I've been ODing on BSG meta this week, post-UB. Unfortunately this led to me leaving embarrassingly long rambles about Lee's feelings for Kara in other people's journals. *blush*
Then supacat and I had our regular post-BSG-ep catch-up. Since she's a Kara-perspective girl and I'm a Lee-perspective girl, we were both a little tentative at first this week, but we've got a neat (did I actually just use the adjective 'neat'?!) little habit of calling 'character amnesty' before any particularly controversial calls--calls that the other would find unfair if they remained purely in their own character's perspective. This way, we can each take a step back momentarily and be a little more objective when required! Treading carefully, we rehashed pretty much the entire episode, and as always, while I thought I knew what was going on with Kara, supacat had heaps more to say. And I think I went some way towards answering her 'OMG! What was Lee thinking there?!' questions.
Lee as initiator
I pointed out that from Lee's perspective in the flashback scenes Kara was sending him signals, whereas supacat said that Kara read more as just awkward. Both views make sense. There's an undercurrent between them, but Lee's more consciously acting on it than Kara is, though both are influenced by article--the stares a bit longer than otherwise. When Lee's at his most confident, he reads Kara's teasing him as a sign of attraction. So it was Lee, not Kara who had an 'agenda' that night. I still don't know how early Lee decided to act, but I do think he saw the two of them ending up alone together at the end of the night as a good sign. Whereas, it didn't mean so much to Kara--or she didn't think much of it, it was just normal to her. Lee's already flirting with Kara by the time he offers drinks, but Kara asks quite firmly 'where's Dee?' and seems to be reminding him that they're attached. Which brings us too...
Like dating like versus dating one's opposite
Kara and Anders are similar people--they're both action-based, not intellect-based. They don't overanalyse. When they are forced to confront something, they do so by abrupt action, not by discussing it at length (eg Anders's abrupt exit from the Circle, their near silent breakup). In a relationship, they work well because they're both really good at enjoying themselves physically.
Lee and Dee are also alike. They're quieter, more thoughtful, and while they also enjoy the physical, they are more interested in the emotional aspects of a relationship. They also share a desire to shoulder the emotional load for the person they love. We saw this in Dee when she first overheard Lee confiding his death-wish to Kara. And she plays emotional support for him very well. Part of this, Lee loves and genuinely appreciates about her, because there is noone else who is there for him like that. However, Lee actually wants to be playing the same role in a relationship with Kara--except Kara won't ever give him access to her emotions. Ironically, we've now seen that Lee doesn't give Dee access to his deepest emotions either. (e.g. In Hero we saw Dee smiling blithely at Adama's ceremony, while Lee was deeply troubled: he hadn't confided his father's admission to her.) So both have this masochistic attraction towards trying to be there for someone who ultimately won't let them in.
Both relationships work in one sense. It's peaceful to date someone who has similar emotional/intellectual make-up to you. You can predict them, you work within understood parameters, you know how to please them, and you also know how to piss them off if you want to. It's easy and so it feels good. And it IS good. I believe both Lee and Kara tried to make their relationships work.
When I first heard it, I hated Jamie's delivery of the line 'I am proud to serve with you, Lieutenant, and to call you my wife.' It sounded so overblown! But now I think it works perfectly. Lee's so insistent in his relationship, because he's got something to prove. I think he does love Dee--she's a sweet person and a good officer, she has qualities he admires. But he's got to prove that it's truer than anything else, than what could have been with Kara; he wants that to be true. He doesn't see the other ways in which he's undermining the relationship.
And Kara does love Sam. I'm sure of that. supacat and I agreed that if Lee hadn't poked and prodded at her about being 'Kara Anders' and settling down, she wouldn't have fled quite so fast into marriage, but it could have arisen organically from her relationship with Sam. It was on the cards, even if Kara wasn't quite ready to admit it.
In Unfinished Business, amusingly, Anders and Dee are shown as exaggerated forms of Kara and Lee. Anders literally drinks until he falls over (hee!), and Dee sensibly goes home to pack. The stereotypes of Kara as harddrinking-rebel and Lee as dutiful, sensible, responsible aren't completely true. Their surface public images are exaggerations: Lee's drunk and mocks Dee's sensibleness; Kara is more levelheaded and thoughtful in her conversation with him. With each other, they're free to explore aspects of themselves that aren't so visible in their relationships with people who are like them.
Kara and Lee are not alike in the relationship arena. In the workplace, in the sky, they can be the most wonderfully synchronised team, but when their attraction to each other comes into play, things go awry. Their approaches are so different, their timing's always off, they have opposite needs and desires and they completely misunderstand one another. But it's got way more spark than like dating like. They're continually drawn back to explore that because it's unfulfilled; nothing's ever sated with them, because they never click properly. Lee and Dee click. Kara and Anders click. Kara and Lee do not, but they feel like they should and they don't understand why they don't. So for all that Lee insists 'it's over, Kara', it's never over...
In Scar, Kara made the move on Lee. He totally wasn't expecting it. In Unfinished Business, Lee makes the move on Kara. She totally wasn't expecting it. In both instances they were up late, drunk together and discussing their lives. They were with each other in the first place because they were friends, and had they not moved things into the sexual arena, those conversations they were having would still have had great emotional significance for them. Because regardless of their unfulfilled sexual tension, they have been each other's confidants and their relationship is unique.
Kara's approach to Lee was based on impulse and was direct and physical. It fell apart when Lee tried to slow things down and make her think about it, because if she thought about it, it made no sense. Lee's approach to Kara is the opposite. It's slow and dialogue-based. It's an appeal to her emotions, an appeal to the big-picture. Could he get any more melodramatic than 'is this who you want to spend the rest of your life with?' ?! And Kara's terribly uncomfortable with it until he makes a move physically. It's only after the physical act is over that the gap between them becomes obvious again.
I think Lee sees the sex as Kara's ultimate acceptance of him. She'd knocked him back in Scar, and he was bitter about it--he feels as if Kara will sleep with anyone but him, and that knocks his self-esteem around. In more robust moods, he realises that Kara's self-destructive and that she tries to deny her true feelings for him. I can imagine that while at first Kara's demonstrative snogging of Anders in front of Lee stung, eventually he would have felt that there was enough of an undercurrent, a subtext, between them to act on when given his final chance.
Where I was proud of Lee for finally making a move, supacat was infuriated by the way he made it. She correctly pointed out that he approached Kara all wrong, making it about 'the rest of your life', making it a fait accompli ('we accept it'), making assumptions that her feelings are the same as his ('we accept it') and generally driving her to flee. Did Lee realise he was doing this? No. Why not? Because for him the obstacle, the one thing that hadn't happened yet, was the sex. Once that was over there was not a question in his mind that they were AS ONE. *giggle* (Oh, Leeee!!) supacat found it hard to believe that Lee wouldn't have expected her to be gone in the morning, but I explained that from his perspective, things were settled. She'd even told him she loved him! And Lee thinks the world of Kara--he wouldn't distrust her. When she drives him into bitchiness, when she shocks him, it's always because her actions have come out of leftfield. He never expects the worst from her, if that makes sense. He's not even consciously giving her the benefit of the doubt--she's just golden in his eyes, therefore she would never deliberately hurt him.
Only she does. (from Lee's perspective, after the event)
Except she doesn't. (from Kara's perspective, after the event)
supacat asked if Lee 'got it' when he heard that they she'd married Anders and when he confronted her about it. My gut reaction was no, not really even then. He certainly didn't think he'd caused her to flee. He would be far more likely to think it had been a deliberate mind-frak by Kara from the beginning. He would wonder how long she'd planned it, whether she'd even been laughing inside at him when she said 'I'm not getting married, Lee.' It would all be painted black in his memory. But he would also see it as his problem, not Kara's. He'd hate her, yes, but he'd also hate himself for risking so much and being rejected so utterly. And that would make him all the more determined to love Dee. My question re. Kara, which I actually forgot to ask, is: did she know what she was doing when she said 'yes, it was my idea'? Did she know then she was closing the door on friendship with Lee forever?
This is where I should insert a poll, if I wasn't so sleepy. Who's the more masochistic: Kara or Lee? radioreverie called Kara an abusive husband, but one who paints herself as the victim, who blames others (Lee) for her own issues. He's not the coward, she is. And in part I agree. But I don't hate Kara (how could I! I see her through Lee's eyes!). I agree that there's a masochism in Lee letting Kara taunt him, in Lee not just walking away from her. But Lee's not clear-headed where Kara is concerned, he never has been. And I think Kara is also masochistic. In hurting Lee, she's hurting herself. And she's simultaneously giving him access to put her into physical pain. It's not pretty--it's very very ugly, but Kara's out to punish herself as much as Lee.
(Speaking of masochism, I'm being hideously masochistic in using this (gorgeous!) icon by syliasyliasylia--every time I see it, my heart goes THUD and I get a lump in my throat. Because it's Kara-as-Lee-sees-her, and she's so damn beautiful and unobtainable and aaaaaaggghhhhhhhhhhh, my heart! I'm hoping the involuntary THUDding will dim if I use it myself, deliberately... perhaps?! o.O)
Reciprocity of emotion
As a Lee-perspective fan, I need constant reassurance of Kara's love for Lee. *g* Seriously. I don't ever trust it completely. For the fiftieth time, I caved on the phone with supacat and asked 'but does she really love him?' because it's never one hundred per cent obvious to me, not even when she yells it to the stars. And supacat was the first to agree that yes, in part Kara only yelled that to shut Lee up. Her take on it was that Kara didn't really think about what she was saying or how true it was until after it was out, and then the reality of having said it--IT--the thing that was true--sank in, and she has that vulnerable, terrified, but wistful expression when Lee takes her face in his hands. But supacat remains convinced that Kara loves Lee, so I guess I have to believe her. *bites nails* I hope so. I still worry though that their love is not equal. (Is anyone's, ever?) Kara stands out in Lee's emotional landscape like a bright glowing object (I looooved that we got Lee-vision of Kara in this ep! So perfect!). I'm not sure if it's the same for Kara. Or if it is, she represses the hell out of it.
More important, perhaps, is the question of what they now want from each other. In the past, Lee's wanted them to move things into the romantic arena. But does he still want to? There's still insane UST between them. There's no question there. But I don't think it's yet clear how willing either Lee or Kara will be to act on them. I think the 'I miss you's were largely about their friendship, and I am absolutely over the moon that they broke through to that, because it's their friendship more than anything that I miss. a2zmom made observed that in the boxing match both of them reached an emotional crisis – Kara acknowledging that she was wrong to run to Lee and Lee admitting that he is far from indifferent to her still. They didn't wear each other down; their anger finally gave way to their deeper feelings. In terms of speculation, I'm pretty useless--I've seen lots of interesting suggestions, but I'm also happy to sit back and wait to see what the show has in store for them. (But please, please, let Lee be happy again at some stage, just briefly!)
What IS clear is that both Kara and Lee are caught in their continued subconscious attraction to each other. Neither thinks about what they are doing in entering the boxing ring together. The rational part of Lee wants to walk away, wants it not to matter. But there's also part of him that's deeply glad she goaded him into the ring--both for the opportunity to release his anger towards her physically and for the opportunity to engage in their continued struggle with their mutual attraction. As always, Lee's slightly more conscious of the subtext between them than Kara is. And he's ready for her 'I miss you' when it comes--he rushes to reciprocate and reassure her. He may not have realised that he was waiting for it, but he was, just as she may not have realised that she needed to hear that so badly. (Oh, my girl!)
Finally, a moment I am continually replaying in my mind is when Lee falls in the ring boxing Helo and Kara mutters 'come on!' to him. He's so startled to see her but is instinctively motivated by her call, even though it's too late. I love that it just slipped out from Kara. It was rather like her unguarded smile when she enters the boxing room, which life_on_queen made a lovely observation about. Outside of the adrenelin-fuelled boxing ring, Lee would insist that motivation from Kara was the last thing he needed or wanted, and Kara would insist she didn't care... oh, denial, how beautiful you can be!
Now if you're looking for actually sane meta: apart from wisteria_'s discussion of Kara/Lee, I also really enjoyed a2zmom's observations on Lee, marenfic's observations on gender and violence and queenofthorns's on the glorious frakked-up-ness of K/L, and the boringness of happy healthy rels on TV.
And on a lighter note, there is giggly picspam!
I hope I can sleep now! *pokes tentatively around brain to see if it's calmer yet*