The Great due South Rewatch: "Eclipse"

I should be working on my programing assignment, but I've spent all of my free time working on my scholarship application packet and have decided to celebrate with "Eclipse," the second installment in my Great due South Rewatch.

For those (attempting) to watch along, links can be found here: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The previous installment can be found here.

  • RayK's tattoo. Being the rather esoteric sort myself, I do not know why a man would want to have a spark plug tattooed on his arm, but I enjoy watching the writers try to come up with reasons for it in every series CKR has been in. But, then again, I have an anti-possession tattoo from SPN myself, which I'm sure plenty of other people don't understand, so glass houses and all.

  • Another moment for RayK's RayK-ness: What a sketch of a character and his mindset in just a few seconds: the candies in his coffee, which he's stirring with a big wooden spoon, which he later uses to hit the answering machine in days when answering machines were a lot more expensive than they were now. Very... introducing us to RayK, which was largely avoided in "Burning Down the House."

  • There has to be something deep and meaningful about the fact that the entire station keeps ushering Fraser into closets. I will look at true penny's analysis later.

  • There also has to be something deep and meaningful about the fact they don't immediately question why Fraser is carrying a bag of fish and a cabbage. Though I'm half certain Fraser has to know how he appears to everyone else and just plays it up for shits and giggles.

  • I wonder if there's a fic where RayK's landlady, who lives below him, wonders about the new strange noises she hears upstairs. Noises that could very easily be interpreted as evidence to RayK/Fraser without coming out and saying it.

  • And, again, I love how this episode is all about discovering RayK. We know he is supposed to be the current detective known as the former Ray Vecchio, but we at this point know very little about him and Fraser left. He is, as the landlady says, very mysterious man, this friend of yours. RayK and Fraser have become friends almost by default. They have to be friendly. They have to pretend to have the same dynamic as Fraser and RayV for RayV's safety. But that could very easily have gone wrong, and the partnership could have been broken fairly early on without anyone being the wiser. But the fact is Fraser looks for RayK. He wants to be friends with RayK, which is both heartbreaking and endearing because RayV was his only friend in Chicago, and he desperately needs a friend in RayK. Who just as easily needs someone who will know him for who he is. Or, to borrow a line from the ever talented cesperanza, "...Ray Kowalski wants to be known, and so he doesn't censor himself with Fraser."

  • I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father, and for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture I've remained, attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate.

  • Do you have any idea how beautiful and meaningful this interaction is?

    Ray: What do you mean it doesn't work? It's just a bottle, it doesn't work or not work.
    Caretaker: If nothing comes out of it, what is it?
    Ray: It's empty.
    Caretaker: But it isn't empty, so it must be broken.
    Ray: If it was broken it'd be empty.
    Caretaker: Exactly. So it's not working.
    Ray: [takes out pocketknife and smashes top off bottle] There. Now it's broken and it's working.

    I'm talking like Shakespearean levels of amazing here, from a show with the worst 90s theme music of all 90s theme music. RayK, fresh out his marriage, feels broken. Empty. Worthless. But as we see, just because he's broken doesn't mean he's not working. That he can't reinvent himself. That he can't, in essence, be reborn.

  • I just realized. This is where we finally learn who on earth RayK is. As in, we finally get a name. Wow.

  • CKR is sex on a stick.

  • CKR in the most hideous glasses known to man is somehow still sex on a stick.

  • They really are hideous glasses.

  • They really are a pair, aren't they? RayK and Fraser, not the glasses. RayK is all anger and grief transmuted into physicality, and Fraser is all outwardly prim and proper and silver-dollar words and all the things a rough and tumble person like RayK shouldn't be able to understand. But, again, they are friends because they want it so badly. RayK doesn't want to be alone. He wants to move past his wife, his life before hand, everything. And Fraser, to quote:

    "In this, as in so many other things, Fraser seems to have been equipped with a toggle switch where most people have a dimmer. [...] as far as personal relationships are concerned, once he's given his loyalty, it is apparently literally impossible to make him take it back." Fraser has decided Ray is his friend, and that's the end of it (at least until things get more complicated--and a thousand blessings on Paul Gross and the other writers for making things get more complicated--but we aren't there yet) [x]

    Which really says everything, doesn't it?

  • I have never once in my life asked one of my friends, of either sex, if they found me attractive. Considering the relative unfamiliarity he has with Fraser at the time, it's a very odd question for RayK to ask. And then the fact he's only concerned with Fraser's opinion. I'm not going to say it's slash, but it definitely has some very strong Fraser/RayK undertones that the fangirl in me shall exploit for all they're worth.

  • And then the fact that he answers, very much so, yes, in that earnest mountie tone of his - not the one I was talking about earlier that might be called let's mess with the yanks for shits and giggles but his truth, justice, and the Canadian way voice. Shuffling from foot to foot. Uncomfortable, but oh so earnest. Like the answer matters as much to him as it does to RayK.

  • Am I the only one who find's RayK's flashback deeply uncomfortable? But that may just be because I find flashbacks in general to be completely uncomfortable. They're an overused trope. If you need a flashback, you're usually not telling your story right.

  • I have yet to figure out what a Gold Coast Girl is.

  • The fact that he's Ray Kowalski and she's Stella just makes me giggle.

  • Also, the fact that they don't have time but Fraser says they should stay anyway....

  • But RayK calls in the black and whites anyway, though it could give him away

  • You know, Ray, in my limited experience with the subject, I've found that very few lifelong bonds are formed based on whether one partner or the other urinated in their clothing.

  • Bad graphics of the dream catcher aside, I love how it's supposed to tangle up bad dreams and ends up tangling up RayK's bad dream. Literally. The veil between life and death is very thin in dS, as it appears to be in most of Paul Gross' work.

  • Those glasses never get any less ugly.

  • [Insert general rebirth metaphors here].

  • I love that it's a happy face that gets everyone off the hook. Well, that and some mind games and the lingering uncertainty that the real RayV might not be the good guy we all thought he was. Well, most of us anyway. Anybody who tries to change their best friend so much as RayV seems to have tried gives me a couple of doubts about that.

  • Deif in a party hat. Deif in general.

  • I find this quote very profound: You know, Ray, my father once told me that the sky isn't just above you, that if you look at the horizon you'll see that it actually touches the  ground. So if you think about it, wherever you go you are actually walking in the sky.

I have a lot of thoughts about this episode. Obviously. But the one I shall leave you with is this: rarely do we see on TV a friendship form as truly and honestly as this one. truepenny argues that it is grief and revenge that make up the core of this episode - law and lawlessness, rebirth and renewal - and, while that is true, I think that friendship is the takeaway message here. Yes they're broken, but they still work and they still want to work. They become friends because they have no other choice. It is Fraser and RayK against the world, a world in which neither of them really have a place. Fraser is a mountie in Chicago. RayK dances and eats too much sugar and is all in all nothing like your stereotypical cop. They shouldn't have a place in the world. But they have a place with each other, and they make it work.


due South is a wonder of filmmaking. It can be camp and cheesy and intentionally comical, but it has a depth lacking in much 90s television and an honesty missing from all but a few shows of any era.
I love this episode a great deal. This entire episode is definitely a "meet RayK", and the show does it beautifully. RayK looks adorable in his (ugly) glasses, and I really like the way they establish Fraser and Ray's friendship. Even the side characters were great XD
"I love that it's a happy face that gets everyone off the hook. Well, that and some mind games and the lingering uncertainty that the real RayV might not be the good guy we all thought he was. Well, most of us anyway. Anybody who tries to change their best friend so much as RayV seems to have tried gives me a couple of doubts about that."

You do understand that the writers were desperately trying to make Kowalski into the "good Ray" to make viewers accept him after RayV went undercover, and so were trying to make RayV the "bad Ray" in turn? That's why I just can't take "Eclipse" seriously, or like it. There was NOTHING in the first two seasons that pointed to RayV being corrupt enough that he'd steal drugs! And remember that Huey was also involved, but he's not accused of anything, only RayV. :-(. And the truth is - the writers wanted Kowalski (I can't stand calling him Ray) to be the "better Ray" than RayV.

Also, RayV didn't try to "change" Fraser. He accepted him, weirdness and all. Did you even watch the first two seasons? If not, please do, because there's more to due South than (ugh!) F/K! RayV is a WONDERFUL friend to Fraser who encouraged him to stand up for himself. THAT is the only "changing" RayV wanted Fraser to do! You seem to have not watched the first two seasons at all!