And that became my launching pad to catapult head over heels for Toby/Happy.
My immense irritation with Happy's voice has vanished -- in part because I would swear it is not as mumbly and stilted as it was in season 1 -- and I am now very fond of her. Not least because of her propensity for punching Toby, full on and beautiful Kensi style (these shows exist in the same universe, right? I need them to meet).
To be fair, nothing this show has done or will do is probably ever gonna top this episode. Like it even outdoes itself by being set at a point where their relationship is acknowledged, so it's not wasted on UST, but so early on that all the Feelings are still super intense and also I just realized now that it's acknowledged they hadn't slept together yet. So it is technically UST, but not URT. Super jackpot?
I shall now read you a list of all the bells and whistles this episode sets off: Toby throwing around phrases like "love of my life" as justification for foolishly charging off into the blizzard on his own to find her, bargaining (screaming at) God to "take [me], leave her alone!", panic when Happy is already unconscious, the particular keen in his voice when saying her name trying to find a pulse, obviously the spooning (never seen a show run with the whole "being naked is more efficient for heat transfer" theme, and since it's TV I don't have to deal with any unpleasant realistic complications like frostbite), "we're not going to make it. [but] I'm with you"...and then the episode ends with this, an actual quote of my dreams, about sharing a tent for the rooftop campsite: "No hanky panky ... but I might still be a little cold inside, so maybe you could spoon me, warm me up?"
Honestly, when this episode started my #1 thought was simply, "Oh hey, it's the scrappy little team member who's lost! That is so perfect for mentally switching the setting to Russia, giving the NCIS: LA team a plausible reason to be there and seeing what this would do to Nell." And while I'm not saying I won't still run this script again 3 different ways with slight adjustments (Nell/Eric, Nell/Deeks, Deeks/Kensi), but I couldn't believe how fast the ship took over on its own merit.
I'm pretty sure I've shaken all the major moments out of YouTube now, having spent 24 hours marinating my brain in everything it had to offer, but oh gosh, they are all so wonderful, LET'S TALK ABOUT A BUNCH OF THEM in no particular order.
- 2x13 is literally the gift that never stops giving, getting brought up again 4 episodes later: "I'm sorry. I'm scared. You don't know what I felt in the South Pole. You were literally lost in the middle of a white out, with no idea where you were...I was without you." leave-me-to-die.gif. "And you don't get it, because this is new to you, but I've been in love with you for years." *prolonged screeching* (also: did not know that! WHAT A GOOD BACKSTORY. I can't believe this ship even has pining, like smitten kittenry wasn't enough.)
- 2x18 and the upset rant about his gambling being out of control, and her fear of "having the rug pulled out from under" her again.
- He does hangdog expressions really well
- 2x06 and the almost-dying-in-a-fiery-airlocked-room/C
PR. That's what I love about shipping on crime-fighting shows. People almost die like 8 times a year, and then you reap aaaaall the comfort benefits. And timeline free is the way to be, because my lack of chronology here means their relationship status at this point makes no difference to me
- Hey speaking of almost dying, look at that season 2 finale capturing Toby and tying him to a chair with a vat of acid poised to fall on his head, cartoon villain style. I feel personally victimized. How did you access my brain.
- Related to the above: he just cannot stop declaring his love, can he? Hm, this reminds me of someone in my personal life.
- The Vaudeville proposal song! It's stuck in my head, by the way.
- The pregnancy announcement and subsequent de-nouncement (cadimum poisoning causing identical symptoms! that is a new way to unring the bell, I must admit). I love that the comfort is all verbal, and that's all it needs to be -- until the 2nd proposal, and then we have our cake and eat it too.
- They have the best hugs. I get a particular kick out of her arms around his waist and him just kind of folding her in.
- Their kisses aren't too shabby either, even though apparently in season 3 they started replacing them with punches.
- "We're not fraternizing, we're in love! ...right?" / *grudgingly* "I guess." --> I enjoy how enthusiastic Happy is about this relationship.
- That conversation where Toby shies from getting married at the courthouse because he wants a big wedding? I just had an extremely vivid flash of my future, because this exact scenario and reasoning have been discussed in the hypothetical. I've committed to nothing while just quietly hoping it will become my style by the time I have to decide.
- I love that the pregnancy made no (negative) difference whatsoever re: their feelings about each other. Usually it would either freak the couple out up front, or cause tension or a hitting of the brakes when it turned out not to be real. But here they were, ready to roll with it but equally ready to proceed with their marriage plans without it. What a good couple.
- I am so glad I got to skip over both the early season 2 separation disaster and the green card marriage interruption. I actually just found out about the latter a few weeks ago, which is the only reason I even knew Toby and Happy were a couple at all prior to this week, so it's really good I knew that going in.
- The real context doesn't sound as good as what I made up in my head, but I am still very shivery about the end of 2x01 and how softly he tells her there's a better chance of a nuclear apocalypse than of him ever hurting her. Put that on my list of Stuff I Like In Ships that this pair is nailing
- Toby surprising her with a dollhouse (because of Sad Childhood Reasons) is the most spectacular gift I have ever seen.
- Took me a while to find the clip proper, but -- 1x10? Y'all gave me minor injury/injury-tending-in-the-woods in the first 13?? I haven't even gotten to the lovely words yet. ("I say stupid things to hide the feelings that you already know I have.")
- Which reminds me: I also really enjoyed him talkimg her through field surgery in...2x17? And also her playing Capable Field Surgeon's Assistant in 3x12.
- I was very skeptical about Toby's med-school background at first, but damn, that has come in just as handy as Mitch's on Zoo. Thank you for writing as many plots as possible around it and not bringing on anyone with actual licensed medical skills to take over.
- I still don't love the "Doc" nickname, though. It really does not suit him.
- 3x12 gets even better with this amazing post-ep, Holding to the Future, which features comfort AND sleepy bedtime cuddling and guys, this fandom knows my heart. What a story to land on for my first random foray into fic. I can't stop reading it.
- OK, that's all my faves for now, but I just want to say that this fandom has a brilliant video maker, Tivalover09, who has a genuine gift for taking each new major episode and crafting a video tribute to their relationship around that scene. Example for 3x07. How she manages to make each video so meaningful with such a limited stock of series footage blows my mind, but I have not been bored or disappointed in one yet.
- If I forgot anything, my Tumblr is pretty lit up with Quintis gifs under the scorpion tag. A queued-up storm is coming, which is basically an "unfollow me now, this is gonna be the only thing I tweet about for the next year. fuck. what the fuck" situation.
- Side note: The more delightful things Toby does, the weirder I feel about my previous knowledge of him as Jeff Woodcock on 'Til Death, babyfaced dorky semi-emasculated vice principal. That...is really not a guy I ever expected to find shippable. The clip I'd really like to prove my point is that episode where the foursome stays at some B&B or lodge getaway, and he is wearing an incredibly ridiculous sweater. ("A man can wear a duck sweater!")
(Reasons not to watch this show in full include:
* It is loaded with Supergirl-level badness on its green screen and special effects. It's always trying to go so much bigger than its budget clearly allows, with terrible results. Like, off the top of my head, the tornado that sucked Paige off the ground, clinging onto Walter's hand. What even the fuck. Did I change the station to a soap opera? A Lifetime movie?
* I'm too dumb to care about the sciencey magic they use to solve these outlandishly complicated problems. At least Numb3rs tried to help me understand.
* My already low tolerance for Walter is bombing through the floor between his almost killing Toby out of false belief in his own superiority, his generally gross and selfish behavior w/r/t Paige and his vindictive attempt to break up my ship just because he doesn't understand feelings, and that's just the stuff I know about. How can he be seven hundred times more attractive than Sheldon Cooper and yet more annoying and less endearing?
* The short rope of my patience for Sylvester (Sly? I can't quite tell which one we're going with), the kid and the Timster is extremely frayed)