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Day 9 was relatively easy!


Day Nine: Favorite female character in a drama show

Detective Dani Reese of Life.

Because who's gonna pass up the chance to talk about Reese? Although I did run into a bit of a mental hiccough when I realised just chanting awesome awesome awesomesauce, awesomesauce, awesomesauce, awesome awesome awesomesauce awesome awesome saaaaaauce the whole time probably won't fly. (And linking, for the second time, to perfect Dani Reese fanvid, and letting that speak for me, is a bit of a cop-out too. But seriously. Perfect. Even if you haven't watched Life, and have no idea who Reese is, go watch it just for the art and Teh Awesome.)

And I guess Reese could also have been a candidate for "more screen time", since the show getting cancelled did suck, but at the same time, I'm sort of sneaky glad they let it go when they did. The fantastic Reese of the first season, with hair tied back, practical flat shoes and awesome leather jacket – looking tough-as-nails, no-nonesense and gorgeous – by the second season is running around with her masses of hair out all the damn time (IT GETS IN THE WAY) and softer, feminine clothing and high heels and JUST WHAT. (Not going near the eyelash-tinting for Damian Lewis, but seriously. No matter how delicately you try to do it, darkening a ginger's eyelashes doesn't make their eyes pop, it just makes them look like a ginger guy wearing mascara.) Which is only one symptom, but it was clear that someone somewhere was steering it to be softer and trite!Zen and generically appealing, when the original concept was clearly raw and harsh and never really hit its stride. So actually, I'm glad it stopped where it did rather than continue to water down the characters and themes.

Reese's wardrobe was part of what made me fall in love with her, because of everything it said about her character. The way she carried herself, the way she walked, the aggression, the way that her attitude asserted itself much bigger than her petite physical size should be able to. She really had the presence of a woman who's had to prove herself all her life – not just against the boys in the precinct, but to (or against) her father, and most of all to herself. And she's smart and motivated and out to take on the world, and of course she could handle elite undercover work, of course she could handle anything, don't tell her she can't, and then....

And then she can't. And then she's in way too deep. And then whatever the screwup was, it got her out and saved her life (although I'm sure it could have gone very differently). And now she's just got even more to prove, and even more demons to fight. Or maybe the same old demons just gained more ground.

So she's finally back on the force and she's going to make it work, damn it all, she's not going to screw up again, and she's assigned this weirdo partner with even more baggage than she has, who's seriously grating against her low bullshit threshold and does everything screwy. But the instincts and smarts that made her excell undercover makes her admit that he's very good at what he does. And it turns out that in spite of their external differences, they're two people trying to live in the present but imprisoned by the past, with massive trust issues and the scars of getting dragged under by the other side.

I love her because she's a survivor, a fighter, because she'll go down swinging and come right back up swinging again. Or, to nick the lyrics of the fanvid song,

I've learned how to paint my face
how to earn my keep / how to clean my kill
but some nights I still can't sleep
The past rolls back and I can see us still

– Dessa, "Children's Work"

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January 2016
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