Is there ever a simple version?

I’ll try, as I have to stop now and do some work before tomorrow morning, but I want to write down at least one thing here for tonight. RAFrenzy also appears to have been moved by one of the scenes that have glued me to the screen this week, and I think her remarks are essential for any successful interpretation of this script, so make sure you know that post.

John Porter (Richard Armitage) reassures Katie Dartmouth (Orla Brady) that he’ll get her home and praises her for her steadfastness, saying, “Brave girl,” to comfort her. Strike Back, episode 2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

In a nutshell, for me, Porter here is both Alpha and Beta. He’s going to rescue her; he has to, for his own atonement/redemption as he perceives those rest on a successful outcome. At the same time, however, he never takes Katie over. He praises her for her strength in a way that doesn’t infantilize, he counts on her to help him in the torture scene, and even when he’s acting to comfort her afterwards, he never overpowers her own volition. I was reading the story of Lady Ragnell in my therapist’s office this week, and the emphasis on sovereignty and the female desire to maintain it, along with Gawain’s willingness to step back and let Ragnell decide for herself, resonated with his rescue of Katie here.

The question is how broadly the Porter character can behave like this, and that was what transfixed me this week on an analytical level. I don’t have good answers. I’m thinking back to our discussion of Armitage as father, and what if anything about that is applicable here. The second thing that transfixed me was Mr. Armitage’s gestural contribution to the script–here’s, frankly, another very standard, in many ways hackneyed depiction of a dishonored soldier trying to retrieve his honor, and yet it strikes me as quite fresh.

Both of those topics will have to wait till tomorrow. But tonight I am going to be dreaming of being rescued from terrorists by the gentle Porter.

~ by Servetus on May 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Is there ever a simple version?”

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of fantasising about Portersince since the series began. He’s a man of action as well as gentle and humorous. I was never one for muscle-bound men, but I find him very physically attractive, so I’m learning new things about myself in connection with RA’s characters.


  2. I also feel that there is something novel in the way that Richard Armitage is playing Porter but it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is. Goodness knows I have watched enough action and war films over the years to have ‘seen it all before’ and in this genre it’s hard to say something new. Still thinking on this one.


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