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23 May 2009 @ 09:57 pm
Expressions of Gratitude in FK  
Recently, I decided to make myself a "thank you" userpic icon.  You see the result with this post -- Magda thanking Nick at the end of "For I Have Sinned" -- but I was surprised how few choices I could call to mind.  Is "I will repay you (by not killing you while you're impaled on a meat rack)," double-entendre and all, really so expressive of the series's overall approach?  I'm satisfied with my icon, but it got me thinking about gratitude as a story element and in character development in FK.

The most powerful and straightforward "thank you" scene that I could call to mind is the tag of "1966," when Lily expresses her undying gratitude for Nick's rescue of her family, mentioning so many of the lives that are better for Nick's intervention, and hinting at the ever-expanding waves of good from his action, such as her son.  (Unfortunately for icon-making, there's nothing visual there to grab.  It's Nick listening to his answering machine.  Either you know what you're seeing in the still, or you don't.  It doesn't suggest anything to a stranger.)

In second place, I think, is Magda thanking Nick, the scene I picked for my icon.  He's just saved her life, and her gesture of gratitude includes almost forcing on him the memento of her cross necklace.  She doesn't know what it means that he can hold it, but we do.  (For icon-making, her action and stance seem to me to be visually suggestive of their emotional content.)

But beyond those? 

  • Rebecca's goodbye smile in "Dying for Fame"?
  • Schanke's long "thank you for this award" speech in "Partners of the Month"?
  • I thought of the gifts Nick leaves on Natalie's keyboard at the end of "Dance by the Light of the Moon," but I've always interpreted the message there as more "I'm sorry I couldn't let you in on the plan" than "thank you."
  • There are Lacroix's endless demands that Nick display gratitude Nick does not feel (and the kissing the ring in DKII and IWR would actually make an excellent icon if you wanted all the fraught baggage that rides with it, but not, I think, a simple "thank you").
  • Bernice thanks Nick in "If Looks Could Kill."
  • Schanke tells Nick that he should thank him for his "pint of Grade-A Schanke" in DKII.
  • Schanke says "thanks hon"/"thanks Patrice" over the phone.
  • Nick thanks Norma and kisses her cheek, but that's when he's trying to distract her from a computer showing he has no past. (Nick also thanks Larry Merlin in that episode.)
  • There are the curtain-call bows in "Love You to Death" and "Last Act;" those are definitely a kind of thank-you! And I think Marian and Tracy have an exchange in "Blackwing" that would fall into this category.
  • "You should be thankful to have such good friends, Knight." / "Oh, I am."
  • Nick accepting the pillbox from Natalie in "Be My Valentine"?
  • Joanna at the end of "The Queen of Harps"?

Nick says "thank you" once in "Night in Question," when he doesn't have his memory.  When does he say it when his memory is intact?  He often kisses Janette when he might instead say thanks.  With Schanke, he deflects thanks into humor.  With Natalie, well, does he ever thank her for the protein shakes, green tea, tanning bed and garlic pills?  Or is it all just, "I don't think you'll ever know how much you mean to me (because I will never, ever tell you)"?  But that's unfair to Nick.  Throughout first season, he regularly thanks technicians, assistants and uniformed officers, and in at least one episode, we see that Nick knows their names while Schanke does not (of course I'm thinking of the scene with John Kapelos's brother, but that's not the only time it happens that Nick calls an extra by name and Schanke doesn't).  Is it somehow telling -- harkening back to/rebelling against his mortal life, or just centuries with Lacroix -- that most of the people Nick thanks are social/professional inferiors?

Lacroix seems to practice an equation of obligation and gratitude. Has Lacroix's eternal insistence that Nick is under obligation to him, and that he is due gratitude from Nick, poisoned Nick's entire approach to expressing and accepting gratitude?  If so, how has Lacroix's same approach affected Janette?

And then there is Natalie, who appears in the rough, offhand list above the fewest times of all.  Am I just not remembering, or does she rarely say "thank you," too?

Just pondering.

Elycia: Because I Can by Elyciaelycia on May 24th, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)
It's been a long, long time since I last watched it, but I seem to recall that the scene between Nick and LaCroix at the end of "Ashes to Ashes," just after he's set Divia's corpse afire, has a powerful thank-you, when Nick assures LaCroix that if he needs anything... then leaves the sentence unfinished. It's one of the few times we see LaCroix even remotely vulnerable.

But like I said, it's been awhile. I could be hallucinating. :-)
Havoc: natalie lamberthavocthecat on May 24th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
No, I remember the scene you're talking about. I don't know if Lacroix says thank you, but I certainly believe that the spirit of thanks is there, even if the words are missing. I can't remember if they're there or not. Ashes to Ashes is one of the eps I have a harder time re-watching.
Amy R.: Fleur & Lacroixbrightknightie on May 24th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
AtA scenes with and without words
You're quite right. I think that the reason elycia remembers Lacroix saying "thank you" in so many words, and you remember it without words, is probably because AtA actually has a pair of scenes repeating almost precisely the same gestures with different words, one in which Lacroix thanks Nick verbally (in the Raven, after he tells the story of his and Divia's past), and one where he does not say it but instead touches Nick (in the junkyard, as he prepares to burn Divia's body). I copied the dialogue out here, if you're interested.

"Ashes to Ashes" is one I also have a hard time rewatching. This is the first time I've even looked at the final DVD in my third-season set. The last time I rewatched AtA, it was on VHS.

Divia, Nick and Fleur: Lacroix's biggest weaknesses/strengths.
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on May 24th, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
Lacroix's Thank-You in AtA
You're right! It's been years since I've watched AtA, and I didn't think of these bits.

In the Raven
Nick: (puts hand on Lacroix's shoulder) If you need me...?
Lacroix: Thank you, Nicholas.

At Divia's Junkyard Pyre
Nick: (puts hand on Lacroix's shoulder) Goodnight, Lacroix.
Lacroix: (covers Nick's hand) Nicholas.

Clearly paired scenes...

(The closed captioning there -- which is never very accurate in FK -- then misidentifies the sound of Nick leaping into flight as the sound of the flames catching on Lacroix's torch.)
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: natalieamilyn on May 24th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
I never pondered this, so it was a really interested post for me to read.

The thing that I pondered more often was how consistently folks apologized...who apologized for little things, who for big things, who apologized for things they had no responsibility for, who failed to apologize when needed, who tried then failed to follow through in later situations where apologies would have been warranted...

So this analysis is really interesting to me since my focus had always been elsewhere. Course, I have nothing to add as I have no MEMORIES of these things, but your list is impressive and I cede your MUCH better detail on the memories of these things.

Very interesting.
Amy R.: Ursbrightknightie on May 25th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Apologies in FK
The concept of apologies in FK is very interesting, too.

As it's not one I'd been pondering, I don't have a list at my fingertips, but of course the scenes that leap immediately to mind are 1) Nick's apology to Natalie in "Feeding the Beast," which Natalie accepts with a, "Hey, that's okay. No one ever said this was going to be easy," 2) Nick's apology to Natalie in "Only the Lonely" for entering her apartment while she was gone, and for interfering in her dating life, apologies with which she's less than satisfied, though he can't puzzle out what she really wants, and 3) Nick's apologies to Natalie in "My Boyfriend is a Vampire," which culminate in that thrice-darned infamous card. Apparently, he wrote what she wanted to hear in the card, but aloud, again, he couldn't figure out what he should say, and she found what he said unsatisfactory. Nick also apologies to Serena ("Baby, Baby") without effect; in fact, he apologizes to every vampire he brings across, doesn't he, usually just before he has to kill them...

Does Natalie ever apologize for asking him to bring Richard across in "I Will Repay," or for giving the boy in "Fallen Idol" vampire blood? Those are her biggest blunders, in my opinion, but I don't recall... I think Nick waves off hesitating attempts by Natalie to apologize in those cases, as if he's prepared always to be the one at fault...

After those, the next to my mind is Vachon finally apologizing to Urs for bringing her across when she had asked to die.

Apologies between Nick and Janette, like gratitude, tend to be actions with few or no words -- I'm thinking of "Partners of the Month" and "Crazy Love."
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on May 24th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
The Natalie "thank you" that rings immediately in my head is when Nick gives her the flowers in "Only the Lonely." She sounds almost overwhelmed -- surprised by the gesture? More unguarded than usual due to flusterment over the collision with Roger a moment before? Other? All of the above?

And then there's the equally emphatic and probably more heartfelt one in the tag of the same episode, which she immediately derails (to Nick's visible bafflement) into a self-deprecating joke about being a "coward."

I can play other instances in my head in her voice -- quieter, more thoughtful, perhaps more tentative -- but I can't place them. Very interesting question, one I'll have to ponder a bit.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on May 25th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Natalie's Thank-Yous
Oh, those are both excellent examples, thanks! Her thanking Nick, and Stonetree thanking her. The one when she's accepting her birthday card and flowers has that strong visual element that could make a good icon, too.

The next time I watch "I Will Repay," I will listen for Richard ever saying "thank you." That would be very telling for what is normal with/to his sister, I think, especially if they joke or deflect through every "thank you" possibility with each other. (I'm thinking of when she arrives to pick him up from his stalled car.)
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: natpackerwiliqueen on May 25th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Natalie's Thank-Yous
I'm hearing a hurried "Thanks, sis" in my head, but it's been too long, so I couldn't swear to it.

Not that it fits your icon hunt, but I think there are sincere thanks in both directions in the conversation between Monica and Nick. The exact dialogue escapes me, but there's certainly an expression of gratitude from Nick for her support when she's at the loft (the exact line I remember is "You help a lot"), and I think she thanks him for sharing at the meeting.

Continuing to let it percolate...
abby82: FK--Nat (close-up)abby82 on May 25th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
In "I Will Repay" Natalie has to dance around the issue of Richard's funeral when he presents her with flowers. She thanks Schanke for the flowers and asks that he thank Myra for her too.

Schanke: Natalie, these are for you. (extends box of flowers) Myra and I are both very sorry.
Natalie: Uh, thank you.
Schanke: In case Nick didn't mention it the Crown Prosecutor is throwing everything's he got at that animal that shot Richard.
Natalie: I know, thanks.

(in reference to the service)
Natalie: We've already had it. It was very small. You know,just family. Richard wouldn't have wanted a big deal but thank you very much for these Don and thank Myra for me too. It's very sweet of you both.
Amy R.: Nataliebrightknightie on May 26th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Natalie's IWR Thank-Yous
Thanks for remembering those! So awkward. Natalie is taken by surprise at the comfort Scahnke tries to offer, when she is at that moment full of hope for her brother. Later, she will have truly lost her brother, and she will be out of synch with those who have already offered comfort.

Schanke must chalk Natalie's seeming casualness up to grief, but he's clearly puzzled when he calls Myra to report, "She loved the flowers..."