It's not that he was distant, it's how it developed--namely, entirely off-screen. He got wrecked in TC and we had that ending seem of a hollow, distant Thomas. Then, next book, he and Harry meet up and are fine; he falls right back into the group, no problem. Then, in GS, we see him at the end and he's a wreck, but seems entirely himself and most of his problems were then boinked away. He's completely himself in CD and then he's just...gone. The skinwalker ruined Thomas in a way that hit hard at the end of a book and then went away, as did Thomas for the most part. Also, he forgot that he could just have his men blow up or burn down the Carpenter house right off the bat and win completely, going instead against his usual MO by wanting the good guys to feeeeel his pain! before they died. Nick was all over the place in that book and that's probably my biggest problem with Butters, though I was annoyed by him somewhat throughout the book. What should have been a badass ascension of the character, the capstone to his development, instead feels trite and forced because he only did anything because Nick threw that fight. It was a mark against Nicodemus, rather then an achievement for Butters, especially because the latter didn't seem deserved. Also, the walking meme and pop-culture reference thing is getting kind of old. Still not as badd as when everyone stopped for five minutes to debate on which Lord of the Rings character they were, though, while was okay for the first two or three lines and just nose-dived from there. A lightsaber though? And a super Sword of the Cross that no one else has never been able to wield that drove Nick away from a guy who'd never even handled a sword and had no training? Eeeeeeeh.