Welcome back to Beyond the Sectors, your bimonthly podcast all about the Beyond world of author duo Kit Rocha. My name is Chelsea.
And I’m Ana.
And today friends we are here to talk about Beyond Forever, which is the second volume in the O’Kane for Life novella series. It does take place after the entire Beyond series has wrapped up. So we didn’t say this on our first episode, but if for some reason you’ve decided to hop on at this point, I would highly suggest hopping back off and doing some catching up because there will be like spoilers and all sorts of things. I kind of figured that went without saying but also like maybe I should just put that out there. This is the novella that is all about Lex and Dallas. We get several different vignettes at different points in their relationship going all the way back to the night that they first meet. So we will go ahead and hop in there – this novella is literally broken down into like, novelettes, and each one is titled with like the time period at which has occurred.
And it goes back and forth in time, because we keep checking in with current day Lex and Dallas, as as we get moments of their journey.
Because we very first open with opening night and this is literally they’re getting ready to do their open on the new like freshly rebuilt Broken Circle. And you know, Dallas is kind of walking through checking on everything and we end with him entering his office and him kind of waxing poetic because there, sitting in the place of honor, is this like safe. And it’s been beat up and it’s been battered and it’s nobody knew why Dallas wanted to pay to drag it out of the rubble of the bombed Broken Circle. But there it sits. And we flashback to six years ago. Loyal readers, we’ll probably know exactly what we’re flashing back to ,but do you want to go ahead and let them know what our next little vignette is about?
Yeah. So this is the big moment where Dallas has saved up enough money that he’s going to make the transition from cheap rum into starting to lay down some whiskey. So he has all his payroll, all the money set aside to pay for this new amount of corn and all this kind of the supplies that he needs. And this is like the big moment. And then he wanders into his office and there is lacks in the middle of robbing him. And they have this little low sexy by-play, you know. And, you know, she’s really doing her best Sector Two mind fuck of Dallas. And he thinks he gets everything back, except she’s taken the credit stick. And then his world falls apart.
It is very much so like he does the pat down and he finds the giant wad of cash. So he thinks that they’re in the clear and so he lets her go right. Our secretly a little bit soft inside teddy bear, and like he is enamored with her. So he decides he’s gonna let her go, it’s not worth this time. Of course, the minute she’s out of his sight, he goes back and realizes that the actual thing that’s missing is not the cash for payroll, it is his life savings. And so then we immediately cut to Lex and she is on the mad dash, she could not believe that he has let her go. She knows he doesn’t realize what she’s got. She takes it home, she plugs in the credit stick and her eyes like cartoon like telescope out of her head. And all of a sudden she realizes like, she has not just robbed this guy, she has potentially fucked his entire life beyond a point.
She has mad money. This is my money that she can live free clear from everywhere else. So she could you know, hop on a bike and get out of town. But she doesn’t.
Which is why I love that the next thing she does, of course, is she walks back into Dallas’s life, back into his bar, back into his office, just having robbed him not 12 hours ago, and she gives him his money back. Which A, is wonderful because Lex is not, you know, they have this kind of speech where she’s she’s trying to be a Robin Hood, right? Like she’s not out to take the livelihoods of people who can’t afford to lose their livelihood. So like, she’s not there to do that. But also she’s very much so just as kind of already addicted to Dallas as he is to her. So from the beginning, there’s very much so this power dance back and forth where they both really want each other but for a whole variety of reasons can’t and won’t.
Yeah, from the very beginning, they’re just, they’re trying to figure each other out. So you really get that dynamic of this, them being pitted against each other in this mind game about what they really want. Who’s getting the upper hand, and sooner like we were talking about how Bren and Six aren’t competitive. Here, this is the beginnings of Lex and Dallas, and it’s very competitive of who’s going to be on top. And they they’re going to try to out macho each other or out sexy each other – who can who can totally seduce the other one into submission. And this starts a toxic game that that blows up in Beyond Control.
And I really like that you phrase it that way because it is like a very toxic relationship that they have in this way. Like it’s fun to watch them banter and it’s fun to watch it play out in a certain regard, especially because we know where the end game is, it is and we know how they ultimately end up resolving it and that it becomes resolved. But it is very kind of unhealthy the way that they choose to act around each other and challenge each other. And how they have to kind of come to grips with that. I love that there’s that line from Lex about, you know, basically how Dallas needs to – once he buys, once he gets her the right thing. That’s what she says it brings her the right thing, then the game will change. And that’s why he spent so much money and so long on all on the art and the dresses and the jewelry and all those things we see when we first get to be on shame those rooms and rooms of stuff because he’s looking for that thing. And as we learn in Beyond Control, all that shit is just shit. And it’s not anything to do with what Lex is actually looking for. But this is where we first see that ball start to get rolling,
Right. So there’s that thing where like, it means nothing to her or because it’s not the right thing. But it’s still like, it’s a thing that she can’t get rid of, because it’s something that he’s giving her. So that’s just such a challenge of them trying to figure out each other, right. And they have such walls about what they really are willing to show the other. And we get to see a lot of her relationship with Nessa, where it starts and how nervous Dallas is all about it. Because if it was dangerous enough that she almost walked out with that stick of money in her her boot, she walks out with nessa into the marketplace and wins her heart. And worse for Dallas, gives her something that he’s never been able to give. So there’s that moment of like that, that also builds that whole thing of that they have this wanting so much of each other, but they can’t just say what they need from each other. Because they’re not in a place give it to each other yet, they have to have so much growth,
I love that we get a whole kind of chapter or story devoted to that relationship with Nessa because not only does that help us to learn about Pap and and the history of Dallas more specifically – you know, we learn about Texas and the trip and kind of all this stuff scattered throughout the other series. But this is where we really learn about how much of a father figure this man has been to Dallas. And then he brings along, you know, his granddaughter who very much so becomes this daughter figure. But it’s also the first time that we see Lex just through her behavior, showing Dallas something and teaching Dallas something that he was completely blind to. Which is essentially that Nessa is a person, Nessa is not just this repository of information on how to brew alcohol. She’s been trapped and she’s not happy and Lex makes her happy. And there’s that scene where they come back from the market and it really kind of hits Dallas, like this is a very specific way that he’s failed. And for all of the other things he’s managed to keep going and the balls he’s managed to keep up in the air, if his people aren’t happy, he’s not doing something right. And I think this is where we first see him kind of beginning to learn that and see that Lex is or can be a vital piece in providing that kind of missing aspect.
Right. And I mean, to the point where eventually, you know, like we we get, we go through the progress of how they become members of the gang. So we have Rachel’s introduction, and then how they realize that they’re not members of the gang, they might have the tattoos, so they belong to the gang, but they’re not members of the gang. And what they have to do to show him that it’s not just brawn that builds this place. It’s all the knowledge that you know, they have developed, you know. Amira’s ability to know how to smooth people. I love how much we get to know her here, get to know her not just as the mother of the baby Hannah or the wife of Flash, but really this person who managed the Broken Circle and made it the successful bar that it was, and how blind Dallas was to that kind of labor. And because if he can’t put you on a roster that will beat some people up, it just didn’t – like he thinks he’s running a bootlegging gang, right? That’s what he’s so – he’s blind to the fact that he’s now running a business and a corporation, you know, and Lex has to show him that he has many people with more value to what is he’s building then he thinks he does.
Well, I think it’s interesting because – the women, right? He has to be showing us about the women. Because he says from the beginning, because we meet Ace very early on and he says from the beginning that the reason Ace is with him is not to bust heads, you know, he can go out in the street and recruit 50 men to just be muscle. He knows that it’s about branding and Ace is an artist and Ace can bring him A) this reputation from Eden that we later learned is not as true as everybody believes it to be. But also he’s an artist, he can design the logos and the bottles and build a brand. And so Dallas can recognize that kind of power in the men around him. And it takes Lex and this opening of the door with Nessa and further beyond that, for him to start to realize that that applies to the women, too. And that like – I love the scene where Lex comes in and like looks at the bar and is kind of like, meh. Like it literally looks like my house, like it’s a basement and I can I can stay home and drink in a basement. Like she really has to kind of open up his eyes that although he’s thought about branding, like he has not thought about like building an empire. Like it’s almost Mad Men, right? Like it’s about the way the place looks and about how he looks and about, you know, they get into that conversation about breaking up the other stills right. This is back when Dallas would break up bootleggers and take their equipment without realizing how that was affecting his reputation.
It’s making him look like he needs their liquor. She’s she really makes him aware of the vulnerabilities to the things that he thinks are power.
And it’s really fascinating because it takes like I love – and not that she ever has been – but like Lex is not a passive person, right? Like she does not wait for Dallas. Like she knows that if he wants to stop this slow seepage of his reputation, they got to go bust up these other bootleggers and these other distilleries, and I gotta go cause some chaos, and she just does it. Her and Mad, they just go do it. And I love that scene of them, like coming home, like, semi wasted on like rot gut and also on beating up these other guys and smashing all this shit. And like, he’s mad, right? Like Dallas is like legit mad and Lex has to walk him through, like, why he can’t afford to do that. Like, he’s just thinking like, he’s trying to be kind, right, or he’s just like, he’s coming from a mindset of like, keep everything because you don’t know when things are going to go. Like, it’s so pre-flares and living through the flares, that he doesn’t realize that like it’s doing a detriment to him. And what he needs to do is actually smash it down to build this reputation that’s going to benefit him the most in the long run,
Right. Because he’s he’s hoarding it because he sees those are resources that shouldn’t be wasted and destroyed. And she’s like, your reputation is why shouldn’t be wasted and destroyed. So you can afford to buy another thing of barrels and stills. You’re not gonna even use their shit. You don’t need to have it in a warehouse. You need to show people that this, this says what’s wrong, you can’t take my line.
And so and then, of course, we continue to go and there’s, you know, we see the tension escalate between them as Lex gets jumped. And then we have that whole scene where we kind of see the first major kind of inking in of some of these foundational members and what that looked like and how like. It’s fun. It’s fun to go back in time, right of a kind of semi mostly completed, officially long form completed series and see like, the seeds of everything, right, knowing what the future O’Kane drinking in ceremony looks like, and how that is here with this much smaller group. And I think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most overall about this book is we really do get to do our deep flashback to some of the core characters. Like, it’s so interesting to see these flashes of like Jas without Noelle, right, and see him like being this bachelor and kind of freewheeling or to see Mad early on and when he’s still wrestling deeply with some of like this, this is the Second One stuff.
Right! Basically one of the options that is given when Lex has gone away with the money is that well, I could go ask my cousin. What a different book this is, if this is like Sector One Industries, you know. What a different place Mad would have felt connected to, if Dallas is unable to build this and the O’Kanes in the way that he does, he would have been forever tied to Sector One in a way that would have hurt him. And you know that Dallas doesn’t want to have him do that. So again, it just get deepens. It’s like we get to see all the deleted scenes all the pass scenes that ared alluded to and connected to. Because yeah, we’ve talkedabout how Rachel used to feel like she wasn’t a real member – well, because she wasn’t a real member. You know, and, you know, it’s not a false accusation. And so you really just see that all you know, and it’s just beautiful, how seamlessly they use that to build Lex and Dallas’s journey. Because it’s the journey of the gang, but it’s also the journey of them maturing as to what they want. Because I think very much Lex doesn’t know what she wants. And Dallas sure doesn’t know,
Like, now I want to go back and reread just Beyond Control. Because I feel like there is so much context and history specifically for that book. Like you said, this is the story of the birth and kind of development of the gang. Which is intrinsically tied to and almost impossible to separate from the history and the growth of the relationship between Lex and Dallas. And so seeing these things and knowing these things directly and then seeing how those power dynamics have to get wrestled out and so kind of dramatically dealt with in Beyond Control. And then you know, to flash in this novella to beyond that right, to an end and I love that we get like you said the deleted scenes, righ? And we got it in the Bren and Six one, too. And there’s always kind of this moment, where Bree and Donna write really lovingly and affectionately about one character getting to just kind of pause and look around them and realize like, what they’ve gone through, what’s been created, how important it is, what their places in it. And I love that this book ends with us getting to kind of do that. And for Dallas and Lex to both have this chance to kind of A) share that insider secret, like, how we met kind of inside joke almost and also like very much so kind of be proud parents and reflecting on the literal new generations being born and the new sector leaders that are taking over and how all of that is working out for them.
All right, well, okay, so transitioning towards kind of wrapping up – favorite parts? There’s a lot plot-wise that goes on in this, there’s a lot of stuff that happenes So favorite parts, or parts that didn’t work quite as well?
You know, one of the things that was to me very interesting to see here is we knew about Dallas and his women, and the women he had when he couldn’t have Lex. And we actually get to meet one of them in this book, and really feel for her. Because you get that moment where she realizes how messed up he is about Lex, and how he doesn’t even know how much she has grown to love him. And that how that’s a wake up call for Dallas of how badly he’s treating other people because he has his heart in one direction and what he wants someplace else, you know. So that’s always – to me, that’s, you know, I love how Bree and Donna don’t continually put people who have been in other relationships down. And they’re not evil, they’re not villains. They’re just in the wrong relationship at the wrong time kind of thing. Or it was the right relationship that has come to an end. So I love that we get this scene where she gets to be righteously angry. And just because she’s seeing that toxicity of Lex and Dallas, and that they’re hurting other people in between. aSo it’s like, you know what you can have your shit, but don’t drag me into it kind of thing. That was that was really powerful. I really love that scene. And I think it’s a risky thing to put in, right? Because you have to acknowledge that he had these relationships and these people in his life, who really cared for him. But that he was using.
Yeah because Dallas is our hero, you know, and we always want to root for our heroes, even when they’re flawed. Even when we can acknowledge that they’re flawed, but at the same time, like, it is an important moment to pause and acknowledge that, like, Dallas was the bad guy in that relationship. Like if we were to look at that relationship through her lens, which you know, we’re able to do more as we meet her as a character, like he’s the bad guy stringing her along. He’s going to her kind of not making false promises but also very clearly not invested in her in the same way he is in Lex and that is painful.
He doesn’t see her. And basically, she calls him on the fact that basically, he’s objectified her, made her an object in his life. Somebody he can appease with a little bit of this and with a little piece of him. And that’s not fair.
And that’s so understandable, but it’s also such a harsh reminder that we have gone back in time because we have – the Dallas of the now has learned so much, right, like he’s had so many different women in the O’Kane life kind of whip his ass into shape and open up his eyes. And so it’s very much so kind of putting back into perspective, the full like arc of this character and the growth he has had. For me, I had a similar kind of moment where there’s a very small moment where her and Dallas are fighting and Lex threatens to like run away. And it’s very, it’s kind of hard, because like you very much so, or I very much so, got the feeling that like she would do it. And this is you know – in Beyond Control she leaves Dallas’s life and his area, but she never wants kind of threatens to leave the O’Kanes as a whole. But at this point, everything is still new enough and young enough and fledgling enough to like you very much so get this idea that like, had a misstep been had or had something gone wrong, or chips fallen differently, she would have left and then the whole future of everything that we know, would have looked so drastically different because of how many people look too Lex for so much of that soft power and that emotional support and that kind of thing that Dallas just doesn’t know how to do.
Right? That’s the grimdark AU of the O’Kanes right? Where Lex walks out of his life gives up on him. Because you really get a sense that in the end, it’s really her stubbornness that keeps them together. Because a lot of us would have given up on Dallas a long time ago. And obviously he was worth it. But boy, did he have a journey?
Yes, he I would be willing to say that of all of the different you know, we’ve had a lot of heroes with a lot of tragic back stories we’ve had a lot to overcome in the course of these books, but I would be willing to say that in terms of sheer starting point to end point, Dallas is one of our most changed characters for the better. And I think it was an example of how you do kind of a quote redemption arc, right? Lke you know, the things Dallas has to be redeemed for you know, you can have your debates about where they fall on like the moral gray code, but it is very much so the story of this person who is toxic, borderline, you know, dismissive and abusive of the women in his life, very much so objectifying of them and closed off. And how you put in the work for the character, how the character shows putting in the work, to do that change. And to come through that like cycle of mind shifting and stuff in it has so much to do with the world building, but also with the characters that he interacts with that it’s really fun, and really beautiful to kind of see where he’s at now knowing where the series ends.
Well, and especially like we get to see like, the way Noelle teases him and moves him and you ralize how much growth he had already done by the time Noel shows up. So you know, like, Noelle would have gotten chewed up by version 101 of Dallas.
Oh, yeah, Noelle would not have survived in O’Kane version 1.0, pre-Lex kind of coming in. But you’re right, it is a good way to look at and give context to how much has already shifted and changed and gone on before we even enter our book one and like our official starting point of the series. I would not want anyone to be spoiled. So I don’t recommend reading these things out of order. But I do wonder what that would be like to read just the flashback II stuff before you got into reading, say Beyond Shame or Beyond Control just to have that knowledge. Because we can’t ever have that, right? Like we don’t have that experience. So I just wonder what that would do to your reading of those books having seen already this? Because you know, you and I both talked to those episodes about how we didn’t exactly start off loving Dallas, right? Like, it’s really hard to start off loving Dallas.
I mean, it would have given us so much more context to the way Lex tattoos herself with Declan, his name, and why – I mean, because you see that that’s sort of like the culmination of a series of events. It’s just one more topping. And it makes it like, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, he reacted really badly to this’, you know. But you realize, oh, they’ve been playing this game for such a long time. And then by reading Beyond Forever, we actually see that the length of this game, and the just the things that they’re doing to each other. So it gives much more context to why that was such a climactic thing. I mean, as it is, obviously it makes sense to us when we first read it, but it just has so much more depth. And you realize how pivotal it is to the game.
Yeah, I do think you’re right, that’s really, really almost one of I think kind of the key things that we see happen, that puts something later in context of like, you’re right, because the first time I read the book, and even on the second the reread it still is – he does go to 11 very quickly. And given the context now that we have with us novella, he’s not really going to 11, like he’s just having a natural reaction to what is another gauntlet being thrown down. But as much as they are able to like explain and contextualize his reaction within the confines of Beyond Control, it still does feel a little abrupt or even like, why she would choose this to be the next kind of like gauntlet to be thrown down, an action that she’s going to do like. It just makes puts both of their mindsets in so much more clarity that like all of the domino events that come after that just become more easy to understand, because I think they get lined up in this novella, and they get knocked down and Beyond Control. Yeah.
Yeah. So yeah, I think it’s one of those things that it had – the story just feels right when you have read the whole series. I feel like it’s not one of those like ‘everything you know is wrong’ moments. It’s more like an ‘ohhhhhh’ kind of feeling. And so it has so much value and beauty there. But yeah, I think it’s completely different experience if you have seen all these little moments before you get to know that I’m in the mess that they’re in.
I absolutely agree! Well alright friends, I think that about wraps up everything that we had to say about Beyond Forever. Yes I almost called it Beyond Doubt.
That was last week!
I know, that was last week. We are for this moment officially done with our Beyond books. We are officially closing down Sector Four. We will do some more shorts in the future that have some overlap with some characters that we will see but with a heavy sigh and slightly heavy hearts. We will officially be closing the doors on our Sector Four material and transitioning to talking about Sector One! So that means that in two weeks we will be back to talk about Ashwin. Luckily for us because this is -I think Bree and Donna were aware that this will be a little bit of like a crossover book and they would have plenty of Beyond fans, there are lots of character cameos and plenty of Easter eggs in this next one. But yeah! Join us in a couple of weeks we will be back to talk about Ashwin. After that comes – it’s Deacon and then Ivan right?
Okay. Sometimes I flip them around in my brain but yep! So Deacon and then Ivan – basically all of the three currently available Gideon’s Riders books. If you haven’t read them yet, what are you doing? Go read them. Now. You can find all of them wherever you usually get your books from. But yeah, until we come back next time, do you want to let them know where they can find us?
Yes! You can find us on beyondthesectors.com, where we have our show notes and all our news. And then also @BeyondSectors on Twitter.
All right! And I am on twitter @anoutlawlife
And I’m on Twitter as @anacoqui.
Alright friends, thank you so much for joining us on our journey thus far and continue. We’re so excited to have you continue with us as we shift to sector one. But until next time, friends, take care of yourselves take care of each other and we’ll see you beyond the sectors. Bye guys.