“Messenger” is episode five of season one of Perception and this article continues where the previous one left off. The cult, as Kate explains to Daniel, is Haven House. It’s centred around Kyle Jenson, a 16 year old kid who apparently hears the voice of God. Those who join give everything, and Jared gave almost $500K. Daniel goes on about how even after all this time and so many charlatans people still give their money to the next crook who claims to speak to a nonexistent Santa Claus in the sky. Kate knew Daniel would be interested and asks if he wants to tag along. Try and stop him.
At the house they are told that Kyle is currently speaking, telling people what God said whilst it was fresh in his head. The woman asks if they could wait. Daniel wants to know if they can listen to the word of God whilst they wait. Of course; everyone is welcome. There are quite a few gathered and Kyle is personable. He talks about doubt and how there is somebody here who only has doubt, that they don’t believe at all. Kyle is looking at Daniel as he says this, but also says he’s really glad they are here.
Jared was last seen at 6 yesterday morning before he left for his run. People are free to come and go as they wish, so they weren’t worried. Although one woman, Nicky (Jamie Alexander, Blindspot’s Jane Doe) says she was worried. Jared had been seeing old friends in K-Town again, which is where he used to score. Another suggests Shane Flannery, who used to live at the house but claimed that they weren’t doing enough to protect Kyle by letting the scum of the Earth in. And threatened to burn down the house with everyone in it. Shane was asked to leave and Jared threw him out when he refused. Daniel wants to know what Haven House does with the money. It is given to the food bank, shelter and a school in Afghanistan.
Kate phones in Flannery and Daniel says he will stick around to talk to Kyle. He asks Kyle how he knew Daniel was a non-believer – did God tell him? No, Kyle could see it in his face; it takes work not to believe and the effort shows. Daniel thinks it takes more effort to believe. He asks Kyle about when he started hearing God, which was at 12, and what it feels like. When Daniel asks Kyle if he feels nauseated, Kyle says yes, and asks Daniel how he knows. Daniel claims it was a hunch.
Daniel then talks to Kyle’s parents. The headaches, euphoria, nausea and hearing voices are all classic symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy. Which can be caused by a tumour. Kyle has had checkups but has never seen a neurologist because he’s in perfect health. Daniel tells them Kyle isn’t; a tumour could be life threatening if not treated. Kyle is hearing God, it’s a neurological abnormality. Kyle suggests that God gave him the tumour so that they could talk. Daniel tells Kyle that it could be a fatal condition; Kyle accurately points out that being alive is a fatal condition. Kyle is still a minor so his parents could force him to get treatment.
Daniel tells Kate later that the parents don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs; all religion is about money in the bank. Kate considers that a gross generalisation and offensive, and asks Daniel if his snap diagnosis isn’t because of his prejudice against religion. Daniel explains that medical historians drew the conclusion that Joan of Arc had a similar condition and they know what happened to her. Kate says she was a great leader. Daniel meant that she was burned at the stake at 19. Kate feels that Joan was a hero who led an army in a time when most women had less power than farm animals (and were often less valuable). Daniel still thinks there is something up so Kate arranges a meeting with the IRS. The IRS agent says Haven House is legitimate, not a scam, and he’s been looking into their books for two years. Admin fees are 2% which is as low as it gets in not-for-profit land and he thinks that after 20 years he’d be hard to fool.
Flannery is a complete nut when brought in; when asked if he said he would burn down the house and send everyone to Hell, he claims he spoke the truth and God delivered judgement. He was guarding the house from across the street when Jared was killed. And says that he saw Jared committing adultery with Nicky. God probably judged Jared. The man uses God far too much. Daniel is watching on when another hallucination appears and tells him that Flannery is not their killer. The hallucination claims she was sent to help Daniel catch the right one. For Daniel is hallucinating Joan of Arc.
Daniel wonders what to do with the $50K cheque. Natalie – and what is her story? She seems like a hallucination of a person who was real – suggests he spend it on a new piano. He says that’s an insane indulgence; she tells him he’s done crazier things. Daniel definitely doesn’t believe that Kyle is hearing God, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like Kyle. For it seems he does. Everyone seems honest and aboveboard – until, of course, someone isn’t.