We Need to Talk About the Toxic Relationship of Top Dollar and Myca from ‘The Crow’

Two years ago, I wrote an editorial on why I felt Lestat and Akasha’s relationship from Queen of the Damned was very problematic. When I published that editorial, I had no idea how popular it would become. As of late October 2021, my editorial has garnered 1,301 views and counting! So, that success is a reason for this new editorial. I’ve read many articles and seen many videos about The Crow. But no one has talked about how toxic Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say their relationship is worse than Lestat and Akasha’s. Like my previous editorial, I will present five key reasons why Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is unhealthy. But before I start my explanations, let me bring up some disclaimers:

  1. In this editorial, I will be addressing the subjects of inappropriate sibling relationships, violence, drug use, and crime. That is because the movie itself addresses these subjects. If you are sensitive to any of the aforementioned subjects, take this disclaimer as a fair warning.
  2. This editorial was not written to be mean-spirited or negative. Its intent is to showcase my honest opinion about this topic.
  3. This editorial was not written to disrespect any persons who worked on The Crow. This includes Michael Wincott and Bai Ling, who portrayed Top Dollar and Myca.
  4. Like most of my editorials, this article is going to be long in length. If you are interested in reading this post, please allow yourself enough time to consume the content.
  5. Unless I say otherwise, the screenshots in this editorial are screenshots I took with my cellphone.
Image of Top Dollar and Myca found on IMDB

An Inappropriate Sibling Relationship

A typical sibling relationship is meant to teach empathy, show how to get along with others, and help maintain a family unit. But with Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship, nothing about it is typical. In fact, it is downright inappropriate. In The Crow, it is revealed these characters are half-siblings. But instead of treating each other like siblings, they interact with each other like a romantic couple. In the very first scene Top Dollar and Myca appear in, it is heavily implied they engage in intercourse. Their physical interactions also appear more sensual in nature. The existence of Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is illegal, especially in Michigan, the state The Crow takes place in. According to Michigan Legislature, they would be guilty of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree. This is because Top Dollar and Myca meet these two circumstances: “The actor is a member of the same household as the victim” and “The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree”. When the true nature of their relationship is revealed, Top Dollar says Myca is “my father’s daughter, that’s right”. This means both Top Dollar and Myca were fully aware of their involvement in an inappropriate sibling relationship.

Top Dollar and Myca kissing photo found from Top Dollar/Myca (The Crow 1994) – Love song

While Top Dollar and Myca are aware of their relationship’s nature, they go out of their way to keep their relationship private. Any time Top Dollar and Myca engage in displays of affection, it is done when few people or no one is around. In the first scene these characters appear in, there is another woman in the room. However, this woman is dead. In their next scene, Top Dollar and Myca partake in consuming drugs or creating mystical concoctions. When T-Bird and Grange arrive at Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar and Myca are careful when displaying their affection for one another. Myca sits beside Top Dollar, with his arm draped across her lap. But when T-Bird and Grange leave, Top Dollar places his hand on Myca’s thigh, a gesture that is typically known for being sensual. It should also be noted how this gesture was performed under the table. Out of all the characters in The Crow, only two of them know about Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship. These characters are Grange and Gideon.  It’s safe to assume Grange was already aware of Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship prior to the film’s events. But Gideon finds out about this relationship when he visits Top Dollar at Club Trash’s lair.

Because it can be difficult to see, I put a yellow line next to Top Dollar’s arm. This shows how his arm is draped across Myca’s lap when T-Bird and Grange are around.
This time, I put a circle around Top Dollar’s hand, showing how it is now on Myca’s thigh. You can also see how Myca is holding back Top Dollar’s hair, a gesture I will talk about later in this editorial.
In this picture, it is clear to see how Top Dollar and Myca appear “professional” to keep up appearances.

One of my criticisms of The Crow is how some parts of the story don’t receive context. Top Dollar and Myca’s story is one of them. But based on what was said and not said by these characters, it is assumed their relationship is the result of an absent/dysfunctional family unit. In Top Dollar and Myca’s first scene, Top Dollar reveals the origin of a snow globe. This snow globe, displaying a miniature grave yard, was a birthday gift from their father when Top Dollar turned five. He tells Myca “Dad gave me this. Fifth birthday. He said ‘Childhood is over the moment you know you’re gonna die’.” Top Dollar brings up their father on two other occasions: when he tells Gideon Myca is his father’s daughter and when he tells Eric “Ya know, my daddy always used to say ‘Every man has a devil, and you can’t rest till you find him’.” Meanwile, Myca never brings their father up. In fact, when Top Dollar is talking about the snow globe, she doesn’t express any emotion toward her parent. According to David J. Schow, one of The Crow’s screenwriters, Top Dollar and Myca’s “father was in Vietnam”. In the book, The Crow: The story behind the film, “Top Dollar’s motivation would be to punish the world for Myca’s tragic life”. Taking all of this into account, it seems like Top Dollar and Myca’s father had no qualms about exposing his children to dark and harmful things, especially at a young age.

For this picture, an arrow points out the tear near Top Dollar’s eye, emphasizing how emotional the snow globe is making him.
Meanwhile, as Top Dollar is sharing the snow globe’s origin, Myca expresses no emotion.

They Enable Each Other

If you knew someone who was causing harm to themselves or other people, would you intervene and help them turn toward better choices? Most people would say “yes” if asked this question. But, in The Crow, Top Dollar and Myca do the complete opposite. During their introduction in the movie, Myca asks if the woman in the room is dead. Top Dollar responds by saying, “I think we broke her”, heavily implying they had something to do with the woman’s death. Myca then proceeds to remove the woman’s eyes, with Top Dollar silently watching her perform this act. Top Dollar was fully aware of how much damage he and Myca made in one evening. Despite this, he never tried to stop Myca from obtaining the eyes or question her reason for committing the act. In fact, Top Dollar never intervened during the process. While Myca’s desire to snatch someone’s eyes is explained, Top Dollar continues to enable Myca.

As you can see in this picture, Top Dollar expresses no concern for Myca’s harmful behavior.

In the next scene Top Dollar and Myca appear in, they engage in activities only they would leisurely choose to do. While Myca uses the aforementioned eyes to create a concoction involving smoke, Top Dollar is consuming drugs. During Myca’s “activity of leisure”, Top Dollar silently watches the entire time. He only gets involved when Myca creates smoke, as he ends up breathing it in. While this scene is taking place, Top Dollar’s plate of drugs are located right next to Myca’s goblet. Myca is fully aware of their presence, yet chooses to do nothing about it. What she does do is ignore Top Dollar’s drug use. When Grange and T-Bird arrive at Club Trash’s lair, Myca can be seen turning her body away from Top Dollar, facing her guests. Before Top Dollar consumes the drugs for the second time in this scene, Myca gets up from the table she is laying on and walks away from the situation. Even though she does return to sit beside Top Dollar, she ends up holding his hair back as he consumes the drugs for the third and final time in this scene.

An arrow pointing to Myca’s goblet and a circle around Top Dollar’s plate of drugs highlight how close they are to each other.
Before T-Bird and Grange show up, Myca is facing Top Dollar.
After T-Bird and Grange arrive, Myca turns away from Top Dollar and faces her guests.
The arrow is pointing to Myca’s shoulder, as she is rolling off the table and moving away from Top Dollar.

The previous scene I talked about isn’t the only time Myca turns a blind eye to Top Dollar’s harmful choices. When Gideon pays a visit to Club Trash’s lair, the intent of his visit is to call Top Dollar out for his lack of involvement. This is in relation to Gideon’s Pawn Shop being burned down in an earlier scene. It is in this current scene where Top Dollar reveals he and Myca are half-siblings. After this secret is revealed, Myca places her foot on Gideon’s chest as Top Dollar points his sword at Gideon, both actions attempting to intimidate their guest. Shortly after Gideon tells Top Dollar and Myca “I ain’t twisted like you two fucks”, Top Dollar proceeds to stab Gideon with his sword. Before Top Dollar receives a gun from Grange, Myca can be seen turning her head away from the situation. She turns her head back after Top Dollar kills Gideon.

This picture illustrates how Myca is enabling Top Dollar’s behavior by helping him intimidate Gideon.
This is the same picture/scene as above, but from a different angle.
This is a photo of Myca as she is turning her head away from Top Dollar’s crime, before he shoots Gideon.
This photo shows Top Dollar and Myca after he shoots Gideon, with Myca turning her head back.

When I first watched The Crow, I was really confused by Top Dollar and Myca’s decision to enable each other. Judging by their body language, their love for one another seems obvious. So, seeing them enable the other to hurt themselves or other people told a conflicting story. After talking with some fans of this film, I came up with three likely reasons why Top Dollar and Myca choose to enable one another. The first reason relates to the possible upbringing I talked about in my first point. Because Top Dollar and Myca were likely exposed to dark and harmful things for so long and often, these things have become their “normal”. The second reason is the precedent Top Dollar places on his environment. Since he is the leader of his villainous group, he is the one who sets that precedent, which is a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset. With that said, why should Myca be expected to care about Top Dollar’s drug use or violence when he doesn’t seem to care how or where she acquires eyeballs? The third and final reason is how the final product benefits them. As I already mentioned, Top Dollar only gets involved in Myca’s “activity of leisure” after she makes the smoke. This allows him to enjoy the fruits of her labor without worrying about how the smoke is created. In a meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Myca says “I like the pretty lights”, referencing the fires taking place throughout Detroit. This statement alone shows that Myca doesn’t seem to care how those fires came to fruition, but instead how these “pretty lights” make her feel.

This picture from The Crow: The Movie clearly shows Top Dollar and Myca looking disinterested in each other’s concerns and needs.

No Meaningful Conversations

As I said in my editorial, ‘Toxic Valentine: Why Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is very problematic in Queen of the Damned (2002)’, words are needed to build/strengthen a bond. In The Crow, the audience can hear Top Dollar and Myca talking to each other instead of at each other. But when one truly listens to what these characters are saying, it is evident how Top Dollar and Myca are not having meaningful conversations with one another. There are two scenes showing them carrying on a conversation. In the first scene, Myca sees Top Dollar becoming emotional over a snow globe. She acknowledges this by telling him “You are thinking about the past”. However, after Top Dollar tells her the story behind the snow globe, she changes the subject to the dead woman in the room. While Myca does give Top Dollar physical affection by hugging him and kissing him on the head, she doesn’t use words to get to the root of the unidentified problem. No questions about why this snow globe causes Top Dollar to get so emotional are asked. Similar personal moments or comforting sentiments are not shared either. Because of Myca’s decision to not verbally help Top Dollar through his emotions, those feelings and personal turmoil are bottled up and unaddressed instead of being resolved.

A picture of Top Dollar and Myca hugging before she learns the origins of the snow globe.
Instead of verbally comforting Top Dollar, Myca kisses his head.

In the second scene, Top Dollar wishes he were hungrier. He reveals this to Myca after she tells him “You are very restless”. But instead of trying to help Top Dollar find a solution to his problem, Myca says “Be careful what you ask for”. Hunger is a basic need, with eating being an important part of human life. The fact Myca is ignoring this basic need, especially after Top Dollar addressed it to her is concerning. In this same scene, Myca tells Top Dollar “There are energies aligning against you”. His response to her concern is “Seeing is believing, isn’t it?”. Like Myca’s response to Top Dollar’s hunger, Top Dollar’s reaction is also concerning. He doesn’t question what these “energies” are or try to verbally put Myca’s worries at ease. These examples in this point highlight what I talked about earlier: the precedent in Top Dollar and Myca’s environment carrying a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset.

In this picture, Top Dollar clearly look like he doesn’t care about Myca’s concerns.

They Treat Others Horribly

Similar to Akasha from Queen of the Damned, Top Dollar and Myca treat other people horribly. This horrible treatment is experienced by most of the members of their community as well. Like I mentioned earlier, Top Dollar intimidates and kills Gideon, with Myca helping Top Dollar intimidate their guest. I also mentioned the dead woman whose eyes were removed by Myca. However, these are just two examples of their hurtful ways toward others. Whenever something bad happens to someone with a lower social ranking, Top Dollar does not show any amount of sympathy for them. Instead, he treats their misfortune as a joke. When T-Bird visits Club Trash’s lair, he informs Top Dollar of Tin Tin’s death. Top Dollar says he’ll provide a moment of silence for Tin Tin, but uses that time to consume more drugs. Later in the movie, at a meeting in Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar tells the attendees how T-Bird will not come to their gathering. He says T-Bird has “a kind of a slight case of death” as if passing away is simply an inconvenience. This causes some of the meeting attendees to chuckle, like Top Dollar told a funny joke.

This photo highlights how annoyed Top Dollar looks by T-Bird’s death.

It should also be noted how complete strangers are not safe from Top Dollar and Myca’s harmful choices. As the story progresses, Eric Draven learns his and Shelly’s murders were caused by Top Dollar, as he ordered some of his members to remove Eric and Shelly from their apartment. When Eric crashes the meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar orders the meeting’s attendees to kill Eric. While these attendees shoot Eric, Myca stands beside Top Dollar and watches the violence upfold. After the meeting ends earlier than expected, Top Dollar and Myca kidnap Sarah. They do this in an attempt to lure Eric and The Crow toward them, planning to kill both of them in the process. Based on the examples I provided, it is obvious that Top Dollar is the one who causes most of this harm, with Myca as his bystander.

As Top Dollar orders the meeting’s attendees to shoot Eric, Myca simply watches the violence unfold.
This is the same picture/scene as above, but from a closer angle.

No Sense of Shame

The most blatant aspect of Top Dollar and Myca’s part of the story is how they have no sense of shame for what they say and do. This is because they are never given a reason to feel a sense of shame. In Top Dollar and Myca’s environment, there are no “voices of reason” to hold them accountable for their actions and choices. Even when someone, like Gideon, tries to become a “voice of reason”, they end up facing consequences instead of Top Dollar and Myca. Two reasons are likely why “voices of reason” don’t exist in Top Dollar and Myca’s world. Like I’ve been saying in this editorial, the precedent in this environment carries a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset. Since Top Dollar and Myca don’t express any concern for others, the people in their environment have no incentive to care what Top Dollar and Myca do. Fear can also be a contributing factor. Top Dollar and Myca have the two highest social ranks in their environment. So, this fact can be a motivator to keep others in line. Out of all the people who work for Top Dollar and Myca, Skank is the only one who openly expresses this fear. After being forced to attend the meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Skank cowers in his seat when Top Dollar calls him out. Skank’s demeanor clearly displays unease, like he is afraid of upsetting Top Dollar. In a community where people are too afraid to speak up, it is no wonder Top Dollar and Myca’s behavior is allowed to run rampant.

This picture illustrates how Skank is cowering in his seat.
This other picture shows the fear in Skank’s face, emphasizing how uncomfortable he is near Top Dollar.

The one person who should have been a “voice of reason” is Grange. As Top Dollar and Myca’s bodyguard and the closest person to them, his job is to look out for their best interests. What he does instead is enable Top Dollar and Myca, as well as encourage them, to carry on their harmful ways. When T-Bird goes to Club Trash, he tells Grange he’d like to meet with Top Dollar. Grange says that won’t be possible because Top Dollar is in a meeting. The next scene reveals Grange’s lie, as Top Dollar is in a bedroom with Myca and a dead woman. This scene shows how Grange is enabling Top Dollar and Myca’s inappropriate sibling relationship while also turning a blind eye to it. When Top Dollar stabs Gideon during his visit to Club Trash’s lair, Grange gives Top Dollar the gun that would ultimately kill Gideon. He also tells Top Dollar and Myca he’ll get someone to remove the dead body. Later in the movie, when Myca discovers a connection between Eric and The Crow, Grange says “So kill the crow, then destroy the man”. He tells Top Dollar and Myca this as a way to enable them to hurt Eric and The Crow. Grange’s reaction to Top Dollar and Myca’s other harmful decisions, like kidnapping Sarah and enabling one another, is either silently playing along or ignoring the problem altogether. With all things considered, Grange shows how he isn’t doing his job well.

When Grange visits Top Dollar and Myca in Club Trash’s lair, he never points out their “activities of leisure” or calls them out for hurting themselves or others.

After I published my editorial about Lestat and Akasha’s relationship, I naively thought I would never come across or even talk about a relationship worse than theirs. But when I watched The Crow for the first time, Top Dollar and Myca proved that idea wrong. I can say with all honesty their relationship is one of the worst I’ve ever seen in cinema. It is so toxic, red flags pop up every time they appear on screen. At first glance, it seems like Top Dollar and Myca love each other. But when one looks beyond the surface, it is plain to see how weak their relationship is. They don’t have a strong sense of care for one another. When something important is addressed, whether it’s a concern, need, or feelings, Top Dollar and Myca ignore them. They also allow each other to hurt themselves or other people with no attempts at intervention. With the way they care so little about the other, it makes me wonder why Top Dollar and Myca are even together at all? But because their backstory would probably be as dark and harmful as the choices they make, maybe it’s better to leave that question unanswered.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

References:

The Crow 1994

The Crow: The story behind the film by Bridget Baiss

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(nwj0dk1ejwrt2atsnhskh4od))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-750-520B