Director Wadsworth: I don’t know where you got these ideas about what we do here. You worked here for seven years - did you ever feel like you were torturing people?

Dr. Bright: I’m not so sure anymore. 

Director Wadsworth: We help people. And yes, things took a turn with Mark - we weren’t prepared for how powerful he was and we certainly didn’t expect Camille to die. We messed up. But so did you, Joan. Taking him out of here without any medical assistance, putting him the hands of a known criminal-?

Dr. Bright: A known criminal? You make it sound like he’s escaped prison - he’s never been convicted of anything. 

Director Wadsworth: Okay, yes, let’s talk about this patient of yours. I’ve got his file right here - Green passed it on and I took the liberty of filling it out with information from some of our partner agencies-

Dr. Bright: Oh, good lord, are you tapping his phone now too?

Director Wadsworth: It’s all routine background check stuff- he’s an American citizen, it wasn’t hard finding some concrete information once we had a photo and his most current address. So Robert Gorham, Class E atypical-

Dr. Bright: Robert Gorham?

Director Wadsworth: You didn’t think Damien was his real name, did you?

Dr. Bright: Well, no. But he’s never offered up his real name to me. He’s always been adamant about being called Damien. 

Director Wadsworth: Good lord, how tiresome. 

Dr. Bright: He isn’t easy. 

Director Wadsworth: No, he seems like quite the handful. Class E atypical, Level 3 manipulator - can project his desires onto others. Would you say that’s the best way to describe it?

Dr. Bright: As good as any. 

Director Wadsworth: Fascinating. I really would love to meet him - I’ve met my share of mind walkers but never a manipulator. Most of them are in- well, I would be very intrigued to experience his power in person. 

Dr. Bright: You’re alone in that. 

Director Wadsworth: What does it feel like?

Dr. Bright: Are you serious? 

Director Wadsworth: Come on, Joan, indulge my scientific curiosity a bit. 

Dr. Bright: It is…unique. Out of all the atypicals I’ve worked with, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. 

Director Wadsworth: It isn’t mind control-

Dr. Bright: No. No, it’s- when he wants something, really wants something, and he starts to project it, you want it too. It isn’t having your mind overruled as much as it is-

Director Wadsworth: Suggestibility-

Dr. Bright: Exactly. Even now that I can recognize when it’s happening, a large part of my brain still feels his want as if it’s my own.

Director Wadsworth: Even while part of your brain understands what’s happening. 

Dr. Bright: Right. 

Director Wadsworth: And if his desire is strong enough then it quiets the dissenting part of your brain. 

Dr. Bright: Though he isn’t always able to make it work.

Director Wadsworth: So he’s only successful when the want is-

Dr. Bright: -deeply felt, yes.

Director Wadsworth: So why did he want to break your brother out of here oh-so badly? As I understand it, there’s no love lost between the two of you. So why would he do such an enormous favor for someone he doesn’t like all that much?

Dr. Bright: I think Damien likes me as much as he can like anyone. Our relationship is complicated. 

Director Wadsworth: Still, you sold him out to us. Why would he then go to such lengths to reunite the Bryant family?

Dr. Bright: Well, as you can see, Damien didn’t reunite me and my brother. Instead he-

Director Wadsworth: Yes, this is all about Mark, isn’t it? Agent Green was a little fuzzy on the details-

Dr. Bright: That usually happens the first time you’re exposed to Damien-

Director Wadsworth: But apparently, Robert - excuse me, Damien - was quite interested in the finer details of Mark’s power. So now I have two class Es who can share and amplify a mind manipulation power roaming free, god know’s where- 

Dr. Bright: Wait, you don’t know where they are?

Director Wadsworth: We don’t actually have eyes and ears everywhere, Joan. This isn’t a Bond movie - no one has trackers implanted in their arms and there’s no facial recognition technology scanning all CCTV cameras. They slipped away, at night, on July 4th weekend, when there were very few personnel here to deal with it. The timing was impeccable and now they are, as they say, “in the wind”. 

Dr. Bright: Unbelievable. So-

Director Wadsworth: Your plan would have worked? Yes, I do think it would have if things hadn’t gone so extremely pear-shaped. That’s why you’re here- why you came today with so little objection. You don’t care about the consequences of what you’ve done - you just wanted to know if we had information you didn’t. 

Dr. Bright: Can you blame me?

Director Wadsworth: I suppose not. You know we would have eventually brought you in anyway, whether or not you came easily. 

Dr. Bright: I know. 

Director Wadsworth: So then, are you willing to cooperate?

Dr. Bright: I thought I was cooperating. 

Director Wadsworth: I mean, from here on out. We may not know where Mark is, but presumably he’s alive and relatively safe. He’ll come back for his big sister eventually, I know he will. It would be a shame for him to return only to find that you’re in prison. 

Dr. Bright: On what charges?

Director Wadsworth: Please. 

Dr. Bright: What do you want from me, Ellie?

Director Wadsworth: I want you back: back here, working for me, working with me, just like before. We need your mind, Joan. 

Dr. Bright: This place is full of brilliant scientists-

Director Wadsworth: But you’re not just a scientist, Joan. You’re smart, yes, but you’re ambitious and good with people - well, when you want to be - and you were good at this job. If you come back now, you and I could be running headquarters in 10 years or less. 

Dr. Bright: What makes you think I would ever want that?

Director Wadsworth: You wanted it once. 

Dr. Bright: People change.

Director Wadsworth: Not that much, they don’t. Can you really tell me that running a fully funded, fully equipped scientific research facility doesn’t entice you? You can’t imagine what we’ve accomplished in the past few years - the doors we’ve opened. You could be on the cutting edge of the research you’ve dedicated your life to. 

Dr. Bright: I have patients to attend to. 

Director Wadsworth: You could still have your pet projects, don’t worry. I know you’ve grown attached to some of your patients. But Caleb will be at college in a year or two-

Dr. Bright: What interest do you have in Caleb?

Director Wadsworth: None. None whatsoever. He’s a perfectly average young man. He isn’t any of any concern. For now. But he’s been stirring up trouble, hasn’t he? Talking to that veteran, asking questions about his boyfriend’s parents-

Dr. Bright: How- none of this information is in my reports. 

Director Wadsworth: I said we didn’t have eyes and ears everywhere; not that we were completely bereft of intelligence. 

Dr. Bright: We made a deal. I wouldn’t report you, I would let the investigation into Mark’s disappearance die, and you would let me have my practice. I’ve done your quarterly reports, which you send my ex-boyfriend to do, by the way, which is completely unprofessional- 

Director Wadsworth: Oh please, like your relationship wasn’t unprofessional to begin with-

Dr. Bright: -and which you seem to do just for the sole purpose of annoying me. But I do them anyway. I give you information on innocent people whose lives would be better off without you because you promised you wouldn’t spy on me. 

Director Wadsworth: And I am happy to say we kept that promise, Joan. I have given you so much leeway but the way you conducted yourself at your last quarterly was highly suspicious. Lying to Agent Green about the patients in your office, misidentifying Robert’s power- how did you think we were going to react once we found out?

Dr. Bright: So you snuck into my office and planted bugs?

Director Wadsworth: I’m worried about you, Joan. You’ve let this obsession with what happened to Mark completely cloud your judgement. You’ve manipulated patients, used them for your own gain- oh, and don’t look so scandalized, you never would have gotten Mark awake without a time traveler so I know you have one of those hidden away. And there’s no way it was mere coincidence that Vanessa’s daughter was in your waiting room when you met with Green. I’m not stupid, Joan. 

Dr. Bright: I know. 

Director Wadsworth: You’ve lied to us about the real abilities of at least two of your patients. That is very troublesome. These are people that could benefit from our vast resources, and you’ve robbed them of that. 

Dr. Bright: I can help them far better than you can. 

Director Wadsworth: Are you sure about that, Joan? Like I said, we’ve made a lot of strides since you left. Are you really so selfish as to deny your patients help that could change their lives? You know, we’re very close to being able to medicate some atypical abilities. Camille’s death was unfortunate but, as you know, every death is a new opportunity to collect data.

Dr. Bright: Oddly enough, I don’t view my patients as potential data points. 

Director Wadsworth: Oh, Joan. We both know that’s not entirely true. Here’s what we’re going to do. I don’t want to report you to headquarters. I’m going to be honest with you, Joan. What happened with Mark and Camille was the first in a long line of major fuck-ups. Which, let me tell you, is not how I wanted to start my tenure as Senior Director. You never congratulated me by the way. 

Dr. Bright: Congratulations. 

Director Wadsworth: You left at just the wrong time. You would have been next up for a promotion, I would have made sure of it.  Anyway, what was I saying. Oh yes: I’m not going to report you. I really don’t need to give the higher ups more reason for disappointment. So I’ll handle you myself. You’re going to come here, twice a month, and talk to me. Just like the old days. 

Dr. Bright: Why the hell would I do that. 

Director Wadsworth: Because I said so. And because I think it will be an informative exercise for both of us. I don’t think you should be left to your own devices - look at where it’s gotten you. For the sake of your patients, and for the sake of your own safety, I think it’s best for me to keep a watchful eye. So. What day two weeks from now works for you?

[sfx: recorder beep]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, disciplinary meeting number two-

[passing time]

Director Wadsworth: You know, Joan, the purpose of these meetings is for you to actually talk. Really? You’re just going to sit there in silence? Isn’t that a little bit immature of you, Joan?

Dr. Bright: What was your meeting with the joint chiefs about?

Director Wadsworth: Fine. I’ll see you in two weeks. 

[sfx: recorder beep]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, disciplinary meeting number three-

[passing time]

Director Wadsworth: I see Caleb is back from his family holiday. That must make you happy. I know no one could ever replace Mark but-

Dr. Bright: Any luck tracking down Damien yet?

Director Wadsworth: No. 

[sfx: recorder beep]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, disciplinary meeting number four-

[passing time]

Director Wadsworth: I suppose the old “doctors make the worst patients” adage applies to therapists as well. You have to talk to me, Joan.  

Dr. Bright: Or what?

Director Wadsworth: Do you really want to find out?

Dr. Bright: Ooh, blackmailing a patient, Wadsworth? Is that ethical?

Director Wadsworth: You would know best, Joan.

[sfx: recorder beep]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, disciplinary meeting number five-

[passing time]

Dr. Bright: -I don’t have time for a vacation- 

Director Wadsworth: I just think it would be good for you to have a weekend away. Every time I see you, you’re more tightly wound. Why not take two days and go to that spa retreat we always talked about?

Dr. Bright: Did it ever occur to you that I seem stressed because I have to come here? If you want me to relax, stop insisting on these pointless sessions. 

Director Wadsworth: They’re not pointless, Joan. We’re re-laying the foundation. 

Dr. Bright: For what?

Director Wadsworth: At some point, you’re going to remember how close we once were. We were good friends and, more than that, we worked extremely well together. And once you open your eyes and realize where you belong, everyone will be better off.

Dr. Bright: Can I go?

Director Wadsworth: Fine. 

[sfx: beep of recorder]

Director Wadsworth: Asset 43, disciplinary meeting number six-

[passing time]

Dr. Bright: I just don’t understand how you have no new information by now. 

Director Wadsworth: You don’t seem to be much closer yourself. 

Dr. Bright: But I don’t have half your resources! 

Director Wadsworth: Joan, we haven’t exactly put a task force on it. 

Dr. Bright: What, why not?

Director Wadsworth: Mark and Robert are not the first fugitives from The AM. You’d be surprised how many loose ends we have out there. 

Dr. Bright: That doesn’t concern you?

Director Wadsworth: Of course it concerns me. But unless they do something to draw attention to themselves, it’s not a top priority. They don’t seem to be dangerous - we would have heard something by now. 

Dr. Bright: Well, who knows how long it will have taken for Mark to fully recover? Who knows if his ability even works anymore after what you did to him. 

Director Wadsworth: Trust me, we can’t remove someone’s ability from them. Do your parents know that you’ve located Mark?

Dr. Bright: I haven’t located Mark, that’s the problem. 

Director Wadsworth: Well, but he’s not missing anymore. Not really.

Dr. Bright: He hasn’t been missing in two and half years. I just couldn’t get to him. 

Director Wadsworth: How are your parents?

Dr. Bright: Let’s not do this, Ellie. 

Director Wadsworth: Are they still living in Europe?

Dr. Bright: They live in Canada now. 

Director Wadsworth: Oh, that’s nice. Have you been to visit?

Dr. Bright: No. 

Director Wadsworth: And I take it they still haven’t visited you since you moved here?

Dr. Bright: No. 

Director Wadsworth: Have you had any contact with them at all? When was the last time you spoke to them - grad school?

Dr. Bright: Why do you care? What does any of this have to do with The AM?

Director Wadsworth: It doesn’t. But I care about you, Joan. You used to talk to me. I had hoped, with these meetings- 

Dr. Bright: What? What? That we would be friends again? Is that what these sessions have been about? You want me to talk about my feelings? Fine. You know, I used to think you were the most incredible woman I’d ever met. I remember my first week at The AM - the chatter that would go on when you walked by. 

“Look, that’s Special Agent Wadsworth, she’s identified more atpyicals than anyone else in this office.” 

“Did you hear about Special Agent Wadsworth? She went up against a multiplier and talked all four of him down by herself.” 

“Did you hear? Special Agent Wadsworth got promoted to Associate Director - the youngest ever.” 

You were fearless and in charge and brilliant. Your report on the effect of exhaustion on those with invisibility changed the way I thought about the relationship between an atypical and their power. By the time I had graduated and was working full time here, I wanted to be just like you. I mean, here you were, only four years older than me, practically running the place. When you decided to take me, of all people, under your wing, I knew I was in the right place. 

I know I’m the practicing psychologist out of the two of us, but you’ve been doing this work for a long time. I’m sure you can guess what it does to a person to have the rose colored glass around their role model shatter so completely. Finding out about the experiments was bad enough but, even then, I made excuses for you to myself. “She doesn’t have control over everything - these were in place before she got here. I’m sure she’s doing everything she can to find a better way - a way to advance the field without hurting people”. But you weren’t. 

I’ve never been that wrong about someone before. So you can imagine how I felt: betrayed, hurt, embarrassed. You duped me so completely - made a fool out of me and destroyed the most important relationship in my life. And I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve carried that betrayal with me into every aspect of my life. You made me doubt and question everything. How could I ever trust my own judgement again when I had chosen to trust you?

Director Wadsworth: You see, Joan? I knew talking about this would be good for the both of us. Saying these things out loud, airing out all the dirty laundry, is an important, necessary step. This is very good progress. Okay, we’re out of time now, but I’ll see you in two weeks. Don’t lose this momentum - we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us yet. 

[sfx: beep of recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: Episode 25 was written and directed by Lauren Shippen, and produced by Mischa Stanton. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Director Wadsworth is Alex Marshall-Brown. Our music is composed and performed by Evan Cunningham. The original Bright theme was written by Lauren Shippen. To hear the full theme and for other bonus content, please visit thebrightsessions.com and follow us on tumblr and on twitter @brightpodcast. And, if you haven’t already, please rate and review us on iTunes. The Bright Sessions would like to thank Elizabeth Laird, Anna Lore, Elizabeth Harrington, Ken Hertz, Oswaldo Rossi, and Authentic. The Bright Sessions will return on November 2nd with Episode 26. In the mean time, thanks for listening and stay strange.