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The Great due South Rewatch: "I Coulda Been A Defendant"

Previous Installments: S3 01, 02

The list of things I should be doing today is much shorter, but includes doing the physics homework that's due thursday, studying for the test that will occur that same day, or possibly finishing up the last part of my Java lab assignment before next Monday. Even watching V for Vendetta is a valid life option at this pioint. I choose to continue my Great due South Rewatch instead.


For those (attempting) to watch along, links can be found here: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Additionally, all of the "RayK Years" can be found on this playlist I'm making up as I go along.

  • Not even ten seconds in and all I can think is the hat. Fraser's stetson. That is a hat which should not be sexy. And yet....

  • And also, Fraser's compulsive politeness. And Ray's low-grade irritation at it. Not like he dislikes it or is greatly annoyed by it, just that it takes up so much time and they're in a hurry or something, like a parent when their kid is lingering a little long over something at the store.

  • Nope, there's the irritation. Well, no partnership is perfect.

  • Also, a contentious identity thief. Even their "bad guys" are not stereotypes.

  • The licking thing again. And RayK's reaction. Not don't lick the used gum you found on the cement, especially not in front of a reporter, you'll embarrass me but don't ask me to lick it too. But I've discussed that before.

  • Because of course Fraser elects to climb out the window rather than take the stairs. It's the most expedient - and most obsessive - way to thank a guy for saving a kid's life. Though admittedly after he starts climbing out the window, it's also the best way to ask why do you think you need to climb out the window? Which is generally a sign of a guilty conscious.

  • I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress.

  • And also: This is America, pal. Everybody wants to be on television.

  • And for another line: That's me. That's my thing. On the inside I'm a poet. Outside, ummm! Shake, bad guys, shake. Which is kinda heartbreaking, because that's what Ray honestly thinks. Not because it's not true, but because Ray sees himself as a bully. Fraser is polite, he is not. Fraser is highly educated, he is not. Fraser plays by the rules, he does not. And I'm sure it was similar before, with Stella, because to some degree Fraser and Stella have remarkably similar parallels. Ray sees himself as the uncouth Chicago cop going up against the pillar of Canadian police-dom. That he is the less valuable one in any situation. Which is just terrible, because Ray is a good cop. He's just a different kind of cop.

  • Fraser's hmmmm in response to this. Just what is that? Is it acknowledgment that this is what RayK thinks? Or does Fraser think it too? It's hard to tell, but I think it's some combination of both, weighted more heavily towards the first. But he most certainly must acknowledge that, in the classical respects, he is better than RayK. Does that make him a better cop? Perhaps not. A Better person? Certainly not. But he cannot help but think it, certainly.

  • Also, the fact that they're comfortable enough with each other to joke with each other by this point?



    Ray: Torture. . . That's a good idea. I never thought of that.
    Fraser: [With amusement] That's - that's very funny, Ray.
    Ray: [Laughing] Polite cop, bad cop. . . It might work. . .



    So worth noting.

  • Say what RayK will about Francesca, they couldn't have a more sidlingly relationship if they tried.

  • Kevin's a really sucky brother. Just putting that out there. Bruce needs him, and yet... he puts down everything Bruce does. It hurts. (But I can remember times too when I was taking care of my sister and I was just so... tired too. I know how hard it is. I can almost sympathize. Almost.)





  • Fraser: My name is Constable Benton Fraser -
    Welsh: He originally came to Chicago on the trail of his father's killer -
    Ray: And for a whole bunch of reasons he decided to stick around -
    Fraser: Attached as liaison to the Canadian Consulate.


  • Francesca trying to make the computer work (I can do this!) is so... little sister-ish, like she's trying to prove she's as grown up as Elaine or something. As competent. Reinforces the whole sibling/partnership relationship at play throughout this episode.

  • God, 90s cars. Sooo glad that decade is over.

  • Also, those glasses only get uglier with time.

  • Ah, those 3D puzzles. I remember those. I loved those. I need to find some space to pull out my unsolved puzzles and put them together sometime. That would be fun...

  • Also, I have a really bad headache right now, so maybe my analysis isn't as in depth as it could be. Also, this episode was never one of my favorites. Largely because, which interesting, it does sorta fill the "filler episode" designation. Not as bad as other shows I could name (*coughSPNcough*) but it still moves the general arc of the season forward by intimation only. RayK and Fraser are friends. This is established. Perhaps their friendship could be more solid. This is also established. But in many ways we're just waiting for that friendship to be tested, tried, solidified - i.e., we're waiting for "Mountie on the Bounty." This episode is a necessary step on the journey to there, but... well, it's not one of the funner ones.

  • Actually, I think my problem with this episode is largely one of mental illness. After so many years taking care of/dealing with my sister, I lack empathy for the characters on TV playing/dealing with/taking care of the mentally ill. It's awful, I know, but at some point I just stopped caring - became tired if you will - and haven't been able to flip the switch back. When I relax, I'd rather not have to deal with the subject there as well. Now, this is not to say that I dislike the mentally ill or don't want to see them portrayed rather accurately on TV in ways that don't demean their problems, but that I simply have empathy issues. As my mother likes to say, my sister has given my family a kind of PTSD. I'm dealing with it. Slowly.

  • Best part of the whole episode:



    Ray: Oh, nice place.
    Fraser: It was Constable Turnbull's but he decided he didn't need anything quite so fancy.
    Ray: Oh, so where does he live now? A cardboard box?
    Fraser: Uh-huh. A very nice one, though. . .


  • To quote truepenny again:



    The sarcasm in that "woo hoo" is lip service to Ray's image (shake, bad guys, shake); I think the truth is in Ray's desire to put himself into the community Fraser is imagining. Unlike in "Eclipse," where he says definitively, "I'm not the woman," here Ray is willing to be, metaphorically, June. (Which since Fraser stays Fraser, makes Bruce Innusiq, again reinforcing the connection between Ray and Kevin.) Ray's self-importance doesn't prevent him from being a Scout, in this weird little recreation of Fraser's weird little childhood troop, and that means he isn't Kevin Spender. If Ray loves Fraser like a brother, it's like Bruce loves Kevin.



    Two things here. Think about what it must mean for a Chicago cop in the mid 90s to admit to even the slightest bit of non-heteronormality. Even being, metaphorically, June, is rather something else. And note that RayK doesn't take the place of Fraser's childhood best friend, Innusiq, but his best friend's sister. Despite his friendship with Fraser, he still feel's one step removed from it (as if, in essence, he is RayV's sister, i.e., Fraser is compelled to be nice to him for the sake of RayV). The fact that it's a girl he's taken the place of only further highlights this because, honestly, how often do we identify with a member of the opposite gender right off in a conversation. You give me the names Jack, John, and Mary, and I will identify with Mary far quicker than I will with Jack or John. Also, look at how Bruce loves Kevin - it's worshipful, adoring, less fraternal and more idolatry. And that's how Ray feels about Fraser. Only, when you add in the fact that it's not a real sibling relationship between the two, words like eros spring to mind far before phillis.

  • Ten minutes of Fraser/RayK squeals and giggles for the sleeping bag scene.

(At this point I, not having adjusted to the time change, fall asleep, and we resume ridiculously early the next morning, at which time the number of things I should be doing instead increases by a power of two).

  • 90s cell phones. Almost as bad as my current one.

  • And, also, it's curious that we should have the quote, In the end, Innusiq and I both earned our cooking badge, but Joon - she never did. That poor girl, she couldn't boil a pot of water if the future of western civilization depended on it, which challenges traditional gender rolls, in this episode as well. When added to the fact that RayK continues as a stand in for June in these stories, we get the curious fact that Ray could not keep himself alive in the wild if he tried - something which Fraser prides himself upon, and has dedicated his life to. But, equally, Fraser has difficulty adapting to city life. To survive, they need each other. To quote, with some edition, another of cesperanza's wonderful stories, Ray's [...] style runs toward...well, the paranoid and suspicious. Whereas my own is more along the lines of forgetful abstraction. [...] Luckily, they're complementary neuroses. Which is an awful lot to get out of one line, I admit.

  • Now that's interesting wording. Fraser growing up always wanted a bolo - but was it a bolo knife or a bolo tie? Because he's got the tie now. It's part of his uniform. Is this a way of reinforcing how much he idolized his father, the RCMP, and tradition, or something else? Because, if it's the knife, that's a curious metaphor as well. A bolo knife is like a machete. It's used for clearing paths - trailblazing. The desire for one is both a desire for adventure and discovery - one echoed in the Search for the Hand of Franklin undertaken at the end of "Call of the Wild" - as well as for clearing away the obfuscation and finding the truth of a matter. But maybe I'm reading too much into this.

  • The clearing away obfuscation idea gains merit when Fraser confirms the boomerang was perhaps a wooden clothes hanger instead.

  • As much as I dislike my sister sometimes. As much as I can be frustrated with her - grow tired of having to deal with her - I can never imagine using her the way Kevin used Bruce. Perhaps I'm simply not maniacal enough and my sister's issues tend to run towards the not-so-likely-to-help-plan-a-robbery end of the mental health spectrum, but she is still my sister. I hate her sickness, not her. The two are heavily intertwined, yes, but there is a difference. We were actually close, once, before she got sick, in the way two sisters can be. But that was long ago.

  • Again, 90s cell phones.

  • Can we talk about the moxie it takes to stand up during a speech - not once, but twice - and try to say something the speechmaker doesn't want to hear? Especially after they threaten your future? Go Elaine.

  • To quote truepenny again: It's telling that not only can he not think of the right answer, his wild-ass guess is physical violence. Goes back to that I'm just a bully thing again, maybe. Just how far down is that buried? Stella has a lot to answer for, I think.

  • I'm sorry, but the thought of Bruce with a gun makes me really, really want to get political and start talking about gun control and socialized mental health care and just how much American society really depends on the prison system to take care of our mentally ill and, well, yeah.

  • Am i just too big a fangirl, or does Look, love you like a brother, Fraser... remind anyone a little too much of In a way a friend feels about another friend? But that may just be seeing ships where there are none. Sadly.

And I finish just in time to get ready for school.

tl;dr?

All in all, not one of dS's better episodes, but nothing overtly wrong with it. Little advancement is done for the season arc, but important buildup nonetheless. Major issues with episode are personal, not a reflection of the episode itself.