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17 August 2010 @ 11:28 pm
Truth, Justice, the Canadian Way, and Life (Not Immortality)  
Interested in sharing reflections on some favorite Knightie moments?  These would be episodes, scenes or recurrences that are pro-Nick in his canonical hopes and goals: times he got it right, times to root for him, times he gave his all.  By definition of the traditional Knightie affiliation, these would be celebrations in accord with the Knightie Creed (quoted in the subject line).

Yep, this game is pretty self-indulgent (unless there are any other Knighties around?).  If you post on your blog for your own FK affiliation, I'll do my best to contribute!  But here... I'm a Knightie.  Revisit, reaffirm, restore?

No rush.  The post will be here whenever.

My favorite Knightie interlude is the tag of "Dying for Fame," the first-season episode with Rebecca, the rock star.  Nick works behind the scenes to free Rebecca from the enslavement of her celebrity, the immortalization by her fame, to put her on the road to a real life, with an acoustic guitar in her hand and her soul in her smile.  Her addiction to alcohol is still on her back, not to mention the other behaviors and absurdities of the life she's been living.  It won't be easy.  But Nick has managed to give her the chance that he longed for himself for centuries, and eventually seized in killing Lacroix and rejecting all he represented.  In the parallel universe of the music video that represents the inside of Nick's mind, Nick spins on his heel and raises his arm in triumph.  He did it!  For her, now.  Maybe, a little at a time, for himself as well.  If she can have a fresh start at a normal life, perhaps, so can he.

Because of the rich parallels, most of all, though also because of the acting and the triumphant spirit, "Dying for Fame" has been my favorite episode ever since I got over the embarrassment of its silly depiction of the music scene (already anachronistic when it was filmed) and the never-explained character with the tattoos who provides the Polaroid and shoots Wendy.  For me, "Dying for Fame" is always a pleasure to revisit.

And while it's just stock footage from the "angsty Nick around the loft" file, the lightning flashes as Nick sits in his window and looks out... for the infinitesimal duration of the flash, it would be like looking at a daylight world, wouldn't it? 

My runner-up favorite Knightie interlude is the interrogation in "Dead Issue," the first-season episode in which Stonetree's friend murders his wife's lover.  Carefully -- and with consciousness in the dialogue of the parallels to his relationship with Lacroix, I think, as well as to the flashback -- Nick talks Lynn Fiori through her fear of her husband and shame of herself into the courage she needs to give them the location where her husband has taken Stonetree, so that the Captain can be rescued.  With that scene, Nick helps save one life and one soul, at least.  Maybe more.  And it's another glimpse at the inside of his own imagination, the strategies he knows so personally well.

I would likely pick other runners-up at different times, but this one is always in the vicinity.  I think that "Dead Issue" is appreciated less than it deserves, perhaps because it's so much a police episode, perhaps because the flashbacks have only Nick, no Janette or Lacroix, or perhaps because some elements meant to be disturbing in the present-day seem almost quaint as the years have passed.  The episode is most usually mentioned in relation to the picnic in the tag, or occasionally in arguments about the relation of the flashback to the real historical figure depicted.  I think that "Dead Issue," while full of disturbing elements, is worth consideration for depth, insight and thoroughly-crafted story construction not often seen on TV, then or now.

So what are your favorite Knightie moments?

Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 18th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
To a Knightie as "bright" as you, this is probably going to seem a perverse choice—but I'm going to go for the very end of "Father's Day" when Nick gives LaCroix the engraved watch.

You see, after all the angst and anguish of Season One—where LaCroix was seen pretty well as an irredeemable monster (which, in some ways, he is)—this is a remarkably mature moment for Nick.

It in no way compromises his intention to continue his search for mortality. (That would not be a Knightie moment. Well, not unless you were a Dark Knightie, which you aren't.) Instead, it is an acknowledgement on Nick's part that his relationship with LaCroix is complex...that it has had—and to some degree still has—a positive side. That LaCroix, in his own way, really does love him. And that some part of Nick loves LaCroix, too.

If Nick cannot admit that he loves LaCroix (and vice versa), but persists in asserting that their relationship is purely one of hate and manipulation, then he is putting himself in the position of an adolescent yelling at his father that he'll never do what Dad wants, 'cause Dad's always horrible to him. As long at the two of them are only seen at odds, it is not unreasonable to interpret Nick's quest for mortality as a rationalization of adolescent rebellion—"Dad is bad", so wanting not to be like him is ipso facto a mark of virtue.

Basically, what I'm saying is that Nick has to act like an adult. Now, that doesn't mean doing what LaCroix wants. It means acknowledging LaCroix's perspective as valid—well, valid up to a point, if one tries to see the world from his point of view, in as much as he believes that Nick is on a quest for death. So Nick has to accept that part of what drives LaCroix is love for his son.

However, Nick also has to accept that he loves LaCroix, too—mingled with all his other feelings for him. Only then can he (and we) disentangle adolescent rejection of the parent from adult desire for redemption.

To me, giving LaCroix a Father's Day present is a symbol of that maturity, indicating that Nick is moving on as an adult: acting (towards) instead of simply reacting (against).
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 18th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I love "Dying for Fame", too.
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on August 19th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
You're right, of course, that I interpret it a bit differently, from my vantage. :-) For myself, I'm not inclined to see Lacroix's motivations as necessarily requiring respect by Nick; the victim does not owe the abuser.

However, giving that is nothing short of heroic.

Reflecting on your take on the "Father's Day" tag, I discovered a resonance of my own with it that I had not really connected before. Nick's gesture of acknowledgment and forgiveness is indeed profound -- not because it was required or owed or could reasonably be asked, but because it was not, because it was freely given as an unearned grace.

(I suppose that the term "unearned" could immediately raise the question: didn't Lacroix give Nick a gift by bringing Don Constantine across? Perhaps. But even if uncomplicated by the separate debts between Lacroix and Constantine, that act seems smaller than either Lacroix's past sins or Nick's present gesture.)

Thank you for sharing your full interpretation, and enriching me by my own small insight!
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 19th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
Re: FD
"I suppose that the term "unearned" could immediately raise the question: didn't Lacroix give Nick a gift by bringing Don Constantine across?"

A gift? Now that is an interpretation that I never imagined.

Maybe from LaCroix's perspective—though I suspect that he's really just cutting a Gordian knot. However, there is no way that Nick would interpret it as a gift, for Nick really doesn't think bringing anyone across is a "gift", either to him or to old Don Constantine, and least of all to the world, given that the old man is a Mafia boss. I always reckoned this to be one of LaCroix's left-handed solutions to a problem that, from his perspective, Nick has brought on himself.

As you point out, it does solve LaCroix's problems: it pays his debt; and it protects Nick. Of the two, I suspect the latter counts for more with him; but the former is not irrelevant.

LaCroix brought Don Constantine across mostly for his own convenience, since it served so many simultaneous purposes. But he might have managed that some other way, had he preferred. Which means that, ultimately, he did it to annoy Nick again. He cut through all the complications in the last way Nick would have wished. If LaCroix verbally calls it a gift, both know it isn't really intended as such at all.

And Nick still gave him the watch.
Amy R.: Tracybrightknightie on August 19th, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
Re: FD
I am startled by what seems to be an interpretation that I could myself believe Lacroix's taking of a human life is a "gift" to Nick in any eyes but Lacroix's. That my writing is so poor as to suggest that embarrasses and disturbs me.

Of course when I wrote, parenthetically, that "I suppose that the term 'unearned' could immediately raise the question," what I meant was that I supposed that my interpretive opponents could raise such a question. I attempted a pre-emptive refutation. I have a history debating Cousins, and I could just hear L.C.F. making that particular argument. I did not intentionally adopt the villain's side myself!

I had hoped for this post to make a small, safe space for traditional Knightie sentiments -- a little joy of my favorite character, a little comfort of my own affiliation. I have been missing my fellow Knighties from days gone by.
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 19th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Re: FD
"I had hoped for this post to make a small, safe space for traditional Knightie sentiments"

Sorry, about that. (You do realize that I was agreeing with your preemptive refutation, right?)

The trouble is that we aren't, on list, getting any serious discussion—and haven't for quite a while now. In fact, even the last go-round on the episodes start-to-finish (which began about three years ago and ended a few months ago) was not really at the sort of level of analysis I prefer. I participated for a while; but then got utterly spoiled by the much higher order chapter-by-chapter discussion of Mary Renault's The Charioteer over on maryrenaultfics. When that ended, I simply couldn't get back into the fortnightly FORKNI-L chat.

So I grabbed a nice bit of argument in what you wrote, and enjoyed myself. Not what you were after, though. You were, so to speak, curled up purring in a nice cosy warm spot in the sun.

greerwatsongreerwatson on August 19th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
Having accidentally turfed you out of that sunbeam, maybe I can find you another one...?

We all know the delightfully funny scenes between Nick and Schanke in "Partners of the Month"—both the one where he turns up with his duck lamp to invite himself as house guest, and the scene the next morning after he's cooked breakfast for two. The scenes are so delightful, in fact, that we tend to overlook the fact that Nick lets all this happen.

Well, okay, not being a mind-reader he had no idea he was going to get bacon and eggs. However, he did allow Schanke to stay. And we know Schanke can be hypnotized. Even if Nick had reservations about whammying his partner into going home and apologizing to Myra, he could have "persuaded" him off to the nearest motel.

In fact, his initial unwelcomingness in itself nearly got Schanke out the door.

Then Nick changed his mind. Why? He knew perfectly well that having Schanke to stay would cause trouble. If nothing else, there'd be comments—again!—about the contents of the fridge; and it would be a lot harder to fend off suggestions that they split a bottle of wine. (You remember those scenes from Season One.)

So why did Nick decide, on the spot, to put up with having Schanke stay with him? I can only assume that he did so because he thought it was the best thing for Schanke. His partner needed him. His friend needed him.

Okay, in the end, Nick lost his cool, Schanke flounced out (duck lamp and all), and it was left to Janette to soothe things over. But that's Nick proving fallible. The point is that he could have done the vampire thing and avoided the nuisance altogether; but he chose instead to play human and be a friend.
Amy R.: Sunbrightknightie on August 21st, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
Re: FD
>"You do realize that I was agreeing with your preemptive refutation, right?"

:-) Yep, I knew I was getting hit by friendly fire. For a moment there, though, I'm afraid that I felt only the "hit" part. :-)

>"The trouble is that we aren't, on list, getting any serious discussion—and haven't for quite a while now."

I don't know whether you two are acquainted, but perhaps it's worth mentioning, in case you might both like to make a connection? foxy11814 keeps a friends-only LJ, but she once gave me permission to mention her FK posts, and she has been posting about FK every day this month, following a variation on that "30 Days of TV" meme. I've been reading her posts, but not usually, with these, the comments she gets on them, so I can't characterize the discussion one way or another, but there are comments posted on them.

I was indeed attempting to bask in the sun with this particular post. That's a good way of putting it.

But I can make a new, separate post for a fun round of dogged analysis... hmmmm. I'm in the mood for a Janette element, but not for digging into AFWTD or HF. Not right now. Possibly the question of whether Janette called Schanke or Natalie in "Feeding the Beast"? The nature of Janette's own conversion experience as related in "Near Death" crossed with her remarks in "Baby, Baby"? The question of how Nick and Janette got safely to the loft from Doctor Chung's place in "Cherry Blossoms," it being daylight, and the subsequent observation that this was Janette's first visit to the loft? Lacroix's instruction to abandon Janette in "Hunters"?
PJ1228pj1228 on August 21st, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Re: FD
foxy11814 keeps a friends-only LJ, but she once gave me permission to mention her FK posts, and she has been posting about FK every day this month, following a variation on that "30 Days of TV" meme. I've been reading her posts, but not usually, with these, the comments she gets on them, so I can't characterize the discussion one way or another, but there are comments posted on them.

And this is great fun.:) I reply every day by posting my own answer to the respective question of the day in the comments. Makes me think of FK every day which is great (not that there's hardly a day I do not think of FK anyway - LOL). Sometimes there are questions I never thought about, while others can be answered quite spontanously. Would love to read other peoples rely to these questions.
PJ1228pj1228 on August 18th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
I never thought about that as I usually prefer Dark Knightie moments, but when I do think about it, the tag scene from 1966 comes to mind.

After saving the precinct, Nick sits on his couch and listens to Lilly Toffler's message. Even when he didn't succeed in gaining his own freedom by procuring the Abarat, he enabled the Toffler family a new life in freedom. Lilly's message still conveys so much gratitude 26 years later.
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on August 19th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Oh, marvelous! Thank you! Yes, "1966" is a shining example of traditional Knightie values, especially the happy denouement of the tag.

Just as you say, in the present day, Nick saves the hostages (the family and Nat) and also his coworkers, including the injured Stonetree, and in the past he helps the brave Toffler family fulfill their plan, which they could not have without him. The message on the answering machine is such a wonderful validation of the far reach of those good deeds. Was losing the Abarat worth it? At the end of the episode, listening to Lily with Nick, I imagine that Nick thinks so... that the chance he gave them was even more important than the chance he lost for himself, for he will have other chances, while they... three generations of Tofflers already benefit in the present.

I also love that Lily is still searching for another copy of the Abarat, that all these years she has made that a hobby -- even an "obsession," she says -- trying to help Nick as he helped her.

>"as I usually prefer Dark Knightie moments"

I know. :-) Thank you for playing along so kindly! Sometimes, I feel like the World's Last Knightie (even though of course I know there are others out there somewhere).