april-midori said: You mentioned that tension is the key to romantic drama. Was that enough tension in one episode for you? ;)
What strikes me about that tension in this episode is that it was very subdued. Very, very subdued, and that makes perfect sense.
Think back to LBD and Episode 98. That was some angst. We were on the edge of our seats. Neither Lizzie nor Darcy knew where they stood with one another. They kept missing each other. When Lizzie says she wants to be friends Darcy’s voice catches in his throat. When Darcy says they were never friends Lizzie has to look away. The tension way like holding your breath and then when they kiss you finally can exhale.
Today’s EA episode had a different tone. Alex leans in Emma’s doorway. He says Hey softly before he comes in. Emma grabs him and hugs him tight. He whispers in her hair. They joke about Frank’s pomade, and tease each other. There isn’t a nervousness between them. When Alex tries to tell Emma the first time that he loves her he doesn’t struggle to get the words out. He is oblique and they do misunderstand each other, but for the audience the tension is quieter.It isn’t Will they confess their feelings? It’s How will they understand each other?
And I think the difference is the history between the two couples. Lizzie and Darcy struggled to know where each other stood. Emma and Alex don’t. They have a history, a rapport, and a partnership to fall back on. So when Alex showed up Emma didn’t hesitate to grab him and hug him. When Alex realized Emma wasn’t understanding him he didn’t hesitate to get the flowers to make it clear. The intimacy between them had been building for months, years probably.
So where does the tension lie?
We know they’re in love with one another. We know they know it. We know both of them want the other to be happy more than they want their own happiness. Alex came back because he thought Emma would be heartbroken over Frank. He came back because the woman he’s in love with might be hurting over a different guy. He came back to be her friend.
(BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!)
And Emma does the same when she sits down and tells Alex to tell her anything. She’s here to listen. As his friend.
AND RIGHT THERE IN THAT MOMENT EMMA’S EMOTIONAL ARC FALLS INTO PLACE. I don’t know if I’d call Emma selfish in the beginning of the series, but self-absorbed is reasonable. But that choice on her part - to be his friend, to put his happiness above her own, and to LISTEN - is what earned her every ounce of affection from the audience. She’s Emma. She’s opinionated and bossy, but she also cares very deeply for the people she loves.
(Someone needs to write some sort of meta about William Darcy and Emma Woodhouse being a lot alike at their cores. Like…they really are almost the same person in completely different packages. So someone go write that…)
The difference between Emma in Episode 1 and Emma in today’s episode is that she listened. She listened to Alex even though she thought what she was going to hear would hurt her. She listened.
So where is the tension? The tension isn’t in will-they-won’t-they? Alex and Emma are more like an old married couple (whereas Lizzie/Darcy were like first loves trying to figure out a way to each other). They’re like an old married couple in the best sort of way. They know what this means. They know what is at stake. They know how good it could be. And so the tension is quiet. It isn’t angst. It’s delicious and wonderful and fairly subdued.
Both of the actors did a great job with that too. Alex’s confession was never over wrought. It was quiet. It was punctured with smiles and just a bit of nerves (“How was that?”). Joanna’s tears were happy ones, and her line, “Flowers are romantic,” brimmed with realization rather than confusion.
It was lovely.
Anonymous said: Promt: Why Alex had the flowers outside of his office.
Because he’d thrown them out after Emma handed him that binder and asked him not to say the thing that couldn’t be unsaid. That’s why they weren’t wrapped or in a vase. He’d thrown it all away because she’d asked him not to go there. But then she sat down in his office and he realized she didn’t know what he was trying to say. There was still a chance and so he went and got them from the break room trash.