How I Would Have Written that One Fucking Scene with Black Widow to Make It Not Crap
I don’t write screenplays.
That is not some high-horse thing, it’s just not my wheelhouse. So this is going to take the form of a prose
narrative rather than a screenplay.
So, this is how I would have written That One Fucking Black
Widow Scene, if Joss Whedon put a gun to my head and said, “Yes, the graduation
ceremony. Yes, they’re involved. Yes, everything just like it is in the film
but try your best to make it not terrible.
If you want to keep your brains.”
Spoilers ahead for Age of Ultron. I will also disclaim that I saw the film
once, two weeks ago, and my memory of the precise lines and content of the
scene is fuzzy. I just remember being angry.
“Hey,” Tasha says as she walks into the room where the man
she cares about is doing his best to hide.
Bruce looks up from the toy he was halfheartedly
examining. “Oh. Hey.
“It’s all relative, right?” she asks, moving to sit across
from him. “No, I’m not doing
alright. But then, I didn’t just turn
into a giant green monster and destroy half of Wakanda’s capitol.”
“Yeah. That did
happen.” Bruce rubs at his eyes. “Listen, Tasha. I know that things have been crazy. With Ultron. And his – his helpers.” She watches him swallow, reads the emotions bombarding
him through the flickering of microexpressions across his features. She knows what he’s going to say before even
“You’re going away,” Tasha says. “And you don’t want me to follow you.”
Bruce hesitates. “I –
yeah. That’s about it.”
She shakes her head. “Bruce,
I care about you. I admire you. You’re the one
person I know who’ll run from a fight because he knows he’ll win. But this isn’t that. This is you being a coward.”
He starts. “What? No, it’s just… This is what makes sense. What if the girl gets into my head again?”
Tasha crosses her arms.
“Yeah, what if that happens? Bruce, what did she show you?”
The reaction the question provokes is immediate and
transparent. He withdraws into himself,
shutting down almost completely. “It
“I say it does. Do
you respect me?”
“Of course I do.”
“Then trust that I know what I’m doing when I ask. Tell me what she showed you.”
Bruce takes a long, shuddering breath. “You don’t want to know.”
“I thought you respected me,” Tasha says, not letting any
irritation leak through to her tone. “But
you don’t trust me to know what I am and am not interested in hearing?”
He throws up his hands.
Anger, that’s good. Anything but
resigned detachment. “Fine! It was you.
Dead. Torn in half. It was my fault. You tried to use the lullaby and it didn’t
“So how did that make you angry enough to lose control? To let the Other Guy out?”
“I don’t know,” Bruce says, shaking his head.
“I do,” Tasha tells him.
He frowns. Incomprehension. “What?
No, it – he got out after she showed me that. It had to be that it made me lose control.”
“No, you’re wrong and I can tell you why.” Tasha takes a deep breath of her own. “What happened, Bruce, is that you expected to lose control. So you did.
Simple as that. Because fear
doesn’t bring out the Hulk. Anger
does. When you go into a situation
expecting the worst, the worst has a way of tending to happen. Especially when the worst is literally all in
your head.” She looks him dead in the
eye. “That’s your problem. You constantly expect the worst, and so it
Bruce gives her a hurt look.
“You really think it’s that simple?”
“No way. That can’t
“What happened to the respect, again? Here’s the other hard truth: you think you respect me, but you don’t. What you actually feel about me is what you
feel about every other person you have any kind of interaction with: you feel
like I’m made of porcelain. You think if
you handle me roughly, I’m going to crack.
So you bend over backwards to avoid hurting me, to make everyone
happy. But this is the last straw. You’ve decided that you can’t be trusted to
be near anyone, ever, so you’re going to run away.”
Bruce stares down at his hands, wringing them. He looks up at her, and his expression breaks
her heart, but she knows what he needs right now is not sympathy. He needs the truth.
“Would you come with me?” he asks.
“In a heartbeat,” she says.
“If it were a real option. If
dropping everything and leaving would actually solve anything. But it won’t, so I can’t do that. Steve, Tony, Thor, Clint – it’s not going to
be easier for them if we leave. So we
have to stay.”
There. There’s the
crack. He starts to pace, the manic
energy growing in him. “It’s too big a
risk! She could get into my head again,
she could –”
“You keep saying ‘she, she.’
But she didn’t bring the Other Guy out to play. You did that, Bruce. You killed all those people in Wakanda. All you’re doing is externalizing.”
He breaks, finally. “You
don’t know what it’s like!” he
shouts. “I’m not there anymore, Tasha. There’s
no me left, just him! All he does is kill, and kill, and kill! I’m just a shell for the Other Guy. It doesn’t matter what I do, it all comes
down to nothing and he just comes out and kills more people! I’m just a – a weapon!”
Now it’s out in the open.
Now he’s admitted what’s really the issue. Tasha doesn’t disbelieve what he’s saying
about what he saw – she knows he cares about her. He just cares about her in all the wrong
ways, good intentions paired with bad execution. But she couldn’t get him to understand any of
it until he admitted this.
“I was trained,” Tasha says, slowly at first, “in a place
called the Red Room. You ever hear of
Bruce is obviously confused by the change of subject, but he
doesn’t seem like he’s about to stop her.
“Then they’re still doing their job right,” Tasha says
dryly. “Anyway, they had a test.” She raises her right hand, palm flat, fingers
pressed together. “You hold your hand
out like this. They put a lit candle
underneath your palm.” She extends her
arm, bringing her hand closer to him. “You
twitch it even a little – you make a single noise – you let your face show
anything but calm – you die.
Instantly. You hold your hand
there, and you wait. You wait for the
candle to burn down to nothing.” She
keeps his gaze. “It takes about three
and a half hours. It gets easier as the
time passes – but not by much.”
“That’s awful,” Bruce remarks humorlessly.
“You would think it’s a lesson in concentration, but it’s
not. It’s a lesson in disengaging. Letting your body just exist. Because that’s how you fight. A man takes a swing at you, there is a
precise series of moves to break his arm, to snap his neck, to put out his
eyes, to knock him unconscious. There
are moves to do the same thing to two men, three. They teach you the moves. You learn them. Then you practice them. Over and over. You learn to do them without thinking. That’s the entire point.”
Bruce frowns. “So?”
“So I’m saying: how am I different than you?”
“You had a choice.”
“No, I didn’t. They
chose me. They took me. They molded me. They changed me. They cut away the pieces of me that weren’t
vital to the mission. That might
compromise the mission.” She stares at
him, hard. “You understand what I’m
He goes deathly pale.
“Tasha. No, they – they couldn’t
“They could. And they
did. I was just supposed to be a weapon,
Bruce. A pretty shell hiding a monster,
an assassin.” She reaches out, finally,
to take his hand. “The difference
between us is that I don’t let it define me.
I don’t let it own me, Bruce.”
With a sigh, he looks down at her grip on his hand. “So what you’re saying is…”
“I respect you, Bruce.
That’s what I’m saying.” Tasha
caresses his cheek. “Now it’s up to you
to decide if that was a bad call or not.”
Apologies for any typos I missed. Let me know what you think, if you like. My inbox is open.