Prog #96: I Own You, Body and Soul! (The Day the Law Died, part 8)

Case File

Crushed by the Kleggs and Cal’s insane laws, the citizens of Mega-City One try to escape to the Cursed Earth. But Cal refuses to allow this and turns the City into a giant prison.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd is now leading guerrilla-style attacks on the Judges and Kleggs, mostly targeted at demolishing parts of the new wall.

Friends of Dredd

Walter is press-ganged into wall-construction duty but is rescued by Dredd.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

Life has now basically become unbearable for the citizens – bad enough that they’re willing to take their chances in the “Mutant Lands” outside the city. Given what we know about that area, that’s a big call.

This exodus leads to a fair number of citizens escaping, but this route to freedom is cut off by Cal as they, along with prisoners and robots, are forced to build an enormous wall around MC-1. The people are still with Dredd however, with Cal’s forces referring to them as “Dreddists”.

I can’t imagine the mutant denizens are too happy with their new neighbours.

The Alien Zoo

We get a quick glimpse of the “Hounds of Klegg” right at the end of this episode – basically enormous dog-like creatures with alligator heads.

The Law

Cal is imposing more and more restrictive laws – no talking, running or stopping are a few we see in place. There’s also now apparently a “fresh air tax”. Judges are also going into schools to get kids to rat their parents out for not adoring Cal enough.

Cal replaces Deputy Chief Judge Fish with Klegg leader Grampus.

Creeps

“We will build a wall – and the Mutants will pay for it!” OK, I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Slocum is prepared to let the citizens evacuate, but Cal will not rule over an empty City. He gets Grampus to employ any means to stop them leaving while pushing the citizens to construct an enormous wall in three weeks!

Grampus and Cal both admit that Dredd is the main problem, and prepare to unleash some Klegg pets on him.

Rap Sheet

Arrests are rife throughout the City for any minor infractions.

Resyk

Many citizens are killed trying to escape MC-1.

Verdict

It’s hard to put my finger on it exactly, but this just isn’t quite working for me as well as I’d like. Unlike The Cursed Earth, which felt very tightly plotted and planned, this feels very unstructured. One thing just leads to the next thing. Dredd fights back, so the Kleggs are brought in. The citizens suffer, so try to leave. So Cal builds a huge wall.

In a way this works as Cal is clearly just making things up as he goes along, and Dredd is forced to respond. But while that can work on a character level, it doesn’t really work for the ongoing story.

I may be being too hard on this, but we’ll see where the next few episodes leave us.

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