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