Due South 1.7-1.8, "Chicago Holiday"
10 November, 17 November, 1994Favorite line:
CHRISTINA: Go away! Just leave me alone!
FRASER: I can't do that, you see, because I have the itinerary.
I have to admit, my principal reaction to Christina is a desire to drown her in a bucket.
But I love this two-parter for its perfect insouciance, the swaggeringly unapologetic way it uses its MacGuffin--and comments on its use of its MacGuffin--the cleverness with which it interweaves the movements of Eddie and Janice and Fraser and Christina and the matchbook about the city. And I most particularly love the moment when it turns the meta back around on itself:
CHRISTINA: This is all about some stupid matchbook?
JANICE: No, kid, this is about power.
That's right. That matchbook is a symbol, and they work that on every level possible--including the cab driver who notices the "SMOKING KILLS" PSA and decides not to have that cigarette after all.
This episode has the quintessential performance of Fraser and Ray's friendship. The nutshell version.
RAY: No. We are eighteen floors up.
FRASER: [already in the garbage chute]
Just hold your elbows out to the side. It'll slow your descent.
descent? [shouting down the chute after Fraser]
Fraser, you cannot go down there without backup! ... Ahhhhhhh, the most annoying man in the world.[Ray climbs into the garbage chute]
Ray protesting to Fraser, who isn't listening--who literally can't hear him in this case--and then following him anyway: that's how it works between them. Ray can say
no to Fraser, but he can't make it stick. And both Ray and Fraser know it.
RAY: You got me off the biggest case of my career to bring you a pair of gloves?
FRASER: And I can't thank you enough, Ray.
RAY: I'm supposed to be on a stakeout right now. I got a tip where I can find Eddie Beets, the guy suspected of offing his boss and trying to take over the entire West Side, and I delivered formal accessories?
FRASER: Well, if it wasn't urgently important, I wouldn't have called you. You'll never know how much this means to me, Ray.
RAY: You're right. I won't.
And Ray's parting shot, as he walks off: "I gotta find new friends." Which they both know he doesn't mean.
trade on Ray's good nature, because he's a manipulative son of a bitch. And Ray lets him, with some occasional resentment. Because the thing about Fraser is, he always uses his powers for good. (There's an exception in "Seeing is Believing," which I will indeed talk about when we get there.) This makes him very hard to live with, as Ray says, but it also, very clearly, makes it impossible for Ray to put his foot down.
(The sub who says of Ray, "He's all talk and no action," is really not wrong.)
Since I've been tracking the Batman voice, I want to note its manifestation in the leather bar:
SUB: I've been bad, I've been very bad. Please punish me?
FRASER: There's nothing so bad it can't be forgiven, son.
I think another place the Batman voice shows up is when Fraser has decided there is
no correct response he can possibly make to the situation, and therefore chooses the response most likely to derail his interlocutor/opponent's train of thought. Fraser plays conversations to win.