Okay so as basically every other person out there I am blown away by the latest Yuri on Ice episode and in a state where I just have to rant about it to even think about calming down. Prepare for lots of Viktor, and also both our precious Yuri’s.
With just one look and one line of dialogue, the whole show turned on its head and we can now watch it from a completely different perspective, more correctly, Viktor’s.
FOLLOW ME UNDER THE CUT TO READ A MEGA RANT I PILED UP IN SOME HOURS ABOUT VIKTOR NIKIFOROV AND A LOT OF REFERENCES TO THE FUTURE
I’d say it’s safe to assume that Viktor was the one who fell in love first, and that all Viktor did after that moment was motivated by the fact that he fell so heads over heels in love with Yuuri during the banquet. Yuuri showed him how to live, how to have fun, how to connect with someone and how to love someone, something it’s fair to say Viktor never experienced before. All his life revolved around skating, and thanks to that his life also suffered. He paid for those medals with his own personal well-being, on the emotional plane, and was ultimately very unsatisfied with his life.
Just look at him after winning yet another gold medal.
At this point, it means nothing to him. His life is empty, void of affection and love and genuine happiness. In the shots he shared with Yuuri during the banquet, he looks thrilled, much more thrilled than winning gold in yet another final. At 27, it’s obvious that his career as a skater is quickly coming to an end, and yet he decided to press on for yet another season, because I believe he simply don’t know about any other life. Skating is all he has.
Until Yuuri came into his life.
There’s been tons of debate about the look Viktor has here. Was Yuuri just a random fan that offended him by turning him down? Was he offended another skater turned him down? Did he just think Yuuri was some random guy that just happened to walk past in that exact moment? I’ve seen a lot of theories about this, and now we finally might know why he looks so disappointed.
Basically there are two interpretations: the first one is that the photo scene takes part before the banquet, and the other is that it’s afterwards. I didn’t realize that it could be beforehand until I had spent 5 hours writing and editing this so I’LL JUST DISCUSS BOTH please don’t murder me for keeping a potentially incorrect interpretation.
Let me quickly talk about the fact that it could be before the banquet. I didn’t consider this until basically 5 minutes ago so I’m only going to wing it (I was just about to post the original when I was informed of this so now I’m a bit salty about how dumb I was), but the past meta written by many amazing people stand; Yuuri can’t allow himself to be in a photo with Viktor, for he deems himself unworthy and leaves without a word out of shame. This puzzles Viktor, and leaves him especially curious of this Japanese boy once the banquet starts. You can see how he looks at him once Yuuri arrives. I hope the rest of the meta stands fairly well against this point as well, despite not being written around it. In short, Yuuri piqued Viktor’s interest after initially turning him down.
NOW LET’S JUMP INTO THE ORIGINAL POINT I WAS GOING TO MAKE I spent too much time on it to just delete it and it’s a fun way to look at things.
Let’s go back to the start of the scene. Viktor doesn’t notice Yuuri at first, since he is coaching Yurio, but once Yakov takes over he finally notice that Yuuri is looking at him. The screens for this are interesting, and cute.
As we can see, at first he has a look of civil politeness. We’ve been told he’s always nice to his fans and seems well liked and skilled in the public sphere, so I guess this is a common look for him once he’s in the eyes of the public. When he feels that someone is looking at him the smile drops, however, only to be replaced by genuine joy when he realizes Yuuri is the one who has sparked his attention.
We know now this was never just a photo; it was Viktor inviting Yuuri into his space again. He wanted to immortalize this Japanese boy, not as one of his fans or a fellow skater but as a human being whom he felt a connection to. Maybe he also thought to use this as an opportunity to speak to Yuuri a bit more before they parted ways, to see the person behind the drunkenness. It would have been easy to start a chat while taking the photo, and a nice way to acknowledge what they both (in Viktor’s eyes) felt during the banquet.
Instead, he’s turned down, and his heart breaks.
As we can see, his first look is not of disappointment, but one of surprise. He could never foresee that Yuuri, after asking Viktor to be his coach and grinding up to him, would refuse this innocent request. I feel really bad for Viktor actually because for the first time in his life he connected to someone and felt a need to establish a deeper relationship and the man of his affections just turn his back on him without a word and leaves. He’s disappointed, as we can see in the screenshot above, but he must also be confused and sad, wondering what he did wrong, if he just imagined everything, or if he just fooled himself into thinking Yuuri was interested because Viktor himself crave a connection so badly. It’s a shitty position to be in, and the fact that he lets Yuuri go with just this look makes me believe that he felt terribly rejected and thought there was no use to pursue Yuuri further, since his intentions were clear.
It’s rather fascinating, considering how their future relationship is built upon the foundation of good, emotional communication as opposed to the tired miscommunication cliché used in many other shows. Here the tool of miscommunication is used amazingly, however.
Fast forward until Viktor sees Yuuri skate his program.
Me and my sister got into the show right after episode 2 aired, and we had next to no spoilers, so when we came to this scene we both reacted on the look on his face. My sister even pointed out that she was concerned about Yuuri now, because Viktor didn’t look pleased AT ALL while watching the video. I’ve been musing about this now. Is it just that he’s in a private space and that’s his resting face? Or is he, somewhere, a bit salty about Yuuri rejecting him so he goes into the video with some negative emotions? It’s like “this guy danced with me and grinded up to me and made me feel alive only to violently turn me down and now he’s also skating my program?” As for the idea that they never met once the banquet was over, I can only imagine that the video basically played the same role; it fueled Viktor’s interest once again. I’m unsure about this, but now it’s obvious he didn’t pack up his whole life and move to Japan for the sake of one video.
Not entirely, anyway.
I’m going to derail myself a bit perhaps but we all know that Viktor skating “Stay Close to Me” is incredibly meaningful. The lyrics speak of a man trying to find love, and hating it at the same time, until he finds another (male) lover and he opens up to the beauty of it again, leaving his bitterness behind. I don’t have any proof for this except my gut feeling but it feels like Viktor might have been dissatisfied with his performance? It’s incredible, of course, but he had no one to skate for. He is the lonely, seeking man, but he hasn’t found his lover yet. He looks rather sad while he performs, which might just be an artistic choice, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Maybe the parallel between Yuuri and Viktor also mirror this. Yuuri looks solemn, and content, while he skates, and Viktor looks sad. Maybe Viktor’s sadness stems from the fact that he thought he lost the person he wanted to stay close to, while Yuuri skates for that said person still.
Yuuri skates for someone. More correctly, as we all know, Viktor.
When Viktor said Yuuri create music with his body I don’t think he lied, but it’s obvious Yuuri’s take on “Stay Close to Me” touched something deep within him, again. Maybe he thought Yuuri skated it as it should have been skated; longing for someone and desiring them to be with you, something Viktor lacked. Maybe Viktor thought Yuuri had changed his mind after the photo rejection and used Viktor’s own program to reach out to him.
Stay close to me. And Viktor willingly obliged. In episode 4 he says he never thought he would leave St Petersburg; it’s a line that tells us a lot about what Viktor saw for the future: Very little. He didn’t seek or strive for change. He’s lost but unable to see a future beyond his town of birth. St Petersburg is skating, and skating is his life. What happens next is a mystery to him, something scary. And yet Yuuri evokes so much emotion in him that he just packs up and leaves. Yuuri is his future, be it in coaching or in romance, or both. At least this is what Viktor hopes. He’s certain Yuuri is interested again once he reaches Japan, filled with new found passion and hope, and yet his plan once again ends up beating him in the face.
I get the feeling Viktor went all the way to Japan, expecting things to pick up right where they left off. Yuuri, physically and emotionally close to him. I think it’s fair to say that Viktor is both emotionally and sexually attracted to him, and expects the feeling to be mutual, in his once again sparked love sick naivety.
And yet all he gets is this.
HE’S ONCE AGAIN SO CONFUSED. He wanted to be close to Yuuri and build a relationship with Yuuri for months now and finally felt he got the invite he needed to do so, only to be rejected AGAIN. It takes a whole other meaning now, especially if we look at this screen.
I always joked with friends like “aww look he’s sad Yuuri didn’t allow him to sleep in his bed” and other said the tears were just of the kind you get when you sleep sometimes, but no. Viktor Nikiforov cried and hugged his dog for comfort during his first night in Japan because Yuuri rejected him. This is not just some silly crush at this point. Viktor is genuinely in love with Yuuri and is saddened to the point of tears when his affections go unanswered. I just need a minute to process how much Viktor always loved Yuuri. He fears he got rejected again, after dropping everything and everyone he knew just to be close to this guy. Yakov said he can’t come back if he leaves, and he leaves anyway. He drops everything and faces his future willingly just because he thought Yuuri desired him. What if he was wrong? Has he thrown his only comfort away, skating, on a mere whim? Skating for Viktor, I suspect, is both a prison and a security.
We often see comments that Viktor is selfish, only caring about himself and rarely looking beyond his own interests. I don’t see this, since he appears fueled to inspire and motivate others since others success inspires him in return. Him getting angry at Yuuri for ignoring Minami is a good display of this. What if his, most likely extreme, dedication to his career as a skater was misinterpreted as selfishness? He dedicated all of himself to his skating, sacrificing all other aspects of his life that didn’t revolve around his sport. He gave everything to his success as a skater, and in return had little to give back, for every fiber of his being was consumed by his dedication to his career. He seems out of touch with other people’s emotions, but I don’t think this is out of ill intent but more because he never gave enough time to develop the necessary skills. Skating consumed all of him, and he came out a bit broken, a bit misunderstood, in the process.
Yurio’s storyline is also flavored by what we got to know in episode 10. We don’t know if Yurio was aware of Viktor’s crush on Yuuri, but he might have been. The promise Viktor made Yurio a few years back, that he would help him during his senior debut, was incredibly important to Yurio. Enough so to make him smile for himself when he remembers it.
It was something he looked forward to, something he worked for. Important enough to make him drop everything as well and go to Japan to bring Viktor back home. This also provides some interesting tidbits into Viktor’s character.
We learn that Viktor is a scatterbrain who’s awful at remembering promises. He forgot what he promised Yurio, which is understandably upsetting considering how it had fueled Yurio for years, and he also forgets the new promises he makes in just a week. The guy let the boys compete about him in a skating rink and yet manage to forget what he promised to give the winner. Incredible.
But he never forgets Yuuri’s request. He never forgets Yuuri. In fact, I’d say it fueled his artistic creativity.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Viktor probably was mildly or even strongly obsessed with Yuuri ever since the Grand Prix Final. Not a creepy ehehehe I shall stalk all your internet presence and all your friends obsession, but another kind. Maybe not even obsessed with Yuuri himself, but the feeling Yuuri awoke in him. I believe that Viktor crafted Agape and Eros, for himself, with Yuuri in mind, but his uncertainty about their relationship and about Yuuri left him hanging. He couldn’t decide what program to use, alongside feeling unmotivated that he can’t surprise people anymore. The programs are interesting though. He made one for unconditional love and one for sexual love, even though he only needed one short program. Maybe this could represent his inability to put his finger on what exactly he felt for Yuuri?
We know Viktor had lovers, since he starts talking about them, but I highly doubt any of them was agape. To me Viktor feels rather secure in his explanation of Eros as a program, while he’s much more subdued about Agape. He leaves Yurio with some kind of vague “oh it’s a feeling” remark, and I wonder if this is because he’s unsure himself what agape really is. I think we can assume, judging by his comment that he has neglected love, that he simply hasn’t experienced a romantic connection with someone before. Sexual connections, surely, but not a deep romantic one. Until Yuuri, that is. I’m pretty sure Yuuri is Viktor’s first actual love, and when he falls, he falls hard. He wants Yuuri both sexually and romantically, and it might be a bit confusing for him as well. Not confusing enough to force him into silence, of course, but it is clear that he mostly shows interest in a physical manner. I guess that’s where he feels most comfortable. Viktor isn’t all that great with emotions, after all, as we’ve come to see.
He picks Yuuri over Yurio because Yuuri performs Eros better than Yurio performs Agape. I’ve seen people argue that Viktor was wrong, because Yurio was technically better, but they miss the point. It was a competition on who could fuel the most emotion into their program, and there Yuuri triumphed. Yurio even remarks himself that agape is completely void in his performance. He must focus all his energy on just skating the program, and he knows Viktor is displeased. Not angry, or disappointed, but it was not what Viktor was looking for. Viktor wants emotions. Viktor wants Yuuri. And with that, Yurio’s wish to be coached by Viktor is snatched away from him, something he longed and trained for since he was even younger than he is now. No wonder he looks so upset.
I think most of Viktor’s confusion and accidental misunderstanding of Yuuri is most evident in the first episodes, after that Yuuri starts opening up and they get on equal footing, with Yuuri reciprocating Viktor as well, but it’s still the matter that Viktor always thought Yuuri remembered the banquet. For 8 months of coaching and getting closer to Yuuri he thought Yuuri remembered the pole dancing, the dance off, clinging up to him half naked, and for all this time he undoubtedly fell even deeper in love with Yuuri as the months passed. Why did he never say anything? Maybe he just thought Yuuri was so embarrassed by what happened that he didn’t want to bring it up at the time. He has realized Yuuri doesn’t hate him, and wants him around, but he also wants to build trust in their relationship and maybe spent all this time silent for Yuuri’s own comfort. He’s very aware of Yuuri always, and this could be plausible.
One thing that is important to note, however, is that Viktor never force Yuuri into anything. Yes, he remembers and thinks Yuuri remembers what happened at the banquet, but yet he never advances too far. Sure, Yuuri gets flustered at several occasions, which is more due to the fact that Viktor is Viktor, I suspect. Yuuri is rather fascinating on this point. I think it’s clear he didn’t love Viktor as a human being during all those years of idolization, simply because Viktor wasn’t a person to him. He was a god. He even says he’s in the presence of a god when next to Viktor. Yuuris is so clouded by Viktor the idol that he denies himself the pleasure of being in his company when he leaves the hotel/arena/skating rink because he most likely think he is unworthy. He can’t meet Viktor unless he is Viktor’s equal. We need to come to episode 7 until Yuuri finally realize that Viktor is just as human, just as flawed, as himself. And that’s where their relationship finally starts turning to the point we saw in episode 10.
I admire the show for not throwing them into this before Yuuri was ready. Sure, all episodes build to it and there’s sexual/romantic tension from the start, but they don’t meet on this plane before Yuuri has finally started seeing Viktor as an equal. Or rather, see himself as equal to Viktor. Only then can they pursue what later lead to their engagement. It’s masterfully done, and the reason I don’t think they shared any kisses before episode 7. To have the healthy relationship they have, they had to tear down that last wall, and Yuuri finally did that when he cried and confessed what he needs from Viktor to succeed. Viktor adapts from this, and Yuuri changes from this point on as well. After this I think you can argue that they have finally entered into a romantic relationship, after spending months as friends. Trust is an important cornerstone for these two, always. They trust each other, first as friends, and then as lovers. Yuuri’s insecurities come from his anxiety not allowing him to trust himself. And Viktor learns how to support Yuuri, as we can see here.
I JUST FEEL SO STRONGLY FOR VIKTOR HE LOVED YUURI FROM THE START AND WANTED TO BE CLOSE TO HIM SO BADLY IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE. He must have desired to kiss Yuuri ever since the banquet but he refrained because Yuuri wasn’t ready, until all his emotions exploded after Yuuri’s free skate and he just had to kiss him. VIKTOR IS SO IN LOVE WITH YUURI I can’t even comprehend it.
It’s evident that Yuuri is his future. But it’s also evident that Yuuri’s desire to exchange rings shocks him.
His hands are slightly shaking when Yuuri treads the ring on his finger, and this part just breaks me because this poor man lived his whole life void of love, void of truly living, and this Japanese boy danced into his life and changed it completely, brought him so much love and happiness that he probably desired for so long but could never find. No medal and no victory in the world can give him what Yuuri did. He’s in awe over how lucky he is, to be able to walk towards the future with Yuuri by his side. I don’t think Viktor is scared by the future anymore; rather, he is thrilled by it.
This is a man who finally found his home.