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A Blade of Grass Recap

Dr. Seward asks the hypnotized Vanessa to tell her about the Orderly. Vanessa says that they barely spoke, and she doesn't remember what they talked about when they did. She tells Seward that she was in the room for five months, and the Orderly was the only one who came in that entire time. Seward has Vanessa describe the Orderly in detail, and she does.

Vanessa is ripping at the padding with her fingernails when the Orderly comes in with her food. He sets down the plate and leaves. Later, he comes back and finds Vanessa still scratching at the walls. The Orderly takes it away and brings back another plate, sets it down, and leaves. When he comes back, Vanessa still hasn't eaten. He says that she has to eat but Vanessa just stares off into space.

Seward appears in the room and Vanessa wonders how she's there. The alienist says that her mind is between both worlds, and asks why she didn't eat. Vanessa says that she wanted to die because she had betrayed her friend Mina. She then says that she was evil and Satan had touched her, and there was another demon. Seward tells her to try and remember who it was.

The Orderly comes in and warns that if Vanessa doesn't eat then there will be consequences. She still refuses, and the Orderly straps her to a chair and force-feeds her as gently as he can. Later, Vanessa sits and the Orderly tidies up around her. When he brings her food, Vanessa tells him to bring it to her. He refuses, and Vanessa says that they tortured her that day and she's tired. The Orderly insists that they're making her well, and Vanessa says that the injections and the questions never end. He tells her that she's to begin other treatments the next day. Vanessa wonders if it's day or night, and the Orderly says that they will begin hydrotherapy.

After the treatment, Vanessa sits on the floor, wet and shivering. The Orderly comes in on his duties and leaves. He comes back with a blanket for her and she wraps it around herself. Later, the Orderly returns and says that he needs the blanket back. Vanessa insists that she'll die without it, and the Orderly explains that she's not supposed to have it in case she hangs herself. She finally hands it over and then leaps on his back, scratching his face. He starts to hit her, but then stops, stares at her, and goes as Vanessa lunges at the door and then collapses, sobbing.

Later, the Orderly comes back after Vanessa has been put in a straitjacket, so that he can feed her. He says that Dr. Banning has ordered that she wear it until they're sure she's not dangerous. Vanessa says that she is dangerous, not ill, and apologizes about his face. She tells him that there's no fight left in her, and the Orderly says that it's science to make her better, not torture. Vanessa insists that it's designed to make her a "normal" woman and cogs like all the others. The Orderly insists that the women he knows aren't cogs, and says that it's day if Vanessa wants it to be day. He refuses to tell her his name, saying that it's against regulations, As the Orderly feeds her, he says that Vanessa must get better and warns that the treatments get worse but refuses to say how. She says that she isn't ill, and that no one believes what is really the matter with her. Vanessa explains that she has been touched by Satan because her faith wasn't strong enough.

The Orderly shows her the wooden spoon he's using and says that he made it for his son. He's not well, and the metal spoon hurt his mouth so he made a wooden one. He admits that he brought the spoon from home, and refuses to tell Vanessa his son's name because it's against regulations. The Orderly asks her to get better and starts to go, and says that he believes what she said about Lucifer. His eyes turn black, and Lucifer says that he was there and they have a lot to catch up on.

Vanessa tells Seward that she saw the Orderly with the eyes of Lucifer. Seward tells her to remember if there were other episodes, and Vanessa orders her to stop the session. The alienist says that she can't, and Vanessa is in a fugue statement and won't come out of it. Seward tells her that she's had a physical and mental break, and doesn't know when it will end. She knows that Vanessa won't die, and asks what Joan would say to her. Vanessa says that the cut-woman would have said to be true, and Seward assures Vanessa that she'll come out of it when she's found what she's there for. She promises that she won't leave Vanessa for anything in the world, and tells Vanessa to keep going.

The treatments continue and escalate, and they gag her. The Orderly comes in, helps her to the chair, and removes the gag. He then brushes her hair and admits that he's not good at it. The Orderly says that he's sick to see Vanessa the way she is, and admits that it is torture rather than science. He puts makeup on her and talks about how he would leave the institute if he could, but jobs are scarce and he needs the work. However, the Orderly insists that he wouldn't leave Vanessa until she's better, and perhaps they could walk out together. Vanessa just stares at him without reacting, and the Orderly finally holds up a mirror. He invites her to take a look, and she finally does. The Orderly says that's who she is, and she should never forget it.

As Vanessa starts to cry, the Orderly reads to her from a book of children's poems: the only book of poems he has. He reads through the night, and finally says that he has to go before the day orderlies arrive. The Orderly takes the makeup off so that no one will discover what he's done, and tells her that one day no one will touch her without her permission as he puts the gag back on. As he goes, the Orderly says that it's Christmas.

Later, Vanessa tells the Orderly that she's lonely. Her parents stopped coming, and Vanessa figures that she will never leave. She says that she's only been with one man and should have died a virgin, and then removes her robe and hugs the Orderly. Vanessa kisses him and after a moment he kisses her back, but then pushes her away and puts her robe back on her. Before he goes, the Orderly says that if she doesn't show signs of improvement then Banning will lobotomize her. She'll lose all of her body functions, and no one who has ever been lobotomized is ever the same as they were before. The Orderly asks if her specialness is so important, and Vanessa asks if he would want his son to pretend to be normal. He admits that he doesn't, and Vanessa tells him not to ask it of her.

The Orderly sits down and asks what she is if she isn't ill, and Vanessa insists that she's touched by Lucifer. He wonders why Lucifer would be interested in her, and Lucifer speaks through the Orderly, saying that he loves her. Lucifer points out that the door is locked and there's no escape, and they've never been able to release him with trephining. Vanessa says that she isn't afraid, and Lucifer tells her that he wants her to embrace him of her own volition, not fear him. She demands his name, and Lucifer insists that he is the Fallen Angel. The shadow of a snake moves along the wall toward Vanessa, and she says that her God is merciful. Lucifer points out that His mercy has never touched Vanessa or anyone else, and they crawl toward each other. The couple joins hands and Lucifer tells her that together they will smite God from his throne.

A man's laughter rings out and Lucifer cowers back into the corner. The lights go out and Vanessa walks forward. Dracula appears, wearing the Orderly's body as well, and asks who Vanessa wants him to be. Lucifer says that he is the Father of Beasts: Dracula. The shadow of bats flicker on the wall as Dracula tells Lucifer he dwells on Earth while Lucifer dwells in the dark netherworld. Dracula says that the world is turning away from faith, and Vanessa is a thing of the flesh. He doesn't want her spirit: he wants her flesh. Once Vanessa kisses him, the world will become a pestilence to Mankind as the Night Creatures emerge. As Dracula caresses her, Vanessa asks what name she will know him by, and Dracula tells her who he is.

Satisfied, Vanessa backs away and says that they are two brothers fallen from grace, the spirit and the animal. Her soul and body are promised to God. She dares them both to do their worse, and starts chanting in verbia diablo. Vanessa levitates and casts them out with her incantation... and finds herself in her cell, sitting with the Orderly. He wonders why Lucifer would be interested in her, and Vanessa says that she's tired and needs to sleep.

Seward tells Vanessa that she can come out now. Vanessa refuses, saying that she's not done there yet.

The Orderly comes in with food after Vanessa has meet with Banning and had her head shaved for the surgery. She finally says that she couldn't counterfeit normality well enough for Banning, and spoke of the glory of God in all things. The Orderly assures her that she'll feel no pain and talks about his wife and his son. He then says that he resigned and will be leaving the next day. The Orderly describes how he was talking about traveling, and how only one thing lives in the Frozen North, cold and lonely. Taking her hand, he assures Vanessa that he will stay long enough so that the last person she sees before the lobotomy is someone who loves her. Crying, Vanessa kisses him and the Orderly says goodbye.

Vanessa comes out of her trance, crying, and Seward offers her a drink. The alienist asks her what she remembers, and Vanessa says that she remembers everything. She now knows the name of her enemy: Dracula.

Written by Gadfly on May 23, 2016

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