Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who Rusty Needs: Thoughts on Major Crimes, Season 5

So Season 5 of Major Crimes is over. I was tentatively prepared to dismiss the posts and spoilers that Rusty and Gus broke up based on how such posts described the breakup. (Truthfully, even now, the relationship could turn itself around.)

However, although Rusty was goaded into arguing with Aidan, Gus's boss, about Gus's future, I believe he made his decision re: Gus before that confrontation. In the world of the thematic application of life lessons (i.e. television), the cases Rusty worked on with Andrea Hobbs all revolved around people trying to force others to live the lives they want. Rusty takes application-of-life-lessons seriously: he doesn't want to be like that. His decision to let Gus go at the end of Season 5 was handled with maturity and pained acceptance.

And there were other hints. I was/am a fan of Rusty-Gus, yet I couldn't help agreeing with Sharon Raydor's insightful statement at the beginning of the season: "They found each other too soon." Rusty needs time and space to work through his rollercoaster 21 years. Although Gus was better for Rusty than, say, T.J., Gus was looking for something more than time-and-space.

So even before I hit "Shockwave, Part 2," I'd started pondering what kind of relationship would work for Rusty.

The answer I came up with is Sean Anderson from the Journey movies.

Okay, not Sean Anderson exactly, of course, since the character is straight. But that type of character.

First off, Graham Patrick Martin and Josh Hutcherson are the same height (5'7") and nearly the same age; they are also close to the same build, which is best described as sexy scrawny stockiness. Johnny Lee Miller has it too. (It's the look in Hollywood these days!)

Looks are not enough, of course. The Sean Anderson character has something that Rusty's boyfriends so far have not had: a sense of irony.

In fact, one of my favorite clips of all-time is the Brendan Fraser-Josh Hutcherson exchange from Journey to the Center of the Earth: where are all the vowels?!

That deadpan bemusement? That's what Rusty needs.

Rusty by nature and by experience rides the sardonic line. He is also fairly brilliant, not in an IQ heavy way but in a sharp-edge-against-the-world way. It is hardly surprising that he has chosen to become a lawyer, and it is heavily implied in Season 5 that one day he will bring his sardonic edge, ability to see around corners, and questioning mind to a judgeship.

This makes him tense, impatient, passionate, and work-oriented. He is high maintenance. He is also not really a relationship-oriented kind of guy, and may never be. Some people aren't.

Which doesn't mean he (and they) can't have a relationship.

It does mean that Rusty needs someone who has the absolute security and sense of bemusement to accept what he brings to the table, be happy for it, and let the rest be. That person would need to be absolutely loyal (as Rusty would be) yet something of an independent loner. Someone with a sense of irony. And someone who can match Rusty's wit.

Though not someone who will argue with him.

Rusty has the ability to be deadpan himself--a trait that
usually comes out with Provenza rather than Flynn or Sharon.
Take a note from Sharon, future special someones: arguing with Rusty is a waste of time. She doesn't. She tells him to do something and walks away.

Likewise, though Provenza argues with Rusty, he never gives up his position--whatever stubborn, grumpy old guy position that might be. Like Sharon, he rarely lets Rusty pull him into speculative "what ifs."

"What ifs" make Rusty clever and ready to master the world. They are also the kind of thing that can pull an argument completely off-kilter, frustrating a friend, relative, or lover into a shouting match.

The best way to deal with Rusty is not to argue with him OR talk down to him; it is to give him facts (not ultimatums), then walk away.

It occurred to me, too, that a Sean Anderson-type personality would be more likely to say, "Yeah, I get it. Whatever. Let's wrestle." And no, I'm not being euphemistic--physicality without an agenda would be good for Rusty. PDA is not on his top-ten list, especially if he suspects manipulation or role-playing. Gus had the right energy and generous affection, yet not always the self-assurance to approach Rusty unself-consciously. An easy, confident arm around the shoulders while declaiming about dirt-bikes or football or Icelandic place names would be much more Rusty's style.

So, yes, okay, basically Rusty needs a younger version of Dr. Joe.