Also, I hate Ben, but I LOVE TED!
Going through random things.
Four areas of interest. Pleased Things, Unhappy Things, and All That Is Brian, that God Among Men. What, me, a Brian-apologist? Where did you get that idea? Last, my 'what the hell' about things like, say, *commitment*.
Things That Pleased Me
1.) Ted. Ted. Ted. I thought it was impossible, but not only is he interesting, he is fun and lively and hysterical and making me giggle and he is at the top of my list of happiness. His presentation needed work, but maybe his later performance in the bathroom made up for it.
Admittedly, I don't see the sex quotient in Ted, while I do see it in Pretty Blue Eyes, but you know, whatever floats your boat. Watching him work was a joy. Watching Cynthia pushing him out the door to nail the account, because I am full of bad puns, was just beautiful and moving, and I'm very proud of Cynthia. Do it like Brian would. Very much, right up to the grab on the tie, whcih needs work on grace, and the toss into the bathroom, followed by loud moaning, which Go Ted, I'm impressed! Vaguely echoish of season one, ep two (what, you think I *don't* have season one memorized? For shame!).
I think everything tends to be better with Brian, true, but Ted's just more fun now. I like him when he's working on something he's good at and that he seems to enjoy. I like him when he's all concerned for Brian. I like Brian leading him down the lane of what the hell is wrong. Ted's wide eyed support for others kicking addiction was the cutest. Thing. Ever. And his reaction to the cancer was really *good*, mostly because he a.) knows Brian, and 2.) isn't in love with him, so can stay relatively objective and not scare the living shit out of Brian with too much love and concern and terror.
And because, to me, everything comes back to Brian, considering the reaction of the first two people to find out, Ted's relative calm must have been buoying. Let's face it, I'm pretty much dreading if/when Debbie finds out. God help us all. Or Lindsay.
But, yes. We like Ted. We have forgiven him for many things, because he's seriously shining right now, and it's hitting me now that this may be the first time he's worked for someone and actually seemed to be enjoying his job. And I honestly don't think Brian would be a bad boss. Hard, but damned if you don't konw where you stand, and Brian's got a streak of loyalty in him a mile wide. And God knows, Cynthia jumped ship to get to him, though again, I would swim a few seas and live on an island hut with no satellite TV if it meant i got to serve him coffee every day, so really, I'm a lousy judge of that.
Seriously, people. I'd give up my tv.
2.) Michael redeemed himself, though my bitterness on Justin's behalf continues. I do understand. I just really, really *hate* that he did it. But on the other hand, he's dealing with the Green Eyed Monster-Ben, who is actually scaring me in the amount of dislike and frustration I feel. More on that later. Michael was good with Brian--for once, his ability to turn Brian into a soft-hearted idiot was useful in keeping him from getting thrown out of the loft. And to impart a few basic truths about Justin and Brian's responsibilities to him. And Michael was excellent with Justin, beyond words. I'm very proud of him.
Bonus points for that 'eggs in one basket' line. I just love that line.
3.) Justin. I love Justin. He was there at the office, was thrown out again, licked his wounds, then listened. He *listened*. Which in his position, I'm not sure I could have done right then. I'm guessing given a cooling off period, Justin would have tried again, but I'm absolutely certain that getting the heads-up from Michael on exactly what fucked-up bit of Kinney-logic was currently in operation helped. The thing is, and this just hit me recently while watching, he's *not* seventeen anymore. Seventeen would have stalked more faithfully and got back in from sheer, overpowering will, without knowing what problems needed to be addressed and it could have gone either way in either improving the situation or leading to a permanent rift. See season two. Twenty-whatever Justin's not nearly that reckless, or that blind, but he's just as scarily willful and utterly, terrifyingly focused, and I was wondering if that had gone away. As long as Justin thinks there's something to go back to, I don't see him ever leaving for good.
4.) Emmett was wonderful. Post-Ted-rage-Emmett is a lot more balanced, and I liked watching him. I also would like to point out that the speed of sex with FootBall Guy makes walking into the backroom of Babylon and saying wanna seem like a huge amount of needless effort.
Bonus points if you can name the fanfic I just modified that quote from.
Things I Didn't Like
Short and sweet. I was neutral on almost everything else but Ben.
What. The. Hell?
Okay, Cowlip gets continuity points, since I'm kinda impressed they've kept up Ben's dissatisfaction and let it fester liek this. I can actually, and I hate to say this, get where he's coming from. After all, I *have* had a beta that told me a story was for shit, and I still haven't written again in that fandom. The rejection stings.
And I do get the envy, I do, and I can even see multiple places it's coming from for Ben on this one. Just to recap.
1.) No one wants Ben's book.
2.) Hollywood wants Michael's comic.
3.) Michael's becoming successful in ways Ben wants to/thought he would be.
It's hitting him in several places. Up to now, and I could be wrong, Ben's seen himself as the primary wage earner. Michael kicking ass in the money department is a little--hmm. I don't want to make David comparisons, since David just annoyed the shit out of me in completely different ways, but there *is* that feeling that Ben is the Primary Wage Earner and Brings the Bread and Does the Big Things, and he's reacting, funnily enough, like many a husband who has to deal with an unexpectedly successful wife.
Secondary, and probably my imagination, but Hunter's very close bond with Michael has to surprise him and maybe vex him just a little. I'm pulling this speculation from interviews, too, not just observation, so I could be off, but that roadtrip with Hunter, Michael's strong emotional bond with Hunter that's created out of that, when Ben really expected *he'd* be the one with the commonalities (HIV)--again, I could be wrong, but it does make me wonder.
It makes me think hard about how both Brian and Ben deal--both tend to be the money people in the family--hell, I get the feeling that Brian would support Michael and Debbie for the rest of their lives if they needed it and never notice, and God knows, he threw himself into supporting Justin with a truly scary amount of enthusiasm, considering speculated cost of tuition and supplies, not to mention food and housing. Brian doesn't mind supporting people when needed, but also doesn't mind independence--and I still think that Justin's job at the diner first seasonhad very little to do with paying him back anything, but assuring Justin could be independent of his parents while living with Debbie.
*sighs* Yes, everything comes back to Brian for me. Leave me alone. I never, ever even pretended to be objective here.
Watching Ben start to passive aggressively flirt with someone else--someone that, to put it kind of bluntly, is in a similar educational place as he is, someone that *appreciates* his understated brilliance, what have you, but more than that, the anti-Michael because of these things...I don't know. It hits me wrong in a lot of ways. I understand it, but I don't like it, because it hits Michael, should he find out, in a really, *really* vulnerable place, same as David did--that he's not quite good enough or smart enough. Goes right back to my utter rage at Ben's little educational comments to Michael early on, that by the way, so didn't apologize for.
Combining all of these things just--grrr. HATE HATE HATE!
Okay, done with that. Let's go to happy things.
All That Is Brian, that God Among Men
Mmm. Brian. Sexy while healthy, sexy while sick, sexy while being a complete ass, and I have never wanted to knock the shit out of him more than when he threw Justin out of the office. Knew it would happen--one look at Justin sitting there and I was groaning, oh God, the melodrama, but still. Sexy.
Not that he isn't acting like an idiot.
I love him, though. I love that he is so freaked out and so scared that he's lost a lot of his cool--Brian would never, ever allow himself that kind of temper tantrum in his own office if he wasn't on his very last nerve. I love that Justin can do that to him, when really, no one else can, even Michael. I love that he's insecure, because he's finally found something he's terrified to lose. He's past master of giving things up--he knows how to set it up, how to make it happen, and how to live with the consequences in his fucked-up way. First season Michael--perfect example But he doesn't want to this time. Ethan arc is my best example, when he spent half the time trying to push Justin out the door and the other half in low-grade panic while he was watching Justin leave him. This time is worse--he really doesn't want to give him up, and it shows in how badly he's bungling this. He's as pissed with himself for realizing that Justin is the one thing he might not be able to live without as much as anything else. Being in love with someone is one thing--he's gotten to the adjustment point more or less. But needing someone is frighteningly new.
Watching them fight hurt. Justin knows how to get through it--he knew since he met Brian, and once he gets *what* the exact problem is, he's the best prepared person to deal with Brian right now, up to and including Michael. It was good to watch.
And Brian. Gave. In.
Justin makes a lot of noise about all the reasons he should be there, commitment, love, etc, but part of me thinks Brian gave up the second he saw Justin the loft.
Oh, the love.
Brian's going through, in fact, a similar situation as Ben, but on a different level. Brian's natural place in his universe is Taking Care of People. He gets off on it. He's at his absolute best there, whether he admits it or not. He can just barely tolerate Michael being in the caregiver mode, mostly due to the grandfather clause since Michael was around before he became The Brian Kinney, but that's a very fine line and Mikey gets singed as much as anyone if he gets too close to the bone. Being Justin's lover has a lot of different parts to it, and one important part of it, from the beginning, comes from Brian taking care of *him*. It's always interesting to me, at least, that Brian actually *doesn't* have any problem with supporting Justin and probably never will. It's never even a question. I can honestly see him cheerfully feeding, clothing, housing, and fucking Justin forever and ever amen, without once wondering if Justin should, you know, support *himself*. He'd encourage if he did (bar hustling and weird go-go dancing, which I'm almost sure is now red-flagged as Do Not Let Justin Choose His Own Jobs, along with the new rule Never Let Justin Choose His Own Friends).
So not only is his sexual identity hit, he's also being hit by the horror of not only not *wanting* to lose Justin, but also not being able to be *that* person, the one that Takes Care of People, most specifically his favorite project, Justin. And the very idea of Justin having to do that, feeling an *obligation* to do it, just kills him.
Very like Ben, actually, and my, how badly they both deal. But I not only worship Brian's socks, I give him a huge free pass since he's on radiation for it.
What. The. Hell
Okay, Cowlip, fine. You say in the first ep that they're partners, without once giving us a refernece point. I assumed that it was a kind of throw-away, an acknowledgement they were together, though it continued and continued and was used as a *reason*, and fine, okay, so I go with it.
But Justin threw that out at Brian in the last scene with actual *force* and it rocked Brian, which to me, means it's more than some post-coital light chat or just being together, espeically considering they aren't officially living together. Justin made a COMMITMENT, and therefore, he's staying, fuck you, Mr. Kinney, get your ass in bed so I can fuss like a good partner before I have to kick your sadly whiney little ass.
When the hell did this happen?
The implications are just--I mean, if Michael said it to someone, that's one thing, Micahel does relationships as a rule. Brian simply doesn't. We have offically left boyfriend territory and into quasi-marriage, and it's *there*. No, I don't mean they're married so to speak, but--but when did this *happen*? How did it happen? What the *hell* was said? And after three *damned* seasons of Brian doing the non-relationship dance of avoidance, that Justin can use that as a weapon and score a direct hit--well, I want a hell of a *lot* more than being told this happened. I want to *see* it.
Seriously, this just frustrates me to the point of active nail-biting.
Part of the reason they skimmed it, I suppose, is to keep Brian from actually having to say the words, but let it all go with actions. Fine, whatever. Maybe there's the feeling it would just be too contradictory, for there to have been an actual SCENE showing this and still show Brian and/or Justin tricking.
But the thing is, Brian and Justin, from the very beginning, aren't in the realm of normal relationships, never have been, never will be, and probably at this point, don't want to be; Brian's incapable and in some ways, I'm not sure Justin is either. I could go into my deep Fangirly mode and say they're the Epic Romance, but they mostly are, even if I'm not going to offically *say* that. That's their attraction as a couple--the Great, Scary, Fucked Up Romance, where everything's intense and dramatic and powerful and impossible and still works. That's what Epic Romance is all *about*. So you know, they *could* have a lovely commitment ceremony and then take two extra guys along for the honeymoon for fun and games.
Which is a really amusing picture, by the way.
*sighs* Anyway, I loved this episode a *lot*. Fabulously good character moments all around. I am of the happy. And I want more.