YOUR FACE! YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE!
THEIR BEAUTIFUL FACES!
Sophy says: Do people ever look prettier or more soulful than when swathed in film noir shadow? NO THEY DON’T. Iain’s face was doing superlative work during this scene, with the best supporting face going to the kid who plays Donnie.
GREAT WORK YOU GUYS A+ ON THE FACES
Rin says: We almost learnt the actors name. THAT’S HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATED HIM.
Such a gorgeous scene though, shots that are framed over the shoulder with the shallow depth of field where one person covers the other are my favourite. Kind of like this.
Sophy says: One of these days you’re going to insert a Faberry wall into one of these recaps like how you used to just shove in 80 caps of Naomily having sex into other characters’ recaps.
I can’t wait.
Sophy says: Okay but they almost look like they’re in a comic book. A really shiny comic book. Maybe it’s been laminated. Twice.
Rin says: You know what works so well? The reflection and how it cuts directly between them. It’s so perfect that I see the crew losing their pants over the shot too, like they looked on the monitors and all removed their pants and gave it a minutes of pantless silence out of respect for the beauty.
Best Reminder that Joss is back :’)
“The world is full of evil, lies, pain and death, and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is, when you do, how do you respond? Who do you become?”
Sophy says: This episode is one of the very best of the season when it comes to bonding us emotionally to our characters, and that’s pretty impressive given that on the surface it’s one of those ‘Monster of the week’ episodes that revolves around, you know, other people. But then that was always what Joss was best at – better at than anybody in the world ever, actually. Even if a Buffy episode was filler it was never actually filler. We were always learning more about the characters we love, sometimes even more so in episodes in which the focus seemed not to be on them.
And you know, maybe we only recognize this in retrospect, because at the time, sure, we’re being teased with the darkness inside Skye, we’re seeing her be devastated by it, we’re understanding how much Coulson cares about her – that he cares about her to the point where he loves her, and when you love someone you don’t lie to them and when you don’t lie to them and it breaks their heart then it breaks yours too.
And when we see Donnie’s loneliness and self-hate wreck him – when we see him not have the strength that Skye has to find the light even in her own darkness – when we see him succumb, maybe, to the most bitter and corrupted parts of himself… we look at that contrast and it makes us sad, right? Because maybe we’re angry at Donnie for not being a Skye and therefore better than that. But at the same time we like Donnie. He’s not the callously ambitious little shit that Seth was. It’s not fame or money that he wants, even if he wouldn’t say no. What drives Donnie is a need for friendship. He wants to be understood and valued. He wants to belong. He wants what Skye found in Shield and what she has fought so hard to hold onto.
And we want it for him. We root for Donnie even when he’s doing wrong. We root for him to find his way back. We want him to have a future because he’s not a bad kid, right? He’s just had a bad life. A lonely one. One without self-esteem or purpose. No wonder he’s willing to latch onto the first thing that comes along that makes him feel like he matters. No wonder he doesn’t understand how wrong that is until it’s too late.
(All the while we ignore the voice nagging at us that Skye was born in blood as much as Dexter ever was, that she was moved from foster home to foster home as a child and she had no idea it was for her own safety, that she had no one and nothing, much less than Donnie has, and that out of her own good nature she built a life. Not everyone can be Skye, we think. And just because you aren’t born good, doesn’t mean you’re born bad, right?)
So Donnie has this great little story and we compare him to Skye and we pat Skye on her lovely back for being lovely and we hope that things will turn out okay after all for DOnnie and we know that they won’t and we sigh and we move on.
But it’s not about Donnie. It’s not about Skye, either. This episode is allllll about Ward. He spends the whole time either being comic relief or swaying up the back of Skye’s music video. But when you look back you realize that everything we’re learning about Skye and what defines her, everything we’re learning about the events that might define Donnie, these themes of nature versus nurture, of community and alienation, are all setting us up for the reveal about Ward.
And we’re supposed to think back to this episode when we find out that Ward is a duplicitous Hydra loving son of a bitch – perhaps not in the sense of literally pondering the events of season 1 episode 12, but in the sense of feeling again the feelings we felt during this episode. When we’re busy hating Ward with all of our might a part of us will still be remembering how we wanted better for Donnie – how easily he could have been better if circumstances had been different – if he had found his home with Shield instead of with Hydra. And then at the same time just when we’re wiping away our tears about Ward and the dog and telling ourselves he would never really kill him though and he’s not actually evil it was all Bill Paxton’s fault? Then we remember Skye. Then we remember that she was just as lost as Ward ever was and yet she found the right path. We remember her standing in front of the list of names on the wall smiling a small smile while Coulson tells us in wonderment what she took away from this story – “not the family she’ll never have but the one she’s always had.” “Here I am telling her something that could destroy her faith in humanity,” says Coulson, “and somehow she manages to repair a little piece of mine.”
When the episode aired all we could do is rock back and forth wailing and gnashing our teeth about how this is the most important thing since that time Giles tended Buffy’s wounds at the end of Helpless and got fired because he had a father’s love for the child.
But now? We see that where Donnie’s story made the case for blaming nurture when it comes to Ward, Skye’s story makes the case for insisting on nature.
She isn’t good because the world has made her that way. It is she who has insisted on the goodness on the world. The kind of things that broke Ward’s spirit? That perverted his faith? They would only have made Skye’s stronger and more true.
Now do I think that’s the end of the matter? Skye good, Ward bad? We should just write him off as a villain through and through? No, I don’t.
Some people are better than others, no question. Some people are stronger. Just because Skye shook off adversity doesn’t mean that Ward brought it on himself. Trauma is intensely personal and specific. Maybe the particular abuse Ward suffered as a child is more damaging to character than the particular neglect Skye suffered. Or maybe there was this one particular act of kindness Skye doesn’t even remember without which she might have ruined herself – an act of kindness that Ward never received, or that he received too late, when he was already closed for emotional business.
Ward has to be accountable for his actions. Maybe he was a frightened little boy once but he is a grown man now and he is a murderer, whatever the hell he thinks he’s fighting for. But he’s not a psychopath. He is only a monster now because he was once human – able to be afraid – to be hurt – to feel guilt, too. He was able to be alienated by Garrett precisely because he craved what Skye also craved – community, purpose, a sense of belonging.
Too bad Coulson wasn’t the one to haul his screwed up ass out of juvy all those years ago, huh?
Rin says: Honestly, I don’t know why I see some people saying that they’re not interested in a Ward redemption arc because he’s so evil and doesn’t deserve one. For me that’s the number one thing I want for the next season, or even seasons, because hell, it’s going to be one long journey. Let’s face it, there is going to be a redemption arc for Ward, because this is a Whedon show and it’s almost what he does best. He knows full well that some people are worth saving and no one is truly lost. I cannot wait to see how they’re going to go about it, because I don’t expect it to come from our team, at least not at first. There is so much that needs to be done in order for them to be able to let him back into their lives without wanting to kill him. I only know there is going to be lots of tears on our end
We all wish we could be Skye’s, but in reality it’s much easier to be a Ward or a Donnie. OKAY MAYBE NOT WHEN IT COMES TO MURDER, but like, all of the little steps beforehand that lead to something like that. I mean, that’s why we live in a such a fucked up world, right?
But that’s why we love our heroes so fucking much, because we know that it’s harder to be one. There are no adoring crowds for them who award them keys to the city like in the cartoons, they only get the knowledge that they have done the right thing. We can only hope that one day Ward will realise that that’s enough for him too. HE’LL PROBABLY DIE ABOUT IT, AND WE’LL ALL CRY AND WISH WE HAD FORGIVEN HIM MUCH SOONER.
Sophy says: YES YES WE WILL. AND OKAY SERIOUSLY THAT QUOTE WE QUOTED. ‘WHO DO YOU BECOME?’ SKYE MAY AS WELL HAVE BEEN RUNNING SLOW-MO DOWN A CORRIDOR WHEN COULSON SAID THAT OKAY? RIDICULOUS.
Best Reminder that Joss is LOL
Sophy says: Oh god, I burst out laughing so hard. There’s just something about how matter-of-factly it happened. And Coulson’s face. Glorious.
Rin says: We’ve been waiting for these cars for decades now. WHERE ARE THEY. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE FUTURE.
The Jetsons was a lie.
“The tin man has a heart after all.”
Sophy says: Okay so on the one hand Skye and Simmons teasing Ward about having feelings is hilarious enough in and of itself. But when you know that the tin man TOTALLY DOESN’T HAVE A HEART IT ISN’T EVEN BEATING DULCET CHOIR LITTLE BIRDIES HE’LL NEVER HAVE EGGS OR BRUSH HIS HAIR.
Um. It’s even funnier.
Rin says: IT’S SO MEAN TO LOOK BACK AT THESE MOMENTS BECAUSE LOOK AT THEIR FUCKING FACES LOOKING UP AT HIM SMILING.
And you wish it could all be different and that he wasn’t an evil bastard but at the same time you really don’t because the hurt and betrayal feels so goooood.
Okay that was a bit creepy. But you know what I mean, because being completely blind-sided is the best feeling when it comes to TV. When it’s natural and falls in place with the story that is. YOU HEAR THAT SKINS FIRE?!!?!?!?!?!?!?
Sophy says: Maybe one day Ward will be a stockbroker with funny cancer idk.
Rin says: And then Skimmons will cry on a rooftop and tell him he’s won.
Cutest of the Scoobies
Fitzsimmons the campus heroes
Sophy says: Everywhere Fitzsimmons go they should have adoring crowds. And a podium. They should have a portable podium and carry it with them always.
(Rin, can we get a portable podium?)
Rin says: Of course we can. Anything ridiculous and over-the-top to make our OTP’s feel at home is a necessary part of our fangirling.
BUT REALLY. How fucking great was it that they are basically the rockstars of their school? AND THEY SOAK IT UP AND BASK IN THE GLORY OF IT ALL.
Please sir, we’d like some more
“Bit of advice: stop digging and stay away from that girl. Wherever she goes, death follows.”
Sophy says: Oh my god seriously okay but what is the deal with Skye and her forbidden closet of mystery??????????? We’d better find out more about this in S2, because they didn’t exactly overwhelm us with specificity in S1. This guy tells May and Coulson that “death follows” wherever Skye goes but is he just talking about the fact that so many people – her whole family – a whole village – have been murdered while trying to protect her? Or is the danger more intrinsic to Skye herself? Are these powers she supposedly has as a human 084 the real threat?
I’m not saying it’s ever right to murder/kidnap/experiment on/imprison babies, but you’ve got to ask yourself why so many people were willing to kill to get to her, right? I mean, they’re probably not the nicest people around to begin with, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons behind their actions.
In the finale Ward talks about waking something up in Skye. And that leaves me wondering: as much as Ward seems to have been cast in the Angel role and Skye in the Buffy role, is it in fact the good guy who’s going to get the alter ego. Will there be a Buffelus?
A SKYELELUS NO OKAY THAT DOESN’T WORK.
Rin says: When she starts wearing leather pants we’ll know to start worrying. The signs will be there.
I really need to know May’s involvement in all of this though. BECAUSE SHE ALWAYS KNOWS MORE, even if she wasn’t directly involved. May knows everything, she could tell you the names of all your stuffed toys from when you were a child.
I also desperately want May/Skye to have some sort of connection that further complicates things and forces them to deal with unresolved feelings. Is that too much to ask, no I don’t think so.
Head In Hands
HANDS IN HANDS
Sophy says: OH MY GOD YOU GUYS HE LOVES HER SO MUCH LOOK AT HIM HOLDING HER HAND LIKE SOME KIND OF DAD TYPE GUY I CAN’T EVEN LET ME DIE JUST LET ME GO THE WORLD DOESN’T WANT ME ANYMORE
Rin says: NO SOPHY HOLD ON DON’T LET GO IT ISN’T OVER IT’S NEVER OVER I WON’T LET YOU DIE, DRINK.
The way Fitz pours tea.
Sophy says: From such great heights ♥
Rin says: The hand on his waist, always.