Recently Brokeback Mountain was on HBO and there was discussion with Carrie about watching it: I had seen it in the theatre with our daughter way back when. There was concern on my part about watching it with her then and the concern was back now. I taped it and a week later, time to watch. Carrie sensing my hesitation and turns it off. But she is curious and last week while I was at work she started watching and later confessed: the first scene of raw sex was fine but when the kissing began, well that is beyond her comfort zone. She was glad we were not watching together.
Tonight was a catch-up on TV night, last week’s Cold Case, one of our faves. It is a family show, intelligent dialogue, mature but tasteful. One ten year old joined us and the other reminded us not to erase it. The show’s formula is simple, an unsolved murder from years past. The episode opens: 1968, a christening and then fade to a desolate spot, a windshield shattered and a dead cop in the front seat of his cruiser.
The show proceeds, the peeling of an onion, each layer getting closer to the truth. We learn that the dead cop, a single guy, a ladies man, was a fixture with his partner and partner’s family. It seems that Cooper was having an affair with Jimmy’s wife. Keep peeling the onion. Jimmy’s wife is confronted: yes Cooper is a regular at the house, but an affair, the two of them. She talks and we go back in time: a young woman looking out the window and Cooper and Jimmy in the backyard, a disagreement voices raised. A brief fight and it ends…….. Yes with Cooper and Jimmy kissing, first a “stolen” one and then real kissing, hands running over each others backs, fraught with emotion.
It is compelling and I glance at Carrie. I confess to giggling, a defense mechanism for what can I say: this is unimaginable. The onion gets peeled some more. Other cops knew. 1968. Whispers and more. Cooper is confronted by his father, a man who cannot give words to his horror, cannot say the word “Gay”.
Did I mention our ten year old daughter is watching: she is upset with the father. She cannot understand how one could not love a child, gay is rather irrelevant. We have talked of telling children, an eventuality in my life and tonight I get a glimpse and it is good. She understands love trumps all. The father will learn that too, but by then it is too late.
Carrie looks at me afterwards: The Gods of TV, our little joke of life. And I point out a passing gay reference is the Gods, this is so beyond that. We watched the show together, the three of us. But other than a glance at each other during the first kiss, the bombshell moment, we each watch alone, eyes on the set, no hand holding for this one.
Jimmy is married, has kids, and cannot conceive of taking the plunge. Cooper talks of marriages he has seen: dead marriages between straight couples and alludes to the two of them. “We are the lucky ones”, he says, a refrain throughout the second half of the show. “We are the lucky ones.”
The show always ends the same way, an image of the dead person alive again. Jimmy, an old man, a sad man walks back to their spot. There is Cooper and there is their love and then Cooper fades and Jimmy is alone.
Reruns will arrive this spring, don’t they always. The episode is titled Forever Blue. It took Brokeback Mountain 134 minutes. Amazing what was done here in less than fifty.