“You think I’m there? Well, I’m not. I’m here!”
Civil war has broken out in Collinwood, an unincorporated nation-state with its own history, founding myths, and independent system of justice. The reigning Collins family is consumed in internal struggle over trivial domestic matters, distracting them from the escalating crisis at the border. An authoritarian strongman, exiled from the well-lit areas of the house back in the seventeenth century, has declared total war on the family for no particular advantage to himself, and the inhabitants do not appear to have the basic survival instincts necessary to really get their minds around the problem.
The family’s basic strategic disadvantage is that they don’t like each other, and on the whole, they can’t stand to be in the same room for more than a couple of minutes before they long to go and be by themselves for a while. Given the current threat level, they should be building fortifications, running drills and sticking little pins in a map showing the location of enemy forces. This does not seem to have occurred to them.
This leaves them at the mercy of dissident elements, namely fifth-columnist Gabriel Collins, who is engaging in guerilla warfare. He’s running around the inside of the house, using secret panels and Jefferies tubes to access remote areas, and when he finds someone alone in a room, he suddenly pops out of a tunnel and attacks. When reinforcements arrive, he ducks back through the doorway, secure in the certain knowledge that the arriving parties would rather stand around and ask if people are okay than give chase.
Soap opera characters are not equipped for quick response time after a significant event; all they want to do is recap and discuss their emotions. Then there’s a commercial break, and they move on to other interests.