So here’s a thing I’m thinking a lot about right now (as the ‘i’m a time traveler’ reveal to Carlos will happen within the next 3 or so chapters); Alec and Carlos have wildly different perspectives on Kiera. They are given very different, or at least very different amounts of, information about who she is and what she’s up to. They get even different perspectives on her personality.
I’ve been trying to put myself in Carlos’ shoes for dealing with how the reveal will unfold, and I was realizing his vision of Kiera is bound to be pretty different than Alec’s or the audiences (which are more similar, although the audience knows more about her even than Alec – unless she shares all the memories involved in the flashbacks with him and that’s why we see them, but I doubt it). Carlos has a different set of data to work with.
He spends months thinking Kiera is an agent from a highly classified counter terrorism unit. He sees that she’s capable, tough and secretive. He thinks she’s got a mysterious agenda from some shadow agency, fully trained in stuff that’s kind of ~above his paygrade. He thinks she’s kind of strange and awkward, but that she is secretive ‘i could tell you but then I’d have to kill you’ type reasons. He clearly finds her fascinating, but also keeps his distance, probably not wanting to get caught up with her ‘mission’ with ‘section six’ more than he already is. He likes working cases with her, and also uses her for information that he wouldn’t otherwise have access, he assumes is coming through this Section Six branch. Carlos thinks he’s working with this highly trained, vaguely duplicitous, occasionally mystifying secret agent person working on directives from on high.
He’s not. He’s working with a tough, capable and also almost painfully naive stranded time traveler, who used to be essentially a uniform officer who was training to be a detective… who fairly well by accident, became a con artist pretending to be a secret agent and investigator. (I adore Kiera, I really do, but the plain truth is that she and Alec are perpetrating an elaborate – though necessary, in the circumstance – grift on the VPD et al, and I think it’s really interesting that Kiera, actually neither of them, ever think of it in those terms. Not even when the repercussions of said con in the guise of Gardiner is starting to creep up on her. But that’s a different post.) Kiera is essentially making it up as she goes, and using the assumptions of the people around her about her secret agent-hood to boost her credibility.
Alec is getting a different picture. Not as complete as the one the audience has, but still a clearer view of Kiera. He’s there with her helping her put together her fake background and feeding her info to keep her from appearing too out of touch. He sees her solving cases and going after bad guys, but he also sees her struggling and lost and tries to help talk her through it. He gets a picture of a Kiera who is sad and struggling and fighting to navigate a confusing and alien world – a world of which she has very little understanding. He sees someone who is strong and a quick thinker, but in many ways lost, temporally, culturally, and even in social situations much of the time.
Kiera couldn’t tell Carlos much about her family and why she couldn’t see them without making up a lot of complex lies she couldn’t back up with anything. She couldn’t talk except in the most general terms about her past because her career, education and childhood in a post-climate change dystopia would give a lot away.
Alec is the only person in “the past” that Kiera can talk to about her real situation and her difficulty interfacing. He’s curious, but she also leans on him, wanting to talk about things for which she has no other outlet. (She puts more of her emotional and legal wellbeing on him even than is maybe fair, given his youth, and given that she asks for boundaries while expecting him to be on call at all times. but again, different post.)
Alec gets to see her struggle and her vulnerability, and while he may tease her a little, he helps her out without judgement or scorn.
Carlos doesn’t get to see the context of Kiera’s actions, so he’s a little more dismissive. He doesn’t see Anachronistic Train Wreck Kiera, he sees a spook and a pretty weird one at that. He reacts with more suspicion, and yes, more judgement.
It’s easy to see why they ended up with this dichotomy, and it’s not actually the fault of Kiera, Alec or Carlos. Not completely any one of them. But it does lend itself to a continuing patterns of these two different dynamics becoming more and more habitual. On the one hand the pattern of trust and emotional intimacy between Kiera and Alec based on established behavior. On the other, a continued hesitance in Kiera to share more with Carlos because of how he’s reacted to her before. He acts kind of dismissive and suspicious towards her because of who she had led him to think she was, but she still ends up feeling worried that telling him the full truth might put her at risk.
And in a lot of ways, I felt like the fallout of Kiera telling Carlos was glossed over. Once he believed her everything was just fine again, although he had to adjust to the knowledge. Which is handy in a procedural with not a lot of episodes per season, and it’s more pleasant to watch, I get it. But that was a lot of lying, a pretty big con that Kiera and Alec pulled, and then Carlos was in on it at well. That’s the kind of situation that has some weight and consequences no matter how much you still like and want to trust the person involved.
Plus, even more than that, Carlos would have had a fairly different conceptualization of who Kiera was before learning the truth vs after it. that’s an adjustment as well.
The different images of Kiera is something I want to really spot light in my fic project, but it’s tricky. I have a hard time getting in Carlos’s head for whatever reason, and his POV has to be a part of it.
and this bit of thinking outloud has now gotten pretty well away from me. But i welcome any thoughts on this, even if it’s to say that i’m making too much of something that isn’t really there. I’m kind of losing perspective after working on my fic so long.