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Needed to let this one percolate a bit before posting. And will probably have more to say after rewatching, not least because I missed most of the dialogue in Henry's bedroom because my singer-brain got distracted. *facepalm* (In my slight defense, I swear that aria is stalking me.)

Though I can say that, after the "I don't always hunt among the opera crowd" comment in "D.O.A.", it's that much more amusing to me that Christina breaks out his Dido and Aeneas and then they have that whole conversation outside the opera house. (Where Fledermaus is running, thus having the background run the operatic gamut from tragic myth to utter froth. Yes, I'm a dork, let's move on.) Seriously, Henry, didn't she teach you that Fire Is Bad? And how much do I love that this show always gets in little flashes of humor like that in the direst of circumstances? Not a comedy routine, nothing that makes you think for a moment they're not taking the stakes seriously. Just a little bit of whistling past the graveyard, because that's how you can believe these characters live the lives they do and aren't unwatchably broken.

For quite some time now, I've been pretty certain of one thing about Christina based on the breadcrumbs Henry's been dropping through the course of the season: She worked over his adolescent head but good. The way that came home to roost isn't quite what I expected, and is a big part of what I'm still percolating and why I need at least one rewatch to process some things properly. My initial response to her, to the figure and presence she presented, was, I have to say, a bit disappointed. As I think about it, though, what I'm disappointed in is not the presentation or the casting or any of that.

I'm disappointed in Christina. And why shouldn't she be disappointing? I knew nobody could possibly live up to Henry's image of her, but he paints it so damn vividly, I didn't predict how much she wouldn't live up to it. What we take away from this is not only how far he's grown beyond the kid who fell for her, but how far he's grown beyond her. He has made himself into someone far better than she will ever be, because he has the drive to do so...and she simply doesn't. She made him a vampire, but despite the credit he's been in the habit of giving her, she had next to no hand in making him what he is. Maybe she even initially supplied some of the words from which his ideas about his nature have developed -- I'd go so far as "probably," since that impression of depth and mystery he attaches to her had to come from somewhere, and she wouldn't have to have too deep an understanding of or conviction about what she was saying to open an overwhelming new world to a teenager glimpsing it from outside. (Which, incidentally, plays into my ongoing thought process about how Henry views Coreen, but that could be a whole post of its own. ETA: But say, wasn't I just accusing someone else of being shallow, self-serving, and unworthy of the loyalty given her by an idealistic young person?) But all the times we've seen him weave those words for Vicki, with that bottomless sense of reverence and wonder (which was the single biggest thing that pinged to me at the very beginning as "Henry" rather than "damned intelligent young actor working his tail off" and made me think it wouldn't take Kyle long to crack it, which of course it didn't)... that's all Henry. Nobody taught him that. He built it for himself.

And this is precisely why Christina is the past and Vicki is the future: The one he finally acknowledges he's outgrown, and the one who challenges him to continue growing.

It's a no-brainer, and what's sad is that Christina, selfish and ultimately shortsighted as she is, can't grasp it. What's tragic, of course, is the latest result of that selfishness and shortsightedness: Alexander. Who, it seems, was supposed to lap up her façade of wisdom, and devote himself to her... just like Henry did. Except he's not Henry. He's an ordinary kid, no doubt already a little lost when he met her in an industry not exactly known for its nurturing environment. Christina promises him a solid foundation -- "She said all my doubts would be gone" -- and delivers exponentially worse chaos than he started with.

Henry might have gotten over her threatening Vicki. He might have rationalized the lies and manipulation. But when he came face-to-face with what might -- if not for something in his own character that he had probably barely tapped at the time -- have been his fate? And when all she cared about was how it could threaten her? He's done.

Wonder how many times Christina will keep looking to replicate him, now that she's finally and irrevocably lost the real thing?

So... Now we have Mike accusing Vicki of forgetting that Henry isn't human. One more thing the guys agree on, no matter how many times Vicki denies it. (For the record, I'm with her, but I see where they're coming from.) And once again, Mike worrying about Henry for his own sake in spite of himself, denying it all the way. I mostly believe them when they say they don't like each other, except for the part where I kinda don't. And the part where it doesn't keep either from being concerned for the other's well-being. Obviously that can be ascribed -- on both sides -- to not wanting Vicki to suffer anything happening to one of them. But they can't convince me that's all of it.

The return of the Illuminacion del Sol. Rather anticlimactic, really, except... "Does he know you have that?" -- "Henry and I share everything." Anyone else hear an echo in that of Henry's non-answer to Mike last week about the Polish village? (Leaving aside the fact that Vicki is kinda lying through her teeth anyway.)

And the actual words "I'm sorry" passed Henry Fitzroy's lips. Might possibly even have done so if Vicki had been conscious to hear them (though I'm not laying any bets on that). The Apocalypse is most definitely nigh.

[xposted to bloodties_tv]

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
gypsylady
Nov. 11th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
Now, bearing in mind that my heart will always be Mike's and my lust will always be for Vicki (I am not going to discuss that again!) I have to say that the two things that turn me on most in a man are (1) the ability to be elegant while fixing a toilet (I see Ianto Jones for this one) and (2) the ability to apologize believably for deep wrongs (and there's Henry's slot.) So for me a Torchwood/Blood Ties crossover would be beyond hot. It would be nirvana!
wiliqueen
Nov. 11th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Now, bearing in mind that my heart will always be Mike's and my lust will always be for Vicki (I am not going to discuss that again!)

I have no problem with that whatsoever. :-)

(2) the ability to apologize believably for deep wrongs (and there's Henry's slot.)

Even if he has to work at it a bit. ;-) Although probably the times where it's come in the form of admitting he was wrong also qualify.
allmightybecca
Nov. 11th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
Beautifully said!
I agree with your take on Henry's view of Christina. I don't know if he was 100% ready to let the fantasy he had of her go but given what she did to Alexander and then attacking Vicki there was no way he could not let it go.

(random aside but i think Christina a bit egotistical to think she's worthy of someone loving her like Dido did Aeneas. This is assuming her choice of music was on purpose.)

I look forward to reading your remarks after your rewatch.
wiliqueen
Nov. 12th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: Beautifully said!
I don't know if he was 100% ready either, but it was probably overdue...
krf13
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:42 am (UTC)
And once again, Mike worrying about Henry for his own sake in spite of himself, denying it all the way. I mostly believe them when they say they don't like each other, except for the part where I kinda don't. And the part where it doesn't keep either from being concerned for the other's well-being.

I agree here. It reminds me of 'Dead Zone' the way it was at the start of the series - before they stopped going for it and started to pad it in order to get more seasons out of it. You've got two guys - okay, in this instance a man and a vampire - who are would-be competitors for the same woman. It starts out with respect and I definitely catch that respect is there between Mike and Henry even though neither will admit it.

They get out of admitting it by focusing on Vickie and saying it's for her welfare, etc. This is true, but I don't think it's the whole story, either. The script tends to play up their differences rather than similarities, but in that episode where Henry goes to Mike for help and asks to keep Vickie out of it - you start seeing the similarities even in expression. I'm thinking of the time when Vickie catches them working together - just after Henry has worked out it's Christina. She confronts them and the two of them deny everything - the "What me?" look on their faces is identical. I just about fell off my chair laughing.

Oh, and I think that's where there's the perfect line from Vickie, because she's worked out they're after a vampire. Mike and Henry look totally astonished and Vickie says something to the effect of: "I worked it out. I detect. That's what I do." With a completely straight face and I laughed outloud. She's my heroine.

I agree that the humor is definitely one of the strengths of the program. I think the subtlety of the humor even in the most serious of moments is what helps to make it such an elegant program.

krf13
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
Okay, the quote didn't quite work on that first paragraph....
wiliqueen
Nov. 13th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
She confronts them and the two of them deny everything - the "What me?" look on their faces is identical. I just about fell off my chair laughing.

It really is just delightful. :-D As is her delivery on the "I can do that. I'm a private detective."

I'm just having so much fun, and dreading the end of the season. There's still a chance for more, even though the contract options have run out, since no decision has been made, and there won't be any new work to tie them up until the WGA strike is done, but it's feelin pretty longshot at this point. :-/
kevenn
Nov. 13th, 2007 11:22 am (UTC)
I had to watch this episode, coz Bugs got me so intrigued as to who Christina was. I think I was a little disappointed in the casting, but not too terribly so. But man, put together, the last two episodes kicked ass.

And they totally shoulda' know it was Christina mucking things up, because the demon in the last episode said it was now open season on her, and a newbie vampire wouldn't have that sort of cred to "put a hit out on her" like that, at least, that's what my impression was.

Ah, to be Vickie, and have two totally hot men fawning over you. :)
wiliqueen
Nov. 13th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
And they totally shoulda' know it was Christina mucking things up, because the demon in the last episode said it was now open season on her, and a newbie vampire wouldn't have that sort of cred to "put a hit out on her" like that, at least, that's what my impression was.

Having seen how this fell out, I'm pretty sure it's not Christina who declared open season on Vicki. I'm back to my original impression that it's a mytharc reference and has to do with Astaroth. I can't remember which ones you've seen or how much you know about that...

Even if it had been the vampire, they didn't have to be a newbie to not be Christina. Henry was sufficiently freaked when he thought it was just a standard territory dispute; it would take a pretty heavy hitter to challenge him at this point, and I'm sure they're out there.
studiesinlight
Dec. 10th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
>"that's all Henry. Nobody taught him that. He built it for himself."

Well said. This is why Henry is worthwhile. He needs a functional, cohesive, consistent cosmography, and he worked very hard to build one that accommodates his vampirism and his faith. It's idiosyncratic, to be sure -- but it shows the need behind it, and that need shows the character.

Also well said that Christina was disappointing. I don't know if it were possible for her to not be disappointing, but . . . if you don't mind the comparison, she is not only no Lacroix, she is not even a Darla. She is so much smaller in reality than she was in Henry's memory!

Over on this universe's vamp mechanics front, I'm intrigued by Christina's remark that Henry has not "had" Vicki "yet." He's fed from her twice. So if Christina's perceptions are correct, her "had" doesn't mean simple feeding. Does it mean sex? Does it mean another kind of feeding? Something else? And that condescending "sometimes it's good to wait" has to have been a dig! But at what? Does it go all the way back to Henry's mortality, or is it a comment on ongoing habits?

Your perception that Christina may try multiple times to replace Henry with a substitute, because this universe is always going to cut her off from her convert after a period -- it's as if she loves being pregnant but hates children -- of course made me think of how diametrically opposed Lacroix is, over in his universe. He never tries to replace Nick, not even once. Now isn't that odd? Never once. Not even as an experiment (unless you count Fleur, but that's too early, and he still had Nick). It's Nick he wants, and by golly Nick he will have to the end of all things. Both stories are telling tales of possession, rejection and obsession, but Christina has just newly brought the rejection on herself; I wonder if she has been close to doing so before, closer every time to losing Henry, as he has grown and she evidently has not.

So who did Henry call, to ask where the other vampires' territories are? This universe's Aristotle? It occurred to me that Henry could perhaps pen-pal successfully with other vampires; the territoriality thing would not kick in over correspondence.
wiliqueen
Dec. 10th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
if you don't mind the comparison, she is not only no Lacroix, she is not even a Darla.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Denis McGrath (who wrote the episode) made the same comparison when I directed him to this post in comments on his blog:

But in another way, there's another thing going on with roles like Christina. They're tricky. Because if she's more interesting than Henry, or even almost as interesting, then why aren't you seeing a show about her?

I remember watching Angel and being a little disappointed with Darla til I realized, nope, you know what? Darla can't be as interesting as Angel.

The point isn't whether Christina or Darla are interesting characters, the point is what did they mean to your main character?


Back to your comments...

I'm intrigued by Christina's remark that Henry has not "had" Vicki "yet." He's fed from her twice. So if Christina's perceptions are correct, her "had" doesn't mean simple feeding. Does it mean sex?

I assumed that was her meaning, and to be honest, hadn't considered that there might be other possibilities. Intriguing indeed.

And that condescending "sometimes it's good to wait" has to have been a dig! But at what? Does it go all the way back to Henry's mortality, or is it a comment on ongoing habits?

I've wondered about it on and off. It's part and parcel of the slightly contradictory way she seems to place value (or not) on humans -- she tends to speak of them in general as if they were toys or pets at best, yet she seemed to have more of an investment in young human Henry, and acknowledges his investment in Vicki (despite referring to her at one point as his "new plaything"). At what point does her interest in an individual cross that line? Does she resent the self-contradiction, or not really care? It's hard to tell, but presuming to dispense relationship advice to Henry -- and in a tone I read as "Aw, can't you tell I'm just teasing you?" -- certainly figures in there somewhere!

He never tries to replace Nick, not even once. Now isn't that odd? Never once.

It really is, and continues to make me wonder after all these years. I was running season 2 in the background on my work-at-home days a couple weeks ago, and was thinking about the same thing when I got to "Father's Day," and LaCroix's memorably unfavorable reaction to Janette's tentative suggestion that he do exactly that. I'll always consider that one of her bravest moments, at one of the times she was most excruciatingly caught in the middle.

I wonder if she has been close to doing so before, closer every time to losing Henry, as he has grown and she evidently has not.

This seems likely, thinking especially of his "Every time you turn up you bring nothing but trouble."

So who did Henry call, to ask where the other vampires' territories are? This universe's Aristotle?

*g* We meet Augustus in episode 21. If I had expected anything in particular, he wouldn't be it. But I was pleasantly surprised, and suspect you will be for the same reason.

Edited at 2007-12-10 04:24 pm (UTC)
wiliqueen
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Random thought re: your Christina comments...
it's as if she loves being pregnant but hates children

Or loves them only while they remain dependent on her.

Or loves courtship but hates marriage.

Thus demonstrating why the territorial instinct is one of the more potent elements of Tanya's universe...
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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