i barely had any screencaps so i kind of had to

DNR: Emori meta time

It’s worth noting that Raven is the one character besides Clarke that Emori mentioned by name in 4x07 when she was arguing with Murphy. Would they risk testing the nightblood on her, she asked, in a tone that implied No, OBVIOUSLY they’d never do that.

I thought that was a fascinating window into Emori’s (accurate) perception of things, even though we still had seen very little of her interacting with the others on the island onscreen. She deliberately singled out Raven as one of the most valued people there, who the others are protective of, who Abby would never consider testing. Maybe for personal reasons - that she too is like a daughter to her - but more likely because she’s the Genius who they’ve been relying on to save them all.

Emori saw herself, of course, at the bottom of that hierarchy - not one of their own, a frikdreina, and someone who’d already served her purpose getting them to the island and wasn’t contributing anything else.

Which then gets us to 4x08.  We’ll never know what would’ve happened if not!Baylis was never a factor. Emori’s fears that they’d immediately target her, for the reasons she believed, might have been exaggerated (or were they?) – and yet the MINUTE they had another reason to target her, no one questioned doing exactly that.

SO BACK TO THE (TOTALLY JUSTIFIED) PESSIMISM PARADE. Whatever actions she took that - tragically, counter-productively - got her there, the fact she was seen as expendable was still underlying all of it. She was not worth surviving as much as everyone else. Clarke trying to endanger herself instead and Abby STOPPING her from doing that just highlighted what she’d originally said - of course not Clarke, they wouldn’t let that happen. And there’d be no consequences for Abby doing the exact same thing she tried to do. They’re exactly the things Emori isn’t, to people besides Murphy: loved, special, needed.

(lol when did you ever)

The fact they didn’t end up testing her was a big deal but it was little actual comfort to Emori, as we see in this episode. They not only considered it, but went as far as tying her up, drugging her, the needle was in Clarke’s hand - no matter what the outcome was, the events of that episode still confirmed to her that she was right all along to be skeptical of them.

And it’s not just what she’s already dealt with from Skaikru, it’s her whole life to this point. Emori has only ever survived - by luck and skill and determination - through an ableist world that saw her as a “stain on the bloodline” and genetic threat, and a cutthroat world on the edges of civilization where genuine allies were hard to come by. Her default mindset is one that makes it impossible to put her faith in “Miller and Jackson are coming back" for them. Just for them, just to take them to Polis too, just because that’s what they said they were doing.

(SIDE NOTE! Can we deal with how instrumental Emori was in Murphy getting over a very similar pessimism about No One Ever Coming Back For Him? Like, this was *a significant line* in their relationship – “When people leave in this world they don’t come back.” “I did.”  Murphy and Emori have overcome enough trust hurdles *just with each other*, just with believing *one* person is not going to ditch them. But Emori can’t rely on a group she barely knows, a group that’s already almost let her die once. That’s not how this works.)

To get back to the start of this post - a solid dynamic of the group Emori KNEW was that Raven was important to them. But she connected that only to what she could do, not any deeper friendship or loyalty to her. (Emori drove them to an island on a freaking boat. Clarke looked in her eyes, when she was giving her Baylis sob story, and promised to never let anyone hurt her.) Raven’s important status can be taken away – if they’ve got their five-year bunker and her brain is destroying her rather than helping, then she’s not needed anymore. And if she’s seen as defective on top of that…

This isn’t just about Emori, even though obviously she’s worried for herself. She thought Raven was frikdreina-level expendable now and they didn’t care what happened to her, or were actively trying to get rid of her – an even more sinister thought. Seeing her deteriorate and talking to herself was more evidence of this - “yep, they left us here, that’s how they see all of us.” She knows exactly how people like this are treated, in one way or another, by every clan. They’re the ones you cast out.

But in the end, that didn’t happen. Maybe it was for them, maybe it was mostly for Raven – that they still wanted Raven is significant enough, even as Raven herself was deciding to peace out. They want her on their team no matter what she’s going through. They kept their word without any reason to, just ‘cause it mattered not to leave anyone behind.

(Seriously they had never even considered it, they were just late ‘cause they were boning and that was all, they had no clue why she and Murphy reacted the way they did.)

(gif by @doortotomorrow)

And like… I don’t think this ought to solve every one of her problems or make her feel totally peachy after God Complex or anything, because again it’s a bare human decency thing (a la Murphy saving Raven from the drones). But I do love the very simple, meaningful arc that she had in this ep.

It’s the first time Emori’s ever realized she was *wrong* to expect the worst, and people she didn’t think she could rely on actually came through and proved themselves to be okay - they’re not the kind of people who abandon the sick and the “outsiders.” (Not always, not this time.)

The circle of people Emori can trust, her capacity to believe in people, got a tiny bit wider, and it was kind of hilarious but also touching.

Agents Of Shield 2.11 Recap

I’ve had a few people bring up the fact that I no longer do recaps like I used to  last season, and I decided that, since I have a little extra time today, I’ll go ahead and do a recap of Aftershocks. Last season my recaps were mostly just me yelling incoherently, so I’m going to try and make these a little classier. And by that, I mean I added like 50 screencaps that should increase the funny by at least 10%. You’ll notice the words are not their usual bright colors, because I didn’t use my usual program, and didn’t feel like trying to recreate the right colors. Anyway, enough yapping, here we go - 

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE CREEPY EYES IN BTS’ WINGS

Okay I know this has likely all been hashed over by now by people who are much more insightful than me, but I thought I would give my own little 2 cents on what the hell is going on in Wings. There’s been a lot of great analysis on the link to Hesse’s Demion, which is what they’re outright referencing, so I’m going to focus on something else. THE EYES. I’m also going to draw from Oscar Wilde’s  ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, in case there is a link there. Just to clarify, I am absolutely certain I’m reading far too much into pretty much all of this, but I had a lot of fun. I also haven’t seen anyone point out all the WEIRD EYE STUFF going on. Here we go.

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A Defense of Mary Morstan

So here’s the thing: I like Mary Morstan.  I don’t know why, exactly.  I just do.

I’ve spent the last week reading the meta out there – and a lot of it is fantastic – but so much of it is so anti-Mary that I have a lot of difficulty with it.  Because at the end of the day, even though Mary’s character and motivations and back story are horrifically problematic….I still like Mary, and because I like Mary, I feel like an attack on her is almost an attack on me for having the audacity to like her.

(I know it’s not.  But that’s how it feels.)

So here it is: my defense of why Mary absolutely fascinates me.  It’s not a defense of Mary herself, because there are some things she’s done that I don’t think I can defend, and I’m not going to pretend to try.  But I’m tired of seeing her attacked.  Don’t me wrong, I totally get why people don’t like her very much after HLV.  But….I see so much meta attacking her, and nothing that talks about her, so this is my attempt to rectify that.

Why does Mary fascinate me? 

1. She’s got an interesting backstory.  I mean, come on.  Female ex-assassin who left her entire life behind, cut out everyone and everything she knew five years ago to take on not only a new name, but new job, new persona, new nationality, new life?  Dude.  That’s interesting.  I want to know what prompted that move for her.  Why’d she leave her past behind?  What’s haunting her?  What scares her so much about any of that becoming known?

Who is she protecting?  Is it all self-preservation, or is she protecting someone else?  Don’t forget that CAM made a reference to her parents in his wedding telegram, and Mary’s expression was nervous.  Why?  Are her parents still alive?  Do they know where their daughter is?  Do they know what their daughter has done?

(And actually, there’s a good question – did Mary do something to her parents to prompt that flight from her past?  Or did her parents do something to cause it?)

I have seen arguments saying that Mary didn’t necessarily leave the assassin life behind her.  I’m not so sure about that.  The clothes we see her wearing when she shoots Sherlock are all things she could have purchased in the days/weeks leading up to that event.  I doubt she’s been carrying them around the last few years.  The gun’s a bit trickier – after all, you can’t go into the London equivalent of Wal-Mart to buy one – but she’s hardly the first person on the show to own an illegal firearm – nor to fail to provide a reason for having it.  Clearly, there’s a source somewhere in London supplying folks with guns.  Just because Mary stopped being an assassin doesn’t mean she conveniently forgot everything she learned in that time: such as where to obtain a firearm, how to befriend people in the right places, how to read a skip code.

Apart from wanting to kill Magnussen – and please, who doesn’t want to kill Magnussen – I don’t see any evidence that Mary is still working as an assassin, or that apart from Magnussen, had any intention to do so in the future. 

I look at Mary – and all I see are questions.  And for me, that’s fascinating.  I love it.  I want answers.  That’s why I write fanfiction: to answer the why.  Why did she stop being an assassin?  Why did she leave her past behind?  Why’s she so scared of it being brought to light? 

2. She’s the flip side of Sherlock HolmesThe bare bones facts of Mary and Sherlock: they both love John Watson.  Yes, it’s totally different kinds of love, and it prompts them to do different things – but it’s still love.

I’ve seen some great arguments out there about how everything Sherlock does in S3, he does out of love for John.  And they’re wonderful arguments, with some fascinating theories and meta and quotes and screencaps, and I agree with them.  Sherlock absolutely does everything he can in S3 to show his love for John, his unending support for John, his desire to do what is right by John.

But Mary’s done the same thing.  A lot of what she’s done, she’s done out of love for John.  She encouraged John to resume his friendship with Sherlock in TEH, even though she had to know that Sherlock would be able to tell that she was lying about her past.  (And he did, remember – he saw it almost immediately, even if he didn’t understand it.  I think the only reason he didn’t dig deeper was because he knew John loved her, and that was enough for him to trust her.)  And when John didn’t seem to want to do it – she backed off.  She let him make up his own mind about it, though she certainly let him know how she felt.

The real difference between the two of them is that Sherlock is assured of John’s love for him.  Mary isn’t.  Sherlock lies to John about his death, returns two years later fully expecting John to welcome him with open arms, and is shocked when John is angry.  Mary, on the other hand, is completely convinced that if John knew about her past, he’d stop loving her.  Maybe she’s right; maybe she’s not.  We don’t know, and if John really didn’t read that file, we’re never going to know. 

John eventually forgave Sherlock.  Sort of, anyway.  He holds Sherlock at a distance throughout S3, which makes me think that part of him never really does forgive Sherlock for the lies he told.  I don’t think it’s as simple as a case of “forgiving but not forgetting”.  I think Sherlock really doesn’t entirely forgive Sherlock.  That’s probably just my read, though.

There’s no guarantee that he’d forgive Mary.  And I’ll admit, I’m kind of surprised that he does in that last Christmas scene…but I’m also not that surprised at all.  There’s a phrase that everyone has used to damn Mary’s love for John: “Because John can’t ever know that I lied to him. It would break him and I would lose him forever, and Sherlock, I will never let that happen. Please, understand, there is nothing in this world I would not do to stop that happening.”

It’s no secret from that line that Mary loves John desperately, wholly, completely, consummingly.  The thing is…the line is less about how Mary loves John, but how much Mary needs John.  And she needs him, desperately.  I don’t doubt that Mary loves John.  But I do think she needs him more.

Thing is…so does Sherlock.

“I am a ridiculous man redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship,” says Sherlock in his best man’s speech.  And it’s true – if there is a human component to Sherlock, the self-proclaimed sociopath, it’s because John was there to provide him a heart and a conscience.  Would Sherlock Holmes, pre-John, have been willing to die for his friends?  Maybe not.

John humanizes Sherlock – well, I propose that he does the same for Mary.  Pre-John, Mary was, we’re led to believe, a cold-blooded assassin.  And while she deliberately dropped that persona long before she met John – it’s only with John that her new, non-assassin self has any weight at all. If John loves her, she’s all right.  If John loves her, she’s safe.

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness that she depends on John to hold onto that persona.  But the fact remains that she’s clearly afraid of what happens to her if John leaves her.  After all, look at Sherlock: John married Mary, and within a month, Sherlock was back in a crack den.

 Considering Mary’s past, she’d got good reason to be afraid.  And I think John realizes that both Mary and Sherlock depend on him to provide them a moral anchor.  There’s something seductive about that.

3. She’s the flip side of John Watson.  Let’s look at the barebones facts of John Watson: he was a soldier.  He’s killed people.  (We get the impression that the cabbie wasn’t the first.)  He knows how to handle a gun well enough that he can make a near-impossible shot easily and with a bum shoulder at night with poor visibility. He’s a doctor.  He knows how to hurt and how to heal. 

The bare bones facts of Mary Morstan are the same.  She was an assassin.  She killed people.  She can shoot a coin in the air with near-perfect accuracy in dim lighting.  She’s a nurse, which means no matter what you believe her intentions when she shot Sherlock, she knew exactly where to hit him (and had the ability to do it).

John and Mary are so perfectly symmetrical.  They both have dark pasts they’d like to forget.  They both have family who isn’t there.  They’re both trying to be better people, but they’re attracted to danger like moths to a flame.  They both have people who want to hurt them.

And they both want a quiet life.  Just a nice, normal life, in the suburbs, with each other. 

Well.  They say they want that.  But John goes racing off to a crack den at the first opportunity, casually takes down the doorman and sprains his wrist without even flinching.  Mary breaks into a high-security office and has her adversary begging on his knees.  Oh, man, are these two made for each other.

And they’re both lying about it.  John refuses to acknowledge that he’s an adrenaline junkie, refuses to admit that he might not be happy with his castle-in-the-sky happily-ever-after.  I’m not trying to give John’s betrayal the same weight as Mary’s, because they cannot be compared.  But there is still betrayal on John’s part, for pretending to be happy when he isn’t.

The biggest difference between John and Mary is that they’re both lying about different things.  Mary might be lying about who she was, but John is lying to himself about who he is.

4. Mary shot Sherlock.  So, Mary shot Sherlock.  Point blank, in the chest, aim if not to outright kill, then at least doom to a very slow, very painful recovery – assuming he survived.

I can’t really ignore that.  It’s kind of central to why a lot of people don’t like her.  And I get that, I totally get that.  Kind of hard to shoot the title character and still come out smelling like roses.

Truth is…I have no idea why Mary shot Sherlock.  And to me, that’s one of the most interesting things about her.  That’s the whole question, isn’t it?  Because it doesn’t make any sense for her to have shot Sherlock.  I’ve read a couple of metas on why she did it, why of course she did it…and not a single one of them has convinced me that shooting Sherlock was in that moment the smart thing to do, because it just isn’t. 

And say what you will about Mary – she’s smart.  There is no way you can survive being a CIA assassin, going freelance, and then hiding yourself so completely for five years without being seriously clever.  And yet Mary did an incredibly stupid thing by shooting Sherlock Holmes, the one man who could have helped her, and would have done so gladly, with open arms and open heart and every inch of him working for her, and not against her.

Mary had to know that.  She had to know that.  Sherlock even told her that.  But knowing and hearing and believing are entirely different things.  Why didn’t Mary believe that????

This is what keeps me up at night.  Go on, shoot Magnussen.  To kill, to injure, whatever.  But the moment she shot Sherlock, everything fell apart for her.  As she had to have known it would.

Why shoot Sherlock???

I want to say it was instinctual.  Think about it: Mary’s in the penthouse, with Magnussen on his knees, trying to talk his way out of death.  She’s stressed, she’s scared, she’s becoming the person she left behind five years ago.  She knows that her time is limited.  She’s probably falling back on every bit of training she’s ever had in her life.

And then someone walks in.  It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Mary would shoot first and ask questions later.  Had she shot Sherlock the moment he stepped into the room, it would have been horrible – but I think we would have understood that it was reactionary, not premeditated.  (Depending entirely on her reaction after the fact, of course.)

Except she didn’t shoot immediately.  She talked to him.  She even warned him.  And she didn’t shoot him in the shoulder (which would have had a certain level of poetic justice, putting Sherlock on the same level as John), she shot him in a far more fatal location. 

(And we know she’s a good shot – remember that coin in the empty house – she ought to have been able to shoot him straight through the heart, end of story.  She didn’t.  No less a kill shot, of course.  It makes me wonder: why not the certain kill?  Was she nervous?  Was she scared?  Was she regretful?  Was she sorry?  Or was this just a matter of Moffat and Gatiss wanting to give Sherlock the sliver necessary to survive?)

I don’t know.  And to me, that is the biggest riddle of all with Mary: why she shot Sherlock.  What led her to make that decision, to let Magnussen go (because she certainly could have shot him after Sherlock was down, and she didn’t, and to me, that just seems sloppy).

I don’t see this as reason to condemn her, though.  Not outright.  I see it as a culmination of a series of terrible mistakes, in a lifetime of difficult decisions.  And after all, it did end in her downfall.

Now, there’s an argument for why Mary doesn’t shoot Magnussen – that at this point, everyone is under the impression that Magnussen has hard-copy evidence for his blackmail.  Mary can’t shoot Magnussen without obtaining that hard-copy evidence.  Okay, this makes sense.  Except I don’t think it really matters.  There’s no indication given what happens to the evidence if Magnussen is killed.  He never threatens to release information in the event of his death.  Even if he did have hard-copy evidence on everyone, it’s not as if anyone is really going to go through it with a fine-tooth comb, or know what they have in their possession.  What would have happened to it, really?  Would someone have gone through it – or would someone have seen it destroyed?

Moot, of course.  Not that Mary could have known that at the time.  And yet I still think the smarter thing for her to have done would have been to shoot Magnussen then – and figure out what happens to the information afterwards.  If Mary can break into the penthouse so easily – pretty sure she could break into Appledore, especially if Magnussen is down.  And then it’s cake, destroying those files – assuming they had ever existed.

(And actually, Moffat claims [http://cosmoglaut.tumblr.com/post/73530806426]in the Empire interview that if Sherlock hadn’t come in, Mary would have shot Magnussen.  Which makes it even more illogical that she didn’t do it after shooting Sherlock.  Yes, yes, I know perhaps Moffat is lying through his teeth.  And I’ve heard the theory: “can’t do it because it would implicate John”.  Only if she’s using John’s gun.  Which she isn’t.  I don’t think John would have done any time for the crime.)

Mary shot Sherlock.  Any way you look at it, it was an incredibly stupid thing to do – and what’s more, it was a stupid thing coming from a woman who we are being led to believe is very, very smart.  Which makes me wonder – why?  I refuse to condemn what I don’t understand, and this is absolutely something I do not understand.  It just makes me want to know more about her.

5. Mary could be Moran.  Maybe.  It’s an interesting theory.  Certainly there are some serious parallels with the scene in Leinster Gardens and the story The Empty House.  And honestly, I loved that entire scene, with John as the “dummy” Sherlock and Mary shooting the coin and the façade and…oh, it was just brilliant.  I loved it, start to finish, and even watching it, I knew there were parallels being drawn, that Moffat and Gatiss were using that story for this scene.

But I think that’s where it ends.  I think it’s good storytelling, it’s good use of canon, it’s entirely in line with all the other canon references we’ve had in the show up to this point.  I don’t think it’s a way of telling us that Mary is meant to be Sebastian Moran, or that she has worked for Moriarty in the past (or in the present, for that matter). 

I’m not going to dispute that the theory is a good one, or that it won’t spark a thousand fanfics (as well all good theories should).  But I don’t think it’s accurate.  I kind of rank it in the “Ron is Dumbledore” level of theories: lots of fun to contemplate, yay for creativity, but in the end, not gonna happen.

6. The Small Things.

While I’m here, other theories I’ve seen. 

Mary should have recognized Sherlock immediately in TEH.  The theory is that Mary played dumb about not knowing Sherlock in the restaurant.  Except I didn’t really get the sense that she was playing dumb and not recognizing him.  Because, after all, she did recognize him, and pretty quickly too, without his having been named. 

And really – she never met Sherlock before.  She probably saw his picture a lot, and she certainly heard about him from John.  She visited his grave at least once that we saw.  But seeing photos of someone you are told is dead, and then seeing that man stand in front of you in a restaurant – and remember, Sherlock was never facing Mary, he was always facing John – I can understand why the recognition took  a few moments. 

And this too: remember, John knew Sherlock much, much better than Mary.  And he’d had an entire conversation as well as half a dozen dropped hints, and still didn’t know it was him

So no.  I think Mary called Sherlock by name the moment she realized it was him.  There wasn’t any reason for her to hide her knowledge of him. 

The baby is not John’s.  The thing is, John doesn’t seem to dispute the fact that the baby is his.  Which means he must believe that there’s a good chance that he impregnated Mary.  If John had any doubt at all: “How can the baby be mine?  We weren’t having sex/the condom never broke/you always took the pill” then I think he might have said something along those lines. 

But he doesn’t – he simply accepts it, never questions it, absolutely goes on with the belief that yes, the baby is his.  Period.

If that is still not enough to convince you – because after all, stuff happens off screen – then remember that at the end of HLV, John is with Mary, for better or worse, and it sure seems like he’s intending to raise the child as his own, period.  It seems to me that whether the baby is John’s or not is moot, according to John.

*

My husband points out that this seems to be a pattern for me.  I always end up liking one of the villains.  I spent most of the Harry Potter series waiting for Peter Pettigrew’s redemption.  (In some ways, I still am.)  Every time I watch Madagascar 3 with my son, I start lusting after Capitain Dubois.  Every villain I’ve ever written, I’ve loved.  Sometimes I think I’m the only one who does.

I can’t convince anyone to like Mary.  And that’s not why I’m writing this.  Maybe she’s bad and always will be.  Maybe she’s trying desperately to be good and just doesn’t know how.  I don’t know.  To me, Mary is a puzzle, an absolutely fascinating character, flawed and desperate and confused…and human.

And I think, in the end, that’s why I like her.  She’s human.

(This meta is now on AO3.)

 

 

5

What if: Fandom AU | Frostiron / Dracula: Untold | WARNING: Major Spoilers!
+ Roles: Loki as Vlad / Dracula and Tony as Mirena / Anthony ‘Tony’ Stark
+ Music: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Lorde, Dracula Untold by Ramin Djawadi

“Why think separately of this life and the next, when one is born from the last?” 

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Renegades [2/?]

Still for @seastarved, of course. This chapter is unbeated due to TOO MUCH EXCITE this weekend, so please forgive me my many undoubted sins, folks. (Also Holy Exposition, Batman! Needs must, however.) Screencap from kissthemgoodbye.net.

Tagging @trueromantic1, because she didn’t ask me not to ;)

Rated M overall. This chapter 4k. On Ao3 HERE.


Chapter Two: Lost Souls


Emma wakes with a splutter, retching helplessly as she spits acrid soil from her mouth. Her head is throbbing; there’s a ringing in her ears so intense she feels like she’d been ten rounds with one of the bare-knuckle fighters that tout for matches in the back streets. In her confusion part of her wonders if maybe she has - she’s done worse things for money after all - and a concussion makes a hell of a lot more sense than any other explanation she can come up with for the turn her night has taken.

“What,” she asks the universe as she sits up unsteadily, her fingers digging into the damp earth, “the hell just happened?”

The universe, such as it is, is pacing up and down in the small clearing they’ve found themselves in, his shoulders hunched, a flask held tight in white-knuckled fingers, his face drawn in a dark scowl as he grumbles bitter invectives under his breath.

“Hook!” Emma snaps as she struggles to her feet. The buzzing in her ears seems to run down her spine and along the lengths of her arms, leaving an uncomfortable burn in her fingertips. It makes her feel off kilter and unsteady. Afraid. She forces the fear down and plants herself in front of Hook, arms folded, and twists her expression into something she hopes looks appropriately fierce.

“What is going on? Where are we?”

Hook stops pacing, takes a long swig from his flask, and turns his dark glare on her.

“Magic,” he spits.

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