Meanwhile, the Reverend toils in solitude, working to free Willie from the tendrils. As he does so, an orgiastic group approaches to watch, finding the scene “stimulating” and falling to the ground in “rhythmic gasping” as they paw at one another. “What do you think?” the Reverend says to Willie. “Is this a good place? A healthy place? Do these people seem sane to you, and worthy of emulation?” In response, Willie points out that the Reverend himself is here. “I am different,” the Reverend asserts. “From me?” asks Willie. “From everyone,” he replies, and when Willie asks how, exactly, he’s different, the Reverend almost tells him.
Readers are perhaps unsurprised by the fact that the Reverend is different from the rest of the Bardo-dwellers. After all, he confronted the heaven-sent beings (when they came) in a completely different manner than his friends, simply telling them that he didn’t “require” their assistance (Bevins and Vollman, on the other hand, vehemently denied the beings’ assertions that they were dead). As such, it seems clear that the Reverend is in fact different, and that this difference stems from his acceptance of his situation. Unlike his friends, he seems to have somewhat come to terms with the reality of his death.