eumelia: (fatherly love)
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Character definition, golden threads, gender and Danny Williams

It has been many moons since I last watched the Pilot. I tend not to rewatch all that often unless it’s very specific episodes, but the Pilot is an episode I had seen more than once and watching with intent and hindsight made things stand out quite a lot.

I hope you all will forgive my fixation on Danny’s arc and story. Even thought Steve is the primary focus of the show, Danny has always been the one to draw me in. Honestly, I am sometimes a little shocked at how much I identify with Danny, how well I know him as a character and how similar we are in personality.

Still, Steve’s arc is the myth-arc, the overreaching plot that marks the story’s beginning (though the narrative itself begins many years before the beginning of the show) and pushes it throughout the show. I don’t know how much I’ll touch on that, but the reason Danny is even a part of Steve’s story is because of his tangent with the myth-arc of the insanity that surrounds Steve’s family history.

No doubt, more on that later.

The Pilot, being what it is, is a very broad introduction to the characters and their stories. Steve at this point is defined by a very specific kind of justice. Namely, revenge. And the Navy, can’t forget the Navy. What was probably the most poignant part of the ep and I know this in hindsight was Steve’s little montage from Jack’s funeral, to the house to Jack’s “I love you, son”. Oh, Steve, we still don’t know how much Jack fucked you up, but we sure know that you are, indeed, fucked up.

Chin is defined by the way he is perceived, whether he was on the take or not, is neither here nor there. He does however, have an in with the criminal element (gotta love Kamekona) and his own relationship with Jack, Steve’s father.

Kono is defined by being a feminine tomboy, which endeared her to me in the beginning (because I am nothing like that, but am very much attracted to that type of woman) and her femininity and dimpled smile hides that badassery under the bikini.

Danny is defined by his job and by his daughter.

The golden thread of fatherhood is a theme that threaded from the opening scene all the way to the final gut wrenching moment of the second season finale.

Danny’s entire existence, at this point and for a while longer, is centred around Grace, it’s not really a healthy way to conduct one’s self in the world, but no one except Danny, ever claimed he was sane.

The first meeting between Danny and Steve was electric. It was chock full of homoeroticism and subtextual desire. Honestly, I was not expecting to hardly need any slash goggles when it came to reading the dynamic between these two men.

Going Watson for a moment, I maintain that Danny and Steve were screwing from around the end of the Pilot, banged up Steve and all (they’re both a little bit kinky) simply because well, they’re the type if you ask me. When you you have two testosterone laden queer men, this is what happens, not as often as is inferred, but often enough for it to be realistic.

So, metaphorical dicks waving, tempers flaring and personalities clashing, Danny and Steve meet and their stories all but collide.

We establish that despite the fact that it’s been almost 20 years since Steve step foot on the island he still has more ties here than Danny… who wears a tie, to look professional. It’s also established that Steve is single minded (Inigo Montoya could learn a thing or two from old Stevie), whereas Danny is more concerned about staying alive for, who else, Gracie.

Another thing that is established is that Danny and Steve communicate. Rather well, in fact, this is also a golden thread that is woven throughout the show. Don’t worry, I’ll touch on this.

This is also the episode in which Danny’s colourful and confusing metaphors are established. Jackals and hyenas. ‘nuff said. Danny’s emotionality is also established as a foil to Steve reserve. Beyond the “you’re sensitive” comment, the way each man uses violence is very distinct.

In a scene that now freaks me out with its implications, where Danny pokes Steve in the chest in order to make a point and Steve casually twists his arm; the fact that Danny receives no aid whatsoever from his fellow officers solidifies his isolated position on the island, the fact that Steve casually dominates him in public like this, because he can, makes in an uncomfortable scene to watch. That Danny immediately and swiftly retaliates by punching Steve in the face (ostensibly an act of excessive violence compared to what Steve did), does nothing to affect his position as other with regards to the HPD and Hawaii in general.

Danny’s position as other is something that was picked up by fandom, going by the various supernatural fics that surround this fact, it’s also interesting considering Danny has an inherent privilege as a mainlander and a white man, which in Hawaii (a minority-majority state), as we experience it on the show, gives him a disadvantage in various areas, including law enforcement.

Danny likes having an authority he can question and he also likes having purpose. Steve embodies both of these in a package that is quite easy on the eyes. This is something that is affirmed over and over again throughout both seasons. The fact that after they’ve basically beat each other up they go off into the sunset have a beer on Steve’s private beach, belies Danny’s own assertions regarding his feelings towards Steve (“You are the backup”, “I hate him”).

There is another point I want to make and that is the way Kono is used in the Pilot (and subsequent episodes). Gender is another theme that is threaded throughout the show among all the main characters (including the other mains later on), it’s much more subtle that the theme of fatherhood and the main myth-arc, but it’s there and it used quite clearly when it comes to Kono and the way she subverts the position of helplessness.

Kono is used as an undercover specifically because helplessness is more palatable, acceptable and expected in women. Femininity, it can be argued, has been sold throughout history as helplessness incarnate. Factually, this is of course bullshit, conceptually, these are hard patterns to break, but Kono and Hawaii Five-0 in general, break it over and over again. In the Pilot, when Kono is stripped in front of Sang Min, she is performing helplessness, she is making herself appear as feminine as possible – note, she is in a bra and underwear, calling back to the bikini she wore when we first meet her and she gives a guy who stole her wave a “love tap”.

Danny was certainly appreciative, both of the spectacle of Kono’s body in a bikini and the way she used it in action.

Danny is also the one who wants to pull the plug before things get too far, he’s a worrier, not a warrior.

Kono subverts the feminine position, not by changing her femininity to masculinity, as I mentioned, but by using the expected feminine performance and surprising the hell out of her opponents. Kono is badass, motherfucker.

The fact that Kono is the youngest, the rookie and most malleable when it comes to thought patterns, and has three male mentors, none of whom use her femininity in order to uphold their masculinity, makes her own journey incredibly special.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Meta on Commute, which will be for episode 1.02 “’Ohana”.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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