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07 December 2009 @ 03:22 pm
In my life, I generally feel disorganized and distracted and unfocused: like the thoughts I want to be having never arrive, and I'm left with their pallid imitations. So it's always a shock to have a cold, and realize that there is another whole level to this feeling. Aside from the sniffles, I feel more or less okay (and I had oatmeal again this morning, for the first time in a few days--for whatever reason, oatmeal tastes odd to me when I'm sick, but cream of wheat tastes fine), but I still can't seem to concentrate on anything that would require me to respond.

With that in mind, things I'd probably want to write about, regarding due South, but can't pull my thoughts together in order to do so:

1. how Fraser has no one useful to talk to, or pattern himself after, when it comes to dealing with emotions: "Bird in the Hand," "All the Queen's Horses," "Burning Down the House," "Bounty Hunter"
2. how Fraser interacts with kids and "oddballs": "Bounty Hunter," "I Coulda Been a Defendant"; also "Heaven and Earth" and "The Man Who Knew Too Little"

There might actually be others, but I've forgotten them, now. Bah.

--Oh, I remember: I think "The Bounty Hunter" is the first time I've ever seen Fraser's "I'm disappointed and irritated with you" face. I wasn't entirely sure he had one, actually.
--Oh, and "Seeing is Believing": what the heck, basically. I feel like Fraser is deeply OOC in this episode, but also--what he wants is so *small*, and he has to go through such absurd and extraordinary measures to get even that. The poor dear. It takes us back to "Vault," actually, and Ray's attempts to get Fraser to admit to feeling unappreciated; Fraser can hardly get the words out, backpedaling and deflecting for all he's worth, but he finally admits to the feeling ("Occasionally"). Here, no one's asking him how he feels, at all--but we see it all the same.
--I'm kind of worried about Fraser, for some reason. I think it's because of "Bounty Hunter," and what Bob says about his son--that he's at a low ebb, and vulnerable. Everything he knew in Chicago has been yanked away from him, and I feel like he's playing the Mountie harder than he has in quite a while, as a defense mechanism (side note: I miss the brown uniform), and...yeah. I don't know where it's going to go, but I'm worried.

Oh, oops, forgot another: the way Fraser's understated use of "littering" as a reason to hunt down a criminal for six days in "Burning Down the House" parallels that whole "that's the last time he'll ever fish over the limit" thing in the pilot, and how that establishes Fraser generally: why on earth does he *do* that? How does that work into the whole "playing the Mountie" thing? Because he sets himself up as this humorless martinet with no ability to distinguish between crimes that require a slap on the wrist and crimes that require a hammer--but that's not what's going on there, at all.
clean all the things!!!: buttonsthepresidentrix on December 13th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
I really need to start paying more attention to the titles of the episodes I've seen lately, because I'm losing track of which one is which. (Doesn't help that I've watched some of them out of order...) But I noticed that, too, about the first new episode of the third season - how they returned to that joke (and it is a good joke) about Fraser underplaying his rationale for tireless manhunts (menhunts?), this time involving a whole lot of destruction of property.

I'm not sure the joke is *perfectly* in character for Fraser - one doubts that he would, on a regular basis, put himself out so completely over just any instance of littering; it seems to me he would be far more likely to pick up the discarded trash himself and assume the litterer made a mistake, maybe giving him or her a brief - but polite! - talking-to if the opportunity arose - but since the scenario, as I understand it, involves not what the offender in question deserves, but to what lengths the Mountie should go to apprehend the offender (or otherwise deal with the offense... somehow), the joke seems to be picking up on something like Fraser's old-fashioned assumption that any other Mountie would understand him and do as he does - or that his father would, at any rate. Like, it should be enough to know that there was littering - that's a *crime*! - to explain why Fraser was involved. The particulars of the case only matter when it comes to dealing with the criminal; to determine Fraser's conduct, the joke seems to say, all that matters is that there was any infraction at all. Of course, thankfully, as with the joke about Fraser *always* holding the door open or letting others go first, it isn't always strictly true.

Maybe it's supposed to be funny to Fraser (funny/sad to us?) because Fraser is telling a joke he thinks other Mounties, specifically, will get, and they consistently miss the point?
tempestsarekind: fraser: oh deartempestsarekind on December 13th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
This is the problem with placeholder entries: they are frequently unclear. :) I completely agree with you that Fraser wouldn't act that way over any old act of littering; he could never make it through a day in Chicago if he did that! Which is why I think that moment of self-presentation is so odd; I guess I see it not as a Mountie inside-joke, but a deliberate strategy on Fraser's part. He seems to *want* people to think that he chased after these criminals simply because they fished over the limit or littered, and it just so happened that they were also guilty of some major environmental infractions. Like, "Dear me, I just stumbled over this crime while I was going about my usual ramrod-straight Mountie way!"

Which is sort of what he does in S3's "Asylum," if you've seen that one (Fraser arrests Ray K. inside the consulate). "Oh dear, I have no choice but to follow this silly, antiquated law!" When of course he's using that law for his own ends, but he plays guileless and oh-so-Canadian. And it fools people, quite often--which is maybe why he does it?
clean all the things!!!: mulder wants to believethepresidentrix on December 13th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
Ah, it seems like what *I* was failing to communicate is that I think that joke (despite the fact that they've repeated it twice now), *is* strangely out of Fraser's usual way, either in terms of humor or deliberate self-presentation. That he often pretends to be guileless so as to execute strategems that suit his own ends isn't especially hard to explain. That he makes it seem as though he has improperly apportioned his energies, expending himself on huge crimes that he represents as relatively insignificant ones *is* very hard to explain. And to me, it makes the most sense to explain it either by saying that it just *is* out of character (despite his habitual modesty, Fraser rarely misleads a superior in the course of a briefing, whether out of self-deprecation or for dramatic effect), or by saying that Fraser intends it as a Mountie-specific joke, which, sadly, does not land, because the other Mounties don't always see things the way he does, after all.

Actually, I think that's one of my issues with the latter seasons of the show. The episodes so far are still entertaining, but I get the feeling that they're not as *careful.* If it occurs to them to make Fraser do something funny, they'll do it, even if it doesn't quite suit his idiom. Like the conversation about the eagle feathers. Fraser has been known to choose odd moments to discuss something at length, but to my recollection, a) it usually does turn out to be relevant to the situation at hand, even if that's not apparent from the first, and b) it's usually not as... self-involved? as Fraser's long quest to file for an eagle feather (dependent on someone finding a dead eagle in the woods and having the presence of mind to put it on ice and drive it to Colorado!) I dunno, that whole conversation rubbed me the wrong way. It was amusing, but it was the rarely seen blockheaded!Fraser, an incarnation I can't say I enjoy quite so much as the regular oft-misinterpreted!Fraser.
tempestsarekind: due southtempestsarekind on December 14th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I see. Well, the first time he does this, in the pilot, I think it is a misunderstanding, in a way: Fraser's being understated about the whole situation ("Well, he did fish quite a bit over the limit, sir"), and the person in charge is apparently thinking "by a few fish" rather than "by a few tons." So maybe that first "That's the last time he'll fish over the limit" is a joke--except that everyone thinks he means it, because he's the Legendary Benton Fraser. So if it is a joke, it's less a joke about his shared Mountie-ness, and more (like the whole "do you know what the word 'sap' means?" exchange with Ray) a joke that plays on his knowledge of how people perceive him? Which *is* sort of sad, because he's making jokes that most people can't get, if they believe in the Mountie persona to the extent that these people seem to.

But the other thing about both of those moments that *does* seem very Fraser is that he effaces himself right out of the picture. He does all of the work, but makes it so that his superior officer gets the gratitude of the locals. And to me that fits in with the "whoops, I just found this" way in which he presents his case. And maybe that's why I want it to be deliberate, rather than out-of-character, because part of his behavior seems right.

(And then, too, presumably his report actually *says* more than just "littering," because Fraser is habitually thorough--which makes me wonder if the problem isn't that the officer in question just failed to read the report before calling him in.)

I don't know what to do with the whole eagle feather thing, though. On the one hand, it's very clearly playing around with TV conventions: "All right, we've got a bit of time, so just to finish this off..." And then it also seems of a piece with Fraser's insistence in that episode that he is, in fact, Ray K.'s friend now: because the eagle feather is so hard to get, it's a lot more valuable than it seems and hence an illustration of friendship. So the speech is totally unrelated to the action, but related to the larger themes of the episode. My problem is that, if it really takes that long to get an eagle feather, then by rights that feather--like the birthday party, and everything else--really belongs to Ray Vecchio. And--well, possibly I should actually do a separate post about my vague resentment of Ray Kowalski, and how I am possibly reading my own feelings into Fraser's behavior, but there seems, to me, to be something sort of passive-aggressive in the way Fraser "accepts" Ray K. for Ray V. in that episode, forcing this party on him and all, and being so sarcastic in ways that Fraser usually isn't. This is most likely due to the new executive producer and writers...but it sort of reads like resentment to me, especially after watching "Mountie on the Bounty."