There's A Touching Tribute To Paul Walker In “The Fate Of The Furious”

1. When Paul Walker died in November 2013, halfway through filming on Furious 7, the filmmakers decided his character, Brian O’Conner, would live on.

The last time audiences saw Brian, he was literally driving off into the sunset at the end of the 2015 film. “We took a lot of care in crafting that last end sequence,” director James Wan told BuzzFeed News.

2. So, since Brian is still very much alive in this action-heavy cinematic universe, many were wondering how The Fate of the Furious would handle the character’s absence.

4. The first time comes about halfway through the film, when Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) insists the crew leave him out of their latest high-stakes drama. It’s a quick, cough-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.

5. But there’s no mistaking the second time Brian’s name comes up.

No matter how loudly you were sobbing.

6. The plot of Fate of the Furious is that Dom (Vin Diesel) has betrayed the team and paired up with cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron), who is always one step ahead of them. And it’s revealed that’s because she kidnapped his infant son — a child Dom never knew existed!

Apparently at some point while he thought Letty was dead, Dom and Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) had sex and before she could tell him she was pregnant with his baby, Elena was kidnapped. In Fate of the Furious, Dom is reunited with Elena and is introduced to their son aboard Cipher’s enormous plane, where she’s been holding Elena and the baby captive in a seriously high-tech cell. And because Elena believes a father should bestow a first name on his son, the baby doesn’t have a name yet.

7. As he always does, Dom triumphs over the bad guys and rescues his son from Cipher…

…although not before Cipher kills Elena.

8. And, as these films always do, The Fate of the Furious ends with the team celebrating their victory at a family dinner.

9. It’s while surrounded by his loved ones that Dom announces he’s named his son Brian!

10. It’s a beautiful moment that pays tribute to how Brian changed Dom’s life. And it also imitates Diesel’s real-life homage to Walker.

Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images

11. The actor named his daughter Pauline in March 2015 as a tribute to Walker.

Check out more articles on!

Female Composers Want Their Male Peers To Step Up

HOLLYWOOD, California — Prominent female movie and television composers are tentatively optimistic for the future in the face of almost unbelievably bad statistics. Of the top 250 films of 2016, for example, 97% did not have a female composer, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Nonetheless, four female composers — Pinar Toprak, Lesley Barber, Carly Paradis, and Stephanie Economou — said they think the industry is shifting on a panel Friday at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Expo. They pointed approvingly to the heightened visibility of some individual female composers as well as both formal and informal networks of women emerging to lift each other up.

They also called on men to start speaking up about the issue alongside them, because gender parity won’t happen until men commit to it as well. “It would have been great to have a man on the panel,” Barber said. “And broaden the conversation.”

Barber, who recently scored the critically beloved Manchester By the Sea, said that organizations like the Alliance for Women Film Composers are critical for raising consciousness. Her own personal high profile, too, is helpful. “Producers and music supervisors and executives are seeing the image of what we look like,” Barber said. “They’re seeing the image of us at work; they’re hearing about our teams and our collaborations; they know that they can trust us with bigger-budget projects. They can see that there’s precedent.”

Paradis, a London-based composer, said seeing women in the role “empowers women to believe that they can do this kind of job.” She then cited the personal support she gets from her own friends in the industry; previously, Paradis didn’t know any fellow women composers. Now, “I feel like I’m a part of something that is growing,” she said.

Economou, who works for the composer Harry Gregson-Williams and recently collaborated with him on The Zookeeper’s Wife, said, “The line that I hear the most is, ‘How come there aren’t any female film composers?’ A big response to that is … there’s hundreds of women film composers.”

She believes progressive men in the field are becoming better allies and are starting to question their assumptions. Several years ago, at an event for composers, Economou met a male peer who turned to her boyfriend and asked who he worked for. She explained that she, not her boyfriend, was the composer. “He just got very silent for a little bit, and he didn’t look at me, and he goes, ‘I’m so sorry that I assumed that you weren’t the composer. I’m not quite sure why I did that,’” she recalled. “I was like, ‘What you just realized was the most important thing that you could ever realize.’ … It was so refreshing and wonderful to see someone be like, ‘Why is that my gut reaction?’”

Toward the end of the discussion, the moderator, Variety reporter Jon Burlingame, asked a question that was submitted on Twitter by this reporter: “What can male composers do to support female composers?”

Hire them as writers,” Economou jumped in. “Hire them as music editors. Hire them to work for you, to work on films, to get exposure.”

Check out more articles on!

Rihanna Rapped On Kendrick Lamar's New Album And Now People Want Rihanna To Rap More

1. The universe really came through today: Kendrick Lamar dropped his highly anticipated album Damn — and much to our delight, it features Rihanna rapping on one of the tracks.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2. “Loyalty,” the sixth track on the set, is the pair’s first collaboration. On it, Lamar and Rihanna ponder the importance of loyalty and trust in relationships.

Around the 1:09 mark, Rihanna raps about being a “bad bitch way before any cash came.”

3. Naturally, people collectively lost their shit, with some declaring her the new “Queen of Rap,” which…

6. …erm…we won’t go there.

Need to hear another song with Rihanna rapping, she might be a better rapper than Nicki Minaj

— Rob (@NawRob)

7. Although many fans were excited to hear Rihanna drop bars on the fresh track…


— Laia Fenty (@laiafenty)

rihanna is rapping on this kendrick track and i feel like God really heard my prayers on this one

— Lauren Chanel Allen (@MichelleHux)

10. …”Loyalty” isn’t the first time the Anti singer has rapped before.

11. Just last year, she collaborated with Mike WiLL Made-It on “Nothing Is Promised,” and she really went in.

The lyrics may be about shopping in Paris, but she reminds listeners that she put in the work to get to where she is today.

12. Then there was her remix of Wale’s “Bad.”

The original “Bad” featured Tiara Thomas’s vocals.

13. She basically already proved she could spit with “Phresh Out the Runway,” a track from her very own 2012 album Unapologetic.

14. “How could you be so hood, but you so fucking pop? / How could you be so fun, and sound like you selling rocks?”

‘Tis straight fire.

15. Fans are already calling on RiRi to release an entire rap album.

I been wanting a Rihanna rap album since she said, “I bet you niggas gon’ be like, ‘Bitch, this my fucking song.'”

— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

rihanna needs to make a rap/trap album. i don’t care what y’all say that would be FIRE.

— kir (@classifiedhoe)

17. Ahem.

Damn. is legendary. I can’t believe Rihanna let this kid rap all over her album and she’s only on one song. She never stops giving😍

— SCAMN. (@ILLCapitano94)

Check out more articles on!

All The Things Helen Mirren Says In “The Fate Of The Furious”

Dame Helen Mirren appears in not one, but two scenes in The Fate of the Furious and she easily steals them with her icy glare alone. The Oscar-winning actor plays the matriarch of the villainous Shaw family, mum to Deckard (Jason Statham) and Owen (Luke Evans).


Here are her lines, sans context, which should be read in a thick Cockney accent. (WARNING: Light spoilers ahead.)

1. “Do you know who I am?”

2. “Do you know what I’m capable of?”

3. “I’ll give you until I’ve finish me cuppa…and I’m fucking thirsty.”

4. “Oh no. No, you’ve already taken everything I’ve ever valued, Mr. Toretto. What more could you possibly want?”

5. “Now why do I think you’re about to suggest something really dodgy, Mr. Toretto?”

6. “Oh, shut up. Don’t be such a baby.”

7. “He gave us this little thing here.”

8. “No, no, no, no. Don’t touch. You can track Cypher with this, but you can’t do this on your own. It’s gotta be two of you.”

9. “No, you’re gonna take your brother. Yes.”

10. “Torretto knows where he is. He’s got this thing, you can see everything. It’s like, it’s called the Devil’s Bumhole or something.”

11. “Yeah, whatever.”

12. “He’s your brother, Decks. He’s my son. He’s our family, and our family don’t die. Bloody cagey, I can’t believe you’ve gone and talked like that about Owen. I can’t believe you. You’ve gone and upset me. You’ve really upset your mother. You call yourself a brother?”

Check out more articles on!

Behold The Perfection Of These Behind The Scenes Photos From The 100th Episode Of “Scandal”

1. The 100th episode of Scandal aired on Thursday…

2. And understandably, the whole cast was pretty hype about it.

3. In the episode, titled “The Decision,” Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) daydreams about what all of her OPA colleagues’ lives would have been like if she didn’t agree to fix the presidential election that helped Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) get into the Oval Office.

4. And after the episode aired, the cast shared plenty of behind the scenes photos from their time filming the episode.

5. Here’s a look at Olivia and Fitz’s wedding, which would’ve happened in that alternate timeline.

6. Her faithful friends and gladiators, Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and Huck (Guillermo Díaz), were also present.

8. Of course, Olivia looked *gorgeous* in her dress!

9. And here’s Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.) with Hairy Huck AND former Scandal regular, James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky), who wouldn’t have died if it wasn’t for Fitz’s win.

10. Since Fitz never became president, Olivia Pope & Associates weren’t exactly regulars at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. So, their visit to the White House in this episode was pretty exciting.

11. Also, turns out, Quinn (Katie Lowes) would’ve been a reality show star.

12. But, as to be expected, Fitz and Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) were still as dreamy as ever.

Check out more articles on!

Everything We Now Know About “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

At a Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration panel in Orlando on Friday, we were gifted our first trailer and the poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

1. We have a brand new lead in actor Kelly Marie Tran! She plays Rose, a maintenance worker in the Resistance, who gets pulled in on the action with Finn.

Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

There’s more than one new character in The Last Jedi, but director and screenwriter Rian Johnson described Rose as “the biggest new part.” He also described her as “an unlikely hero” who represents “the notion that anyone out there, any of us, can step up and turn into a hero. She’s not a soldier, she’s not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled into an adventure with Finn.”

2. The role was kept so top secret, Tran had to lie to her family for months about landing the role.

Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

“They didn’t know for four months after,” Tran said with a laugh. “I told them I was doing an indie movie in Canada. At one point, I got some maple syrup so I could bring it back to them, so they’d think I was really in Canada.”

3. Carrie Fisher helped Johnson with the script for The Last Jedi.

Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

“I love her so much,” Johnson said of the late Fisher. “I connected with her first and foremost as a writer; she’s a brilliant writer with an incredible mind. I’d go to her house and we’d sit on her bed for hours and go through the script and we’d have these kind of stream of consciousness, jazz poetry ad-lib sessions. I’d scribble on my script everything she said and at he end of six hours, there’d be a four-word line of dialogue that would be a distillation of all that that was brilliant.”

4. According to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, The Last Jedi will feature “fierce, amazingly independent” women.

Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

“And that, as everybody in this room knows, is so important to Star Wars,” she said.

5. Mark Hamill almost called Daisy Ridley his “daughter” during the panel and Rian Johnson slapped himself on the forehead. (Hamill also called John Boyega his “son,” BUT STILL.)

Sure, it might have been a joke, BUT I NEED TO KNOW IF IT WASN’T.

6. But in actuality, Daisy Ridley FINALLY gave us some clues about what Rey and Luke’s dynamic will be — and Luke might kinda suck.

Disney / Lucasfilm

“In The Last Jedi, we go deep into Rey’s story. And what is very apparent from where we left off in The Force Awakens, and where we begin with The Last Jedi, is that Rey has a certain expectation as to what she might learn from Luke, and what that might entail,” Ridley said. “As it’s said, it’s difficult to meet your heroes, because it might not be what you expect.”

7. According to John Boyega, sweet cinnamon roll Finn is “not playing” this time around. And he’s still deciding where his allegiances lie.

Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

“He’s in recovery,” Boyega said of Finn’s Kylo-Ren-inflicted injury at the end of The Force Awakens. “But he will be back, and he’s not playing this time.” But Finn still needs to face his past. “It’s a test for all the characters, but specifically for Finn,” Boyega said. “He wants to find his place now. Is he going to be part of the Resistance or is he going to keep running away from the First Order? We’ll see.”

8. We’re going to see even more comedy from BB-8.

Johnson said the best advice he got was from J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens editors: “You can’t have enough BB-8. He’s the Buster Keaton of this movie.”

9. Yes, Starkiller Base was destroyed, but the First Order is still really, really evil. And really, really active.

Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

“Starkiller Base, big loss,” Johnson said. “But they did manage to take out the seat of the Republic and that’s thrown the galaxy into chaos. The First Order are jumping on that at the beginning of our movie very aggressively — not sitting on their hands. They’re making some big moves at the start of our film.”

Check out more articles on!

13 Reasons Why Clay Jensen's Mom Is The Fucking Worst

To be clear, there are MANY, MANY shitty characters in 13 Reasons Why, who do MANY, MANY shitty things. But Mrs. Jensen needs to be called out. Mrs. Jensen, welcome to your post.

1. You acted like you’re so chill in the first episode when everyone knows you’re not.

4. You refused to let Clay wash his sheets, when he may or may not have wet the bed. That’s fucked up.

5. You decided to invite Tony over for dinner, when Clay could not stand him. And you wonder why Clay gets annoyed with you?!

7. …then offered to drop the case if it hurt Clay. I think it was pretty clear he didn’t want you to take the case.

8. Then you were basically like, “Alright, let’s just do this” and offered the Bakers a $200,000 settlement.

9. And then you tell Mrs. Baker in the bathroom how Clay is worth everything to you. Like didn’t you just offer her only $200k for what happened????

10. And when Sheri comes over, you were set on embarrassing Clay, telling him to leave the door open? Can’t you just TEXT him, instead of making it so awkward?

11. You actually suggested that Clay wear his “rain poncho” to the party. Are you going to be OK?

12. You also pretended like you were just going to “prepare” Clay for the deposition. We know that’s not like you.

13. And lastly, you’re always nagging at Clay, yet you have NO CASE on your iPhone. Irresponsible much?

Check out more articles on!

15 Big Questions We Have About “The Last Jedi” Trailer

Guys, the first trailer for The Last Jedi premiered today at Star Wars Celebration, and booooy does it look damn good. In case you missed it, here it is:

But, we have SEVERAL questions and December is a long way to wait for them to be answered.

1. Why is Kylo Ren’s mask broken?

Did he have another hissy fit and just SMASH it?! Or does a certain someone (*cough* Rey) do this?

2. Are these the Journals of the Whills?!?!

As briefly mentioned in Rogue One, Baze and Chirrut were once Guardians of the Whills – now, the Whills, for those who don’t know, are these kind of ~mystical~ beings who were deeply tied to the Force. And in Star Wars lore The Journal of the Whills was a legendary record of events in the galaxy. So…it could be?! They look old.

3. What’s with this star/logo that appears to be on of The Journal of the Whills?

Is this an old Jedi symbol?

4. Or is it just an Easter egg?

The glare on the original A New Hope poster and The Last Jedi looks a lot like the symbol that’s in the book.

5. After the Rebellion’s base was discovered by the First Order did they just move their operations to a battle ship?

Both General Leia and Poe appear to be on a rather large ship.

7. Do these ships belong to the Resistance?

Because they’re clearly going into battle with the New Order – you can see the AT-ATs in the distance.

8. And why are they (purposefully?) kicking up the cool red dirt from the ground?

9. What is going on in this scene with the Millennium Falcon?

Does this mean that the First Order was able to figure out where Luke was hiding? And how? They didn’t ever get the map.

10. Does this shot mean Rey was having visions of the future in Force Awakens?

Because it looks like we’re seeing a different angle of what she saw.

11. And what exactly are Luke and R2D2 looking at here?

What’s been destroyed?

12. Are they going to explain how Captain Phasma got off Starkiller base?

Because that is definitely her.

13. Does Rey actually get to keep Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber?!

We saw her try to hand it to Luke at the end of Force Awakens, so does he refuse? Maybe he still has his green one from Jedi and/or he feels it doesn’t belong to him anymore.

14. Why does Luke want the Jedi to end?

And is HE going to be the one to end it? What’s the plan here?

15. And finally, will this affect the opening crawl?

Because it looks like The Last Jedi picks up RIGHT where The Force Awakens left off – so what would be left to “recap” in the crawl?

Check out more articles on!

How The Best Podcast Of The Year Was Made

S-Town — the podcast also known by the uncensored title Shittown — has captured listeners’ imaginations, and dominated the iTunes charts, due to its astonishing strengths: the deftness of its prose, the complexity of its pacing, and its humane, clear-eyed treatment of its characters. As assembled into seven chapters by reporter Brian Reed of This American Life and executive producer Julie Snyder of Serial, the show starts out in true-crime territory similar to the first season of Serial: Reed heads to the tiny Alabama town of Woodstock to investigate a possible murder at the behest of one of its residents, John B. McLemore.

The podcast, however, ends up exploring far less familiar terrain. (Warning: This story contains MAJOR SPOILERS for anyone who has not finished S-Town.) For one, Reed discovers that the murder he’s investigating never happened. For another, McLemore asserts himself as S-Town’s true subject — an essentially retired antique clock restorer, the 49-year-old emerges as a one-of-a-kind Deep South eccentric with an inexhaustible intellectual curiosity and fits of profane disquisition. As an example, after just a few minutes in his first conversation with Reed, McLemore rattled off the exact GPS coordinates for a hedge maze he created on his property from memory. Later, he said that as a teenager he was into “the astrolabe, sundials, projective geometry, new wave music, climate change, and how to solve Rubik’s cubes,” before launching into a rant about “the cool Greenland melt falling directly into the less dense water where the thermohaline convector normally heads back south…”

S-Town really comes into its own at the end of Chapter II, when Reed gets a shocking call from one of McLemore’s friends, informing him that McLemore killed himself two days prior, by ingesting cyanide. For the rest of the podcast, Reed pursues the fallout from McLemore’s suicide, and S-Town transforms into an intimate and sprawling portrait of the man, the people who knew him best, and the community that shaped his life — a community that so repulsed McLemore, he gave it the name that Reed then adopted for the title of the podcast. With all seven episodes released at the same time, the result feels like the first podcast that unfolds like a piece of audio literature, with the storytelling care and humane complexity of works of narrative nonfiction like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Listening to it is like witnessing the invention of a stirring and sublime work of art.

Reed and Snyder spoke with BuzzFeed News about how the show came together, and how they navigated the many burning questions listeners were certain to have after finishing it.

McLemore’s death almost meant the death of the project.

After McLemore killed himself on June 22, 2015, Reed was unsure that his reporting in Woodstock would ever amount to a story, let alone a seven-part podcast.

“I wanted to just go to his funeral,” Reed said. “We weren’t sure what to do. … I was doing many other stories during the time I was talking to John, and [S-Town] was kind of something I would do when I had time, on the side.”

At This American Life, Reed explained, roughly half of the stories staffers pursue ultimately get killed, and his journey with McLemore might have gone that direction. “What happened after he died is that at least two reporting threads presented themselves to us,” Reed said. “I legitimately had questions about this man’s life. There were people who seemed to know him well who weren’t contacted [after he died]. And then also, the people I did know who were close to him were telling me that there was something nefarious going on in the wake of his suicide, and were keeping in touch with me about it. That seemed like something very clear to report on and document.”

S-Town’s novelistic storytelling style was shaped out of necessity: For the story to work in audio, listeners needed to assume it was a fully formed narrative.

Reed estimated that he spoke with “two or three dozen” people for over a year after McLemore died, through interviews conducted on the record, on background, and off the record. He is unsure of the precise number of hours of recordings he amassed in total. “A hundred?” he said after a long pause. “More than a hundred? I really don’t know, honestly! I try not to think about it that way, because it overwhelms my mind.”

To make sense of it all, he and Snyder created a massive spreadsheet that organized all the interviews and what was said in them before they started piecing together the structure for the show. And that’s when they began to understand that S-Town wasn’t anything like a typical radio story. “There isn’t a totally clear question that [Reed] set out with at the beginning, which is generally how I would say 98% of This American Life stories are structured,” said Snyder.

Without a central question, they knew the podcast would have to be, at least in part, a profile of McLemore — a format Snyder called “really anathema to radio” due to its lack of a strong forward-motion narrative. “For those reasons, I felt like it’s important for it to feel that Brian has a story to bring you, and you’re going to have to trust that he knows the beginning, the middle, and the end of this story,” she said. “I felt like that’s what you get when you read a novel. You open the first page, you have no idea where you are and why you’re there, but you have a confidence that you know you can physically see there’s a final page, and the author has a story to tell you.”

Reed added that the very nature of his reporting — especially “the metaphors that John was handing me” in their interviews — leant itself to a literary approach. “He’s a horologist,” he said. “He’s got a giant maze in his backyard with 64 different solutions and one with no way out. ‘Shittown’ as a concept even seems literary — the very multifaceted way in which he employed that word. And it seemed to encapsulate not only his town but much larger ideas about the failures in society, statewide, nationally, globally.”

The sheer length of time Reed took to report the story even ended up contributing to the podcast’s novelistic appeal. “We realized when we sat down to structure it that I’d accidentally given myself the power of omniscience, in a way, and of foreshadowing,” said Reed. “We’d be talking about a scene that happened a year and a half ago, that we’re putting in the story, and I knew something from the future about that person, or that scene. People have literally died and been born in the time that I’ve been around the people in Woodstock.”

Reed rigorously chased down every lead for the story, even if the end result didn’t ultimately answer all the questions he raised on the show.

The style of S-Town also sets the podcast apart as a piece of journalism: Many of the concrete questions Reed explored — like the location of McLemore’s purported stash of gold, or the reason behind why many of McLemore’s friends didn’t learn about his death until after his funeral — remain unresolved by the show’s end.

“I mean, I wanted to answer them, and I did my best in reporting them, and presented my best findings,” said Reed.

Snyder also stressed that S-Town relied on time-honored best practices of journalism — checking and rechecking facts, tracking down interviews, finding documentation, etc. — even if that wasn’t always apparent in the way they presented Reed’s reporting, given the conversational tone of the show. “The idea is that maybe the reporting is kind of a little easy-breezy also,” she said, causing Reed to laugh. “What makes up the story is really very traditional, unglamorous, kind of sloggy reporting.”

“When we’re making a story, for a large part we’re making it for ourselves and our own taste.”

(One thing they didn’t stress: getting photos of McLemore or anyone else from S-Town for the podcast’s website, which has almost no photos at all. “I hate pictures,” Snyder said with a laugh. “I’m highly opposed to pictures with radio stories. I don’t know if I’ll always think that’s true, but 93% of the time, I will always say no pictures. That’s what the internet’s for.”)

Ultimately, however, the more traditional journalism that propels This American Life and Serial, driven by seeking conclusive answers to explicit questions, just didn’t apply to S-Town — and that was fine with its makers. “For Julie and me, those aren’t the things that interest us most about the story,” said Reed. “When we’re making a story, for a large part we’re making it for ourselves and our own taste. And in that regard, it would have been cool to be able to report some of that stuff out further than I did. But it wasn’t terribly upsetting to us.”

…So don’t ask about what happened to McLemore’s gold.

S-Town’s final chapter includes a moment from early on in Reed’s reporting when he spoke with McLemore’s quasi-surrogate son Tyler Goodson, another of the story’s central characters. His life was upended the most by McLemore’s death, in part due to his efforts to collect items from McLemore’s property that he claimed were his. Due to the legal dispute over who owned the land and everything on it, Reed counseled Goodson about revealing on the record whether he’d found the cache of gold McLemore hinted he’d hidden on his property.

“Well, listen, I clearly want to know if you ever do find it. But you should think about it before you tell me, if you ever do, because it’s then going to be public,” Reed tells Goodson on the show.

“Yeah, I know. That’s what I’m scared of now,” Goodson replies.

“I would worry if you found a million dollars in gold, or if you found, like, a bunch of gold,” says Reed. “Just consider it before you ever tell me, all right?”

After a pause, Goodson asks Reed to turn off his recorder, and Reed, in voiceover, explains that they’d had “a discussion off the record.”

Brian Reed recording an interview for S-Town with an unnamed subject (though not John McLemore). Andrea Morales

That is the last we hear about McLemore’s gold on S-Town — and that’s where Reed wants to leave it, at least for now. “I’ve really said as much as I feel comfortable saying in the show itself,” he said.

Reed also pushed back at the suggestion that placing that conversation at the end of the show might leave listeners with the impression that Goodson did, indeed, find at least some gold. “Actually, I think if you look online, people are having all sorts of conclusions,” said Reed. “That was not our intention.”

Reed and Snyder said they only meant to give listeners the most up-to-date information they had on the record about Goodson’s legal situation (which, by the way, has not changed since the show went live — he’s is still awaiting trial on several charges). “Also, people in the story speculate that Tyler took the gold, so we did have a responsibility to run the question past him,” Snyder said.

Reed did try to interview the Woodstock police and McLemore’s mother Mary Grace, but only the latter would speak with him.

One theory on the whereabouts of McLemore’s gold is that the Woodstock police could have either made off with it themselves or looked the other way when someone else did. Conspicuously, however, Reed said no police officers would speak with him despite multiple requests for an interview. All he got were written responses to some questions he sent to the town’s chief of police, which included the department’s denial that they had found any gold on McLemore’s property (as Reed noted in Chapter V).

Another voice largely absent from S-Town is McLemore’s mother, Mary Grace, whose well-being becomes the first spark of conflict between Goodson and her next of kin, McLemore’s cousin Rita and her husband Charlie. But Reed said he did get a chance to interview Mary Grace on the record after Rita and Charlie brought him to see her. “I saw where she was staying, and she did seem to be doing well,” he said. “She was in pretty good spirits. She’s very quick-witted, despite her clear dementia, and funny, and kind of biting sometimes.”

Reed ultimately chose not to use any of his recorded interviews with Mary Grace in the podcast. “It didn’t seem to fit into the story,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “It wasn’t the most…her faculties are not there in terms of an interview.” He did, however, use some of what he learned from Mary Grace. “For instance, the detail I include in the last [chapter] about her rubbing her stomach and praying for a genius,” he said. “I had heard that story from someone else she had told it to, but then she told me that multiple times on the record.” As far as Reed knows, Mary Grace is still staying with family friends. “The last I heard in the last couple months, she’s been thriving and doing well.”

Don’t worry too much about McLemore’s dogs, either.

McLemore kept a small army of stray dogs on his sprawling property, and there was some question as to what would become of them — McLemore had requested that they be euthanized after he killed himself. It turns out, they’re almost certainly fine. “For a long time, at least two of them were with Tyler,” said Reed. “And then it’s my understanding that homes were found for the rest. I don’t have the firmest information on this, but to my knowledge, they were not euthanized.”

Reed and Snyder adamantly believe it was fair for S-Town to go into detail about McLemore’s sexual experiences with other men.

Although S-Town has earned wide critical acclaim, responses to the podcast have not been uniformly positive. A recent Vox essay with the headline “S-Town is a stunning podcast. It probably shouldn’t have been made.” typifies a lot of the criticism of the show — namely, that Reed went too far in exploring the intimate details of McLemore’s romantic and sexual history with other men without McLemore’s expressed consent to do so.

It is an argument that frustrates Reed and Snyder. They both note that McLemore outed himself in his second email to This American Life, and was always up front about his sexuality with Reed when he was alive. “I didn’t ask him about that, I was asking about a murder. He put it on the table,” Reed said.

“I thought it would be very odd to talk about John and not talk about his experience with love.”

Reed and Snyder decided that discussing McLemore’s sexuality was necessary to paint a full portrait of the man and his community. “In terms of the very particular experience of a gay man in his forties who grew up in Alabama in Bibb County, it’s unique,” said Snyder. “I thought it would be very odd to talk about John and not talk about his experience with love. … I think it’s meaningful for a lot of people who had that experience.”

Snyder suggested that uneasiness with exploring McLemore’s sexuality could have something to do with society’s larger issues with intimacy between two men. She cited a passage in Chapter VI featuring Olin Long, a close confidant of McLemore’s who wrestled with his desire for something beyond friendship between them. Long reached out to Reed specifically to speak on the record about McLemore; he shared an anecdote about sitting in McLemore’s pickup truck with him and experiencing a surge of deep feeling for his friend.

Long tells Reed on the podcast, “I wanted to reach over there, I wanted to pull his shirt up, expose his belly, and just kiss all over his belly around that red hair, just to that extent. And I wanted to do it slowly and sensuously. That’s what I wanted to do, and see what he thought about it.”

“It’s incredibly intimate, when Olin talks about what could have been,” Snyder said. “Brian knows, I would squirm [listening to it]. I would be totally like, ‘Oh god, where’s he going?’” She compared it to her reaction to watching the beach scene in the film Moonlight during which two teenage boys have a sexual encounter. “I totally squirmed then, too. I think there’s a bit of homophobia in squirming at that intimacy. I recognized it in myself when I saw Moonlight, and I recognized it in Olin’s talking about John.”

Similarly, Reed and Snyder also believe that McLemore’s “church” experiences with Goodson were fair game for inclusion.

S-Town also explores another complex form of intimacy, which McLemore shared with Goodson, a straight man in his mid-twenties, in a ritual the two men referred to as “church”: Goodson would run a tattoo gun over McLemore’s body, over and over again, often without any ink, to inflict a kind of targeted pain. The Vox piece criticized Reed for not correctly characterizing “church” as the BDSM practice of “needle play,” something Reed takes strong issue with.

“I could never do that because that’s not how Tyler characterizes it,” Reed said. “That would be me imposing a thing onto the person who actually partook in it. I’m open to the idea that these are complicated activities that can mean many things at once. But the way that it was described to me by Tyler is that it helped [McLemore] relieve his pain. It helped him be able to sleep at night. It cleared his mind of his worries, which is similar to cutting, and we checked with a social worker, and they agreed.”

Reed felt that he was justified in including these details about “church” because they involved Goodson just as much as they involved McLemore. “Tyler talked to me about it many times. It was something he was dealing with in the wake of John’s death.” He’d heard multiple people in Woodstock say that Goodson was a bad influence on McLemore, but Goodson said McLemore was the one pleading with him to do “church” every night, Reed said. “I thought it helped give a much fuller and more complicated picture of their relationship at the end. We were very judicious about what we did include. There was much more that we did not. … We tried to treat it with as much care as possible.”

Reed and Snyder didn’t think about S-Town’s connection to Trump voters until after the election.

According to Reed, McLemore never really expressed much of a political opinion beyond his low opinion of politics in general. “He thinks of the Democratic and Republican parties as twin cheeks on the same ass,” Reed said. “But we didn’t delve much deeper than that.”

McLemore died a week after Donald Trump formally announced that he was running for president in 2015; as the rest of the media world scrambled to understand Trump voters the next year, Reed and Snyder had their heads down putting S-Town together. They said they didn’t really think about the fact that their show was set among exactly the kind of working-class white voters who made up a big part of Trump’s base.

However, Reed did have to personally confront at least one issue wrapped up with some of those supporters: Reed’s wife is black, and many of the people he spoke to for S-Town, including McLemore, held racist attitudes and used racist terms. At a certain point in his reporting, his spouse’s race became much harder to keep private.

“With Tyler and his family, I was just spending so much time with them that, like, eventually they wanted to be friends on Facebook,” he said. “We talked about the use of certain words. And I told him that they made me uncomfortable. It’s a weird position to be in as a journalist, because you don’t want people to censor themselves. So that’s not what I was trying to do. But I was also trying to be myself, you know? But [Goodson] was fine. Like, it was not an issue. And some of the language did calm down after that, actually.”

And then, well into the editing process for S-Town, Trump was elected president. At first, Reed was plunged into despair. “The day after the election, I remember coming in and feeling like, What the hell’s the point of this story?” Reed said. “There’s all this stuff going on in the world to cover. I want to be back at my normal job where I can do reporting about things that are actually happening now, that are relevant to the world. And then the next day, I remember feeling like, Oh, maybe this is a little bit what the story’s about.”

After some discussion, S-Town’s connection to the Trump voter didn’t really end up changing their approach to the podcast. “I think we just kind of comforted ourselves with that thought,” he said, laughing with Snyder. “It was a way to feel OK about why we weren’t reporting on the incoming administration and the very surprising election.”

Reed and Snyder would love to try to do something like S-Town again, even though they’re not actually trying to do something like S-Town again.

S-Town’s popularity has already elicited inquiries about possible movie or TV adaptations. “There’s definitely been interest,” said Snyder. “I’m very literal, so I have a hard time being like, What would it be, other than just people speaking the lines of the podcast? But it would be cool to see.”

Given S-Town’s reception, one might expect Reed, Snyder, and the This American Life and Serial teams to be talking seriously about how to make another podcast that attempts the same narrative style again.

“What makes anything feel new, is that the creators are trying to fend off their own boredom.”

“We’re so bad at that,” said Snyder. “No. I know, I know. It sounds like I’m being paternalistic when I’m like, ‘No, trust me, you like us better this way.’ If we thought that way, we would have come out of the first season of Serial and looked for another murder story. If anything, we actively move against it.”

“I think part of what makes the thing feel new, and what made Serial feel new, and what makes anything feel new, is that the creators are trying to fend off their own boredom,” added Reed. “So to try to recreate this — I don’t know.”

“I told you that my brother wants us to do Shittown Season 2 in my hometown?” Snyder said to Reed with a laugh. “That’s what we joked about, the anthology series of Shittown. We’ll just do Shittowns across America.”

Check out more articles on!

No One's Noticed This One Detail In “13 Reasons Why” That Explains The Ending

1. If you haven’t finished13 Reasons Why, exit out of this post right now because I am about to end all debates about the last episode.

2. So, in Episode 12, a 17-year-old is rushed to the hospital, being treated for a gunshot to the head.

5. At the end of the series, we’re basically left with two theories about this situation. The first is that Alex shot himself, but it seems too obvious in a show like this.

7. If you recall, Tyler was bullied throughout the whole show, and at the end, he has a shitload of guns.

8. And he’s seen looking at Alex’s picture in the last few minutes of the series.

9. But, after noticing this one detail, I’m pretty sure Alex did try to kill himself.

10. Yes, there’s that eerie pool scene, which mirrored Hannah in the bathtub.

12. …and the fact that he seemed to feel the most guilty about what happened to Hannah.

13. But there’s one specific detail that hints that he tried to shoot himself. Do you remember what Alex before he was rushed to the hospital? He CLEANED HIS ROOM.

15. Do you know who else cleaned their room? HANNAH. Right before everything happened.

  1. So, what do you think?

    1. Yes, everything makes sense now.

    2. No, I still think Tyler is responsible.

    3. There’s probably 13,000 twists and turns that we don’t even know about, which will explain it.

No One’s Noticed This One Detail In “13 Reasons Why” That Explains The Ending


    Check out more articles on!