Episode 56 Transcript
56 - Dr. Bright
by Lauren Shippen
[sfx: toaster ping]
Dr. Bright: Sunday, April 23rd - I am officially moving out of my office today. Sam has done a good job of setting up a work space for the two of us at her house and by the end of the week, I’ll be working from there full-time. I think it will be helpful for us to work in the same space more consistently. I’m hoping it will give us time to…
[sfx: Dr. Bright biting toast]
Dr. Bright: Well, to learn to trust each other a little more. Sam has been nervous about moving forward with the project since everything that happened with Ellie, but I think she understands it’s more imperative than ever. And perhaps now that Owen is Director…maybe we’ll be able to utilize some of the AM’s resources after all.
[sfx: Mark entering kitchen]
Mark: Morning, sis.
[sfx: recorder click]
Dr. Bright: Do you want some toast?
Mark: Nah, that’s alright. I’ll stick to coffee.
[sfx: Mark pouring himself coffee]
Mark: Back to recording audio notes, huh?
Dr. Bright: It’s always helped organize my thoughts. Getting them out prevents them from just going round and round in my head.
Mark: Yeah, I get that.
Dr. Bright: Did you sleep okay?
Mark: Yeah, I did. Thanks. But you don’t have to ask every morning.
Dr. Bright: I just know you’d gotten used to sleeping at Sam’s.
Mark: Yeah, well, that might have been true before but staying here is sure as hell a lot less stressful now. Less chance I’ll vanish in the night.
Dr. Bright: How are you two doing?
Mark: We’re okay. We’re, uh, talking more. Than we did before. We only ever got into the heavy stuff when we had to. Now we’re, uh, I don’t know, we’re putting it all on the table I guess.
Dr. Bright: I’m glad to hear that.
[sfx: Dr. Bright biting toast]
Mark: I hope it hasn’t made things weird between you two - us being in kind of a rocky place.
Dr. Bright: No, it hasn’t. Sam and I have our own issues to work through. But I think we will. I think, ultimately, we’ll actually make a pretty good team. We can keep an eye on each other.
[sfx: Dr. Bright biting toast]
Mark: Yeah, that’s…that’s good.
Dr. Bright: Mark?
Mark: I got a job.
Dr. Bright: What? That’s fantastic. What job?
Mark: Well, it’s a photography job, uh, which is good. Shooting live concerts, which is different from anything I’ve ever done, but it should be cool.
Dr. Bright: Are you working at one of the venues downtown?
Mark: Uh, no. Going on a tour, actually. Do you remember Kayla, my friend from college?
Dr. Bright: The one with all the piercings and the multi-colored hair?
Mark: Yeah, that’s the one.
Dr. Bright: Yes, I remember her.
Mark: Don’t be such a square, Joanie.
Dr. Bright: How quickly you forget which of us got their tattoo first.
Mark: Oh, I didn’t forget. I’m still sour that you didn’t take me with you. I would have loved to have seen that.
Dr. Bright: You were fourteen and tattoo parlors aren’t exactly a kid friendly place.
Mark: Eh, depends on the kid.
Dr. Bright: So what about Kayla?
Mark: Right. Well, she’s in a band now, playing drums. They’re getting kinda popular, and they’re going on tour this summer. Just a US tour, but it’s 3 months and they’re playing some really good venues.
Dr. Bright: And you’re going to go with them?
Mark: Yeah, I think so. The pay is shit, but it’ll be good experience and I can expand my portfolio. Kayla thinks the band might be about to get their big break, so it could give me a lot of great exposure. She’s really doing me a solid honestly.
Dr. Bright: I didn’t realize that you were still in touch with your friends from college. You know you can have people over - I always liked your friends, piercings and crazy hair aside.
Mark: That’s not true.
Dr. Bright: Sure I did. I didn’t always understand them, but you have fairly good taste in people. For the most part.
Mark: Gee, thanks, Joan. But, no, I, uh, haven’t really been in touch with people. Kinda hard to reach back out after so many years, you know?
Dr. Bright: Yes, I do.
Mark: But she posted a thing on instagram and I DM’ed her - I didn’t mention it to you because I wasn’t sure anything would come of it but she officially asked me a few days ago so here we are. And I think it might be the perfect job. I’ll shoot the shows at night but during the day I’ll be driving and then I can shoot whatever city we’re in, hang out with the band. I think it’ll be good for me.
Dr. Bright: Mm, yes, rock bands are known for their common sense and sobriety.
Mark: I’ll be okay, Joan. I— I told Kayla about the drinking. And apparently their bassist is an alcoholic too so- so, you know, we can be sober buddies.
Dr. Bright: Oh. Well. That’s good.
Mark: Yeah, and, um, I don’t know, I do kind of miss hanging out with my old friends. I mean, I feel so lucky that I was able to drop back into your life and have a whole community of people right away. You gave that to me. But I do miss being normal. I know I wasn’t really ever normal-normal, but I used to have a lot of friends. And I love the people in my life, but it’s always one crisis or another. And, a lot of the time, I’m the crisis—
Dr. Bright: Mark, no one thinks of you that way.
Mark: I know. But it’s true. And a break from Atypical life might not be the worst thing in the world for me.
Dr. Bright: You know there are other Atypicals out there - ones that you won’t know or be used to.
Mark: Yeah, I know. But, uh, Wadsworth was right.
Dr. Bright: About what?
Mark: I have better control now. They did help me with that. All those years of pairing me with other Atypicals…I know how to handle it.
Dr. Bright: Most of the time.
Mark: Yeah. Most of the time.
Dr. Bright: You know that Ellie was serious. When she said she would come after you if you risk exposure—
Mark: I know, I know. But I can’t— I can’t live my life in hiding anymore. You have to trust me.
Dr. Bright: Okay. So…three months, huh?
Dr. Bright: And then?
Mark: And then, I don’t know. Three months at a time is about as much as I can handle right now. Look, I know you’re worried—
Dr. Bright: Of course I am. You’re going off on your own…
Mark: Joanie, I’m twenty-eight years old, I should have been off on my own a long time ago.
Dr. Bright: You had five years stolen from you, you’re allowed to take your time catching up.
Mark: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing. Joanie, that’s- that's what we’ve both been doing.
Dr. Bright: What are you talking about?
Mark: You spent all that time trying to save me and then you did it and, as far as I can tell, nothing in your life changed.
Dr. Bright: Of course it did. I got my brother back.
Mark: And wasn’t that supposed to mean you could start having a life again?
Dr. Bright: I have started—
Mark: No, you haven’t. When was the last time you actually spent time with friends?
Dr. Bright: What, do all the movie nights not count?
Mark: Sure, yeah, those count, but Joan, those are people you feel like you need to take care of. I mean, they started as your patients—
Dr. Bright: I know it’s not the most usual way to make friends, but I do care about them—
Mark: Of course you do. I’m not— I’m not trying to criticize. But, c’mon, Joanie - I know you. Are you telling me that you don’t feel at least somewhat responsible for them?
Dr. Bright: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. With wanting to look after people. That’s literally my job.
Mark: That’s kind of my point. Who’s taking care of you?
Dr. Bright: You all do. You cook me dinner and Sam listens to me complain. Caleb is even coming by later to help me move the furniture out of my office. Where is this coming from?
Mark: I just— I don’t want to leave and have you bury yourself in work again. Be honest, if I wasn’t over here all the time, bugging you to watch movies or play cards, what would you be doing with your free time?
Dr. Bright: I…I don’t know.
Mark: Do you think maybe you should find out?
Dr. Bright: I’m not unhappy, Mark. I don’t want you to think that I am. I’m a bit frustrated sometimes, there’s things I’m still angry about, but you’re alive. You’re safe.
Mark: Exactly. So you get to have a real life now.
Dr. Bright: Yes, well, I’ve been a bit busy, if you haven’t noticed.
Mark: I know. And I know that that’s partly my fault. I’ve been— things have been hard. And I don’t want to be the problem that you constantly have to fix.
Dr. Bright: You’re not a problem.
Mark: But I also don’t make your life easier.
Dr. Bright: That doesn’t mean I want you out of it.
Mark: Oh, come on, Joan, you’re never getting rid of me. But I’m trying to do a nice thing for you here. I want to take care of you for once.
Dr. Bright: That doesn’t mean you have to run away.
Mark: I’m not running away. Hey, if you really want me to stay, I’ll stay. But — and maybe I’m wrong here — but the thing you want is for me to be okay, right?
Dr. Bright: Of course.
Mark: Okay, well, I don’t know that I can do that by staying here. Not right now, anyway. And I just— I wanna be okay for you. I’m not ever gonna be the brother that you had. I— I think that I thought I could be. I thought that we could eventually get back to where we were but I’m not the same person. And neither are you. And that’s okay, but…
Dr. Bright: We need a little distance.
Mark: Yeah. Do you think I’m wrong?
Dr. Bright: No. No, I don’t think you’re wrong. I have been deflecting. From living my own life. First with looking for you and then with trying to get you better. After— after you disappeared, I stopped caring about anything other than finding you.
Mark: We both lost five years.
Dr. Bright: Yes, I suppose that’s true, in a sense.
Mark: Joanie, thank you. I don’t think I’ve said that enough. I’m so grateful to you. For— well, uh, well for everything. Everything since I was a kid, basically.
Dr. Bright: You’re welcome.
Mark: I think we’re going to be okay.
Dr. Bright: So, what, are you the well-adjusted one now?
Mark: Fuck no. I don’t think either of us can claim that title. But…I don’t know, I feel good, Joanie. I’m free, I’m healthy, Damien’s gone, I stood in front of Wadsworth and didn’t puke or pass out, I have a job…things are the best they’ve been since I was twenty-two. Hell, things would be pretty much perfect if Sam— well.
Dr. Bright: Have you talked to her about this yet?
Mark: Not yet. I want to ask her to come with me, but…
Dr. Bright: You don’t think she will.
Mark: She really cares about what you guys are doing. And, well, it might be for the best. If I’m honest I’m kind of scared.
Dr. Bright: Of her? I know she broke your trust—
Mark: No, it’s not that. Not entirely, anyway. It’s that, well, she was right. There’s things about me that we don’t understand. And her ability — I don’t know how to handle that one. Not yet.
Dr. Bright: You’re scared of getting trapped again?
Mark: Traveling with her was terrifying. I just…sometimes I think back on when we first met. It was torture in so many ways. I never knew when or if I was going to see her again, I couldn’t touch her, I couldn’t keep her with me, but I was safe. I couldn’t get more trapped. Things are harder in the real world. I’d never want to go back to a place that I couldn’t find her but it was simpler.
Dr. Bright: Simpler isn’t always better.
Mark: No, it’s not. But it is usually less dangerous.
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry.
Mark: Me too. I thought being in love with someone who loved you back was enough. Guess that’s not true for Atypicals.
Dr. Bright: It’s not always true for normal people either.
Mark: Were you in love with him? Agent Green?
Dr. Bright: I don’t know.
Mark: It’s okay if you were.
Dr. Bright: No, I— I honestly don’t know. The years we spent together are all now colored by what he did. I don’t have a clear view of how I felt then. I only know how I feel now.
Mark: How do you feel now?
Dr. Bright: Tired. Holding that kind of anger for as long as I have is exhausting. I don’t know that I have the energy left to hate him anymore.
Mark: Well, that’s probably a good thing if you want him as an ally.
Dr. Bright: You’re okay with me potentially cooperating with The AM again?
Mark: Might as well get what we can from them, right?
Dr. Bright: For instance, a safeguard against accidental time travel?
Mark: Hey, if it exists, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it.
Dr. Bright: We’ll see what we can come up with.
Mark: I have no doubt. You’re going to do good things, Joanie. I know we’ve been through the ringer, but there’s still no one I trust more than you.
Dr. Bright: Alright, you big sap, I have to get to the office and finish packing things up.
Mark: Yeah, yeah—
Dr. Bright: Dinner later?
Mark: Sounds good. Maybe we could invite Sam?
Dr. Bright: I think that’s a great idea.
Mark: Cool. I’ll see you later, Joanie.
[sfx: Dr. Bright packing up]
[sfx: Agent Green knocking]
Agent Green: Joan? Are you busy?
Dr. Bright: Owen. What are you doing here?
Agent Green: Is now a bad time?
Dr. Bright: No, it’s fine. I’m just—
Agent Green: Oh, wow, everything’s packed up.
Dr. Bright: Yes. Once the AM stopped footing the bill for office space, it was only a matter of time. Especially now with what Sam and I are doing—
Agent Green: Um, that’s actually why I’m here.
Dr. Bright: Don’t tell me you’re going to try and stop us after all of that.
Agent Green: No. Well, not exactly.
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Agent Green: I’m officially starting as Division 4 Director tomorrow. And, well, while things didn’t turn out exactly as we hoped—
Dr. Bright: Yes, Ellie getting a fancy new corner office is not what I’d call ideal.
Agent Green: If it’s any consolation, I’ve been to headquarters and seen the offices for deputy directors. She’ll probably be stuck in some windowless room with fluorescent lighting. Because they don’t take any patients, the DC office has never attempted to be anything close to appealing.
Dr. Bright: Small victories.
Agent Green: Joan, I— I still think there’s something to be salvaged here.
Dr. Bright: Owen, I’ve told you—
Agent Green: No, no— I’m sorry, I’m not— I’m not trying to win you back, Joan. I know that ship sailed a long time ago. I want us to work together again.
Dr. Bright: Oh.
Agent Green: Now, I know that you don’t trust me—
Dr. Bright: Actually, I’d been hoping we could find a new arrangement. I’m not going to pretend that the AM doesn’t have information that could be invaluable to us. I know I was harsh to you when you were assigned to check in on my practice. But I think now we could be civil.
Agent Green: I agree. But I wasn’t thinking that we’d go back to the quarterly reviews and information sharing.
Dr. Bright: Then what were you thinking?
Agent Green: Come back to the AM.
Dr. Bright: Excuse me?
Agent Green: Come work for me— um, with me. You and Sam both.
Dr. Bright: You want to hire Sam and I to work at the AM?
Agent Green: That’s right.
Dr. Bright: Are you out of your mind?
Agent Green: I don’t think so.
Dr. Bright: You do realize that Sam has hacked you several times and the two of us were responsible for a major security breach?
Agent Green: Yes, I’m very aware. But Joan, you were rescuing your brother—
Dr. Bright: Yes, I know what I was doing. And I don’t regret a second of it. But you can't—
Agent Green: I’m trying to right my wrongs. Some of them, at least. I’ve spent the whole week tossing and turning, trying to decide if I should even accept this position. I’m not qualified. Wadsworth was right, I’ll make a terrible Director—
Dr. Bright: If she thought that, she wouldn’t have given the job to you. She wouldn’t sabotage a whole division.
Agent Green: It’s a bribe, Joan. Recommending that I be made Director so that I don’t make a fuss about her promotion. She’s trying to buy my complicity.
Dr. Bright: And is it working?
Agent Green: I don’t know! I don't know. HQ is clearly not as unimpeachable as we hoped. Wadsworth ran things badly, yes, but she’s not the only problem.
Dr. Bright: And so you want to reform things from the inside, is that it?
Agent Green: I’m not even sure that’s possible. But it's worth a try. But that doesn’t change the fact that I won’t be good at this. Not alone. I want you to be Director with me. I won’t be your superior, you won’t answer to me. Ellie was right about one thing. Disagreement can be healthy. We don’t always see eye to eye on things—
Dr. Bright: That’s putting it lightly—
Agent Green: And I think that would be beneficial. Checks and balances. We can hold each other accountable.
Dr. Bright: I swore I would never go back and work in that place.
Agent Green: You didn’t always hate it.
Dr. Bright: We’d- we'd have to eliminate Tier 5 entirely. Maybe change the classification system — having a whole category just for dangerous abilities is not doing anyone any favors—
Agent Green: I agree. With the division under review, massive system changes are on the table. We could start doing good work again.
Dr. Bright: Why are you doing this, Owen?
Agent Green: Because I actually do want to make people’s lives better.
Dr. Bright: But why do you need me to do it?
Agent Green: I don’t trust myself. Not after the past few years. I’m— I don’t have enough…what did you call it once? “Moral fortitude” to do this job on my own.
Dr. Bright: And you think I do?
Agent Green: I think we’ve both made enough errors to know what wrong looks like. Someone with a spotless record is going to dirty it up eventually and maybe we can avoid that collateral damage.
Dr. Bright: You think we’ll make the right decisions because we’ve made so many bad ones before?
Agent Green: There’s something to be said for experience. And Joan, you haven’t made that many bad decisions.
Dr. Bright: I haven’t been running the most ethical practice here.
Agent Green: But you look out for your patients. I know you do. If you’ve done less than honorable things, you’ve had good reason.
Dr. Bright: You can’t— you can’t do that, Owen. You can’t continue to view me through rose colored glasses.
Agent Green: I don’t—
Dr. Bright: Yes, you do. You always have.
Agent Green: And you’ve always been too hard on yourself. I admire striving for perfection but you are allowed to recognize when you’re doing a good job. You are…better.
Dr. Bright: What do you mean? Better than I was?
Agent Green: No, I- oh gosh, you’re just better. Than most people. You try. You learn from your mistakes. And you’ve always made me want to do the same.
Dr. Bright: Yes, well. Thank you. But you still can’t put me on a pedestal. Not if we are actually going to hold each other accountable.
Agent Green: Are you saying you—
Dr. Bright: I’ll have to talk to Sam.
Agent Green: Of course. I would love for her to come along as well. She could be a very valuable asset to us— no, I'm sorry. Not an asset. A good addition to the team.
Dr. Bright: Right.
Agent Green: I, um, do you think it would be alright if I talked to her first? I’d like her to hear my proposal from me.
Dr. Bright: Don’t trust me to put you in the best light?
Agent Green: Frankly, no. I don’t blame you—
Dr. Bright: No, it's- that’s good. You shouldn’t.
Agent Green: Right. Okay, then I’ll go do that. And then we’ll talk.
Dr. Bright: Yes. We’ll talk.
Agent Green: Wonderful.
[sfx: opening office door]
Chloe: Dr. Bright?
Dr. Bright: Chloe, what are you doing here? It’s wonderful to see you, how are you?
Chloe: I’m doing really well, thanks.
Dr. Bright: How was your time away?
Chloe: It was great, honestly. I learned a lot.
Dr. Bright: I’m very glad to hear that. Chloe, is everything alright?
Chloe: Hm? Yes, sorry, I’m just— I’m trying to take my time now. In conversations. I’ve been working on balancing the thoughts in my head. Trying to process them internally rather than externally.
Dr. Bright: I see.
Chloe: But I can probably try to not listen to you at all if you want. It’s a little hard when I’m standing this close to someone to change the volume, but I could give it a shot.
Dr. Bright: No, that’s alright, I don’t mind actually.
Chloe: Well, let me know if that changes.
Dr. Bright: I will. I must say, I’m very impressed.
Chloe: Thanks. It was a lot of hard work, but Mr. Sandoval really knows his stuff.
Dr. Bright: That’s wonderful. Do you mind if I ask how he knows so much? Is he Atypical?
Chloe: No, but he studies them. Not with the AM though. He’s more independent. Used to be part of some other organization…the Order of something, I never got a clear read on it. He’s pretty cagey about his past…wait, what? Does that sound familiar to you?
Dr. Bright: Yes, it does. Do you— do you think Mr. Sandoval would be willing to talk to me?
Chloe: I can ask. He’s a bit of a hermit— I think the only reason he took me in is because he and my mom were a thing back in the day— but I can email him.
Dr. Bright: A hermit with an email? How very modern.
Chloe: It’s a strange world out there.
Dr. Bright: That it is.
Chloe: I’m glad everything turned out okay. With Mark.
Dr. Bright: Thank you.
Chloe: And I’m sorry about everything that happened with Wadsworth—
Dr. Bright: I wasn’t just thinking about that—
Chloe: Oh no, I know. I wasn’t— Sam told me. I just came from there.
Dr. Bright: Ah, I see.
Chloe: That’s actually kind of why I’m here.
Dr. Bright: Is everything okay with Sam?
Chloe: Yeah, she’s great. A little gobsmacked by Agent Green’s plan for a new AM—
Dr. Bright: He called?
Chloe: Actually, he stopped by. And I was there…
Dr. Bright: You listened?
Chloe: With permission. Once he saw that I was there, he asked me to stay. Read his thoughts and let Sam know if he was sincere or not.
Dr. Bright: Really?
Dr. Bright: That’s a bold move.
Chloe: I thought so too.
Dr. Bright: And he said you could share these thoughts with me?
Chloe: He wanted me to.
Dr. Bright: I take it they’re good then.
Chloe: He’s serious. He wants to make real changes. He knows he’s imperfect, and he wants to change.
Dr. Bright: You’re impressed.
Chloe: Yeah, I am. It’s always kind of reassuring to know that people can still be good. I mean, I always knew he was a bit of a softie— god, you should have heard his thoughts that first time in your office, oh, he was mooning over you— oh, sorry, I probably shouldn’t have told you that. Old habits die hard and all.
Dr. Bright: Was there much mooning today?
Chloe: No. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he still thinks you’re the bees knees, but he knows he screwed that up beyond repair. He just wants to work with you. For real. Unless he’s gotten really, really good at hiding his thoughts from a telepath, there’s no hidden agenda. No tricks. No traps. Just a man who is terrified out of his mind that he’s going to make a bad thing worse.
Dr. Bright: Hm. I can understand that.
Chloe: Yeah, who knew Agent Green was so relatable?
Dr. Bright: So you think we should do it.
Chloe: Well, there have been worse ideas.
Dr. Bright: That’s what Sam said too. About working with Owen.
Chloe: Maybe you need to be in the belly of the beast to really kill a monster.
Dr. Bright: Are you suggesting we mount a rebellion from inside the AM?
Chloe: Okay, no, not really. But you know I’m right.
Dr. Bright: There is a certain appeal to affecting change from within an established institution.
Chloe: Exactly. You want to do this, don’t you?
Dr. Bright: Can’t you hear the answer to that question?
Chloe: Yes. It’s still polite to ask.
Dr. Bright: Yes. I think I do.
Chloe: Then why are you tip-toeing into it?
Dr. Bright: There’s nothing wrong with caution.
Chloe: Okay, yeah, that’s fair. But if you’re hoping Sam is going to make the push, you might be waiting for a long time. I don’t think she’s going to try and pressure you into it. She’s pretty scared— nope. Sorry. That’s not my place. You should talk to her.
Dr. Bright: I’m scared too, you know. Well, of course you know. Hence the tip-toeing. It seems like a big decision to make without one hundred percent confidence that it’s the right call. But there have been very few decisions in my life that I’ve been completely certain about, so maybe…well. I’m scared too.
Chloe: You know, you might benefit from a few months in the middle of nowhere. When was the last time you took a vacation?
Dr. Bright: I- Huh.
Chloe: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Bright: I’ll think about it.
Dr. Bright: Thank you. For all the inside intel.
Chloe: You’re welcome. It was nice, to be asked. And a little surprising. I haven’t met a lot of people who want me to read their minds. But it felt good to be useful. Especially with something that I’m always doing anyway, whether or not I like it.
Dr. Bright: Thinking about becoming a spy?
Chloe: God, can you imagine? I’d either be really amazing at that or the worst spy you’ve ever seen.
Dr. Bright: So what will you do? Now that you’re back?
Chloe: I don’t know. First step is helping move Frank to Chicago. He at least wants to spend the summer there so me and mom are driving him out. Making a trip of it.
Dr. Bright: What a lovely idea.
Chloe: And then…who knows. I’d honestly love to find a way to do what I did with Frank and his paintings. Help people who aren’t able to paint or sculpt or whatever it is, realize their artistic visions. But I’m not sure what that would look like yet.
Dr. Bright: I have no doubt that you’ll figure out.
Chloe: Yeah. I’m optimistic.
[sfx: Caleb entering the office]
Caleb: Alright, I think that’s the last of it.
Dr. Bright: Thank you so much again for helping me with this, Caleb.
Caleb: Yeah of course. Lifting heavy things is, like, my entire purpose in my family.
Dr. Bright: I’m sure that’s not true.
Caleb: Yeah, okay, knowing everyone’s mood all the time definitely comes in handy. Especially since I don’t know how much use my muscles are going to be anymore.
Dr. Bright: Just you wait- you’ll come home from college on break and instantly be put to work.
Caleb: Nah, it’s not like that. It’s…Dr. Bright, I think Alice is Atypical.
Dr. Bright: Yes, you’ve said that before. What do you think she can do?
Caleb: No, no, I’m serious. I really think she’s Atypical. Either that or she’s, like, on steroids.
Dr. Bright: I highly doubt your fourteen year old sister is on steroids.
Caleb: Right, yeah, exactly. So, the other day, we were playing quidditch—
Dr. Bright: One day you are going to explain to me how you are able to play a fictional game from a book about wizards—
Caleb: You just hold a broom in between your legs and get a fast kid to be the snitch. Though Alice and I play alone a lot and just leave the snitch out of it.
Dr. Bright: That doesn’t actually illuminate anything for me.
Caleb: Whatever, you don’t need to understand how quidditch works for this conversation. So Alice threw the quaffle at one of the hula hoops I was guarding—
Dr. Bright: I’m getting further away from it—
Caleb: —and I caught it and fully got thrown back, like, five fucking feet.
Dr. Bright: What?
Caleb: Yeah, it was like being tackled by one of the biggest guys on our team. I, like, honest-to-god have a bruise.
Dr. Bright: That is…strange.
Dr. Bright: Was Alice doing anything in particular when she threw the…
Dr. Bright: The quaffle.
Caleb: No. Just normal Alice. No weird sparks or waves or other comic book stuff. Just a really fucking strong arm.
Dr. Bright: She should come see me.
Caleb: That’s what I said. So you believe me?
Dr. Bright: Of course, Caleb. There was always a chance she would be Atypical and what you’re describing sounds an awful lot like super strength.
Dr. Bright: I guess you’re right. Your parents really won’t need you to lift the heavy things.
Caleb: Yeah, I should have just brought Alice with me today. Would have made moving that desk easier.
Dr. Bright: Yes, I’m sorry I wasn’t much help in that regard.
Caleb: Don’t worry about it.
Dr. Bright: Thank you for doing this.
Caleb: Count it towards my internship hours.
Dr. Bright: You still have your sights set on that?
Caleb: I think it’d be cool. Especially with what’s going on with Alice now.
Dr. Bright: There’s something you should know…
Dr. Bright: We might go work at the AM.
Caleb: What? Seriously? Why?
Dr. Bright: I’m sure you’ve heard that Annabelle has moved on.
Dr. Bright: How is Adam doing?
Caleb: He’s okay. Hopeful, I guess.
Dr. Bright: Mm.
Caleb: Wha- are you hopeful too? You are! Whoa, that’s so fucking weird.
Dr. Bright: Why is that weird?
Caleb: I dunno, it’s just rare. You’re usually pretty, you know…
Dr. Bright: Cynical?
Caleb: Nah, not cynical. Just realistic, I guess? You think she might be okay now that she’s moving to headquarters?
Dr. Bright: I have no idea, Caleb. I’m not going to hold my breath on Ellie changing her ways but people keep surprising me. And I guess I am hopeful. I’m hopeful that that continues, in a general sense.
Caleb: Is that why you’re going back to the AM?
Dr. Bright: You know, I used to be a lot like you. I wanted to help people. Make their lives easier.
Caleb: You’re a therapist. You do that.
Dr. Bright: Not always.
Caleb: You did it for me.
Dr. Bright: Thank you for saying so, Caleb.
Caleb: I mean it. I know I’ve said it before, but I wouldn’t be where I am without you. You changed my life. Aw, man, you don’t need to go getting so sappy on me.
Dr. Bright: I’m not the one saying extremely nice things.
Caleb: Still I can feel it.
Dr. Bright: And you’re still embarrassed by it?
Caleb: Guess I need to get over that, huh?
Dr. Bright: No, you don’t. You get to feel whatever it is you feel. That’s the wonderful thing.
Dr. Bright: For what it’s worth, you changed my life too. You reminded me why I joined this field in the first place. To help people. And the AM might be the best way to do that.
Caleb: Well, then, I guess an internship at the AM could be kind of cool.
Dr. Bright: It’s how I started.
Dr. Bright: Yes.
Caleb: Was it- did it work back then? The AM?
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Caleb: Like, did their programs and stuff work? Or was Annabelle already doing all that shit?
Dr. Bright: Ellie wasn’t Director yet when I started there. But, yes, it worked. As far as I could tell. Now I wonder…in the beginning, I didn’t have all the information. I don’t think I had any idea of what was actually going on. Ellie and Owen were smart and capable and wanted the same things for Atypicals that I did. I’m not sure what happened.
Caleb: Sorry. I didn’t mean to make you sad. I always seem to do it anyway, though.
Dr. Bright: It’s alright, Caleb. I guess I just don’t know if the place corrupted the person or the other way around.
Caleb: Maybe a little bit of both?
Dr. Bright: Yes, I think you’re probably right. Ellie and The AM both have their darker sides and they just brought them out in each other, I suppose.
Caleb: That’s not going to happen to you. You’re worried.
Dr. Bright: Yes.
Caleb: It won’t be like that. You don’t have— well.
Dr. Bright: Were you about to say that I don’t have a darker side?
Caleb: I mean, nobody’s perfect.
Dr. Bright: That’s true. I have my faults. I’m well aware of them.
Caleb: And that’s why you’re going to be okay, I think.
Dr. Bright: I think you might be right.
Caleb: Alright, I should get going. Adam and I are going tux shopping this afternoon.
Dr. Bright: Ooh, very exciting.
Caleb: I hate shopping. But Adam refuses to let me wear my dad’s powder blue tux from his prom—
Dr. Bright: I think you should listen to your boyfriend on this one.
Caleb: Yeah, you’re probably right.
Dr. Bright: Well, then, I’ll see you in a month or so. Graduation. You ready?
Caleb: Yeah, I think I am. But you’ll for sure see me before then.
Dr. Bright: That sounds good.
Caleb: Bye, Dr. Bright.
Sam: I brought you an office-warming gift. Or, well, an anti-office-warming gift. An office-cooling gift. A goodbye gift- you know what, just, here you go.
[sfx: Dr. Bright pulls a bottle out of a bag]
Dr. Bright: Why, Samantha, this is very nice scotch.
Sam: I know. Don’t tell Mark, he’ll be so heartbroken.
Dr. Bright: It’ll be our little secret. Should we toast?
Sam: That’s what it’s for. I’m thinking maybe I’ll like it better if it’s the really good stuff.
[sfx: Dr. Bright pouring scotch]
Dr. Bright: Is that a slight against my scotch supply?
Sam: No, no, god— I’m sorry, I didn’t mean— You’re teasing me, aren’t you?
Dr. Bright: In my defense, you are sometimes very easy to tease. Cheers.
[sfx: clinking of glasses]
Dr. Bright: Mm, that is spectacular.
Dr. Bright: Still not a fan?
Sam: Yeah, don’t think it’s for me.
Dr. Bright: A valiant effort all the same. Thank you, Sam. This is a very nice gift.
Sam: Have to commemorate the occasion in some way. A lot has happened in this office.
Dr. Bright: Yes, it has.
Sam: So…are we going to talk about the enormous elephant in the room?
Dr. Bright: What do you want to do?
Sam: I don’t know. On the one hand, it sounds like the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life and on the other hand it makes a certain kind of sense.
Dr. Bright: Yes, my thoughts exactly.
Sam: And, well, traveling back in time to help a mysterious man on behalf of my therapist seemed like a kind of shoddy idea there for a while, but it all turned out okay.
Dr. Bright: If I recall correctly, you were prepared to help said mysterious man long before I said anything about it.
Sam: Yeah, you're right, I was.
Dr. Bright: Did you two talk?
Sam: Yep. Boy, it’s been quite a day, hasn’t it?
Dr. Bright: You know, if I went to the AM, you wouldn’t be tied here anymore. It wouldn’t be the two of us trying to build something. You could go with him.
Sam: I know.
Dr. Bright: You’re not going to.
Sam: I don’t think I am. Not right now. I don’t think he wants me to. Not really. I don’t want to lose him but, even more than that, I don’t want to hurt him.
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry.
Sam: Me too. But I think time apart is probably necessary. We both have things we need to work through and maybe someday…well, I don’t know. But I, uh, I gave him something to keep him company. When I went looking for him, last summer, I kept a kind of audio diary. Recorded him a bunch of messages. And I never gave them to him. Too embarrassed I guess. But now he has them. To listen to while he drives. If he wants.
Dr. Bright: You know you could also just pick up the phone and call him. He’s not going to Mars.
Sam: Yeah, I’m gonna do that too. I mean, I’m terrified about what he’s going to encounter out there so I know I’m going to want to check in but, well, I don’t know, the audio notes seemed like a good idea in the moment.
Dr. Bright: I think it’s very nice.
Sam: Are you going to be okay?
Dr. Bright: I will certainly be calling him every day, just to make sure he’s still alive. I may even start texting.
Sam: Wow, that is serious.
Dr. Bright: I think it will fine. Difficult at first but it’s his choice. The fact that he’s even making it is a good sign, I think.
Sam: Yeah. So…what do you want to do?
Dr. Bright: I think you’re right. I think it makes a certain kind of sense. It accelerates what we’re able to do by quite a lot. We won’t have to start from scratch.
Sam: But aren’t you nervous? About going back?
Dr. Bright: Of course. But I’m more…it’s funny. Earlier today I told Mark I was tired of being angry. But I think I was just tired of being angry at specific people. Because, in reality, I’m fucking furious.
Sam: Wow. Okay.
Dr. Bright: I’ve= I've never been the idealist. I’ve had no illusions about what’s required for progress. I don’t agree with Ellie - I don’t think it has to be brutal to work - but I also have never tried to pretend that it’s all sunshine and smiles. Caleb asked me if The AM had always been doing bad things and I realized that I didn’t know, not really. I chose not to know. I knew there were Tiers that held more serious cases, but I didn’t stop to think about what that really meant. Not until my work brought me further into that orbit.
Sam: But then you actually did something. You went looking. You tried to find out what was really going on.
Dr. Bright: Yes, I did. But I worked there for years under the assumption that - even if The AM had some unsavory secrets - we were all working towards the same thing. I thought it was better than this. I still had some faint hope that the larger institution was working. That, no matter how slowly or painfully, we were moving forward, on the whole. But that isn’t necessarily true. An organization that allows someone like Ellie to do what she’s been doing…she’s at fault, of course, but she’s not the only one. And it is a massive disappointment, to be honest.
Sam: And this is you wanting to go work for them?
Dr. Bright: Yes. Because, hopefully, it means I can’t break it more. Owen is right, he won’t be that good at his job. He’s too much of a yes man, even if he does have good intentions.
Sam: And you are definitely not a yes man.
Dr. Bright: No, I’m not. And I’m not spending one more day feeling bad about that. I’ve broken so many rules, and some of them I feel conflicted about but, for the most part - at least when it came to the AM - the rules were bad in the first place. Being in a position where I can make the rules seems like something I should be doing. If I can’t completely heal the wound, maybe- maybe I can at least stop the bleeding.
Sam: And, well, you really want me to come with you?
Dr. Bright: Why wouldn’t I?
Sam: It took me almost no time at all to go from complete recluse to someone who betrayed the people she cares about most. I may not be the most stabilizing influence.
Dr. Bright: But you’re self-aware - you realized what you were doing and you stopped yourself. It’s like what Owen said - maybe making the mistakes we have makes us uniquely suited to do better in the future.
Sam: Yeah. Maybe.
Dr. Bright: People?
Dr. Bright: The people you care about most.
Sam: Yeah. You. Who else would I be talking about?
Dr. Bright: You— you didn’t betray me.
Sam: I broke your trust, Joan. By spying and by calling Damien. I know how badly you wanted to be rid of him - he hurt you too. It was selfish, me risking him getting back into our lives. And I— I shouldn’t have said those things to you—
Dr. Bright: It’s alright, Sam—
Sam: No, it’s not. You don’t have put up with that, Joan. Not from me, not from anyone. You deserve better. And I'm- I’m sorry.
Dr. Bright: Apology accepted.
Sam: Good. And, listen, if you don’t trust me to make the right choices, it’s okay, I’ll—
Dr. Bright: No, Sam. I want you to come with me. I— I care about you too. Regardless of where you and my brother end up in the future, you’re family.
Sam: Oh. That’s. Thank you, Joan. You don’t know what that means.
Dr. Bright: I think I do. I’ve been without a family myself for quite some time.
Sam: Right. Well, not anymore. So…are we actually doing this? Are we going to work at the AM?
Dr. Bright: I think so.
Dr. Bright: Indeed.
Sam: I’m not panicking.
Dr. Bright: Good?
Sam: I just- if you had told me six months ago I’d be sitting here, having this conversation, I definitely would have expected some anxiety.
Dr. Bright: And you’re not anxious?
Sam: Oh no, I am- I am definitely anxious. I'm just…I’m also here. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, I’m learning.
Dr. Bright: No, they’re not. You don’t have to, you know.
Sam: I know.
Dr. Bright: Don’t use this as another way to hide.
Sam: Don’t use this as another way to distract from having a life outside of your job.
Dr. Bright: Touché. This might actually work.
Sam: Yeah. It might. Did you ever, in a million years, expect you’d be going back?
Dr. Bright: No. But I can’t say anything in my life is really what I expected.
Dr. Bright: We don’t always end up where we expect. But that’s not a bad thing.
Sam: I guess it keeps things interesting.
Dr. Bright: I know that isn’t your favorite - unpredictability.
Sam: No. No, it’s not.
Dr. Bright: Despite that, do you think you’re ready? For another new adventure?
Sam: Yeah, I think I am. You?
Dr. Bright: Yes. I’m ready.
[music & credits]
Episode 56 - like all the episodes of The Bright Sessions - was written and directed by me, Lauren Shippen. This episode was sound designed and produced by Mischa Stanton and all of our music is composed by Evan Cunningham. In this episode, you heard the voices of Julia Morizawa as Dr. Bright, Andrew Nowak as Mark, Ian McQuown as Agent Green, Anna Lore as Chloe, Briggon Snow as Caleb, and me as Sam. I also want to acknowledge the talents of the rest of our cast - Charlie Ian as Damien, Alex Gallner as Adam, Alex Marshall-Brown as Wadsworth, Phillip Jordan as Frank, Alanna Fox as Rose, and Reyn Beeler as Charlie Decker. This show wouldn’t be what it was without the incredible abilities of our voice cast and I am so thankful to have had them all as part of this family. And a massive thank you to one of our unsung heroes - Elizabeth Laird - who has provided psychological consultation as well as the voice of Sarah, Dr. Bright’s receptionist. This show wouldn’t be a positive force for mental health without her. Elizabeth is also my sister so when I tell you The Bright Sessions would never have happened without her, I mean that in the largest sense. A lot of people have made this show possible through advice and support and simply being part of our community. So thank you to Elizabeth and Matthew Harrington, Ken Hertz, Ilyssa Adler, Paul Richards, Oswaldo Rossi, Authentic, Matthew Elblonk, Liz Campbell, and Meghan Fitzmartin for all of your expertise. I’m especially grateful to the community of podcasters and writers that have lifted us up since the beginning - David Rheinstrom, Wil Williams, The Bello Collective, the teams at the Whisperforge, Wolf 359, and Wooden Overcoats, Ben Acker, Jeffrey Cranor, Joseph Fink, and so many more who helped us along the way. Becoming part of this audio drama family has been the best part of my career.
But most importantly I want to thank you: our listeners. The love you’ve shown for this show and for us has been the greatest gift. I’m so grateful for all of your messages and tweets and comments and fanart - seriously, I have two whole bookshelves in my apartment dedicated to art people have given me, it’s amazing. It’s been so rewarding to hear about how you’ve been growing and changing and healing and dealing with your own challenges. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t write about superheroes, but so many of you have made me believe in them. I’m inspired by your strength and resilience and empathy. Continue being exactly who you are and the world will be better for it.
And a special thank you to our patrons on Patreon. I know I’ve said it ad nauseam, but truly, this show wouldn’t be what it was without you. Not only does your financial support enable us to make this a real, professional endeavor, and do crazy things like make a musical episode, but your emotional support keeps me going. I love popping into the discord or having our Q&As and getting to talk to you directly. You really are my strange and unusual family.
On that point, our patrons have enabled us to do 9 bonus episodes that explore Dr. Bright’s other patients throughout her time as a private psychologist These will be coming out, once a month, starting on July 16th. Yep, that’s right, there will be a new episode in your feeds in just over a month. I’m really excited about these bonus episodes, which will bring more writers and actors into the fold. This first bonus episode is written by none other than Dr. Bright herself - Julia Morizawa - and has a very special guest star.
Then, we’ve got our first spin-off coming out in April of 2019. As you may have guessed by now, it is going to be about Dr. Bright, Agent Green, and Sam working at The AM. If you’ve been wanting a closer, inside look at the place and all the Atypicals it contains, this series is for you. Then, in 2020, we’ll be catching up with Caleb in the new phase of his life: college.
Stay subscribed to this feed so you can keep up with everything we’ll be releasing in the next few years. And, of course, The Bright Sessions will always be here to keep you company.
Lastly, from myself and everyone else who has worked on this show: thank you for listening and, as always, stay strange.