The Imitation Game

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for The Imitation Game. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Analysis: Jon Gentry

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

Unable to connect with other people, Turing deeply suppresses his own personal wants and desires, and winds up completely suppressing his sexuality by way of chemical castration.

Main Character Growth

Turing is holding out for the world to accept him for all that he is, even though it’s illegal and uncomfortable for the times in which he’s living.

Main Character Approach

Turing looks to change his status in order to align with his approach, exemplified by: his insults and quips that undermine his detractors. When Turing’s house is broken into, he doesn’t even report the burglary. Upon meeting the team at Bletchley, Turing declares that he needs his own space fearing that exposure to the team will only slow him down. When Turing is bullied at school, he just sits there as food is being dumped on him. Furthermore, when he’s buried under the floorboards of the school by the bullies, he merely remains silent, not wanting to give his tormentors the satisfaction of screaming or yelling for help or fighting back.  And, ultimately, Turing’s final act of dealing with his problems internally; the suppression of his own sexual identity.

Main Character Mental Sex

He’s a math genius who is only capable of thinking in a linear, mathematical fashion, exemplified by not comprehending a lunch invitation unless it’s directly and precisely stated as such an invitation, causing miscommunication between he and his team of codebreakers. Turing addresses the problem of cracking the Enigma machine by building his own machine to do the decoding. When Turing is denied the funds for his machine by his direct supervisor, he goes to the supervisor above him. When Turing is denied funding by that Supervisor, he goes to the supervisor above him, who happens to be the Prime Minister.

Story Driver

MI:6 decides to bring Turing in, Churchill decides to put Turing in charge, Denniston decides to fire Turing and destroy Turing’s machine, and the Enigma code cracking team decide to keep the information that they are deciphering secret so as to not tip off the Nazis that they’ve cracked the codes.

Story Limit

Bletchley Park is running out of options. They make efforts to crack Enigma traditionally but they continue to fail until Turing’s machine becomes their only hope. Then once Turing’s machine has cracked the Enigma code, the Code Breakers aren’t able to use all the information they decipher, for it would indicate to the Nazis that the Enigma has been cracked. They’re further limited in the options they have to put the information to use.

Story Outcome

The code breakers keep cracking the Enigma codes and strategically disseminate the information to the allies, as needed. This results in more success by the Allied powers over the Axis in WWII.

Story Judgment

After Turing’s arrest, Joan comes in to boost Turing’s mood and to make him feel good about himself and what he’s accomplished. However, he’s more alone and isolated than he ever was. Turing has not exorcised his personal demons and as a result, he will soon take his own life.

Overall Story Throughline

"The code breakers of Bletchley Park versus the Nazis information network."

Overall Story Throughline

Battling in World War II; All the characters at Bletchley Park are involved in breaking the code of the Enigma machine in order to decipher the Nazi’s messages in an effort to assist the Allies in WWII.

Overall Story Concern

Outmaneuvering the Enemy; Helping the war effort by continually decoding the Nazi Enigma messages.

Overall Story Issue

Codebreaking ability; There’s a higher level of skill required to crack the Enigma machine than anticipated.

Overall Story Counterpoint

All have familiarity in working on the Nazi secret codes but it hasn’t yielded good results. Thus the traditional methods aren’t suitable for the monumental code breaking and new methods are required.  

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Skill vs.Experience

Overall Story Problem

Not trusting each one another ; There’s an overall lack of trust between everyone. Dennison doesn’t trust Turing, Turing doesn’t trust his other code breakers. The code breakers don’t trust in what Turing is doing with his own machine

Overall Story Solution

Putting the collectively gathered codes to use against the Nazis; By finally putting Turing’s machine to the test, the enigma code is broken. Then, by testing the information they receive from the codes, they are successful in turning the tide in the war.

Overall Story Symptom

The daily resetting of the Enigma codes means starting all over again; The characters focus on their inability to help the war effort as the problem. They don’t get behind Turing’s machine as they believe it’s causing them to waste time, money and resources. Then, when they have the information contained within the Enigma codes, they fear if they act upon all of it, it will lead the Nazis to come up with alternate methods of transmitting information, rather than keep using Enigma.

Overall Story Response

Looking at what Enigma gives them so they can identify pieces of the code; The team members redirect their efforts towards what they believe to be tried and true methods of traditional code breaking that have had to some minor success in the past. After the Enigma is cracked, the code breakers are very selective about which information they feed the Allies so as to bring about strategic and favorable outcomes without tipping off the Nazis.

Overall Story Catalyst

Familiarity OR the more familiar they become with constants in the code the better their chances to break Enigma; As everyone gains familiarity with Turing, his methods and the machine that he’s working on they become more accepting and it moves the story forward towards breaking the codes and using the information contained therein.

Overall Story Inhibitor

Thinking Turing is out of his mind; Believing that the team can accomplish their goals without Turing and his brilliant mind is a pipe-dream. 

Overall Story Benchmark

Getting the coded information and breaking Enigma; The touchstone for everyone is results: putting the Bletchley Park team together, placing Turing in charge of the operation, getting pieces of the Nazi code; breaking the Enigma machine, procuring the coded Nazi messages.  

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

A brilliant but irksome mathematician joins a team of cryptologists at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. There, the team is tasked with breaking the Enigma machine, used by the Nazis to transmit secret codes and information, allowing them to gain the upper hand against the Allies. The Mathematician recruits a brilliant young woman to assist the team’s efforts despite the irregularity of a woman doing that kind of work. The pressure on the team to crack Enigma mounts, as each passing day without getting the codes means the loss of thousands of lives. Further complicating their efforts is the face that the baseline for the code resets every night at midnight and they have to begin the process all over again, making whatever progress they may have accomplished thus far, irrelevant. The Mathematician devises a plan to create a machine of his own, called Christopher, that can break the code of the Enigma machine. However, he fails to gain support from the rest of the team and is threatened with arrest and termination of the the Christopher project by the head of Bletchley Park.

Alan joins the Enigma project alongside Peter Hilton, John Cairncross, Hugh Alexander, Keith Furman and Charles Richards. They have got their hands on an actual Enigma machine smuggled out of Berlin but they don’t know the machine’s settings to decode messages. Every night at midnight, the Germans refresh the settings; because they intercept their first message every morning at 6 A.M., the code breakers only have 18 hours a day to crack the code before it changes and they must start from scratch. Hugh, a chess champion, is able to calculate that this means there are 159 million million million possibilities every day. Alan is reluctant to work as a team; Stewart Menzies, the Chief of MI6, tells them that four men have died in the last few minutes because the code remains uncracked and orders them to begin.

Alan complains to Commander Denniston that Hugh Alexander has denied funding for the parts he needs to build a machine. The commander tells him the other code breakers do not get along with him and he should take up the complaint with someone else. Alan suggests firing them all and using the funds for his machine. He says he only needs 100,000 pounds, only a machine can defeat another machine. Alan asks who the Commander’s commanding officer is; he is told Winston Churchill. Alan gets a letter to the Prime Minister via Stewart Menzies. Churchill puts Alan in charge, overriding Hugh’s authority. Alan immediately fires two of his teammates, Keith and Charles, calling them mediocre linguists and poor code breakers.

Now short on staff, they decide to find new members of the team by placing a difficult crossword puzzle into newspapers to be mailed in upon completion; anyone who can solve it is a good candidate. The war rages on, with many hiding out in bomb shelters. The handful that managed to solve the puzzle are gathered together to take a test. One young woman, Joan Clarke, shows up late because she claims that her bus had a flat tire. They think she is in the wrong room. She tells them that she has solved the crossword puzzle and everyone is skeptical. Alan tells her to take a seat. He has the room solve a very difficult puzzle in six minutes although it will take an expert like Alan eight minutes. Surprising them, Joan solves it in five.

Joan and one other man are kept afterwards and told that they are not allowed to share what they are about to be told or they’ll be executed for high treason. They are ordered to lie to everyone they know about what they are going to be doing. Joan asks what he is referring to. She is told she will be helping to break an unbreakable Nazi code and win the war.

Joan arrives at Bletchley Park under the guise of a clerical worker. In narration, Alan tells us that the British were literally starving to death; every week; Americans would send 100,000 tons of food to them and every week, the Germans would send it to the bottom of the ocean. Every night at midnight, a bell sounds, telling them their day’s work has been wasted (since the code is reset at midnight). Frustrated, Hugh visits Alan, tinkering with his machine (referred to as Christopher throughout the film, named after Alan’s childhood friend). A frustrated Hugh grabs a wrench to destroy the machine, but the others hold him back. Hugh tells him that the machine is useless and there are legitimate ways to help in the war. One of the others, Peter, explains that his brother and cousins are actually fighting in the war while they have nothing to show for all of their work because of the machine. Alan is adamant the machine will work.

Later, Alan is in the hut alone. He removes a stack of Enigma messages and stashes them in his socks. They manage to go undetected by the guards at checkpoint. He sneaks over to Joan’s home and climbs through her window. He reveals the decrypted Enigma messages, delivered from Nazi high command they read one with the weather report, ending in “Heil Hitler”. Joan and Alan talk about Christopher and the concept of a digital computer.

The next day, Alan enters the hut to find military police rifling through his desk while the other code breakers watch. Commander Denniston explains that there is a spy in Bletchley Park and they suspect it’s one of them. The Commander shows Alan a telegram that was intercepted on its way to Moscow, which is encrypted with a key phrase. They suspect Alan because he’s arrogant, has no friends or romantic attachments, and he is a loner. Commander Denniston says he will no longer have to fire him - he can hang him for treason if he’s caught.

Joan greets Alan, working on Christopher, and tries to cheer him up by taking him to a beer hut. Hugh, John, and Peter enter the hut and Joan is friendly towards them. She tells Alan in private that she’s a woman in a man’s job and doesn’t have the luxury of being an ass. She says it doesn’t matter how smart he is; Enigma is smarter and Alan needs all the help he can get. But his team will not help him if they don’t like him. The next time he sees them, he brings apples since Joan has suggested he give them something. He then tries to tell a joke.

In 1941, at Bletchley Park, Joan and Alan are bonding over codes. Hugh Alexander approaches, telling Alan that if they run the wires on Christopher diagonally, they’ll eliminate rotor positions 500 times faster. Alan is able to utilize this idea. The machine is turned on; it is the very first digital computer. And it works. They wait to see if it can tell the day’s Enigma settings.

We see footage of the war. In Denniston’s office, he is told that the machine is not producing any results. He surprises Alan at the hut, who barricades the door, trying to keep him out. They force the door open and turn it off. Commander Denniston tells him his machine doesn’t work because it hasn’t broken Enigma. Denniston’s associate from the home office is upset about spending a hundred thousand pounds with nothing to show for it. Alan tries to defend his machine but he has not decrypted a single German message; the Commander fires him. But he is stopped short by Hugh, John, and Peter who say that if he fires Alan, they will have to be fired, too, because they believe his machine can work. Hugh reminds the Commander that they’re the best cryptographic minds in Britain and asks to be granted six more moths. Commander Denniston tells them one more month or they’re all gone.

At the beer hut, Hugh tells Alan that he cracked the encrypted message “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find. Matthew 7:7.” He knows that Alan is not the spy because he would not have used a simple Bible quote for his code.

At the beer hut, while Joan dances with Hugh, John Cairncross talks to a sullen Alan who admits he is a homosexual. John is sympathetic and tells Alan that he already suspected that for some time. John suggests that Alan keep it a secret because homosexuality is illegal and, on top of that, Denniston is looking for any excuse to put Alan away.

In 1942, Alan and his team wait for Christopher to crack the code but then the midnight buzzer sounds. The machine will never be able to process so many possibilities in an 18-hour time.

At the beer hut, Joan’s friend, Helen, is admiring Hugh. Hugh finally approaches her, with Alan by his side. To charm Helen, Hugh tells her that Alan believes men and women should not work together because it will lead to romance although Hugh personally believes that women are smart and should be considered equals. Helen says she agrees with Alan because she has a male co-worker that she has garnered a crush on; upon further inquiry, she reveals she intercepts messages from a German radio tower and she has been assigned one counterpart. She says she has grown fond of him but unfortunately, he has a girlfriend. Hugh steals Helen and they go off to the bar. Alan is lost in thought and then calls out to Helen. He asks her why she thinks he has a girlfriend. Helen says because every message begins with C-I-L-L-Y, which she assumes is the name of his love. Alan tells her the Germans are instructed to choose five letters at random to start each message but because he is in love, he uses the same five letters every time. Alan remarks that love just lost the Germans the whole bloody war.

Everyone chases Alan as he rushes across Bletchley Park, past guards and security checkpoints. They get into their hut and Alan pours out previously decrypted messages. He points out that Christopher doesn’t have to search through every possible settings; the computer can search for ones that produce words he knows will be in the message. They realize the entire 6 A.M. weather reports end in “Heil Hitler”. They can have Christopher search for the words weather, heil, and Hitler to crack the code. They test it on a 6 A.M. message. Christopher comes to a stop. They take the letters it produces and run back to the Enigma machine, typing in the same letters. They are able to decode a message. They’ve cracked the code!

The team works throughout the night. They have decoded messages and translated decrypts, now able to produce a map that represents all of their ships versus the Axis ships. John tells them there are five people in the world who know the position of every ship in the Atlantic. They are all in this room. Joan realizes that they’re going to attack a British passenger convoy as they are positioned 20 minutes away. Hugh tries to call Denniston to warn him but Alan stops him, ripping the phone out of the wall. Everyone argues. Alan tells them they have to let the U-Boats sink the convoy or else it will give the Germans a heads up, that they have cracked Enigma. They will stop radio communication and change the design of Enigma immediately. In order to keep their work secret and win the war, they have to allow the lives of hundreds of innocent people to be lost. Peter breaks down, realizing that his brother is on one of the convoys. He demands that they alert Denniston of just that one ship but Alan simply apologizes. Peter tells him they don’t decide who lives or who dies; Alan says they do, because no one else can.

Alan and Joan ride the train into London. They meet with Stewart Menzies in a teashop. They reveal that they have broken Enigma but ask for Stewart’s help in determining how much intelligence to act on, which attacks to stop. He can come up with believable sources of information so the Germans don’t suspect Enigma has been cracked.

Peter harbours animosity towards Alan for letting his brother be killed despite knowing it in advance. He knocks his books over and while retrieving them on the ground, Alan spots John Cairncross’ Bible. He opens it and realizes that it is earmarked to Matthew 7:7. John notices Alan making this discovery, now aware that John is the Soviet spy. In private, John tells Alan that the Soviets and Britain are on the same side; he then threatens Alan that if he tells his secret, he’ll reveal that Alan is a homosexual and his work will be destroyed.

Alan tries to call Menzies but knows his calls are being intercepted. He returns to Joan’s flat and Stewart Menzies is there; Alan is told that Joan is in military prison after discovering that she was the Soviet spy—they have found Enigma messages in her things. Alan tells him that he gave her the intercepts when they were trying to crack the code. Stewart says Denniston is looking for a spy in their hut. 

Alan tells them the spy is actually John Cairncross. Stewart admits to knowing this before Cairncross even got to Bletchley; this is exactly why he placed them there so they could leak whatever they wanted to Stalin since Churchill was too paranoid to share information with the Soviets. Cairncross is unaware that he is being used by them. Stewart says he needs Alan’s help to know what to leak to John and feed to the Soviets. Alan says he’s just a mathematician, not a spy, but demands that Joan is released. Stewart reveals he lied about her being in a military prison but threatens to use the Enigma messages against her if Alan doesn’t cooperate.

Alan encourages Joan to leave Bletchley, knowing she is in danger, but it is too risky to tell her this explicitly. To get her to go, he reveals that he’s a homosexual. Joan responds with indifference. She tells him she had her suspicions about him for some time, but doesn’t think they can’t love each other in their own way. Joan tells Alan that despite the fact that he only loves her as a friend, that they’ll be in a marriage built on companionship and intellectual stimulation rather then love since most married couples that love each other end up divorcing anyway. Alan then lies and tells her he doesn’t love or care for her and was only using her to break Enigma. She slaps him and tells him she’s not going anywhere, despite all the low expectations placed on her by men and her parents. She calls him a monster.

In voice-over, Alan says that every day, they decoded messages and the war wasn’t determined by the bombings and fighting but a team of six crossword enthusiasts in a tiny village in England. We see everyone celebrating on V-E Day of May 8, 1945. Menzies tells the group that before they can return to their lives at university, they have to burn all evidence that they cracked Enigma because it may be used again for future wars. They also have to pretend they have never met each other.

In 1953, Alan is in his home, alone. He looks longingly at Christopher, at his supercomputer, at the love of his life. He turns off the lights.

Cut to a flashback of the six cryptologists burning all the evidence that they cracked Enigma.

In a series of final on-screen texts, it is said that Alan killed himself in 1954, after a year of government-mandated hormonal therapy.

Main Character Throughline

Alan Turing — Codebreaker

Main Character Throughline

Feeling less than human; Feeling disconnected from humanity; Turing has a “holier than thou,” superior attitude and lords it over all whom he meets.

Main Character Concern

Bringing out negative reactions in others; Turing has no impulse control and is prone to impulsive behavior whether snapping back at Dennison or insulting his fellow code breakers. He’s without any tact or decorum. This lack of control also creates problems in present day with the Manchester police as they begin investigating Turing.

Main Character Issue

Feeling and thinking of oneself as undervalued; Turing brings great value to others in terms of his mind and his skills with building his computer but doesn’t feel like he fits in as a human being. He believes he’s undervalued in society.

Main Character Counterpoint

Turing feels he’s of little to no worth in the greater scheme of the world, especially with regards to interpersonal relationships, due to his sexuality and stemming from the loss of Christopher.

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Value vs.Worth

Main Character Problem

No doubt that being gay and acerbic make him an outcast in English Society; Turing is driven to find proof that he’s indeed a human being, worthy of love, and not an outcast, a machine or monster. He’s unable to make those connections and thus unable to prove it to himself.

Main Character Solution

Destroying the myth that homosexuality is destructive to society; Proving that homosexuals are not deviants that should be ostracized, marginalized and incarcerated would bring relief to Turing. 

Main Character Symptom

Solely focusing on how things work puts others off; Turing is driven by his inability to get anyone to accept or understand why he is the way he is. He comes up against this problem with Detective Nock and the Manchester police, looking into who Turing is. 

Main Character Response

An awareness of how he comes across would help his interaction with others ; Turing stamps out the effects or indicators of his predilections; his desires, and numbs them instead. Nock becomes suspicious of Turing and that suspicion leads to Turing’s outing as a homosexual. 

Main Character Unique Ability

Concern for the well-being of those he holds dear; Turing’s concerns about the state of the war are what lead him to Bletchley Park in the first place and his further concerns about Joan lead him to become the spy MI:6 needs to bring about the success in the war.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Being too in his head, too computer like; Turing does not give nearly enough thought to the repercussions of his actions and how he comes across when interacting with others. 

Main Character Benchmark

Trying to fit in and wanting to be liked; Feelings of normalcy and human connection are the touchstones by which Turing’s development is measured. 

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Alan is a brilliant mathematician and closeted homosexual. Alan feels alone in the world, unable to fit into normal society. He’s frequent to lash out or disparage as a defense mechanism and he does not suffer fools.

Influence Character Throughline

Joan Clarke — Cyrptologist

Influence Character Throughline

Being a woman of genius intellect; Joan is a brilliant young mind but as a WOMAN in 1940s England, her abilities aren’t appreciated nor welcomed. 

Influence Character Concern

Joan’s ever-changing role in society; Joan is concerned with how things are changing for her in society, with her parents and her work. These changes cause her a great deal of problems with her parents and her role in society. She’s shifting away from the “normal” life that societal pressures and her parents want for her. 

Influence Character Issue

Joan is a woman in patriarchal English society while wishing she could lead an extraordinary life; There is no place for someone like Joan in current English society. She may be a brilliant woman but the fact is she is still a woman and that’s how she will be viewed.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Being a part of something greater, a contributor to the war effort, and being accepted in that way is something fantastical to Joan.

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Fact vs.Fantasy

Influence Character Problem

Women in English society aren’t trusted to do the work of men; Nobody trusts that Joan—a woman—can make a meaningful contribution to society, let alone the war effort at the intelligence community of Bletchley Park. The proctor of the exam doesn’t trust that Joan did the newspaper puzzle, her parents don’t trust her going to work with Turing.  Joan doesn’t completely trust in what she wants in life either, whether an exceptional existence or a traditional one.

Nock is very suspicious of Turing and driven to find out all he can about him. 

Influence Character Solution

Stop testing the limits of a woman’s role in society; Joan puts her abilities to the test and finally, by testing the waters at Bletchley Park, Joan finds that she does want normalcy in the end. Joan also tests Turing, in an attempt to make him fit in more and seem more “normal.”

Influence Character Symptom

Relentlessly pursuing what she thinks she wants; Society will never treat Joan as an equal to her male counterparts, even though her intellect and abilities match and surpass theirs. The bias against her because she is a woman will never stop.  

Influence Character Response

Quitting when societal pressures push against her; Joan takes herself out of situations where society pushes back against her. She leaves home, she quits her work. 

Influence Character Unique Ability

Being a threat to the status quo; The threat against Joan from MI:6 pushes Turing towards the story solution by forcing his hand to act as a spy.

Nock and the Manchester police put Turing in jeopardy by uncovering his homosexuality. 

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Being the only one to accept Turing as he is; Joan’s understanding and acceptance of who Turing is, undermines his ability to keep her safe and at a distance.

Influence Character Benchmark

Concern for the kind of life she will have after Bletchley Park; Where and how Joan will end up has a strong effect on Turing, especially when MI:6 threatens to expose her or imprison her. Though she’s doing extraordinary things now, it’s clear that she as she looks to the future, a more traditional lifestyle and relationship is what she sees.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

Joan is a brilliant young woman, bucking societal pressures to conform to the traditional woman’s role. Still, those pressures, especially from her family, weigh heavily upon her choice to act extraordinary.

Relationship Story Throughline

"Alan & Joan's friendship / faux romance"

Relationship Story Throughline

Acting like a couple in hopes it will gain them acceptance; Turing works on Joan to get her to use her special skills despite her being pulled to traditional normalcy; while Joan tries to coach Turing to be more “normal.”

Relationship Story Concern

Getting engaged and pretending to be a normal couple; Joan and Turing pretend to be an engaged couple so that they can continue to work together at Bletchley Park. The playing of this role puts a strain on the relationship from external and internal pressures including Joan’s parents and the prospect of a non-traditional marriage.

Relationship Story Issue

The inability to function as an actual couple; The lack of ability to truly consummate their relationship and function as a romantic, sexual couple. 

Relationship Story Counterpoint

The desire to work together and to be a couple is strong since it would serve both Turing and Joan well in society.

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Ability vs.Desire

Relationship Story Problem

Masquerading as a couple in order to fit into accepted societal norms; Joan and Turing seem to settle for ‘good enough’ in their relationship even though the reality is that they both would require more to be genuinely happy with the circumstances.

Relationship Story Solution

Their non-traditional relationship is not workable in the long-term; Realizing that the fake relationship can no longer be tolerated is what bring about an end to the problem and lets them continue to function as friends despite the “romance “ being over.

Relationship Story Symptom

Focusing on why they are actually together seems problematic; When they stop and look at the reasons that they are both in the relationship it becomes obvious that they are using the relationship to hide who they both truly are as individuals. 

Relationship Story Response

They are better together than apart so they enjoy those temporary effects ; Being together makes them look good to others that they work with and others in greater society. It helps appear to normalize them individually. This is especially noticeable when they are together dancing and socializing in the hut.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Being great friends and enjoying one another’s company; The desire to work together and help humanity brings them closer together and keeps the relationship forward.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Questioning whether the convenience of the relationship is worth the sacrifices; Unable to have an actual romantic and sexual relationship puts the brakes on the relationship actually progressing any further and causes consternation as to whether it’s worth continuing the relationship. Turing doesn’t want Joan to settle for a relationship that she will ultimately find unsatisfactory and that he will never be able to fully commit to. 

Relationship Story Benchmark

Attempting to become more than just friends; For Joan and Turing, trying to change their actual nature is the touchstone by which their relationship is measured. This is evident in Joan saying she’d be OK having a marriage based on intellect rather than attraction and Turing thinking he could suppress his homosexuality.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Alan and Joan share a mutual respect of one another’s genius that blossoms into a great fondness and admiration. Eventually, those feelings lead to thoughts of a platonic, asexual marriage that never comes to pass, instead driving a wedge into the relationship.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

Using Nazi codes to help the Allies fight the Nazis more effectively; Outmaneuvering the Nazis in war effort is the overall goal and what the protagonist is working towards.

Overall Story Consequence

Being impotent with regards to helping the ongoing war effort; Being under Nazi German rule. Having to conform to Nazi subjugation. 

Overall Story Cost

The better they perform, the less they are needed; In order to outmaneuver the Nazis and keep the codebreaking secret, many soldiers will have to be sacrificed. It will have to be a progressive, incremental approach rather than an all-out one.

Overall Story Dividend

Letting loose and enjoying themselves; Having fewer inhibitions and growing closer as a team; being more free and open with one another is a benefit of working together towards the goal of outmaneuvering the Nazis.

Overall Story Requirements

Getting the pieces of code needed in order to break the entire Enigma machine; Breaking the Enigma machine in order to get the Nazi secrets is paramount to outmaneuvering the Nazis in the war.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Working as a team rather than a group of individual geniuses; Putting team first and working together as opposed to trying to outdo and outsmart one another is what is required to make the progress needed to decipher the codes. 

Overall Story Preconditions

The long game; The team must come to accept that they are playing the long game and focus on the future benefits of breaking the codes.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Being unable to live without fear and anxiety of losing the war; Individual motives such as Peter wishing to save his brother on the naval ship, or John sending the decoded information to the Russians may undermine the efforts of Bletchley Park ad.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

The difficulties in figuring out the Enigma machine and in figuring out each other; The difficulties they at Bletchley Park are up against run deep. They also need to understand the consequences of failure. All this while there’s great miscommunication between Turing and his team.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Building Turing’s bombe machine while Britain is being bombed; The infighting and squabbling as the team is assembled creates great problems with the code-breaking effort.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Decoding Enigma and getting the Nazi codes; Cracking the Nazi code by breaking the Enigma machine with Turing’s computer.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Keeping the Nazis from learning that Enigma has been broken by meting out the information they decipher; Learning the information contained within the codes and disseminating, or withholding, that information to MI:6 to use in the war effort.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Being unaffected by the negative reactions he receives from others; Turing is a snarky, prickly sonofabitch to anyone who challenges him and he snaps, cutting them to the quick without hesitation.

Main Character Signpost 2

Wanting to fit in and be respected; Turing wishes to connect with his fellow code breakers but can’t quite figure out how. When they show him some support and stand up for him, he feels the longing for companionship like he had with Christopher.

Main Character Signpost 3

Sadness from his childhood; Turing recalls the only time he felt true love and emotion and loss was when at school with Christopher. He’s otherwise numbed himself which irks those around him. Especially Joan.

Main Character Signpost 4

Wondering if he’ll ever be accepted or accept himself; Even knowing the great work he’s done, Turing still feels like an outcast. He contemplates his worthiness and whether it’s worthwhile to continue living as he has been.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Being stuck at home while wanting to contribute; Joan answers the immediate call in the form of the newspaper advert to solve puzzles and join up for a very special assignment.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Joining Bletchley park while deceiving her parents; Joan is breaking free from the influence of her parents and starting to live the life that she wants, gaining more and more independence. 

Influence Character Signpost 3

Making Turing feel comfortable and accepted as he once did before; Joan hopes to get Turing to forget his Past and his feelings of being abnormal and to ingratiate himself more with his coworkers, despite how they’ve treated him up to this point and vice versa.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Accepting a future that is less than extraordinary and that aligns with social convention; Joan is married now and wants to make certain that Turing is cared for in the future, willing to testify to keep him out of jail and make him appear more “normal.” This while Joan herself opts for a future that aligns with social conventions. 

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Trying to figure out a sustainable way for Turing and Joan to work together; Putting into action a way that Joan can come help Turing at Bletchley Park and work together

Relationship Story Signpost 2

Pretending to be a couple; Turing and Joan pretending to be a romantic item so that they can continue working together at Bletchley Park.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Getting engaged; Taking the relationship to a marriage level despite Turing not having the sexual orientation necessary to marry a woman and Joan actually wanting love and a traditional relationship.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Accepting they’re not meant to be together; They helped save the world despite the “abnormal” relationship they had. Joan wishes Turing could see the good they accomplished by being who they are.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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