Honourable Fellow

Created by Jack Trowbridge, The Pitch 2023

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In the wake of a global pandemic, scientist James is receiving an award for creating a vaccine that saved millions of lives and brought an end to the outbreak. He is hailed as an “honourable fellow”, having dedicated his life to helping others through his faith in science. At the ceremony are his wife and children, his colleagues and the world press. James receives his award and modestly gives a speech dedicating the vaccine formulation to his deceased mentor, who, along with his patented formula, look down upon him from a projector screen. It is at this moment that things take a turn. As the applause dies down, a cough rings out in the crowd. Then the coughing spreads. It spreads around the entire room until people are sputtering blood and dropping dead everywhere! James looks to his closest colleagues who offer nothing but blame with their dying words, as do his family. The surviving members of the press make sure to tell the world that James is a fraud. His life now in tatters, James angrily looks to the projector screen and demands an answer from his mentor. Then he notices something. There’s a mistake in his formula...

Biblical Connection

I am using The Book of Job - the Old Testament book of scripture in which a man’s faith in God is put to the ultimate test through unjustified suffering. Drawing on experiences of the recent pandemic which made everyone aware of the presence of unmerited suffering in the world, I have chosen to condense the story to a single event in which a seemingly perfect scientist has his life and reputation destroyed all at once, for what appears to be no reason. It leaves him questioning what he could have possibly done wrong and greatly tests his faith, in this case, in science. I have chosen to explore the moment in which Job speaks to God to find out why he has suffered but receives no clear answer by hinting at human error as the cause of the scientist’s suffering. I have then twisted this with a comedic take on the epilogue in which Job is returned his life by God. Here, I have used a cliffhanger pointing to the unfortunate but universal truth that human suffering never ends, as well as the unexplainable nature of the universe/God. Something I feel is abundant in the original story.