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Merlin 4x09, a late late review...

This is more of a reaction than a review, but since it's so late, I thought to post it here.

In light of all the deeply disappointed/disturbed yet very valid thinky-thoughts raised by some folks about this episode, I can't help but share my feelings about it all as well. Frankly, I actually liked 4x09 so much that I watched it three times the day it came out. A big reason for this, looking back, was the fact that I was prepared to not take the episode seriously and not think about it too much. Granted, this is my default mentality for all the other Gwen+Arthur-centric episodes.

I've sort of developed this skewed logic that since the producers never gave the pair a time to grow into each other properly on screen, I figured I shouldn't bother giving them time to grow in my consciousness either. Having this in mind, 4x09 pleasantly surprised me, in that it showed me a Gwen who was, for the first time that it ever came to my attention, fiercely passionate about her principles and her goals in life -- if not so much her relationship with Arthur. This phenomenon, above anything else in the episode (more even than the brilliant acting done by Bradley), woke my brain up to Gwen's character for the first time since this show started. My brain went all, "Wow! Srz bznez, people!" And suddenly, the show wasn't just about Arthur and Merlin anymore for me. It was about Arthur and Merlin, and the handful of people that changed their lives for better or worse.

If there's anything I've learned from following this community, it's to work with what the show gives. I'm not going to say that I found every single one of its episodes positively fantastic, but I've taught myself over the years to apply some rather loopy logic to shield myself from disappointment while at the same time allowing my urge sometimes to just over-analyze the hell out of the show. I'm sure loads of other fans in this community, especially the merlinxarthur ones, have applied a similar technique or even some other coping mechanism to get them through each and every episode and still come out with a sigh on their lips (for preference, an "Oh, Merlin..." kind of sigh).

Gwen: "I still want to be your queen..."
It was random luck maybe that my brain just didn't lock down and label Gwen LUSER,  but instead went -- "Oh! So that's where she's coming from." Owing to the fact that I never thought Gwen was into Arthur (the way Merlin was into Arthur, in many ways, haha), I could totally see Gwen fantasizing she was the light in Arthur's eyes and the wind beneath his wings...and all that crap that's supposedly going to make him a brilliant king, more than a brilliant husband. How Gwen acted in 4x09 really showed me how she took Arthur seriously -- too seriously, and as her king -- more than just a person. And when I realized that, I had an inner-evil-squee moment thinking that this Gwen would never hold a candle to Merlin's role in Arthur's life. And more importantly, this Gwen hasn't yet realized that Merlin ALREADY IS the light in Arthur's eyes and the wind beneath his wings.

In hindsight, I actually appreciated the fact that the writers physically/visually took Merlin out of most of the episode, because his attitude towards Arthur, and how Arthur reacts towards it (just like, say, a quark would react to being observed) would definitely spoil the vibe. It was all about Gwen, really. and for me, more to the point, it was all about how Gwen saw her "obligation" to Arthur so differently from how Merlin sees his. And I could see how it was necessary for Gwen not to have just center stage, but the whole stage/episode in fact, to show this. It may come off with a cutting-on-the-corners feel, but the episode hardly had the same luxury to unfold as, say, a movie like The First Knight did. (Though I think Santiago Cabrera could hold his own against Richard Gere, one Lancelot to another!)

Honestly, I wouldn't expect people to bite into this bit of loopy logic, but it meant I walked away from watching 4x09 with good feelings (granted, they were good feelings about Gwen's assumed ignorance of Merlin's role in Arthur's life) instead of being miserable about it.

Seriously, whenever Gwen and Arthur kiss, or even just when their 'love' is alluded to by any character in the show, my mind automatically jumps to the scene where Arthur practically confessed to Gwen that he couldn't live without Merlin by his side, no matter what life they shared. (Yes, this is the one about him being a farmer and Merlin doing his 'heavy lifting,' haha.) This knee-jerk reaction has probably saved me a lot of unnecessary teeth-gnashing and fist-waving when watching Gwen+Arthur-centric episodes. It's Merlin's emotions that Arthur plays off of in the best way. While Gwen pleaded her heart out just to make Arthur hear her, and with so many tears and words, it only took one word from Merlin ("Agravaine?" -- and this was brilliantly, brilliantly done... with its own plethora of thinky-thoughts that I won't go into here), a change in tone, for Arthur to read so much and respond so well in return. And I don't know if there are other fans out there who would get this too, but I honestly believe that 4x09 cunningly showed these stunningly complex character dynamics in such a brilliant way that no other episode before has ever achieved.

I really feel that for all of its glaring shortcomings, there's a whole lot of depth that can be dug out from this episode. And I guess I'm ready to admit here that it's perhaps one of my favorite episodes of Merlin, too. :-)

Fanfic: House M.D.: Learning to Give

Title: Learning to Give
Author: abernaith
Fandom: House M.D.
Rating: G
Characters: James Wilson, Greg House
Summary: House has a peculiar way of learning some things.
Word count: 265
Disclaimer: House and Wilson belong to David Shore and co.
Notes: This was originally inspired by cryptictac's "Just For A Little While, My Darling", spec. #8 - fantasizing about Wilson. I was looking through my archives, found this old thing, and thought it was the perfect de-lurking ficlet. It immediately reminded me of the methadone incident, where Wilson gets suspicious when House offers him his breakfast. I thought it's still timely, in a sense, because of all the talk of food in the latest episode. ^__^


It started with dessert.

It was easy. No, it wasn't easy. But it was the least difficult thing that House could imagine himself giving. He risked a glance at his best friend, who was presently scooping a piece of the custard from his plate. An innocent gesture. A simple act of giving.

Five years ago, a year ago, hell, even just yesterday, House would have winced at hearing those words. Hearing himself say them, albeit in his head, wasn't painful. No, really, it wasn't. It was just House's nature to imagine that it was painful. Hence, the cringe.

"What?" asks Wilson, spoon halfway between plate and mouth. "Having second thoughts now? Want it back? I suppose we can share, or, I can just let you steal it, and I can pretend to be indignant." Wilson's eyes sparkled. House remained mute. The custard sitting on Wilson's spoon wiggled as he brought it the rest of the way to his mouth.

House felt that the custard was mocking him. He felt that Wilson was mocking him. He frowned, then. But not because of the mocking, no. His mind was on his patient. Wilson had deduced as much, recognizing the eureka moment in his friend's face.

Without another word, House stood up and ambled off to solve his case. Wilson finished the custard, disposed of his and House's trays, and went back to his office. Unknown to them both, this would be the humble beginning of a series of seemingly random kindnesses that House would tell himself he'd never do, except when he actually did them.

followed a meme

I know I did the band thing before, but I can't remember what I got the first time. Anyway, I think making album covers is a fun way to unwind. :-P It's a lame hobby, I know, but I still like it!

And this is just another excuse to show off my photoshop skillz, lulz.Collapse )