Shades of Grey

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Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:15 pm

Along those lines of "Shades of" other characters, can we pause just a moment to realize how much Jacob has 'progressed' to this point? We do remember that this is the man who, in the pilot, was entirely mistrustful of Catherine's being brought Below, essentially said (to Vincent) "Don't tell her anything," and "Get her out of here as soon as possible."

Now we're laying on a stone floor, possibly close to death, (and very aware of that, on Jacob's part,) and the discussions he has here are... remarkable in their sheer scope and range.

We learn that Father was once also deeply, irrevocably, and even by his own reckoning perhaps foolishly in love. (He DOES know what it's like 'to wait a year for a woman to step out of a taxi.' (By comparison, Vincent's 8 month (or whatever) separation is almost minor.) Jacob honestly never knew if he'd see Margaret, again. He had only hope, to go on, and all he felt, based on far less than Vincent had experienced with Catherine, at this point. Yet "Out... she... stepped" is his breathless description of his future bride.

In a very few sentences, we come to understand that this is not just a 'romantic soul' but an incredibly romantic one. (How much more painful must Margaret's letter have been, under those circumstances and with that knowledge?) This isn't just a man who was 'once in love with a beautiful woman.' This is a man who was utterly smitten at first sight, and pursued his love with a single mindedness (and we) Vincent has got to admire. (So, Vincent, you climbed up to her balcony, where you knew she was, and how she'd been feeling for a while? Good for you. You knew where she was, what her name was, where she lived, and how she was feeling. I'm not saying you had it easier, my son, but...)

And we know Jacob isn't actually making 'those kinds' of comparisons. But he is trying to say (and Illustrate vividly) that he, too, DOES know 'what it's like to fall in love.' And we believe him. He's utterly sincere. The description he gives is masterful, and heartfelt, and his voice is such that 'we see what he sees', and get that feeling with him, that for a moment, he's on a city street, and he's 26 (or whatever) years old, again.

He describes Vincent and Catherine's love in the most generous, almost over the top words the show ever uses to do that. "Through time and space... your destinies inextricably linked." Jacob thinks this? Mean, nasty, Catherine hating (according to fan fiction) Jacob?

But there's more. The man on the floor has the poignant line "I think the colors have begun to fade from even my mind's eye." And to Vincent, and his future leadership "There will be sacrifices."

In one and two sentence intervals, Father is (successfully) all over the map, here. (He's a young man in New York, trying desperately to find the woman he's certain is his love. He's the tunnel patriarch, who misses the colors the most, from the world Above. He's the cautionary leader, who tells Vincent this will be a heavy duty to uphold, yet he must uphold it, since his voice is 'the truest.' He affirms Vincent's love, and indicates he understands it, and accepts that it's an incredible one. He even jokes. ("I'll quote Virgil on the hour") He's the doctor/parent who's going to save the kids and treat the sprained ankle and then, at the end, "Catherine... there are no words."

While Song of Orpheus is 'technically' about Jacob/Father, (and it's certainly his back story) there are other things/characters 'going on in that episode, and for a good bit of it, Father is 'missing.' (Unable to deliver lines or dialogue. (Cathy is 'Vincent's Catherien,' and Henry Dutton is trying to steal Margaret Chase's millions, etcetera.)

But I think Shades of Grey is REALLY even more 'revealing' about Father than SOO is, if you pay attention to the wind range of dialogue we get, there. Yes, you NEED SOO to understand some of the lines from Shades of Grey, like meeting Margaret, but you get so MUCH of who Jacob is, here. How difficult it is to lead. How much he was once in love. How the colors are going, and there's no real way to stop that, for him. How the future is a perilous place, and he's counting on Vincent to navigate the tunnel world through it, when he's gone. There's his past, his legacy, and so much in between. (By contrast, Vincent would have to be sitting on the floor, discussing everything he felt the first moment he knew he loved Catherine/(or at least met her,) describing how in love with her he is, talking about the things he wishes he could experience in the world up Above, consider the future path his life will take, etcetera.)

Shades of Father from young to not even here, any more, and upon finding out he WILL be here a while longer, thanks to Catherine, 'there are no words.' (Words were the thing he'd been giving to Vincent, in steady streams, since the episode began, and the thing Mouse would get no more of, as punishment, in "The Silence."

Jacob's 'progression' from the tunnel patriarch walking down the steps in his chamber to now is almost as vivid and wonderful a transformation as Catherine's. In several scenes, Shades of Grey is a bit of a Jacob tour de force, once you look at it carefully, for that.

(And, oh yes. All the rich rest of it, in this episode. There's a cave in. It's life and death, for Vincent. Cathy reaches in and finds a bit of her old self, wrapped up with a bit of her new self. Elliot comes off as better than the man Cathy thought he was. Her office comes off as not quite that bastion of truth and justice she's working to help it become, as it uses her. We meet Mouse, Winslow, and a tunnel world that suddenly has 'real people' in it. Cathy (who said "I love him" to Jacob, in SOO,) now says "It was love" to Vincent, just in case we ever doubted she ever used the word with him.

The story is so full, rich, and packed, and it's like there isn't a 'wasted line' in it, from the opening to the close. (And that last look Vincent gives Catherine as she leaves him, which isn't a 'line' at all.)

All JMHO, as ever,


Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:55 pm

Shades of Grey, and shades of Cathy looking very deep, here, and very multi-faceted. Our debutante knows how to BE a debutante. She just also knows how to be a scrapper, a schemer, and a bit of a desperate woman.
Yes. Much as I love B&B, I cannot help noticing that continuity is not the serie’s forte. Especially in these first episodes. The playwright in me repeatedly rolls her eyes, and this wobbling continuity is a harsh challenge to my way of looking at B&B as one long story, not at single episodes. So, paraphrasing what Catherine said in China Moon, we must learn to measure continuity in another way. In fact, if we look at the meaning of the episodes, rather than consistence, we see wonders.

Your sentence I quote above is wonderful. Shades of Cathy. Exactly. This is a blurred episode, from this point of view. Symbolically, the dust of the explosion blurs the borders of the characters, and a new Father emerges (“Catherine… I have no words to thank you” – how can he possibly know what she did?? Never mind, this is an official welcome in his heart and in his world), a new Catherine emerges (dirty and smart, desperate and in love, a clever connection between Above and Below…), a new Vincent emerges (Catherine’s Vincent, in front of the whole tunnel world), and a new tunnel world emerges, far from perfect, far from populated of disneyfied characters (which instead tend to populate the B&B fanfiction). In it, Vincent is the one who “will kill me anyway, if you die”, says Mouse. Shades of Vincent too, and too soon forgotten in future episodes.

GRRM is a genius.


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:13 am

And speaking of Catherine's 'debut'... (and yes, the debutante certainly met everyone with a bang, not a whimper.)- smile-

That, too is interesting, isn't it, for both what we DO get out of it, ("Catherine? Vincent's Catherine?") and even what we don't.

The 'off' sensation (as a viewer) of feeling that THIS is the episode where she meets most of the tunnel folk, that teeming slice of humanity, ALMOST doesn't come off as her debut. (Not because it isn't one, but because the audience knows she's been in the tunnels before, both for ten days in the pilot, Terrible Savior, (she got lost) ACS, No Way Down, and I believe "Seige." (Try not to struggle so, Catherine.") is said near the culvert.

And yes, the 'jumbling of the production order vs. the airing order plays in, some.

But from an Audience POV, we know the tunnels have many people in them. (The pilot showed us several we never saw again, and some, like Kipper and Father, which we did.) "Masques" gave us many children, and we put Ellie and Eric down there.) Cathy now knows four (is it?) ways 'in,' (Her basement and the park entrance, which we will see often, and then the place under the Beaumont, (NWD) and the interconnection that led from Jason Walker's school eventually to the bridge where he died, a pathway used only in "TS"

So? The problem for the viewer is, that to us, Cathy has ALREADY 'seen many people' and 'come and gone from the tunnels.' She's spoken with Father at least some, and there is no 'ah-ha, it's you' or 'My name is Jacob Wells' moment, between them.

Yet here we are, several episodes in, and Winslow's reaction (as well as Mouse's) lead us to understand that until this moment, Catherine never actually 'met' very many tunnel folk. (And she's not swapping introductions, now. Her love is in danger, and plastic explosives must be gotten.)

She's led refugees (Ellie and Eric) down, she's gotten lost and been guided into his chambers, (TS) she's rapped on the gate, seeking an audience with Vincent/passing him information, and she's going places the AUDIENCE has seen, often, now, (with and without her in it), so as a 'debut' goes, it doesn't have that feel. There's been no "Catherine, you must not go past the gate, or my people will be upset" instruction, or scenes of Vincent pining, "I wish I could bring you down and show you." No reason for us to think she HASN'T 'met' people, and been acknowledged, really. (Somebody had to guide her in to Vincent's chamber, for instance, in TS, one of the 'out of order' episodes,) but it's that 'jumbled' quality which (sadly) makes SOG's 'debut' lose its impact, for me. (It's not that it didn't happen, it's that it comes off as a very secondary thing, compared to getting Vincent and Father out of the cave, or hearing Jacob reminisce about Margaret, or tell Vincent that he should lead them, if Jacob falls, or even secondary to the interaction between Catherine and Elliot, who we now meet again. It's almost secondary to the understanding that the tunnel folk have a form of punishment, and it's 'The Silence.')

It comes off as a kind of "Crap! SHE'S Here?" (Winslow's annoyed reaction) moment, which then gets 'moved on through,' as there are much larger concerns at hand.

It's only on reflection that you can dive into that wonderful little debut, (complete with no introductions whatsoever, save Mouse's, of himself- she doesn't stand in a receiving line, the way a debutante would, and meet people, and for obvious reasons, Vincent isn't squiring her around and making sure she gets to shake hands with people like Mary (marvelously played here, and though I don't mind the other one, this Mary does have a certain flavor I like) and Jamie.

And of course, it's that very lack of 'normal introductions and observing at least some of the regular protocols that make this debut of Catherine's so special. She's not standing in a pretty dress, (the way she will at children's concerts and Winterfest) shaking hands and saying "How do you do?" the way she would have, Above. There is no glittering party, complete with good wine and well heeled guests, breathless to meet the 'new girl.' She's a mess, and they are, too. She gets dirty, and our debutante is in a rush. She has some rules to break, and an ex-boyfriend to lead on, just a bit. Shades of Grey, and shades of Cathy looking very deep, here, and very multi-faceted. Our debutante knows how to BE a debutante. She just also knows how to be a scrapper, a schemer, and a bit of a desperate woman. She gets used by her office, (and doesn't like that one bit) and then uses Elliot, for her own purposes, barely giving any moral ramifications of that a second thought. There's her love to save, (no one describes their love story in more poetic terms than Jacob does, here, I don't think,) and an old man to get out of a cave in. "Hi. How's the digging coming?" is about the extent of her acknowledgment of the fact that this is her introduction to Vincent's very extended family. And we're short on the word, "Hi." (There's stuff to do, and it's far more important.)

That Vincent and Catherine were gossiped about is a small delight, here, and again, it's the thing you only 'realize' upon reflection. ("Catherine? VINCENT'S Catherine?") So much said in three words, two of which were the same one. (And of course it is Mouse who will ask, later, "What's it like, Vincent? To have a love?") If there's any doubt among the tunnel community that Vincent doesn't just have a 'pretty topsider friend he rescued' he has a love, I don't know how it can exist. Even Mouse has them figured. ("If anything happens to you, he'll kill me anyway," says Mouse.)

Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:09 am

For me, Remember Love makes sense (perfect sense, and so interesting) only if you look at it as a dream of Vincent’s in its entirety, and the “episode” starts when he wakes up. I’m saying this because if so, that van scene is a perfect example of what you are saying – he, the dreamer, makes Catherine say what he dares not, “learns” from her, and imagines ways to escape and enjoy freedom. It’s himself who talks himself into taking such chance, but gives to that daring idea the face and the voice of Catherine, and yes, it’s lovely to watch.

It’s just plainly lovely to watch him so in love with this “free” Catherine. Such wonder is evident at the end of this episode, Shades of Grey. It’s a mirror to what Catherine said to him at the end of ACS, isn’t it? This woman came into his life, and he is full of admiration for what she did (“saved our lives”), and moreso for what she IS. The symbols buff in me, of course, sees Vincent caved-in with Father, slowly “running out of air”, as Mouse says. Suffocating. And Catherine breezes in. So that he can breathe again. They can breathe again.

After SOO, in this episode Father shows how meeting Margaret has changed him and his suspicious approach to Vincent’s love.
“As if both your destinies were inextricably linked. As if your hearts, in their search for union, would transcend time and space, circumvent the laws of physics and probability.”
Wow. What an edorsement, eh?
“So you see, Vincent, I too know of miracles. Vincent, I understand more than you think about your Catherine, about your bond.”
Yes, Father the Dreamer who hopelessly fell for a fleeting vision and married her nonetheless, can recognize a miracle when he sees one.
In fact, it seems to me that Father does not see Vincent and Catherine as a normal couple, who can have a normal love story. No “normalization” applies here. They have a miracle love story. Well, all love stories are miracles, in a way, but also in this case, they are the epitome of the magic of love. It seems to me that this wonder is evident in Father’s attitude past SOO.

And Catherine makes her debut in the tunnels definitely with a bang, doesn’t she?


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:15 am

One of the other ways she's choosing to limit her own freedom is the job change. (No more coming in at noon. No more people begging you to be at the meeting at three. No more 'I had errands to run and a late night.' No more boss' daughter/big salary. And Cathy accepts all of that, and even ends up excelling at it, to some degree. (She gets the inside track on the job in Providence. She works stake-outs/undercover even though that's a policewoman's job, not a DA's. Joe himself admits "I take advantage," at one point. This is a far cry from the young woman sitting in the office chair in the pilot, all but daring John Moreno/Joe Maxwell to turn her down. Cathy rich-girl/no limits now has to be on time, take work home, and, opposite of Chandler and Coolidge, finds something to feel passionate about. (Helping abused women. Rescuing kids. Saving the old people from greedy developers.)

Cathy who has no/few limits is now observing those; and she's learning it was a good trade. (And of course there's the 'big' limit/compromise/what have you. Vincent, and the whole world Below. The thing you can never tell, the secret you must carry. The burden (and sometimes, it is a burden) you can't share, with anyone.) And the burden has its blessings. Cathy is learning that many burdens do that. It's a lesson for her. One she never had to learn, before. So Cathy is fascinated by Vincent's ability to accept limits gracefully, and maneuver through those, and around them. This thinking, thoughtful, erudite man takes every question from the 'thinker's position, rather than the 'doer's' position. That's not what Cathy's used to. She and her friends have been fairly impulsive creatures, all their lives.

For Vincent, as you say, that dynamic is in play also, coming from the opposite direction, and the 'caged' bird gets to see how the 'free' birds of the world live. They both get out and fly, but for Vincent, 'flight' is a much more perilous things, and there is much to consider. (In "Bluebird" he tells Father that Kristopher couldn't have snuck up on them because he is ALWAYS aware of every rustling in the grass/movement in the shadows, etc. No, he's not 'lost in the moment.' If only I could be, thinks Vincent. But that luxury is not his.)

I like that they are both 'rule benders' (or even rule breakers) but that they're each approaching that from a very different vantage point. Vincent, the thinker, will weigh the risk, measure what controls he can exert over the situation, and go do a less than 'safe' thing so that he can feel the freedom he craves.

Cathy springs into action, comfortable that whatever the consequences are, she can handle them, since 'beauty, warmth and courage' are all like currency. (You can trade those to get what you want/or need.) And if that doesn't work, money, martial arts lessons with Isaac, or something else will probably serve.)

It's funny that while Vincent's risks lead him 'out to freedom,'(via the park, and such) Cathy's lead her 'in to responsibility.' (Cathy breaks the rules to meet Lena, then has to figure out how to help a pregnant prostitute. Ditto how to help the kids in ACS, and even Tony Ramos. Michael the college student needs a place to stay? The couch is yours, Michael. The old people need rescuing from the bad guys? Well in that case, Cathy will just stay over for coffee and stories, just in case she's needed. Vincent tells her he's concerned for her, in "Beast Within." Cathy doesn't budge. We gotta help these guys on the docks, Vincent. That's just how it is, and what would you think of me if I stopped? What would I think of myself?"

She's embracing every fresh set of responsibilities, (some of which will get her shot/beat up) after a life of very few of those. It's as if she's measuring herself against how much she's willing to take on/how far she's willing to go. Even Joe tells her she doesn't make enough money to do the things she is. But this is 'new' Cathy. And she's doing them, anyway.

In none of these, is Cathy writing a check to solve a problem. (And that's probably been her 'go to' tool for that, growing up.) In some cases, it's not even possible that money CAN fix it. New Cathy seeks out problems that old Cathy might not have had the skill set to solve. That's one heck of an evolution.

As Vincent watches her do this, I'm not sure if he's simply a bit awestruck by her, or trying to emulate her (love the scene in "Remember Love" where she literally talks him into taking a chance, on the van) or something else entirely, but there are moments where it's lovely to watch.

Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:43 am

Welcome back, debutante. We kind of missed you.
Exactly! And as I have said already, that “recklessness” is something Vincent loved, I think. Or perhaps not loved, but impressed him enough to make him fall for her, among other things. It took Vincent several months to cross that threshold and visit Catherine on her balcony in the Pilot, despite the continual pull of the bond. Vincent is not impulsive, he cannot allow himself to be, the Beast is. And he falls for the impetuous, generous, no-limits Catherine. Vincent who lives hidden in shadow, and looks at things from this vantage point – shaped by this vantage point -- and Catherine who’s shaped by the opposite vantage point, always in the light, always admired, easily having her way just “being”. She’s the one who can go and imperiously ask Elliot what she wants, without a second thought for his feelings, and probably - that’s the point – never doubting that she would get what she needs. I think that Vincent was fascinated by such “warmth”, as he called it. By her freedom to see no limits.
Mouse says in this episode: “Vincent breaks their stupid rules too”. In fact, I think that Vincent is a free spirit. But he does see the limits, and stubbornly, and very carefully, chooses to cross them. Catherine is a free spirit without choosing it, she does not need to be careful, never learnt to be. Eventually, she rather chooses to put limits to her freedom, to be with Vincent. But Vincent is scared by that choice. Not only because he cannot help fearing she will regret it, but perhaps also because her “warmth” is one of the traits that makes her the “Catherine” he loves.


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:11 am

That 'balancing act' of 'stepping over thresholds' is wonderful (and sometimes sad, and often amazing) to watch, isn't it?

For our main characters, Cathy is interesting in SOG, in that she INITIALLY goes to Elliot all but kicking and screaming. ("No. Joe, don't even ask it.") She's incredibly tense in her interview with Elliot. She doesn't want to be there, and isn't trying to hide that, from anybody. She even tells Elliot she'd be glad to get him someone else to talk to. She would be.

But Vincent's in danger? And now there's a moral line (a threshold) to cross? She runs. Literally runs, to do it. (Moral problem? What moral problem? Vincent is in danger!) Is she stopping on the drive over to question whether or not it's fair to trade on Elliot's obvious feelings for her, this way? No, she's not even stopping for a hairbrush, or to wash her face. She shows up looking just a bit panicked, just a bit disheveled, and even a touch demanding. ("My need is real, and immediate! And I don't have time to spar with you!")

Welcome back, debutante. We kind of missed you.

And Vincent? I like your observation that he essentially 'steps back and forth between thresholds' internally every time he accesses his Beast. (A thing he does very little in this episode, unless you count the tiny moment when he literally roars at the children, to get out of the tunnel before it collapses.)

Vincent doesn't 'like' his beast, but he finds it useful. (Just like Catherine doesn't like talking with Elliot, but finds that useful, too. Twice in one day.)

That notion of 'step over, then step back' gets played a lot, in our show, and as you mention, some of the characters DON'T 'make it.' (Charles the dragon man can't stay below. He's too violent/strong, and unpredictable. He has to go back up, with Devin as his caretaker. Rolley doesn't stop using drugs at the end of "Chamber Music," even though the episode primes us for a redemptive ending for the brilliant child. - though we'll see him again, too. Kanin Evans goes to jail and is never heard from, again. (Kanin, who steps over the threshold to very literally avoid being who he is.) Cullen has a near miss as he wants what money will get him, and stabs Mouse. Lena's episode has her coming down to give birth, going back up when her heart gets a bit broken, and coming back down in time for the Christening. Laura sees a man killed, and thinks there might be no place like home, until Vincent gently tells her that though the choice is hers, she may need to go. (And she does. A decision which isn't all good in "Sticks and Stones," either.) Jacob goes Above and gets arrested. (Then later, imprisoned by Paracelsus. You'd think he'd learn.) <smile> Prodigal Devin KNOWS he's a fraud. But he's a good one.

Yet, everyone keeps dancing this dance, and wandering through each one's own "Shades of Grey."

Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:33 am

The old, comfortable view beckons. And the new one is unclear, so...
Absolutely. That’s what I perceive in the first episodes about Catherine, and I’m surprised and impressed at the accuracy of the slow development. One does not change life overnight.

Yes, Catherine is realistically and a bit cynically aware that she “could do worse than Tom Gunther, and have”.

And for this awareness, as well as for her decision to leave that “old self” behind once she faces a new opportunity, she’s the essence of B&B. Our show is basically about that: meeting, recognizing and grabbing new, positive chances. That’s what the characters are faced with, along the show: the glimpse of their truer, “deeper” self.

BUT this does not mean that once they meet such chance, they unfailingly grab it and live happily ever after. It would not be credible. It’s a struggle, and we all know such struggle in our real life.

Yes, Elliot, for Catherine, is the comfortable old view which beckons. And yes, probably that’s true also for Elliot. Their “former selves”, so black and white, were so clear. Not only in the high society life where they might have met before. Even with a new, fascinating moral compass. Elliot betrayed Catherine, she won’t ever talk to him again. Alas, not so easy. It may happen that she needs him. So?

B&B is about thresholds. It’s not that Catherine deserts the world Above for the world Below. She needs to make her own new self with the best of both her inner worlds. And, sometimes, the worse self as well? Even the Beast’s worse self is often useful, isn’t it? Shades of Grey indeed.

In this SOG we see the “second act” of Elliot’s four acts tragedy. A powerful, very credible one, if you ask me. Even more epic, of course, if we look at the whole arc of the character, including the Third Season. But even the first two seasons are depicting a wonderful path of growth and fall and tentative redemption for himself, and of influence over the life of the others, V&C, which is also a believable facet of the human beings’ existence.


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:09 am

Regarding Cathy's reaction to Elliot when she finds out he's not as 'good' as she originally thought him-

There are a few questions there, aren't there? (And as you say, DEFINITELY enough of 'old Cathy' in there to make it worth pondering.)

To some extent, you can even question her over-reaction, entirely. (She breaks off her budding romance, =which might have been complete with sex, at this point, but then again, might not have- because she finds out that Elliot wants to build a big building, and will pay off the old people, and lean in a little hard, to get things done? Didn't she know that before? This is NYC, and it's not like he's a pauper, or not in a tough business.) Elliot is believable when he says he didn't know that people were breaking the law in his name. It's when he tosses off the comment 'so what if they have to move' (or some such) that Cathy realizes there's just a little bit of a morally grey man, standing in front of her.

Which leads me to...

I think the larger part of Cathy's sudden breakup had to do with the fact that "New Elliot" suddenly looked a whole lot like "Old Stephen Bass" and "Old Tom Gunther." And who dated those? Why, that would be "Old Catherine." I think she might have been flat out terrified to find that she was making some of her old mistakes, and turning a blind eye to certain faults a man had, for the sake of the fact that he was attractive, compelling, and 'just right' for her.

In Seige, there's just enough of New Cathy to be very wary of Old Cathy, and to know how much a bad decision can dominate your life. Cathy's at a tipping point in more ways than one, here. Step to Elliot, and New Cathy won't be with us, very long. (There's no 'growth' there, no 'change.' There are beautiful parties and lovely art and big buildings, and people who are out for themselves more than they are for each other. Which is to say there's a lot of 'Old Cathy' back there. Step to Vincent, and it's still that great unknown, which Catherine senses is "good," by definition. The old, comfortable view beckons. And the new one is unclear, so...

Then her head gets snapped around, with the force of a good slap. She's just been guilty of being "Old Cathy." and Catherine rather suspects that woman's choices. (I don't think she views her old self as 'bad,' I think she views her old self as being a woman who made some wrong choices. It's why she undoes those choices, in the pilot.)

When Charles Chandler tells her "You could do worse than Tom Gunther" and Cathy's reply is "and have," it's a bit telling. She's not proud of those liasons. And she knows, more than Charles, how much they cost her.

I think she realized she was about to throw herself in (I love your description of her that she 'acts first and thinks second' while Vincent is much the opposite,) to a relationship that was 'bad' for her. Again. (And it looked so pretty, at first glance.)

Cathy has a scary moment where she realizes she was about to 'go back to being who she was' rather than staying steadfast, and continuing with the very difficult work of 'becoming who she is making.' (So Elliot gets her outrage, not quite sure why she's reacting so strongly, and after it's done, she won't touch her phone to talk to him, again, even after he calls 50 times.)

Then Shades of Grey hits, and she needs him. So off we go.

I just realized something. (Thanks to already having watched AKBTS.) Elliot gets 'in touch' with 'Old Elliot' when he's with Catherine, just like Catherine gets in touch with "Old Catherine" when she's with Elliot. Just a passing thought.

Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:30 am

Catherine –
Yes, imperfectly perfect. We see all her good and her bad here. She’s shamelessly manipulating Elliot, because she wants to save Vincent and Father, no shades of grey here, just a overwhelming need. First act, then think seems to me a feature of her character, and one, I suppose, which made her dear and “inspiring” to Vincent, who probably is the one who endeavours to first think and then act – unless the drive of the inner beast is not blinding him. Beauty, warmth and courage are the qualities he mentions as those that captured his heart.

And it’s interesting to have these reversed roles – she’s the impulsive, passionate, “reckless” one, and he, the beast, is the opposite – restrained, pondering, steadfast… and often powerless, like in this episode, like in NWD, like in NIBAC. The “beast” that is Vincent is caged, and the “beast” that is Catherine to the rescue.

Elliot –
It was a touch of magic that this “evil” character was dusted off and proposed again. And in such a credible way. In this show that has way too few recurrent and interesting characters (oh, Edie… ) he gives depth to the world Above and offers a beautiful tale of growth and redemption on its own.
And it gives me pause to see here such a harsh reaction from Catherine to Elliot’s “betrayal” in Siege. Why is she so deeply affected? Did she really fall for him, and her feelings were badly hurt? I suppose we all prefer to think that it was rather the new budding ones, about herself as a new and different woman, about hurting her new precious friend, but I can't help thinking that there is more, that the Catherine of Siege is still made of old and new enough to do what we don't prefer. Did they sleep together? I think so, both for the heat but also the relaxedness between them in the scenes of Siege, and for the normal behaviour of two adults feeling reciprocal attraction in the Eighties NYC. And this could contribute to explain some of the present harshness on C’s part and some of the overall savor of the Catherine/Elliot relationship. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the scene hinted by the “Next time you call, I’ll be in” line (and have proposed it as one of the BatBland Challenges).

A few thoughts for now, but there’s much more to comment in your post. Later.


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:22 pm

Regarding that VERY 'shades of grey' moment in this one, regarding Catherine, I have to say that I like this Catherine with the same strength I liked her in SOO. This, again, is "Vincent's Catherine," and she's imperfectly perfect, as she crosses a line she thought she'd never cross, (she speaks to Elliot Burch again) in order to save 'her Vincent.'

Elliot, too, was written wonderfully, here, and said nothing out of character that I could detect. He's thrilled to see her, but not cloying. He's decisive and in charge, and taken aback, some, by her list. He gives it to her without question, for whatever reason, and she accepts his gift in that same way, paying only with the promise that 'next time you call, I'll be in.' It's a beautifully balanced scene, with a Catherine who's anything but. (She's scared, nervous and frantic. And we as the audience know those feelings are about Vincent, and what he needs, rather than about Elliot, and what he needs.)

Jacob, too, comes off as very credible, the injured older man remembering one of his most beautiful days.

Mouse jumps into our awareness, as you say, this time counterpointed with Winslow, the sure, steady pragmatist who probably thinks his two friends are going to die, but determined to reach them anyway, by the only means he knows how- the strength of his arm.

It's interesting to me how each character approached the 'problem' of freeing Vincent and Father by depending each on their own strengths, rather than, say, on each other's. (Until the very end.)

Society girl Cathy is using her social connections, here, (Elliot.) Mouse uses his very fertile imagination. ("I have a digging machine." and "Need a wire... need a gizmo... and boom!") Jamie is the stalwart friend who pleads Mouse's case in the face of a resisting tunnel community. (Winslow: Half his machines don't even work!" Jamie: Yeah, and half of them do.") Winslow is the solid, practical man who sees a mountain of stone in front of him, and a hammer in his hand, and is determined to use the strength in his arms to save his friends. They're all 'being themselves' as they go in somewhat different directions, all working for the same goal.

The heavily populated tunnels now have adults aplenty to go with the kids we met. (Kipper, in the pilot. More in ACS, if you go by viewing order.) But most of these people do the same thing they'll do in the show. They serve as 'background stage dressing' for those who have speaking parts. That's a shame, since it tends to 'homogenize' them, some, (make them all seem like versions of 'the same person,' even though we know they can't be.)

Most of the adults are following Winslow, with his strong voice. Rebel Jamie and Desperate Catherine follow the illogical voice of Mouse, who is right 'half of the time.' Desperate times call for desperate measures.
(Favorite line of Mouse's here, when they're about to detonate the plastic explosives, and Cathy tells him she'll work the detonator. "If you die, he'll kill me, anyway.") That's priceless.

It seems even Mouse already knows how in love our characters are. Somehow. (So, yes, 'our couple' are indeed gossiped about, Below, else how would he know so much?

Another thing to love: This one is solidly about just that. Love. How much it means, how much it brings, and sometimes how much it costs. (Jacob, talking to Vincent about what leading the tunnels will cost him. "It won't be without sacrifice. I think I miss the colors, most of all.")

Then he lists those colors, and we'll 'see' them in the show. "The blue of the Pacific in the sun" (A Distant Shore) "The green grass of Ebbet's field" (we already know about that from SOO) "The fall leaves changing in Vermont," (Substitute 'Connecticut' for 'Vermont' and you're at Catherine's lake, coming up in "Remember Love.") None of this is significant, mind you, it's just something that caught my ear as I watched it.

But anyway, everyone is firmly in love, here. (By 'everyone' I mean Vincent, Catherine, Jacob and Elliot.) V and C with each other, Jacob with both his (deceased) wife and his tunnel home, and Elliot with Catherine. (Nobody thinks he gave her tungsten carbide drill bits and plastic explosives because he's NOT in love with her, if you will.) As he says, "I must have called you 50 times, after our disagreement." And when he tells her he's not one of the bad guys, we think he just might be telling the truth.

For Cathy, the story even opens in "Shades of Grey" before she's aware of the cave in. (Joe tells her that their boss has given instruction to ask Cathy to trade on her personal life so they can all advance the legal case against Max Avery.) Morally, that's a no-no. It riles Cathy enough to threaten resignation if it ever happens again, and we believe her. Joe, meanwhile, is the hapless deliverer of this unsavory message, agreeing with her that it stinks, but there it is. Shades of Grey.

We meet Mouse (who will be our hero, here,) as he's being punished for doing pretty much the same things that will save Vincent and Father. (He's been caught going up to a construction site, above, and 'Shades of Grey' like, is having a hard time figuring out the distinction between 'borrowing' and 'stealing.')

Only in hindsight do I realize that we heard much from Jacob, Catherine, and Elliot, about what they love, (for Elliot, that would be building megastructures (He's willing to testify to get rid of Max Avery) and Catherine,) but not a whole lot from Vincent about that, except for his love of the books Jacob read him, and how they 'took him places,' with their words. (He mentions Kipling, Twain, and Jack London, to Jacob.) Clearly those were his first 'loves,' and he tells Jacob no child ever had a better guide, and it's that kind of 'love' we hear him speak of.

The other characters discuss (or are clearly feeling) romantic matters of the heart, a bit more. That isn't a complaint, regarding Vincent, just an observation. Other kinds of love (the desire to build, both Above and Below) friendship, familial, are clearly explored here, too. For Vincent, however, it's that love of books, that love of the 'window to the world' he could see so clearly. (That love did cause him to dare to dream of Above, and that dream did cause him to save Catherine, so in a way, yes, I suppose this episode DID touch on his romantic feelings for her, but I'm all over the place here, as it is.)

As an odd question, I can never quite decide if Cathy's 'awareness' of their bond and Vincent's trouble comes because he's IN so much trouble, (She's feeling what he's feeling, or at least she's hearing what he's hearing, as she 'hears' the sound of Winslow's hammer hitting the steel pipe) or if rather than 'simply feeling Vincent in trouble,' Vincent is actively 'calling out to her' inside their bond.

I don't know why I think the latter could be on the table, (other than Catherine's odd reaction as she reaches for her temple, making it seem as if she'd just been somehow 'contacted'). It's just a thing I notice, and ponder as I ponder everything else.

There are even odd touches of humor in this episode, and they come in otherwise solemn/serious moments. (Vincent teasing Father that he'll fall asleep in the cave in, if Jacob takes to quoting Virgil on the hour. Father and Jacob talking after Mouse has been sentenced to 'The Silence' that the kaleidescope (there's a reference to 'colors' again, and not the color 'grey' as the episode title suggests) Mouse had gifted Father with was not stolen. - He'd just stolen the parts. Cathy's crash landing into Mouse's 'deep' chamber... as she's frantically trying to reach Vincent, aware that something is wrong. Even Mouse's line about "He'll kill me anyway," said just as he's about to die... maybe.

This is the episode of 'keeping Vincent still' while the rest of the world goes absolutely buzzing, around him. (Catherine changes scenes half a dozen times, from Above in her office to Below in Mouse's chambers, to the site of the cave in, to back Above to see Elliot, to back Below to the cave in again, to the OTHER side of the cave in to Mouse, etc.)

Vincent, by contrast is in the Council Chamber, Father's chambers, in the cave in for most of it, then near Cathy's exit, as she goes above.

Thinking about that a moment... Is this the first time Vincent doesn't go Above at all, in an episode? Because as I run the list, I THINK it is. And once I think about it, that fact kind of 'stands out to me.' Vincent seems... I don't know the word. As trapped as he actually is by the cave in, in this one, because of that. There's this feeling of this very large man in much too small a space, throughout the episode. Like he needs to get Above, to breathe.

But that's just an impression, and as I say, I'm babbling, at this point. So much to like, here!


Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:59 pm

There’s so much to savor in this episode…

As you said, the characters, for a start.

Yes, it’s the first time we meet Winslow, as well as Mouse, Jamie, Mary. Mary was mentioned but not seen in Masques, and here she is played by Rutanya Alda, who gets credited as “Mary” in final credits, but she’s never addressed as such, just mentioned by Father while she’s offscreen. The next time we see the character Mary is in The Alchemist, played instead by Ellen Geer, and from that episode the actress will be Ellen Geer. We see again Rutanya Alda in Ozymandias, but the name of her character is Sarah in the credits. (And I loved R. Alda very much, perhaps better than E. Geer…)

We had already met Pascal. And Narcissa, as an odd character living outside the Hub.

So: Vincent, Father, Pascal, Winslow, Mouse, Jamie, Mary. When they decided to show us the Tunnel world these, besides the children, are the characters they chose to populate it with, which will be the recurring ones, basically, as the others are guest stars. Only William will be added later on, perhaps to replace Winslow as their characters may be roughly similar. In the Third Season, we find multiple episodes with some other characters, but my point is that the above few ones are those they chose to put and keep in the tunnels for now. They probably chose them because they needed these very ones for the plot of this episode, but they remained to compose the – limited, if you ask me – palette of the tunnel population.

The most powerful and “finished” among the above are Mouse and Winslow here. In this “Shades of Grey” environment, they are a couple of opposites, aren’t they? All that is powerful and “direct”, and all that is volatile and unstable. In the middle, the muted, powerless “hearts” of Below, Vincent and Father, and the sudden breath of Above, Catherine, who saves the day. Thanks to a VERY shaded of grey manipulation, on her part, of a character who was depicted – and she wants to believe – completely black.

Okay, I think I lost myself, I’m not sure where I want to go now. As soon as the dust of the rumination explosion settles, I’ll write more…


Re: Shades of Grey

by cindyrae77 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:07 am

Yes, it's a wonderful 'layering' and introduction of characters. (Is this the first time we meet Winslow?)

Elliot Burch returns, and we find out he's called Cathy multiple times, (repeatedly) yet she's refused to speak with him. His "Are you always so sure you're right?" is a wonderful, indeed perfect line, between them.

And then he takes the high ground, asking for nothing, (and perhaps calculating that that's exactly what he'll need to do, to get his foot back in her door,) and he 'saves' Jacob and Vincent, two men he's never met, one of whom is a big part of why she won't take his calls.

Vincent is 'still,' in this one, as is Father. Neither can move. This isn't the usual episode, where the former is tearing through the tunnels, the park, being in his chambers, her balcony, and at just the right place at the right time, in the end, to save her.

This is the opposite, and it's almost as if the choice to 'confine Vincent' meant we HAD to meet the others. (And watch Cathy, as she tears around, trying to save him.)

Jacob remembers meeting Margaret, in what is one of the most poignantly lovely moments the writers ever gave Jacob. (You see, Vincent, I really DO know what it is to be utterly in love with a beautiful woman. I waited a year, hoping she'd get out of a taxi.) And of course she did, and Jacob became a married man. It's touching.

But Jacob doesn't just think about the past, in there. He thinks about the future. "You must lead them," he tells Vincent. "Your voice is the truest."

Mouse gets to be a hero. There is no 'villain,' but we do come to understand that the tunnels which are a refuge can also be treacherous, and take lives unexpectedly. We know about the Abyss. Now, we know more. The walls can cave in. Certain areas have been deemed 'dangerous' and 'off limits.' But children like to play, and sometimes, that has unexpected consequences.

And of course, Cathy uses the word "Love" to Vincent's face (not just Father's) for the audience.

Reasonably speaking, it's likely something she's done before, off camera. (Saying it to Jacob in SOO but not ever saying it to Vincent makes only so much sense.) But this time, the audience gets to hear it, and see Vincent follow her out of the tunnels, with his eyes. His lady has saved him. She's come to his rescue, in more ways than one, and this time, she even 'came when he called out to her,' in their bond. It's a 'flip' of the 'Catherine is in trouble, so Vincent comes running' mode we've gotten into. Their link travels in both directions. (Though I don't think we see it do that again, this way, in other episodes where he's in trouble, or if it does, it's not 'referred to' so directly as the camera shot we got with Catherine in her office.)

Many things to like, with this one,


Re: Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:45 pm


So, twelfth episode, and suddenly the tunnels become Huge, and Crowded. The great, great George RR Martin takes the best of several past episodes (Elliot, Eric and Ellie, Father and Margaret) and puts it in a layered background, showing with plenty of details that secret world we have just glimpsed so far.

And B&B themes galore. First of all, “shades of grey”. There is nothing perfectly good or perfectly bad, within and without both people and environments. It’s a fundamental theme of the show, which immediately involves Compassion. And Justice, in the “shaded of grey” versions of Below and Above.

Catherine is a layered character too. She rejects Elliot, but she shamelessly uses him. She feels the Bond. She tiptoes into the Tunnel world and we perceive that she’s been gossiped about.




Shades of Grey

by 222333 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:06 am

Here are the references for this episode, from the BatBforever website: