jennova: Jason Lee as Brodie, smiling. (Default)
[personal profile] jennova
Because, okay, I really cannot stop thinking about it basically and I've watched it, idk, 6 or 7 times now? So here is the breakdown analysis that I keyboard smashed at dearest Loz in a massive DW comment.

Usual meta stuff applies: this is just my opinion and stuff and as terrifyingly good as I appear to be at figuring out what Tobias Menzies is doing with his acting I'm not actually him and can't truly speak to what his motivations are.

(But I think I'm pretty fucking close, all the same. :D)

Under a cut to avoid spoils for 1x06.

So Richard's all playing it cool and chaotic neutral (and, btw, possible that was actually Tobias playing the organ at the start because he does play piano afaik so it's not too much of a stretch) and Zak is debasing himself before him but that's not what he wants so he starts a fight.

Wait. Go back.

"Because it's what you bloody want."

Richard brought Hannah there for Zak. Let's talk about that. The way he says it, spits it and it's not because 'icky girl parts!' it's because Zak. wants. her. And Richard wants him to have her and at the same time he doesn't because, this is what I realised about Richard during the writing of the WWI fic: if Hannah is Zak's weakness then Zak is Richard's. This angel. This being that Richard has canonically known for billions of years. This is Richard's downfall (or upfall).

Back to where we were - Richard starts a fight. Because he doesn't want begging humbled Zak. He wants the Zak he remembers.

"This takes me back."

And doesn't even fight back properly at first, do you notice? He hits him almost out of instinct, once. He lets Zak throw him around. From the tricks we see Richard pull in this episode we know he is HUGELY powerful - but he barely fights at all. He lets Zak get him down onto the floor because this isn't about kicking the shit out of him (it never is) this is about Richard and Zak and their long history and ls;kd5jgnhlf;dhgsdfgsdf. Sorry. I just have so many feelings.

Watch Richard's face as Zak bangs on about Mountjoy and how Richard betrayed him. How it goes from nothing to pure unreasoned anger. Man, Richard doesn't like Mountjoy. That's a personal hatred - that's not just his side's dislike of their old boss. And Zak spouting the party line at him infuriates him.

Anyway: there they are, Richard on the floor and Zak goes to hit him and Richard stops him and HAS A HAND ON THE BACK OF HIS NECK and there it is, everything I suspected (and mentioned to my folks last week: it's all about Zak), their history. Richard begged him come to with him when he fell. Begged him.

"I've missed you. I miss you."

AND RICHARD CHANGES HIS GRIP SO THAT HE HAS A HAND ON THE SIDE OF ZAK'S FACE, HIS THUMB PRESSING IN HARD ENOUGH THAT YOU CAN SEE THE FLESH SHIFT UNDERNEATH IT, AND WHAT ARE MY EYES EVEN SEEING. And let's take a brief moment to talk about Tobias in this moment because through this whole bit "You were that close to crossing the floor, that close" he's looking at Zak's eyes and then this bit "I begged you to join us" he switches his focus to Zak's lips and he doesn't look up for "I've missed you." and then his voice, just listen to it, it practically breaks on "I miss you", all the anger and fight dissipates and it's the most honest thing Richard's said to Zak since this all started. Tobias, it is a masterclass in a desperate character - desperate for this one connection in this long and hellish life - he wants it so bad that he can't even disguise it any more.

And Richard would've kissed him there. You can see it in his face. That if Zak showed any indication to him, he would've done it. Because, and this is the crucial bit (because it comes out of all sort of lore and stuff), he needs Zak to choose it. He won't force him, he can't force him, he needs Zak to want this as much as he does.

And Zak? I think Zak is terrified of that. Because he does the thing guaranteed to get Richard angry again - he mentions Mountjoy. (Because I don't even think it's a human thing, I don't think Richard really cares what happens with the humans as long as they keep making the good booze and providing sexytimes, it's Mountjoy he truly despises.) Zak can no more handle an honest Richard than Richard can handle a humbled Zak. (Gods, what it must've been like - when Richard begged Zak to come with him.)

Okay, another pause. Because here's something else I realised about Richard, after the SFX review making a few things slot into place. Richard is lonely. Sure he has all the mortal sex he could want, he's a charming guy. He can indulge any and all vices he wants, he's encouraged. But he's alone. We don't see any of the other fallen around - and the dude's running three jobs (Hannah on Zak, fake!Carl on Mrs S and logic on Tom - and, man, doesn't the "He's demonic, not stupid" line have even more meaning now that you know Zak nearly fell too?) he could use the help - it's just him. He doesn't connect with anyone (I also think it's interesting that he never behaves anything less than humanlike with Hannah, there's layers of motivation there I've not teased out yet). But he used to connect with Zak: "I'm the only one who's going to understand" - but we're not up to that bit yet.

Where were we? Richard knees Zak in what appears to be the unmentionables. Richard starts toeing the party line again - he was vulnerable and so he ratchets it up to 11, end of the world etc. He doesn't care. The instant he gets a shot he's back in Zak's head again.

(Momentary pause of appreciation for Tobias' bony arse. :D)

And this, oh Zak. And how well Richard knows him, because he does, he must do - to present him with the future Zak wants and hates himself for wanting. And Richard, standing right behind him, hand on bicep, hand on shoulder, chin resting on other shoulder. This is as close as he can get, consensually, and it's so close to holding him that it can only be deliberate.

"This is why you're here. For her. For the hope of her."

He's not wrong when he calls Zak a hypocrite. Poor Tom is aware of this too, I think, which possibly part of the reason he listens to Richard. I actually think Richard's been really quite honest with Tom, in his own way, which is a whole meta in of itself.

And can I just I mention that one of my favourite things here is that Zak has a little girl in this vision and there's a clearly wrapped cricket bat amongst his gifts? Hell yes, Zak's mortal daughter is going to be England captain one day!

There's resignation when Zak turns back, which means we viewers already suspect what Richard doesn't - Zak's not going to flip yet. We come back to Richard and there's that soft, delicious honest tone again.

"Talk to me Zak. 'Cause I'm the only one who's going to understand."

Because Richard and Zak? They were - probably something far beyond lovers, that we mortals can only dream of - and Richard fell and he knows what it's like to have doubts and fears and worries. He knows what Zak is going through. Just from a different direction. They shift into each other's space again and Richard (because Tobias is such an active watcher) seems to be searching Zak's face for anything, anything, that will help him convince Zak that he, Richard, is right.

The face that Richard makes when Zak confesses his fear, it coming back to Hannah again, it's indescribable. It's a few different things - Hannah again, with a hint of 'why couldn't you love me this much' and a definite helping of relief because he thinks this is finally going his way. So he reaches out for Zak and Zak lets him, Zak's face is so soft here. He's made up his mind, you see, and he's an angel, made of compassion and love, and it's breaking his heart, really, what he's about to do - because Richard has exposed himself at last, why he's been persisting with this, and Zak probably wishes he could go back to being blindly angry at him.

"Come on you coward, come in from the cold." (I love you for your spy references, Matt ♥)

Looking at Zak's eyes now, because he thinks he's seen what he wants to see (the wanting it for the moment blinding him to what he should be feeling off Zak) and this - this is the moment that cements everything. He strokes his hands down either side of Zak's head, smiling, because he thinks he sees acceptance in Zak's eyes. He thinks Zak is about to say yes. This is where Richard thinks he'll kiss Zak, that he'll have Zak again, and that happiness isn't the sneering amusement we've seen all series. It's genuine. Which makes what follows heartbreaking.

Zak pulls his hands away and watch Richard's face begin to crumple. Because Zak doesn't just break away gently. He breaks hard. He has all those things Richard wants but can't have. And he tells him. Maybe Zak thinks it's for Richard's own good, I don't know. Richard's hands drop to his sides, he almost seems to deflate. And when Zak turns away Richard leans after him because that can't be it.

But it is.

The laughter at cheese and biscuits is half-hearted huffs. And when we see his face as Zak, shoulders slumped, walks away what we see isn't anger at Zak not giving in, or hatred, or any similar emotion. He's gutted. So he turns that into angry silliness, because he can't lose face.

Except he already has.

It's amazing. I just. Tobias and Sam are so brilliant. There's so many layers in the scene. I mean, most of that hideous flailing up there came from the first viewing (where I was literally chin handing in my astonishment) and some of the closeness of it came from the repeated viewings.

In conclusion, folk that didn't watch Eternal Law: go look at these gifs and then go and race through the episodes so you can actually see the scene in action. Because the evens I cannot are incapable of being textually rendered.

ETA: I've got a million fic ideas (lies, it's much less than that) but the one I'm choosing to work on next is karaoke themed. I have chosen the best song for Tom. No-one will ever convince me that it is not the song he sings every time the office drags the angel lawyers to a party. Every. Time. (Amongst other ideas: a 40s thing that, if I say so myself, is going to be amazing. A story where Richard doesn't have the best of days post 1x06. A Mrs S. smackdown on Richard after his appalling behaviour towards her. A 5+1 I've been working on since the start of the show which accidentally turned into the story of how Richard Pembroke Came To Be.)
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jennova: Jason Lee as Brodie, smiling. (Default)
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