Here, we see Gilbert Graham at his lowest, possibly even more defeated than he was when The Dawn physically beat him at the beginning of the chapter.  Gilbert Graham is a character I tried to portray as eternally optimistic no matter the odds, so the moment where even he falls to doubt and questions whether a superhero can make a difference was intended to be a dark point indeed.

Funny story about this scene.  Back when I was writing it, I was originally going to have Dwight say a line about how he’d gotten in touch with Caroline’s carers and she was fine.  See, here in the UK, with our National Health Service, elderly people get regular visits from care workers to attend to their needs, free of charge.  I am so naive that I’ve come to accept this as a standard thing in a civilised society.  So, when I got to writing this, I asked an American friend what the American word for “carer” was.  He was baffled.  I explained the concept to him, and it was utterly alien.  “If you’re very rich you might have a maid?” he offered.  Something I take for granted over here, and it doesn’t exist in the US.  It’s little things like that that remind you that, for all our ostensive similarities, we are still on the opposite ends of the world from one another.  The fact that some still rail against the idea of free healthcare over there still astounds me.

As a final note: hooray for the return of Bill Finney!  I wanted to add another of my favourite characters to this little love-in.  If I could have gotten away with turning this into a team book with the three of them, I would have.