As the scene opens, Carl notices Mickey asleep in Ian’s bed. While not unusual to camp out in the bedroom with them overnight, in the past, Mickey slept on the floor. Carl notices the shift in sleeping arrangements.
“We hang out.”
“He’s in your bed.” “Yeah, his family is a nightmare.”
“I think I got a girlfriend.”
“Oh yeah?” “Yeah. Her family is a nightmare too Do you love Mickey?”
Ian says, “I like the way he smells.”
Carl is more focused on the fact that he and Ian may have something in common, and he looks up to his elder brother for guidance. Based on Ian’s responses to his inquiries, Carl wants to make parallels to his own budding relationship.
Carl goes as far as using Ian’s description of Mickey’s family “being a nightmare” to compare girlfriend’s by saying “her family is a nightmare to his too.” Carl is proud to share a piece of mutual ground with his brother. But, Carl can use the “significant other” label freely and admit a relationship despite the downsides to it, despite the fact that both relationships are very similar. Ian undoubtedly feels foolish having to skirt around admitting his relationship with Mickey.
Mickey interrupts their bonding moment by asking sharply, “Why you asking stupid fucking questions for?” Carl mutters “You were nicer when you were sleeping.” The exchange between Ian and Carl versus Mickey and Carl has reiterated to Ian that, while their romantic relationship is really not much different than anyone else’s, they aren’t at liberty to discuss it or even outright admit to it.
As Carl walks away, he says to Ian, “Frank survived his liver transplant, in case you were wondering.” Ian replies, “Nope. Wasn’t.”
Ian follows Mickey into the bathroom where they have a conversation about Yevgeny’s Christening later that day. Ian wants to know why Mickey is going if Mickey doesn’t care. Mickey says “He’s my son, man.”
Ian comprehends that this is a “family” event. Mickey is attending because he recognizes Yevgeny as his “family” and has a sense of loyalty towards him.
A moment ago, Ian demonstrated how little he cares for Frank’s well being. Ian does not respect Frank, the father, as part of his family. Ian does consider Mickey family, though; he is devoted to him. They are partners. Therefore, if Mickey has a familial obligation to attend to, then it is Ian’s duty to show his support by going, too. He announces his intentions to get dressed.
Mickey tells him he doesn’t have to go. Ian pulls off his shirt anyway and walks away.
Mickey quickly follows him into the hallway protesting, “No. No. I’ll head over by myself. I’ll be back in a couple hours.” Ian lightheartedly pushes Mickey back up against one wall saying “What, you don’t want me to go?” Mickey pushes Ian backward into the opposite wall teasing, “Probably best if you don’t, tough guy.” Ian softly replies, “Yeah, for you maybe.” At the first hint of guilt, Mickey lets go of Ian, but adds, “Why you busting my balls, man?”
Although they’re shoving each other around in jest, the physicality of the scene illustrates how they are on two different sides of a disagreement. Whoever is speaking appears to be tangibly attempting to move the other one to the opposite side of the matter. Ian, longing for public confirmation of their union, Mickey desiring to keep it private.
Mickey turns away and walks into the bedroom. Ian appears somewhat upset by the exchange. Ian follows, grabs Mickey at the shoulder, turns him around, and pushes him backward into the wall again. More earnestly this time, Ian asks “Just wondering if we are a couple or not?” Mickey catches hold of Ian and playfully tosses him on his back, onto the bed, and climbs on top of him. He pins Ian down by both wrists.
At first, as Ian bounces off the bed, we see from from his point of view, staring up at Mickey. Suddenly, the angle changes so we can see from Mickey’s point of view, looking back down at Ian. Then, once again, we are looking upward at Mickey. The camera position is important here as it conveys how Ian feels overpowered by Mickey’s refusal to come out and formally announce their relationship. Notice how in every shot from this point forward, the camera always focuses on Mickey from an upward angle and always returns to Ian in a downward one. Compare this to the previous shots of them struggling back and forth in the hallway when the camera was on even ground, before Mickey gained the upper hand by physically and emotionally holding Ian down.
“Of course we are” Mickey tries to assure him. Ian challenges with “A couple that hides?” Mickey, attempting to placate him, says “Hey it’s working out so far, so good.” Ian complains “Well getting kind of sick of it.”
Exasperated now, Mickey sighs as he’s gets up, “Jesus Christ, man. How about you let me go deal with that stupid shit before I deal with your stupid shit?”
Mickey exits the room, dismissing Ian’s need to be accepted as part of his family; and we see a final picture of Ian still laying on the bed feeling both frustrated and defeated.