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What's that? Steer clear of criticizing certain current politicians' Ussing and Themming? Don't compare the othering of immigrants to disastrous isolationist policies in history, or transgender paranoia to literal and metaphorical witchhunts? Just stick to commenting on the strip itself? Well, if you insist.

I think it goes without saying that this right here is a turning point in Ellen and Lily's relationship. They're both being pretty prickly here, it shouldn't be surprising if the dialogue of the next strip consists entirely of "you're fired"/"you can't fire me, I quit".

...actually, does that work in real life? I honestly don't know, I've never seen it done.

Anyway, this whole conversation would probably be going very differently if Ellen hadn't psychoanalyzed Florenovia earlier. Lily's control of her business, her gaming group, and her fiction audience is much more obvious, once you see all three of those things in context of each other. Perhaps it originally compensated for feelings of being unsafe in the world, or frustration over her lack of control of her height or weight or ocular acuity. And then, of course, controlling others triggered the reward lever of feeling safe and powerful, and producing tangible results triggered the reward lever of feeling productive and worthy, and then the ensuing feedback spiral helped cement Lily's whole schtick...

Ah, but I'm backfilling. Besides, we're not interested in Lily's past. We're interested in her future. Let's see where she goes from here.

(Thursday morning, INT: hallway outside EB and JH's apartment)

EB: Y'know, I went to bat for you, Lily. I stood up. I believed that you respected and honoured your friends, that your loyalty to us, if not to womankind, outweighed your hyperbolic - and, let's face it, more than a little performative - contempt for and distrust of the male of the species.
EB: But seeing both you and Gina here... well, that means that Overdrive Computers is currently closed. And that means that you would rather lose out on hours' worth of actual revenue for our company than allow your employee to take a sick day - a sick day, to which, I remind you, I am entitled by law.
EB: And I realize now that your loyalty towards us and your misandry towards men... they're just two sides of the same coin. Because the Usser your Us and the Themmer your Them, the easier it is for you to control people. You're not here because you cared about my wellbeing or wondered what I thought of you. You're here because - for just a moment - I was outside of your control.
LH: I'm gonna be honest, you are making some salient points, but I cannot look at you while you're being... twiddled.
EB: Yeah, he's really goin' for it, isn't he?
JH: I'm sorry, I didn't know what you wan-
EB: Hey, I didn't say stop.