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Abby Meta - part 3. Episode 1.3

Series 1, episode 3

Abby comes to the hospital where Connor is already talking to Stephen as he packs his things. Both men turn and look at Abby in surprise – she’s wearing a skirt for the first time, and much brighter lipstick than usual. When Connor comments on it, Abby whispers, “I can do the girl thing,” although the obvious conclusion to draw from this comment is that she doesn’t normally ‘do the girl thing’.

In a brief digression into Abby’s clothes, so far we’ve mostly seen her wearing jeans and light tops, often with a leather jacket. It all compliments what we already know about her personality – it’s not ultra smart, but she hasn’t just thrown on the first thing that came to hand in the morning either. It’s practical and it’s more than a little tomboyish.

Stephen tells her she looks nice, and Abby seems embarrassed but pleased at the compliment. She tells Stephen she’s come to give him a lift home (apparently not arranged beforehand), but Stephen announces to everyone’s surprise that his girlfriend is picking him up. Abby’s smile immediately disappears, and she turns away from Stephen to hide her reaction, before turning back to him with a false smile and an unconvincing, “You must have missed her.” Stephen appears to pick up on the sudden change in mood, but doesn’t question it, and leaves.

At Connor’s comment, “Two years? How much sex are they going to have?” Abby whacks him with a pillow, but immediately apologises. “So much for the girl thing,” Abby says, with the sort of expression that says she has been in this sort of position before, and has now completely given up on Stephen as a potential boyfriend. We don’t see Abby’s reaction to Connor’s quiet, yet completely serious, compliment that he thinks she looks great.

It seems from this scene that despite their conversation at the end of the previous episode, and Abby’s apparent cooling towards a relationship with Stephen, she had decided to give it another go. It’s doubly disappointing for her to discover it was all for nothing after she has obviously made an effort, and now she probably feels foolish and embarrassed as well. After Stephen has gone we have another scene of Abby and Connor’s friendship and how comfortable they are together now, especially the little touches like whacking Connor with the pillow.

At the swimming pool, while Connor and Stephen talk about Alison, Abby is off to one side (but probably within range to overhear the conversation), and seems to be running some sort of tests on the water from the pool.

At the reservoir later, Abby is again the one apparently running on-site tests on the water, this time alongside Stephen.

The fact that Abby seems to have been left in charge of the sampling and testing is interesting, and perhaps hints at previously unseen science skills.

While Cutter and Stephen go off to dive into the lake, Abby and Connor are left collecting water samples.

Connor: See, why does Stephen get all the fun stuff to do while we get stuck collecting water samples?
Abby: He looks better in a wetsuit.
Connor: Debateable. I can do the action stuff too, you know. I’m not just a massive intellect.
(Abby has an amused smile at his last comment.)
Connor: He doesn’t remember a thing you know, Stephen
Abby: That’s not the point. He knew what he was doing when he asked me out; he knew he had a girlfriend.
Connor: Yeah. And he’d also just been poisoned by a giant centipede. That might have affected his judgement just a little bit.
(Abby gives an annoyed sigh.)
Connor: What am I saying? You know, you’re right. He’s a two-timing weasel and maybe you should put that down to experience and move on. There’s plenty more fish in the sea.

Abby does not look very impressed, but then, she hasn’t looked overly impressed with the entire conversation. Presumably she has independently come to much the same conclusions as Connor, but she is still upset about it, and doesn’t necessarily want to hear it spoken aloud like that. Connor makes a good point about how Stephen’s judgement was impaired at the time, and Abby must know he’s right, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Her comment about Stephen looking good in a wetsuit indicates that she does still feel something for him, at least on a physical level, but the revelation that he already has a girlfriend seems to be making her revise her view of him. Abby is disappointed that it hasn’t worked out between them, and she is also annoyed that he no longer matches up to the tall dark and handsome hero image she no doubt had of him.

When we next see Abby and Connor they are waist deep in the water collecting samples. The mososaur appears close to where Abby is standing and circles round her. Abby defaults to her usual reaction when faced with a large creature – she freezes so as not to attract attention or appear threatening. Even after it has apparently gone, she tells Connor, “Don’t move!” Once they are convinced it has gone, then they race to get out of the water, and of course the mososaur follows them and tries to get onto the bank to attack them. Connor pushes Abby out of the way, and it is Connor who eventually beats the mososaur off with a boating oar, while Abby stays back against the fence.

As in the previous episode when they encountered the centipede, Abby hangs back and lets someone else attempt to fight the creature off, but she doesn’t run and she doesn’t panic.

Afterwards, Abby approaches Connor and thanks him for saving her, and hugs him. Connor looks surprised, but pleased, and hugs back, a little too enthusiastically, because Abby has to prompt him to let go. They both look slightly embarrassed when Connor lets go, but Abby doesn’t appear to be particularly uncomfortable about it. This is probably the first time she has made any affectionate gestures towards Connor, and is presumably signalling where her next romantic interest may lie, now that she has given up on Stephen.

And speaking of Stephen, the next time we see Abby, she and Stephen are unloading equipment out of the car.

(Stephen is watching her with a slightly amused expression)
Abby: What?
Stephen: My memory’s back. Some of it, anyhow. Enough to know why you’re angry with me.
Abby: Well, we’ve got a job to do, Stephen.
Stephen: Can we at least talk about it?
Abby: Look, I overreacted. I’ve already forgotten about it.
Stephen: I remember and you forget. Typical. Look, I thought that I was never going to see you again, and I didn’t want to die without you knowing that I liked you, you know.
Abby: Should have been thinking about your girlfriend.
Stephen: Yeah, well, the truth is, she and I, well, we don’t know each other that well any more.
Abby: Well, now she’s back, you’ve got a chance to get reacquainted.
Stephen: Abby, I’m sorry.
Abby: Look, there’s no need to make this big thing out of it. I fancied you for a bit and now I don’t. That’s all. (Abby is smiling as she speaks, but as soon as she turns away her smile disappears and she sighs)

Throughout the conversation, Abby uses the fact that they are carrying equipment to keep turning her back on Stephen, partly to hide her expression, and partly in an attempt to kill the conversation as quickly as possible. This is another example of Abby refusing to let other people see when she is hurt or upset. She covers with frivolous comments and jokes, and only lets her true feelings show when the person causing the hurt can’t see.

Abby is embarrassed, because she so blatantly signalled her interest by making an effort and ‘doing the girl thing’, only to be rejected, so she is feeling particularly defensive. Also, as we saw in the previous episode when she stood up for both Connor and Stephen, loyalty is important to Abby, and her emphasis on reminding Stephen about his girlfriend is a fairly blatant indication of why she is angry with him, and also possibly an attempt to make him feel guilty. As we’ll see on several occasions in later episodes, when Abby is hurt she tends to lash out at people. On this occasion, enough time has passed that the hurt isn’t still raw, so her reaction is quite controlled, but the undercurrent of accusation is there throughout the conversation.

It’s also worth noting that the scene for the conversation – unpacking the gear from the cars - shows Abby is not prepared to stand back and let the men do all the heavy lifting and fetching and carrying work, despite her small size.

Abby doesn’t do much for the rest of the episode, but in the scene she does have with Stephen and Connor there is no sign of any remaining tension between Abby and Stephen. They are waiting for Cutter to return through the anomaly, though, so have more pressing issues on their minds at that moment.

Abby and Connor are the ones waiting with Cutter in the ambulance at the end. When he comes round, Abby is clearly both concerned for Cutter, and also hesitant to tell him about the fact that a military team has been sent to capture Helen.

Link to part 2 - episode 1.2
Link to part 4 - episode 1.4

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33 comments or Leave a comment
freddiejoey From: freddiejoey Date: April 20th, 2012 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Loving your Abby meta
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you like it.
nietie From: nietie Date: April 20th, 2012 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I love these metas. They give a look at things I'd never thought of, like the testing and sampling tasks Abby had in this ep.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Abby seems to end up getting a few random science type jobs in the first series, although the continuity about what she can and can't do does seem to be a bit up and down between one series and the next.
dreamer_98 From: dreamer_98 Date: April 20th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
As you pointed out, this is definitely the first time we see Abby get defensive after getting hurt/rejected by Stephen. I don't blame her, though; I'd probably react the same way.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
it must have hurt, especially after she apparently decided to make a real effort and be obvious about it, only to then find out it was all a mistake.
fredbassett From: fredbassett Date: April 20th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Abby's reactions to Stephen in this are wholly understandable.

If I remember rightly, the kids' noveilisations seem to have been written before teh change of direction in teh script and refer to Stephen as being too cute for Abby to stay mad at for long, but I can't remember which ep that was in. I'll take a look. The books are interesting as they seem to have been based off early scripts.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never read the children's books, but it does sound like they may have been comissioned at an early stage before they had finished filming, perhaps.

Abby's reaction is definitely understandable, but once they've had that conversation neither of them seem to hold a grudge, at least.
knitekat From: knitekat Date: April 20th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great meta and look at her in this ep.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
clea2011 From: clea2011 Date: April 20th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
These are great metas, very insightful. Each one gives a view on things I'd not noticed before.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. I've noticed loads of details I hadn't spotted before. Glad it's proving useful.
flaccidduck From: flaccidduck Date: April 21st, 2012 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I'm enjoying the insights so much.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you liked it.
natchris From: natchris Date: April 21st, 2012 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Great job with these.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you liked it.
lsellersfic From: lsellersfic Date: April 21st, 2012 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Another great meta! I've always thought that conversation between Stephen and Abby about Alison was very realistic. It's obvious he'd want to apologise, but there's really no good way for Abby to handle that conversation without either appearing to be making moves on him, or giving him the brush off. It reminds me that the writers can do character interactions really well when they put their mind to it!

Was Alison ever mentioned again after this?
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, series 1 was wonderful for having lots of complex and interesting character interactions and relationships. It's a shame so many things started being far more black-and-white in later series. It can't have been an easy conversation for either of them, but at least hey managed it without falling out or being unreasonable.

No, I think Alison was only ever mentioned in this ep. Presumably they decided to go their separate ways after all, rather than taking the chance to get reacquianted.
celeste9 From: celeste9 Date: April 21st, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
You made some great observations about Abby's body language here, and how she tries to cover up her real feelings. That exchange between her and Stephen is a good one.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. It's somethng Abby does quite often - hides her true feelings behind jokes and sarcasm rather than let anyone see that she might be hurt. She did the same in the very first scene in ep 1, when her boss told her that he was going to have to cut her job. She does it again several times in future.

Abby is definitely quite keen to always preent the image of being completely in control, and that nothing bothers her and she's tough and can handle anything. Quite *why* she feels the need hide her true feeling so much and present this image to the world is an interesting question...
reggietate From: reggietate Date: April 21st, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
*attempting to catch up*

This is great. I wonder at what point they decided to switch from Abby/Stephen to Abby/Connor? This ep would seem to suggest it was very early on, otherwise they probably wouldn't have brought in a backstage girlfriend for Stephen.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 21st, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, this ep does seem to be the turning point for the whole Abby/Stephen - Abby/Connor thing. I'm pretty sure than from here on there's no further mention of Abby/Stephen at all, and they seem to come to some mutual agreement to forget about it. I'm not sure what order they filmed the episodes in, but there does seem to have been some hasty re-writing by the time they got to this one.

Alison does seem to be a convenient excuse to put an end to the A/S relationship, though. They needed some reason why Abby would be completely put off, and why Stephen wouldn't be interested in a relationship with Abby, but Alison is never mentioned again after this ep.
telperion_15 From: telperion_15 Date: April 22nd, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh, I seem to have missed this when you posted it. The whole Abby/Stephen dynamic in this ep is really interesting, and I do also like the fact that it gives Connor a chance to be the reasonable one for a change - albeit only briefly before the 'more fish in the sea' comment!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 22nd, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Savour the moment of Connor being the reasonable one - it doesn't happen often! The more I think about the Abby/Stephen situation and the sudden appearance of Alison, the more I think Alison was just a way of getting Abby to cool off Stephen so that they could quietly give up on that relationship arc.

In the writers' defence, it works, and is actually far more believable and less ham-fisted than some of the excuses in later series for keeping Abby and Connor apart!
kristen_mara From: kristen_mara Date: April 23rd, 2012 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)

I think there were a few more examples of moments that could be read as 'Abby/Stephen' if wanted, like the way they stared at each other then hastily looked away with interesting expressions when searching for the flying beastie at the golf course in 1.05, then Abby leaping into Stephen's arms, legs around his waist, at the end of 1.05 when the beastie was returned home safely (while Connor had to try and fail at engaging Ryan in a high five *G*). She also hugged Stephen in 1.04 (I think - or clung to his arm...?) at the stadium and hugged him in 1.06 when he'd shot the FP (but in those times it could be more due to the close call than romantic feelings).

Either way, the conversation in 1.03 when unloading equipment was very interesting. I liked how Stephen pursued the conversation despite how awkward the subject/situation was and apologised. Interesting parallels to 2.05 when he and Connor are also having a discussion about romance when unloading equipment ;) But I digress!

From a photo of Stephen leaning over Abby while she's wrapped in the blanket after the attack in the lake in 1.03, it looks like there might have been a deleted scene where he was checking how she was, and from the smile on her face, she was pleased with the attention/concern and it looked like she still had feelings for him. But that might not have been part of the ep, just a behind the scene shot that I've misconstrued.

Great metas and observations about Abby and her character, thanks!

deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 23rd, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, long comment! :-)

I suppose it is possible to see more Abby/Stepen moments if you want to look for them, but I think they just quietly let it drop, really. I'd read the times when she hugged him in 1.4 and 1.6 as spur of the moment adrenaline/near death experience reactions rather than particularly romantic interest, although it's interesting that she latches onto Stephen on both occasions rather than anyone else.

Hmm, yes, I think I know of that photo. I was talking with Reggie further up this post and it seems that series 1 was filmed in two blocks of three episodes, so possibly that was a scene which was originally filmed before they decided not to pursue the A/S realtionship and had a hasty re-write. Or possibly just cut due to time contraints.
cordeliadelayne From: cordeliadelayne Date: April 23rd, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was certainly an interesting episode in relation to how we see Abby keeping her emotions in check. Especially in contrast to the way Connor always wears his heart on his sleeve.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 24th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've definitely noticed that whenever Abby gets emotional she tends to try to hide away from people, and not let them see that she's upset. The only times she lets this facade slip tends to be when she's just had a near-death experience, at which point a little emotion is to be epected!
samueljames From: samueljames Date: April 30th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do like Stephen trying to smooth things over but can understand why Abby's embarrassed. It definitely does seem like doing the girl thing was putting herself out there and being shot down must have hurt a little.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 1st, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, i they had just all forgotten about it, it would probably have been fine. it was just because she made an effort, and it was *obvious* that she had made an effort, only to find out it was for nothing.
33 comments or Leave a comment