So we were approaching the [beach] scene, and I was talking to the two guys and they were both really, really, really, really nervous. Partly because they’d never performed a sex scene in a film before, they’d hardly acted at all, I hadn’t directed a sex scene, just all around we’re all green as hell. But we get there and the one kid, Jharrel Jerome, who plays Kevin, he’d asked me, he said, ‘So, Barry, what is this scene?’ I was like, ‘It’s in the script. Exactly the scene.’ I’m just trying to make it chopping wood. And I go, ‘Jharrel, are you a virgin?’ He goes, ‘No I’m not a virgin.’ I was like, ‘Okay, was the person you lost your virginity to more experienced, with the same experience?’ He was like, ‘No, she was more experienced.’ I was like, ‘Was it a good experience?’ He said, ‘Yeah, it was, she was really kind.’ And now, I like the actor to sort of talk their way into the solution, I don’t wanna give it. So I got quiet, and he said, ‘Is this the first time Kevin has kissed another man?’ I said, ‘No, it’s not the first time Kevin has kissed another man.’ Then I got really quiet and I just watched him. And he said, ‘Is this the first time Chiron has kissed another man?’ I didn’t say anything, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s the first time Chiron has kissed anyone.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And that’s what the scene became about.
As much as this episode is shown as a journey for Yuuri, it
is also very much a journey for Victor as well. We can see him become
progressively more comfortable with his surroundings and the people around him
as time passes. As always, let’s take a bit of a deeper look into this one as
Ahh, savage Victor. We see a lot of him in previous episodes
but I’ve held off talking about him until now. In this series, we see various
different expressions of anger. Yurio’s explosive anger and Yuuri’s internal
anger are shown in contrast to Victor’s which tends to come out more as tight
remarks and/or controlled insults (such as comparing Yuuri’s lack of
punctuality to waiting on an airline). It’s interesting to note that with the
way Victor has been presented to us up until now, this could actually be
mistaken as him just having a very snarky personality, but I would argue that
it’s more along the lines of how Victor deals with disappointment. Every single
time he’s thrown some kind of remark at someone (mostly Yuuri that we’ve seen
at this point), it’s after something has been done where the target did not
meet Victor’s expectations – things such as being late for practice or being
very out of shape after being the one to ask Victor come to Japan to begin with.
With that perspective, we can see that Victor isn’t actually a very snarky
person at all.
For this second one, I’d actually like to talk about his
hair (not his body, though you can enjoy that in this gif too). It’s very, very
rare that we see Victor’s entire face exposed like this – even just seeing both
eyes isn’t a common occurrence, and in fact, is used for dramatic effect all
the time. You could take this to mean a lot but one of the most recognizable
meanings is that Victor is being more open,
both in seeing around himself as well
as others seeing into him. It’s an interesting thing to
consider going forward because, combined with camera angles and the expressions
we see on him, it’s used as a visual indicator of his mindset all the time.
This third gif may be a flashback to episode 1 but the text narrated
over it is key. It explains that Victor both choreographs his own programs and has the music specially composed for
them. Basically, what that means is that Victor
knows exactly what message his programs are setting out to tell. Therefore,
we can deduce that Victor’s lonely Stammi program from episode 1 was created intentionally;
he knew that he was skating to a song that shunned the idea of love until
discovering a male lover and wanting to run off with them. It was a song of
longing and reaching out for another, not just on the meta level where we stand
outside the show and talk about what things mean, but in-series as well. And then, Victor sees that exact same program
reflected back at him through Yuuri’s viral video… it’s no wonder that was what
made the final choice for him to drop his old life and pursue one with Yuuri.
You might not think much of this fourth gif but let’s talk
about the scene that it’s in. This is when Victor gives Yuuri advice on how to
capture the feeling of love in his programs and his advice is specifically to think of a time when a lover loved him.
This piece of advice tells us a lot about Victor’s current perception of love
and relationships. He doesn’t say “think of a time when you loved someone”
(which would have made more sense to Yuuri since he has loved people before) but instead comes at it from the other
side and tells Yuuri to consider when the emotion is directed towards him. For this
to be how Victor pulls on the feeling of love means that he’s never truly felt it for another person before. Not romantic
love, anyway, which is the topic of this advice. If someone has experienced romantic
love for another person before, and truly felt
it, I doubt their advice for capturing that feeling would be to “think of how
another person loved you”. The short of all that is that through this advice,
we can guess that Victor has never truly
experienced what it’s like to love another person before. With that knowledge,
it gives Victor and Yuuri’s relationship development a whole new angle; that
both of them are discovering new ground together.
This fifth gif brings us back to the topic of anger. I
mentioned before that Victor’s anger tends to come out in cutting remarks, but
what I failed to mention was how well
Victor actually controls his anger normally. The expressions of it that we do
see are almost always highly controlled. Victor never gets physical, he never
yells, he never has any kind of large, uncontrolled outburst of emotion – even
when he’s upset, he’s still thinking.
We can see it very clearly demonstrated in this scene; even though Victor is
mad that Yuuri is running away from all of his attempts to work out the problem,
Victor still thinks it through and figures out what the best way to get Yuuri
to open up is. He doesn’t throw any kind of tantrum and he doesn’t guilt Yuuri,
he just takes him off to a secluded location away from the rink (he does mention much later that getting away
from the ice is what helps him process things) to have a calm heart-to-heart
and figure out what the issue is/how to solve it.
The beach scene. There’s just so much that can be said about
this scene. Let’s just start by looking at it from Victor’s perspective – he begins
the conversation by opening up about being lonely and homesick. He isn’t just
saying these things as a gateway to get Yuuri to open up; these are things Victor
genuinely feels. As he says, he never expected to leave St. Petersburg, and he’s
been acutely experiencing the saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s
gone”. Yuuri mentions that Victor meets him where he is but Yuuri excludes
mentioning that that goes two ways – Victor has also been met where he is. We
see this very clearly in the next portion of the scene, where Victor is asking
Yuuri what mask he should wear and Yuuri tells him none; that Victor just needs
to be himself and not put on a façade.
For Victor, who has always felt the need to put up a different front for
everyone he deals with in every aspect of his life, this is a completely novel
concept that encompasses a great part of his character development and growing
comfort with Yuuri in the following months.
For this seventh gif, let’s talk about stamina. Seeing Victor tired like this brings a couple things to
light – via contrast, it shows us that Yuuri truly does have incredible
stamina, and through height/stance differences, it positions Victor in a way
that show that he is just as human as
Yuuri. You might think “but we know this” towards the notion that Victor
isn’t actually a skating god (or any kind of god at all), but since the story up
until this point has been told from Yuuri’s perspective – and he has though that – it’s leaked into our
perception of Victor as well. Try to imagine Victor falling on a jump the way
we see all the other skaters do. It’s still hard, isn’t it? Through seeing
Victor worn out like this, it brings him down to the same level as the others;
that Victor isn’t infallible and that
he does have a limit to his skating
just as everyone else does. And then Yuuri goes and pops both the figurative and literal bubble that surrounds Victor
by poking the crown of his head and bringing him down to earth (or, in this
For this eighth gif, let’s talk about how Victor makes it a
point to work as a team with his
student, rather than acting as an overbearing coach that insists on making all
the decisions. Victor never tries to force ideas onto Yuuri, he always asks
what Yuuri thinks and accepts if that really
doesn’t work for him. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t challenge Yuuri, he takes all of his
opinions into considering but also pushes Yuuri outside of his normal comfort
zone. A couple examples of this are Victor back-loading Yuuri’s short program’s
jumps all into the second half (which wasn’t something Yuuri had ever done
before even though he could realistically manage it with his stamina) and insisting
that Yuuri pick the music for and choreograph his own free skate. Victor and
Yuuri actually work very well as a cohesive unit, as not just one or the other makes
all the decisions.
The topic for this second to last one is casual comfort through touch. Victor has
learned since Onsen on Ice that Yuuri takes comfort in touch when he’s upset.
That they’re comfortable enough to reach out and do this now shows off both their
closeness as well as their familiarity with each other’s cues. Victor was able
to sense without Yuuri telling him that he was upset and reached out to comfort
him on his own. Victor is learning to read Yuuri without the use of words and
Yuuri is learning to accept the comfort that Victor attempts to provide in return.
Truly an example of meeting halfway!
For this last one, past the clear beauty that is normal Victor, let’s look at his smile.
There is genuine approval and happiness here. That may sound obvious, but what
I mean is that Victor is not faking.
He’s genuinely proud of Yuuri’s accomplishments even though they aren’t Victor’s
own. This serves to destroy any connotations that others make that Victor is in
this for purely selfish purposes. He does
care whether Yuuri succeeds or not. If he didn’t then I’m sure he would have
had a much more lukewarm reaction than this to a moment that they both know the
short, what’s that? Don’t know them! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these small
meta snippets and you can look forward to episode 5 where we finally get to see
Victor existing around competition again (and looking snazzy in a suit)! See
you next week!
Dalton Ross || I asked the cast of #thewalkingdead what they would like to see happen for their characters in the NEXT 100 episodes.
Norman Reedus ||
“I want a puppy. Give me a damn puppy already! That would be good. I’d also like more scenes blowing up stuff with bazookas. Those are always fun. Certain characters are really connecting, and you know, those are my favorite scenes to do, so more of those, please. I like the fighting scenes. So less tears, more puppy.”
Danai Gurira || “Firstly, I think Michonne needs like a crew cut. Like, I think she needs like to take it down to like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane, you know? Something like that. We need to get that going. I also think Michonne should have this sort of superhuman evolution thing happen where she has triplets in, like, four months — helping to repopulate, you know? We’ll get that going. We don’t need no nine-month pregnancies. That’s way too long! So let’s just figure out how to quicken up that process. Evolution’s happening at the same time as the world is ending. You know how it goes.
“And then I think Michonne should open a beauty parlor, but it should also be like a golfing resort, and it’s where she brings the enemies. Instead of fighting, they golf to figure out their issues, and so she sets that up, and if they lose the golfing match, they have to go work in her spa, and they have to give up their little domain. Cool stuff.”
Andrew Lincoln ||
“I want Daryl Dixon to give me his motorcycle, cross bow, and jacket, first thing. That would be my sort of Christmas when he gives it to me. And for the kid to take over the reins and so I can kick back and play computer games for a couple of seasons with Eugene. So maybe a few more laughs and a few more beach scenes.”