This is another one of my favourite scenes from season 3, if not the entire series. Mostly because what I love about Ed and Leighton as actors can be found in this scene from ‘The Debarted’, when Blair finds Chuck collapsed at the hospital. They are given so much room here for a show that moves very quickly and is loathe to give too much time to such a still, understated moment. This is all dialogue and no action on the page, but becomes hugely illustative of the immense love between the two characters, and the connection between the two actors, mostly through body language. And the music is beautiful.
After he falls to the ground (which incidentally is the most I think I’ve ever seen Ed act with his body, which makes it that much more affecting – you don’t see Chuck as a particularly physical character, mostly because he is so swaddled in clothes you tend to forget he is actually corporeal), he sees Blair approach and you are allowed to witness a flicker of fear in his eyes before it retracts. Leighton is beautifully still and graceful here, but she manages to radiate love for him without doing very much, turning that into her own fear that she can’t see him anymore, briefly saying his name like the extension of a hand to meet her where she can understand him.
He talks and doesn’t look at her, her eyes fill with tears because she can’t reach him in his pain, she can’t extract it. Ed’s face, like a deck of cards, shows you its hand like a secret – his voice softens until it almost breaks, and the expression of sadness that follows is almost imperceptible. It doesn’t require much more than the surreptitious tightening of his features on that crazy, beautiful face. He bows his head when she tells him he is different, he is strong. He is cowed by the image of himself she wants so badly to will into existence; the man he will become but not yet. Then there is vague embarrassment at having opened himself up to “the holy light that is Blair Waldorf” (thank you Jacob at TWOP), which Blair takes as her queue to move him forward, her King; she knows exactly when he’s reached his limit of self-exposure. Their heads move in tandem towards each other (they do this a lot, mirroring one another’s body language in small ways – it gets quite freaky when you start noticing it) and she cajoles him upwards, back where the living are.
Then my favourite part comes – she hoists him up and he lets go of her hand. He can stand alone, he thinks, he has needed her too much. He wipes his face and faces away from her, attempting to get back inside Chuck Bass’ skin – to swagger like Humphrey Bogart again, or Cary Grant, or his father. Blair looks up at him, willing him to take her hand as she has done so many times before (and after). But he can’t do it yet, and she knows that. I don’t think Chuck understood, even at this moment, how much he needs her. I still don’t think either of them quite get how necessary they are to one another on a very primal level. He allows himself to fall back into her, she touches his scarf as an extension of him (costume being as much a part of Chuck Bass as any other physical appendage), he still can’t let go of his father without being pulled in the other direction (a metaphor if ever I saw one for the twin poles of expectation in his life – with his father’s implacable disappointment on one side and Blair’s fantastical notions of a Dark Prince turned White Knight on the other); he breathes out as though he has been holding his breath for longer than we have, she watches him (as intently as he will not allow himself to watch her), he breathes into her hair and the look of abject misery on her face is replaced by relief. He came back to her this time.
I have nothing coherent to add, just look at how beautiful they are.
2 years ago · 138 notes