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Michelle. And she's gonna be all prim & proper & corporate looking.
Why does that guy have his mouth wide open in each of the 3 panels in which he appears? It's unsettling.
Probably. But by not trying, and acting the way they did, they made sure it did'nt.
Is this the truckstop comming into BC down from the mountains? Sure looks like the one there.
Not ready at all
I want (at least) 10 more years of this!

Seriously, thanks for your hard work through all these years. You and your art have been an important part of my life for many years now. Thank you for that.
Would someone be kind enough to refresh my memory as to when this happened already?
I see your Hot Flash Heat Wave, and I raise with The Ramones:
I must say Mr. Twist, thank you for posting every day on this part of the story. It's really toughful of you to keep the story going along at a brisk pace at a time like this.
Damn you Gibson! Damn you and your talent at suspense! Even tough it was pretty clear what was going to happen, I kept hoping until the. very. last. panel. I even scrolled this page very slowly to take in every panel.

Thank you for the third one, where Willy seems so at peace, finally free. It does help a bit. Why do we get so attached to comic characters?

Also... How do you die when you jump off a bridge? Instanly from impact? Does impacting with the water makes you unconscious and then you drown? Or do you *shudders* just hurt yourself very bad and THEN drown? God, that last possibility is just too horrible to fathom.
Where there is suspense, there is hope
I'm still hoping this page is meant to build dramatic tension, and the phone call is to inform Peter that his friend is A. On the verge of jumping, and he asked for you or B. Was going to jump but got stopped just in time by the police / firemen / paramedics etc.

But yeah, it does look like he's ready to go. Dressed up to the nines and all.
Dunno about the dream but...

That would be the first "incident". :)
What Lauren says might be right, once again. The thing is, at this point I don't feel like saying it will actually be of any help to anyone, and certainly not in that tone. She IS basically just bashing on Sam to vent, and in a very agressive manner.

However, I don't think Sam should "fight back". It would serve nothing more than put fuel on the still hot embers. I guess the best way to react would be simply to answer that she's probably right and that he needs to reflect on this, and then ask what she'd like to add. Take it like a man.

When I was a child, teachers and guardians would often repeat "it's not who started it that counts, it's who stops it". I believe this piece of schoolyard wisdom very much apply to this whole fiasco.

As for their relationship, seems to me like breaking up is the best option for both at this point. This way at least, they might be able to be friends again someday.

Edit: Well, at least I perceive Lauren to be agressive. Looking at her eyes in the last panel, it's possible her expression is more one of pleading exasperation than anger. But at least, she should make some effort to not seem like she's out for blood, so that Sam can understand her point of view entirely, and not be put of the defensive.
"Be glad it was'nt him that hit you." I was SOOOO expecting a line like this!
From the shape of the nose shadow, it sadly does'nt seem to be Rick, but most probably Lauren.

However, I do hope it's Rick. I too feel like he should apologize to Rick before talking to Lauren again. As for getting in touch with him, yeah, should'nt be too hard to find him. Also, Rick hangs out at Cafe Max all the time now.
@HipsLikeCinderella: I'll try to be as toughful as I can here, tough I have to admit that your position does have me a bit riled up. (Well, in parts, I'm mostly on board with what you've said). Something wich certainly stems from personal history, and I'll do my best to make abstraction of it.

I do agree with you on many points. It is true that there is a physical disparity between men a women, and that violence towards women coming from men generally creates a different emotional response, in that the man usually being larger and stronger, it appears worst. The thing is, this is the problem exactly. The violence really is'nt worst one way or the other, and this kind of thinking is one of many double standards that should be put down to rest. Right up there with "women are weak and needs men to be defended". Those two actually pretty seem codependant to me.

Also, you say you don't believe Lauren's slap was premeditated, but was made in a fit of anger.
I'll give you that my use of this term was a bit rushed and can't be taken in the absolute literal sense, as I'm sure Lauren did'nt plan her in great details before hitting Sam. However, it appears to me that she had way enough time to calm down. Have you ever hit someone in a fit of anger? I have. Once. When I was a teenager. Immediately after getting punched in the face. It was a reactionary action, and I actually don't even remember doing it, just seeing the other kid on the ground after. I have been in a lot of very heated arguments since, but I have never hit anyone. I sure felt like it a load of times, but just taking a single step has always been enough for me to calm down. I feel that a fit of anger needs to be immediate, a reaction to an agression, real or perceived, physical or other, to self or other. Again, I might be a bit strict here, but for those kind of things I'd rather be more strict than lenient. Good perspective is hard to have here, but from what I see in the strip, I estimate that Lauren was standing about a dozen feet from Sam. She walked her way to him. Walked, not ran. And he did'nt say anything at that time to agravate her any more. The dealbreaker here is the immediacy, or lack thereoff. To me, this is in no way a fit of anger, as she had plenty of time to calm down. And yes, I do consider "one mississipi, two mississipi, three mississipi" as being plenty of time.

Also, the victim is an important factor here. Rick is a stranger to Sam. Neither owes anything to the other, except to respect the general rules of society. (Which Sam obviously failed to do). Whereas Sam and Lauren are in a relationship, and with that bond comes an intrinsect pact of mutual protection. It might be the different emotional response you mentioned, but to me assaulting a spouse is much more serious than assaulting a stranger, as it breaks this covenant. Now, I'm not saying a person should be bound to protect his or her spouse against anything in any context. That would obviously make no sense. But in the context of the strip, all things considered, I do feel that Lauren's slap was, if not a greater offense, at least of equal gravity to Sam's punch. Physically, as far as we know there was no consequences to any of the acts. Lets hope it stays that way. Emotionally, Rick does'nt seem to care much about being punched. We'll see how Lauren feels about her boyfriend hitting someone else. But since she was not personally attacked, I'm under the impression that she'll recover from this pretty well. However, to Sam and everyone, Lauren will always be the girl who hit her boyfriend. When that sort of thing happens in a couple, a barrier has been broken, and things rarely are the same. There is no real way to solve this, and no lesson to be learned. I guess the only point of this moral rant is, if we are to be wary of double standards and stand for true equality, it is bad faith to criticize Sam for his actions, and pretty much let things slide for Lauren.

However, I am with you in being behind Lauren telling off Sam and Christo. This needed to be done, and her previous actions in no way change this. Punch or no punch, slap or no slap, those guys have been disrespectful assholes and Lauren does well to point that to them and remind them that she can stand for herself and is no one's property.
Sam was overbearing in the sense that he imposed his insecurities on Lauren (

He was overbearing in the sense that he was generally rude and agressive towards Rick (

He was overbearing in the sense that he punched the guy in the face damnit!

Sam lost it. Not cool. Not excusable. Now he seems on the right track. The one where he actually listens to his girlfriend, and not to Christo, who is the worst of influences right now. I don't like the look of fear in his eyes tough. Fear obstructs clear thinking, puts the insecure guy in the driver seat. You know, the one that caused Sam all those problems until now? Just hope after listening, he'll take the time to calm down before answering anything.

Lauren acted pretty maturely most of the time. She never once led Rick on, not even by wearing prettier clothes. She tried explaining her point of view in a calm manner to Sam, on more than one occasion. But his insecurities, fuel by Christo mostly, made him lose hes ability to think clearly. He can however use this as a learning opportunity. For his own benefit, and if not for Lauren's, for the next girl to come along.

And now, Lauren is finally calming down, driving the point in a way that hopefully should even get trough Christo's thick skull.

She did one HUGE blunder by hitting her boyfriend. It's a slur on her character that sadly can't be undone. She always will be the girl who hit her boyfriend, and there are no lessons to be learnt from that. I wonder how they will (or even if they will, as men who are assaulted by their spouses tend to just let things slide) assess this. But I guess they'll cross this bridge when they're done putting out the fire in their home.
First off, thank you Mr. Twist for your SotU post. I believe it encouraged most of us to go back and reread previous posts, to reflect on them and generally calm the mood. I certainly benefited from it.

As for the current arc, everyone has some blame to share. Some more than the other.

Christo for being totally out of line and generally a complete jerk.

Sam for letting the junk Christo says obscure his trust for Lauren, and for losing it in the bar (completely stupid and in no way excusable).

Rick for... well other than his objectionable taste in facial grooming, mostly just for not trying hard enough, which he admited. His intent might be a bit shady, but we don't truly know what it is yet so he still deserves the benefit of the doubt. And all in all he acted relatively mature. A person should be judged by his actions, and for now he still his the least to blame.

As of Lauren... Well she was doing great, and was pretty much justified in all her reactions. Right up until she slapped Sam. That was the one most stupid, hypocritical, innexcusable act of them all. Lauren really lost it there. Was she in her right to be angry? You bet. But what the hell was she thinking when she decided that assaulting her spouse would make any of that better?!

This really gets on me, and I find appalling that so few people react on this (thank god there are a few who do, Mierin and Cathryn come to mind).

Seriously, how can Lauren still be considered in any way mature? She resorted to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. And it was premeditated too!!!

Sam's behavior can in no way be excused, and the gravity of his act should not be lessened. But in my mind what Lauren did was way worse, for a few reasons. First, and most important of all, she hit her SPOUSE. Of everyone, if there is someone one should have a convenant of mutual protection with it is one's spouse (and children). Second, Lauren had the time to walk all the way up to him before slapping him. She could have calmed down like ten times, she did not. Finaly, the double standard here is frightening. How come only Sam is being taken accountable for his actions? She gets to yell at him because he hit someone else, but she, even after slapping her own boyfriend, is still being called "mature" and practicaly "in her right"? What kind of hypocrisy is that?

I'm also more than a bit troubled by the fact that even after calming down, Sam is still focusing on Rick and asking Lauren about him. How stupid can he be?

Oh yeah, and Christo, get the hell out of there and go mind your own damn business for once. On that I'm aboard with everyone. Your insecurities, frustrations and constant meddling have caused enough trouble already. Get help, or at least a vacation.

Now, if someone could start listening more and thinking twice before throwing accusations (Sam, that's your cue my boy, so shut up and listen), maybe some part of this trainwreck that their relationship became can still be salvalged.
"Did", does not excludes "and still do". As a matter of fact, it is possible Rick is using past tense to check Lauren's reaction. And judging from the face she's making in the last panel, if he does still have feelings for her he'll be making a move right about now.

I have the feeling Lauren really did want to flirt a bit and see if she could replace Sam...
Wow. Domestic violence now? Just great. Lauren's truly gone crazy. Violence is always bad, but at least between guys (or between two girls), the one getting hit can fight back. Sam just has to take it and shut up, whatever he does from here he loses.

Seriously, now I don't even want to see them together anymore. When a relationship reach the point where one hits the other, nothing good can come of it. Ever. Let Lauren end up with Rick, good for her if she's miserable afterwards. Sam can easily do much better.

I just hope Sam does'nt answer to this, either in words or in actions, and then just get up, leave and go pack up his things.

And to anyone asking how is it different from Sam hitting Rick, other than the fact that the first punch was a fight between guys I want to put some emphasis on the facts that Lauren attacked her spouse, and to me being in a couple implies a covenant of mutual protection. Also, while Sam reacted on impulse when he punched Rick, Lauren had a good 10 meters or so to walk and calm down before she got to Sam. The is no way her slap is excusable.
And Lauren SCOOOOOOORES! Woot!