TMI_kiss-closeup

The Great due South Rewatch: "Burning Down the House"

It has been slightly over a year since the lovely popkin16 introduced me to the wonder that is due South. (It's also been just about a year since she convinced me to give SPN a try, but that is a different story - involving 7.5 seasons in 10 days and an anti-posession tattoo of my own).

So I felt it was time for a re-watch. Naturally, I chose to share it here.


First things first: It's almost impossible to watch dS these days, if only because the best online way of watching them I've found is over 6-clips-per-episode on YouTube. I've included the links to these clips [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] to "Burning Down the House" for ease of viewing for anyone I can convince to watch it from these notes.

Secondly, you might notice that I'm starting with S3 of the series, but this is largely because I don't really care for RayV, whereas I love RayK, played by the ever-talented and almost-as-lovely-as-popkin16 CKR.

But onto the commentary:

  • I love how the beginning of this echoes the beginning of the made-for-tv-movie that started it all and sketches so much of Fraser's character in just a few seconds of screen time. Take that JJ Abrams.

  • Also on a purely storytelling note, I love how the fire at Fraser's apartment can be taken as a rejuvenation of Fraser's life in Chicago just as it echoes the RL rejuvenation of the series with RayV's absence and RayK's arrival. Just sets the scene for all sorts of changes/upsets in Fraser's life. (Oh, god, who has the link to the wonderful lj that goes into all this storytelling stuff in detail far beyond what I can?) Paul Gross is Shakespearean. (Later he goes on to play a director of Shakespeare in the wonderful Slings & Arrows.) Dredge up your HS english classes for interpretations of this show, bb. Though that is by no means necessary to enjoy it. [EDIT: popkin16 has found the link I was talking about here.]

  • A moment of appreciation for Paul Gross / Benton Fraser in the Mountie uniform, as well as for that tongue thing he does.

  • RayK. Oh, RayK. How I love you. All bustling energy and James Dean exterior hiding this melty caramel core of feelings that nowadays many shows fail to let their male leads have for fear of being to feminizing or some shit like that. From that hug, just welcoming Fraser into your life wholeheartedly, to the bracelets, you are one of my favorite TV characters.

  • Also, in retrospect, I love how Ray's speech about partners here is echoed later in "Call of the Wild": Partners, Fraser. Partners.

  • Fraser, polite even when angry, confused, and generally doubting his sanity.

  • My name is Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and for reasons that, well, they don't need exploring at this juncture, I have remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate.

  • Routine is the silent killer.

  • My love for RayK only grows the first time Fraser licks (licks!) things. It's not embarrassment or humiliation this Ray is worried about, it's about Fraser's safety, which just gives me all kinds of feels.

  • People are not interchangeable, like snowmobile parts.

  • Again with the duets.

  • PS, Fraser on a mission - particularly to prove that RayK isn't RayV when everyone else is blithely pretending he is - is adorable.

  • One day, if I ever have any RL friends who'd be interested in watching dS with me, I want to propose a drinking game: every time Fraser says Thank you kindly, you take a shot. (Yes, my insights are getting far less insightful as the episode goes on, I know, but can you blame me? The essence of a good story is to tell a good story. Any story which allows you to concentrate on it's building blocks overmuch is not a story worth telling. Or seeing.)

  • I love Fraser's look at Thatcher's Either you are mentally unhinged or you object on principal to interior designers. Like's not discounting the fact that he's unhinged and, in fact, might actually welcome the diagnosis. Which is very telling. Fraser is a man of facts. Solid facts. The fact that he's being haunted by the ghost of his father and stalked by a performance arsonist have to be trying on his reality. As is the fact that the reality as he sees it - that RayK is not RayV, whatever everyone else may pretend - doesn't mesh up with reality as he's being informed of. Fraser lives by his eyes, his ears, his sense of taste. He is a tracker, a sharpshooter, a man who only believes what he can see. And yet, all appear to deceive him now. And yet he still sticks with RayK.

  • RayK has charisma. Charm. jenois se quois. He is, to some degree, everything that Fraser is not. They are a duet in a way that I never saw with RayV - though, admittedly, I've not seen many RayV episodes, though I've read enough fic to get a feel for his character. To quote myself, "I think [your soul mates is] just the person who gets you most in the world. The person who finishes your sentences, or says something at the same moment you were thinking the exact same thing, or, I dunno, is willing to put up with all your shit 'cause you put up with theirs. And, yeah, maybe lots of times that means they're the person you end up marrying, but sometimes it can be your brother, or your best friend, or, hell, your kid." And that describes RayK and Fraser's interactions so well. They get each other. Yes, there is miscommunication so often early on in their relationship, but they keep trying. They want to understand each other.

  • Why, yes, I am a Fraser/RayK shipper. How did you guess?

  • I love - I positively adore - the way Ray spills his guts while Fraser is climbing all over the car and Fraser doesn't hear a word of it. As I said earlier, communication/miscommunication and partnerships (of all sorts) are the ongoing themes of this show. RayK and Fraser want to communicate. They just have a lot of difficulty doing so. They say the wrong things at the right times, the right things at the wrong times, fail to listen, fail to hear what is actually being said, but they continue to try. They want to share. They, in effect, become such a successful partnership because they are both stubborn idiots who don't know when to give up, who can't give up because they have no one else, who mess things up time and time again and fix them every time because their relationship is all they have.

  • One day in and they're already bickering like a married couple.

  • Seriously, what's the deal with the lake they call Michigan? Anyone know?

  • The rubber ducks. Oh, the rubber ducks.

  • RayK's unabashed joy when Fraser calls him Ray is twelve kinds of feels, and Fraser's smile when he realizes Ray is alive is another dozen, easy.

  • How is it I've almost gotten to the end of the episode and said nothing about Dief? Twenty feels for Deif.

  • Another three for Fraser's brown leather jacket.

  • The look on RayK's face when Fraser asks him to dinner. Never in his life has a man been so happy to share a meal with a man he barely knows (but wants to know so much more about). That, my friends, is the start of a beautiful, beautiful partnership.

And, at length, with many interruptions (for note writing and impromptu MLA citation tutoring), I have reached the end. I feel kind of sad, in the sense that dS is an old friend by now. Sure, it's inevitable relationship with the city of Chicago and my rather rocky feelings for that city (Great Lakes Naval Training Center is there) aside, there is something warm and comfortable about a show thats nearly twenty years old. It is sort of like an old sweater. Yes, I may only have found it last year, but it is of a different era, a different time, when we all were different people and we can look back fondly on the past and remember when. But also, I know that there are only so many episodes of this series that have ever been made, and I am now one down. Fewer remain to me to watch. I can watch them again, but it will never be quite the same as it is now. I get the same feeling watching SGA or any other series that has been and gone.

tl;dr

All I can say is, dS is truly a wonder of filmmaking. It is serious and lighthearted at the same time, seemingly just another cop procedural and yet so much more. Watch it, and discover the wonder.


  • 8 comments
Due South is such a clever show - it has layers of meaning to even simple seasons, and I love that. Fraser and RayK have a wonderful relationship that I adore, and I wish we had gotten more than two seasons with them.

Is this the storytelling stuff you were talking about, bb? I re-read these after watching every episode XD

You make me miss Fraser and RayK.
Yes, bb, that's exactly the link I meant! Thank you.

I just finished watching the episode, and I miss Fraser and RayK. It is clever and their relationship is just so real and subtle and unsubtle and fantastical, all at the same time.

I'm already on the edge of my seat for "Mountie on the Bounty."
I've decided that, if you're ever in a situation that REQUIRES buddy breathing and you start to make an issue of it after, there is more at play than just having your life SAVED. I have. It's just true.
(Anonymous)
I pity you for not liking RayV. I think he's wonderful, and you simply can't understand Fraser in Season 3 and get the most out of dS if you skip more than half of the episodes. Fraser's and RayV's friendship is so much fun, and you really can't deny that RayV loves Fraser so much (how you interpret that is up to you.). And RayV's and Frannie's sibling relationship, and the Vecchio family, are just as wonderful. dS really lost a lot when RayV left.

(Anonymous)

Also, it's really not fair of you to judge RayV, and his friendship with Fraser, unless you have watched all of Seasons 1 and 2. I hope one day you grow up and realize that there's more to love about dS than the made-up relationship of F/K (their friendship wasn't made up, but F/K is definitely invented by fans).
I'm sorry you don't agree with how I choose to view dS. I never particularly cared for RayV, but that's just me. I understand some people preferred him to RayK, and that's equally as valid.

I love many things about dS, the Frasier/RayK relationship just being one aspect of it, and whether or not you choose to ship them you must acknowledge their wonderful friendship.

But I digress. In short, I do not want to reopen the RayK vs. RayV arguments, and will not do so here. If you wish to, please find another venue to do so on besides my lj.
"They are a duet in a way that I never saw with RayV - though, admittedly, I've not seen many RayV episodes, though I've read enough fic to get a feel for his character."

But fanfic doesn't always accurately depict the character who is in the movie, TV show, etc. And it's this way with RayV. Many fanfic writers have an agenda to make him different than he was on the show to fit **their** idea of what dS should be, not dS as it actually was.

It really is not fair of you to judge RayV's character without watching all of his episodes. And YMMV on who is Fraser's "soul mate." I think RayV sometimes understands him better than RayK does, which would make RayV his soul mate. (RayV saw Fraser's dark side in "Victoria's Secret" - did you think about that? It's probably unlikely that Fraser told RayK everything about that painful time). As you pointed out, a soul mate doesn't have to be a lover, so what makes RayK as soul mate over RayV?
  • 8 comments