The Fades: Ghosts, Twins…Actually That’s Pretty Much It

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Enough housekeeping.

I’ve been planning on writing about The Fades since just after I saw the first episode, and now the entire season is over by a couple of weeks and I still haven’t written it. Well, enough excuses, I’m doing it now.

First let me say that The Fades is a good television show. You won’t hear me raving about it like you will some others, but it’s a solid show and very striking visually. (You’ll be able to tell right from the opening theme – which is super creepy, by the way – that this is first rate.) And the first season only has six episodes, so it moves pretty fast and it won’t take you long to watch them all.

(I have a download link for you. I have a fear of being prosecuted for inciting criminal behavior but this is a foreign show and one has to be…resourceful. Torrents are readily available as well.)

The genre would probably be best described as horror. It’s definitely drama over comedy – the moments of levity are few and far between. I don’t know if British is a genre, but I think it might qualify. I watch a number of British shows, but they always do feel a bit…off. The Fades airs on BBC 3. I don’t know much about British television, but BBC 3 must be kind of like our premium cable channels, because The Fades is pretty hardcore – masturbating, naked bums (I speak British!), the f word galore, etc., etc., and well the violence and “scariness” are pretty hardcore too but we rarely associate that with ratings anymore, do we?

Our main character is Paul Roberts. Paul is your typical 17 year-old loser who is – you guessed it – maybe not so typical. He begins having dreams of ashy apocalypse and seeing freaky shit.Turns out Paul is something called an angelic, a special kind of person with special powers, including healing and the ability to see the dead who still walk among us.

The deal is essentially this: when people die, they become ghosty things and then a few days later they ascend to the other side. But around where Paul lives, there began to be problems with ascension, and a certain number of ghosts were left behind – unable to ascend, unable to interact with the world. These left behind ghosts are known as fades (aha!). They’re a little disgruntled.

Sarah, an angelic, is killed by a fade called Polus who is soon identified as the fades’ leader. Paul, rather coincidentally, ends up in that same spot just as Sarah’s friend Neil, another angelic, shows up.

Neil

Neil identifies Paul as a brother-in-arms. You see, the angelics have a rather murky role protecting the humans. And Neil, in particular, is militant and belligerent about the whole thing. He believes that Paul isn’t just another angelic (cue eye-roll), but a sort of savior.

Paul confides in his best friend Mac, who is just as much a loser as him but 10 times funnier.

They have the most adorable friendship.  These guys are just so cute together. They’re such good friends and have been for a very long time and they’re really in-tune with each other. They’re total nerds who love movies and just being nerds together and having matching pajamas and it’s fantastic. Mac is the comic relief, so when he’s sad or angry or terrified it breaks your heart. Mac has a difficult relationship with his father, who is the chief of police and spends most of his time investigating Sarah’s death and eventually some other deaths related to the fade troubles.

Sarah was estranged from her husband, Mark, and oh my gosh I ship them so hard. Their love story is one of the best things about this show. He crosses paths with our main characters both through the investigation of Sarah, and because he is a teacher at Paul’s high school. Sarah wanders around as a ghost for a while, but then she is unable to ascend and she becomes a fade, so just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she’s gone, although she’s unable to interact with anyone but angelics. Watching her follow Mark around is the saddest thing ever. Of course, once she’s dead, he realizes how much he loves her and that they never should have been separated, and the same for her of course.

Where’s the sibling, right? That’s what you’re asking. That’s what you’ve been wondering all these paragraphs. Well, the time has come! Paul has a sister – a twin sister – named Anna. And she’s a firecracker.

Paul is kind of quiet, different, unpopular. He wets the bed, he spends his weekends watching movies with Mac, or talking about them. Anna is the opposite. She’s bossy, officious, in-your-face, popular, mean. In fact, their dynamic is one of my favorites for shipping high school age brother-sister pairings. My great original incest novel is a totally different story, obviously – no fades…in this draft, anyway – but the dynamic is very similar between my brother and sister characters.

Anna wouldn’t have been very popular at my school. She’s abrasive, and she’s got an arresting face but she’s not really that pretty, and her hair and clothes are very punkish. (Of course everyone on this show dresses kind of weird.) She’s kind of fabulous in her way but she’s not the way I write my popular girls and she’s not the way the popular girls were at my high school. But in this show she’s the sh!t, apparently. Mac seems to agree, he’s got a crush on her that becomes increasingly more clear in his singularity  and intensity. But she’s also a real bitch. A real piece of work. She runs the school, and everyone is afraid of her. Including Paul.

Paul and Jay

And including Jay, her best friend, who is also Paul’s love interest. I don’t really know how I feel about Jay. I’m generally, I like to think, a fairly accepting person where most things are concerned. But I totally want to judge everything about Jay, from her smoking to her haircut to her loose sexuality. It’s like she’s got all these little things about her that just all happen to be personal pet peeves of mine. And she’s friends with Anna not because she likes Anna but because she likes being popular.

And I don’t understand why she likes Paul. What she sees in him. Not because of anything about Paul, specifically, but because it just feels like Jay picked some guy she thought she could control completely. Have you seen Thumbsucker? It reminded me of Thumbsucker.

Paul and Anna’s father isn’t in their life, but they have a very caring and loving mother, although Anna clearly has a complex about being overlooked. She feels like their mother loves and treasures Paul and Anna is just chopped liver. Although, I have to say, the evidence wasn’t really there. We have to take Anna’s word for it. Not like with Ursa and Azula.

Just to be clear, I should mention that the show doesn’t position Anna and Paul as love interests or turn them into a canon couple. This isn’t a show with incest in it. Like most of the other entries on this blog, Anna and Paul are just a pairing for which I think a hook up would be very satisfying. But…it is also worth mentioning that the show does go some pretty interesting places with their relationship and there’s a lot more to go on than with most of the brother/sister pairings I’ve discussed.That is the set-up. There are more and more fades every day, and I won’t tell you how but they begin to get a foothold on the physical world and it’s very dangerous for the humans.

All right, let’s talk cast.

Paul is played by Iain de Caestecker. Is that an awesome name or is that an awesome name? I don’t have much more to say about him than that. I don’t actually like Paul that much – he bugs me a little bit although he shouldn’t. Is that Iain’s fault? I don’t know. I think he does a good job, though. He has a great intensity. Paul has this personality quirk where he’s always serious even if he’s joking. Iain does a good job with that.

Anna is played by Lily Loveless. An even better name, lucky girl. She was on the second generation of Skins, which I haven’t seen, but maybe you have. I like Lily’s portrayal of Anna, although I don’t think she had as much opportunity to go places beyond the script the way some of the actors could because of Anna’s fierceness. But she has…a quality. A je ne sais quoi.

Mac is played by Daniel Kaluuya, another later Skins actor. He was also on Planet of the Dead, from season 4 of Doctor Who. He’s brilliant. I’m sure he has a big career ahead of him.

Jay is played by Sophie Wu. She was in Kick-Ass. I love Kick-Ass (consider this my recommendation). She has this delicacy to her that I really like, even though I made my feelings about Jay pretty clear.Polus (remember, he’s the leader of the fades) is played by Joe Dempsie once he gets his proper form. He wears these outdated tweeds but it’s adorable. Joe Dempsie is from the first generation of Skins, so I’ll always know him as Chris from that show, And he plays Gendry on Game Of Thrones, which is just about my favorite show ever so he gets a kudos from me, and I actually like Gendry a lot.So it was fun to see him here. He’s very talented. Good looking in his own way. I actually think it would have been better to make Polus a bit more of a Voldemort type – you know, a dominating older man. But this worked out OK.

Mark is played by Tom Ellis. He reminds me a lot of Jeremy Northam, which is definitely a compliment. His filmography list is rather long, and his face very familiar, but nothing really stood out to be, except he was Martha’s love interest in The Last of the Time Lords episode Doctor Who season 3.He was also King Cenred in season 3 of Merlin. I feel a little funny about him because I had this dream where I found out that he was my father. Him or one of his characters, I’m not sure. Dreams are funny, aren’t they? He’s not even close to being old enough to be my father. I’m laughing so hard right now just thinking about it. Anyway, I always call him my father now. Like, “oh look, it’s my father.”

Finally we have Natalie Dormer, who is probably the biggest name on the show.

I’ve seen her in quite a few things – she was just in Captain America which I saw only a week ago exactly. It was OK, not something I’d see again though I have a big place in my heart for Chris Evans and I could watch Sebastian Stan read the flippin’ phone book. Actually, how would you feel about a random Sebastian Stan picture spam right now? I’d feel pretty good about it.

Hmmm…that was nice.

More relevantly Natalie was Anne Boleyn on The Tudors

And she’ll be playing Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones. I might have just decided to ship Gendry/Margaery. Why the hell not? Margaery and her brother are super close in the A Song of Ice and Fire books, but he’s gay so that just takes away all the fun. He could maybe be bi but I just don’t feel it. George Boleyn was gay on The Tudors, too, though sort of bi in his way as well. I didn’t care so much on The Tudors, I shipped George/Anne with a fever even though George was…how do I put this? A dick. The Boleyns and every permutation will be discussed in a post of their own whenever I get to it. I’m a fan of Natalie Dormer. I like her with darker hair, though. Allegedly she’s a natural blond, but it doesn’t look natural to me. She did have this gorgeous ethereal quality to her when she had blond hair in Casanova, though.I’m going to get more detailed at this point, and probably discuss developments from later episodes (possibly as far as episode 6, the season finale) as they are relevant to Paul and Anna, so if you think you might watch the show – and I encourage you, if you like horror, to do so – then you may want to stop reading right now. The show does have a fair amount of OMG moments, though I wouldn’t actually call it twisty.

And, as always, if there’s a scene you’d like to see, just make a request and I’ll post the clip on youtube.

The first time we see Anna, Paul rushes past her and messes up her nails. She throws a fit. He’s just wet the bed, although all Anna sees is their mother holding a sheet. Their mother says she doesn’t know what’s up with Paul, and frankly I think he’s being rather pissy (and I don’t mean that in the urine way) for a guy with such a sweet, affectionate mother, but Anna says that he’s just a teenage boy, except that he should be wanking rather than pissing. Wanking is British for masturbating, of course. Right off the bat we’ve got her discussing his sexuality. I gather that such a discussion might be a little more common in a British household than here in the States, but that doesn’t change the basic fact, does it? And this is a TOTAL stretch, but Paul smudges her nails = she was trying to make herself beautiful for school and he impaired her.

We see them later at school. Anna, Jay, and another minion walk by and Paul says hello to Jay. It’s very awkward. Anna and Jay turn around to look at him after they’ve passed him, and Anna says, “F—k off, Paul. How we came out of the same egg is a mystery to me.”“The same womb,” Paul corrects. “We came out of the same womb. Egg and we’d be identical twins. There are some differences between us, if you hadn’t noticed.” And he laughs.So much here!

Obviously Paul should get some points for standing up to Anna. I don’t think very many people would correct her – and with a tone! – especially out in public like that. So he may be scared of her sometimes but he’s got backbone when he feels like it. And then the way he laughs at the end – he’s basically not only saying that she’s wrong, but that she’s stupid. Took balls.

And then how about the fact that what was just Paul saying hi to the girl he likes became a conversation about Paul and Anna’s relationship? One that she initiates. By saying hi to Jay Paul was showing that he was interested in her, and Anna jumps right up to shoot that down. First she insults Paul in front of Jay to show Jay that Paul is NOT an option for her, then she establishes a sort of ownership over Paul by iterating their relationship as twins.

As if that wasn’t enough, Paul makes a show of domination over Anna by proving that he’s smarter than her, and then he makes the conversation about their naughty parts. “If you hadn’t noticed…” he says, as in, “Gee, Anna, I really hope you know by now that I have a penis.” And I bet Paul has certain feelings about the way Anna views his penis.

This conversation would be…intriguing at any point in the show, but this is only the SECOND time we’ve seen them interact, and the first time had Anna talking about him wanking.

Well, Anna has a noticed a difference between them, “Yeah, you’re a retard,” she responds before walking off (and muttering to Jay that “he’s such a wanker”). And while that’s not a particularly intelligent rebuttal, it’s very well executed. I’d say Anna wins this round. And that’s why she’s Queen B.Paul sort of rolls his eyes and sighs and quickly walks off in the other direction with Mac. That’s a fairly effective way of showing that this is par for the course.

Jay finds Paul sitting on a bench smoking. He’s just trying to be cool, I think. She says that she didn’t know he smoked, and he says something like, “I’m just learning. I tried to write L on the cigarette in my sister’s lipstick”. I have ZERO idea what that means, but it sounds intimate. Either way he was in close proximity with her lipstick or what he thought was her lipstick. And it seems like he was going through her stuff because I don’t think she would just give it to him. And he just inadvertently referred to Anna’s lips.

Too far?

Well, they talk for a minute and Paul says that Anna would kill Jay if she caught her talking to him like, and Jay says that she would probably kill him too, because Anna doesn’t believe in the “intermingling of the species”. We can take that to mean that Anna likes the popular kids with the popular kids. But maybe that’s just what she tells everyone to keep them away from Paul. In my novel, the sister is quite Machiavellian in the way she keeps her brother ostracized.

There’s a sweetness to Jay in this scene as she tries to encourage Paul even though he’s sort of clueless, and I like what she says about her Dad and she calls Paul and Anna’s mum wicked (which she is). But I don’t like how aggressive she is with Paul in general even though her intentions aren’t nefarious. And I’m running out of even half-as$ed reasons for why I dislike her so I’m resorting to, “she just rubs me the wrong way”.

Anna obviously smokes too, but it just seems sort of badass with Anna. Lung cancer would be scared of Anna – that sort of thing. And like she wasn’t stupid or peer-pressured into it, she’s just tough and likes to live on the edge and she’s bad and fierce and all that.

Paul tells Jay during this conversation that he never wanted to be different and he doesn’t like being different, and he recounts a few moments from his past when he was called different and it made him feel worse. And it makes think of Anna, and how being popular she is the prime of example of the “right” way to be.

Well, Anna and her friends go out pretty much every night, Jay tells us. So that night Paul and Mac follow them out to the woods and watch the cool kids hang out. You really just see a campfire, and a few people in collapsible chairs from a distance. Anna is sitting on her boyfriend’s lap. She’s the one who does all the moving and she’s the only one you really hear, and with her blond hair she stands out a lot more. It really seems like she’s the only one that they’re watching. Jay just sits there you practically have to pause it to even see her.

I was really excited about Paul and Anna after this first episode. It seemed like most of the Jay scenes were actually more about Anna and Paul than they were about Jay and Paul. Unfortunately Jay is a little bit more than a catalyst, but there’s still plenty of exciting Paul and Anna stuff.

On to Episode 2!I already mentioned that Paul sometimes has dreams of a prophetic nature. Well, at the beginning of the episode he has a dream where he hears a noise, and he runs up to his room, and he sees Anna sprawled on his bed, in her underwear, with her throat slit. Then he goes to their mother’s room, and sees her seizing and bloody. Then he wakes up. We see this dream, and then we cut to Paul and Mac at school, and Mac is saying, “Your sister was naked?”How perfect, right? I mean, how perfectly perfect. How delightful. How wonderful.

First of all: that’s Mac’s exact wording. He doesn’t say Anna. I bet in almost every other conversation they have, Mac refers to her as Anna, but this time she’s Paul’s “sister”.

“Yeah, well, the important part is that she’s dead,” Paul argues.“Dead, naked, and in your bed,” Mac responds, not be swayed from his path.Again, kisses to Mac for his wording, because he says “in your bed”. Which makes me wonder how Paul worded it when he originally told him, because Anna’s head is actually at the foot of the bed and she’s on top of the covers, so most people wouldn’t call that “in” the bed. Of course prepositions are often tricky, and in/on re: bed doesn’t have cut and dry rules, but the sexual connotation of “in” one’s bed vs. “on” one’s bed is much, much, much higher. And the fact that the more sexualized wording was used here even though it wasn’t, strictly, accurate is interesting to me.“She was-it was only partial nudity,” Paul argues.He doesn’t make eye contact with Mac during this whole conversation. They’re standing across the parking lot from the school staring at the school, only Mac looks at Paul when he speaks. Paul doesn’t look back.

It’s true that Anna was wearing a bra and boy shorts in the dream, but it was a black bra and she was all bloody up top. That’s what we call sexualized violence, folks. Skin and blood. And lace.

“Maybe you’re not special,” Mac posits. “Maybe you’re just sick.”Mac actually says that!

Paul gives him a half look and then starts walking towards the school.

But Mac’s not done. “Hear me out!” he says, beginning to follow. “Dreams represent subconscious urges.” Now, I like where Mac is going with this, but I do have to argue. I’m not sure that’s really true. I’m not sure that I want subconsciously want Tom Ellis to be my father, for example. Still, I’m a Freudian at heart and I’d love to think that dreams mean something most of the time. “Which means,” Mac continues, “part of you wants to see your sister dead, naked, and in your bed.”

Notice “in your bed” again!

Two out of three ain’t bad! If he means all three equally but separately we’re in Shangri-la.

And even if Paul did have a subconscious urge to see Anna dead it wouldn’t bother me much. She’s such a bitch to him that him having a violent response to that seems pretty natural to me. We all have a primary urge towards violence when we’re angry. The fact that her bullying bothers him so much (to the degree that if this were a dream of subconscious urges and he wanted to see her dead) it would only represent the degree to which she’s embedded in him. I take equal delight in fluffy brother/sister ships like Spencer/Carly and angsty, violent ones like Zuko/Azula. This actually reminds me a lot of the Zuko/Azula fanfic I wrote. Did you ever read it?

Paul has no response. And this coincides perfectly with the two of them encountering Anna. She’s out in front of the school trying to get volunteers for her party committee.

“It wasn’t a dream, it was a vision,” Paul finally says. Kind of a letdown, because the Freudian implications of the dream are fun, and the implications of the vision are just sad and scary. But I suppose it’s good that when Paul walks up and sees Anna, he realizes that she’s in danger because he’s had a vision of the future in which she’s dead.

“It wasn’t a dream, it was a vision,” Mac repeats in a mocking tone. “Sick. Sick.” And then we realize that “Oh no, Anna will be dead” but but but WHY WILL SHE BE NAKED IN PAUL’S BED?!!!! Or, rather, why is she partially nude on Paul’s bed?

Anna sees Paul, smiles at him, flips him off, and then resumes her task. Paul walks off. Mac pauses. Anna totally ignores Mac, every time. All she sees is Paul. When we cut to Paul walking down the hallway, Mac shows him the slip he picked up. He wants to be on the committee. He tries to convince Paul, claiming that they’re in serious need of action.

Paul flatly refuses, repeating no over and over again, and then stopping and saying, “It’s my sister’s ball committee! No way.” OK, maybe they always call her his sister. I’ll have to keep my ears open. But it’s nice that Paul isn’t refusing because he doesn’t want to be on the ball committee, but because of Anna.

Mac informs him that men with more active sex lives are more likely to live past 80. Paul responds that they wouldn’t live past 18, because she would kill them.

“And knowing she was naked in your dream wouldn’t push her to homicide?” Mac asks. Blackmail, smooth. Friends don’t blackmail, Mac. It’s how you know they’re your friends.

Paul seems to be considering it, and then he makes a noncommittal noise and begins walking again. I think Paul called Mac’s bluff. Paul and Mac really like these walk and talks. Did Aaron Sorkin ghost write this? (That joke on Gossip Girl about talking fast was hilarious. Do you know what I’m referring to? Your loss.)

Some younger kids come by and make fun of them, and they realize they’ve reached a new low. Paul asks if Mac really thinks being on Anna’s committee (he called her Anna!) would make a difference. Mac says, “You saw your sister dead, naked, and in your bed. A little normality…a little normality, golden ticket sex (with someone other than your sister), would be good for-“ And then he’s interrupted because Neil appears.

“…with someone other than your sister”. Oh my God. I’m crossing over into another dimension where this show is reality right now just so I can kiss Mac. (I think because I’m poor I always imagine remunerating people with kisses.)

Wasn’t this whole conversation glorious?

First, it’s important to take note of the fact that Mac suffers from word vomit (which is to say, he’s glib), so the fact that he just talks and talks and talks about it might not be 100% indicative of anything. (You should hear how long he talks about a hypothetical situation in which Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense tries to order coffee.)

And Mac has a crush on Anna, although it really isn’t until the fourth episode or so that that becomes super obvious even though he reveals that the crush dates back to when they were kids. Did the writers already have the crush in mind when they wrote this episode? Probably definitely. So Mac harping on Anna being naked has a certain understandability to it.

But STILL. Flippin’ still, you know? As in “that conversation was so ridiculously tailored to me in spite of those explanations for why I shouldn’t be quite so excited”.

Let’s go back to the beginning. WHY did Paul even bother to mention that Anna was naked and “in” his bed? If I had a dream of my brother in his underwear in my bed, you can bet my friends would get a less detailed version. All Paul needed to say was that he found her dead upstairs.

There’s two possible options to this: 1) Paul thought so little of the fact that Anna was naked and in his bed that he didn’t even think not to mention it to Mac, (boo!) or 2) the dream/vision was so alive in Paul that he forgot to edit. Or he was so excited that he decided not to. Excitement can do just as much for your inhibitions as alcohol. I had this crush on this guy, and I wasn’t going to tell my friend about it, but then we got talking about I just got into a confession sort of mood and got excited about him and everything that it just sort of came pouring out. That happens. So, no, I don’t think the fact that Paul mentioned Anna was in her underwear necessarily indicates that Paul felt nothing shameful about it.

I like how few protestations Paul makes. Mac is basically accusing him of harboring incestuous feelings and Paul just kind of walks quickly and says nothing.

That whole “protesteth too much” is B.S. by the way. The vehemence of one’s denial has nothing to do with how true it is, only with how much you care whether other people believe it or not. Back in high school my friends accused me of having a crush on a certain guy. I did not have a crush on this guy. So I told them that. They seemed to think that because I was very forcefully saying that I did not have a crush on him, that I did. Because that was logical for them somehow. Whatever.

Now, I already mentioned that Mac’s crush on Anna might be reason enough for him to cling to the subject, but what if he’s always felt threatened by Paul where Anna is concerned and so this is him trying to give Paul feelings of guilt and shame to push him away from Anna? It’s plausible. It’s certainly what he achieves, whether that was his intention or not and whether it was necessary or not.

The sheer length of this conversation, the sheer number of times that the fact that Anna played a sexualized role in Paul’s dream is mentioned…well it blows me away. The conversation is almost four minutes long, with short dalliances into other subjects, of course. But four minutes! For a TV show that is a substantial scene. And Mac and Paul never discuss Paul’s mother.

And you can understand how exciting this is, coming off of the first episode!

Well, Paul explains his dream to Neil. He says, “And Jay is lying dead on the staircase.” We didn’t see this when the dream was shown earlier in the episode, although the dream is repeated in a later episode and we do see Jay that time. Kind of interesting that she was cut from this one. Putting the emphasis on Anna. Mac didn’t have anything to say about Jay. “And then Anna is lying dead on my bed,” he tells him. And then he pauses, and says, “which Mac thinks is…weird, because she’s semi-naked.”

Paul has made some changes. You’ll notice it’s “on my bed” this time, and “semi-naked”. Paul spends a second searching for the word “weird”. I’m not sure it’s quite strong enough but Neil gets the picture. It seems that Mac convinced Paul that there might be something to Anna’s location and partial nudity, enough that Paul is willing to tell Neil even though it’s a little embarrassing. Neil isn’t really interested. He doesn’t have an opinion on the incestuous implications.Paul and Mac do join the committee, to Anna’s dismay. She refuses to let them on until Jay suggests they could do some of the nastier jobs.And I just have to mention this, because it’s just a coincidence but so hilariously relevant. Paul went off with Neil earlier in the day and had a run in with a fade called Natalie, sort of Polus’s lieutenant and I don’t want to spoil it up but they’re so cute together. Anyway, Paul tells Mac that he met a girl that day. “Fit?” Mac asks. How British. They say such curious things. (That was only meant to be patronizing in an ironic way.) “Dead,” Paul replies. “Dead and fit?” Mac then asks. “Are you into necrophilia now?” Paul asks. And Mac jokes that he is, he always thought he would appeal to the dead because he has good teeth. Anyway, I just thought the mention of necrophilia and dead and fit girls was pretty ironic given the dead and fit Anna of Paul’s dream/vision.

The principal cancels the dance, and Anna is pretty angry about it. Mac is sort of following her around I guess because I don’t know why else he would be there. He says, “So that’s it? You’re just going to give up?”

Anna responds, “No, I’m going to find a room, lock it, and thrum myself off thinking about you and my brother in your Y-fronts.”Now, I’ve never actually heard the term “thrum myself off” (though I like it and it makes sense and I hope it catches) or “y-front” but I think it’s fairly clear what she’s talking about. First I just have to say what? WHAT?!!!

Anna’s favorite thing is sarcasm. Obviously, by saying that she is going to go off by herself and masturbate to the thought of Mac and Paul in their underwear, she means that’s the last thing she would do. BUT…the fact that she even mentioned it? The fact that it even crossed her mind as something to say? And she could have just said Mac. He was the one there with her. But she included Paul in it – Paul who is off with Neil somewhere and hasn’t been seen all day but clearly isn’t out of sight out of mind with Anna. I just…this show! Who says that? WHO SAYS THAT?

And I don’t know if Anna or Mac will ever be a couple, but if Anna has a love interest (besides Paul mwhahaha), it is Mac. So when this sarcastic joke becomes ironic because she’s dating Mac, what happens to the Paul half of the equation?

Anna is looking for Paul at the dance because she wants him to clean something up, and she finds Mac. She grows frustrated because he doesn’t know where Paul is. “Sometimes I don’t know where he is for a full 30 minutes,” he jokes. “Almost like he’s getting a life,” Anna mocks, although it makes her look rather more observational about Paul’s life than one would have thought at this point. “You don’t just like Paul. Love Paul. Depend on Paul. You need him,” she says to Mac.“There’s nothing more pathetic than needing someone. You really are a pathetic freak.”That was when I figured Anna would end up with Mac at some point because no one says something that cruel to someone of the opposite sex that isn’t your family and means it unless they’re love interests.Of course, even though this is the cruelest we’ve seen Anna to date, her statement about needing people gives us a lot of insight into her. She’s probably got feelings of abandonment re: her father and feeling disfavored by her mother has turned her into this heartless bitch.

I also like that this conversation is about Paul. Anna’s looking for Paul. She finds Mac. They talk about Paul. About Mac and Paul’s relationship. Maybe Anna is warning Mac. Paul has never been there for her, and she thinks Mac should know that Paul may not always be there for him.

There’s something I forgot to mention: I just don’t think that Jay and Paul would make a very good couple. They just don’t have enough in common. Even without this angelics-fades thing. He talks about things she doesn’t understand and makes tons of references to movies, and Jay just doesn’t get it. She actually says she doesn’t really watch movies. As someone who, obviously, spends a lot of time watching movies and TV and talking about them, I could NEVER be with someone who didn’t enjoy that or wasn’t into it. I don’t just watch TV and movies because I don’t have anything better to do – that’s what I enjoy.

Episode 3!

I will warn you that the biggest stuff is over. The most exciting Anna/Paul moments were plenty, but they have largely passed.

But there is still more stuff, it’s just not quite as good.

In episode 3, Paul and Jay are making out on the basketball court, and Anna comes along. Uh-oh. She speaks to Jay first, which I think is interesting.She says, “You and my brother? My sad, twisted, lonely brother? My f—king twin? You had might as well be kissing me, only not kissing me. Kissing the worst part of me. Kissing my ass, my ugly ass of a brother.”First of all: God what a bitch, right?

Second: It really bugs me that she says that Jay kissing Paul is basically the same as Jay kissing Anna, because that’s just such bull. Like Paul pointed out earlier – it’s not like they came from the same egg. Fraternal twins are no closer genetically than any typical brother and sister (or any two brothers or any two sisters). And obviously, Anna highlighting the idea that Paul is so much the same to her as to actually almost be her is not the direction we want to be going in if we’re shipping Paul and Anna. (Unless she’s Cersei Lannister, because for some reason that delightful crazy bitch likes it best when she and Jaime look exactly the same. Which again, I hate, because it’s like she just wants to have sex with a male version of herself instead of Jaime.)But what I do like is Anna emphasizing again their twin relationship. She spends plenty of time insulting Paul here, but she doesn’t just say he’s a loser, she says he’s her brother. So she isn’t attacking Jay for “intermingling” as much as she is for being with Paul specifically, her brother specifically. And she just doesn’t just say, “I’m not comfortable with this. This is unacceptable,” she again ridicules Paul and makes him look small and unworthy in front of Jay, and tries to give Jay feelings of shame about being Paul, because she doesn’t want them together and she probably feels that’s the method most likely to succeed.

Anna doesn’t want Jay and Paul together. Obviously. But why? I think part of it is that she’s afraid she’ll lose Jay to him, the way she’s lost her mother. But there could always be more to it than that.

I also like the lens this turns on Mac’s crush on Anna.

Let me say first that I think that being in a romantic/sexual substitute relationship with a relation of the person you’re more tightly drawn to is much more a fictional device than something you’re going to find in real life. And when it happens in real life, I think it’s more often coincidence than anything psychological or subconscious. And when it happens in fiction, it’s just as often a tool of convenience to reduce the number of necessary characters as it is significant in any way.

But it does still have its place from time to time. I don’t think that Jay’s interest in Paul has anything to do with Anna. But I don’t think that Mac’s interest in Anna can be fully extricated from his relationship with Paul and, as Anna put it, his needing of Paul, and I don’t think that if Anna ever has feelings for Mac that they could be considered separate from her relationship with Paul.

Even though Mac has, probably, the most distinctive personality on the show, he’s still Paul’s best friend. That’s still how he’s going to be defined. That’s always how Anna is going to think of him, I bet, especially given the fact that Paul and Mac have been inseparable for TEN years. So if Anna ever returns Mac’s feelings, that’s going to have implications about Paul. Tons of implications.

Back to the scene at hand:Even though Paul has indicated from time to time that he’s afraid of Anna, you’ll notice that Anna doesn’t address him at first. She addresses Jay, because she knows that Jay’s the one who will do what she’s told, but Anna can’t control Paul. She might temporarily subdue Paul – she might win the spat the way she did in the first episode with the egg discussion – but Paul isn’t going to remain subdued.As Anna is saying this stuff, Paul is staring down at the ground just sort of taking it through clenched teeth. Jay is cowering, which I like. Most people would like her better for standing up to Anna and defending her love or whatever, but I think it’s much more sympathetic that she’s afraid. I’d be terrified of Anna. I haven’t had to deal with very many intimidating or ill-mannered people in my life so I live in terror of such confrontations.Paul finally says, “No.” And he yells, “Stop”, and holds up his hand in front of her face, and it starts glowing, and then her skins grows over her mouth and seals it shut.Yeah. Gross.

But I do like that he was so angry at Anna that he ignited powers he didn’t know he had.I don’t like how unconcerned he seems about it. Jay, and Anna’s boyfriend Steven, are both begging him to fix it and Paul’s just sort of milling about telling them that he doesn’t really know much about what he just did. But I think he can just barely believe that he did it, and they don’t understand that he doesn’t know how to fix it.We cut away to Paul knocking on Anna’s bedroom door and her telling him to go away, so it must have fixed itself, whatever he did.Cat’s out of the bag now. Anna’s being vindicated for every time she ever called him a freak. But you just know what if you have superpowers and someone is calling you a freak, they’re just jealous. Everyone wants superpowers. No one wants to be normal so much that they wouldn’t want superpowers. Seriously. You’d have to actually have them in order to understand why you might not want them.Paul tells her that he’s not going away. Awww. Anna asks, “Why aren’t you going after Jay, anyway?” He tells her that he wanted to talk to her first.D’abord: Yes, thank you. This is the way it should be. Paul should definitely be talking to Anna before he goes after Jay.

She sounds super jealous when she asks why he isn’t going after Jay. I mean, objectively speaking, she has a jealous tone. And she could be jealous of Paul – jealous that Jay wants to be with Paul – and I think she is and like I mentioned about their mother there’s reason for that – but she’s talking TO Paul about an action that Paul is could be doing, so it only makes sense, for that particular sentence, for Anna to be jealous of Jay.

Even though Anna doesn’t want to be around Paul, she clearly thinks he owes her something (which, yeah, he does), and Paul agrees, because he does go to see Anna first and he does stay there even though she’s trying to get rid of him.

And what I love even more is that Anna is the one asking about Jay. Paul just did…whatever, and Anna wants to know more about Jay. You can see where her thoughts are at, what she actually cares about.

Anna tells him to f—k off and go and see Jay. I guess now she wants them together? Or maybe she wants them broken up and wants to force their next encounter while Jay is still totally freaked out.Their mom walks up and asks about a portion of the conversation she heard, and Anna says, “Paul is having sex with my best friend. And then when I found them and shouted at him, he did a magic spell on me.”

I just love the matter-of-fact way she says “he did a magic spell on me”, and the way she words it. I wish you could hear it. I really like Lily Loveless’ voice and the way she says things, even though her dialogue isn’t usually that sharp.

Anna makes it sound like she walked in on Paul and Jay having sex. Maybe she would have liked that? All she saw was some light kissing against a fence in public at school.Mum’s a bit more caught up in the sex bit – though she’s impressed, not alarmed – and Anna reminds her that the point is “he has superpowers.” Paul gets exasperated and leaves, after saying that it was only a misunderstanding. Right. Whatever.Later, Mum and Anna are having a conversation. Mum asks what exactly Paul did to her. Anna says, “He zipped my mouth shut.” And then Mum, smart Mum, says, “And he’s sleeping with Jay,” like she knew that was the real reason Anna was upset. And Paul is positioned at the guilty one here. It isn’t, “And Jay is sleeping with Paul”, is it?

“Behind my back,” Anna adds. I’m sure she understands why they’d want to keep it a secret, so I’m not sure why she’s getting whiny about that.

Jay and Paul have sex later in this episode, if I recall correctly. She says, “You’re a freak. You’re my freak, though” which, well, it’s hard to dislike that sentence even if you don’t ship the couple, isn’t it? Even if you don’t like the character.

It’s funny, earlier on, there’s a scene of Paul jacking himself off (that’s how you know this is foreign – Americans almost never show that and thank the heavens), and when he comes he sprouts wings.And when he and Jay are first sort of starting their relationship, she asks him if there’s anything she should be afraid of, and he says that he grows wings when he ejaculates. Of course it sounds just like a joke, only it’s 100% true.And now she knows he’s a freak.

I love Mac and Paul’s friendship so much. Paul actually says to him, “You know that no matter what happens with Jay, you’ll always be more important to me.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but it was something that Paul was able to say, and something he knew that Mac needed to hear. And I appreciate it because it really does diminish Paul and Jay’s relationship a little bit. Being Paul’s sister, Anna has an “in” like Mac does.

Paul gives Mac a key to his house as a show of friendship. Mac says, “You do know I’m going to use this key to steal your sister’s knickers, right?”

They’re walking and talking, as they do, and Paul halts. Then Mac throws some ice cream at him and runs ahead. They get into an ice cream fight, and Mac continues, “I’m going to comb through your photo albums and find pictures of your sister in her bikini.”

I suppose Mac isn’t very open with Paul about his crush. In this scene, he’s using it to antagonize Paul. Even though their fight is in good humor, Mac is still taunting him using Anna. Of course then he moves on to Mum, but Paul can’t hear at that point anyway, because Paul says, “I’m not listening,” and he plugs his ears and runs away, singing a song so he can’t hear.

And then he gets hit by a truck.

Only episode 3!

Anna and Mum come to the hospital, of course, terrified.Paul spends most of episode 4 comatose, although he gets to be a ghost too even though he’s not technically dead yet.

Anna and Jay are talking, and Anna tells her that she’s glad she f—ked him, “in case you were worried”, just so he had the chance to do it with “a real girl”. Since she thinks he’s about to die, this seems like a pretty reasonable response. And it’s funny, cause she says, “And you’re pretty good looking, and you’ve got a great ass, so frankly he did better than he could have done,” which is kind of sweet.

Jay asks her if she’s OK, and Anna just sort of glares back at her. No, Anna is not OK. She’s pretty calm but you can tell she’s been crying off and on. She’s still sort of in shock. But Anna is the type of person who embraces her pain, I think. She can face that he’s going to die, but that’s always going to be a part of her. Him and his death.

Mac goes and finds the angelics, and once they learn that Paul has a twin, they devise a way to bring him back. I’d been suspecting for a while now that the fact that they were twins was going to be significant, but again, it’s not like it makes any real world scientific sense because fraternal twins are no closer genetically than any given brother and sister. And I thought it was so ironic that they would go that route after having Paul, in the first episode, even highlight the fact that they weren’t identical twins. And I suppose if you believe in astrology there might be something there, but it’s not like they’re born at the exact same moment. I think there can even be hours between when one comes out and when the next does. Jaime was born holding Cersei’s foot, and Jackie was born holding Marty’s penis (in The House of Yes), but I’m not sure that’s typical. Anna could have been born holding Paul’s ear.  And I don’t know this for a fact, but I doubt fraternal twins are conceived at the exact same time either.

Mac then goes to recruit Anna. Silent tears running down her cheeks, she tells him that they’re going to pull the plug in an hour. He gets her to come along to do a ritual out in the forest. Back in the hospital, Mum and Jay are waiting for Anna to come along, and Mum says, “She was never there when I needed her,” which comes off so ironic because then it cuts to Anna in the forest trying to bring him back to life.

And then Mum tells them to go ahead and pull the plug. They don’t even wait for Anna! Unacceptable. Even if she was off smoking a cigarette you wait! It’s not like this is easy for Anna either.I don’t know what the ritual is exactly, but it’s like they pull something out of Anna and put it into Paul’s fade. Rather convenient they didn’t have to use his real body at the hospital, I suppose.

At first it seems like it failed, but then Paul’s fade disappears and his dead body comes back to life in the hospital, vomiting moths.I’m a little confused because there’s reference later to Mac trying to save Paul’s life and failing, but from where I’m standing Mac succeeded. Mac was responsible for the spell being done – both by informing the angelics that Paul had a twin sister and by collecting Anna – and there’s no other explanation given from Paul’s resurrection other than the spell.

And Anna never gets any credit. Paul doesn’t even thank her. There is zero acknowledgment of what went down. Which is stupid. Paul would be dead if it wasn’t for her.

So, by episode 5, the fade situation has gotten pretty serious. I think this is awesome so I haven’t told you until now, but the fades have been feeding on human flesh to make themselves physical again. They sort of cocoon themselves, and then they’re born again as normal looking humans. Polus was the first to do this, then his girl Natalie. By now almost all the fades have begun feeding on humans, and so tons of humans have gone missing, and many have become fades now, including Paul’s therapist and Anna’s boyfriend Steve. That’s right: Anna’s boyfriend is dead. Sorry Anna. It showed him missing for a while. She was VERY angry when he didn’t come to be with her at the hospital in episode 4. I don’t want to mislead you, though: Steve isn’t really a character. I’m not even sure I would recognize him out of context and he certainly doesn’t have much of a personality.

Sarah, who has been wandering around sadly as a fade, mostly following Mark, her husband, around, has reached a low point. She had Neil go to Mark and act as a medium for her to speak with Mark, and that was cool, but now Mark is so freaked out because he knows that Sarah is following him around, and he doesn’t really know what to do with his life, so he asks her to leave because he knows he can never move on while she’s there. So Sarah decides to be a double agent with Polus (who’s called John now that he’s regrown his body), and she feeds on human flesh.Episode five takes place mostly at the school where a crisis center has been set up to deal with all the missing people, but the fades decide to sort of take it over.

Paul has his vision again, and this time we see Jay dead too on the stairs. He wakes up, and we see Jay in bed next to him although they’re dressed. Then Anna barges in and tells him that they’re going to school. Mum won’t drive her unless Paul comes along. She just opens the door without knocking, walks into the room, and throws clothes at him. “I’m not asking, Paul, I’m telling,” she says, so they go.

Anna finds Steve, but Paul pulls her away from him because he can tell that Steve is now a fade.

They run, and Steve chases them. The fades can’t be killed, so they make pretty fearsome enemies. Anna’s freaking out a little, but I wouldn’t exactly say she’s in mourning. “My brother, my stupid pissing brother,” she says after Paul explains what’s going on.

Everyone is scared and hopeless while Steve is breaking into the room, and then Anna walks up behind him, sprays him with the fire extinguisher, and beats him over the head with it. Paul is super impressed. Even though Mac is in the reaction shot, the focus of it is Paul, which I love. “This is your mess!” Anna cries. “I shouldn’t be cleaning up your mess!”Neil is with Sarah as she’s about to do her cocoon thing, and it becomes pretty obvious that he’s in love with her and he’s super jealous of Mark. It’s really sad. Not only because of how unrequited it is, but because of what a mess Neil is. Neil wants Paul to be a fighter, but Paul doesn’t want to kill. So Neil has sort of fallen out of favor with Paul and with the angelics who follow Paul. He’s all on his own. Neil kidnaps Natalie and wants to torture her, but Paul is against that, of course, because he’s a softie. He tries to make friends with Polus/John, and brings him to come get Natalie, but then John kills a bunch of angelics and it’s a mess. Neil’s wearing his I-told-you-so face, and Paul feels a bit like an idiot but he still doesn’t want to be a killer.When Sarah has her body, she goes and finds Mark, and it’s such a great moment. In episode 6 they spend some time together, and have sex, but Sarah isn’t human, she’s a fade, and that becomes pretty clear. She craves human flesh, she still needs it. So she has to run from Mark. She realizes she can’t be with him until she understands what she is. She sides with John for awhile, struggling with her desire to be alive and the inevitability of John’s success, but she joins with Paul again before the end.

Paul is able to use his super special angelic powers to kill Steve permanently. Steve is coming after them and he just sort of does it. So it’s sort of like Paul kills Steve. And he kills Natalie too, but not because he wanted to do. (Of course that doesn’t make John very happy.) Paul doesn’t want to kill anyone, like I said, and he feels rotten about it.

Everyone is fleeing town, so once Paul, Mac, Anna, Jay, and Mum escape from the school, they go back home and begin to pack. But then Paul’s vision begins to play out. He sees Jay sitting on the stairs – she’s just fine. He runs into his room, and Anna is in there changing her clothes. She screams, says, “Can you knock?!” and covers her chest with a free shirt. As he leaves to go  check on their mother she asks about a stripey-hoodie of his. So, Anna just wants to borrow his sweatshirt. I don’t know why she isn’t wearing any bottoms or a shirt, though. I mean, I usually wear something under a hoodie. And you’ve got to have pants either way. And the bigger mystery is why Anna wants to borrow his clothes. I mean I don’t think for a typical brother and sister that would be much of a deal, but Anna does not seem like the type to borrow Paul’s clothing. To even be able to distinguish any specific item of clothing of his. And why would she change in his room? Why wouldn’t she just grab the hoodie and then change in her own bedroom.

I suppose it sort of feels like I’m taking the innocent explanation they gave me to what seemed suggestive at first view (the vision), and trying to make it suggestive again in a pathetic way, but do you see all of the stuff here that doesn’t actually make any sense once you think about it a little harder?

Anna may not have been lying in his bed naked, but she did go into his room and take her clothes off and want to put his clothes on.

I love how she demands that he knock even though he was walking into his own bedroom. And the door wasn’t even fully closed, it was ajar. She was just asking to get caught.

He runs outside, and John is there. Apparently John was just giving him the visions to scare him. I don’t know how John knows what the future is or how he puts visions into Paul’s head, but whatever.

Well, Neil is very excited about what Paul can do, and he wants Paul to kill all the fades, but Paul isn’t into the whole killing thing – he wants to reopen ascension instead. So Neil takes matters into his own hands. He kidnaps Mac, but he can’t get a hold of Paul. So he kidnaps Mum, Anna, and Jay. That gets Paul’s attention finally. He hides the other three away, and then holds a gun to Jay’s head in front of Paul. Paul still isn’t quite cooperating.So Neil kills Jay.Obviously I’m not too broken up about Jay being dead, but I wish the writers hadn’t done that to Neil. The kidnapping was bad enough but not irredeemable, but this…you don’t really come back from that. I think it was losing Sarah that really put him over the edge.

Paul decides to cooperate with Neil after that. But at the last minute he decides to go back to his reopening ascension plan (which he spent the first part of the episode failing to do), however this time he succeeds, and he basically launches all of the fades (including whatever of Jay might have been left behind) into the afterlife.

Meanwhile, Mum is rescued, but Mac and Anna are tied up together in a crate.

Anna, obviously, is terrified.

She says, “Paul is coming, right?”Anna shares with him Mac first clear memory of him: they were six, and their Dad had just moved out, and Mac slept in Paul’s room for a week. Anna confesses she was jealous that Paul had a friend like Mac. They should have invited her over!

Mac says that he’s jealous of Paul because Paul could walk in at any time and see Anna in her underwear. And it’s funny because that’s what happened at the end of last episode! Obviously there’s not much actually suggestiveness in Mac’s comment, but the amount of sexuality in conversations about Paul and Anna is ridiculous. There’s just so much.

Mac tells Anna why he thinks they would make a great couple – he lists that they’re funny, exuberant in conversation (her with aggression, him with anecdotes), cynical, and that they both have low self-esteem from being overwhelmed by Paul, and that they both like the same people – Mum, Paul, Jay. These are pretty good reasons, although definitely not enough, in my opinion. And the two best reasons involve Paul, which I like and appreciate. If Anna and Mac get into a relationship, it’s going to be based on Paul. A Paul-based relationship.

Then Mac confesses that he has been in love with her since she was 10. She makes a serious face. She’s finally a little taken-aback.Mac and Anna escape after all the fades are sent away. They find Paul sitting on a bench, a complete mess. Tired, and upset about Jay, obviously. They don’t know what has happened to Jay. Mac says, “The good news is: we’re alive. The bad news is that I’m going to be your brother-in-law.” “What? You really aren’t,” Anna responds. Mac: “Anna’s decided she’s in love with me.” Anna: “She really hasn’t.” Mac: “She wants me so much she can’t control herself.” Anna: “She really doesn’t.”So, I think it’s pretty remarkable that Anna’s boyfriend dies, and Paul’s girlfriend dies. That’s narrowing the path if ever that happened. And I also think it’s remarkable that Paul ends up dating Anna’s best friend, and Anna will probably end up dating Paul’s best friend.  You want to tell me that doesn’t mean anything?

Paul doesn’t respond. He’s fairly catatonic. They sit down beside him. Anna asks where Jay is, and then Paul starts crying, and Anna puts her hand on his shoulder.

If you’ll recall from A:TLA, that’s one of my favorite human gestures.Well, the sky starts turning a funny color, and there’s some thunder, and we see Neil, on the brink of death after his encounter with the fades, who says, “I told him, I told him you don’t f—k with ascension.” So if you were wondering what was going to happen in season 2, now you know. Sort of.And that’s that. I went through each episode and only kept the Anna/Paul scenes, and its about 12 minutes from each episode on average, in case you were curious. That’s a decent amount, especially for a plot-driven show. Even though Anna doesn’t do much, the show sort of reveres her and gives her this place of honor. It’s kind of hard to describe. But it’s like the show feels an obligation to do right by Anna, and even just a short scene here and there makes her seem very important.

Tony and Effy Stonem – Skins

I was trying to decide whether or not to include talk of Tony and Effy from Skins, and the movie My Soul To Take during this entry, because they’re both very similar and relevant in their own ways.But I just don’t have the time. They’ll have to get their own, separate entries some time in the future. Movies are so much easier than TV shows – there’s so much less to work with.

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3 Responses to The Fades: Ghosts, Twins…Actually That’s Pretty Much It

  1. Beast of the Sea says:

    On the subject of torrents… have you heard of the SOPA bill that they’re trying to push through Congress right now? If it gets passed, internet censorship is coming to the U.S., and big-time. Fandom, in particular, is going to be nonconsensually ****ed in so many ways it isn’t funny. I… sorry for interrupting the topic, I’m just deeply scared after being off the Internet for a few days and seeing that the moment I started browsing Tumblr again. Back to the main topic…

    “My great original incest novel is a totally different story, obviously – no fades…in this draft, anyway – but the dynamic is very similar between my brother and sister characters.’
    *interested* Any more information you’d like to disclose about it?

    “I didn’t care so much on The Tudors, I shipped George/Anne with a fever even though George was…how do I put this? A dick.”
    Eheheh… Did you read “The Other Boleyn Girl”? Almost certainly did, since you’re a Philippa Gregory fan, but if somehow not – remember that George was gay AND in love with Anne in that one. 😛 (Even in “The Boleyn Inheritance”, in which Gregory backtracks on the issue by having Jane Boleyn admit that she made up the incest out of sheer spite and jealousy of her husband loving his sister more than he even loved her… Jane’s recollections of them are blatantly shippy, and at one point she goes on a digression in which it’s implied that, out of twisted jealousy and lust, she fantasized about being Anne whenever George bedded her.)

    In reality, the charge was a terrible slander, of course.

    And I just got to the part of the post where the best friend is pointing out that the main character is dreaming about his sister dead, naked, and in his bed. I… WOW.

    “Anna responds, “No, I’m going to find a room, lock it, and thrum myself off thinking about you and my brother in your Y-fronts.””
    …You know, I have my suspicions that a good deal of authors of ‘dark’ books, series, etc. have a bit of a thing for (fictional) incest (Anne Rice, Philippa Gregory, possibly GRRM), and throw it into their works with the excuse that it’s to emphasize the dark and decadent nature of the worlds they’re writing… when really, it’s for their own enjoyment. 😛

    In this case, I think we can say that at least one of the scriptwriters for this show is an incest shipper, though very poorly pretending that it’s all for the sake of edgy jokes – but good heavens, a character ACTUALLY SAID, even with complete sarcasm, that she wanted to go off and masturbate to her brother in his underwear! I… that the thought even crossed her mind, even as something she would ‘never’ do, is seriously indicative of… wow.

    “I will warn you that the biggest stuff is over. The most exciting Anna/Paul moments were plenty, but they have largely passed.”
    Not that that’s saying much. 😛

    “And obviously, Anna highlighting the idea that Paul is so much the same to her as to actually almost be her is not the direction we want to be going in if we’re shipping Paul and Anna. ”
    Hmm… well, actually, since both twins apparently are into wanking, that’s actually NOT an impediment…

    “Anna?” Paul gasped, grabbing her hand as it went down the front of his Y-fronts. “What are you doing?”

    “Well, when the dance got canceled, I said I was going to lock myself in a room and thrum myself off, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.” She tossed her head and looked contemptuously at him.

    “But that’s not yourself you’re touching!”

    “Touching myself, touching my brother – what’s the difference?” She squeezed lightly, and despite himself, Paul practically choked on air. “Well, I suppose there is a difference – not a very large one, though.”

    …I blame a massive binge on X-Men: First Class fanfiction a few days ago, a good deal of the NC-17 variety. In fairness, though, this show is seriously asking for it, and only three episodes in!

    “Let me say first that I think that being in a romantic/sexual substitute relationship with a relation of the person you’re more tightly drawn to is much more a fictional device than something you’re going to find in real life.”
    I’d make a slight exception for nobility in a variety of pre-modern-era (and perhaps even today) cultures, as I seem to recall that happening a reasonable amount. Often that was because the target of the affections had already gone into an arranged marriage or couldn’t marry them for important social reasons, though. For instance, at one point, Elizabeth Tudor’s longtime boyfriend, Robert Dudley, eloped with her cousin, Lettice Knollys (who bore a strong resemblance indeed to Elizabeth); the Virgin Queen was so infuriated that she banished her cousin permanently from court. Then again, most of the nobility was inter-related, so I expect quite a few people ended up in relationships with relatives of the true targets of their affections just for lack of anyone else to pick. 😛 In less odd circumstances, though, I agree.

    “But I don’t think that Mac’s interest in Anna can be fully extricated from his relationship with Paul and, as Anna put it, his needing of Paul, and I don’t think that if Anna ever has feelings for Mac that they could be considered separate from her relationship with Paul.”
    *cough* Pity that you’re not much of a slash shipper, because this show seems to be sending up strong vibes, in the Paul-Anna-Mac trio, of having all three sides of the triangle active, even if there’s ‘supposed’ to be only Anna/Mac…

    “So if Anna ever returns Mac’s feelings, that’s going to have implications about Paul. Tons of implications.”
    Mm – alas, not exactly. That’s a bit like saying Ron/Hermione has implications about Harry/Hermione, or that Harry/Ginny has implications about Ron/Ginny. If Paul starts getting insanely jealous, though… 😉

    “Anna tells him to f—k off and go and see Jay. I guess now she wants them together? ”
    Combined with her jealous tone, actually, I think that actually sounds like a romance trope (not a formal Trope – at least, I don’t know the name for it, if it is) where the girl gets so angry and frustrated and jealous and hurt that the boy likes someone better that she snaps and screams ‘Go and be with her then! See if I care!’ and then runs off, leaving the boy bewildered, and, once she’s alone, breaks down in hysterical sobbing. I can’t think of an example right now, but I thiiiiink it’s a relative of the Tsundere and Slap Slap Kiss relationship tropes.

    “Anna makes it sound like she walked in on Paul and Jay having sex. Maybe she would have liked that? All she saw was some light kissing against a fence in public at school.”
    At this point, I’m honestly wondering if the scriptwriters are implying that she has Paul-as-a-sexual-being on the brain.

    ““Behind my back,” Anna adds. I’m sure she understands why they’d want to keep it a secret, so I’m not sure why she’s getting whiny about that.”
    *snorts* I hate to say it, but she really sounds as if she feels like he’s having an affair on her.

    Oh, wait. While you’re mentioning fraternal twins – aaaaaaaaah, I saw an editorial in a scientific journal seriously questioning whether the “two eggs, two sperm” dogma is actually what occurs when twins are naturally conceived – as opposed to being fertilized in vitro and implanted. *searches for PDF* Ah, yes – “Traces of embryogenesis are the same in monozygotic and dizygotic twins: not compatible with double ovulation” by Charles E. Boklage. Despite the name, it’s actually perfectly readable by someone with little knowledge of biology (such as myself :B), and is available for free online (which is where I found it). Just Google the title and it ought to work.

    Long story short – ordinarily, people have certain physical asymmetries, just because of how the physical developmental process is set up. However, twins, identical OR fraternal, have such asymmetries to a much lesser degree. In identical twins, this is roughly because the best place for an embryo to split and remain viable in both halves is straight down the center of the 32-or-fewer-cell lump or so, so the asymmetry-assignment gets mucked up. In fact, sometimes identical twins are ‘mirror-imaged’ from each other – rather than looking strictly identical, the twins look like left-right flipped versions of each other. (For instance, one is right-handed, and the other is left-handed.) There’s no good reason for twins conceived from two different eggs to display fewer asymmetries than the rest of the population – yet they do. Why?

    As it turns out, the human reproductive system actually is more of a botch job than you’d guess from its results, because its worse errors tend to be non-viable and spontaneously abort early in development. One such potential error is that the chromosomes fail to properly separate out in the formation of eggs, so you get a 46-chromosome egg (with two individual 23-chromosome half-genomes) floating about, or that the only-one-sperm-per-egg mechanism activates a fraction of a second too late and two sperm get into one egg. Now, when this egg gets penetrated by a sperm or this mechanism fails with a regular egg, you get something with 72 chromosomes, which soon fails due to a severe overdose of genes, and the woman probably doesn’t even realize she was temporarily ‘pregnant’.

    However, if a 46-chromosome egg gets penetrated by two sperm… You get something that has two 46-chromosome viable genomes, and soooo, the author hypothesizes, if the resulting cells split correctly…

    I’m botching this explanation, and the editorial goes into a lot more (fascinating) detail, but my main point is that, if this idea is true, some authors managed to, through pure luck, roll all 20s on their Artistic License: Biology checks regarding twins. In particular, Anna actually was RIGHT here – they DID come from the same (abnormal) egg! XD
    (For my own purposes, I note that this clears up a bizarre biological plot hole in Alexia and Alfred’s origin, namely how their father managed to get fraternal twins when he was only mucking with the genome of a single egg before fertilizing it. Of course, as I said, that was sheer ludicrous luck on the part of the game writers, but it at least allows an explanation for it other than Alexander Ashford being such an epic failure that his incompetence literally warped the laws of biology.)

    Um, anyway, long tangent, but under this hypothesis, even assuming they weren’t one of the weirder cases (there HAVE been cases of monochorionic fraternal twins – which is to say, they developed in not just the same womb, but the same placenta), they technically both started out as one (highly abnormal) cell. As the editorial notes, whatever happens, the effects on symmetry are permanent – and, by the way, the female half of a boy-girl pair is often masculinized in several ways, while the male half is slightly feminized. (Top of the right-hand half on page 5 of the editorial for more information.) So yes, in fact, being a twin does leave a permanent mark, particularly (compared to the average) upon boy-girl pairs.

    *brightly* So, yeeees, you CAN argue that twins are connected by more than a shared uterus, if the mood so strikes you…

    “He runs into his room, and Anna is in there changing her clothes. She screams, says, “Can you knock?!” and covers her chest with a free shirt. ”
    *back on topic* *snerk* I dunno if it’s intentional, but the interaction of brother and sister as sexual beings seems to be a major theme in their relationship in this show…

    “I mean I don’t think for a typical brother and sister that would be much of a deal, but Anna does not seem like the type to borrow Paul’s clothing.”
    Secretly, it’s not PAUL who’s got the scantily-clad pictures of ANNA in a photo album, perhaps? 😛 And I don’t know… wouldn’t it seem a bit odd if, switching the sexes for a moment, a guy ran into his sister’s room to grab some of her clothing? I’m an only child, so I have no reference point.

    I’m suggesting a gender-switch since we usually tend to regard men as more sexual beings, so any sexual subtext gets exaggerated. If a teenage boy had sarcastically said that he planned to lock himself in a room and whack off to his twin sister and her best friend in lingerie, then was caught only partially-dressed in his sister’s room while holding some of her clothing… And said teenage boy had previously displayed a great deal of catty, rather possessive aggression toward said sister’s boyfriend… Is it just me, or would alarm bells be going off?

    Anyway, thanks for the post and the interesting overview of the series! The series doesn’t quite seem like my type of show, but it does seem like it’s shaping up to be a memorable paranormal thriller.

    Speaking of Paul, Paul, Paul, have you ever read “Dune” and “Dune Messiah”, by the way? If you haven’t… they’re good books, though “Dune Messiah” kind of meanders plot-wise (and contains one hideously glaring retcon as its major plot twist) and “Dune”, which lives up to its epic reputation for the first half or so, goes a bit loop-de-loop around the halfway point and never quite gets back up to the same level. I mention “Dune Messiah” because the Bene Gesserit, the universe’s local Ancient Conspiracy-planners, are stuck up a creek without a paddle after their prophesied Chosen One, Paul Atredies, finally arrived – but screwed up all their plans royally. They’re so desperate that their grand plan in “Dune Messiah” is literally trying to ship Paul with his sister Alia! (In context, so that they can produce another Chosen One with the proper genes and keep THIS one under control, but their grand plan is Shipping Brother/Sister Incest!) They even discuss at one point how, due to their abilities, Paul and Alia are isolated from the rest of humanity and understand each other better than anyone else will, and in the impending death of Paul’s wife from childbirth (precognition being THE major plot-driving force in the Dune universe), how the brother and sister might turn to each other for comfort… And Alia, during a drug-induced precognitive hallucination, can’t see who will father her eventual child, and actually seriously considers that it might be Paul… oh, and at one point, Alia duels a battle-training robot naked in order to work off some stress, and Paul comes in to stop the duel (because, in her sheer frustration, she’s cranking the robot’s settings to a potentially-deadly level)… and the narration at that point mentions his “inevitable male reaction” to the sight of his sixteen*-year-old sister’s naked body flushed from exertion and glistening with sweat, and he reflects that she’s not a child any more and that Something Must Be Done About This.
    (*Due to her having had the ancestral memories down the female line banging around in her head for the entirety of her existence, the extent to which her chronological age really influences her mental age is toyed with quite a bit…)

    No, they don’t get together, but that red-herring subplot was certainly pretty… distinctive. Considering how Paul’s twin children also give off vibes when they reach a certain age (apparently – I haven’t read the book with them in it, and don’t plan to, due to even more retcons being central to the plot of that one), it may run in the family… 😛

    Thanks again, and have a nice day!

    P.S.
    Your Avatar fanfic was excellent! *much applause* I still haven’t watched the show, but from everything you said during your detailed run-through of Avatar, it seems very IC. I’d like to comment on it more, but… the entire fic fits very well together into a single whole, so I don’t really know where to start. 🙂 Thanks for linking!

    • Shipcestuous says:

      Yes, I have read The Other Boleyn Girl, and I loved it. And I’ve seen both film adaptations, and like them both in their own ways. I didn’t know there was another book by her about the Boleyns, though. I haven’t read anything else by her yet, but I’ve often hesitated in the library in front of her section. Like I mentioned, I did read up on her Wideacre series, which is probably where I’d start.

      I’m definitely going to do a Boleyn post at some time. Even though The Other Boleyn Girl is one of the only versions of Anne’s story where the incest actually does happen, I think there’s a lot more heat between the Anne and George of the Tudors, even though, as I said, his leaning seemed to be homosexual. I really fell for the actor, even though George himself was a jerk to everyone but Anne.

      From what I’ve read – and I don’t read much nonfiction but I have read a biography of Jane Parker Boleyn and a book arguing that Anne might have been guilty of some of the charges against her – there isn’t any evidence that George was gay.

      That’s an interesting twist about Jane imagining herself as Anne when she’s having sex with George. Sad, but kind of wonderful in it’s George/Anne shippiness.

      I share your suspicions about incest and writers of dark stories. I was taken-aback by the amount of incest in Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Me. It was almost too much for ME, which definitely tells you something. And then Philippa Gregory with the Boleyn stuff and Wideacre. And don’t even get me started on GRRM. The institutionalized incest in House Targaryen and the incest between Jaime and Cersei is one thing, I could write that off as just being part of the twisted world he’s created. But the level of ship-ability he creates between almost every single brother and sister in the entire series (and with so many characters that’s quite a few) really makes me wonder about him. Just look at Asha and Theon Greyjoy, Oberyn and Elia Martell, Ned and Lyanna Stark…that’s just me getting started. And the funny thing is, on tumblr, Robb and Sansa is – after Jaime and Cersei, of course – probably the most popular incest ship and it’s got less going for it than the ones I listed. Oh, and Jaime and Cersei’s mother and father were cousins, and though their relationship is only discussed a few times I find it ridiculous shippy. Uh-oh, I’ve run away with my thoughts. Stopping.

      I love that so much about GRRM. He’s almost as out of control as I would be if I wrote fiction professionally.

      Speaking of my novel…(well, one of many, but the one I like most and the one I’ve wrote the most for…) I’d love to talk about it for hours, but there’s a part of me that naively clings to the dream it might some day be published, so I’m foolishly frightened to share too much about it in an unprotected way. There isn’t much plot to it, really, it’s all about the relationship between the brother and sister I created.

      Like I said, their dynamic is fairly similar to Paul and Anna, excepted in my novel the brother is head-over-heels in love with the sister and has been for a few years, although I don’t reveal that right away. The sister comes off as super selfish at first. Their parental situation is complicated – the Dad is dead, the mom is a flake who took off for Mexico and left them behind though she sends some money, and they live with their aunt. I haven’t really decided what’s wrong with the aunt. Right now she’s got early-onset Alzheimer’s, but I’m not married to that idea. I need a way to put basically everything on the brother’s shoulders.

      He’s 17, and the sister is 15 when the story starts but she turns 16 in the middle. So, she basically takes him for granted and she’s always off with her friends and when she interacts with him she insults him a lot. But as you get further into the story – and again, there’s not a lot of plot, it’s pretty much a slice-of-life deal and almost everything that happens is in service of either showing what their relationship is or pushing it forward – you see that she’s incredibly controlling of him in sometimes straightforward but more often totally ulterior and manipulative ways. She doesn’t even always realize it. She’s been sort of forcing him out of a social life, and getting rid of his potential love interests, and things like that.

      And then you learn that when they were children – 10 and 8 or so – she had this epiphany of self-awareness that she loved him too much. (I make it pretty clear from the beginning that before puberty their roles were reversed, and he was the cool big brother who didn’t want her around and only put up with sometimes in a patronizing way and she was the crying little sister who was always following him.) And she doesn’t want to have that emotional dependency or that needing of another person in her life, so she sort of cut her heart out.

      And the things begin to change, of course, because he joins the football team (sort of cliché, I know) and starts becoming popular, and dating around (though only to distract himself, and in an attempt to get over her, because he’s really only interested in her) and she starts freaking out about it. And she’s totally clueless to the fact that he worships her, and she’s incredibly resistant to the idea of opening herself up to him because she’s afraid of love that strong, and he, on the other hand, has such low self-esteem where she’s concerned that it’s impossible for him to believe she might return his feelings. So things move REALLY slowly between them. Glacial. But I enjoy reading over what I’ve written so far so I’m not apologizing about that.

      It’s not a new story for me, I started it five years ago. Now that I say that it sounds like a ridiculous amount of time, but it’s not like I work on it every day – not even close. And I spend more time editing than writing new stuff, even though it’s quite incomplete.

      I think we discussed this before, but normally I hate such highly co-dependent relationships, particularly in real life, but my fictional shipping – particularly for incestuous pairings, and particularly for the ones I’ve created – turns into such all-or-nothing life-or-death obsessions for the characters. I even sort of did that with Carly and Spencer in my fanfic.

      Wow, this is going to be the longest comment-reply in the history of webpage commenting.

      As for the writers on The Fades, I haven’t done much research, but it would seem one of them has an incest kink. Even though most of the suggestive stuff is played for humor, the degree and amount of it is ridiculous. Jack Thorne seems to be the main guy, and he wrote for Skins, which explains SO MUCH. The brother and sister on that show – Tony and Effy – definitely have something worth shipping, as I briefly mentioned.

      Hmm… well, actually, since both twins apparently are into wanking, that’s actually NOT an impediment…

      Hilarious! So hilarious. And an excellent point. I like your little ficlet too. Sounds just like Anna.

      I think I’m probably too young to read X-Men: First Class fanfiction, LOL. *cannot be unread*

      That’s a good point about nobility. Circumstances like that, where arranged marriages or other social restrictions might interfere with the population marrying as it would please, would be a big factor in what I talked about. That reminded me of Little Women, the movie version with Christian Bale and Winonia Ryder – Teddy basically says that he’s in love with all four sisters. And it doesn’t work out with Meg or Jo, and Beth dies, so he ends up with Amy.

      There’s definitely something to be said for Paul x Anna x Mac as an OT3. They inadvertently are, already, almost. Because if Anna and Mac end up going out, Paul is always going to be there, the invisible third. It does seem like there are three active sides to this triangle.

      What I meant when I said that if Anna ever returns Mac’s feelings it would have implications about Paul is that Anna views Mac as an extension of Paul. I didn’t mean to make a general statement, it was meant to be very specific to these three. Though speaking of Harry Potter, I do think that Harry/Ginny is not completely separate from Ron.

      I like your take on Anna yelling at Paul to go see Jay. I think it’s a plausible interpretation. It’s definitely the one I’m going with now. I know exactly what you mean – it’s definitely a trope, but I don’t know if it has a name or not. I’m pretty sure I’ve never read an entry on Television Tropes and Idioms about it, though.

      Anna’s almost obsession with the idea – not just that Paul and Jay are together – but that Paul and Jay are having sex, does sort of seem like she’s seeing Paul as a sexual being for the first time. That’s what I’d think, if she hadn’t started off with the whole “he should be wanking” thing. Of course, the fact that Jay wants to be with him could be a sort of a wake-up call to Anna, like, “Wait, what? Women find him attractive?” and that could have gotten her gears turning. The idea that Paul is a sexual being definitely seems to be on her brain, if her dialogue is anything to judge by, which it ought to be. And the sexualization of their interactions or conversations between them or about them – it’s ridiculous.

      That’s a fascinating theory about fraternal twins. (And what timing that you’d read that!) In fact, before I read up on it awhile back, I was under the impression that it WAS a two-sperm one-egg deal. I’ve seen some fraternal twins that look nothing alike, not even like siblings, but then Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are fraternal, or so I’ve heard, and they look almost identical.

      The sharing of clothes between brothers and sisters is an interesting idea to discuss. Usually a brother wouldn’t borrow a sister’s clothing because women’s clothing is much more easily identified as women’s clothing, and because it’s probably too small, and because there’s more of a gender stigma there. Sisters borrow brother’s clothing all the time – particularly jackets and hoodies, like what Anna was going to borrow from Paul. I took my brother’s baseball jersey because it had our last name on it and I thought that was cool. Actually I took his football jersey too. I don’t think there’s anything to all that. But I just thought in Anna’s particular case she really didn’t seem like the type of even know what Paul wore let alone to want to borrow something of his. And yet she’s in his room, digging through his drawers, looking for a specific piece of his clothing that she wants to wear. It just seemed out-of-character for her.

      But there’s another side to it all, though it’s a little outdated. Like how in the 50s when two high schoolers were going out she would wear his letterman’s jacket. And I remember my friend telling me that if you were in a bar, or something, and you took a hat off a guy’s head and put it on your own, you were basically saying you were his and you were going home with him. And I already mentioned that I have a total kink for couples dressed to match – siblings in particular but not exclusively – and that’s kind of a variation on the same idea.

      You make a really good point about what people would be saying if Anna and Paul were gender-swapped. Of course that’s probably related to a fear of brothers sexually abusing their sisters. You don’t often see sisters sexually abusing their brothers, although Jenna blackmails her step-brother Toby into having sex with her on Pretty Little Liars, and I read a Canadian play called, I think, Bonjour La Bonjour about this guy who has four older sisters, and the three older ones are constantly coming onto him and it sounds like they did some pretty questionable stuff when they were younger, and he’s in love with the youngest of his sisters, and all of the other sisters are jealous. Ridiculous play. Obviously it appealed to me, though, in its way.

      It’s funny that you mention Dune, because it wasn’t that long ago that I saw the movie. I haven’t read the books (sounds like I missed out some interesting details), but I’ve seen the movie from the 80s with Kyle McLachlan and then the SyFy channel movie of the sequel, Children Of Dune. In Dune, Alia is still a child (well, she has the body of a child) when the movie ends. Children of Dune comes after a Dune movie that was done on SyFy (that I never saw) that must cover more material, because I missed a lot of what happened. I wonder if the Bene Gesserit plot to mate Paul and Alia was mentioned. They certainly had some vibes in Children of Dune, and the scene where he finds her training naked is included. I wasn’t aware of his “inevitable male reaction”, but Alia acts like she’s coming on to him. Paul’s children – I forget their names – end up having the more compelling incest-y relationship. Apparently they even end up marrying in the book (that doesn’t happen in the movie), though it’s a political thing, and she has her children with a different man. I ended up disappointed, because I thought there actually was going to be incest, and there wasn’t. But they definitely embodied why some people have a twincest kink – they were all about the understanding-each-other-without-speaking and things like that. Supernaturally close, so to speak.

      I’d recommend the SyFy productions, which I normally wouldn’t because typically their made-for-tv movies aren’t that great, but the sets and special effects and everything were very well done, and with the exception of Paul (who I didn’t find very memorable), I thought the cast was fantastic. Visually it’s quite a feast.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Zuko/Azula fic. I’ve always been rather proud of that one. I put it on the page of Avatar fandom-creation recommendations that I made, but it doesn’t get clicked on as much as some of the other fics I linked to. I guess I didn’t sell it very well. Or maybe its just because there’s no sex. After I wrote those Zuko/Azula guides, I lost all perspective. So this fic seems to me almost like it might fit perfectly into canon like a missing puzzle piece. But that’s probably because I’m crazy.

      I think SOPA might still be in the air, because I know there was an article going around tumblr that was actually about a Net Neutrality bill and is actually a week old. I’m not concerned that SOPA will pass, but it is a little frightening. You can’t take my online fangirling from me. You just can’t!

      Thanks for all the fic recs – I gorged myself. I especially loved the first Simon/River one, and I enjoyed some Ron/Ginny in my life. Those were much better than whatever I could find on FF. net when I looked this summer.

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