Plot Holes Exposed – WIF @ the Movies

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Beloved Movies

and

TV Episodes

with Gaping

Plot Holes

At this point, writing a script for a film or an episode of television should be down to an exact science. Even people with a passing interest in scripts know about phrases such as inciting incidents, peaks and valleys, and denouncements, and even without popular web-pages like IMDb goofs or the endless ranks of video essayists on YouTube, we can sniff out a hole in a plot.

So knowing audiences have that level of savvy, how can filmmakers that have to devote months, if not years to these projects think that they can get away with having holes in stories that seem like they would take a conscious effort to ignore? On top of that, how do they sometimes not only get away with it but make movies and episodes that audiences cherish for generations? Perhaps we can gain some insight into that by looking at the stories below. All 10 examples are, we should mention, movies and episodes that we love enough to have watched multiple times. Still, you can’t really love something until you accept its flaws.

(By the way, if you’re expecting Citizen Kane and its infamous supposed plot hole to be on here, check this page for why it isn’t. Also, SPOILERS ahead!)

10. Avengers: Infinity War

In the fourth movie in world history to gross over two billion dollars at the box office, the villain Thanos wants to become so powerful that he can, at a stroke, kill half the universe’s population to provide more resources for the other half. Aside from how nonsensical that is (think how many systems of producing and distributing the needed resources would be practically wiped out, how traumatized many of the survivors would be, etc.) considering he can do whatever he wants with time, space, reality, and so on, it also means that he can provide infinite resources to everyone. So why would he kill half the population to deal with alleged shortages?

However, some might try to dismiss that by claiming it’s part of his insanity. In terms of sheer plot mechanics, there’s a less high-falutin example near the end of the movie. The hero Doctor Strange possesses a green stone which allows him to, among other things, reset time for at least a short period. This was demonstrated quite memorably in the climax of Doctor Strange. Yet after a confrontation with Thanos late in the movie, he allows himself and his associates to be defeated without employing this power at all, despite the loss being an extremely near-run matter. There’s a common trope among superhero stories of the heroes “forgetting” their powers, but rarely does it go that far.

9. Get Out

While the meticulous plotting of Get Out‘s screenplay required twenty drafts and resulted in Jordan Peele receiving the Academy Award for Best Screenplay, he left an unfortunate hole in the story that’s as much unnecessary as it’s a cheat.

The basic plot of the film is that Chris goes with his girlfriend Rose to visit her parents’ home. While there, he encounters a person from his neighborhood who is now in a relationship with a much older woman. Since he and other black people that Chris has encountered have been acting weirdly, he is deeply suspicious, even before he receives confirmation from his friend Rod that, indeed, the person he just met has been listed as a missing person, just as numerous other black people in that neighborhood have been. Shortly after, Chris discovers a box in the closet of the bedroom he and Rose have been sleeping in. It is full of photos of Rose with a large number of black boyfriends and girlfriends, including the person Chris knew was missing, revealing that something profoundly wrong is happening.

The issue is this: Why does Rose have that very incriminating box of evidence where Chris could find it? In the following scenes, it’s revealed that Rose is a willing participant in the disappearances and feels no remorse. Indeed, we see her casually looking through photos of up and coming athletes shortly after, indicating that she’s already moving on from the harm she’s going to inflict on Chris, so it’s not as if she’d subconsciously be sabotaging the crime. They’re also printed photos even though the movie is set in contemporary times when surely she would be inclined through social conditioning to take digital photographs. Even the best screenplays can’t seem to escape these missteps.

8. Black Mirror: National Anthem

Often hailed as The Twilight Zone for the internet age, Charlie Brooker’s science fiction anthology struck a chord with audiences from its pilot episode, which premiered in December 2011. In the episode, Princess Susannah is kidnapped by an unknown person who will only release her alive on the condition that the prime minister do something by that late afternoon that the prime minister very much does not want to do, with the full understanding of the public. One of his subordinates makes arrangements to cheat the arrangement in the event Princess Susannah is not rescued in time. Word of the attempted cheat gets out, so the kidnapper releases a video of him removing one of the Susannah’s fingers, and he sends a finger to the press. Learning about this cheat and the harm inflicted on the Princess turns the public against the prime minister, forcing him to go through with the deal. In the end, it’s revealed that the princess is released unharmed and that the kidnapper was an old performance artist who cut off one of his own fingers.

The issue with that is that the performance artist is revealed to be an aged man with a generally working class body while Princess Susannah looks like she’s a model in lower middle age, at the oldest. There’s no way their fingers could plausibly be mistaken for each other, even in the heat of the moment. Even if the extent of the news that leaked was that a finger was sent to a media outlet after the video of the supposed finger removal (which is staged so that the injury itself does not happen in the camera’s line of sight), word would just as quickly get out that it wasn’t her finger, which would massively undercut the public pressure for the prime minister to meet the kidnapper’s demands.

7. Cinderella

While it is a tale as old as time, most viewers today are probably familiar with it through either the 1951 animated Disney adaptation or the 2014 live action Disney adaptation. Or maybe the 2014 deconstruction in Into the Woods by… uh, Disney again. Our readers very likely don’t need the plot synopsis, but in brief: There’s a hardworking stepdaughter/maid who sneaks to a royal dance after her fairy godmother gives her a dress, carriage, and slippers made of her old clothes, a pumpkin, and magic respectively. She dances with the prince, they fall in love but she has to leave at midnight, leaving her slipper behind. He hunts her down by having every woman in the kingdom try on the slipper until it fits her.

But this story, whether it be the original French version, the German version by the Brothers Grimm, and every film adaptation, has a major problem related to the character of the prince. It doesn’t even make sense by fairy tale logic that the prince loves someone without even knowing what she looks like. Even the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet knew each other’s faces! While fairy tales naturally get deconstructed a lot despite being wish fulfillment fantasies for children, everyone always seems to get too hung up on how impractical glass slippers would be as an article of clothing to observe this problem with the plot.

6. Raiders of the Lost Ark

This 1981 film was both a tribute to 1930s movie serials (even though creators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg admitted they didn’t actually like those when they screened a few for each other during pre-production) and one of the films that codified Hollywood’s blockbuster era. Indiana Jones was instantly iconic as a tomb raiding academic who goes on an adventure to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant  in a race against his old rival Belloq and his Nazi collaborators.

It probably helped that in Lawrence Kasdan’s acclaimed screenplay, Indiana Jones is more relatable because he so often fails on the way to the climax, including said climax beginning with him in captivity.

This is where the trouble with the story emerges. As Indiana and his fellow captive Marion Ravenwood look on, the Nazis open the Ark. Ominous light emanates from the Ark, and out of the blue, Indiana Jones tells Marion to shut her eyes. As they do, angels that seem more like demons emerge and kill all of their captors. Never mind the moral issues that they indiscriminately kill everyone solely on the basis of looking at them. How does Indiana know that shutting their eyes is the way for him and Marion to save themselves? The only thing he’s said about it before this scene was when, back at the university, he sees an image of the Ark and blithely guesses that the light emerging from it is the “power of God.” It’s a very puzzling oversight.

Except it actually isn’t. Kasdan included a scene in the original screenplay where the means of surviving was explained to Dr. Jones, but it was cut during editing. Which just goes to show that even a perfect script can be undone during the production process.

5. Black Mirror: USS Callister

After six years and a move from BBC to Netflix, the premiere for Black Mirror’s fourth season once again left audiences in awe and slightly disturbed. In brief, the episode is about the creator of a virtual reality online video game named Robert Daly. Instead of merely playing his game (which is modeled in large part on a fictional equivalent of the original Star Trek series) as a light adventure as originally intended, Daly makes artificially intelligent copies of coworkers and tortures them into treating him as essentially a god. Part of Black Mirror’s conceit was well-established by that time that AI simulations of people have the equivalents of physical sensations and emotions, thus making the AI in this show as sympathetic as any human beings would be and their existences just as Hellish.

Still, a problem with the story is revealed almost immediately. To properly map out the memories and emotions of his coworkers to make the simulations as accurate as possible, Daly sneaks samples of their DNA home from work from such things as discarded Styrofoam cups. The issue of that is that while Daly would indeed have good DNA samples to make clones, in real life he wouldn’t be able to make replicas required by the narrative because our DNA does not contain our memories. It’s a testament to the execution of the episode that this did not seem to take many viewers out of the experience.

4. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place, the directorial debut from John Krasinski, is a commercial and critical darling. However, its suspenseful pace and limited dialogue left audiences with plenty of time to nitpick the details of its story about monsters that rely on sound to hunt down a family. The biggest issue is really a nail that is sticking up from the middle of a step to the basement that Evelyn Abbott steps on. Now, the nail is sticking up right from the middle of the step, and the staircase is in good condition, so this is not a matter of rushed or improvised repair after the apocalypse. It also is not joining two pieces of wood together. So why in the world is it there? Perhaps the deaf daughter Regan Abbott put it there because she’s subconsciously becoming suicidal (that’s extrapolating from how she blames herself for the death of her young brother and wants to stop experimenting with hearing aids). That still leaves a nagging question: How did it get pounded in without an immediate monster attack?

The producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form were questioned about the nail and the best they came up with was saying that the family couldn’t risk the noise of removing a nail. Which… Fine. But why, or even how, did they get it there in the first place?!

3. Hereditary

While there are many that are contemptuous of this horror hit (hence the fact the influential audience test score called Cinemascore gave it a D+), those that view it favorably tend to be passionate about it. It is deliberate in its pacing and unpredictability, and its art design is as subtly creepy as it is beautiful. Near the beginning, a family learns that a recently departed grandmother’s grave has been desecrated and things… well, they get even more grisly and disturbing from there, including the death of of the main character’s young daughter, Charlie, which culminates in a truly horrifying ending.

While it could be fairly said that writer-director Ari Aster attempted a much more grounded form of occult horror, he still left some substantial holes in the story. Staci Wilson of At Home in Hollywood pointed out that the cemetery calls the family to inform them of the desecration. However, later in the movie Charlie’s remains are also seen, and the movie devotes time to seeing her burial. So how is the family not being told about this desecration? How are the police not being informed of it? With a clear connection between the two desecrated graves, why are the police not investigating the family? Aster has to really fill the run-time with unsettling imagery to keep the viewer’s mind off matters like that.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

While it might not have achieved the heights of critical hype and commercial success of 2008’s The Dark Knight, this 2012 film still made quite an impression with its story of how Bane practically paralyzes the billionaire vigilante Bruce Wayne and conquers the city of Gotham. It makes Bruce’s eventual recovery and triumph all the more compelling, especially with how costly it was in the end. And for this entry, we’re going to go ahead and ignore the well-established plot hole of how Bruce somehow got halfway around the world and snuck into Gotham despite being, at this point, a former billionaire with no resources.

However, one of the greatest problems with the story was that Bruce Wayne recovering from his injury and going through the spiritual journey that allows him to go confront Bane again on more favorable terms takes five months. Can you imagine any administration allowing a city to fall into the hands of criminals to such an extent that people physically cannot enter the city? We can just see some commentators saying something like “sure, look at Chicago, New Orleans, etc,” but you know what we mean. Even in a series where urban crime is to an extent decided by costumed heroes and villains having fistfights, that’s just silly. Silly in a way that the movies directed by Christopher Nolan have tried their hardest not to be.

1. The Sixth Sense

One of the biggest hits of 1999 and the possessor of perhaps the most famous twist in modern cinema history, this film had members of entertainment media predicting that M. Night Shyamalan would be the next Steven Spielberg. We’ll see if his recent hit Split will put him back on course to achieving that honor, but we can always appreciate his story of a child who could see the many ghosts that walk among us. One or two oft-parodied scenes dominate most people’s memories of this film, but there’s a particularly touching scene where Cole Sear conquers his fear of ghosts by helping bring closure to the ghost of Kyra Collins.

Problem with it is that Kyra’s sequence brings with it all sorts of problems. For one thing, it’s said of the ghosts that “they see what they want to see,” so why is she the only one who’s aware she’s dead? There’s also the fact that the way she imparts the truth to Cole for him to pass on to her father is by pushing a VHS tape out from under her bed when he goes to her house during the funeral. But if Collins is aware she’s dead, and has apparently already watched the tape (otherwise she wouldn’t know that it has the information that would identify her murderer on it), then she must be able to move the tape around considerably. So what’s to stop her from just showing it to her father herself without seeking out Cole Sear? Like the rest of these, it’s hardly a movie ruining problem, but it’s enough to make you wonder how such inconsistency was never picked up by critics or harped on during the years-long Shyamalan backlash.


Plot Holes Exposed –

WIF @ the Movies

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 181

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 181

…Goldwyn the Junior relates his father’s stories often, “like when he was told that he couldn’t make a movie about lesbians he said…

“That was quite a show Ajax Bannion.” The man does have the flair for the dramatic, as Constance notes. “We caught the whole thing on film.”

He looks at her sideways, inaudibly wondering who the guy with camera is, but passes on bothering to question Connie’s curious ways.

But she cannot help but comment, “A lot of good that CAA inspection did you.”

“I’ll meet you in the terminal, CC,” he will deal with potential plots of ill intent, after he decompresses.

“That would be our out cue, Cassandra,” Goldwyn is not very good at names.

“Let me play director now. One more time with feeling; it’s Constance Caraway, not Cassandra Coriander, although I may use that as an alias someday,” she makes allowances for her hasty initial introduction, not to mention that he cannot be more than 25 years old. “I am with Constance Caraway Investigation and the pilot of that plane is a close friend of mine.”

She hands him one of her business cards.

“Tallahassee Florida, cool beans. Hey thanks for the tip, fantastic footage. It would cost a fortune to stage that for a movie,” ever enterprising, Goldwyn Jr. will put his footage to good use. The Blue Ridge Angel, this must be a private plane?”

“Yes, it is the official plane for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and his worldwide Crusades.”

“Did I hear my name?” asks the aforementioned man himself. “Are you a filmmaker young man, I see your fancy camera there?”

“It is a privilege to meet you Mr. Graham, my father is a huge fan of your work, he even was at your Los Angeles meeting… and he never has been inside a church.”

“Your father is?”

“Samuel Goldwyn.”

“No kidding. I’m a big fan of his work, Metro Goldwyn Mayer I believe. He does say the craziest things.”

“He is known for his malapropisms,” Junior relates Senior’s stories often, “like when he was told that he couldn’t make a movie about lesbians he said,That’s alright, we’ll call them Hungarians’.

Oops. Young Goldwyn has accidently stepped into tabooed doo doo.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

… P.I. Caraway and Hollywood Goldwyn have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane…

After the smoke clears from around the 27,393 pounds of steel and aluminum, loaded with Crusade props and Jesus freaks, pilot Ace and the other everything are still in one piece. His copilot is passed out and the navigator is face down on the cockpit deck, so he climbs over debris to check on his human cargo.  He finds the good Reverend is already checking on everyone, as is the registered nurse who is in the crusades’ employ.

Happy

The newest member of the revival staff, Willard Libby gives Billy a wave, unable to shake the thought that he brought the trouble with him, like the other improbable events over the past 4 months.

And other than a few loose wits and several severed nerves, the truly injured have but minor issues, none life-threatening.

“Normally I consider applause as inappropriate, but this ain’t Sunday and we ain’t in church!” He raises his hands to God in praise and directs the passengers in very appropriate hand-to-hand (raucous) appreciation.

The ever modest Ace takes a bow while opening the boarding door. There are airport bowpersonnel down on the ground, but they have no way of off-loading the people, seeing they are nosed out into a city street. They need to wait for the ambulances and shuttle buses to make their way, down 63rd Street, then up Central to nearly 55th.

One face, in the concerned throng below, is a familiar one; Constance Caraway is there with arms weighed down by blankets for those in need, but her spirits lifted high by answered prayer. She and Samuel Goldwyn the junior have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane. The neophyte film producer has captured the entire calamity on film and now sets up his equipment for the aftermath.

She is among the first up the stair/ramp when it is placed roughly against the tilted fuselage, protocol be damned, “Excuse me, can I get through with these blankets?”

“You heard the lady,” Captain Bannion is coordinating the unloading of Crusade people, each according to their ambulatory status. At second blush, there are more serious injuries than previously reported, most likely because, to a man and woman, were plain grateful to have survived at all; never mind that sore shoulder or stiff leg.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 179

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 179

…”Okay, Miss Coriander, I’m ready to roll.” Right girl, wrong spice…

“I think something big is about to happen,” the ever alert private eye warns the documentary maker.

More awake and suddenly motivated he moves to his equipment bag to retrieve his last 35mm blank, slapping in a fresh two thousand feet into the front reel chamber.

“Let’s get outside for a better angle,” she notices that he has airport credentials that give him freedom of movement. “I’m with him,” she tells a security guard who is guarding access to the tarmac. “Here comes an arrival, there hasn’t been one in 30 minutes and it should be the busiest part of the day.”

“Okay, Miss Coriander, I’m ready to roll.” Right woman, wrong spice.

The entire passenger cabin has assumed the head-in-lap position, no use looking out the windows now. “Brace yourselves for a rough landing…” Ace has briefed them on what the airport expects of them upon touchdown, panic is not an option. He reminds them that it his skill that will determine the outcome and nothing else. What he doesn’t tell them is that because of the sharp descent angle they will be doing the equivalent of a swimming pool belly flop.

He throttles the new turbine engines back to the minimum required RPMs to stay airborne as he clears the perimeter fence and goes full flaps after that. After the two front wheels are weighed down by the descending fuselage, they curl up like a petunia at sunset and the only thing between the bottom of the plane and the cold concrete is five foot layer of air, which disappears after the skilled flyer shuts down the engines, makes a sharp right turn and takes the aircraft into the wet grassy soil and ultimately to the end of available real estate.

Chain_Link_Fence

The only thing left between the screeching plane and Central Avenue is a chain link fence, which stretches out to its max, but stops forward progress when the wings finally contact the reinforced barrier. Ace gives a friendly wave at the stopped line of cars that was headed east on Central… those going west go around the scene like The Blue Ridge Angel is a fallen tree. Places to go you know.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 178

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 178

…Seated a few seats down from Constance is a man with a bulky motion picture camera next to him…

Photo by Richard Lund

Photo by Richard Lund

Meanwhile

From her vantage point in the main terminal, Constance is not the only one wondering what is going on; there is an army of flashing red lights on an otherwise ordinary weekday evening. The public address announcements will tell you where to pick up your baggage or that meatloaf is the special in the cafeteria, but mum is the word on what the fuss is about.

The taxiways are empty and there hasn’t been a takeoff or landing for 15 minutes and as 7:30 has come and gone, Constance is getting that sinking feeling. She begins to pray, unwittingly joining in the rising chorus of believers, here on the ground and especially in the air.

Seated a few seats down from her is a man with a bulky motion picture camera next to him, but very much asleep. She is compelled to roust him to ask the obvious, “Is this entire hullabaloo for a movie? You’d think they’d tell someone.”

“Oh, my no! I am shooting footage for a documentary on the air travel boom, now that ordinary people can afford to fly,” he appears seriously tired, perhaps why he was nodding off earlier, after a long day of filming at Midway.

“I don’t mean to be forward,” yeah right, “but I believe there is something very serious about to happen. Maybe you should load some fresh tape into that thing and get ready.”

“This is 35mm nitrocellulose film, not tape and I’m on my last reel Ma’am.”

“My name is Caraway, Constance … and yours?” she extends her hand.

Goldwyn, Samuel  Jr.,” he returns the inside-out salutation.

Constance isn’t an expert on Hollywood, but she does keep track of things out of Tallahassee, “Is your father _____?”

“Yes, the bigtime filmmaker, but he’s in Europe, doing his movie star thing. I am my own man, thank you… and a newlywed. My wife is back home in L.A.”

“It is nice to meet you, but while you were napping, I think something big is going to happen.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 177

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 177

…So you wanna be an airline pilot, eh?” Ace chides the young man in the chair to his right…

“The wheels aren’t locking, Captain Bannion!”

“That is not good.” A dozen scenarios are running through Ace’s head, but none of them good. “How much fuel do we have in the tanks, kiddo?”

“About two thousand liters,” he reports a partial load of 100 octane blend.

“Good thing we didn’t fill‘er-up at KC,” he calmly moves on to plan B. “The gear is going to collapse shortly after we touch down, so we are going have to set this plane down on its belly. Go back and tell Mr. Graham to come forward.”

When Billy ducks under the cockpit bulkhead, Ace gives the plane’s owner the bad news, “The landing gear will not lock Billy. We have tried 5 times, but the hydraulic system is messed up. I think I can put her down without too much damage, but you have to be the one to break the news to our people; you have that way of making prayer a part of everything we do, well, no better time than now.”

While Billy preaches to the choir in back, Ace talks to the tower at Midway Airport, “This is Graham flight number 2 zero-niner requesting a clear runway, we don’t have gear.” Simply put.

“This is the tower 2 zero-niner, we want you to put down on Runway 13C, and do a two pass fly-around to give us time to get ready. How many folks do you have onboard?”

“Thirty-one passengers and five crew.” That question was asked so that they can have enough emergency personnel at the scene.

So you wanna be an airline pilot, eh?” Ace chides the young man in the chair to his right.

The airplane intern straps himself into his seat after checking with the navigator, who is almost as young and not feeling too confident about the heading he has figured.

“I’m taking us into a 20 knot northeast breeze, which should slow us down some… damn, I mean darn, there are enough ambulances down there to light up the whole airport.” The captain swallows hard. His final order is supposed to be funny, “Turn on the windshield wipers.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 176

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 176

…This is your Captain speaking, on your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana…

Captain Ace Bannion guides The Blue Ridge Angel on a steady north-northeasterly course out of Kansas City Missouri. At 15,000 feet they encounter turbulence from the outflow of a spring storm rising out of Iowa, but he steers their Douglas Aircraft nimbly to the east.

He is in contact with Midway tower within the first half of the 7:00 PM CST hour and things are looking good for an on-time arrival for this planeload of people jazzed for Jesus.

“This is your Captain speaking. On your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana. We are 150 miles out of Chicago and can look forward to a balmy evening about 48 degrees with broken overcast. If you are not wearing your seatbelt, please peel yourself off the ceiling and find your seat and then buckle up. These measures are the continuing policies aboard the Blue Ridge Angel, concerning both landings and takeoffs. Thank you”

Safety is a paramount responsibility of the pilot, no matter how the feeling of invulnerability permeates this load of Billy Graham Crusade regulars.

Idiot lightAs the plane descends below the stratocumulus cloud deck at 4000 feet and 50 miles out, it is time to lower the landing gear. As routine as that deployment is, it is not advisable to land without wheels down. There is even an idiot light that goes on should the gear not both drop and lock. No offense Mr. Pilot.

Ace’s copilot is a recent graduate of the Lewis University School of Aviation and is interning in this airliner, which is a far cry from the Cessna that he trained in. He wants to be a commercial airline pilot when he grows up, which started 10 years ago when he was 10 years old.cockpit2

A decade later his dream is going to turn into a nightmare.

“The red light is on Ace,” he alerts the Captain.

What do you mean…” he retracts the gear with a flip of a switch and then flips it on again and again x5.

“It’s not locking Mr. Bannion!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

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“On your right…………..”

Forever Mastadon


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