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05 July 2014 @ 05:07 pm
Rewatched "Trophy Girl" (FK s3e08)  
By the end of "Trophy Girl," Tracy shoots — and kills — two criminals. Both cases are just about as clear-cut as they come; neither will trouble Internal Affairs. Tracy robustly protests that she "can handle it" and claims she doesn't need time off to reflect or a shoulder to cry on (although Schanke did in "Close Call," and Stonetree almost retired over "Fatal Mistake," for comparison). She "keeps busy" by going undercover unauthorized, and perceives the normal, required, "cooling off" period as a suspension.

That aftermath could make a really nice post-ep/between-the-eps fanfic for someone: Tracy reacting to those deaths at her hands.

(Very probably, the scenario already has made a nice fanfic for someone, and I just don't happen to remember it! Perhaps I never read it. Back in the day, there were enough stories to pick and choose ever so choosily, and I leaned toward those starring Nick. But there's surely room for more, regardless.)

Tracy might try to confide in or lean on or learn from — or not! — Nick, Vachon, her father, her uncle Sonny (who needs the heart transplant per "Let No Man Tear Asunder"), her "friend who's really into tattoos" ... although most probably not her mother, I imagine? Tracy might visit the "nephew" (cousin's kid?) to whom she gave a puppy for his birthday in "Blind Faith."

Going undercover and getting snatched by a serial killer already counts as reacting recklessly; she's too practical and intelligent to do that a second time. Would she go out in nature, reach for God, binge-watch The Jerry Show and its like, exercise until she drops, clean her apartment until it sparkles...? We never really found out for sure, so we need fanfic to tell us.

(Separately, I imagine a montage of every single time in the first half of third season that Reese, Nick or Tracy herself refer to Tracy as "a good cop," and cap the progression with Natalie saying, in "Trophy Girl," that if anyone has proven she can handle this job, it's Tracy. Heavy-handed dialogue? Pummeling!)

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greerwatsongreerwatson on July 7th, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
This is the episode that I always point to when people ask me why I like Tracy. Not her insistence that she's fine. That, if you ask me, is the young woman in her—both a new detective trying to prove herself and the woman in a man's world.

But the fact that she frees herself, goes immediately to get her gun, and then—to the best of her knowledge—saves her partner's life, all (no doubt) while still groggy from the drug she was given: that, to me, is the quintessence of Tracy.

It's the same Tracy, when you think about it, who insists on not letting her father run her life.
Amy R.: Winterbrightknightie on July 8th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC)
Tracy's determination and focus are definitely the most valuable parts of "Trophy Girl"! I agree. I had forgotten how appreciable they are.

In my opinion, though, those parts of the episode are unfortunately easily overlooked in the whole unappealing-to-rewatch package of the episode, with its Silence of the Lambs thing, and the general feeling, on Nick's side of the story, past and present, of treading the same thematic ground as "Crazy Love" but less compellingly. If TG had been a first -- or even second -- season episode, I like to imagine that not all the women characters would have been put in victim positions. Granted that Tracy fights her way out and wins, which is tremendous, I can't help feeling that there's something un-FK about such trite male power and female weakness in the first place, from the assorted murderers to Vachon wielding his "hypno-thing." FK at its best subverts those dynamics, among the heroes and villains alike.

(Granted, again, there are first and second-season episodes that also fall disappointingly for those tropes. TG just galls me more, for some reason. Perhaps because neither the flashback girl nor the escort service owner really have their own stories, their own contributions to the theme; a little time taken from the prattling Hannibal Lector could have served to deepen the story significantly through either of those characters, I suspect.)
greerwatsongreerwatson on July 9th, 2014 04:25 pm (UTC)
"treading the same thematic ground as "Crazy Love" but less compellingly"

Interesting. I had precisely the reverse reaction.

Then again, as you know, I did not see Season One at the time it was aired, and also missed several episodes of Season Two. Our local station took the show off after only six episodes (preceded by several belated Season One eps); and it was months before I realized that FK was also on a Buffalo station after midnight, meaning that I mostly watched Season Two in the summer reruns. "Crazy Love" was one that I missed even then; so I only saw it a couple of years later.

This suggests that a show like FK can bear with one crazy serial killer episode. And, whichever one is seen first, the other winds up falling short.

I do detect a significant difference in terms of Nick's role in the two flashbacks. Whereas in "Crazy Love" he does eventually kill Amalia, he is clearly able to exercise considerable control in the interim. (This is the prime example of "sipping" in the series.) By contrast, in "Trophy Girl", he finds Lisielle's flirting so compelling that he simply drains her, even though he knows that she's being groomed by Lacroix to be his own victim. As we usually see Nick exhibiting rather more reluctance, I wonder if part of your dislike of "Trophy Girl" comes from the fact that he kills her so enthusiastically? Although he is somewhat repentant afterwards, he seems principally scared of Lacroix's reaction.

In truth, the victims in "Crazy Love" are just as much prey to "male power and female weakness", even if, in the end, it turns out that some of the present-day victims are killed by a woman. Indeed, the idea that a woman psychiatrist is susceptible to copying the insanity of one of her patients is, in itself, a form of "female weakness".

Contrariwise, since I liked the new vampires introduced in Season Three, I was pleased to see Vachon; and his protectiveness towards Tracy simply carried over, in my mind, from Nick's exhortation in "Black Buddha".

And I loved the idea of Lacroix in a serial killer chat room. "Rosebud", forsooth! (Or is that too "Season Three" for your taste?)
greerwatsongreerwatson on July 9th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
"neither the flashback girl nor the escort service owner really have their own stories,"

But this is a common problem with supporting characters! One could equally argue that the male serial killer in "Crazy Love" and the guy who attacks Tracy in "Trophy Girl" are both ciphers (and the former is badly over-acted). Certainly the poor women who are killed in "Crazy Love", whether they are murdered by Peter Barlow or Dr. Shawna Welsh, are scarcely developed as characters at all.

We do see rather more of the other killers in both episodes. I found Christopher Scheer to be creepy; but my principal criticism was the minimal usefulness of his contribution to solving the case. (He was obviously there to provide insight into Nick's own character, or the behaviour of vampires.) Contrariwise, in "Crazy Love" Dr Welsh presents initially as helpful, masking her own role as killer; but we never got to appreciate why she suddenly started killing. Clearly, she had had years of training followed by a career of some years for her to be allowed to treat patients like Barlow; so why did she snap?

In both episodes, the real point is the parallel with vampires in general and Nick in particular. That is where the writers spend their time and attention. And they only had some forty-two little minutes to do it in. I know, when I was doing my virtual season, how short a time that is when one has to cram in a main plot, a secondary plot, and a flashback.