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I once again lost my entire night (I'm talking 10pm-5am) lost in the literally-unnamed jungle locale Off the Map. I can't believe I haven't actually made a proper post about this fandom renaissance yet -- not least because as of my last one in 2013, I had yet to obtain the coveted DVD, and to my absolute shame it has taken me almost three years since getting it for my birthday to unwrap the packaging. But the thing is, that's why I collect DVDs the way I do. So that the one night the switch flips and I abruptly need it, it's there at my fingertips.

I think the main reason I haven't settled down to post about it is that Past Me just NAILS it in all the posts under this tag. Every time. Every review, every supplementary post -- basically any thoughts I have, it turns out I have already voiced them. And that's not even counting the cache of novelized scenes/recaps, which cover just about every pertinent one Ben and/or Ryan are in, and which I do believe are some of my finest work, between the recounting and the occasionally quippy asides. Still too chicken to share them, but only because I think I'd have to share the entire collection as a whole because of how it builds on itself, and that's like 10,000 words.

Nevertheless...

I literally cannot express the perfection that is Ben/Ryan. Everything is just exactly right with them at every turn. I can't believe this fandom only fixates on Ben/Lily. Like did you not see the show very clearly leave that option in the dust by episode 4 or 5, or...?

The point at which that door shuts is, convenienty, also the time Brenner throws herself off a cliff as far as being a tolerable character. And I mean, I still like her as a person; I spend the rest of the series wishing I could save her from her own bad choices, but YIKE.

(Also, I am in full on hyena mode every time Ben trusts her instincts, tells her to trust her instincts, or otherwise acts like Lily's relationship with Mateo The Fugitive Cocaine Farmer is as legit as his with Ryan. It is just. Such hilariously bad advice/poor handling of the situation at every turn, knowing what we know about Sketch Dude).

Actually, the strangest thing to watch is how little personal interaction there is between the original 3 and the Baby Docs, who by and large are left to run around to their own devices and get themselves entangled in Spanish soap operas outside of initial casework. It's at the point where it's jarring every time I land on a scene where they're actually talking outside of an OR or a field rescue scene. Like, "Wait, you know your underlings exist?"

(I remain upset that I never get to see the development of Keeton being surprised by Tommy's dedication to saving the river patient / deciding to be more proactive about taking him under his wing. That is the mentor relationship I want! Aw, damn, now I gotta go find myself a book-shaped approximation of their dynamic to scratch this itch. Do u have ANY idea how difficult it is to find mentor books featuring guys in adult fiction. I guess maybe I could work out a YA option with a teacher or a coach, but it would take some determined sifting.)

I love that Ryan functions as a bridge between the two groups -- it appears she's roughly the same age as the newbies, but she seems so much more experienced than them. Given her global upbringing, I wonder if she finished high school early, or got her medical training outside the U.S. to get a head start on practicing. Ryan/Mina is the one ship fandom will pay attention to outside of Ben/Lily, and I obviously do not fly that way, but I do absolutely love the sort-of friendship they eventually forge and want little more out of life than for them to become new best friends. Honestly, I spend most of episode 13 these days wishing Ryan would Have Strong Words with Keeton about how he treats her.

tl;dr I am loving Mina 500% more this go-around. I think I cottoned on fairly quick to her awesomeness, but I am truly sorry there was ever a time she was not in my Top 5.

In "cool guest stars I did not register before," Dean Norris! I had no idea Rachelle had worked with him before Under the Dome. That makes at least 3 people on that show she had worked with before. What is her magnetism and can I use it to send Mike Vogel into her orbit again. (it could happen! I just found out she's currently working with Caroline Dhavernas again!)

But back to Ben/Ryan: to quote some ancient slang that the cool kids once said, I am literally unable to even. HOW! DID! THE WORLD! NOT! FALL! IN! LOVE! crackers4jenn watched this show along side me, but she had the exact opposite reaction of me to this ship, for reasons I have long forgotten and cannot bring myself to look at again.

Just...but their faces are so good together.  This is why I am twisting myself into knots running down heart-patient novels all over the internet, trying to find a reasonable facsimile I can cast their faces in so as to soak up textual descriptions of love/anguish, and a real conclusion, free of cases of the week or other distractions. I may also have been scratching up theories on how I could just fill in a few gaps and turn their actual story into a full fledged novel(ization), but that is more a futile waste of time because poor follow through and also lack of original writing talent.

...I had more thoughts, but as previously mentioned: too many hours spent lost in this paradise already. Just know. that it is still there.

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