We are zoomed out in panel 1, where we see a nest of bees conveniently placed to reflect the current subject. The nest and its supporting branch are arranged along an angle that acts as a means for establishing a foreground to symbolically define the location in the panel where the viewer is standing. Well, at least that was often the intention of painters from the Renaissance onward who employed this popular compositional device, often as a means to help “bring the viewer into the picture” as viewer and participant. Phew! Sorry, my former art history days are slipping out again. But seriously, didn’t the nearness of the bee nest make you involuntarily back up a bit, just for a moment?
It didn’t take long for local yokel Ernest to start dropping his “Good ol’ Boy” persona, revealing a more fundamentally chilling personality. The coldness in his expression and his statement in panel 4 should leave little doubt for Cherry and Mark.
Speaking of Cherry, I can’t say I’m impressed with her lukewarm justification for keeping the bees alive. “They help more than harm”? That’s the best you can do, Cherry? You might as well ask Ernest if you can help hold his gear while he exterminates the bees. I hope her underground Garden Club gets the job done.