damkianna: A cap of Asami from The Legend of Korra. (All you need to do is show up.)
[personal profile] damkianna
I always see [community profile] halfamoon happening but am basically never organized enough to do anything for it—it just moves too quickly! I'm too lazy! &c. &c.

SO. This year I'm going to try a new thing where I kind of take the prompt themes and maybe try to post about them sort of in or around February sometime, without regard for the actual halfamoon schedule. Also maybe about different women/fandoms each time, and also probably not fic because that would take me for-e-ver.

Which means I'm starting late with Day 1: Women Being Awesome. And in response to that prompt, what sprang to mind was a mini-picspam/iconspam about the (major) women of Quantico—who are not only awesome, as I privately maintain basically all characters are if you let them be, but whose canon actually seems to know they are awesome, which is way way rarer (especially for women).

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This is Alex Parrish (played by Priyanka Chopra, star of many lovely Bollywood movies). She's the main character of Quantico and she earns it: she is SUPER awesome. Objectively speaking, she's top of her class in most things at one point or another—her marksmanship is noted in dialogue, she's consistently excellent at hand-to-hand, and she has both an eye for detail and a strong intuitive sense for when something isn't right or doesn't fit. More experienced characters repeatedly remark on her obvious talent for FBI work, and—aside from her fairly mild rivalry with Natalie, which is mostly down to them jockeying for position as first in the class—everybody pretty much acknowledges that they're right. There's basically no petty bullshit from the other NATs, and no efforts to downplay or ignore her abilities; everybody else on the show (including Natalie, I would argue) agrees that Alex Parrish is awesome.

AND. Subjectively speaking, aside from all that stuff, I think Alex Parrish is awesome. Quantico is not what I would consider a particularly fantastic show, but I do think its women are strikingly well-rounded, and that absolutely includes Alex. She gets to be brave and afraid, confused and clever, fucked up and brilliant—she cries and kicks ass, sometimes deals really well with things and sometimes doesn't, sometimes saves the day/solves the thing singlehandedly and sometimes needs help. (And when she needs help, she often asks for it and explicitly acknowledges where she's lacking, which I feel fictional women sometimes aren't allowed to do.) At multiple points, issues arise or people are actively working against her in various ways, and she's troubled by and hurt by and struggling with those things but she never lets any of it stop her. At the end of the day, the premise of the show is pretty much how awesome Alex Parrish is, and that's something I can absolutely get behind.

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and a few more Alex icons!


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This is Shelby Wyatt (played by Johanna Braddy, whom I recognized IMMEDIATELY from Greek and who has probably also been in other things). She's Alex's best friend for a good chunk of the show, and, fittingly, she is ALSO super awesome. Objectively speaking, except on days when Alex is particularly in the zone, Shelby's marksmanship is probably the best in the class; her hand-to-hand is good enough that she's absolutely not afraid to be the one in two-on-one practices; and, oh, yeah, while in brutally punishing and obviously time-consuming training to join the FBI, she's also in charge of her parents' entire estate and multi-million-dollar company, and has been since they died. (Presumably a significant chunk of the day-to-day handling of company affairs is done by other people, of course, but that's still distinctly awesome.)

AND. By most of my own favorite metrics, Shelby's awesome in all kinds of other ways. I love how just straight-up kind Shelby is, I LOVE it—surprising absolutely no one, I'm sure, but seriously she is fantastic. Her first instinct is almost always to think the best of people, even people who are rude to her or people she has absolutely no reason to think well of at all; and despite the pain and the problems that this sometimes causes for her, she KEEPS DOING IT. (Because to her, it's worth it! SHELBY. SHELBY I LOVE YOU.) Late in the show's timeline, it's clear that she's started trying not to do this—to be a better FBI agent, to not let herself get fooled, &c—and yet she totally fails at it; despite all the shit that happens to her over the course of the season, she still can't stop reaching out, even when she's fully aware it would probably be better not to. Which is SOLID GOLD, as far as I'm concerned. UGH MY HEART.

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and a few more Shelby icons!


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I'm doing Nimah and Raina at the same time because for caps from the first few episodes I honestly can't entirely be sure which one of them I'm looking at. /o\ (They're both played by Yasmine al Massri, from Crossbones.) Despite being visually identical, though, they're absolutely distinct as people, and, of course, they're both totally awesome. :D Objectively speaking, Nimah sometimes struggles a little with the physical requirements of training, and Raina doesn't have the same sort of—sharpness, determination, as Nimah; so their awesome is perhaps slightly less blatant and in-your-face than, say, Alex's awesome. HOWEVER, there's absolutely no denying that—even with all the help they had to do it—managing to pull off pretending to be just one person to their entire NAT class for weeks is astonishing. Considering the challenges they were up against, with people they were around almost 24/7 (who were ALL IN FBI TRAINING, i.e. SELF-SELECTING for being smart, detail-oriented puzzle-solvers) and privacy only within the confines of their room, pulling that off was nothing short of amazing. I think it also speaks objectively to the strength of their relationship with each other—they have to be excellent at so many things in so many ways to be able to take each other's places so often with so few hitches.

AND THEN. I realize this sounds kind of backhanded, but I really wasn't expecting the writers to pay as much attention as they did to the differences between Nimah and Raina, to the nuances of their personalities and the different ways they interact with the other NATs (and, of course, major props to Yasmine al Massri's excellent acting job, because DAMN). So I lovelovelove every single scrap we get about either of them, and the picture it builds of them both—that Nimah is the driving force behind their entry into Quantico, which means Raina had to agree to let herself be subsumed, to let Nimah's be potentially the only name they would ever be known by, which is a mindblowing level of commitment to her sister's goals; that while Nimah doesn't share her sister's religious beliefs, she does respect them and her sister enough to wear the hijab so that Raina doesn't have to give it up (not quite on the same level as going by her sister's name, but still). They both feel so strongly about different things, and they fight and disagree but are both wholly capable of setting that aside in service of the bigger picture they've both agreed is important—I mean, BE STILL MY HEART. Incredibly talented, determined, driven, ambitious women with a complicated, sometimes-thorny, always-caring relationship? AWESOME.

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and a few more Nimah and Raina icons!


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This is Miranda Shaw (played by Aunjanue Ellis, from NCIS:LA, The Mentalist, and lots of other things, and as a bonus she was Lori Mills in that one ep of Sleepy Hollow). Miranda is objectively awesome in-universe by the fact of her job title alone: as Assistant Director at Quantico, she is canonically the highest-ranking woman in the entire FBI, which means her awesome is a matter of official FBI record. I would also argue that it's objectively awesome that she helps Alex when no one else will—that demonstrates a willingness to look beyond the most obvious layer of the evidence and to acknowledge the possibility of error, both of which are awesome and also extremely important (especially in a person with institutional power). And it's objectively awesome how dedicated she is to the Bureau and how deeply she cares about its future; even if there is hypothetically someone out there who wants to argue that she's done a bad job or expressed that dedication badly, that dedication does exist (and is awesome :D).

BUT, OF COURSE, I think she does a great job (within the confines of the extremely fictional world of Quantico, obviously). Miranda is ambitious and iron-fisted—not cruel, as such, but always looking for new ways to push the NATs further and make them work and think and try harder, never still and never content to settle. I've always really adored ambitious women, and that Miranda's ambitious and canon still LIKES her (instead of her being ambitious and me liking her for it but having to watch canon hate her) IS FANTASTIC. I also love how much smarter than Liam the show allows her to be—he thinks he can run an op right under her nose without her noticing and is completely wrong (even if she doesn't know it's him, at least not right away), and she grasps what's going on with Alex SO much faster than he does. AND I also love that she understands the nature of her job and the FBI so well, that she looks at the idea that her superiors are spying on her with such clear eyes and only lets it make her more determined to do her absolute best with this class of NATs. AND THEN with as few spoilers as possible, I love that she is also allowed to be fucked up, and to have made mistakes, and to be struggling, and that that exists alongside and does absolutely nothing to invalidate how awesome she is. ♥

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and a few more Miranda icons!


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And, last but not least—I'm going in order of appearance, and Natalie doesn't show up until the second ep—this is Natalie Vasquez (played by Anabelle Acosta, who was in Ballers, and also an ep of SPN and an ep of Castle, among other things). Objectively speaking, Natalie is awesome in that it's clear she's neck-and-neck with Alex for best in the class at various points, and I've already discussed how obvious it is that Alex is objectively awesome. QED. HOWEVER I would also say she's objectively awesome because of the struggle she goes through when it comes to staying at Quantico—even before the whole (spoilery) story gets told late in the season, it's evident that she's made personal sacrifices to be in and remain in training, that it's difficult for her but she does it anyway. And it's objectively awesome that she was a cop first, too: she must have been a good one, to be accepted at Quantico afterward, and she's undeniably strong (physically and emotionally) to have gone through police work for at least a few years and then decide she wants to escalate to something even more difficult and exhausting and life-consuming.

Subjectively, Natalie is not at all my usual favorite kind of character. She's pretty abrasive (especially in the first few episodes) and standoffish; also, in Doylist terms, her backstory itself is perfectly decent but I think the writers did a TERRIBLE job with the reveal. The method they chose for how to have everybody else find out about it was just so silly, ugh, wtf. BUT in Watsonian terms none of that does anything to Natalie's awesome, which I see and love and fully appreciate, even though I'm pretty sure we wouldn't actually like each other at all if we met in person. She's so strong and fast and confident and smart; she works so hard and sacrifices so much even when she can't be sure that it'll be worth it. And I realize that this sounds contradictory, but I love BOTH that she follows orders and chases Alex down when she's told to (determined not to fall for Alex's "trickery", as I have no doubt she is thinking of it at that moment), AND that she hesitates for that crucial instant—that EVEN THOUGH she's been Alex's rival from the beginning and they're so clearly set up to foil and mirror and disagree, she still pauses. NATALIE.

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and a few more Natalie icons!

So! That's it for Day 1. God only knows whether I'll ever get around to Day 2 ...
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damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

October 2017


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