Prog #181: I Want That Boy! (The Judge Child, part 26: Judgement on Fire Mountain)

Case File

Dredd faces off against the last member of the Angel Gang, before finally reaching his goal – the Judge Child.

Ol’ Stoney Face

So, after roughly three months in space on this epic quest, Dredd spends about two seconds looking at the Judge Child and decides he’s evil. He then decides to leave him on Xanadu, ignore Judge Feyy’s warning, and head back to Earth.

There’s a lot to analyse here, but this seems like a rash and frankly insane decision. Even if he is 100% sure of his judgement, why not take Owen back to MC-1 and make sure? The child has proven predictive skills, does Dredd not think that will be in some way useful? He really thinks it’s better to leave a child with this much power and apparent evil nature just out there in the universe?

Friends of Dredd

Hershey and Larter are both understandably shocked by Dredd’s decision, given Lopez’s death and how seriously Dredd took this mission

The Law

When Owen tries to defend his killing of Pa Angel, Dredd tells him that Judges are trained for years to make those kinds of decisions.

Creeps

Pa Angel is devastated by the death of Junior, and runs at Dredd firing wildly. This strategy doesn’t go so well for Pa, and the eruption of Mount Fire sends him tumbling off the bridge. He manages to hang on briefly, as Dredd sentences him to death. But it is the Judge Child himself that ends up sending Pa Angel to his final demise.

And here, from no less authority than Dredd himself, we finally move Owen Krysler into the “Creeps” category. The Judge Child can form a forcefield around Pa Angel that stops Dredd’s bullets, before he cracks the rock Pa is holding onto – sending him to the lava below.

Dredd looks into Owen’s eyes… and sees only evil. Owen ends this 26-week epic stuck on Xanadu with the Grunwalder.

Resyk

Pa Angel is the last of the Angel Gang to perish.

Verdict

It’s very hard to not review this episode by just looking at the entire epic. Looking at this episode on its own… it’s OK. Owen stopping Dredd from killing Pa Angel so the boy can do it himself is effective, as is Dredd’s brief but intense discussion with the Judge Child. But it all feels way too fast. Strangely, with 26 episodes to play with, it feels like they’ve tried to do too much in these last five pages. Not the huge epic finale I was hoping for.

Having said all that, Hershey and Larter’s reactions to Dredd’s decision are a good meta moment. The problem is, just commenting on how ridiculous something is within a story doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

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