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The heart of the werewolf

Poor George, pulled in every possible direction all season, and trying everything possible to lock himself down. Faced with that second-greatest of his terrors, losing everything all over again... and then he really does lose almost everything. He's already let go of Sam and Molly and the life he tried to make from scratch there. By the time the dust settles, he's lost Annie and their home, and is left with a grievously damaged Mitchell, the prospect of moving on again, and (thankfully and critically) Nina.

Of course, it's the spectre of his greatest terror -- the incredibly close brush with the wolf running loose among defenseless people, where he would almost certainly have killed someone in another five minutes -- that has driven him to the facility.

Between that and his commitment to Nina (oh, how that "this is the only thing she's ever asked of me" tugs!), he remains there against his instincts, his judgment, and even against Annie's steadily increasing sense of impending badness. He clings stubbornly to the fictions that Mitchell was just drunk, that there's nothing to lose by attempting the cure, that they'll get to go home again.

And yet, there aren't too many things I can say he should have done differently. Even the rush of his involvement with Sam might have turned out okay given the chance, if he'd found a way to make it clear that one night out of twenty-eight, it was critical and non-negotiable that he had to be elsewhere. Which brings us back to what I said a while back, about how things work for him when he's honest, and explode in his face when he tries to deceive. George is simply not cut out to lie effectively, and I hope like hell that being caught out by a seven-year-old has taught him that for good and all. (Seriously, George, tobogganing? I. Just. *epic facepalm*)

It's that much worse that we'll never know how the relationship itself might have turned out, because from this vantage point it doesn't look as doomed as it seemed in the midst of things. No, there wasn't the kind of love he had with Nina. But it was sweet and mutually supportive, and they could have ended up perfectly happy. Or slowly become perfectly miserable. We'll simply never know, and that's so much harder than being able to say with certainty that Sam was wrong, wrong, wrong for him. I can say it wasn't where he belonged, that he belonged with Annie and Mitchell (and Nina, assuming her deprogramming and escape), but that's not the same as saying he'd never be happy.

In this ep, I certainly can't fault him for agreeing to stay instead of going out to look for Mitchell. Though I suspect that convincing him to do so is a bullet point on Nina's guilt list (especially with the echoes of last season's "You want me to choose between you and him." -- "Don't put that on me."). She wasn't wrong, though, not even in the less-than-tactful way she stated it. Mitchell is a 116-year-old mass murderer (and it's appropriate that we get that actual number for the first time from forthright, practical Nina). It's not so much a judgment on whether George should help him, but absolutely realistic skepticism about whether he can: "What can you do?"

Nina can hardly be faulted for thinking that, if whatever's going down is too much for Mitchell to handle, it's certainly going to be out of George's league. (If she'd been in on what was happening last season, she would have been the one to ask how exactly George and Annie were planning to rescue Mitchell when as far as they knew he was still a willing participant. There are definite objective benefits to having her around, at least when her rational faculties are operating properly.)

And all the answer George has is "find him." Which, okay, yes, once he finds Mitchell, he's one of exactly two people on the planet with a prayer of getting through to him. But how exactly does he propose to go about finding him? To be fair, George doesn't know at this point about the funeral parlor explosion, so he's probably thinking of starting there, not realizing that there's nobody left to ask. But it doesn't make Nina's question any less valid, or George's decision not to head out on a blind search any less prudent.

So George does a lot of waiting and a lot of doing as he's told. Which isn't wrong either, as it turns out. It places him and Nina in the right place to see Tully's message, and then he takes all the right actions in all the right order. If he hadn't, if any of those pieces had fallen into place any differently, it's likely that none of them would have made it out of there (with the probable exception of a Mitchell who might or might not ever have recovered himself).

It's tempting to say George might have been able to save Annie if he'd acted sooner (and you can bet that thought is gnawing at him now), but really, they escaped the holding room just as the place hit the critical mass of chaos that allowed them to move freely. Any sooner, and they probably would have been caught. By, not to put too fine a point on it, someone Mitchell hadn't killed yet -- as awful as it is to say, stopping him sooner might have doomed them too. The scenario of getting to Annie in time, only to have Kemp summon a door by killing George and/or Nina instead of the psychic, also has its place on the alternate-timeline spectrum.

The bottom line is, as dearly as it cost them, George made all the best choices he possibly could, and pretty much saved them all. (The best choices possible from the point of entering the facility, at any rate, and if he hadn't done that, it would have cost Nina's life.) George did everything right, and still lost Annie. That's beyond unfair. But he saved Nina and (by the narrowest of margins) Mitchell. That will allow him to hold on and regain his balance.

Nina herself is, curiously, finally resuming the process that I figured this season would be about for her, just in time for next season. Which is, of course, the process of finding her place in her beloved's family -- a family now grieving, wounded and gone to ground. The role for which her personality best suits her -- the practical, skeptical voice of reason -- is one that the trio have previously shared among them, not always effectively. Nina's more equipped to fill it now than she was at the beginning of the season, but still off-balance and short-circuited -- then due to the fear and uncertainty about her new condition, now due to guilt over the choices she made out of that fear.

Even at her best, of course, she's not always totally rational -- she's as passionate as she is forthright, and doesn't always think before she speaks or acts. Which is how we come full circle to Mitchell trying to big-brother her again -- "You're better than this" -- and irritating the crap out of her, but actually not as much as I expected. Maybe it's just that she's ready to be part of "us" now -- to the point where she refers to them that way without missing a beat -- in a way that she wasn't at the beginning of the season, when Mitchell was making such a direct effort to include her. She came into the house with an existing bond with George, and seems to have made friends with Annie easily, but she was wary of Mitchell long before she knew he was anything but a nice enough guy who happened to ring certain alarm bells. She's still wary of him, but he's part of the "us" she has accepted as hers, and she's working on what to do about that.

Beyond that, she and George have each other, by far the most secure nucleus available to build the new household around (particularly with George unwilling to deal right now with just how far Mitchell fell). And she has the far more clearly-defined but (arguably) more daunting task of recovering the loss she sees as her fault. No way she won't be key in however they end up getting Annie back.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 30th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
He clings stubbornly to the fictions that Mitchell was just drunk

I don't know about that-- I think he was insisting on that to protect Annie, thinking that it'd be better for her to think that than the truth. He knows Mitchell too well; probably even better than Mitchell knows himself, in some ways.

George is simply not cut out to lie effectively, and I hope like hell that being caught out by a seven-year-old has taught him that for good and all. (Seriously, George, tobogganing? I. Just. *epic facepalm*)

I couldn't stop laughing at that, but it's just SO GEORGE.
wiliqueen
Mar. 30th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)
I think he was insisting on that to protect Annie, thinking that it'd be better for her to think that than the truth.

I think it was both, really. Because Annie was right when she said "You know he wasn't," but it also felt to me like he was trying to convince himself. At least up to that point, which was also when it was obviously pointless to try to keep it from her, so it could be either way. After that, though, he seemed a lot more openly upset about it, independently of Annie's presence.

He's never been scared of Mitchell before, and it's a huge thing to acknowledge that this time he was. Or to fully acknowledge how badly he scared Annie, which in and of itself renders the lie useless. She might not know Mitchell as well as George does, but she knows him better than that.

As for the very idea protecting Annie from knowing things in general... They really should both know better, but, well. :: pats them. :: BOYS. That's part and parcel of the next (and last, I bloody well hope!) post.

Edited at 2010-03-30 02:09 pm (UTC)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 30th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
He's never been scared of Mitchell before, and it's a huge thing to acknowledge that this time he was.

Or perhaps, he's never been as scared FOR Mitchell. Losing ground not just to the blood-craving, but to literal madness and large-scale slaughter.

I have to wonder: in this universe, could a werewolf be brought over? Certainly George could die from blood loss, and vampires hate 'lycos' enough not to ever try and recruit one, though one wonders...
wiliqueen
Mar. 30th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
Or perhaps, he's never been as scared FOR Mitchell.

That too. Though at the time he didn't know what was wrong, only that it was more wrong than he'd ever seen.

Even now... he has to have figured out why Mitchell is fixating on the news about the subway massacre, but it's another thing he's deliberately not acknowledging.

Meanwhile, Mitchell has to have heard the "leave us alone" voicemail by now, making that "I need you" all the more critical to cancel it out. Even if George isn't ready to look at all the rest.

Certainly George could die from blood loss, and vampires hate 'lycos' enough not to ever try and recruit one, though one wonders...

Interesting to speculate, certainly, if nigh-impossible to test. The gut-level revulsion against even feeding from them sometimes seems to go beyond social prejudice, though that can be pretty damn potent. Lauren has had only a few months to absorb the prejudices when she's all "ew ew ew ew EW." I giggle every time when she does that little tongue-smacking thing, like a cat with fur it its mouth. (Yay, detailed acting choices!)

I've wondered if it mightn't even be a defensive instinct, against drinking blood that could actually be harmful to them.
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 30th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
possibly. I'm just wondering...that'd be one hell of a box to place Mitchell in, eh? 'I'm going to bite through your friend George's neck. This will kill him, but I'm not goign to recruit him. Will you?' sort of thing.

There's alao the possbility that drinking from a werewolf passes that onto the vampire. Which would make that person a...were-vampire? Vamp-wolf? Really, really hard to shop for?
wiliqueen
Mar. 30th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
that'd be one hell of a box to place Mitchell in, eh?

It would indeed. (Not that -- depending on the pressures on him at any given time -- he's in a hurry to recruit anyone he cares about ever, ever again.)

Because, y'know, what we need to be pondering right now are ways to damage Mitchell MORE. *snerk*

Really, really hard to shop for?

*splorfle*


Edited at 2010-03-30 04:59 pm (UTC)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 30th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
ecause, y'know, what we need to be pondering right now are ways to damage Mitchell MORE. *snerk*

I'm evil, what can I tell you?

Really, really hard to shop for?

*splorfle*


Can you tell I've been writing comedy of late? :P
wiliqueen
Mar. 30th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm evil, what can I tell you?

Not much, since that pretty much covers it, and I already knew. ;-P
diannelamerc
Mar. 30th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
He clings stubbornly to the fictions that Mitchell was just drunk

I don't know about that-- I think he was insisting on that to protect Annie


I definitely agree that was enough of a motivator on its own. But he both knows damned well it's a lie *and* actively, consciously refuses to deal with what it really is (even after they go to ground).

He couldn't deal with it at the time and he can't deal with it now--and I think being able to recognize that and cut Mitchell off (even as Mitchell could really have used his confessor right then)showed a self-awareness and self-protection that made me want to cheer for him.
wiliqueen
Mar. 30th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
showed a self-awareness and self-protection that made me want to cheer for him.

It hurt to watch, but yes. You can't take care of others without taking care of yourself.

And the answer isn't entirely unhelpful to Mitchell -- he's been waiting for George to ask, and the confirmation that he's simply not going to, at least not for a while, takes some of the pressure off. Detox now, disclosure later, when everyone is a little stronger and a little more back on their feet.

Edited at 2010-03-30 02:08 pm (UTC)
studiesinlight
Aug. 6th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
BH S2 E8 - Nina and George stuff
>"Which brings us back to what I said a while back, about how things work for him when he's honest, and explode in his face when he tries to deceive."

Yep. It's one of the reasons we like him, I think.

I appreciate Tully's message, as a plot point, as a canon bridge, as an emotional explosion.

I appreciate that George knows that he can't bear to hear what Mitchell has done, that he is aware that Mitchell has done something, and perhaps he has all the pieces in his mind and is just refusing to put them together, to preserve what he so desperately needs -- Mitchell's friendship. If he knew, he might be obliged to go without Mitchell, and he can't.

In the other comments, you and thanatos_kalos and diannelamerc all discuss the possibility of George not believing his line that Mitchell was drunk. I think that George was choosing to believe that Mitchell was drunk exactly the way he was choosing not to hear Mitchell's confession, as he put it (and that was very potent imagery, that "I can't be your confessor," yes it was ~g~ for past and for future and for the inside of Mitchell's imagination and for George's grasp of it).

>"Nina herself is, curiously, finally resuming the process that I figured this season would be about for her, just in time for next season."

Yes, exactly. This is, to that limited extent, just where we ended last time.

But now we are wondering about rescuing Annie, not integrating Nina...

And may I take a moment for Ivan? I enjoyed that character while he lasted...
wiliqueen
Aug. 7th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: BH S2 E8 - Nina and George stuff
I think that George was choosing to believe that Mitchell was drunk exactly the way he was choosing not to hear Mitchell's confession,

Yes! This! Exactly. This is what I was having trouble articulating clearly.

But now we are wondering about rescuing Annie, not integrating Nina...

They're of a piece, to some extent, given Nina's drive to put things right. For all the doubt she expressed to Mitchell when she left, about whether the unit they'd formed was really good for them, she hates that she was accessory to fracturing it.

And may I take a moment for Ivan? I enjoyed that character while he lasted...

Please do! I want to know why Daisy wasn't demanding to bring him back instead of Herrick!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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