Yeah? Was that hot for you guys, too? Good. Because that's Dom/Brian in a nutshell.
What's most appealing about Dom/Brian, to me anyway, is that they're such....guys. I mean, unapologetically manly men. Which, I personally, love. I know guys a lot like this, with the car obsession, and yeah, even one or two who would race every now and then. Though they thought I didn't know. I did, because I'm not stupid, and why else with the weird modifications to their car and obsession with speed, eh?
And furthermore, Dom and Brian are both ridiculously hot. Let's discuss this, shall we? They're good foils for one another; Dom's all carmel colored skin rippling over muscles, crooked smile, unconventionally attractive. Brian is American Pie, blond hair, blue eyes, fluttering eyelashes and wide movie star grin -- he's *beautiful*. Just, *beautiful*.
Exhibit A: Dom's hot. Look at the ARMS. Forget the judgmental look on his face.
Exibit B: Brian's way beautiful, if you're not pearl_o and thusly blind to the MAX.
So, all of this has been said before. But I felt that it bore repeating because, really? YOWZA.
Beyond the superficial, though, what is it about this pairing that I like so much? Well, there's the fact that they act as gay as Liberace in the movie, but in a macho, macho way. But there's also the thing where they have this intense mutual obsession from the very begining of the movie, and which touches off reactions to small things that are perhaps more emotional than they really should be.
In the first shot of Brian, he's already watching Dom, eyes glued to Dominic's bald head, thickly muscled arms, strong back. He's sitting there at the bar, just *watching*, and Dom sees him watching, makes a face at him. For Brian, the watching could be related to his police work, except that it really isn't. Brian admits that he thinks Dominic isn't the suspect they're looking for, just that he's the key to the world the suspect lives in. So he's courting Dom (and really, that's what he's doing) for an entree into that world, but here's the thing: once he's in the world, he's not looking anywhere else, and he's not admitting to himself the possibility/probability that Dom is the one behind the hijackings.
Brian theorizes about Dominic's personality to Tanner from the very first, calling him "too controlled" or "too together" and he doesn't even really know Dom at this point. But Brian sounds pretty damned confident, now doesn't he? It makes me believe that Brian's obsessively been studying Dominic even previous to meeting him, he's memorized the file, right? But did he memorize Hector's file? Did he memorize Edwin's? I doubt it. And not just because he's doing some kind of weirdo 'use you to gain cred in world' thing to Dom, but because everything about Dom fascinates Brian.
I have this idea that Brian read the file over and over until Dom lived in his imagination, while he was creating his 'cover', everything he did he'd have in the back of his mind 'What would Toretto do?" or, actually, probably 'Dominic' because when Harry gets upset, Brian asks if 'Dominic' had called. That's a little weirdly intimate, or maybe it's just me. But it seems that Brian's familiarity with the idea of Dominic Toretto makes him yearn for the reality of Dominic. The way that he tries to get into the race in the begining is telling -- he asks Dom if he's "worthy". This could just be weird machismo, some kind of postulated hot-button for Dom, maybe Brian's feeling the situation out. But the look on Brian's face, the way he says "worthy" seems to mean so much more than that.
He asks for respect if he wins. This, it seems, is more of a ploy to try to get into the street racing world or whatever -- "I win, y'all have to respect me, see me as a real person, possibly tell me all your secrets, like the hijackings that you do every now and again, oops! Did I say that out loud?" kind of thing.
The thing about him asking for respect, though, the thing that pushes that from 'Okay, you're doing your job' to 'Oh, damn you want to get into that man's PANTS, don't you?' is when Brian brings his chin up, looks Dom in the face, and says "To some people, that's worth more." To Dom, Brian knows respect is more, and that's why Brian want to be worthy in Dom's eyes. And Brian *knows* Dom, he knows him so well, and here he's already throwing himself at Dom in a conflicted, confused, lost kind of way. Respect is what Dom would give to who Brian's pretending to be, but Brian *craves* it. The look on Dom's face here, is worth note, too. He kind of acquiesces with a little tilt of his head, a softening of the jaw, and there's something there that looks like he's thinking, "God. Finally. Someone who understands."
The scene outside of Toretto's market before that was a nothing scene. I mean, Brian gets in a fight with Vince and gets called a faggot for the first time in the movie, and if there were to be a FatF drinking game wherein everybody had to drink each time somebody in some way insulted Brian's masculinity, one would end up so drunk that slow mo effects in the final scene of the movie would make sense. Food for thought. But, at any rate, so it's a nothing -- Brian gets in a fight with Vince, Dom orders him away from the market, and that's that.
Yet, somehow, and I've harped on this before, that interaction is enough for Dom to have Brian looked up on the internet? You don't google people at random, just becuase you've exiled them from your bald and austere presence. It's weird that Dom does that. It's weird, but it indicates that Brian's obsession with/attraction toward Dom isn't one sided. In fact, everything after the scene where Brian saves Dom from the cops, with his fancy get away driving (which I agree with estrella30 he must have learned doing something illegal, but why the juvie records? Why the lie? Why? Why?) and his fliratious, "I thought maybe I'd get to keep my car" is about Dom being pulled as strongly to Brian as Brian is to him.
Dom likes Brian, Mia says. Dom owns Brian, Mia says.
Dom buys Brian dinner from time to time, takes care of him in the face of Vince's huge retarded aggressive jealous streak, buys his useless bullshit when he's breaking into Hector's. Most telling, he tells Brian his life story, opens up in the shed with the Charger. The way that Dom talks to Brian here is -- it's more trust than you get the feeling he'd give to Vince, or Leon, or Letty, or Jessie, or Mia. Maybe not more, but a *different* kind of trust. Dom's admitting to his own issues here, really acknowledging his own hang ups and suchwhat, and you get the feeling he wouldn't normally do that with any of the members of his 'crew' as freely as he does with Brian. Again, it's weird, but my theory as to why is that Brian is presented as his own entity. Brian's an equal but seperate person.
Letty, Mia, Vince, Jessie, Leon -- they've all been around so long that it's like they're part of Dom. Talking to them, it's hard because of the level of time-established intimacy. Brian, however, needs this talk, which actually serves as a 'primer in all things Dom', if he's going to keep up with the others. And Dom provides it, so that Brian can know him. That's the thing -- he so desperately wants to be *known* by Brian in this scene. It's poignant, to see the realization on Brian's face "He's telling me things he's never said to anyone before", his big eyes as he watches Dom.
So what does this mean for them, really? Given the external pressures of Brian's job, the Trans and Race Wars everything goes to hell. Brian is given 36 hours to find the hijackers, and bring them to justice. Tellingly, he goes back to Dom, and doesn't start looking frantically for the hijackers -- Brian's not dumb. He's always known somewhere that Dom's the one, that it has to be Dom, and how could Brian not know that, really? The amount of time that he spent obsessing over Dom, he's going to not pick up on the little nuance of Dom's character which is a need for danger? Yeah. Right.
What he says to Tanner offers a key to his seeming blindness before: "He won't go back to jail." How long has Brian known that about Dom? When did he figure that out? My guess is far before he actually met Dom. And maybe before it was some kind of exciting thing, the idea that Dom would so desperately attempt to avoid prison. Maybe Brian imagined it in his head, going in, flashing his badge, maybe doing something so brave to bring Toretto to justice that he gets a commendation along with his Detectives' shield.
But then, he got to know Dom. And this is even before meeting him, you understand. My question about Brian -- and I think probably an important shift in the character -- is when does 'He won't go back to jail' become the kind of fact that he can't say out loud without sounding like it's being dragged from his throat?
"You have to pick your family," Tanner says to him, meaningfully, but I think the point is that Brian's been picking his family all along. He'd picked his family before he even said word one to Dominic Toretto, I think. Every time he argued, "Not Dom, he's too controlled, too together" he was picking his family. When he asked, "Am I worthy?" he was picking his family. It doesn't start when he goes back out to Race Wars and begin demanding that Mia allow him to save Dominic.
Though, the desperation in Brian at that point, is worth note. Here is a man who is filled with the *need* the utter and absolute *need* to get to his friend and save him. Mia keeps trying to fob him off, and he clings to her, practically. I haven't counted up the number of times he says please in that scene, but I'm pretty damned sure it's a substantial amount. "Please," he says, freaking out, because Dominic might get hurt. Because Dominic is the family he's been so assiduously picking since he was first handed the file.
Dominic is controlled, tightly so. He's controlled, hinting at a subtle, lurking menace beneath his iron self-discipline. He's also both generous, and willing to hold a grudge. I think the most touching point in the movie for him is after his party when Vince says something like, "He's a stranger. What are you doing, bringing him to your house?" and Dom says "There was a time I didn't know you, Vince", sitting back against the wall with one hand over his eyes.
He's trying, right now, to decide if he's going to allow himself to continue reaching out, or if he'll retreat into the world he's created for himself. This is Dominic's shift, and as willing to hold a grudge as Dominic may be, it also seems that once he's decided that someone is going to be in his life, he's willing to pursue that as aggresively as he has to. He keeps reaching out to Brian, while also keeping him at bay to a degree, because of that control. Dom seems to be fighting his impulse toward detachment here, trying to overcome it, because he's decided that Brian is going to be family. Brian's going to be in his world. That's how it's going to go.
I think it's important to remember that the last thing Dom says to Brian is, "Do you know what you're doing?" It implies forgiveness, it implies concern, it's -- really fucking sweet, actually. He drives off into the sunset, and Brian walks off to his bizarro hardcore rock and slow mo effect (and may I just once more, on that effect, say WTF, thanks, and goodnight), but that moment. When Brian puts the keys in Dom's hand, staring at his face, into his eyes, standing so close that the breeze could barely make it between them, and Dom takes the keys, but looks back up at Brian, and asks, too calmly, "Do you know what you're doing?"
That moment is when I have to sit back and realize that Dom might play things close to the chest, but he loves him some Brian. Maybe even more so now, because Brian's defied like, God, LAPD, and everyone for Dom.
"Do you know what you're doing?" Brian rarely does, and Dom always does. Brian does what he feels like he needs to in the moment. He's a smart guy, but he operates so much on what he *feels*, to the extent of letting denial color his work, and Dom, well, he thinks things through. Yet, even with instinct vs. planning, the two of them end up there on that street, standing next to one another, feeling the same way. They're both about to make their great take-offs, but they're leaving each other behind. They're leaving their whole lives behind. But in the space between when Brian presses those keys into Dom's hand, and Dom gets into the car and drives off, the intimacy between Dom and Brian is palpable. This moment is one they'll both revisit, whether they find one another again or not, because it includes nothing of the real world. Just Dom. Just Brian.
Why do I love this pairing? Because they could live together, spend all morning talking about cars, never once put the toilet paper on the roll, eat the kind of food that doesn't bear speaking of, drink beer, watch the game, and end up fucking on the carpet in front of the television, and afterward, maybe Dom would give Brian a noogie until Brian agreed to do the laundry, and they'd fall asleep with Dom's big hand lazily rubbing over Brian's back, and Brian's face pressed into Dom's shoulder.
Because they are entirely fascinated by one another, drawn to one another with a pull that's undeniable. The issues here are power and control and belonging and need, and they're all hidden under this layer of testosterone that makes things a little more interesting. Plus. Hi. They're hot. *coughs about her own superficiality*
I'm still taking calls for pairings/characters you all want me to talk about here.
Previous essays: Arthur/Lancelot: A Winter Love, Chloe/Lana: A Fragile Orbit, Faith (and Faith/Buffy: I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body.