Returning To A Pandemic: Ode To Kalani
by, May 7th, 2012 at 03:50 PM (923 Views)
DISCLAIMER: The following blog may contain material some may consider to be spoiler worthy. It is recommended that you read at your own risk. I could claim responsibility for you not paying attention to this warning, but I won't. That said, I'm going to forego any further warnings of spoilers within the blog.
I'd also like to take a brief moment to apologize for my abscence over the last few months? Has it been months since the last issue? I can't remember. Doesn't matter, I'm back and I've got a lot of ground to cover and a lot of lost time to make up for. Enough cheese, let's get to the meat.
There are characters throughout the run of a television, podcast or series of novels, which you cannot help but find loathsome, irritating, or simply boring. Kalani is one of those characters.
For me the hatred began with his first appearance: a slumbering lump of fat with no real place in the world of peril that we all know and love. He simply doesn’t have the physical attributes one would come to rely upon when faced with situations that our heroes find themselves in. You aren’t going to be successful nearly as often as you need to be evading fast moving creatures that want to rend the flesh from your bones, when you are winded climbing a flight of stairs. It’s a terrible burden to place on those who were kind enough to provide you with food, lodging, and most importantly, safety. So when Kalani was introduced into the cast, I really felt as though he would be one of those characters that would be killed off, one or two episodes into the future. As it turned out, I was mistaken—this happens from time to time.
Kalani became a central character with a grand and sweeping arc that plumbed the depths of some very difficult questions. He served as plot device, comic relief, and martyr, all while providing listeners with some of the best voice acting in the podcast.
Voiced by Kevin Flood, Kalani’s twisting tale of deceit and treachery came to a bittersweet end, giving his life so that he might save the lives of those he betrayed. At least, that’s how I choose to see it.
There are three voice actors on the show that have turned in exceptional performances. You all know my love affair with Scratch [voiced by the amazing Jenna McCombie, who is possibly the sweetest woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of communicating with], so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I rank her as probably the best voice acting since Agnes Moorehead lent her pipes to Mrs. Stevenson in the Suspense rendition of Lucille Fletcher’s Sorry, Wrong Number [circa 1943].
Second to Jenna, you would find Scott Marvin as Burt. There’s not much I need to say about Scott’s performance as the grumpiest gun store owner in the history of radio—which is a topic I’m going to be getting down and dirty with, in the next issue of Discovering a Pandemic—that would do justice to the character. You all know him, you all love him. We all miss him. There are simply too many moments, and brilliantly delivered lines to pick just one shining example.
Which leads me to Kevin. His ability to toss a line out as easily as blinking, with such subtle depth and complexity is astounding. A good actor will make you believe he is the character, but a great actor will make you forget that he’s playing a character at all—as far as I’m concerned anyway, though I’m certain there are differing schools of thought on this topic. Kevin Flood made me forget that he was playing the character of Kalani and that made it something special. Something unique.
Kevin, as Kalani, took me all over hell and back. His snide comments toward Michael and some of the other residents of The Tower, his pushy behaviour, and general flippancy with the idea of a power structure that didn’t preclude any input that wasn’t his own. It wasn’t until late in Season Two in Chapter 18 [No Place Like Home], during his adventure with Angel, that I accepted Kalani as part a bona fide Tower Resident. I cheered during that episode with as much vigour as I might at a hockey game, or a rock concert.
I found myself contemplating his final moments in The Harder They Fall for longer than I honestly believed I would have. Give that ending to any other Resident and, sure, I’ll be sad for an hour or two, but I’m not going to feel quite as empty at the thought of living through the rest of the series without hearing his voice. It pained me as much as the loss of Burt and Angel—two voices I’ve lived with longer. And then it came out.
I honestly could not believe my ears when it was revealed that Kalani was The Rat. I was shocked, just like the rest of you, though probably in a little more denial than most. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want the guy I had believed a true, selfless hero, was nothing more than a guilt-ridden shell of a man, with nothing left to live for. His daughter dead, the world—as he now knows it—at an end, and the lives of his friends hanging in the balance, largely due to his actions. I wanted to pitch the podcast across the room, as I have done with novels, DVDs, and Rubik’s cubes in the past.
I eventually calmed. I collected my thoughts, and quietly buried the emotions deep, beneath layers of justification and forgiveness. Then I found a thread on the board one morning. There was an explosion, chaos ensued, and arguments raged. We all know the outcome of the thread, there is no need to rehash it all here. If you missed it, be glad—it was a total shit storm of frustration and anger. Admittedly, not a shining example of my legacy, but I just cannot help being passionate about my belief in Kalani’s intentions. He did it all for his daughter. That’s all the explanation I need to forgive him for everything he’s done.
Kalani was one of the most intriguing characters—quite possibly the most complex of all The Tower Residents—on the show, voiced by one of the best voice actors I’ve heard in years. No matter how you may feel about the character, you must concede that he played a pivotal role in the arc of the We’re Alive saga, and a very large number of us fooled until the very end.
Thank you so very much for sharing your talent with all of us, Kevin. You gave life to an amazing character that I will never forget and will miss through to the final episode.
That’s it for this issue. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing. Thank you! Over the next few weeks I'll be posting—hopefully—every few days, under the banner of Recovering From A Pandemic while I recover from my surgery.
Osiris—the artist formerly known as Satan—
enjoys long walks on the beach, dramatic
readings of grocery lists and pasta.
Look for the next issue Discover A Pandemic:
Radio of the 21^st Century written entirely on
both a chalkboard and Percocet. Coming soon!
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