tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
Ten Little Chances to be Free ([personal profile] tenlittlebullets) wrote2014-07-21 10:02 pm

Steve, Natasha, and the vulnerability of moral uncertainty

(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/92413964816/xromanogers-again-marvel-just-decided-to-blow)

[Gifset juxtaposing two scenes from Cap 2:
Steve, to Peggy: For as long as I remember, I just wanted to do what was right. I guess I'm not quite sure what that is anymore. And I thought I could throw myself back in, follow orders, serve... it's just not the same.
Natasha, to Steve: When I first joined SHIELD, I thought I was going straight. But I guess I just traded in the KGB for Hydra. I thought I knew whose lies I was telling, but... I guess I can't tell the difference anymore.]

Again, MARVEL just decided to blow my mind away.

In CA: TWS, Steve’s scene happened first with him going to Peggy’s nursing home and being troubled by the whole manipulation that SHIELD made. Knowing that he’s out of it, Peggy decided to ask him what was wrong which ended up with him spilling about how he’s unsure about everything in the world right now. Steve Rogers is a man out of time, still trying to find himself in this 21st century. In the 1940s, nothing was this complicated; what was right, was right and what was wrong, was wrong. Now, everything is just a dark shade of grey where everything that is right is justified as something that could be wrong and what is wrong is justified as something that could be right due to certain reasons.

His morals has been compromised and because doing what is right has been always his life goal, he’s unsure what to do now like a puppy lost, without any sense of direction. So he confides in Peggy, who at least, for a short period of time, is not disturbed by her disease.

“The world has changed and none of us could go back. And sometimes, the best that we can do is to start over.”

I just can’t help but distinguish the fact that when both of them were crashing in Sam’s house, here Natasha is, doing what Steve was doing awhile ago with Peggy.

Steve knows that Natasha is troubled with something; heck, he probably knows that it’s all because of Hydra. But he decided to ask her anyway with a “What’s wrong?”

The determination in his voice to find out what was bothering her shook her from her thoughts and she questioned if it was okay to admit to him about her fears; all of her identity has been compromised.

Natasha was a ruthless, graceful and deathly woman. However, take that suit and emotionless mask away and she’s just a fragile human being who was forced to train in the KGB and to put those feelings aside. She’s not used to confrontations that involves her personal feelings or thoughts. It has always been her receiving orders and acting out according to it.

Joining SHIELD, she was making amends for her red in her ledger, not trying to add more red to the ledger. But now that SHIELD was known as Hydra, what was she supposed to do? She already had trust issues, but now the company she was working for ended up as a deathtrap.

But with Steve, maybe over the course of their breakout and everything, she realized that he was trustworthy enough. So, she decided to open up to him even if it was hard in her place for she still can’t comprehend the fact that all this time, SHIELD was actually Hydra in disguise.

Never has Natasha appear so weak, so defenseless. All she is is stripped bare and even if she can’t admit to herself, she realized she has to and maybe the easiest way is to admit it to someone else and hear herself say it so that she could believe it.

And maybe that was the same for Steve as well, to accept that indeed, the world has changed and nothing is ever the same anymore.

I… hm. I love the parallel in this gifset, but I’m not sure I agree about Steve’s difficulties in the first scene? I’d argue that rather than the ’40s being black and white or a “simpler time,” it’s that Steve felt like he knew the terrain there, and in the 21st century he’s not sure of his footing until events confirm that his suspicions and right/wrong instincts were even more spot-on than he could’ve guessed. (Always remember that the first Captain America comics came out while America was still dragging its feet about whether to get involved in WWII.) Sure, the situation he’s in—facing an increasingly urgent need to take a stand against his own government and his own superiors in the name of his country’s ideals—is a lot more difficult and painful than pledging to go fight another country’s dictatorship, but that doesn’t mean the past is necessarily a more innocent place than the present. Steve was a kid in the corrupt ’20s and grew up in the Depression—the war he was faced with as a young man was morally clear-cut as wars go, but that doesn’t mean it was all he ever knew. In the 21st century he strikes me as someone who’s trying to orient himself on unfamiliar ground that’s more treacherous than anything he’s used to, not someone who’s shocked that he even needs to figure out where he stands.

(I also don’t think Natasha here is fragile, precisely… more that she has a very complicated relationship with vulnerability, and opening up about a real, unfeigned vulnerability with no ulterior motive runs against everything she normally chooses to be and all her instincts for self-preservation. But vulnerability is just “ability to be wounded or hurt” and says nothing about how fragile or resilient you’ll be once you’ve taken damage. What we’re seeing here isn’t Natasha defenseless, it’s Natasha trusting Steve enough to show him a tiny gap in her defenses and a place where she’s still bleeding. To juggle metaphors, this is a place where it’s intensely painful for her to realize she’s lost her footing and doesn’t know which way is up—and she’d carry on regardless, but for once she’s with someone who’s just been in the same place and whom she trusts enough to open up to about her uncertainty.)

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