Get well soon, Neil

Mark Foss (
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 08:58:25 -0500 (EST)

I recently watched Episode 19 (Who Needs Enemies?) on a big screen, and was
finally able to read a bit of the get-well card Marianne wrote to Neil --
the card that Mike forgot to give Neil in the hospital. I'd always thought
it was suitably tragic for Neil not to acknowledge the card and for Marianne
not to look up when he comes into the office; it's yet another example of
Neil's fear of intimacy and how he drives people away. I feel even more
strongly about this now. I couldn't make it all out, but what I saw on the
card was simply "Get well soon, Neil. Love Marianne".

In a North American context, that's a pretty meaningless sentiment. But I
wonder if that means more in an English context. Throughout the series, the
use of given names is based on class and rank. (Willie, for example, never
says "Neil" although he must have when they were Sandbaggers together; Diane
uses Neil because she's been around a long time and is a mother-figure). For
Marianne to say "Neil" and use the word "love" seems significant -- an
emotional risk for her, especially following the lack of response to her
"Something's got to give" speech in Neil's office.(She tells him that people
don't respect him, they fear him; that everything he thinks is a strength is
actually a weakness) There is such attention to detail in SB that I doubt
whether the words were just scribbled on the card. Any thoughts on this?