3/3 Amanda King: Spy Material!!!

In the first half of season 2 we saw Amanda prove she could be just as valuable to Lee and the Agency in Europe as she was at home in D.C.  And we saw some setbacks and lessons learned.  But we also saw just how tough she is and how determined she is to fight through the hard times and stick with her job as Lee’s “partner” at the Agency.  She told Lee she’s proud of what she does, and I think she should be.  And as we’ll see in the rest of season 2, she definitely made the right decision to stick with her career choice.

Thanks again to iwsod, for permission to use her screen caps!  You’re the bomb!  (Do you have a blue wire?Winking smile)

I’m sure you’ve all heard the term exponential.  Merriam-Webster defines it as “very fast” or “increasingly  rapid”.  And barring a few oddball episodes where
Amanda’s drugged,

played by an imposter,

or a victim of identity theft, her professional growth in the second half of season 2 is exponential.

It all starts with Playing Possum and Ship of Spies.  After deciding to take back her resignation, Amanda is more determined than ever to prove to herself and to Lee and Billy that she is right for the
and Agency.  We know Lee has accepted Amanda as a “partner”, values her to play a cover with him, and is trusted as a messenger, but that’s no longer enough for Amanda.  I think she wants more respect and trust to do bigger jobs than that. 

In PP, Amanda allows herself to be hypnotized by Yuri, where it turns out she has valuable information stored away in her memory.  Amanda now knows she is the only source of information to help prevent the nuclear bomb from going off.  So instead of going to Vermont with her mother and the boys, she courageously returns to do her job and try to help prevent the start of WWIII.  Although Lee wants her safe, she is successful in her persistence to stay in the hunt for the bomb, and it’s a good thing, because she is the one who “knows” that Lee needs to pull the blue wire to stop the bomb from exploding.  In the absence of a better idea of his own, Lee trusts Amanda’s instincts and the world is saved.  In the tag, we see Lee and Amanda share a private joke about the “blue wire” at Francine’s expense.  I think this marks a shift in things for both Amanda and Lee.  While Amanda’s had fab instincts all along, I see Lee now realizing he can trust and use her instincts more than ever before.  The result?  The door for future growth for Amanda as a professional has just been opened.

This post is not about Lee and how he sees Amanda, but I do believe that what Amanda thinks Lee thinks about her is a big influence on her.  I think Amanda sees this private joke as Lee’s way of telling her that he trusts her instincts and has confidence in her.  Anyone who’s gotten feedback like that from a boss they respect and believe in knows what a boost that can be.

In SOS, we see more of the same.  And actually, I think Amanda may have developed a bit of a false sense of security based on PP.  She’s back to playing detective on her own and nearly gets killed.  But in the end she earns a huge amount of respect from her boss when she jumps out of the moving car and disarms Jillian.  She also is the one to figure out that Orlando’s clue might be referring to gold.
I think this case ends up scaring the false sense of security out of Amanda,
and has reminded her of just how dangerous this business is.

But she does a great job,

and her boss lets her know it.

In the next three episodes, we see Amanda operating at the next level now that Lee’s gatekeeper door has opened up a bit.  She’s still the same Amanda using her smarts, instincts, and people skills to help Lee out with his uncle’s case, acting professional instead of dwelling on hurt feelings in Spiderweb, and being the witness to the murder of Chris Gelles in ALSALS, but I think Lee is starting to think there is more to Amanda than luck, guesses, and timing.  She’s being given a chance to have a greater impact now that Lee’s holding her back less, and she does.  It’s as if she’s paid her dues and finally has some real street cred with the spy. Smile We know this because in Billy’s office in ALSALS, Lee even tells Amanda to add what she was thinking because, “You never know what it might spark.”  Surprised smileOpen-mouthed smile  Amanda was only going to talk about her car after the accident at the flower shop, but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is Lee’s openness to her thoughts and ideas, which is allowing for her to learn and grow to the next level.  (That last pic is from iwsod’s 1/12 ALSALS gallery post, even though there is no mark in the bottom right corner.)

In LOTP Amanda has another breakthrough, earning a great deal of respect from Lee, Billy, and even Francine.  From the very start of this episode, Amanda is acting like a mature pro.  I think LOTP is such an important episode for Amanda’s career that I want to list out what she does and some other subtle things that show how much she’s grown:

  • Teases him about another BJo at the party in the opening scene in a way that Francine would tease him.
  • Proactively leaves Lee alone so he can talk to his contact and is not disappointed to have to do so.
  • Sees the maid in the library, albeit accidentally.  It still counts!  Then she remembers and brings it up to Lee and Billy in Billy’s office the next day.
  • Easily pulls off her cover and gets the job as a maid at Private Party.
  • Goes undercover with Francine for a change.
  • Tells Francine what to do when she sees an old flame.  She tells Francine to be professional if she can’t avoid the guy.  Good advice.
  • Orders Winking smile Francine to do the best she can in the kitchen and then fake it. 
  • Stands her ground with Francine
  • and the bathroom cleaning.
  • Successfully carries off her cover on her own with the baddies in their office and checks in after with Lee on the phone.
  • Notices Vic Burling is at the fake IFF party and knows it is strange.  Her spidey sense is on alert.
  • Goes to tell Francine about Lee and Billy being taken from the IFF party.
  • Insists on going in to Columbus’ warehouse with Francine to rescue Lee (and Billy).   
  • Creates a distraction for Francine by whacking a Mob Boss in the back with a bin.
  • Frees up Lee and Billy.
  • Takes out Vic Burling after he tries to pull a fast one.

Amanda is GREAT in this episode, and Lee even tells her that.  Sincerely.  Surprised smile Open-mouthed smile  It is not until it is all over, that Amanda even stops to think about what she has just done – and her knees buckle.  It’s as if Amanda has gone back to how she was in TFT and acted without “looking down”.  It’s been almost two years since Lee handed her that package, and here she has combined all her own expertise with what she has learned so far and thrown in a health dose of bravery to save Lee.  She pretty much does this on her own.  Francine doesn’t really do much on this case, even though she is partnered on it with Amanda.  Even though this is not Amanda’s case – she is not in charge of it – this case is all about Amanda, and she comes through big time.

In OOADP, DOA, and YODT, Amanda again is operating well and putting her skills to work.  No big leaps in growth, but rather continuous performance in line with expectations.  She demonstrates that she can contribute to cases and take care of herself, even when not in her right mind.

I know many people watch DOA and think Amanda’s subconscious is expressed, and perhaps it is, but I am more comfortable in the concrete, conscious world.  So what she does in DOA, I don’t really count.  It’s sort of like being a professional baseball player from the steroids era and making the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but with an asterisk next to your name (think Mark McGuire for you American baseball fans out there). 

Here are a few pictures from those episodes highlighting her biggest contributions:

Burnout is another bit of an unusual case, but a necessary and poignant one.  It’s not really a case at all for Amanda,  unless you count Lee as her case.  In addition to seeing Amanda continue to perform her independent office duties, she is brought into the case by the baddies because of her personal and professional concern for Lee.  Although not official, she ends up playing a big role in this episode and learns again just how brutal the spy business can be when Lee slaps her.  This slap is Amanda’s coming of age in the spy business, IMHO.  And like a true professional, she handles it well, figures out on her own that Lee is undercover, and doesn’t miss a beat in helping Lee with his case despite that awful slap.  She is losing her innocence while gaining some scars and earning some big time respect from her boss.

MBF is an interesting episode professionally for Amanda.  Other than getting a big raise and a confidence boost, Amanda’s doesn’t really experience much growth herself, but indirectly she grows a lot.  Byron Jordan, an Agency outsider who has not witnessed how far Amanda has come, sees her only as a valuable and competent professional who is well thought of by her co-workers.    Because Lee and Billy have seen Amanda from day 1, their view is different.  I think MBF rattles their brains a little bit and forces them to look at Amanda with different eyes – perhaps when they look at her from this other BJo’s viewpoint, Amanda is starting to look even more valuable and competent to them as well.  I see this as indirect growth for Amanda, as it opens gatekeeper-Lee’s gates wider.

Finally we have Vigilante Mothers.  This is the perfect season 2 ending episode because it incorporates all of Amanda’s skills and shows us just how far she has come.  We also see that Lee has finally come to
trust in her abilities and instincts and for the first time sends her without specific instructions toward danger proactively and on purpose to distract the baddie for him.  WOW!!!    She is still an untrained, part-time civilian, yet Lee now believes in her abilities enough to send her to do this: 
The baddie is armed with a gun too!  Wow, again!  Amanda really has made it!   Even she is surprised by Lee telling her to do this, but she does it well, and they wrap up the case together like true partners.

Well, Amanda has really rocketed in growth in just 12 episodes.  I think once she made the decision in BAI to stay with the Agency, she really needed to put herself out there and see what she was made of and what she was capable of.  It turns out she is made of and capable of a lot, and now she knows it and Lee knows it.  She may not be on the typical career growth ladder at the Agency, but because of her tie to Lee, she has been able to prove her worth and earn some trust from him.  We know Lee doesn’t really trust anyone, so this is huge and allows her to continue working with and growing with every assignment she has with him.  I believe this trust aspect also plays a big role in their personal relationship.  Just like it opens up the gate that Lee had used to hold Amanda’s growth back (mostly out of concern for her safety), I think it also opens up Lee’s heart.  These two are intertwined and inseparable for me.  Like an axiom.  A BJo axiom of SMK.  Oh, but that’s another post for another day!  

We are now three episodes into season 3, and we can see how Amanda’s growth here in the latter half of season 2 has made her character changes in season 3 possible.  She is no longer a rookie, an innocent without scars, or  very naïve.  She has proved she is definitely ready for bigger assignments that require her particular set of skills and expertise.  I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on her growth this season and will publish the post(s) on it after we’ve finished walking through them!

Well, this has been a long post!  Thank you for sticking with it!  What do you agree with?  Disagree with?  Does it bug you that I pretty much discount DOA?  I’d love to hear your view!  Did I miss anything?  Why is Amanda okay with “handling” Francine like she does?  Has she ever treated Lee like that?  What do you think Billy makes of Amanda’s growth?  We don’t get to hear him say much about it.  How do you think Amanda is feeling about herself and her career choice now???

24 responses to “3/3 Amanda King: Spy Material!!!

  1. I love the screencaps from the beach in SOS, and of L&A at the bowling alley in PP. 🙂

    What do you think Billy makes of Amanda’s growth? We don’t get to hear him say much about it.
    I think that Billy is proud of her, and pleased for her, happy for the Agency that she’s a part of it. I think he’s very happy that he kept pulling her in to help out Lee… 🙂

    How do you think Amanda is feeling about herself and her career choice now???
    I think she’s feeling like she’s made progress. She knows and understands herself well enough to know that she’s still got a ways to go, but she’s proud of what she’s accomplished and knows she made the right choice by staying at the Agency and with Lee.

    This was a great recap, BJo!

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  2. Again, I’m scrolling and scanning so forgive if I repeat anyone’s comments. One of the things that comes out for me is not just Amanda’s loyalty to Lee but her ultimate loyalty to her country and what she is willing to do for it. There are times when she has to compromise what she thinks about some things but she does it. She’s had to see some unpleasant things and has had her own safety and life put on the line, but she soldiers on.

    She has definitely grown quite a bit and seems more comfortable and relaxed when she comes to the Agency. Lee’s support, recognition, and encouragement of her abilities has helped in that.

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  3. Without reading everyone’s comments again, I just wanted too point out the two things that really stuck out to me from this post. Of course my comments are more relationally based, but that is me 🙂
    That picture of Lee and Amanda on the beach at the end of SOS is important I think. BJo, you said that during her experience in SOS her false sense of security was scared out of her. But in that picture it looks like she was placing more of it in Lee. How does that hold up? I think the answer to that gets worked out in BO. In order for her to grow as far as she needs to professionally, she needs to work that out. And think by the end of season tow she really has. Maybe that is one of the things that makes her responses to Lee in where we are with Wizard to wonderful and powerful?

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  4. I believe Amanda’s personal growth is related to her professional growth. She, at heart, is much as she ever was. The difference for her is confidence – which grows as a direct result of her professional growth. At least, this is how I see it.

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  5. Hiya BJo!

    I have really enjoyed this whole series of yours! such a wonderful ‘walk’ down memory lane 😉 and sets things up beautifully for things to progress into season 3 🙂

    Your 3rd part here read like a great article BJo.. I sat down with my coffee, relaxed and just enjoyed! Thanks so much for sharing it with us all and I’m so glad you enjoyed writing it and.. am excited at your suggestion there will be another post on Amanda’s professional journey in the future!

    Odd-ball? very true!! oh boy! eek.. my eyeballs hurt from seeing those darn ear buttons again! I don’t miss them!

    I don’t know if Amanda’s haircut is to be more professional, but I do think it could be tied to her search for her new identity… and how to make it all fit for her. I think end of season 2 is when Amanda really finds her stride.. and she figures out a way to do it she is comfortable with – too bad the hair will take time to catch up to that though haa!

    Wow!! LOTP was huge!!! Good call!!

    The only part of your post that I saw differently really BJo was Murder Between Friends – you wrote ‘other than getting a big raise and a confidence boost’ – when for me this is the major part of Amanda’s story here – I found it huge for her character to pluck up the courage to ask for a pay rise. Then, she is offered an opportunity to professionally grow, and receive a higher wage – and she takes it. I find this all huge growth for Amanda professionally!
    She is valuing herself as a professional – and I love that she doesn’t just stay at the agency because she wants to work with Lee – she is well and truly connected to Lee – but at the same time – she sees her own individual identity as a professional.
    These are big and important steps which I see Lee and Amanda’s future development as being built on. so for me – huge!
    Lastly, Amanda sees financial evidence of her value to Lee (because he championed for her raise) and Billy (because he gave it- that tells you what Billy thinks of Amanda’s growth no?). She is now well established at the agency.. and the scene is set for her to begin more training etc to become an agent.

    What of Amanda’s family in all this?
    I haven’t seen it mentioned..maybe I’ve forgotten.. but Amanda started out with her plant/pet side business she was pottering around with.. and now Dotty knows Amanda works at IFF 🙂 So some developments there too no?
    I really feel like I need to go back and read the posts again. but it will have to wait..

    Still, a wonderful summation here BJo – thank you!!!!

    oh and I agree with comments that Lee and Amanda’s personal growth and professional growth are distinct, but they also are related.. intermingled?!
    Okay byee for now,

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  6. BJo, I was so thinking what you wrote about Amanda’s loss of innocence. That is exactly why she was not hired to train as an agent after TFT. People like Lee and Francine would have gone in already a bit hardened. She needed to be exposed to the things she has been exposed to over these 2 seasons to really be able to move on. That’s why we start to see her get training and assignments in season 3.
    And to answer your question about has Amanda changed personally…..yes! She realizes that she wants more out of life and she is not going to settle. She would have most likely settled for Dean had she not become involved with the agency. I don’t think Lee himself was enough at that point to stop their relationship. Her confidence carries over into her personal life. I also think we have already seen that she is dressing much nicer in season 3. I know it is not the huge transformation that we saw in Lee, but it is a change.

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    • Great thoughts LAAL!
      So very true!!! She’s really come into her own as a woman (aside from any role of wife or mother)

      lol maybe Amanda is dressing nicer in season 3 thanks to that raise she got in MBF too? 🙂 Still that in itself might show she has grown – because she is choosing to spend money on herself and not just wear sweaters and cardies her family knitted for her.. ahem..

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  7. Another good post Bjo. I love S2 for many reasons but it is also for me a little frustrating in terms of Amanda’s progression in that it was not handled consistently, as you have shown Bjo.
    There were some very good episodes where Amanda’s professional (and personal) growth seemed to grow and flow – e.g. the European and British episodes, BAI, LOP – but then a few real clunkers where weak story or shoddy writing really interrupt or make a nonsense of that flow.
    The hair don’t is an annoying distraction, so I ignore it and pretend Amanda’s hair is still lovely and long. I don’t really see Amanda deliberating getting that hair cut as part of her progression – to make herself feel more professional or get taken more seriously or whatever else might have been going on in her mind in relation to her work (or Lee). So, for me it’s an aberration I prefer to ignore rather than try and make it make sense or fit it into the head space – ‘scuse the pun 😉 – that she may have been in at that time.

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    • Thanks, kiwismh. Yeah, it is a little frustrating to see Amanda’s growth not be very consistent in S2. I prefer things to be nice and linear, but unfortunately life isn’t always like that – at least not mine. I think that’s one reason why I never really liked S2 when it first aired. Now though, I’ve actually learned to like S2
      a lot because I can see and understand a whole lot more with my adult eyes and through the comments of everyone on this blog.

      And I agree, that hair don’t was very unfortunate, and I try not to think about it too much when watching those episodes. I think most of us have at least one thing that we consider an aberration and have a hard time explaining away. ACA comes to mind for that too. I also find it fascinating to consider theories of how other people explain things away that bug the crap out of me – sometimes I can get on board with them and I do feel a little better about it. I think for me, there is more I have to ignore later in the series than now. And I must be pretty good at ignoring, because I’m on of the few out there who would say S4 is their favorite season and S3 is on the bottom. It wasn’t always like that – that’s just how it is now that I’m much older. And don’t get me wrong, I do love all seasons, it’s just that I do like to compare and rank them!

      Do you know if there is a thread at Ned’s discussing favorite seasons? I typically don’t have enough SMK time to make it to Ned’s, but I’ve got some extra time this week and might pop over if there is. Heck, maybe I should just go now… 🙂

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  8. I love the picture of Amanda throwing the sheet over the guy’s head in Vigilante Mothers. I like to imagine the scene in reverse, with Amanda whipping the sheet off his head, like he’d been running around disguised as a ghost and she’d just unmasked him. Then, he’d probably say something like, “And I’d have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling housewives!” 😉

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  9. Awesome analysis!

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  10. “Anyone who’s gotten feedback like that from a boss they respect and believe in knows what a boost that can be.” Really like this! I tend to think that Amanda is helping Lee to grow emotionally, and that Amanda is fighting for her place at the Agency, but I often forget how much encouragement Lee gives her (eventually). The shot of him in the car (in SOS) after Amanda jumps out says a lot about his opinion of her (he’s impressed).

    Thanks for the great posts, BJo!

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    • So true. Lee is becomes really good at affirming (initially with his smiles and looks and later verbally) Amanda and this encouragement probably fuels her further growth. I think I tend to underestimate this side of Lee, and how she “blossoms” professionally as a result.

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      • Yes, he does. And I think that shows real growth and maturity on his part. The fact that he can now admit that perhaps it isn’t all luck, guessing or good timing on her part, but rather great instincts is a big step for him. He goes from being a gatekeeper, holding her back, to being her enabler, opening up windows and doors of opportunity for her. And with him there to teach her and keep her safe, she really does “blossom” as you say!

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        • Great post BJo! I agree, Lee parallels Amanda’s growth in many ways. As she grows professionally, he grow emotionally and they ping-pong off of each other throughout the series. Isn’t that what partners in life do in the very best of ways?

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    • Thanks, LASinLA. I agree with your thinking that Amanda is helping Lee to grow emotionally. When we think back to how he was in TFT to now, what has really changed for him? Amanda has entered his life and has been a constant for two years now. I think the tie to her that is created when she saves his life in TFT has opened up a channel of sorts that allows him to slowly take things in and learn from her.

      After falling back in love with SMK as an adult, I’ve always believed that Lee and Amanda’s personal relationship growth was inseparably linked to her professional growth. Once that really sunk in, I started to notice more and more at the end of S2 how the two really impacted each other – their (esp. Lee’s) changing views/attitudes of each other personally and professionally and her professional growth. I can’t think of a good metaphor right now, but a step forward in one area, leads to another step forward in the other and then the other, etc. You get what I mean. I think we are starting to see the speed of those steps start to increase a bit in the first few episodes of season 3. It’s been a while since I’ve watched S3, I’m trying to hold off watching ahead (like iwsod) so it’s fresh in my mind, so I don’t remember if those steps come faster and faster, but I’ll obviously be keeping my eyes open.

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      • Oh, I so agree that the growth of both are impacted by the growth of both. That may sound a little confusing, but it is true. As Amanda grows professionally, Lee grows personally. They match each other’s growth in a way, and this translates into their personal relationship with each other.

        Thanks for another great post, BJo, and for everyone’s comments.

        (And, yes, I am one of those who try to explain things so they make sense in my SMK world. 🙂 )

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        • Thanks, debilyn. You stated it well:

          As Amanda grows professionally, Lee grows personally.

          I think he grows personally also from Amanda as a whole rubbing off oh him, but her professional growth to me is the key to opening up the door to their romance.

          To me, Lee’s journey has always been a bit more obvious to follow than Amanda’s. And I think it’s because we don’t get to see the big changes in her personal growth like we do with Lee. We see huge changes in her professional growth, but the personal stuff, not so much. It’ll be interesting when we got to the episodes in the future where we do get to hear about her past and factor that in – I am looking forward to those discussions.

          Do you think Amanda has changed much personally speaking only in these first two seasons? It’s almost really impossible to separate the two. For the most part, Amanda seems like Amanda the whole time. I almost wish we got to see more of her personal journey – because she has to have one. What do you think? Or am I missing or completely forgetting about something?

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        • Agreed! makes perfect sense!

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