MEGA-CITY LAW: THE DAY THE LAW DIED – BETWAYAL! (COMPLETE CASE FILES VOLUME 2 PROG 105)
The episode title of course refers to betrayal, invoking Walter’s robotic speech impediment – but it is a staged betrayal as part of Judge Dredd’s plan, designed to appeal to Chief Judge Cal’s insane vanity. Cal is poised to destroy Walter (with an axe!) when Walter proceeds to badmouth Dredd, starting by referring to “that cweep Judge Dwedd!”
One might have imagined that this ploy is incredibly transparent – particularly as Judge Giant already used a variant of it to save Dredd from execution – but it seems that Cal’s weakness for flattery and sycophancy is beyond limit, particularly when it comes to badmouthing Dredd. Perhaps a reputation for robotic honesty helps as well. And so, Cal buys it – appointing Walter as a judge on the spot, falling somewhere on the scale of his judicial appointments between Deputy Judge Grampus and Deputy Judge Fish.
However, Dredd’s plan only succeeds because of a huge element of luck – Cal’s loyal lieutenant Judge Slocum is so flummoxed that Cal falls for the transparent ploy that he forgets his own characteristic flattery and sycophancy. “You’re crazy, Chief Judge! The whole city knows that robot is sickeningly loyal to Dredd!”
After explaining that as the strength of his plan for Walter to denounce Dredd, Cal notes Slocum’s verbal slip of calling the Chief Judge crazy. Slocum tries to backpedal, explaining it as a symptom of his “worry” for the Chief Judge. Cal ominously notes that they’ll have to do something about those “worry lines” and “wrinkles” on Slocum’s face – “I shall give the matter some consideration”. Yeah – Slocum’s days are numbered. The element of luck for Dredd’s plan is twofold – not only did Slocum undermine his (correct) caution about Walter with his incautious language of calling Cal crazy, but Cal’s response is perfectly designed and timed to stop Slocum redeeming himself by exposing Dredd’s plan, as we will see.
Over the next three days, Walter denounces Dredd in media appearances. Incredibly, some of the fickle Mega-City One citizenry are depicted as buying it. Really? After all that Cal has done? And by something so easily staged – particularly given that Cal could have just re-programmed Walter to denounce Dredd. Of course, Walter is a unique robot citizen, but Cal is not otherwise concerned with citizen rights. O well – many, if not most, of Mega-City One’s citizens ARE of notoriously limited intellectual capacity.
However, Slocum comes close to exposing Walter’s part in Dredd’s plan when he discovers Walter stealing one of Cal’s daily crime briefing tapes to take back to Dredd. Unfortunately for Slocum, Cal’s response comes just as he escorts Walter to Cal – “Ah, Slocum. I was just going to send for you…”
At Cal’s direction, a doctor “gives Slocum an injection for those worry wrinkles”. Slocum attempts to shrug off the cure to inform Cal of Walter’s treachery – “Sir, forget the miracle cures! I’ve got some hot information!”
Cal responds that the injection isn’t the cure, but a “simple paralyzing agent” – very timely for Dredd’s plan, as it paralyzes Slocum’s movement, and more fundamentally, speech. The “cure” is characteristic of Cal – after fixing Slocum’s face in a paralyzed rictus, literally pickling him in a giant jar to “preserve” him. O Cal, you so crazy!
By further stroke of luck, Cal asks Judge Walter to return the tape, dropped from Slocum’s paralyzed grip, to the briefing room.
TO BE CONTINUED – FROM OUT OF THE SEWERS