Under The Bleachers 7×10

Scene Insight Gallavich Reunion Part I

As the scene begins, Ian is waiting by the docks as instructed by Mickey. A wide lens is used on this shot to allow how far the eye can see. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the water is tranquil, and Ian is standing in the vast open space. This gives the viewer a sense of how freedom looks and feels – there are no tight spaces, no obstacles, there is the impression of peace and serenity.

Until a dark van speeds into the shot and slides to a stop, disrupting the calmness. Rear doors burst open as two men jump out. Now, there is tension, a conflict ensues, as Ian struggles to fend off the two men who over power him. By shrouding him with a pillow case over his head they cut off his vision, plunge him into darkness, restrict his ability to breathe, and entirely remove his free will. He is tossed roughly into the van. Establishing the first stark contrast between Ian’s world and Mickey’s world; the harsh reality that is freedom as opposed to incarceration. It implies Ian’s experience of life may drastically change as he is thrust back into Mickey’s universe.

The van skids to a stop as the side door slides open and Ian is thrust out with the pillow case still over his head. He hits the ground face first with a loud thud. He fights to get to his feet and the van peels out. Ian pulls the pillow case off his head, his hands are in fists, his adrenaline is pumping, as he is angrily shouting and cursing at the van. He glances to the left and notices something. His posture visibly changes. His breathing slows. He calms down. He turns to face the fence.

The camera angle changes to face Ian from Mickey’s vantage point. A chain link fence separates him from Ian, suggestive of the prison wall that separated them in the past.

Ian who is right of center (represents strength) is again viewed standing as bright sunlight directly hits his face. Once again, he appears in an open space without even a trace of the chain link fence that separates them. Dressed in his formal uniform, well fitted and pressed, with his shirt is tucked in, clean shaven, and his hair is short (much shorter than when Mickey saw him last time). The expression on his face is proud and defiant, perhaps slightly taken aback at the sight of Mickey. Everything about his appearance is confident, neat, and pulled together.

Viewing Mickey from Ian’s point of view, Mickey is standing left of center (representing a weakness). Mickey has dark shadows streaking across his face. A chain link fence occupies the entire right half of the screen, with concrete behind him, closing him in. Mickey wears baggy layers of over sized clothes. His hair is long and unkempt. His face is scruff and unshaven. Surrounded by iron bars gives the appearance he could still be in a prison. The expression on his face is sad or tired, and perhaps slightly defeated. Everything about his disheveled appearance is in direct opposition to Ian’s – Mickey is slightly wild, yet confined at the same time.

Mickey nods for Ian to follow him. Turns and shuffles off. Ian quickly leaves his spot and crosses the threshold to follow Mickey into the metal cage. He rounds one corner and then another before he faces Mickey inside the bars. They stare at each other almost unsure of what to do or say next.

Ian lunges forward and shoves Mickey. Mickey charges back at him, punches him, pushes him hard backwards. Ian comes at him again.

The shoving that occurs between them is a throwback to their past, the way they’ve argued before, by trying to physically drive each other to the flip-side of their disagreement. But, it also conveys that an impasse does exist between them.

They continue to assault each other but Mickey is the one who diffuses the tension by grabbing hold of Ian’s jacket and pulling him in close. Mickey wants to feel Ian close to him.

A close-up of their faces expresses the emotion they hold towards each other. There is sexual tension, attraction, fondness, and love. For a brief moment, they look like they are about to kiss. But, then Mickey shoves Ian away. He laughs, gives Ian a once over, then turns and walks deeper into the bleachers and farther away from the sun and the openness.

“You like the high school bleachers? Our spot, man.”

Mickey is luring Ian in with nostalgia. But, that location comes with a history of hiding their relationship out of fear; of not being free. While this site offered a safe haven, a place for them to be together without judgement, it’s not necessarily a happy space.

It’s a reminder of their life before Mickey came out and when they had to shield their intimacy from the rest of the world. The last time they visited here, their relationship ended shortly afterward.

As Mickey sits down, Ian remains standing. Mickey sizes up Ian suspiciously, “You went all official on me.” Ian glances at the patch on his uniform and says, “EMT. Came from work. You look good.”

Mickey averts his eyes away from Ian at the compliment, “Not much else to do in there but work out.”

A soberness settles between them at this moment; an unspoken acknowledgement that Mickey has been locked up and Ian has not seen him in a long time; a hint that Ian did not visit Mickey either.

Ian breaks the silence by asking, “So, what now?”

“Mexican banger hit-man motherfucker.”

Mickey says, “Laying low with my cell mate, Damon.” The camera flips to Damon, standing on the other side of the metal bars and fence, reminiscent of his fugitive status. Mickey  glances down for a moment before asking Ian, “Cops come talk to you?” Mickey’s tone is distrustful, almost accusatory. Ian responds flatly, “Think I’d snitch?”

Mickey contemplates this for a moment before appearing to concede his skepticism of Ian. Deciding to trust Ian with his plan, he continues “Look, I’m getting some new IDs, some cash, and heading to Mexico.” Mickey stands up. “You should come.”

Ian scoffs, “Come with you to Mexico?” Then he laughs. But, Ian’s smile fades when he realizes Mickey isn’t joking. Mickey steps into Ian’s personal space and says, “Thought about you a lot. On the inside.” A loaded statement as it can be interpreted with double meaning – inside the physical confines of his jail cell or as the personal reflection within his mind. He gently grabs Ian’s jacket, twines his fingers affectionately into the material, before continuing “You’re under my skin, man. What the fuck can I do? Hm? What can I do?”

Damon interrupts their flash of intimacy with a whistle as he waves for Mickey to return. Mickey takes one last moment to stare tenderly into Ian’s eyes, a glimmer of doubt crosses his expression, before he forces himself to smile – rubs Ian’s face – and urges him to at least consider his offer. He turns and exits the bleachers.

The Gallavich reunion under the bleachers is bitter-sweet. The entire scene foretells the obstacles Mickey and Ian will face. Repeatedly, it exhibits both Mickey and Ian’s state of mind, it contrasts both of their current situations, and uses imagery in the background to continuously suggest that Ian free while Mickey has the threat of imprisonment hovering over him.  It eerily mirrors the life standing in front of them now.

Mickey, as an escaped convict on the run. Ian, if he chooses to follow Mickey, sacrificing his ability to exist beyond confinements. This is foreshadowing one possible outcome of the rest of their existence together. The threat of steel bars always chasing them, forced to hide in the shadows, exiled from the rest of the world, and never truly being free.