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2x12 "Unnatural Habits"

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According to the timeline , this is a couple weeks after “Dead Air”. What must their interactions have been like the next day after that fade to black at the piano? It really is no surprise that we have such charged scenes in this episode. Can we say that they are more charged than previous episodes? I would debate that the Roman soldier scene in “Murder in the Dark” is pretty close to the tie scene in this episode. Though Jack seems a bit more comfortable here. Anyway...we will get to that.

Usually I focus on Phrack with these reviews, but I really have a problem with the opening scene - well, with Hugh mostly. I understand that he is trying to protect Dot from seeing something that is disturbing—that he is thinking quicker than she is and once you see something like that, it is hard to unsee it. So in order to get through to her, he ends up yelling. But it just never set well with me. I don’t mind S1 Hugh/Dot but I struggle with the pairing more and more through S2 and a lot in S3. I like that Phryne is more subdued as she and Dot enter the morgue. I wouldn’t say that Phryne is cavelier about dead bodies, but she isn't usually bothered by them. However, here she has Dot with her and understands that this will be tough for her. But unlike Hugh, Phryne lets Dot make her own decision on what she can handle. Granted, Dot has had time to process what happened and what she might see. At this point, she is able to make a more informed decision to help.

Oh Phryne! Just waltzing in with her gorgeous white coat floating behind her. And Jack introduces her as a lady detective. Interesting. Does he usually feel the need to justify why she is participating in the investigation? Maybe since he has accepted that she is now part of his team, he feels she should be introduced. 

P: “I’m happy to serve that function.” 
J: “Police woman?” 
P: “Don’t worry Jack, you’ll never get me in that uniform...unless you cuff me.” 

The look on Jack’s face is like he is actually thinking of her in the uniform, and then just before they walk out of frame he turns to look at her like “how did you know I have been thinking about cuffing you?” 

We see Phryne’s reaction to the living and working conditions of the girls. She is unable to keep her opinions to herself, and honestly who else is going to stand up for these girls? It is very apparent that the church is above the law and is protected. So it is not surprising that the nuns do not want her around - to get ideas in the girls’ heads about the conditions.

Perpetua: “We’d prefer your police woman wait outside.”
Jack: “I would prefer her presence.”

Jack’s “I would prefer her presence” comment is reassuring and further confirms how far they have come. He wants to work with her - trusts her input. But Phryne isn’t going to keep her mouth shut about the conditions, so she instead removes herself altogether, and right away decides she will employ someone else to do her laundry, because no matter how “to perfection” they do it, she won’t support how they treat the girls.

There are a couple continuity issues in this scene, but honestly who cares!? It is now Jack sitting on his own desk while Phryne demonstrates her knot tying skills. Those few seconds we get to see Jack with his top button undone! Which honestly is the most hilarious thing to me about this show—the fact that one button and the lack of a tie is enough to just kill me.

Instead of using the sheets on the desk (which might be evidence) or both ends of her own scarf, she decides to use Jack’s tie. Does anyone else feel cheated that we didn’t get to see that conversation? There was definitely an eye roll involved (on both sides probably) “Phryne, really?” “Come on, Jack. Be a good sport.” Was it a repeat of “Murder in the Dark” where she loosens it? Or did he take it off himself. After the Roman soldier scene, I will never not think of someone taking off a tie as sexy.

P: “My father used to lock me in a cupboard to try and break my spirit.”
J: “Clearly didn't leave you there long enough.”

At this point, we haven’t met Henry Fisher, and I am not 100% sure that once we do we get the impression that he is the type of person to do this. I have only read the first book, so I don’t know what parts of her father they pulled from that “universe.” However, I feel there was a disconnect from the picture we have of him up until this point and the Henry Fisher we meet in 3x01. Despite that, I think it is an interesting insight into her childhood and what might have spurred her to become an army nurse.

Jack’s quick snarky reply and the absolutely fabulous look she gives him! DAMN. Kind of reminds me of the look she gave him on the bridge in the movie. Then the way he kind of whines “Oh you’ve creased it” and she replies, “Oh, come here.” I mean this whole scene is just Phrack gold. The more I watch this scene, the more I freak out about it. You would think that with more viewings you would be desensitized to their chemistry….but that is not the case. 

I have said before that I think the end scene in “Marked for Murder” when Jack puts his scarf around her neck, is really the start of Phryne seriously thinking about a relationship with him. So it is interesting that this scene kind of mirrors that, especially considering where this episode could have gone if it hadn’t been for Aunt P. But even then, this is another step in their relationship. I was going to say that Jack seems so much more comfortable with her in his space, but it’s not so much that he is more comfortable with her invading his space, it is that he is now welcoming her into his space. Phryne enters his space all the time, and though he rarely steps away, he doesn’t really invite her into his space. He could have tied his own tie despite it being “creased.” This seemed deliberate.

There is something about Phryne that both unnerves him and calms him at the same time. The way he leans into her as she places the tie around his neck. Like DAMN! And she looks off into the distance for a second like she is centering herself or something. Phryne isn’t the type of person to be overly affected by the act of helping a man with his tie. But in “Murder in the Dark” I think she was equally as affected as he was, and this sort of thing is much more intimate/domestic than her relationships tend to be. Taking off a man’s tie is one thing. Helping put it back on….that is a whole other level. And doesn’t it seem that she is taking her time? Maybe that is just the feeling that I get because I have had it paused for so long so that I can type all of this up.

This next piece had me thinking from probably the second time I watched this episode. They are so wrapped up in the moment, I would have thought that anyone walking through the door would have had them jumping apart. The fact that neither of them are quick to move away from each other is weird but also maybe kind of telling that they just want to be together and are sick of this charade they are playing (with each other and everyone around them). I know that Phryne doesn’t really care about propriety and maybe at this point Jack doesn’t either. It isn’t until he realizes (or it clicks) who it is that he seems uncomfortable. Phryne’s usual bubbly nonchalant attitude is missing here. She seems sad almost. Whether that is because she is sad they were interrupted or that she feels guilty she may have put Jack in an awkward situation with his former father-in-law.

Jack: “If that laundry was run outside of the convent, it would be in breach of child cruelty laws.”

Even though he couldn’t make any comments about it at the scene, Jack does agree with Phryne on how the laundry service is being run and the treatment of the girls. Which of course is not a surprise since he is a good guy. But I am sure it is always reassuring for Phryne to know that he does agree with her.

I love the visual of seeing her shadow in the window.

Knowing now how this episode ends, I wonder if Sanderson knows how good of a DI Jack is and didn’t want him on the case, instead preferring to conveniently place a Catholic and far less competent DI on the case. Even if he denies knowing what Fletcher was really up to, Rosie obviously doesn’t believe him. But Sanderson should have known that Jack wouldn’t just leave it. Or should he? He probably hasn’t spent a lot of time with Jack recently or ever really. He just expects him to take the order and move on. Whether Jack is still feeling awkward/embarrassed about being caught or having let himself get in the position to be caught, or the fact that she caused a problem at the convent, or he is just upset at being replaced, he takes that anger out on Phryne as she enters his office after Sanderson leaves. 

P: “Does George Sanderson really believe that a man with an O in front of his name will bring charges against a pack of nuns?”
J: “Leave it alone, Miss Fisher.”

His anger wasn’t due to him not agreeing with her, it was more because she hadn’t handled it as diplomatically as he would have. So now he is off the case (kind of because of her). He looks so sad - like he might cry! And Phryne doesn’t quite know how to handle either emotion from him right now. She doesn’t have any comeback to his dismissal or of his harsh tone.

Interesting that Phryne waits until the next day before infiltrating the convent. Doesn’t she usually do those sorts of things at night? Maybe it had to do with the fact that she needed to be smuggled in rather than being able to scale a wall?

Things continue to kind of crumble around Jack. His former wife and her fiancé show up, and then Phryne is caught breaking into the convent. 

Sanderson: “I thought these dilettante society types slept till noon. Unlawful trespass, break and entry. I want this woman brought to heel.”
Phryne: “Would you like me to roll over and fetch too?”
Sanderson: “You seem to have some sway over her.”

So at this point, Jack is not being told to NOT work with her, but to keep her on a tight leash basically. It is interesting that they have allowed it this long, and we see later in the season 3 (“Game, Set, and Murder”) that they finally try to stop him.

Sanderson: “But... if you don't keep Miss Fisher under a tighter rein, you may find yourself suspended from all duties.”

Phryne actually looks upset/shocked about that, whether toward Jack to see if he would actually try and keep her under control or toward Sanderson for threatening Jack’s job? And the looks that Rosie throws her direction. Yikes. And even Sidney raises an eyebrow. I am pretty sure neither of them are directing their displeasure in Sanderson’s direction. I feel it is hard to get a read on Jack here. He kind of has to act a certain way around his boss, and the way he placated Rosie with his muttered “no no no”.

Even though Rosie is a little territorial and harsh to Phryne in his episode, I have really grown to like her. She is one of my favorite minor characters and I wish we got more about her after this episode. I feel like her whole world blew up around her and we don’t get to see how she dealt with that. And honestly, it kind of makes me want to cry.

Phryne sulks her way into Jack’s office. They really are a team at this point. She feels the “I’m being benched” feeling as much as he does and feels bad that she got him into trouble (but not enough to reign it in). Plopping herself down in a chair in his office and swinging her feet up to land on his desk. That is quite the mood.

P: “I really am very sorry, Jack, that you're in so much hot water because of me.”
J: “Don't be remorseful. It only confuses me.”

Jack's line had me cracking up so much! I haven't necessarily paid attention to this while watching the show, but she doesn't apologize for her actions—doesn't feel she needs to. However, she apologizes twice in that scene. So, I feel she is taking into consideration the consequences of her actions a tiny bit, and we later see her seriously consider Jack's request before acting.

The scene in the kitchen just makes my heart so happy. Found Family. We have Phryne, Jack, Dot, Cec, and Burt all around the table discussing the case (that they aren’t supposed to be investigating anymore).

Jack: “Somehow, after leaving the convent, she winds up in the docks, where she's fed to the sharks and washes upriver. That make any sense to you?”

He freaking asks her advice! She isn’t butting in, and he isn’t just passively involving her. He asks her a direct question. I don’t know why this stuck out so much to me during this rewatch. He bounces ideas off of her frequently, but for some reason this seems different.

Mr. B: “Excuse me, Miss Fisher. There's a young lady here demanding to see you.”
Mary: “Your lock pick. Thank you. It worked a treat.”
Jack: “You're a bad influence, Miss Fisher. And, no, you can't keep her.”

Was I not just talking about found family, and here we have another. But also, Jack’s comment about her being a bad influence…..he wasn’t just talking about Mary. Before Phryne, would he have still gone against orders to investigate the case? And they are standing way too close together! I can’t think straight!

The Jack Lean against the piano. No wonder it has taken me 30 days to write this analysis—I can’t go two minutes without swooning! But again, we have Phryne in her house wearing a coat. Usually when they shift to these indoor scenes she isn’t wearing a coat and has sometimes changed into a cardigan/long sweater. Maybe I am just not remembering other ties, but this is the second time this episode that she has kept her coat on. And now she is also leaning…..toward him on the piano.

P: “But you're already perilously close to being out of a job.”
J: “You don't think it's wise to antagonise him any further?”
P: “You're much more use to me if you remain a policeman, Jack.”
J: “A policeman who can't bring anyone into the station for questioning.”
P: “No offence, but my parlour is much more comfortable.”

Again, he is asking her opinion. He is sort of out of his element and is reverting to her expertise. I like that she doesn’t say “you are only any use to me if you remain a policeman” but instead “you are much more use to me if you remain a policeman." He isn’t just useful to her because of his position, but as a person. A very attractive, smart person.

Oh, and this outfit of hers! Stunning! The coat seems to be a similar fabric/style/cut to the black one she wore in the last episode.

Rosie must really be upset with her father for taking Jack off the case for her to willingly show up to Wardlow and answer questions. She knows this is no longer Jack’s case.

Poor Jack, caught between his ex-wife and his girlfriend. This is why he and Rosie didn’t work out. Phryne just brings out the interesting in him. She sparked some life into our dour Inspector. And I think that is what Rosie needs too! She needs someone better than Sidney. Which is why I do kind of like the Rosie/Mac ship.

Second kitchen scene. Is this the new “Jack’s office”? Just thinking about this scene leaves me speechless (but watch me write 300 words about it). First. He grabs her arm. As I said in my “Dead Air” analysis, there is just something about this that makes me so happy. It is probably just the fact that he is touching her! Or the fact that he pulls her to him! But something else just came to mind. René was very physically abusive to her. I do not have experience dealing with that kind of trauma, but I can imagine that your first instinct when someone grabs you would be to react (that can even be true for someone who hasn’t been abused). Phryne doesn’t even flinch. This is the fourth time we have seen him grab her arm (1x07, 2x02, 2x11 being the other times) and she completely trusts him. And in this scene, he has a good grip on her arm, definitely more so than in the last episode. But also here, there is some urgency.

P: “You can wait for Sanderson to act, but I'm not holding my breath.”
J: “No, wait, wait. Whether he's trading in kidnap or murder, that captain's a nasty piece of work. I don't want anyone to go near the docks. Please, Miss Fisher. Do what you're told just this once. I'll... let you know what I find.”
P: “The Inspector's right. It's far more dangerous than I imagined.”

Second. She SITS DOWN AT THE TABLE after Jack leaves, agreeing that it is too dangerous. Is this the first time she has actually intended to do as he asked? I mean, of course it doesn’t last long, which leads me to...Thirdly. The whole family just stares at her. Waiting for orders. “But I am well armed and an excellent shot.” She lasted a whole 38 seconds (yes I timed it). I love it. Even Mr. Butler joins in.

When Jack boards the ship, he doesn’t know that Phryne is on there. For some reason he thinks she is still at home where he told her to stay. Though he obviously isn’t surprised to find her lock pick. We see a very serious side of Jack when he realizes this. He even calls out “Phryne!” as he races around the ship after roughing up Sanderson a little.

Fletcher points a gun at her a second time, this time with the intention to shoot her. But Jack gets a shot off first (at Fletcher, of course, not at Phryne). They don't really dwell too much on this scene, but I wonder what was going on in Jack's head as he saw the gun pointed at Phryne. We already know how he feels about losing her, but this time it could happen in front of him.

The disappointment in Jack’s face as he talks to Sanderson! Both he and Rosie must feel so betrayed! And now that I like Rosie more, I find myself crying at this whole situation. She has been betrayed by her fiance, let down by her father, her ex-husband is there to see all of this, and Phryne. Yes. Phryne has the attentions of her ex-husband. Rosie withdraws from Jack when she turns around to see him standing so close, but he is familiar, and he is noble and he is there. Dee Smart is so good! She really pulls off the rawness of what Rosie is feeling. Knowing how it all turns out for Phrack, this scene doesn’t bother me the way it is obviously bothering Phryne. The way the camera slowly pans closer to her! You can just tell how affected she is.

Throughout the episode, whenever Rosie was in a room with them, we see Phryne next to Jack—paired off with him and Rosie with Sidney. But now, Phryne is not only alone, but separated from Jack by physical distance as well as the gate. She has to watch as Jack embraces his ex-wife—something neither she nor we have seen. There have been incidental partial embraces between Phrack, but this reminds us that Jack and Rosie were married, and I think no matter what happened, they will always have that connection—something that Phryne has never wanted. But looking at her now...maybe she is reconsidering what she is letting slip away. I wonder how she (or if she) compares herself to Rosie in this case. Did she have any flashes of regret as she watched him embrace her? She doesn’t seem like the type of person to have self-doubt, but we can be pretty sure that she loved him. And who wouldn’t have a few thoughts about whether or not she was the right person for him?

Oh to see Jack sitting out in his car! I really want to know just how long he was out there and what he was thinking about. He doesn’t have an upset expression—maybe slight indecision or “I can’t believe I am about to do this”. It’s almost a smile. He wants to go in, and he knows what he wants to do. Whether he has been pondering it during this whole case or just between the time Phryne left the station and now. The idea of it probably exhilarates him and frightens him. What was it that finally had him making this decision? 

I cannot handle how soft this scene is. Everything about it. Jack’s gentle knock on the door. Phryne in her dressing gown slowly walking to the door. How she stays at the door as he walks toward the stairs—that distance still. She doesn’t want to intrude on his personal space if he has made some kind of reconnection with Rosie. The quiet way she asks about Rosie. And he asks if it’s too late and she says NEVER. Can she feel that he wanted to see her? That as much as Rosie needed some company, he needed Phryne? And she finally walks closer to him. Phryne's admission of what she thinks of Jack is very telling. That he is the man to trust. The man you go to when you are falling apart. He is a good man. She wouldn’t have held it against him if he had stayed with Rosie (for the night or for good). Is she kind of giving him permission—that it’s okay if that is what he needs to do? But at the same time telling him she recognizes what she would be giving up.

P: “I thought you were with Rosie.”
J: “I was. Is it too late?”
P: “Never.”
J: “I've never seen her like that before. She was in shock. She... just needed some company.”
P: “She needed you, Jack Robinson. The man who always does the right thing. The noble thing."

You can tell that he is trying to read her face and not just listen to what she is saying. And then he steps forward and says “Not always, Miss Fisher.”

This is the closest emotionally I think she has gotten to the idea of a relationship. They were definitely going to kiss, and she wouldn’t kiss him without having decided what she wanted. Especially not after that little speech. She wouldn’t play with him that way. And the look on her face! 

DAMN AUNT P! Again, they are interrupted in a compromising position. I hate when the camera angle doesn’t let us see their hands!! Like, I need to see how close he was to touching her. It seems very similar to both the “telescope” and the airfield scene. 

So is Jack’s line “But I'm glad we cleared up that detail, Miss Fisher” merely a cover? Or is he trying to tell her that they are on the same page here. He came here to let her know that he hadn’t chosen Rosie—that he wants her. But it is interesting to think about the fact that he says “Not always” in regards to her comment about him always doing the right thing. Does that mean he doesn’t think this relationship is a good idea. Because until he met Phryne, he was trying to do things right, but things were already kind of falling apart for him. 

And Phryne was relieved to learn she hadn’t missed her opportunity. “So am I, Jack. So am I.” The way she tilts her head to look at him as he walks away! Damn! And then when he gets to the door and looks back at her—a little nod of his head. They both recognize what just happened. But I think the fact that they are still falling back on the comfortable aspect of their relationship—murder investigations—is rather telling. This is kind of out of both their comfort zones. Neither one really knows how to proceed. They are so awkward! It’s amazing.

P: “Until our next murder investigation, then.” 
J: “I look forward to it. The investigation, not... not the murder.”
P: “Of course. Jack.”
J: “Miss Fisher.”

It is obvious she is smitten (“smitten kitten” I think is the phrase going around on tumblr). She certainly doesn't seem afraid to let him see how she feels. The same goes for him! How far they have come since "Blood at the Wheel." We will just soak in all the love and not think about "Death Defying Feats" just yet.

 

CREDIT: Transcripts  |  Gif is mine | Screencaps were edited by me

(All my screencap edits for this episode will be posted on my tumblr over the next couple of days - including ones that I did not insert into this analysis)