Byrnes table saw. Byrnes table saw
Byrnes table saw
You don’t need power tools to become an accomplished ship modeler, but they can sure make life easier and make possible some things you couldn’t otherwise do. If your goal in modeling is to build only kits, pretty much as they come out of the box, then you probably don’t really need any power tools (except maybe a Dremel). If you decide to kit bash or build from scratch, and particularly if you want to mill your own lumber, then you’re likely going to want as many power tools as you can afford.
Miniature Table Saw
Preac Table Saw For me, the most useful of all my tools is my miniature table saw. I own a Preac. Unfortunately the owner of Preac has dies since I bought my saw and they are no longer available.I recently replaced my Preac with a saw made by Jim Byrnes (commonly called the Jim Saw). One essential accessory I bought with my Preac was the sliding table. I use this for almost all cross cuts and highly recommend it. In fact, it would be a mistake to buy a saw without a sliding table. Unfortunately, there is no sliding table made for the Byrnes saw, but it’s not hard to make one of your own.
Thickness Sander Preac Thickness Sander
The Preac thickness sander is another highly useful tool but, again, no longer available. Jim Byrnes also offers a thickness sander. Even if you’re not milling your own lumber, it’s not uncommon to find that you need a piece that’s thinner than what you have on hand. The sander is also useful for making sure that several pieces of stock are all exactly the same thickness.
Bandsaw Delta 9-inch Bandsaw
I own two bandsaws. a little 9-inch Delta and a larger, 14-inch Jet. The small bandsaw is surprisingly useful. The very first thing I did when I got the 9-inch saw was to buy a decent, 1/8 in. Timberwolf blade. The blade makes a great difference in the performance of the saw. Since the Delta came out, Ryobi has released a 9-inch saw as well. After taking a look at it, I’d likely buy that saw instead of the Delta. It has more features and includes a rip fence
I use the little saw for making curved cuts of all kinds. It will also resaw boards up to about 3/4-inch thick. I work a lot with poplar that I buy at places like Home Depot or Lowes. It’s a great modeling wood and fairly inexpensive. I can easily cut thin planks from wide boards with the bandsaw. A few passes through the thickness sander removes the saw marks, then they can be cut to final size on the table saw.
Jet 14-inch Bandsaw The larger bandsaw is very useful for resawing from wider stock. I bought the 14-inch saw before I bought the 9-inch saw and, of course, used it then for everything. That often required me to change blades depending on the type cut I needed to make. Now that I have the 9-inch saw, I can leave a wider, resaw blade in the large saw and use the little 9-inch with an 1/8-inch blade for curved cuts.
I’m very happy with the Jet saw and I’m of the opinion that bigger is almost always better in a bandsaw. You can cut small stuff with a big saw, but you can’t cut big stuff on a small one. Still, the 14-inch is maybe a bit large and expensive (about 600) for most modelers. I always recommend replacing the stock blade with a Timberwolf blade.
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Make Wedges 2/3: Another Band Saw Method
Wedges for stick chairs must absorb a lot of shock so they don’t snap when you install them. So I steer clear of weak (sycamore) or brittle (ebony) woods.
Most of my wedges are oak or ash, species that are plentiful and inexpensive. I don’t think I’ve ever snapped an oak or ash wedge, even when I’ve struck them at odd angles. I have used walnut and cherry wedges at the request of customers. They work, but you have to be deliberate when hammering them in because they will snap.
The grain in a wedge should run along its length, from its thin tip to its fat end. For chairs, I use wedges that are 1-1/2″ long. The fat end is between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. The tip comes to a sharp point. If I need a blunt tip for some reason (say the tenon is loose and shallow), I’ll snip off the pointiness.
The angle of the wedges I use is usually somewhere between 4° and 10°. The shallower angles are easier to hammer in, but the wedge is more likely to crack. A wedge with a larger included angle can cause the wedge to bounce out of the tenon when you hammer it in. The solution is either to hit the wedge harder until the wedge hopefully grabs, or switch to a wedge with a smaller included angle.
Wedges with included angles smaller than 4° can work, but the wedge is even more likely to snap off when struck.
Wedges With Without a Sled
You can make wedges without a jig on the Band saw by using the saw’s miter gauge. Crosscut a 5/8″ x 1-1/2″-long chYou can make wedges without a jig on the Band saw by using the saw’s miter gauge. Crosscut a 5/8″ x 1-1/2″-long chunk off a board that is about 6″ wide. Set the saw’s miter gauge to cut on-half of the angle you desire (i.e. 5° off 90° for a 10° wedge). Put the chunk on the miter gauge and cut off a thin sliver. Flip the chunk over – end grain-for-end grain. Slide the chunk toward the blade and make another cut.
You will quickly figure out where to place the chunk so that you make a perfect wedge. You can make wedges with thin points and blunt points.
Keep flipping the chunk over and over. Make wedges until your chunk is so small that it feels dangerous to make the cut while so close to the saw’s blade.
You can also make a dedicated wedge jig for the Band saw’s miter slot that has zero clearance to the blade. This jig is shown above. It is permanently set at 5° off 90° and makes it easy to position the chunk of wood and slice a perfect 10° wedge.
The disadvantage to both of these miter-gauge methods is also its advantage. The technique makes it easy to make different wedges. By moving the chunk of wood left or right on the miter gauge, you can make wedges that are fatter or skinnier.
thoughts on “ Make Wedges 2/3: Another Band Saw Method ”
It is the angle inside the tip of the wedge. I’m sure a geometrician can give you a better reason as to why we call it “included angle.”
Google and ye shall find. The bottom line is that an “included” angle is the interior angle formed between two intersecting lines. For us dummies, it’s a plain vanilla inside angle, so I suppose it would have to be 90° or less. Here’s a formal definition. The link below will take you to an illustration. Definition: The angle made by two lines with a common vertex Included angle – the angle between two given lines that meet at a point. When two lines meet at a common point (vertex) the angle between them is called the included angle. The two lines define the angle. So for example in the figure above (see link below for the figure) we could refer to the angle ∠ABC as the “included angle of BA and BC”. Or we could refer to “BA and BC and their included angle”. https://www.mathopenref.com/angleincluded.html
I’m missing something, or included angle doesn’t mean what I thought. The first cut from a squared chunk gives me a 5 degree wedge, each subsequent one is 10 degrees. Should the miter gauge be set to half the included angle?
But the end is cut at 5° going the other way. If you try it and measure, I think you will understand why it’s not 10°.
This is confusing, I didn’t mean to post anonymously. My bandsaw isn’t the greatest, but the wedges I cut are about 1/4″ thick at the fat end tapering to zero at 1 1/2″ long. I think I may have misunderstood your method.
I believe it’s an isosceles triangle with a base of 1/8″, so two right triangles with 1/16″ bases back-to-back. The height is 24/16 (1 1/2″). The inverse sin of 1/16 divided by 24/16 is 2.39. That’s the angle of one of the triangles. There are two, so the angle is 4.78°. Or, if I’m envisioning it wrong and it’s a right triangle, the base is 1/8″ and the height is 12/8. The inverse sin of 1/8 divided by 12/8 is 4.78°. The difference between the two triangles is at the third decimal place (4.780° vs 4.776°). For the top angle to be 10° the base would have to be a little over 1/4″. [Forgive me if this is a duplicate. For some reason my browser doesn’t play nicely with WordPress’ authentication system.]
I didn’t mean to post my geometric explanation anonymously either. Hopefully I’ve figured out my WordPress issue.
Your math seems right to me here, but it seems like your inputs are wrong. If you use this method and then cut a wedge that has a 1/8″ thick base, then the height of the triangle is around 7/8″ /- when I cut the wedge. The angle doesn’t change whether I cut the base to be 1/8″ or 1/2″ or any other dimension does it since the jig hasn’t changed?
You got it right. The first wedge cut from a squared board will be a right triangle. That’s why the first one gets tossed. Each subsequent wedge will be an isosceles triangle, just as you describe.
Yes exactly, although strictly speaking I think one should use inverse tan rather than sin. At these angles and application there is no significant difference. Apologies for sounding pedantic. Or maybe obtuse. (sorry!) But as I (mis?)understand the method, each of the isosceles wedges ends up being essentially two of the initial right triangle wedge stuck back to back, doubling the included angle. Which is what I found when I tried it out: the first one has a ~1/8″ base while the next ones are ~1/4″.
I fear that I, too, must join the rank of the confused! I will not try my hand at trigonometry (which I was taught at school, 40 years ago, and promptly forgot all about), but unless I’m much mistaken, a basic tenet of (Euclidian) geometry is that the sum of the internal angles of any triangle is 180º. So, if I set my miter gauge to 5º, and then follow the instructions above, after the initial right angled triangle-shaped cut, I will produce a series of isoceles triangle-shaped wedges, where both external angles at the base (the blunt end) are 5º of 90º, and the corresponding internal angles thus 85º. As 85º 85º = 170º, the internal angle at the tip (the thin end of the wedge) must be 10º. In practice, this is also what I get and can measure. I tried the method as described, and found the external angles at the base to be 5º each, and the internal angle at the tip to be 10º (or as close as makes no difference). Furthermore, with the total length of the wedge at 1-1/2″, the base was not 1/8 to 5/32″ thick, but more or less the double — on the wedge that I measured it came in at 9/32″. In other words, I think that with the basic measurements as given in the blogpost of an isoceles triangle-shaped wedge 1-1/2″ long with a /- 1/8″ fat base, the wedge will indeed have an included angle at the tip of about 5º. However, unless I have either misunderstood (and mis-reproduced) the method, or am otherwise being obtuse (to be fair, either or both of which are very much within the realm of the possible), it seems to me that the miter gauge should be set to 2.5º in order to produce the desired 5º included angle wedges?! Cheers, Mattias
By-the-by, I forgot to say that I’ve been using a similar method on my Byrnes Model Machines miniature table saw, only with two miter gauges, each set to 2º off of 90º, but in opposite directions, thereby eliminating the need to roll the blank over, thereby eliminating the need for both crosscut edges of the blank to be parallel to each other, as all cuts are referenced off of just one of them. I just went down and measured one of the wedges I’d previously made this way. The included angle is indeed 4º, and at 1-1/2″ length, the base is about 5/64″ thick. Cheers, Mattias
I must not understand the directions and am doing something incorrectly. I measured the second wedge (and any subsequent wedges) and I get 10 degrees.
Chris, I’m sorry to keep banging on about this blogpost, but it just won’t stop bothering me. In particular the illustrations look as though they might be from your upcoming stick chair book, and I just can’t square what they, and the text, say about setting the bandsaw miter gauge (or wedge-making jig) to 5º, with producing isosceles wedges that have an included angle at the tip of also 5º. I have tried approaching it with math, by sketching it out in Illustrator, and by making wedges on the bandsaw, and the results are consistently the same: two 5º saw cuts referenced from alternating end-grain edges give me isosceles wedges with an included angle of 10º at the tip and, at 1-1/2″ long, with a blunt end that is about 1/4″ thick. To my mind, this means one of two things: either I’m making a stupid mistake somewhere along the line, or your instructions to set the miter gauge to 5º are wrong. I’d be delighted for it to be the former, but am worried that it might be the latter, and that you are about to have that error printed. You are quite right. None of my dang business. Nevertheless. This is how I’ve understood the method you describe: You crosscut a blank as wide as you want the wedges to be long, for example 1-1/2″. Thickness and length of the blank does not matter for the angle question, so let’s leave them out of the equation here. This blank has two long edges, parallel to each other, both of which show end grain. Let’s call them E1 and E2. The miter gauge is set to 5º off square, i.e. 5º off the setting that would give a square crosscut (“0″ on my bandsaw miter gauge). Whether to the left or to the right does not matter. The blank is held with E1 against the miter gauge fence, and E2 facing into the saw blade, and it’s outermost left end pushed through the saw. The cut-off is discarded. The left end of the blank now is now no longer square (or however it started out) but biased, relative to both E1 and E2, at an angle of 5º, again both relative to E1 and to E2. These two 5º angles are of course in opposite directions, and depending on how you measure them, you could also say that one is at 85º and the other at 95º. No matter. It means the same thing. Now, the blank is rolled over through it’s longitudinal axle, so that E2 is held against the miter gauge fence, and E1 faces the saw blade, or as you put it: flipped end-grain for end-grain, and then slid to the left just enough that the next cut produces a wedge-shaped cut-off with a tip thin (or fat) enough to suit your purpose. Again, the blank is left with a biased left end, 5º off E1 and 5º the other way off E2. Then, flip again, so that E1 sits against the fence and E2 faces the saw, slide to the left, and cut; flip, slide, cut; flip, slide, cut; and so on until you run out of blank length. If I do this with the miter gauge set to 5º, I get isosceles wedges where the included (i.e. internal) angles between the short base line at the blunt end and either leg are 85º, and the included angle between the two legs at the tip is 10º. And if the legs are 1-1/2″ long, the base line is about 1/4″ in rounded-off numbers. If on the other hand I set the miter gauge to 2.5º, and for the rest do everything as described above, the included angle at the tip is 5º, and with 1-1/2″ legs, the base line is about 1/8”, which are the measurements you give for these particular wedges. If (as is very likely) I have misunderstood something, it would of course be great if you were able to point out the error of my ways to me. However, if you have better things to do (and I would be rather surprised if you don’t), please just call me a cab (“hey, you’re a cab!”), and leave it at that. If, however, it seems to you that I have not misapplied your method, and if those illustrations are indeed from the upcoming book, you might perhaps just want to double check those miter gauge/wedge jig angle numbers before the printers have had time time to apply ink to paper. Cheers, Mattias
Hi Mattias, We are swamped in getting ready to open for classes (prepping stock for seven full-size tool chests) and getting the Dick Pronneke book to press. So I haven’t had time to sit down and read all the Комментарии и мнения владельцев. I will. I’m not trying to dodge a potential mistake. It’s just not my highest priority, and there are only so many hours of the day I can devote to arguing on the internet. All best, c
Hi Mattias, I finally had time to go back and figure out where I went wrong. I’m not sure how I got turned around, but I did. The post above has been corrected reflect the error and the fix will appear in the second printing of “The Stick Chair Book.” Sorry for the delay in repairing things. We have been insanely busy with our first post-pandemic class and two books. Thanks for staying on my butt about it!
Murdoch Byrnes is one of the love interests in The Smoke Room. He is a photographer and a salesman at his parents’ general store. He is the son of Alfred and Gretchen Byrnes and the brother of Holly, Dahlia, and Seamus.
- 3.1 Early Life
- 3.2 Prologue
- 3.3 Murdoch’s Route
- 3.3.1 Chapter 1
- 3.3.2 Chapter 2
- 3.3.3 Chapter 3
- 3.4.1 Chapter 1
- 3.4.2 Chapter 2
- 3.4.3 Chapter 3
- 3.5.1 Chapter 1
- 3.5.2 Chapter 2
- 3.5.3 Chapter 3
- 3.6.1 Chapter 1
- 3.6.2 Chapter 2
- 3.6.3 Chapter 3
- 4.1 Samuel
- 4.2 Ralph
- 4.3 Cliff
- 4.4 William
- 4.5 Nikolai
- 4.6 Jebediah
- 4.7 Todd
- 4.8 The Byrnes Family
- 4.9 Seamus
- 4.10 Jim
Appearance [ ]
Murdoch is a red fox with orange and white fur, brown paws, and green eyes. He wears a gray vest with a white striped dress shirt underneath, black slacks, and a black tie. He has strong legs and shoulders from lifting boxes in his family’s store, but is not overly muscular otherwise.
Murdoch typically carries a small black camera around his neck, though it is occasionally removed when he is working.
Personality [ ]
Murdoch initially presents himself as flirty and charismatic, albeit aloof. He is revealed to be highly altruistic, offering Samuel a job when he discovers that he is low on cash and even taking a bullet on Cliff’s behalf. This is in fact something of a character flaw, especially when it comes to his family, to whom Murdoch is willing to devote himself at the expense of his own wellbeing. Murdoch tends to work himself to the point of exhaustion, and he often wordlessly takes on the brunt of his exacting parents’ verbal abuse, masking the strain he is under with a good-natured smile.
Murdoch is quite curious and keenly observant of his surroundings. He has great passions for photography and the supernatural, often going on long tangents on these subjects. He is desperate to uncover the truth behind Echo’s seemingly paranormal activity, and he seems to simultaneously possess a deep fear and burning curiosity about the town’s otherworldly circumstances.
To stabilize his own mood, cope with his responsibilities, and inure himself to Echo’s strange happenings, Murdoch routinely uses various drugs, particularly opium.
Story [ ]
Early Life [ ]
Murdoch was born on June 6th, 1889.  His grandparents emigrated from Eire, making Murdoch a third-generation Echo resident. The Byrnes are a well-established middle class family in the town; Murdoch’s father Alfred owns a general store called Red’s General Goods and his mother Gretchen is the principal of Echo School.
Murdoch is the second-oldest of the Byrnes children. Growing up, he slept in the same room as his siblings and shared a cramped bunk bed that left him with claustrophobic memories. Murdoch’s parents raised him in their Catholic faith and he still routinely attends church with his family, although his own beliefs seem to be more esoteric and are inspired by the animist Celtic spirituality of his grandmother.
On the Fourth of July in 1905, Murdoch’s youngest sibling Seamus died in a boating accident on Lake Emma. Murdoch’s parents were out of town and Murdoch was supposed to be looking after his brother. The strain of the tragedy reshaped the dynamics of the Byrnes family to some extent, and the loss of their other son is likely partly the reason why Murdoch’s parents place so much pressure on him.
Murdoch currently works at Red’s General Goods and is training for a managing position, although there is no guarantee that he will actually inherit the store after his aging father passes it on. He is roommates with Ralph, his close childhood friend and the general store’s pharmacist. Murdoch harbored romantic feelings for Ralph when they were younger, but does not seem to have acted on them. After Ralph left Echo for over a decade to finish his schooling this attraction seems to have dissipated, and Murdoch now feels that the two now want different things out of life.
Murdoch is an experienced photographer and has been working in the general store’s darkroom developing photos since he was six years old. He has also been a skilled guitarist since a young age, and performs at The Stag occasionally.
Prologue [ ]
Murdoch is first seen debriefing with William about a grisly murder that has just been discovered in the mines. After consoling a battered Cliff in front of the Hip, Samuel encounters Murdoch and William and remarks that Murdoch looks familiar even though they have never spoken before.
Once the sheriff leaves, Murdoch displays his keen, investigative nature by quickly surmising that Sam and Will have been intimate recently from the way that Sam smells. He teases Sam about this, and also flirtatiously offers to use his status as a third-generation resident of Echo to help Sam make “connections” in town, before departing with a promise to visit Sam at the Hip that evening.
Sam, Murdoch, and Will later enter the Hip’s powder room together. Cynthia and Sam attempt to goad Murdoch into booking an appointment with Sam for the evening, but instead of buying Sam’s services outright Murdoch proposes a bet: five times Sam’s hourly wage to whoever has the better time in bed.
Chapter 1 [ ]
Murdoch looks taken aback if his bet is accepted, and he later confesses that he did not actually expect Sam to agree. With his usual confidence, however, he gives Sam an unsigned check for the amount promised. In Sam’s bedroom Murdoch presents the terms of the bet: the two will take turns pleasuring each other, and whoever climaxes first has to pay up. Sam is coaxed into having full-on sex with Murdoch and loses the wager.
In the morning, the two wash each other and Murdoch waxes philosophical about photography. When Sam asks if he believes in souls, Murdoch looks ‘broken’ and deeply afraid for a moment, but then suppresses it with a smile. Murdoch admits that he peeked at Sam’s wallet and knows he cannot afford to hold up the bet, and so calls it off. Instead, he offers Sam an opportunity to work for him at Red’s General Goods for some extra money, both so they can see each other more and so Sam can help Murdoch deal with the expectations placed on him by his family.
On Sam’s first day, Murdoch takes him into the darkroom to demonstrate how photographs are developed, using the crime scene photos that he does not yet know are from Sam’s murder of Jack. Murdoch introduces Sam to Ralph, who ridicules the idea of hiring a gay prostitute and warns Murdoch that they risk outing themselves, which would infuriate the Byrnes family, by associating with Sam. Murdoch asserts that it will be good for him to have Sam around, since he has no queer friends other than Ralph. Afterward, Murdoch’s father Alfred appears and begins reprimanding him for a minor error in the way he has stocked the shelves of the store. Murdoch passively bears his father’s tirade, and after Alfred further accuses him of being unprepared for the upcoming yearbook photoshoot, Murdoch dutifully departs with Sam for Echo School to get things ready.
On the way, Murdoch talks about his interest in the paranormal, and shares a ghost story about the Starlight 65 train. According to Murdoch, hopping the train at midnight and shouting your biggest regret as the horn blows causes a strange creature to appear and either forgive or devour you. Sam asks him directly if he’s ever seen a monster, but Murdoch is cagey. At the school, Murdoch delivers order forms for picture day with Sam’s assistance. Murdoch also encounters his mother Gretchen, who criticizes him for failing to anticipate a change she has made to the normal picture day schedule.
Murdoch and Sam return to the darkroom so Murdoch can enlarge the pictures he developed that morning. In an overexposed negative from the crime scene, which Sam previously tried to sabotage to cover his tracks, Murdoch notices some faint details and uses the enlarging process to bring out an image. Sam can then make out an eerie pattern of eyes in the picture. Murdoch asks Sam to describe the picture, and when he does Murdoch appears suddenly confident for just a moment, then reveals he does not recall ever taking a photo of the image Sam sees. He dismisses Sam so he can ‘think about some things’ and Sam observes that he looks both excited and exhausted.
Chapter 2 [ ]
The next day, Murdoch performs his picture day duties at the school. Sam finds him in the auditorium and the two are joined by Gretchen. She blames Murdoch for being the reason that Sam is underdressed for the occasion, and he apologizes vacantly. Sam asks why he lets his mother treat him so harshly, and Murdoch simply says that it’s normal. After Murdoch works himself ragged with Sam over the course of the day, Cliff and Ralph join them in the auditorium and Cliff excitedly asks if Murdoch can join his planned anthropological expedition as a photographer. Murdoch visibly struggles to say no, so Ralph steps in to rudely decline on his behalf. Murdoch scolds Ralph for his harshness, and follows Cliff out to make amends.
Later, back in the darkroom, Murdoch asks Sam to take another look at the strange picture from the day before. He explains that photographs taken in Echo sometimes come out warped and wrong, and that what a person sees in them can change depending on their state of mind. He admits that he saw something different yesterday when he looked at the photo: himself and his brother Seamus in 1905, about to go fishing on the day Seamus died. Currently, however, Murdoch sees only Jack’s skull. Sam suddenly falls to the floor in tears and Murdoch sees his brother in the picture again. He rips up the photo, then comforts Sam, assuring him that they are not crazy.
Murdoch escorts Sam out of the darkroom and they deliver the remaining photos to William, although Murdoch conspiratorially confides to Sam that he doesn’t believe they will offer the sheriff any new evidence. That evening he and Ralph take Sam to their ‘spot,’ a secluded cavern on the shores of Lake Emma near where Seamus died. Murdoch shares with Sam that for nine years he and Ralph have been coming to the cave to experiment with different ways to cope with the strange, mind-altering effects of living in Echo. To demonstrate this, Murdoch uses a photo that seems to show an ordinary landscape but reveals a large slug-like creature to him whenever he feels like he’s at his lowest, which always occurs when he returns to the cave because of its connection to Seamus. When Sam thinks of his worst memory, he too can suddenly see the monster in the photo. Murdoch takes a cannabis pill and he and Ralph explain that they’ve determined that drugs and sexual release are useful mood stabilizers that can cause the picture to return to normal, seemingly indicating that Echo’s influence has been suppressed. Murdoch discloses his belief that whatever power is hurting the people of Echo can think and has a will of its own, and says that he wants to hurt it back.
The group hears a sound from outside the cave, and then witness a figure hauling what looks like a body in a sack. As they watch in horror, the figure bashes the sack with a rock, then fills it with stones and dumps it into the lake. The smell of Ralph’s pot startles the figure into bolting and Murdoch, Sam, and Ralph run off in the other direction. They encounter Blithe, who is out searching for her missing friend, but she flees before they can decide what to do about her. Later in Murdoch and Ralph’s apartment, the three realize that the monster in the photo has persisted despite their drug use. Murdoch agrees to have sex with Sam, partly to see if sexual release will actually work to return the picture to normal, and when they check it again after finishing the monster has indeed disappeared.
The next day is Sunday, and Murdoch follows the Byrnes family tradition of attending church in the morning then eating lunch at Saguaro’s Hip. That evening, he visits William to tell him what he witnessed at the lake, and then takes Cliff around town to meet and interview some of the Meseta residents of Echo, to make up for his unavailability causing Cliff’s expedition to stall.
In the darkroom on Monday, Sam shows Murdoch a cryptic encoded message given to him by Dahlia, and Murdoch takes it with him to study. Holly then arrives and invites Sam to dinner at the Byrnes home, despite Murdoch’s protests.
Before they eat, Murdoch sits in the parlor with his father, Holly’s fiancé Jim, and Sam. Red effusively praises Jim’s professional success and snaps at Murdoch when he tries to change the subject. Red excuses himself and Jim obliquely references the fact that he has had sex with Sam at the Hip, which rattles Murdoch. At the dinner table Gretchen browbeats Sam and Murdoch into being ushers at Jim and Holly’s upcoming wedding, over Murdoch’s objections.
When Sam comes into work the next morning, Murdoch is quiet and distant. Sam glimpses a chore list he has written for Dahlia that appears to encode a similarly hidden response to her note from the previous day. Jim then leads Murdoch and Sam to a tailor to be fitted with suits for his bachelor party and wedding. In the changing room, Sam asks Murdoch why he is acting so detached, and Murdoch has a breakdown as he reckons with the weight of the duties his family constantly burdens him with. He divulges that Jim has been having sex with him as well, and that the arrangement was orchestrated by Holly in order to help Jim settle down in Echo and keep him from growing bored with monogamous life.
Murdoch further admits that he relies on drugs to keep himself going, and that he uses sex with men to reassert his stifled sense of self. He reminisces about times when his parents were kinder, and then after a bout sobbing, he suppresses his emotions abruptly and his usual composure returns. He expresses his affection for Sam, and the two agree to try and get to know one another without pretense. To lighten the mood, Murdoch mentions he has recently learned from Dahlia that going into outer space would make a person feel weightless, and he and Sam muse about whether such an escape would ever be possible, or even desirable.
Murdoch then admits he overhead Nik implicating Sam in Jack’s murder, and even though Sam refuses to outright confess, Murdoch assures him he only wants to help. Sam asks him to never bring it up again and Murdoch agrees, but he worries about the tension building among Echo’s population as they wait eagerly to see who will be hanged for the crime.
William ambushes Murdoch and Sam back at the store with questions about the murder, and Murdoch helps cover for Sam. As Will leaves, he flirts with Murdoch, having inferred the nature of his relationship with Sam. Alone with Sam in the darkroom afterward, Murdoch slyly lets slip that he intentionally ruined several of the crime scene photos before passing them on to Will. He then details the events of the day Seamus presumably drowned, including the gaps in his memory due to the concussion he sustained during an apparent robbery that occurred around the same time as his brother’s death. When prompted by Sam, Murdoch admits the possibility that his family may simply be using him, and that he may care for them far more than they care for him.
Chapter 3 [ ]
The next day, before Jim’s bachelor party, Sam sees Dahlia slipping Murdoch a note in the Byrnes family’s rose garden. After Jim and his friends arrive, Gretchen sends Sam to find Murdoch, who he learns from Dahlia is still in the back garden. Sam finds Murdoch and Holly talking and, on an odd tip from Dahlia, decides to wait and listen to their conversation before announcing himself.
Sam eavesdrops as Murdoch tries in vain to get out of attending Jim’s party. In response, Holly firmly reminds him that as a woman she is under even more social pressure than he is to behave properly, and asks him to keep performing perfectly just until the wedding the following day. Holly alludes to a scheme to get the whole Byrnes family out of Echo by first moving to the city with Jim and then convincing Gretchen to relocate there as well. Murdoch is skeptical, and worries aloud what will happen if Jim does not love Holly as much as she thinks he does, but cannot think of a better alternative and accepts his role in the plan. Sam announces his presence, and then shortly afterward Gretchen arrives and sends Murdoch and Sam off to the Hip to entertain Jim, as well as his friends Neil and Reubin who have just arrived from the big city to celebrate Jim’s bachelor party.
On the way, Murdoch is called away by Alfred, who is in the Byrnes‘ basement with Ralph and needs help unpacking things for the party. After assisting, Murdoch returns with Ralph in tow and tries to make small talk with Jim, Reubin, and Neil. Murdoch is polite towards his rowdy guests but they show no interest in including him in their conversation, which seems to exasperate him. At the Hip, Ralph cannot help but trade barbs with Jim’s haughty friends, much to their amusement, but Murdoch warns him to keep things civil. The conversation turns ribald and Jim begins to insinuate that he plans for his friends to have sex with Sam and Murdoch, and upon realizing this Murdoch looks “queasy” and excuses himself.
Sam follows and guides Murdoch up to his room. Murdoch tries to tell himself that his arrangement with Jim is temporary and will only last until everyone is out of Echo. Sam admits he often tells himself the same kinds of things, and helps Murdoch frankly confront the fact that the bargain he has made with Jim and Holly is also a kind of whoring, and that it can therefore be simple and transactional. This seems to give Murdoch a sense of clarity that he needs to get through the night, and Sam tells him that he makes a good whore.
Murdoch then requests a “real kiss” but Sam digresses, bringing up instead the fact that his days are numbered because of the crime he has committed, which Murdoch has all but guessed the truth about. Murdoch snaps Sam out of his fatalism and promises to take him along when Jim gets the Byrnes family out of Echo, since relocating with his employer will provide a plausible cover for Sam to skip town. The two then decide to sneak out of the bachelor party, and Sam suggests enlisting Cynthia’s help to create a diversion so Jim will not be upset with them.
They meet with her discreetly in a washroom, and Cynthia suggests an impromptu musical “hootenanny” to distract Jim and the rest of the Hip’s crowd. Just as the plan is taking shape Ralph bursts in and discovers the plot, but he immediately agrees to help keep Jim and his friends occupied, and confesses that he has just become aware Holly is coercing Murdoch into sex with Jim to save her wedding. Cynthia gets onstage and introduces Murdoch, who starts performing a song. Once the festivities draw a crowd he tosses his guitar to Ralph to keep the party going while he and Sam abscond. Alone outside, the two dance together and Sam gives Murdoch the kiss he requested.
Suddenly, Sam remembers that he has missed an appointment with Blithe and leads Murdoch to Echo’s cemetery, explaining along the way that she has taken his money and won’t return it unless he does her a favor. Blithe is not around, but Cliff and Dahlia are in the cemetery examining unmarked graves. Cliff departs to catch a train out of Echo, which Murdoch observes with relief, and then Dahlia notices Murdoch and Sam. She vents to Murdoch about Holly’s strange behavior leading up to the wedding, then as she leaves she points out a grave and tells them it is important. The headstone bears only the name Scholl, which is likely a discreet response to the coded correspondence that Dahlia and Murdoch have been carrying out over the course of the route, directing Murdoch to investigate Echo School.
Murdoch decides to head back to the Hip with Sam, newly assured that he wants to go through what Sam does and feeling more confident about the prospect of facing Jim and his friends. Jim welcomes him back smugly, and says that they should make the experience good for each other since the impending wedding means they may not be able to have sex again for a while. Attracted to but conflicted by Jim as usual, Murdoch fellates him in front of Neil and Reubin. Sam steps in to pleasure Jim’s friends, presumably so that Murdoch is not overwhelmed, and Murdoch climaxes without even touching himself when he thinks about himself and Sam servicing men together and becoming covered in their love.
In the afterglow, Jim snickers crudely at Murdoch, which causes him to pull away abruptly. This badly disconcerts Jim, and his friends begin to laugh at him. In the hallway, a panicked Jim explains that he cannot attract the ‘reputation’ Murdoch has, but he freezes up at Murdoch’s insinuation that he may be more attracted to male intimacy, and more submissive, than he wants to admit. When Jim asks about his behavior, Murdoch downplays his revulsion to being laughed at, and Jim leaves with his friends after saying that they will talk more about it later.
Murdoch asks Sam to walk him home, and the two are surprised to see Holly outside waiting for them at the Byrnes residence. She chastises Murdoch for slipping away from his duty to escort Jim, only for Jim himself to appear and confront Holly about the way she treats her brother. Jim tries to get Holly to reveal that she has been pressuring Murdoch into having sex with him but she is evasive, and Murdoch tries to defuse the simmering conflict by claiming that he is to blame instead of Holly. Sam tries to set the record straight but Holly cuts him off. Murdoch shouts at his sister in defense of Sam, which Sam observes is the first time he has ever seen Murdoch direct malice towards a family member.
Holly feigns tears at the outburst and Murdoch is immediately remorseful, but Sam again steps in to establish once and for all that Holly has been coercing Murdoch. Jim is shocked and tries to call off the wedding so that he can reconsider things, only for Holly to reveal that she has preempted his reluctance with an elaborate blackmail scheme. In order to ensure Jim’s compliance, she explains that three informants have been given photos of Jim and Murdoch having sex, and will disseminate them if the wedding does not go as planned. Murdoch is horrified, seemingly realizing that he is acceptable collateral in Holly’s plan, but asks him to trust her and assures him he is safe because Gretchen’s influence can get him out of any trouble that results. Suddenly, Holly is struck by something thrown at her from offscreen and she recoils in pain.
Chapter 1 [ ]
Murdoch acts unsurprised if Sam opts for Cliff, and warns Sam ‘not to wear him out’ before sauntering off with a smirk.
The next day, Murdoch visits Will at his office and learns about the status of his investigation into Jack’s murder. Later, Murdoch encounters Sam outside Red’s General Goods, and admits to feeling envious of Sam and Cliff’s night together. In exchange for an account of how Cliff was in bed, he divulges to Sam that William already has a lead and a witness. Sam panics at this information and departs without buying anything, which causes Murdoch to become concerned and suspicious.
At some point later that day, Murdoch takes Cliff to visit The Stag, a haven for the gay men of Echo, where the two meet Jeb. Murdoch then goes to Cliff’s home to deliver supplies for his expedition and the two become intimate. When Sam visits Cliff afterward he observes that the couch smells like fox, but Cliff is nonchalant and does not reveal what happened between him and Murdoch.
Murdoch accompanies Cliff, Sam, and Jeb on their journey to the Meseta settlement, mostly to document Cliff’s escapades with his camera. He also brings ample supplies from his family’s store. Upon learning that Murdoch will be coming along, Sam is frustrated and can choose whether or not to voice his objections, but Murdoch joins the group regardless. If Sam initially speaks out, however, then Murdoch treats him with much more suspicion, which is mutual, and their dynamic is more tense. If Sam decides not to object, then he, Murdoch, and Cliff are less secretive with each other, beginning with Murdoch openly declaring that he has had sex with Cliff.
Chapter 2 [ ]
During the trek to Echo Canyon, Murdoch and Cliff banter happily, but Murdoch’s initial attempts to get Sam and Jeb to open up more and lower their guards are not as successful. Murdoch photographs the desert as they traverse it, and stops at one point to take pictures of Cliff, including a shirtless one. He offers to do the same for Sam, but is turned down.
At the canyon overlook, Murdoch questions Sam about his suspicious behavior at the store and expresses concern about his well-being, but Sam keeps his crime a secret. Murdoch assures Sam that he is among friends and, if Sam did not object to Murdoch’s presence at the start of the journey, also proposes a threesome with Cliff. After leaving Echo Canyon, the group sets up camp in a forested area and Murdoch tells a ghost story by the fire. Cliff is unimpressed, so Murdoch then delves into the scientific theory that all sensory information is subjective, and that an individual’s perception can only hint at reality by creating imperfect facsimiles. He perturbs Cliff with the idea that there may be an intangible, unknowable world existing just beyond their senses.
In the night, the group is attacked by a mysterious beast that kills one of Jeb’s donkeys. The beast appears differently to each person who sees it, and Murdoch sees a non-anthropomorphic fox. Sam is knocked unconscious in the attack, and Murdoch and Cliff help carry him to safety. They return to the campsite to find that much of their supplies were ransacked by the monster, and even Murdoch’s guitar was destroyed. They press on, with Murdoch at Cliff’s suggestion using his claws to mark trees as they pass so they can keep themselves oriented, but it quickly becomes clear that their progress is being supernaturally redirected. Cliff and Jeb get into an argument about Jeb’s drinking, and his apparent inability to lead them through the forest, but Murdoch breaks it up and Jeb storms off.
Murdoch proposes to Sam and Cliff that the three of them start being more honest with each other, in order to dispel any lingering suspicion and ensure their mutual survival. If Sam and Murdoch are on good terms, Sam admits that he is running from Echo, although he still does not specify why, and in turn, Murdoch confesses that he is reliant on the limited supply of opium he has brought along to keep him ‘grounded,’ and that he is deeply scared by the prospect of facing sobriety. Jeb returns and he and Murdoch smell their way to the remains of another campsite, which turns out to belong to a group of Meseta travelers led by Avery. Avery and his companions are reeling after their own encounter with the monster, and the two parties Band together.
Following a night spent recuperating at the home of Avery’s parents, the group returns to the scene of the attack to salvage their supplies. On the way, the forest once again seems to be redirecting their progress, and Murdoch wonders if there is something it is trying to show them. Before long they stumble upon a dilapidated cabin, and Murdoch explores it with Cliff. Upon arriving at their ransacked camp, Avery remarks that Jeb’s donkey has been mangled in a manner that looks more like a ritualistic slaughter than the work of a beast killing to survive, which rattles Murdoch badly. In the wreckage, Murdoch finds a scuffed document that includes evidence that Cliff is traveling under an assumed name, and that his birth name is Cornelis van Houwelinck.
After helping Jeb bury his donkey, the party makes it out of the woods and camps at an outpost near a hot spring, where they make the acquaintance of Ed. Depending on Sam’s preference, Murdoch may join Cliff and Sam for a threesome at the spring, or he may leave the two to have a private moment together and wash up with Jeb and Avery instead.
Back at the campfire, Murdoch tells another tale, this one based on local folklore. According to the story, going out into the desert alone at high noon with no provisions and surviving until nightfall will bestow whoever can manage it with the thing they need most in the world. Ed informs Murdoch that the story originated from a friend of his, who spread it in order to kill off naïve newcomers to the region. Afterward, Murdoch borrows Ed’s guitar and performs a song as Sam and Cliff dance together.
Chapter 3 [ ]
If Murdoch has sex with Cliff and Sam, then the next morning Cliff has the option to set boundaries on their relationship by asking Murdoch to keep things professional. Murdoch seems very upset to hear this, but quickly masks his dejection with a characteristic smile. If Murdoch was left out of the tryst, then the next day he promises not to pry into what Sam and Cliff did at the springs, but tells Cliff to be careful with Sam, since Murdoch can tell he has ‘been through a lot.’
Once the group makes it to the Meseta settlement, Murdoch departs with Sam to find lodging at the local inn. They are barred from accessing their room without upfront payment so the two try to explain that their stay is being financed by Cliff, but there is no reservation on file booked under that name. Murdoch produces the document with Cliff’s birth name, however, and the clerk lets them check in.
Inside their room, Murdoch explains to Sam that he has discovered Cliff is using an alias, although neither thinks it is necessarily suspicious. Cliff and then Jeb arrive shortly after, and the two get into another argument. Cliff’s frustration with their late arrival at the settlement leads him to consider replacing Jeb and finding a new guide, which Jeb strongly resents. Murdoch sides with Jeb, pointing out that it is unreasonable to blame him for the seemingly supernatural obstructions they faced along the way, and after Jeb storms out Murdoch tries to help Cliff calm down and consider Jeb’s frustration. As Cliff and Sam leave, Murdoch gets to work converting the room’s closet into a dark room so he can develop all the photos he took during the journey.
Chapter 1 [ ]
In reaction to Samuel’s sudden outburst, Murdoch apologizes for putting stress on him. He worries what the miners’ strike could mean for Echo, since the town depends on CSCG so heavily. When William dismisses everyone from the powder room, Murdoch brushes off the girls’ advances and lounges on one of the couches, looking bored, as Samuel and William leave.
Despite his initial reluctance, Murdoch agrees to return with Will to the mines to photograph the crime scene, becoming professional and cheery with a suddenness that Sam finds unnerving. At some point during their work together Murdoch has learned from Will that Sam is a potential suspect in Jack’s murder, and he quickly realizes the truth of Sam’s guilt when he sees him being ushered out of the Hip in Will’s custody.
The group hears women laughing inside the mine, and Murdoch suggests that it is simply idle youths and leads the way through a narrow passage. In the cavern where Sam killed Jack, Murdoch observes that the tarantulas nesting together on the evidence are acting unusually for the season. He snaps a few pictures of the scene, then exits the mine with the rest of the group. Murdoch praises Sam’s decision to come clean and assures him William will ensure the best outcome for him, and then departs when they reach Echo.
The following evening, Murdoch and Cliff arrive at the sheriff’s office for a poker game. Murdoch neglected to tell Will who is was bringing along, but Cliff is allowed to stay and play as well. During the game, Murdoch continues to stare absentmindedly out of the corner of his eye. When the figure outside the window that Murdoch has been eyeing reveals a gun and takes aim at Cliff, Murdoch knocks him out of the line of fire and is hit in the shoulder by the bullet instead. His injury is nonlethal, and he is treated by Nik and Cliff.
It is revealed that Murdoch noticed someone following him to the office, but it is unclear whether he knew about the figure’s murderous intent. Murdoch identifies the assailant, who Will has shot and killed, as Jimmy Fisher, an errant teenager infamous for doing illicit jobs around town. Murdoch is then bandaged up by Nikolai and carted off by Nik, Todd, and Cliff to go home and rest, after almost fainting in the jail block of the office.
Chapter 2 [ ]
Off-screen, Murdoch is treated by Ralph and the two go walking near Lake Emma, where they overhear what sounds like a struggle followed by a body being dumped in the lake. Murdoch visits the sheriff’s office to report what he saw, and William agrees to investigate. When Will refers offhand to his ex-wife, who has come to Echo, Murdoch is curious but does not press him.
The next day, Murdoch prepares a picnic with Cliff while they wait for Sam and William to arrive at Lake Emma. Will teases him about his ongoing relationship with Cliff, and Murdoch responds sharply. He escorts the group to the lakeside cavern where he heard the possible crime, then returns to Cliff. When the others return and Will explains that he made rash mistakes during the investigation, Murdoch may be impressed to hear that Sam managed to calm him down. Murdoch is notably at ease in Will’s presence, seeming to enjoy spending a rare moment with him as a friend rather than a business associate, and calls the sheriff by his first name for the first time.
Murdoch invites Sam and Will to The Stag, a men’s only bar, and then coaches Sam through taking a photograph of the group all together. Murdoch accompanies Cliff back to his home, under the pretense of protecting him from further attacks, but Cliff points out that Murdoch’s injuries mean he is just as likely to need assistance.
Chapter 3 [ ]
Murdoch apparently sleeps through Reed Morris’ attempt to break into Cliff’s home during the night, and is woken up by Cliff in the morning. Murdoch staggers as he makes his way back to his family’s store, and Will remarks that he looks weary.
A few days later, William finds a film canister on Marcy Greene’s property and learns that her murdered husband Huxley was last seen departing their home in a carriage with a red fox. Since this possibly implicates a member of the Byrnes family, Will comes to Red’s General Goods to interview Murdoch about what his parents and siblings have been up to in the previous days. Ralph tries to stop Will at the door, but Murdoch invites him inside after hearing that the sheriff’s business is urgent and may lead to arrests. Murdoch and Will go into the store’s dark room for privacy, where Murdoch confirms that the film canister may have come from the store but was likely not purchased by the Greenes, since they were not frequent customers.
Murdoch recounts his recent whereabouts, and Will concludes that he is likely personally uninvolved in Huxley’s disappearance but may possibly be lying to cover for his family. At Will’s prompting, Murdoch mentions that his mother and father are usually the ones who drive the company carriage, and reveals that Gretchen and possibly Alfred attended a party thrown by Cordelia Hendricks at her mansion on the night that Huxley disappeared. Just then, Gretchen herself bursts into the dark room and demands that Will ask his questions to her instead of Murdoch.
Chapter 1 [ ]
Cliff gets his hopes up when he hears Sam decline Murdoch’s bet, and so Murdoch playfully remarks that Cliff will be heartbroken if Sam doesn’t choose him instead. Murdoch then strolls off in the direction William went, and is not seen until much later in the route.
Chapter 2 [ ]
Late one night, Murdoch startles Sam outside of Chang’s opium den. Murdoch assumes Sam is a fellow customer there to buy drugs, and inquires about what visions Sam has seen while high. He mentions his observation that Echo itself seems to cause drugs to affect people unusually, but apologizes for making things awkward after Sam fails to show an interest. He then gives Sam some money in order to express his regret for making the bet at the Hip, and explains he was only trying to impress him at the time. Murdoch also invites Sam to come watch one of his performances at The Stag, and says he saw him there a few nights before.
Jim arrives, impatient to get going to the mines where Murdoch will be photographing sites for him to sample in his role as an assayer for CSCG. Jim behaves flirtatiously towards Sam, and although he does not say it, Murdoch seems to understand that Jim has had sex with Sam at the Hip.
Chapter 3 [ ]
As recounted later, Murdoch and Jim venture into the mines and have a possibly supernatural encounter. At some point after 7:30, Murdoch sees a series of inexplicable doors in the wall of the caverns, through which he thinks he can see people. Jim tells him the sites of the doors correspond to known gas leaks, but then when he and Jim go through one to investigate they somehow reappear back on the surface.
The next evening at around 7:30, a dazed and dirty Murdoch finds Sam and Nik on the shore of Lake Emma and asks them for the time, then begins vomiting. After getting some water to drink from Nik, he is led back to The Hip where a group of miners help him recover. Chang is among them and Murdoch identifies him even through his confusion, commenting vaguely that the opium he used may have been too strong.
Murdoch is giddy and delirious and seems to still be under the residual effects of drugs, possibly combined with the fallout from his perception-altering experience. Nik brings him a honey bun to eat, and as he does he begins to sober up. He reveals that he has no memory of the previous twenty-four hours, and looks at the dirt beneath his nails as he recounts the doors he saw. Murdoch tries to write the experience off as a hallucination, only for the miners to then share several of their own stories of inexplicable things occurring in the mines.
Later, after he is feeling better, Murdoch overhears Nik ask Sam for a dance and offers to play something special for them. The lively performance dispels the tense atmosphere of the previous conversation, and many of the miners dance along.
Relationships [ ]
Samuel [ ]
Underneath his flirtatious behavior towards Sam, Murdoch harbors a deep curiosity about him, and even feels envy for a romanticized version of what he believes Sam’s profession entails.
In his own route, Murdoch seems to consider Sam a good listener, and readily explains topics he is passionate about to Sam at length. Murdoch hires Sam with the intention of befriending him, and their relationship soon becomes a rare part of Murdoch’s life that his family holds no sway over. He later says he deeply respects Sam, and Sam becomes one of the few people that Murdoch can truly open up to about his deeply troubled inner life. Notably, defending Sam seems to be one of the only reliable motivations for Murdoch to ever speak up against his family.
In Cliff’s route, Murdoch’s inquisitive nature puts him at odds with a paranoid Sam, who fears being hanged for the murder of Jack, but depending on Sam’s attitude towards him the two may slowly grow closer. They may also have a threesome with Cliff is Sam decides he is open to it.
Ralph [ ]
Murdoch and Ralph have been friends for much of their lives, and Ralph is one of the only people that Murdoch drops all pretense around. Both of them are interested in formulating theories about the supernatural forces at work in Echo, and they have tried for many years to get to the bottom of the town’s mysteries together.
Murdoch says he loved Ralph when they were younger but believes they are now incompatible, since their years spent apart while Ralph was abroad for school have caused them to develop into very different people who want different things out of life. It is unclear if Ralph still harbors any of this old attraction, but he is very protective of Murdoch, often using his acerbic personality to vet the friends Murdoch makes and ensure that they will not take advantage of his giving nature.
Cliff [ ]
Murdoch is attracted to Cliff, and behaves in his characteristically flirtatious way towards him. Perhaps because of their shared struggles with familial expectation, the two seem to share an immediate chemistry, which frequently draws them towards one another in several of the game’s storylines.
In Cliff’s route, Murdoch appears deeply hurt if Cliff initially entertains his attention but then asks to keep things professional, indicating that Murdoch has developed feelings for Cliff that go beyond casual attraction.
William [ ]
As a photographer, Murdoch works with William to take crime scene photos. The two have a professional relationship, although Murdoch teases Will on occasion. Will also invites Murdoch to the poker nights he hosts, and the two seem aware of each other’s sexuality.
Murdoch believes that William is very logical in his investigations, but worries that in a town like Echo logical conclusions can be very incorrect. He has a high opinion of Will’s sense of justice, however, and describes him as gallant.
Nikolai [ ]
Murdoch and Will do not interact much, but share an easy camaraderie.
In Will’s route, Murdoch calls Nik ‘earnest,’ and after learning that Sam’s friendship with Nik has become strained, assures him that Nik will come around.
Jebediah [ ]
During Cliff’s route, Murdoch often playfully invites the normally taciturn Jeb to join in on conversations, which Sam speculates may be because Murdoch enjoys trying to ‘get a rise’ out of him. Murdoch and Jeb develop a comfortable rapport as they travel together, and Murdoch speaks out when he feels that Cliff is being unfairly critical of Jeb’s skills as a guide.
Todd [ ]
Murdoch and Todd are friendly with each other, and often play poker together. Murdoch seems to enjoy playfully taking advantage of Todd’s tendency to get easily flustered.
The Byrnes Family [ ]
Murdoch has an exceptionally toxic relationship with his family. Both his parents constantly belittle him and make demands of him, taking full advantage of his devotion to them. His sister Holly further exploits his altruism by making him sleep with her fiancé Jim in order to secure their marriage, which she seems to also believe is justified for the good of the family. Only his younger sister Dahlia appears to treat Murdoch with kindness, and even then usually from a distance. Murdoch believes his family grants him stability, however, and claims to enjoy feeling needed, and so remains paralyzingly devoted to them.
Murdoch’s parents seem to be aware that he is gay, and Gretchen is described as using her sway in Echo to shield him from the consequences of his sexuality becoming public knowledge. Likely because they do not expect him to have children, Murdoch’s parents heavily favor Holly, whose marriage will provide a veneer of ‘respectability’ for the family, over Murdoch as their heir.
Seamus [ ]
Murdoch misses his brother terribly, and the places that hold memories of him are still bitter for Murdoch to revisit, even years later. Murdoch seems to believe that whatever entity holds sway over Echo is responsible for Seamus’ death, due to the string of bad judgments and coincidences that culminated in the events of his accident.
At his lowest, Murdoch feels that Seamus would have been a better son to his parents than he is, had he gotten the chance to grow up.
Jim [ ]
Murdoch anguishes over his illicit relationship with his future brother-in-law but feels trapped in the arrangement by his duty to his sister and parents, and fears that if Jim gets ‘bored’ with heterosexual monogamy he will leave Holly and the Byrnes family will be stranded in Echo. Murdoch expresses attraction towards Jim, calling him “beautiful,” and enjoys their trysts on a physical level, but he is galled by Jim’s low opinion of women and gays, as well as the cruel way he talks about the Byrnes family, and considers him a “rich brat.” Ultimately, any pleasure Murdoch might derive from his encounters with Jim seems to be overshadowed by the despair he feels about the circumstances of their relationship, and the aspects of Jim’s personality that he finds objectionable.