I made a post about my favorite boy Victor not too long ago, and I mentioned a shot in passing that I really loved, but because it wasn’t the focus of the post, I didn’t go into it. I would like to now. Here it is:
This is the first glimpse of Victor we get within canon. Well, beyond the opening sequence with Yuuri watching Victor skate as they grow up but I think we can all agree that was outside of canon and can be discarded here.
It’s a damn good first glimpse. As you’ve probably already noticed, Victor’s eyes are covered. Deliberately. Dude fuckin does a twirl and the camera is framed in such a way that we don’t get to see his eyes until he looks up for the cameras. That’s an interesting touch, for several reasons.
First, when a character’s eyes are not visible, it implies something is hidden within them. A trait, motivation, true emotions, etc etc.
Secondly, the fact that we can’t see Victor’s eyes until he turns to the cameras with that fake-ass media smile. In this scene, we’re being treated as the public. Victor is immediately hiding from us and the rest of the world. You know, something he does all the goddamn time.
Victor is scarily good at masking. For those who don’t know what I mean, masking is the act of hiding one’s true personality, desires, and/or emotions to conform to society. I mask due to past trauma. Victor masks to meet public expectation.
You’ve probably guessed already that masking is incredibly unhealthy–it’s repression, after all. If it gets bad enough, you’ll stop knowing where masking ends and you begin. Sometimes it takes me months to figure out how I feel about something because I need to sort through so many layers of masking and anxiety and doubt. It’s really difficult sometimes.
We see tons of lovely examples of Victor masking throughout the show. Here are a few off the top of my head:
(^absolutely terrified vitya trying to be smooth)
(^living up to his press image)
(^so incredibly upset on so many levels but he doesn’t dare show it)
(^pissed enough that yuuri picks up on it. and then acts dishonestly w/ yuuri by trying to come off as pleasant)
(i love that yuuri is comfortable enough by this point to call victor out on his bs. if you’re gonna get mad, get mad)
(you can actually see Victor’s hand shake if you watch the scene. boy is so pissed and he’s holding it in)
Victor is actually incredibly reserved in all the emotions he shows, especially if it’s anger or sadness. For most of the series, he only lets himself go in front of Yuuri or alone. Victor hides from himself, he hides from Yuuri, and it helps no one in the end.
The beach sequence, actually, is important to this idea too. As we know, Victor asks Yuuri what he wants them to be.
And then he lists off all these options before essentially asking to go out with him, but in a way that says he’s too scared to do it outright.
Now, this is partially to gauge Yuuri’s feelings towards him, but it’s also highly revealing of Victor’s self-worth. He’s willing to put on any mask, any persona to be with Yuuri. Yuuri, of course, doesn’t want this at all.
🚨 HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP ALERT!🚨
And looking at Victor’s reaction (guarded surprise)
This may be the first time Victor has been asked to just be himself.
So if Victor was a world champion at 16
(boy is 15-16 in that article)
He must have been skating for a while beforehand. We can probably approximate by saying he started competitions around the time Yuri did, which I estimate to be about 12-13. However, Victor does say this
And if we’re to believe him, 27-20=7, and therefore something happened at the age of 7 to force Victor into backing away from others and working himself to the bone. Uhm, wow. I don’t know how accurate it is to say that, but regardless, he’s been in the public eye for a long fuckin time.
Victor has spent this long fuckin time building an image: elegance, confidence, charming yet untouchable. The perfect playboy, in a way. This is the person he presents to the public. I think he’s been masking like this for so long he forgot that this isn’t who he is–Victor has the ability to be all those things, but it’s not who he is. Victor is excitable, bubbly, caring, vulnerable, depressed, lonely, hardworking…Yuuri, by asking Victor to be himself, released a metaphorical floodgate on Victor’s emotions. He’s broken that carefully crafted persona.
Victor is now publicly goofy and affectionate
(i love how he hides his face a little here…how cute and shy while showing off that he’s yuuri’s)
And can drop his composure comfortably
(also vitya always wears gloves to competitions until they get the rings and then victor keeps the gloves off completely :v)
I love that Victor’s relationship with Yuuri has allowed him to find himself again, and peel away those masks to live and breathe and love as he was always meant to.