Chauvinist of another kind — SPOILERS

I’ve had a difficult time writing about Lucas North, and I had not fully understood why. There’s been the occasional post about Spooks and some RA interviews concerning Spooks, but mostly Lucas has been ignored. I wonder how many noticed the glaring omission of Lucas on the page Who is Richard Armitage? I didn’t even realize it until a couple of weeks after I posted, and since then it’s been my intention to make him part of it. But I’ve never been able to find a clip that I really liked — that really moved me.

And even though I’ve made a few comments about Lucas, it’s been really difficult to be snarky about him, and if you’ve read this blog for more than an entry or two, you know that snark reigns here. I suppose that’s due to the very serious issues I grapple with on a daily basis. If I didn’t become snarky, it would probably eat my lunch. Well, that and SO is such a challenge. He’s persuasive, very good on his feet, and rarely can I put him in check with my words unless I say something like, “I’m pregnant,” to which he becomes speechless with a huge grin on his face. The rest of the time, I have to keep up with him, and I’ve loved learning to keep up with him. He is my Alpha male with a little Beta thrown in, but I love that he’s predominantly Alpha. That Alpha allows me, among other things, to be snarky with him. Alpha can handle it, but a male who is too much Beta is a drain. Too much Beta carries a neediness that’s just irritating and could never take a joke — not really. Plus, too much Beta just feels like a girlfriend, and I don’t want to go to bed with a girlfriend.

It’s only when Beta is juxtaposed with a lot of Alpha that it becomes fascinating and serves the wonderful purpose of also highlighting Alpha. This is what I loved about John Thornton. That big bear of a man had a sensitivity that allowed him to take note of Margaret’s movements serving tea or to make himself vulnerable to his mother after his rejection, or to develop a fondness for the Boucher boy who was learning to read. But first and foremost, John Thornton was a strong man. If he had not been, then his sensitivity would not have been nearly so dear. It was certainly this strength coupled with his appreciation of the finer feelings that wowed me. Lucas was none of that or didn’t appear to be. I’m not saying I wanted another John Thornton, but I did want to see something other than a guy who was a drain.

From the beginning Lucas was a victim, which would have been fine if he had been redeemed as a man. But as it was, he was not really treated as a man. That was reserved for Ros, and Ros had her own kind of domination over Lucas. It’s my opinion (yes, it’s just my opinion like most things on this blog) the inference that the relationship between Harry and Lucas is sexual is really about Lucas placing himself in a posture of subjection and being needy of Harry, needing Harry to affirm him like a father or as only a strong male can affirm another. All of that would have been great for laying a foundation to the redemption of Lucas.

But then we get to Series 8 where he reverts to being manipulated by his former captor and temporarily switches his focus for affirmation to Sarah, who no doubt was quite the Alpha — definitely a ball buster– and Lucas wanted it so badly. Then it was found out by MI-5, and Lucas is told to play her along, which puts him between his potential redeemers. That became so wearying and the neediness never more evident than when he’s on the floor with Sarah’s gun pointed at his head and he whispers, “Take me with you.” Phew, that has an ick factor. Bark off the tree. I HATE that scene, and it was also the one which made it clear that I liked Lucas even less than Sarah. So when he got to the scene where he said he was disgusted by her, I didn’t believe him. He was too wishy washy to be really disgusted — for long anyway. Sarah had something he wanted — some balls. Even Ros was the one who had to take Sarah down at the end.

All of this has had me dreading anymore Lucas love affairs. In fact, I read this article and found myself nodding at this comment, “His current camaraderie with Beth is much more interestingly and engagingly written than his love affairs have been, and I don’t think the “Who is John?” story needs a romantic dimension when Iain Glen and Richard Armitage seem to be doing brilliantly without it. However, a romantic dimension is what we’re going to get. Oh well.”

But I was wrong, and I’m so glad I watched anyway. He is no longer just a victim so desperate for affirmation that he subjects himself to domination by his superiors and love interests. It’s a somewhat unexplained change from the other series, but I love it. Becoming head of section D helps set the stage for a more forceful Lucas, and then as he encounters his past, it becomes clear he is becoming a man who has wants as well as needs, and his wants will not be denied. He makes it clear he will not be bullied by Vaughn, and then there’s Maya. He’s bent on getting to her, and nothing is going to stop him. Even when she’s resisting him in his home, he does not give up and then at the end the Alpha emerges to dominate Maya in the most elemental fashion. Maya definitely responded, and I couldn’t help but light up. Any female who is immune to that is either not paying attention or not attracted to men. LOL!

But don’t take my word for it; you can watch for yourself:

In case you need that in slow motion, I have a slideshow as well. Feel free to snaffle any of it.

I also have to give Richard Armitage his due. Some of his lines in the scene with Laila Rouass are hackneyed. C’mon, prison, “a photograph of you,” “all those years trying to forget,” and “I had to see you?” Sounds like a David Allan Coe song. But RA pulls it off! Sorry I couldn’t help the David Allan Coe reference. It was probably brought on by Lucas’ western shirt.

Also, my short hiatus has me really maudlin to the point I feel a fake fan letter coming on.

Dear Richard,

See how easy we women are. We love it when a man exerts his dominance. Not in a brutish way but in a calm, assured way. That’s definitely what Lucas did at the end of Episode 3.

Just get ready for women to swoon over that scene as much (and maybe more) than the ending of North and South, and if you hate that sort of thing, well, I guess you should stop making shows that have those kinds of scenes.

What I love is that no one had to shed their clothes. Yes, I’m a prude. Of course I’ll have to see what happens next week. ;-)

One of your crazy fans

Screencaps and Spooks clips are mine.

I’m Officially Sick

Until now I’ve just been teasing. But that Sean Pruen video has me messed up in the head. LOL! Yes, I’m laughing, but it’s a kind of hysterical laugh that would creep you out if you heard it. LOL!

I don’t even want to analyze the video. Yes, I’ve analyzed others in minute detail, but I dare not tell you what I’m really thinking about some of the things I’ve looked at. Better to make it a joke. I’m having a hard time making something funny out of this:

And if that one doesn’t do it for you, then how ’bout one of these?

If you’re unmoved, then you are dead.

If Sean ever reads this entry, I hope he knows this is what happens when “viral” is a label. ;-)

Screencaps courtesy of my stash by way of Sean Pruen’s lovely video to be found here.

Tangent — I Like You, Chris Ryan

I know recent articles on Chris Ryan are all part of the Strike Back hype, but the effect on me is not producing a liking for more Strike Back (I already like it plenty) but rather a liking for more information on Chris Ryan. He’s just one likable fellow. I wasn’t kidding when earlier I said he feels like a buddy. Oh, I realize the press may not give an accurate account of him, but he seems to be honest. He doesn’t seem to think he’s superman nor seem to be hot on himself. My understanding is that John Porter is a somewhat autobiographical character, and in the book I don’t see him as all prettied up for our consumption, and if he comes out the hero, could that be Chris Ryan wanting a redo — even if it may only be in his head?

What’s interesting about this article and others I’ve read is that although Chris Ryan is a decided Alpha, as he gets older he’s learning to appreciate his Beta. I just hope he never has contempt for Alpha but puts it in perspective and really learns to appreciate it in a way that maybe no young man can ever do. Any man who gets that right is about as sexy as they come.

Maybe I need to break down and read more of his books to see if he’s already there. Not sure which one to begin. Perhaps his first, The One That Got Away.

I challenge you to read this article and come away not liking Chris Ryan or worse just dismissing him.

SAS author Chris Ryan: I fear for mental health of veterans of Afghanistan

May 12 2010

CHRIS RYAN is enjoying the spoils of war – the former SAS soldier has used his frontline expertise to become a best-selling author.

Decorated with a Military Medal for his exploits in the first Gulf War, which he survived against the odds, he has also appeared in testosterone-fuelled TV shows, including the aptly titled How Not To Die.

One of his books, Strike Back, has just been turned into a major new drama by Sky One, starring Richard Armitage as John Porter, a burned-out special forces soldier haunted by the past.

Like much of Ryan’s fiction, it’s something he writes about from first-hand experience. And for all the success he’s had as a writer since leaving the SAS in 1994, the memories of battles fought and fallen comrades remain with him.

He said: “There are always regrets. Usually when somebody was killed, wishing you’d done something differently. But that’s the gift of hindsight, which is invariably right.

“It’s always there but you can’t undo time and you just have to live with the decisions you made.

“As you get older, you look at it differently. You look at yourself and you are greyer, wrinklier and a bit heavier.

“The guys you lost never get older. You think of them as you last saw them and, as time goes on, as you push through the years, the reality of that is sadder.

“You just think, ‘What a waste of life’.”

Born near Newcastle in 1961, Ryan now spends most of his time in America, where he has interests in the security business.

But during his 10 years in the SAS – or “the regiment”, to those who have been part of it – he became part of its legend.

He took part in the disastrous Bravo Two Zero mission to Iraq in 1991, led by his fellow soldier turned author Andy McNab.

Four members were captured by the Iraqis and three died – two from hypothermia as temperatures plummeted to below zero.

Ryan was the one who got away, enduring the longest escape and evasion exercise in SAS history.

He trekked 200 miles to Syria over eight tortuous days with no food and little water. He lost 36lbs in body weight, his toenails fell off and he had sores all over his body.

Ryan puts his survival down to many things – SAS training, the thought of his then two-year-old daughter, Sarah, and that basic human instinct, fear.

He said: “An SAS soldier is trained in escape and evasion. I knew the process of getting out by hiding during the day and walking at night, but it was fear which got me home.

“It wasn’t just fear of bumping into the Iraqis, it was fear of the winter they were having – two of my colleagues had died through hypothermia – and of not seeing my daughter again.

“She was just two and I desperately wanted to see her. In fact, in the latter stages of my escape, I was hallucinating and I saw visions of her.

“Fear is a great motivator, especially if you think you are going to die. I had never pushed myself the way I did in Iraq – and that was only due to the fear and adrenaline which drives you on and keeps you going.

“It’s coming up for 20 years now. I can remember every day but there are bits that are hazy.

“It’s like toothache. It feels like the worst pain you’ve ever felt at the time, then a week later you can’t remember it.”

Although he remained in the SAS for a few years after Iraq, Ryan suffered from post-traumatic stress, which manifested itself in sudden bouts of rage.

It’s a condition he afflicted on Porter in Strike Back, and one which he is convinced will be a problem for many of the soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

He said: “I don’t think we have seen anything like what we have witnessed over the last 10 years, the amount of stress our young men are being put through.

“My brother is in the Parachute Regiment and tells me stories about guys who are out on foot patrol and see their colleagues vapourised. Over the period of a six-month tour, they are losing 20-odd men.

“Think about it. You go to your office and know that, out of a couple of hundred of colleagues, in six months about 27 of you are going to die. You are going to see a few of them go and a lot of you are going to come back without arms and legs. It would freak you out.

“I don’t know how these young lads are bottling it up. It’s got to come out somewhere.

The rest here.

Oh, and I would put up a picture, but I don’t have permission (didn’t take the time to get it). I’m just enjoying this picture. Hopefully, the owner will not pull it since it appears to be for public viewing. If the owner happens to stumble on this blog, I would love to embed this picture, but sometimes WordPress is a bully. :D

Let the Cogitation of John Porter Begin — SPOILERS

WARNING: Spoilers in this post especially including the video!

I would have said thoughts, but I have to use words like cogitation occasionally. Then I don’t feel guilty about how I’m using that expensive education my parents paid for (oops, another sentence ending in a preposition; good thing this blog’s anonymous).

So I’m watching Strike Back, and it gets to this scene (SPOILERS AHEAD!):

and I remember what I like about most action flicks. They have Alpha males! Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Alpha is the guy who smashes beer cans on his head and has little or no respect for women. No, no. You’re wrong. Alpha is not just the guy who needs a shag and likes to handle guns and is good at handling guns, and wants to do damage to someone with the guns. He’s also the guy who kicks the door in and saves the damsel, and the damsel loves him for it and thinks about following him to the ends of the earth. When John Porter says trust me, I do.

I’m so glad RA is getting to play an Alpha again. My first introduction to him was as an Alpha male — John Thornton. The character I’m most fond of is an Alpha male — Guy of Gisborne (when he’s not kissing the Sheriff’s ass). But Alpha isn’t enough, and those characters are not successful just being Alphas. What women want and most men have not figured out is that we want Beta too. John Thornton and Guy proved they had some Beta, and it only made them more attractive. Conversely, of RA’s characters who are primarily Betas, they are even more attractive when Alpha emerges: Harry Kennedy when he wants Geraldine to pay up on her “debt,” John Standring when he runs off Andrew, Paul Andrews when he’s manifesting Alpha in the most elemental way, Lucas North when he’s taking the rich guy down in the pool. Imagine how dull these Betas would be without Alpha.

I’m not so sure we’ve really seen John Porter’s Beta. Maybe just a little peek in the beginning when he’s interacting with his 10 year old daughter, and of course when he spares the Iraqi boy. But that’s not enough for an RA character. RA likes to balance these enough to make things really interesting. We don’t have enough of Porter’s Beta yet. We need a little more, but oh, don’t slack on the Alpha while you’re at it.

I stumbled on a blog that gets the importance of the Alpha/Beta mix. The blogger gets it so well that I had a fleeting thought it’s really a woman writing the blog. His name even sounds like a woman’s when you say it really fast (ducking in case he reads any of the links to his blog). He is so dead on that it’s scary. Oh, I don’t think he’s dead on about everything, but he’s got women figured out fairly well — at least what turns most of them on. Yes, it’s just my opinion. Feel free to disagree, and I know some women do. LOL!

Here’s what he says about Alpha/Beta mix:

I generally disagree with the entire Alpha = good, Beta = bad mindset. You really need to have both Alpha Traits and Beta Traits in a marriage to really hit the sweet spot of happiness and sex. The blog is still new, but believe me I’m going to sound like a broken record on this point as the years play out.

If you’re a decent Beta, the solution is to add Alpha traits, not reduce Beta Traits and add Alpha. It’s not a zero-sum game where you can be either Alpha or Beta, but not both. You can and must be both. You still hold a job down, play with the kids, listen to how your wife spent her day, do housework etc. That’s all vital comfort building goodness. She likes and needs that to feel comfortable, like you’re invested in the relationship and family. These things are not “turn ons”, but lacking them makes them “turn offs”.

Read the rest here.

(emphasis mine)

Preach it, Athol!

I sometimes hear that Alpha females do not want Alpha males:

The alpha girl doesn’t need Mr Alpha to sweep her off her feet and buy her a condo in town; she has enough money to do that herself. She is successful, confident and she wants a caring man who can pick up some of the domestic slack.

Read the rest here.

Oh, a caring Beta is great, and I may not need an Alpha to sweep me off my feet, but I WANT ONE! and SO delivers. He flexes his Alpha enough that I know it’s not eclipsed by his wonderful Beta. I have several little SOs running around to prove that.

Speaking of SO, I think he’s going to love this show. Especially if it doesn’t make Alphas look like morons. Actually, to SO there is no such thing as Alpha/Beta. He thinks all of that is crap. To him it just means being a man who has the usual wants and needs of a man and of course the usual responsibilities. Okay, maybe there is no Alpha, but it’s fun to think about it, and certainly fun to watch it!

P.S. If Porter and Layla are not going to have some Alpha fun at some point, then I wasn’t watching the right show. Can’t wait to see how that plays out.

No, It’s Not Just You or Me Can Like Action Flicks Too

I thought I could rationalize! But it seems others are raising the bar.

“Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t see SB as the typical “action” movie – and no RA is not clouding my judgement. I haven’t read the book yet (on my list – gotta get through “The Pillars of the Earth” first) but I would be interested in watching SB even if RA was not in it – the politics, the moral dilemma, the facing one’s past are all interesting to me – and a few sexy scenes and the occasional kicking in of doors is good too! And when you think of it, many of these same themes appear in period dramas/books as well…
Maybe I’m just being fooled by the trailers – heaven knows that happens all the time – but I just wish I had a chance to see SB when it airs in the UK…now where did I put “Pillars”…”tyme4t’s comment on “What makes a bunch of prissy period drama lovers become action fans?”

I must keep up!

She makes some good points. Period dramas and action flicks do have something in common, and I can name it in one word: romance. It’s the romance that we all love. I’m including the men. It’s romantic to them for some guy to kick ass whether it be a foreign enemy or one at home. But it doesn’t really matter if the enemy is personified as long as some guy is conquering something including something in his past. I don’t care how macho or seemingly mild mannered the man is, they all seem to love this, and a lot of women love it too. I know I love to see someone overcome something or someone (bad guy or problem guy). Really love it when it’s a good guy making things right even if it’s not all tied up in a pretty package at the end. It’s usually better if it’s not all tied up in a pretty package.

But I think most of us also love a good chess game even if it’s not on the chess board. That is fascinating, and what tyme4t was probably getting at with politics, moral dilemmas, etc. There’s an air of romance about catching someone before they catch you and especially if you’re having to deal with your baggage while doing it. Actually, that’s only romantic in a book or a movie. In real life it can be a bitch to deal with baggage while you’re trying to do something significant. I think that’s one reason it’s romanticized in books ’cause maybe we can fantasize that it’s romantic when we’re going through it. I would venture to say that all those SAS are turned on by the same thing — the romance of what they’re doing, the romance of the chase, and there doesn’t always have to be a girl involved. When it’s not about country of course. Whatever the case, I don’t think it’s all about patriotism.

Just for grins I did a search on Chris Ryan and the word ‘romance’. I actually came up with something. He wrote a romance novel. LOL! It’s under the pseudonym Molly Jackson (isn’t Chris Ryan a pseudonym?). Maybe that’s old news for some of you, but I got a chuckle out of it. I don’t know if the book is was worth a flip. It didn’t seem to have many reviews. But something motivated him to write that book, and I don’t think it was money. He’s too well established in his genre to venture out just to make money. No, it was something else. Not sure anything he’s said publicly would shed light on the reason, but it would be interesting to know his reasons (more useless crap for me to remember). All I know right now is if Chris Ryan wrote a romance novel, it’s not a far stretch to imagine him watching some period dramas. Yep, he’s one of us. I’ll claim him. :D

After reading up on Chris Ryan, I feel like he’s a buddy. We share similar tastes in drama, and on a much lesser note, two of his creations have featured RA. So I have to put up his picture.