Ahh, Anon, where do I even start. Long story short - Hannigram is real, Hannibal is canonically in love with Will, and, after that finale episode, it’s pretty fucking obvious that Will feels the same way
To this day, the best use of a song to score a scene in an episode of television is Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers in Arms’ in The West Wing’s season 2 finale, ‘Two Cathedrals’ as President Bartlett walks through the halls of the West Wing with with singular purpose.
I will forever associate this song with his grief at the loss of Mrs Landingham and his rage at the impotence of his situation. That he, the most powerful man in the free world, was so powerless at the mercy of a being who seemed to act purely at personal whim. His epic rant in the cathedral:
his desperate desire for a sign:
and of course, this iconic moment. The moment you knew that everything was going to be okay, that he would make it okay, that the only failure was in failing to get up, that man was no more at the mercy of God than he was at the mercy of his own personal fears. The moment that he stood tall and decided to fight.
This may well have been the best episode of the entire series; not only that, this episode contained what I think were the greatest five and a half minutes that television has ever produced.
I will forever associate ‘Brothers in Arms’ with President Josiah Bartlett and Mrs Landingham.
After the (perhaps over the top) angst fest of Wednesday’s post we deserve to have some fun. And hoo boy, is this scene from “My Mother, the Fiend” fun. How much fun? Two words: Celeste Kane.
Has there ever been a bad scene involving Celeste Kane? That is what we call a rhetorical question, kids.
Yes, Celeste is a horrible person, but that is a big reason why all of her scenes are so boss. I am sure that fellow Celeste fans like susanmichelin and mysilverylining will understand why this might have been the easiest “Favorite Scene” decision I have had so far.
(I know there are more Celeste fans. Is there a CKAS? If not, there needs to be.)
(I realize that the Willow/Cordelia confrontation has many fans, but I find it to be a bit off due to Charisma Carpenter lapsing into some Kyle Secor-esque overacting; given that the scene is supposed to be subtly campy, it really doesn’t work for me. Your mileage may vary.)
Even before Celeste arrives, the scene is going strong as we get some delightfully multi-levelled interaction starring the Worst. Couple. Ever., Duncan and Veronica, also (and more appropriately) known as “VD.” Let’s take this scene in nine chunks.
I. Skillful Avoidance
DUNCAN: At least you brought the baby up this time. Look, I’ll handle this, but then you’ve gotta get outta here.
VERONICA: Do you have a chick coming over?
DUNCAN: I’m going out to dinner.
On the surface this looks like it is supposed to be a standard, cute, “look at the fake parents talking like real parents” conversation. However, as the rest of the scene makes clear, Duncan is already hiding something (hardly the first time) from Veronica – he is going out to dinner with his mother, and, as we shall see, that is the real reason he is trying to get rid of Veronica.
II: Irony on Top of Irony
DUNCAN: You know, I’m surprised that Mom never got one of these things for Lilly. She was always so terrified that Lilly’d get pregnant.
VERONICA: That’s ironic.
DUNCAN: What’s ironic?
VERONICA: Your mom, afraid that Lilly would get pregnant.
This is little exchange is perfect in the context of the episode. Naturally Celeste was worried that her daughter would get pregnant, and given how Lilly loved to infuriate her mother even more than she loved guys, one can understand how Celeste might be concerned.
Veronica thinks that Celeste’s concern about Lilly was ironic because Veronica believes that Celeste herself got pregnant in high school. But the real irony is that it was not wild child Lilly who became a parent in high school, but Golden Boy Duncan, as we find out at the end of this episode.
If that is not enough, Duncan is engaging in this conversation while holding a simulated baby himself, and he already knows that Meg is pregnant with his baby. Did he have a moment of concern that Veronica’s comment about irony meant she already knew? It does not seem so. What is so chilling about this is that Duncan is an utterly cool customer, he gives nothing away. As so often with Duncan, it is difficult to tell whether it is because he is so adept at deception, or if he simply does not think he has anything to worry about or share with Veronica. Yikes. Dude has ice in his veins. Or amazing oil in his gears. Whichever.
III. An Entrance (Stuff Gets Real)
DUNCAN: Hey, now, you’re not about to badmouth Celeste, are you?
VERONICA: Heavens, no. I mean, what could I say about that…saint? She is a warm-hearted, good-humoured, lovely woman of high breeding and impeccable social grace.
CELESTE: Why thank you, Veronica.
DUNCAN: Mom! Hey, you’re early.
There is not much to add here – the pictures tell the story. Celeste is awful, but isn’t there a universal agreement that it is one thing for a child to make fun of his or her parents, but it is not okay for others to do it in front of him or her? Duncan seems to be enjoying Veronica’s wonderfully sarcastic rant a bit too much.
IV: “Emancipated” Duncan and the Big Secret
CELESTE: I wanted to give you your clean clothes before dinner… What is she doing here?
VERONICA: “She” meaning me? I guess I’m here as Duncan’s secret girlfriend. Oh! And we have a love child.
Veronica’s delivery is amazing here (Duncan’s expression and body language are also “amazing,” as can be seen in the first screen cap, but in a very different way). However, what really calls for comment is the Celeste bringing Duncan his clean clothes.
We know that both Logan (Logan running into Celeste at some point in this episode would also have been excellent, but I like this scene the way it is) and Duncan are emancipated. Logan is emancipated for obvious reasons. When Duncan revealed in 3x05 that he was also emancipated (when asking Logan to come over and “mend fences”), the implication was that he and Logan were somehow in the same boat of having freed themselves from awful parents and could commiserate.
Even before this scene, though, we know that really is not the case. Leaving aside the obvious gap between all of Celeste and Jake’s misdeeds (which were serious) and Aaron sleeping with and murdering Logan’s girlfriend, it is clear that the separations are not the same. Logan has only seen his father at his emancipation hearing and when they ended up in the same jail cell; already in first episode of the season, Duncan was off visiting Jake.
Both Duncan and Logan seem to have free access to practically unlimited funds. They live off of room service and basically having the hotel staff cater to them. But Duncan has taken it to a new level: the hotel staff is not good enough to do his laundry, his mother, who lives in Napa, has her own personal assistant do it for him. Hilarious. What was the point of emancipation? On an existential level, despite Duncan trying to pull the “poor little lonely rich boy” act, it is clear that his personal situations is miles away from Logan’s.
V. Poor Astrid
VERONICA: Wanna hold her? She’s snuggly.
CELESTE: I’ll pass. Astrid, if you’re done gaping, the clothes.
Celeste is at her best when she is being The Worst.
VI: Veronica as Logan
DUNCAN: I’m sorry, I should have told them.
VERONICA: Or mentioned to me that you hadn’t.
Hey, Duncan actually apologizing for something he has done wrong! Mark it down!
Veronica’s response is fascinating. Would she really have been okay with Duncan not telling his parents about her if he had just told her? Maybe that makes it slightly better. What is really shocking is that Veronica makes that one remark to him, and then basically moves on down the line. As with so many things involving VD, it seems out of character for Veronica to respond like this.
Maybe Veronica is just channeling Logan. After all, she wanted to keep Logan a secret from everyone when they were “dating” (or whatever that was). Yes, she tells Logan that it was to protect Duncan, and given how Logan responds when they get busted, that was obviously important to him. However, when else has Veronica ever been concerned about how other people will feel about her dating choices – remember Meg and Logan? I am not saying that Veronica should have been more concerned, just noting that it is not her usual m.o. in this these situations. In fact, I suspect that she was a bit ashamed or embarrassed to be with Logan. It is not healthy, but one can understand Veronica’s perspective. Veronica, had spent more than a year cultivating a justified reputation as a badass outsider, so I can see why she would not want to suddenly be seen on the arm of the person perceived as her number one enemy.
Whatever the reason, she did hide Logan from the world as long as she could (and even after theory got outed to the school, she still hid the relationship from her Keith!). Logan never questioned it, he just wanted to be with her. Logan did not have the self-respect or emotional health to wonder whether they should really be doing what they were doing if they had to keep it a secret.
That is not the only way Veronica is the Logan of VD. She had every reason to think Duncan had cheated on her with Kendall (Duncan does not deny that Kendall had been in his room back in 2x07), yet just stands there and accepts his (dubious) explanation. Now think about Logan. It is strongly implied (“Lilly loved guys”) that Logan had some inkling that she ran around on him, yet he still says he loved her (“just not like I loved her” – the most Logan line ever). How Logan handled it can also be inferred from his reaction to discovering Veronica had spent the weekend with Piz. He assumes Piz and Veronica slept together, yet that does not spur the break-up, at least not immediately. Logan never brings it up while he and Veronica are together (even when he has the perfect chance during the “ask me anything” fiasco) – only once they are over (and she has told him she is “never getting over” the Madison thing).
There are differences, of course. Logan simply seems to think he does not deserve better. Veronica does her denial thing. In any case, seeing Veronica Logan-ing in a relationship with a Kane sibling shoes makes it clear just how pear-shaped things have gone.
VII: Move Over Cordelia and Willow
CELESTE: I told your father something like this would happen. This is exactly why we should have taken you up to Napa.
VERONICA: Not in front of the baby!
CELESTE: This isn’t amusing, Veronica.
VERONICA: It’s not. Me, breeding with a Kane?
VERONICA: No laughing matter. But look: no one has to know, right? Worst case scenario, things don’t work out, I’ll just dump her off at the big dance. It worked at your prom, didn’t it?
CELESTE: Does she ever make sense, Duncan?
VERONICA: Does she ever thaw out, Duncan?
People love the Buffyverse reunion and showdown between Cordelia and Willow in this episode (with “Willow” [Trina] finally winning a snark-off with “Cordelia” [Kendall]), but I think Celeste versus Veronica tops it.
Celeste is being her terrible-amazing self here (as Duncan stands there), and Veronica matches her via snark, which should tell us something. But first, Veronica goes off the rails a bit. Veronica thinks she is nailing Celeste to the wall with the comment about the baby, but Celeste gets off a good one, “Does she ever make sense, Duncan?” Veronica responds with “Does she ever thaw out.” Things get even nastier, but I have to comment on one more line: “Does she ever thaw out, Duncan?” It is a good line when directed at Celeste, but it is tremendous on a number of levels to hear Veronica call someone else an ice queen.
And then we get…
VIII: Pure, Unadulterated Celeste
CELESTE: When I look at your face, all I see is your drunk slut of a mother.
Oh em gee.
It is an absolutely horrible thing for Celeste to say to Veronica, no matter what we (and Veronica!) think of Lianne. But that is the awesome awfulness of Celeste Kane – she just does not care.
IX: Duncan’s Denouement: A Not-So-Logan Moment
CELESTE: Look, Duncan, she can’t just talk
DUNCAN: Veronica, I need a moment alone with my mom.
So, about two years too late, Duncan decides to stand up for Veronica. This might be seen as the Donut version of “evaporate or something, I don’t know.” Yes, it is the right thing to do, but, Duncan had to save face after getting busted deceiving both his parents and Veronica. Given that Duncan is still, as always, his parents’ Golden Boy, who, even after emancipation, still has his mother bringing him laundry and having her assistant fold it, it is pretty clear he is not risking anything. Veronica is still symbolically banished to the bedroom with the help (shades of Lizzie’s visit to the hotel room in 2x04) while the Kanes work out their country club issues.
Thus ends the second-to-last appearance in the series of the glorious Celeste Kane.
[Screen caps from vm-caps.com; quotes are from vmtranscripts.com]