fleetingmadness: (john motherfucking watson)
[personal profile] fleetingmadness
An anon on tumblr said, "Ian Reed. Justify this bitch to me."

So that is what I have done here. Hopefully.

Something I said to Camille a few days ago pretty much sums up my feelings about Ian Reed:
"It was like watching a trainwreck from inside the fucking train."

From the first episode, we are supposed to understand that Ian is the ~regular guy to John's super!detective. The pseudo-Watson to his almost-Holmes. Ian is John's confidante, the one he leans when he can't quite hold himself up, and Ian is happy to be that person. He probably prides himself on being this person for such an extraordinary person as John. He is content to be the side-kick. John gets the pain of being the hero, and Ian gets to stand just outside that chaos and fan the fires when necessary. Ian Reed is a good person, and he believes completely that he is a good person. He comforts himself in this. He doesn't have to be the hero. He doesn't want to be the hero, he doesn't want that responsibility. He is the Watson, and that is a safe position. Everyone loves the Watson. He doesn't have to be perfect. He just has to be John's friend.

Then comes the "Fall or Jump Scene," which explains the main differences between the two men and their view on justice.

John: Do you not worry you're on the devil's side without even knowing?
Ian: No. [pause] Just let it go, John.
John: Well, I already let him go. Just didn't finish the job off properly, did I?
Ian: And nobody shed a tear.
John: Doesn't make it right.
Ian: It makes it a little bit less wrong, though.
And suddenly, we get them. John worries that there is evil in him because he let Henry Madsen fall. Ian has no such worries, despite the corruption we later learn about. He may be a little corrupt, but he is a police officer. All of the good he does completely erases any of the bad. He clearly believes this about John as well. John is the hero. Of course he didn't kill Madsen. Ian knows that he would have pushed Madsen if he had been in John's position. He would not have just let him fall, he would have flat-out killed him. And it would have been justified. He probably would have lost little sleep over it, because Henry Madsen is a bad guy and Ian is just the Watson. But John is struggling daily with what he did. Ian knows this about John.

But what Ian doesn't know about is John's growing friendship with Alice Morgan. Alice starts to challenge his perception of the world the same way he twists hers. Ian does, however, know about John's relationship with Justin Ripley, Watson-in-training.

So, while John is growing and learning that the world isn't so black-and-white, Ian dabbles in small crime and ruins his life.

Before we get into that, however, I want to mention one more thing. In the third episode, Justin and John start to butt heads because Justin is still by-the-book and John is willing to do anything to catch the bad guy. So because Justin is not willing to cheat, John calls Ian. The ends justify the means, so Ian helps John trap that creepy son of a bitch and finally put him behind bars. This is something John and Ian share. Both of them think like this. I don't actually know if I will draw back on this later but. I wanted to mention it. Just in case.

So, episode five. The one where everything turns to shit. It is revealed that Ian has been involved in something that was supposed to be just. Robbing thieves. No one was supposed to get hurt, he got a little extra cash, and some bad guys got robbed. He was supposed to just look the other way. But then Ross McCall decides to take matters into his own hands and Shit Gets Real. A woman is kidnapped, her tongue is cut out, and there is the promise of something worse if McCall doesn't get his diamonds. And now, this is Ian's responsibility. He could have stopped it. If he had known it would happen this way, he would have. There is no doubt about it. But he didn't, so now there is going to be blood on his hands unless he can fix this.

At this point, all he cares about is keeping her alive. And you know what, John's plan might have worked if the husband wasn't such a piece of shit. But, alas, he is a piece of shit. So while John tries to work the situation from the outside, Ian starts trying to take it apart from the inside. One of the kidnappers wants out of the situation. Ian convinces him to get the woman away, to save her, or else Ian will kill him. And Ian would. He meant that, completely.

So Ian thinks, 'Okay, it's alright now. He will get her away, she will live, and everything will be fine. The police (John, always John) will catch the bad guy, she will live, and Ian will never do anything like this again.

But the ~good kidnapper isn't fast or clever enough, and he gets both the woman and himself killed. And it is all Ian's fault. Two people are dead because he got greedy, and then he made a bad decision. If he had left things alone, the police (John) would have gotten to her in time. And Ian cannot handle that. He has to fix it. He will never be able to make up for what he did, but he can keep things from getting any worse. He has to get to McCall first. He has to silence him. So he goes back to his money launderer friend and explains the situation. In a way, he is telling him why he has to kill him 30 seconds later.

Ian: Bill, this is not about me. Jessica Carrodus is dead and I’m gonna have to try to live with that, somehow. But you've got to understand that this has grown and if I go to prison for this, then every case that I’ve ever convicted will be questioned. And all the murderers, the rapists, the predators-- they might get out. They might be back on the street. And whatever they do after that, whoever they hurt, that will be my fault. And I can't live with that. I can't. I just, I just can't.
And then Ian kills him. As he strangles his friend, he repeats, "I’m so sorry." And he is. But he can't let what he just described happen. He has to silence anyone who knows anything about his involvement, not to protect himself, but to keep this from undoing all of the good he has done. Because Ian Reed is a good person and he can't let one mistake change everything about him. And right now, it's okay. Technically, no completely innocent person has died yet. Jessica was a thief, his friend was a money launderer, and the kidnapper was, well, a kidnapper. So right now, it's okay. He just has to stop this before a truly innocent person gets hurt, because that is the absolute worst thing he can imagine happening.

Now, Ian has to find and kill McCall. He has to catch him before the police (say it with me now) do, and he is panicking because. Well. He's the Watson. How is he going to beat the hero? He has a head start, but even then, how can he?

But then, surprise! John catches up with him. As Ian is dumping the body of his friend, John calls him. John thinks that Ian is going to try to hurt McCall the way he hurt Henry Madsen. John is trying to save Ian from feeling what John felt. But Ian finds out that John lied, and is there before Ian. John takes down McCall. He wants to save Ian, but Ian thinks that he knows what he did. Ian starts to panic some more. He kills McCall. He shuts him up. And John now knows that something is going on.

John, who thinks in black-and-white, offers to lie for Ian. Because Ian is a good person. Whatever has happened, Ian is his friend and he is good and nothing will change that. But Ian doesn't even believe that anymore. So Ian tells John what he did. He admits everything. And as he stands there, expecting John to just snap and take him the fuck down, John says, "I don't care." John still wants to save him. And deep down, Ian wants to be saved. He just wants this to end. If John still believes in him, then maybe he can be saved.


Ian thinks that John set him up, so he runs. John doesn't really believe in him, no, he just wanted him to let his guard down so they could arrest him. After getting his hopes up like that, he could not take it all being dashed away in an instant. So he does the most human thing and runs. He takes the diamonds as a sort of back-up. If John set him up, then he will be arrested before the night is out. If not, John will say that it was a robbery, no one knows Ian was there, and he is still safe. He's still trying to hold onto that hope. And John is still trying to protect him. Desperately. He wants to save Ian from himself because that is his goddamn Watson. He owes this to him. He repeatedly tries to get ahold of him and starts scouring London for him.

Meanwhile, Ian toys with killing himself. He wants to. So badly. But he isn't strong enough. That hope keeps him from pulling the trigger, so he tries to think of a way to get John alone. Either John will tell him how to get out of this, or John will kill him. It's all he can do.

So he goes to Zoe's house. He knows that John will come if Zoe tells him to. He does not go there with the intention of hurting her. He only pulls the gun out because she refuses to call John. He just wants to talk. That's all. No one else will get hurt. If he called John himself, John might not come alone. So if she would just call John, just say what he asks her to say, everything would be fine. But she just won't and he can't understand why and he starts to get desperate and he pulls out his gun because, well, what else can he do? And she calls him, of course she does, but she just had to say that Ian was there. She doesn't know what is happening, she just knows that Ian might kill John. She can't put John in danger, so she tells him. And Ian panics and they start yelling and running and screaming and he shoots her. ACCIDENTALLY. I cannot make this clear enough. It was. An accident. Every review of this episode ever makes this clear. And I think it's pretty clear by his fucking scream but I’ve seen some people that don't believe that. Because they're stupid.

So now, Ian's killed Zoe. He can't be saved now. He gunned down a completely innocent woman, and he can't undo that. He can't hide from this. John can't make it go away, and he wouldn't if he could.

So Ian does the only thing he can think to do. He frames John.

John is the only person who knows the truth about everything, so Ian has to make sure that John can't tell anyone. Everyone knows about John's breakdown after the Henry Madsen thing and his crumbling marriage. John killing his wife in a crime of passion doesn't seem unreasonable, because when John gets angry, he gets violent. Everyone knows this. And crimes of passion don't signal corruption in police officers, so if John gets arrested for this, his past cases won't be reopened. And neither will Ian's. John has already threatened to kill Ian. Ian believes that John will make good on this threat, so he just has to make sure it happens before anyone else can learn the truth. That is his motivation for framing John. That's it. He was just trying to keep everything contained.

Now, I fucking REFUSE to rewatch the sixth episode. I just won't, sorry, can't do it. But I can give you a general overview of my feelings.

Basically, Ian is motivated purely by self-loathing at this point. He has to make sure nothing is traced back to him, and John is convicted of killing Zoe. He also has to make sure that John kills him, because he can't live with himself anymore. Everything he does in this episode is to make sure John kills him. He tries to make him angry, he refuses to wear a protective vest, he tries to argue against having cover when he meets John, just. Everything. He wants to die. John does not get this until the end, but it's made pretty clear to us.

There were some points that I made while liveblogging, and I’m just going to reiterate them because it is four in the morning and I can't think about this anymore or I’m going to strangle myself with my laptop cord.
  • Ian makes sure that Justin will help John, because of course Justin will help John.
  • Ian realizes that he's hurt more people that he intended (i.e. Teller and Mark) and it starts to break him down even further.
  • THAT FUCKING PHONE CALL. Save me, John. Make it stop.
  • Ian needs John to kill him, he's the only one who can do it, and he has the right to it. Ian wants to give him that closure.
And then that final scene, jesus christ in heaven. He wants to die. He even loads the fucking shotgun for him. But when it becomes clear that John isn't going to kill him, he snaps. He starts to say the worst things he can think of just to make John angry. Now the one thing he was trying to prevent is going to happen. Everyone will know what he's done. His anger and fear just explode and he starts attacking John in the hopes that John or someone else will kill him. He knows Mark is there, and he can guess that someone else is probably there too, maybe even Justin. Someone will kill him if he comes close to really hurting John. So he keeps lashing out because it has to happen. He isn't strong enough to live with what he's done. He hates himself for everything he says and does in this scene, but he can't stop. And then his fate is in the hands of Mark.

Mark is not as strong as John. It doesn't take much.

If you have not watched the episode 5 video diary, you can find it here. I highly suggest you take a look at it. It also highlights some things going on in his head that I don't know if I really talked about here. Right now, I just want to go to bed.

Thanks if you read this, and anon, you can go fuck yourself for asking me to do this. I probably didn't justify him to you, but I hope you can at least understand why he is my favorite character? He just. He broke my heart. I don't know. Maybe I just always love the Watsons. Or maybe I just have a weakness for Steven Mackintosh (Tanis!). Or, more likely, I just found Ian to be the most human character. Whatever the reason, Ian Reed spoke to me.

He told me to drown myself in the toilet, but still, not the point.

Date: 2011-08-09 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] funkandwag.livejournal.com

(I wish I were more coherent right now or more eloquent in general so I could properly reply to this, but JSYK, I agree with you.)

Date: 2011-08-10 01:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleetingmadness.livejournal.com
thank you! i'm glad it was read-able. i tried to edit it as best as i could. the first draft was just three pages of "I WANT TO DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE"

Date: 2013-06-25 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chll51.livejournal.com
wow, this is probably the best meta i've ever seen for Ian reed. great job.

Date: 2013-07-29 08:42 pm (UTC)


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