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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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due south: season one
awesome bunny
Circa 1999, when I started in Voyager, fandom, and the long, dark trail that later led me to unironic mreg, sex pollen, and rentboy torture, my beta sent me two tapes of Sarah McLachlan since I'd just discovered music after several years of Alanis Morisette, which okay, not a transition that's all that easy to make. I've written approximately a quarter of my total fic output in all fandoms to some form of Sarah playing in the background at some point. You could say I imprinted hard. I've killed a lot of characters set to that tape.

Kind of realized when Due South started playing it that I was fucked.

Due South in review:

I think my wariness started with "You Must Remember This" (love like a fatal disease) "The Blue Line" (breaking yourself and realizing after the fact what you've done) and "The Deal" (taking back something you gave up). I didn't really pay attention to themes until those hit one after the other and so sort of saw Victoria's Secret coming in that way that didn't help me get through them at all. Sure, I had vague knowledge of the idea, but not the themes of competing loyalty and identity; what makes you who you are, what you keep, what you discard, and how much of yourself you can stand to lose in pursuit of someone who is everything that comprises your world.

Fraser was raised on French romance. He had to have been. Not just the noir in tasteful black and white in dingy offices where the universe twists in the smoke of a single cigarette, but okay. Who knows the story of St. Abelard and Heloise?

I swear this makes sense in my head.

I wiki'ed to make sure I remembered it, but in my teens, this was up there with Romeo and Juliet as the ultimate example of romance where you just cannot stop, no matter how close the knife gets to the genitals. Short and dirty: Abelard fell in love with Heloise, blah blah, secret marraige, blah blah, castrated by her uncle, blah blah, monastery, blah blah you see where this is going. There's some Catholic stuff in there as well. It's more complicated than that, but simpler, too. That's how the epic romances go. They don't end well. That's what makes them epic, what makes them ageless, what makes them addictive and tempting and desirable and something you want and know you can't live with.

So of course he couldn't fall in love like a normal man--hell, a normal human being. No. He fell in love like a nineteenth century Romeo with a twentieth century femme fatale. Victoria in two episodes explains everything about him that doesn't make sense and suddenly does.

teenygozer: Victoria is Fraser's equal-opposite, his mirror image, his (evil) soul mate -- the woman who haunted him for years after the illicit lurve they shared on a mountainside. He allowed her to deconstruct what it was that made Fraser Fraser, his honor, over the course of their second meeting, completing what started when he let her go.

I had no idea what she meant until I watched it and remembered The Blue Line and the way Fraser's father talked about the lines you cross, the ones you don't, and the ones you choose to and then realize after you couldn't, not and remain who you are, not and live with the person it makes you, not and still see the world the way it had one step back. and I remembered Ray in You Must Remember This and trying to let her escape, and in The Deal, where he took his honor back from two decades of remembering how he'd looked away.

Epic. See Fraser, Benton, under Romance.

Starting with Victoria's Secret:

Admittedly, knowing it would end badly had my hackles up for suspicion, but I really didn't want it to. And she set all the pieces in motion so perfectly I was impressed, not only with the fingerprints, the weapon, the dog, but with the motive, and even more than that, with the way she slowly snipped away every tie he's ever had. Duty and Epic Romance do not mix. They are not oil and water. They are nitroglycerine and C-4. One floats on the other. But percussion will bring explosion that's messy and doesn't leave anything recognizable behind. You can't mix them, you don't *want* to, because they go to fucking war when they try. I'm not even convinced it was for revenge, to be honest; all things being equal, I'm sure that was a motive, but not the motive, not even the most pressing. There were a lot of ways she could have done this, and she got off on wrecking his life, wrecking him, but that wasn't the point. The point was taking the C-4 out of the nitroglycerine, which leaves you with a dangerously combustible substance still, but it's ten and I'm at work and my analogy will make sense if you squint.

I'm not sure deconstruction is the word I want to use. She didn't want to take him apart; that would allow for a time he would put himself back together, when who he *is* comes out of who she wants him to be. She didn't come for revenge, though that was part of it; she didn't come to get away with anything, though that was part of it too. She's American mobster cinema; it can't be simple or easy, but it has to be complete, with a horse's head in the bed and all debts paid and all loose ends tied up. She didn't want an epic romance and two trains passing in the night. She took away the things that bound Fraser to something that wasn't her, stripped away his reasons for being the person he was, took his job, his integrity, Jesus, she shot his wolf, then took away his best friend and asked him who he was without those things. It wasn't just that she wanted to take away every option possible but leaving with her; she wanted to scorch earth so he couldn't ever go back. She couldn't imagine having him any other way of keeping him except by default, by leaving him nothing but her.

Sure, it was revenge, but it was that, too: they were in the same movie in two different genres. The question she didn't ask him was the one she probably should have the first time they met, and no, it shouldn't have been "Who are you?". Fraser knows perfectly well who he is and what he can stand to lose. He never stepped over a line that he didn't mean to, never looked back and realized that he'd gone too far, never took a risk that he couldn't accept the consequences of after.

She should have asked "What do you see when you look at me?"

Of course he'd fulfill duty; get Ray out of being fucked over, turn over evidence, clear himself. That's what she couldn't take away, what he couldn't stand to lose. What I don't think she knew until he ran after her on the train was that he could be those things and still want her enough, love her enough, to leave with her.

And I'm pretty sure the person least surprised by being shot was Fraser. I think the only thing that surprised him was that he survived.

Mock at will. I'm kind of gutted and really really high on this and season two starts tonight and season three this weekend and I might not even get out of bed. I love this show so much


....aaaaaand right now you NEED THIS:



*resentful* You are not a gateway drug. You are the drug that detox does not fix.

...yes, I'm downloading right now. IT IS NOT FAST ENOUGH.

Victoria's Secret (and the following episode) rank up there in my top five pantheon of television perfection. It hurts *so much* and makes so much sense, and is just exquisite in its beauty.

Fraser! *pets him*

It's amazing. From The Blue Line where I think the momentum started, it was hard to stop. Just--wow.

I remember trying to get vickita to watch dS and she just kind of blew me off and then she started watching it and fell *hard*. And I *tried* to warn her about VS, I *tried*, but still, after watching it, she called me up sobbing, "Why didn't you *tell* me?"

I *did* though. I don't think my exact words were "this episode will gut you!" but they were pretty damn close.

Some people just don't listen!


*flails* Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. I love this show madly, and I'm both delighted for and envious of you to get to experience it all for the first time. I'm also really happy that you're starting from the beginning, because fandom tends to focus on the RayK season(s) to the point of telling people to skip the first two. Just... no. There is much to love about RayK to be sure, but the RayV years are so very intense and wonderful.

I think I'm going to have to rewatch.

It's just--wow. *glee* So much wow.

Heh. This was the first ep I ever saw of Due South... after which I was crazy for this weird and woolly show! And the music too, the music was so wonderful; it is used to great effect in the next episode. The next episode made me cry too...

But then again, that's probably why this is the only TV show I ever watched where slash left me totally uninterested. I guess. To me, there are only two seasons, the first two.

Which considering the widespread Ray Kowalski love puts me as per usual firmly outside fandom's majority. Oh well.


*It shows originality, I tell you, not craziness!*

*dies laughing* Craziness is highly underrated.

Oh my God YES. This is the epic romance of all epic romances for me - R&J were so young and everything hinged on all or nothing for them, with no thought for anything but their love. Fraser and Victoria are adults, and know the cost of their actions; and still they go forward, falling into the deep abyss of what their chance encounter years ago set into motion.

It's a vortex, the push and pull between them of what might have been and what could come after, of what a beautiful ruin they'll be together. It's a drowning pool, and now you have got to watch this vid, and be amazed at its perfection: Sisabet's "Icebound", song by Laura Veirs.

Huh, looks like her site is down. :(

Oh, but here she has it on Imeem!

Edited at 2008-06-27 04:56 pm (UTC)

just watched. Trying not to cry.

oh I LOVE your analysis of these episodes. Victoria's Secret story arch was some of the best tv ever.

Thank you!

And yes, it really was.

wow...you just articulated everything that went through my mind when I watched this all of 2 months ago*is shocked* just....yes,that's...yes. I'm glad the tradition of being completely and totally wrecked beyond all repair after watching VS is being continued*g* only, my first thought when thinking about Fraser wasn't French romance but rather Victorian romances,what with all those notions on honor,and duty and love all the while being utterly proper and wearing starched clothes...umm, yea, the perils of being an English literature major,it tends to take me places...to summarize;yes,yes, a thousand times yes!!I'm gonna put this in my memories under dS;how Fraser got f*ed by Victoria *goes off to leaf through her Victorian literature*

Ooh, I hadn't thought of the Victorian. Regency is so crazy and whee romance and happy ending! I always forget the Victorian and chaste kisses on wrists being risque and careful courtesy. *sighs*

Holy crap that episode. I can't watch Melina Kanakaredes in anything anymore, because whenever she comes on screen I still get this horrible sad/angry feeling in my stomach- like I'm afraid she's still out there ruining other fictional characters' lives.

And mind you, it's been years since I saw it the first time. Seasons 3 & 4 weren't even on DVD, I had bootlegs VHS tapes.

I first saw her on Guiding Light. I think from now, she is The One That Tried to Destroy Fraser's Soul.

I love the way you put the questions this series raises, and these episodes in particular. Abelard and Heloise, yes, -- but Peter Abelard was worldly and to some degree sophisticated while Heloise was educated and not so worldly; now reverse them in this, because Fraser is to a great degree unworldly in his love. Fraser as Heloise, this time around, but with Victoria as a version of Peter Abelard who is way too much like something out of Dangerous Liaisons. Fraser had to have read every classic romance in the library his grandparents ran, not just Abelard and Heloise but the chansons of the troubadours in the Courts of Love, singing of the women they could not touch, as well as Tristan and Isolde and the whole Arthurian cycle as well...

gah. It is summer. It is going to be 94 outside very soon. I will cool off by watching the snows of Due South, even if I have to immerse myself in an icewater bath when I see Fraser in hopeless love.

Also-- in that episode in particular -- the settings are magnificent. The meeting in the polar bear house, with the bear (symbol of all that is wild and northern) behind glass...

Yeesh. Well, he could have had more terrifying models of courtly love, but I'm not sure who. Dark Ages romance has that kind of edge of desperate fright.


I am not in the fandom but I watched the first season and it gutted me too. But I was not as articulate in my being-gutted as you are, so thank you for that.

It *hurts*. And I wnat to feed him and buy him fur blankets. And I do not like fur!

I think you've achieved a mind-meld with Benton Fraser. This analysis is brilliant. Thanks for posting this, Jenn. I'm thinking it's time for a DS marathon this weekend. :)

I cannot imagine topping the emotional roller-coaster of the last few eps *anywhere*. God. Just. God.

Dude! I'm not the only one! I started with the RayK season(s) not that long ago and am just now getting around to watching the earlier stuff and it makes Fraser make SO MUCH MORE SENSE after I've seen the Smithbauer ep and the Victoria episodes. (I admit, I watched three episodes AT WORK yesterday because my Netflix came and I couldn't wait until I got home.)

He *does*. Victoria give him *context* and the weirdest explanation of his personality *ever* by being a mirror darkly. It was like *snap*. Just totally got it.

*sighs* And they *still hurt*.

Victoria's Secret gutted me when I watched it the first time as well (mind, I was completely unspoiled with no warnings of how things would go whatsoever).

I'm *still* feeling hollowed out. It just hurt too much.