Golden Fleece

Nurturing Steed

In at least one previous blog, I made brief mention of ways in which Steed is a kind and nurturing man. In this post, I’d like to examine that in more detail, because it’s an extremely important facet of Steed’s personality and behavior. It says a lot about him that he nurtures not only his partners, but also other people that he meets in the course of his day, and he does this not in order to initiate a transaction in which the other person owes him something in return, but simply because it’s the right thing to do when one is a decent human being.

Steed’s nurturing behavior also is an expression of his feminism, and of his comfort with behaviors that are normally coded as “female/feminine” in Western culture. Although I could take examples from throughout the series, I’m going to stick with the Gale era, because I also have an axe to grind about perceptions of Steed’s character with respect to the earlier seasons in particular, as well as overall.

One important way that Steed’s nuturing side is expressed is in the way he feeds people.  Not only does Steed do the traditional male/masculine thing of taking Cathy out to dinner—for example, at the opening of “The Golden Fleece”—he also frequently prepares food for Cathy and becomes concerned about her when she doesn’t eat. These examples centered on food and feeding make excellent loci for discussion of Steed’s feminism and spirit of service towards others, especially in the context of these early seasons.

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The Art of the Two-Shot in “The Golden Fleece”

“The Golden Fleece” is one of the better episodes of the Gale Era, not only because of its relatively strong story and fine performances, but also because of the skillfulness of the direction. Throughout the episode, director Peter Hammond creates artful effects by using symmetry and mirror image in the blocking of the Steed/Gale two-shots. Shifts in which character is foregrounded along with the positions of the actors’ bodies relative to one another and to the space they occupy and, occasionally, shot length all contribute to the overall effect, and sometimes have significant interactions with the motions of the plot and the character arcs within it.

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