Complete Story Line: A to Z
The opening scene of Eden in Babylon introduces the viewer to a crowd of assorted onlookers: police, first responders, and mental health professionals waiting expectantly outside a secluded shack in the city of East Babel Heights, California, as midnight approaches to usher in February 2nd, 2017. Along with the stroke of midnight is supposed to come the promised emergence of Winston Greene, a 23-year-old self-styled mystic who has spent the last 40 days and 40 nights encamped in the shack, meditating and firing off “energetic emails” describing his ongoing quest for enlightenment.
Winston indeed comes forth, overflowing with conviction and eloquence. Climbing onto a tree stump, he delivers an impassioned-and-theatrical speech against materialism, declaring that he has “fasted from his fleshy form” all need of conventional wealth, proving his point by casually flinging vast sums of money to his onlookers. He concludes with the proclamation, “At this moment, I am Buddha!”
Some are thrilled; others think he is insane. His wealthy family is divided, with his younger sister Zyowelle outspokenly supportive while his parents are aghast. Among those unmoved by the speech is the Greene family’s pompous psychiatrist, Benzo Diablo, who declares Winston to be subject to “pathetic delusions” and deploys a team of inoculators to subdue him for commitment to East Babel Heights Behavioral Pavilion. Winston is at first defiant, but ultimately agrees to go along with them if his supporters, who have begun to intercede on his behalf, are left alone.
At the psych ward, Winston is treated roughly and subjected to massive quantities of sedatives as Benzo and his newly instated colleague, social worker Molly Mortalis, oversee his admission to the institution for a 72-hour hold. While there, he is introduced to his fellow patients, an unruly group of homeless youths.
Met initially with hostility as a privileged boy in the midst of hardened street denizens, Winston quickly charms them with his guitar-playing, fiery charisma, and lofty idealism, introducing them to the hope of a “World Beyond War.” He also strikes up a romantic flame with a fellow patient named Taura Taravel, who shares some of his sheltered background. The connection earns jealousy and mistreatment for both of them from Molly, who has taken a sadistic and perverse interest in Winston.
Winston is released from the pavilion into the custody of his parents, who live comfortably in a gated community. From there, he ultimately makes arrangements and flees to reunite with his newfound friends, who will be known collectively as the “Children of the Universe.” Together, they strike up a new life roaming nature and the streets in voluntary homelessness, striving to fully embody and experience Winston’s countercultural ethics and ecumenical spirituality.
Winston’s parents are not amused by his newly asserted independence, and commission a search team to bring him back. Benzo and Molly join the effort, concerned that Winston will expose the abuses that run rampant at East Babel Heights Behavioral Pavilion and looking to put him back in custody. He eludes them successfully for a time, but is ultimately captured while panhandling in downtown East Babel Heights after being betrayed by John James, a cynical drug dealer and former member of his group who has secured a plea bargain in exchange for leading Benzo and Molly to the group’s location. Benzo and Molly initially approach Winston in disguise before revealing their true identities and maliciously flaunting their power as a despairing Winston is handcuffed and hauled away by police.
Winston’s friends are incarcerated themselves after taking out their frustration at his capture–and at mainstream society in general–by vandalizing the gated community in which his parents live. From jail, Taura attempts to contact Winston, only to be informed that he is dead of “unknown causes.” The youths infer foul play, join together in a somber lament, and vow to avenge their leader but first, they must face the justice system themselves.
At their subsequent court date, Judge Datura Jimson surprises the youths by revealing a novel and generous proposal for a probation contract under which they may be granted lodging in exchange for work repairing the houses they vandalized. The idea is met with incredulity by some of the neighborhood residents, including Winston’s father Michael Greene, who wonders at the apparent anonymity of a benefactor listed in the contract as offering a grant of two-thirds-of-a-million dollars to repay the homeowners twice the cost of the damage they have incurred.
The mystery of the benefactor’s identity is resolved when Winston Greene himself enters the courtroom, to the shock and amazement of friends and enemies alike. Winston explains that after his arrest, he was placed on another 72-hour hold at the psych ward, whereupon it was discovered that John James and the other conspirators had attempted to fatally poison him. Judge Jimson was brought in for a private consultation, at which she and Winston hatched the plan to fake his death through the three-day span of his hold, letting the conspirators believe they succeeded in killing him, and then proceed with the hearing, where they could be caught unawares.
Benzo, Molly, and John James are all escorted from the courtroom under arrest. The plan to rebuild the neighborhood on probation is accepted, Winston and Taura reunite, the neighborhood residents and Children of the Universe begin to reconcile, and a joyful celebration breaks out before the program concludes.
Please donate to Eden in Babylon.