Once and the Currency of Pain

Once and the Currency of Pain

Birth/The Bear King

I have more feelings right now than I can sort in short order. Once got my tears. It got me talking back to the TV. It got stomach clenching, chest tightness and fidgeting. My backside is burning up but I can’t get off the rocket. And I don’t want to. This is the nature of “It hurts so good!”

I don’t know why they chose to show these two episodes together, scheduling would be my guess because unlike the Season 4 finale, these two are not halves of a two parter. They are separate entities.

Honestly though, I am glad to see them back to back because I needed some falling action after Birth. Wow, using that episode title in a sentence will be tricky business I can see.

Regnor's Dogfish
Regnor: teacher, mentor, friend and artist.

After seeing these two episodes I sobbed in my shower for the loss of a friend and mentor who died a little more than a year ago. His name was Regnor and he was my teacher. He and I suffered serious bodily harm at about the same time and we supported each other through it. In the end, I came out of the darkness and he died. Our paths were separate and our hurts were of very different character, but we walked together through the pain and weakness. We struggled together, fought together, smiled at our successes and lamented our failures together. We kept trying together and he encouraged me to never give up even when it was clear it was over for him. I miss him. And I wish I could talk to him.

I am not sure if these two episodes had been separated by a week that the effect would have been even close.  These two episodes hurt, but they are different hurts. And yet they have a common thread, which, together they wield.

This is the power of fiction.

Once reached out to me to address me personally, to remind me of someone dear. Deep losses like the one in my life I have just described for you can be exercised (no I do not mean exorcised, purposeful choice of words here) and soothed by knowing that someone else has been there. Been there enough to write about it and share it publicly. Fiction let’s us know we are not alone with our grief just as it helps us feel it powerfully.

I suppose some might think that having grief brought to the surface by a piece of fiction is just opening an old wound. But it’s not like that. At least not for me. I value each and every tear I have just shed because it shows me the caliber of my love for another person. I don’t cry over a lost friend a year after the fact because I am a broken person. Quite the contrary. I cry for my friend and am thus valuing our time together. I am remembering.

Once just gave me more time with Regnor, bringing him back into my life to teach me even after he is gone. My tears are not bitter ones, they are bittersweet.

These two episodes pay in the currency of pain and hurt. I do not mistake these for negative feelings. We have just been rewarded for our patience with the build up to this point. Any feelings a piece of fiction causes in the audience are a payday. That’s the whole reason to watch, to feel something, to experience whatever the writers have to offer. We’re on this rollercoaster for the screams and the thrills. Fiction is a playground for the mind and Once just gave us a sparkly new jungle-gym.

Want to help study the magic of Once? Take the survey here. Read about the study here.


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