Plot Holes: Along Came a Spider
Slate provides the missing scene!
Those who've seen the Matt Dillon-Neve Campbell-Denise Richards film Wild Things no doubt remember one thing about it: The scene involving Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, and their activities in a Florida motel room. But those with particularly good memories may recall something else about it: The movie relied upon a dizzying number of double-, triple-, and quadruple-crosses—so many that it was tempting, when the final credits began to roll, to conclude that the movie had been utterly arbitrary, that there was no way for the characters to have planned so perfectly and kept so many competing agendas straight in their heads. But that's when the movie did something utterly ingenious: During the final credits, it rolled a handful of scenes that filled in all the gaps in the movie, showing the characters' secret behind-the-scenes plottings. And what do you know: When you fit them into the movie's plot, the whole thing was perfectly logical.
Sadly, few screenwriters are kind enough to provide these scenes, which are a crucial way of testing how plausible any movie's plot twists are. Luckily, as a service to moviegoers, Slate's "Plot Holes" department has offered to take a current film with plot points that may be confusing or obscure and supply the necessary scenes to make them crystal clear. Let's examine the Morgan Freeman thriller Along Came a Spider. Critics have charged that the film contains a plot twist two-thirds of the way that defies any rational explanation. "A few loopholes I can forgive," wrote Roger Ebert. "But when a plot is riddled with them, crippled by them, made implausible by them … I get distracted." The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan wrote that "[T]he film's coincidences and implausibilities periodically threaten to spin it out of control. ..." Could anything have been done to make the movie work? As it turns out, the answer is yes. As the following missing scene shows, it takes only a page or two of dialogue to show that every one of the film's plot twists makes perfect sense.
(Spoiler Alert: You may wish to stop reading here if you plan to see the movie.)
The scene is set two years before the main action of the film, in the guard house of the Cathedral School, an elite private academy in Washington, D.C. The players are JEZZIE FLANAGAN (Monica Potter) and BEN DEVINE (Billy Burke), both of whom work as Secret Service agents guarding the school's students.
INT: Jezzie and Ben, talking
Say, have you noticed anything odd about that computer teacher, Mr. Soneji?
Like what, Jezzie?
Tim Carvell is a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly.
Still from Along Came a Spider © 2001 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.