2/16 Season Three, Episode 7: Utopia Now-Scarecrow and Mrs King

On to the great outdoors.. and it’s a beautiful day! [uh oh.. Lee and Amanda are in the country! bad things happen in the country in smk!]
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000247112Lee and Amanda drive over a picturesque bridge in a Jeep Cherokee four wheel drive.. 3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000254212looking like they mean serious outdoorsy business! [I always thought Amanda should have ditched the station wagon and gotten a jeep- but.. I guess that would have spoiled the old mum with a station wagon gimmick!]
Lee pulls up and immediately Amanda offers him food!

3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000259385Amanda: Would you like a chicken sandwich?
Lee
smiles: Ah, Amanda, this isn’t going to be a picnic you know.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000261178
[rofl! what a great pun!! So umm this is where that expression comes from? This will be no picnic! Winking smile Could also be seen as great foreshadowing!]
Amanda: Oh, I know, I’m not expecting a picnic.
no picnic!
Is it just me or is it hilarious that Amanda offers Lee  a chicken sandwich and he then responds saying it will be no picnic??!! Given what happened when Amanda ate Lee’s chicken salad sandwich I think this is hilarious!! Hmm maybe this is why Lee turns it down?! Winking smile
Guilt?!! afraid it’s laced with drugs? 😉 tee hee..
We never actually see the picnic basket again I don’t think. Maybe Amanda sensed Lee wasn’t in the mood and left it behind.. oh whatev!
As Amanda responds, she gets three manuals out of her bag- to prove she knows this will be no picnic Winking smile
She proudly holds them up and waits for Lee to respond to them.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000265958
Lee: Oh- err.. (the picture cuts to Lee)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_0002669223.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000267585…You’ve got enough reading material there to start a library.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000269553Amanda:
No, just the Junior Trailblazers Manual, Campsite, and the Junior Trailblazers map.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000274543[I love that Amanda is unfazed by Lee’s lack of joy over the err library Winking smile she’s proud of the resources she has whatever Lee thinks! you go girl!]
Lee: Well there’s nothing wrong with the Agency map.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000276336[why is Lee so defensive straight off?! He knows Billy wanted her to come because of her local knowledge and experience.. Or is Lee disregarding this as just an excuse Billy used to get Lee to babysit err I mean.. train Amanda some more?? What do you all make of this defensiveness? I’m undecided…]
Amanda: Oh, I know….
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000278398[Rubbish.. Amanda knows the agency map is rubbish.. but she knows better than to tell Lee that! She basically doesn’t pay any attention- this is a good technique that Amanda has- she attends to the behaviours she wants to encourage!]  …And then I’ve got some twine and a compass and my Swiss Army knife. And then!…
(we cut to Lee watching with bewildered curiosity)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000281812
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000282747… there’s my ace in the hole…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000283968
(I love how she gazes at it with such contentment! tee hee KJ is so funny here!)
Amanda continues to gaze on her lovely match as she finishes:
…– one waterproof match.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000286166

Lee: Only one?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000287251Amanda:
Good scout only needs one.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000289099[Blue jays, trailblazers, scouts.. what the heck is going on?! Can someone explain what’s what?? or is all of them ‘not’?! (lol I know scouts are real, they are international.)]
Lee has a laugh…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000289721
… and responds as he gets out of the car (still chuckling): I hate to disappoint you Amanda but this is nothing more than a chicken feed assignment. ha haa..
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000295035As Lee gets out of the car- watch Amanda. She can be seen to take a deep breath here.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000295327
– she is not so unfeeling about this as she first appears I think. But she is determined to do a good job and give this assignment her all- even if it is chicken feed – I don’t think Lee means it this way, but by disregarding the assignment and treating it like it’s a laugh, he is diminishing Amanda here. IMHO- what do you think? do tell!

Out of the car, Lee opens his fancy shmancy agency map. (oh he does look good in the great outdoors though!)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000297219
Lee: All-right, here we go.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000300102I notice Amanda waits a moment before getting out of the car to join Lee..but when she does she is more upbeat again- she’s regained her courage and determination! Go Amanda! Don’t listen to him!!
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000301730…Ahhh, I don’t believe this…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000302518[At this moment we see Amanda react with an ‘AHH!!’ realising that Lee is beginning to notice the fancy shmancy map isn’t right!]
…According to this map the road we’re on doesn’t even exist…
Amanda joins Lee and puts her bag (with the maps in it) on the hood of the car.. she pats them. puts her hands in her pockets and patiently waits for Lee to finish.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000308191… Argh… (Lee runs his fingers through his hair.. exasperated)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000309794Amanda: Well?!
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000311532Lee: Well???
(Amanda doesn’t respond)3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000311901…..What?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000313137Amanda:
Well, go ahead and ask.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000315210[I love that she doesn’t just suggest the map. She makes him ask Winking smile payback! You need Amanda’s library for this chicken feed assignment Lee?!]
Lee: Go ahead and ask what?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000317181
[I’m thinking Lee hasn’t twigged yet.. because he completely disregarded her resources before.]
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000319943Amanda:
Go ahead and ask me to get out the Junior Trailblazers map…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000320952(I think the penny finally drops- oh yeahhhh that library you have err that I was laughing at.)
…so we can find out where we are.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_0003233873.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000324210Lee sighs: Okay… [Num num.. that humble pie sure does taste good doesn’t it Lee?!!]
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000326083…Amanda?…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000326823
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000327890(we cut to Amanda who silently waits for Lee to continue! I guess Amanda is really good at waiting for Lee huh! Winking smile in many things!! )
…Would you please get out the Junior Trailblazers map?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000330382[Is it just me or  does there seem to be more of a good natured-ness to this little power struggle that’s going on here?! Lee smiles and sees he’s gotta eat humble pie.. but he really doesn’t seem to mind that much- what do you think? when Lee does finally ask- he does so without any narky attitude.]
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_0003312633.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000331767Amanda: Sure Lee.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000332127
Just look at the look Lee gives her in response – I think he kinda likes her fiesty-ness.. it’s kinda playful.. hmm does Lee find it flirty??!! or is the smile a mask?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000332841I tend to think it is a mask- but he deep down also likes her fiesty!- yes I’ll have it both ways!! lol!!  (all Lee had to do was ask Smile awh..)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000333228Amanda gets the map out of her backpack.
Lee packs up the agency’s poor excuse for a map-
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000335068
Amanda: Excuse me.
I love how as Lee closes it you can see him trying to cover a big smile as Amanda all serious gets out her trailblazers map
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000335417
– I think he finds her seriousness cute Winking smile
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000336287Amanda places her map on the hood.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000340271
…You know this area does look kind of familiar. I think I used to come camping here when I was little.
Lee starts checking out the map.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000342080Amanda looks down at the map and realises it’s the wrong way around. Lee is looking at it upside down! haaaa..
Lee: Ahem! Yeah.. (Amanda motions to Lee)..
what?
She picks it up to turn it.
Amanda: Oh – ah,…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000343458
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000344631

 …it works better that way.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000345434Lee just quietly looks at her. lol!
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000348414
Lee: Well Amanda I’m afraid your knowledge of the…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000352749
(we see here a great idea has just struck Amanda wordlessly)
… Blue Jays secret campsites isn’t gonna help us right now.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000355251
[Pha! so he hasn’t quite given up his pride just yet huh.. or is this playful teasing hmm?? The vibe does seem more playful than narky.. so I’m going to go with teasing! What about you?
Last time I saw this- I didn’t pick up so much on the teasing.. but then going through the photos I’ve noticed more how much Lee is smiling- one of the pluses of having the official dvds and doing this walk through the episodes!!
Hmm ‘blue jays’?? I know Francine mentioned them back at IFF, but really, where did that come from?!]
Amanda: You know what?
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000356648[Amanda very naturally reaches out and grabs Lee’s upper arm- have a little squeeze Amanda.. a perfect opportunity Winking smile ]
Lee: What?  (Squeezy Squeezy.. go Amanda!)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000358120
Amanda: Maybe not.
Lee: What?  (more squeezy squeezy the bicep there.. goooo Amanda Winking smile )
Amanda: But I bet you (squeeze squeeze!) Cob’s Corner might.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000359868Lee:
Just what is a Cob’s Corner?
(Your little agency map doesn’t tell you that Lee?! Winking smile I’m not nearly as gracious as Amanda!)
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000360849Amanda:
Cob’s Corner…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000364591
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000365298…is this little general store out in the middle of nowhere.
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000365888
(As Amanda talks, she moves in to pack up her map- notice.. Lee stays exactly where he is, and totally doesn’t get out of Amanda’s way- Amanda snatches the map away making Lee jump a little.. Come on Lee get with it! Amanda’s wanting to leave for Cob’s corner! Winking smile )
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000366319…You used to be able to go there and have a root beer…
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000368124
…and find out what was going on in a 50 mile radius.
They get in the car and the scene ends there..
Don’t you just love it? The scene started with Lee completely disregarding Amanda and her resources that she brought with her.. the agency map is best- and Lee is in charge and looking at it.. lol..
3.07 UTOPIA NOW.avi_000373660
but by the end of the scene, Lee is trying to keep up with Amanda – and she’s in charge! and she’s saying where they need to go with her map! Whooo hoooo!!!

Do share what you think –I am open to ideas, and trying to keep an open mind- but so far, I’m getting the vibe that this episode belongs before Sour Grapes – Lee was much more accepting of Amanda in that episode.. here he is resisting a little (though lol not much and not for long Winking smile ).

Isn’t this episode full of fabulous Lee and Amanda moments??!!! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on what’s going on here everyone! Anyone not enjoying this scene? or this episode? or everyone crazy about it as much as I am? All views welcome! Byee for now!! 

 

53 responses to “2/16 Season Three, Episode 7: Utopia Now-Scarecrow and Mrs King

  1. Hi everyone….have been out of commission for a while and I’m just catching up, so if I repeat something that was already posted, please forgive me…..IWSOD you asked where Francine got the term, Blue Jays? In the state’s there used to be an organization for pre_teens/teens called the Camp Fire Girls(may be its still around)…and for the younger little girls the organization was called the Blue Birds….so I’m sure that’s what Francine is referring to. You know Francine, she couldn’t be bothered with anything that resembled the Suburbs or had anything to do with children, so mis-pronouncing an organization or group that she thought was insignificant was an intentional put down in my opinion….she was a SNOB!
    I’m glad to be back following JWWM.

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    • Glad you are back Gruvy Granny.. I think I mentioned you when they said gearjam granny passed on a message 😉 tee hee..

      thanks for that explanation I hadn’t heard it before – makes perfect sense Francine wouldn’t get it right!

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  2. After rewatching SOS this afternoon, I noticed a Lee “match moment” – when he had Laid A Trap (sorry, too much Georgette Heyer) using a match for anyone who broke into their cabin. He looked so proud of himself; a bit like Amanda and her one waterproof match 🙂

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  3. FWIW, I always thought that Amanda answered Lee’s request (to get out the Jr. Trailblazers map) with “Surely.” He adopts a sort of formal, okay-I’m-playing-along tone, and she answers formally as well.

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  4. Hi Everyone! I finally got a chance to look at the script for this episode (a little!) and I think that it gives us some insight into what’s behind Lee’s attitude here… and back at IFF in Billy’s office when Lee was first told about the job. Sometimes they leave lines from the script out of the episode which can add a fuller understanding of what’s happening.. (IMHO!)
    So when Billy told Lee about the job back at IFF here’s the dialogue:
    LEE: Why send me? You could put a rookie on this.
    BILLY: We are. I want you to take Amanda. She grew up in Virginia… should know the countryside pretty well.
    FRANCINE: She probably did a lot of camping when she was in the Blue jays.
    Lee reacts to Francine’s snipe, turns unhappily to Billy.
    LEE: Billy, I’m commando-trained… not a scoutmaster.
    BILLY: And this should be nothing more – than a scouting expedition… take you half a day. Besides, this’ll be a good place for her to get a little more experience as a field agent.
    Lee starts to protest, gives up and heads out.

    Lee’s line about being commando trained, not a scout master is IMHO pretty telling.. he feels the job is beneath him..

    And there’s this interesting dialogue between Lee and Amanda that was left out of this scene where Lee learns the trailblazer’s map is better:
    LEE: Amanda . . .Look , I hate to disappoint you, but this is really a chickenfeed assignment.
    Amanda is slightly upset, even hurt, at Lee’s tone-
    AMANDA: You don’t want to be here.
    LEE:It’s not that I object to the company… I could just be using my time better someplace else.
    Amanda puts the sandwich away as Lee gets out.

    I found this interesting that Lee actually clarifies it’s not the company – the attitude isn’t about being with Amanda.. it’s that again, he thinks the job is beneath him..
    I find this insight helpful to understanding what’s going on.. and I’ll keep it in mind as we continue!

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    • My goodness, Lee is tactless and undiplomatic. Amanda is a saint to put up with him!! I guess what this tells me is that although he knows he enjoys Amanda’s company, he still a way from being in love with her, because if he was, he wouldn’t care what the assignment was, he’d be there like a shot.

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    • Interesting that he realizes that his comment may bother Amanda and he makes sure to clarify what he means.

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  5. I keep looking at that new Utopia Now banner that just got put up. There is something about the pictures of Lee and Amanda alone in that one that keep me focused on them (other than the obvious). Those are new expressions on their faces. I love Amanda’s cheeky smirk. But this one isn’t baffled by Lee’s behavior, this one knows and understands Lee, even has a real affection for him, but she is still standing firm in who she is and she is comfortable in that. And Lee is bemused and softening. He looks like he can laugh at her, with her and at himself and is still completely impressed and even surprised by Amanda. And I think both of these expressions are about their personal and professional relationships. I wonder if they can separate the two? Maybe that is part of what they are working on here?

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    • Hey Morley! have enjoyed reading your thoughts on Lee and Amanda as we progress through Utopia Now – you love to explore the deeper facets of these characters we all love – which is always interesting and lots of food for thought!

      While I haven’t full formed my ideas on what’s going on – I would agree that with Lee and Amanda the personal and the professional have always been connected.. when something shifts professionally it requires a shift personally (though maybe not necessarily of the same magnitude) and vice versa.

      I’ve been pondering what I see as the messages of this episode.. and how they fit with earlier episodes.. I want to go back and re read A Lovely Little Affair’s walk – because having mentally put it fifth, I feel like I’m having to reorder the pictures in my head of how this story all fits together!!!
      Not that I am second guessing putting ALLA fifth. I still like it best there.. but it means I might not fully put my thoughts together till the end of this episode!
      I might have time to finish writing this episode next week – that would be good then I might be able to contribute a bit more to discussions..lol..
      As it is.. I ask a lot of questions!
      Then.. we have the whole is Sour Grapes before or after also.. (BJo – episode order alert! haaa!)
      I am thinking at this point that, while there can be explanations for the order if we put Sour Grapes first, I am thinking it fits better with Utopia Now first – both professionally and personally.. but beyond that I”m not sure yet.. wondering if I would put Sour Grapes even later than after Utopia Now- but haven’t seen Reach for the sky in aaaaaages!!!
      Okay byeee for now!!

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  6. I think this scene is one example why SMK has so many female fans and not so many male fans. 🙂
    I love that scene – Go Amanda !

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  7. We used to have a group in our area similar to Girl Scouts called the Bluebirds. This was back in the early 70’s. (Their uniforms were white with blue ties, and they had blue skirts. I almost joined, but couldn’t make the day/time of their meetings.) I always assumed “Bluejays” was a play-off of that organization. They didn’t last long in this area. Ahh- I see. Google says they were the younger version of the Camp Fire Girls.

    I think Lee is being a little playful and a little serious. He really believes that the agency has the best of everything – including maps. So why would he need Amanda’s? But, as usual, he needs to pay more attention to her. 🙂 I do think he’s having a difficult time navigating this relationship. (pun intended) This is entirely different from anything he’s dealt with – even Eva wasn’t like this. So he’s taking a bit to find his way.

    I don’t think he’s really trying to dampen or put down Amanda’s enthusiasm. His seasoned years at the agency has him looking forward to challenges. He’s not looking forward to the “chicken feed assignment” for himself, but he knows he has to do it for Amanda. I think that’s why he “plays along” so easily with the map here. He’s actually baiting her for the fun of watching her respond. His little smiles to himself suggest this to me.

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  8. I don’t so much think Lee is useless in the outdoors. I think he would be well able to survive in the outdoors if necessary, he would have had training and experiences that would have given him these skills. So, I don’t think he dislikes the outdoors experience so much as he thinks this is just going to be a wasted day driving around the back roads to find some nutters, with the added distraction of having to deal with his growing feelings for Amanda at close quarters.
    Lee is expending a great deal of energy during this scene keeping his thoughts from wandering – his inability to concentrate fully on the task at hand is probably annoying him.
    Amanda has those growing feelings for him too but she is more able to focus. Maybe it’s a guy/girl thing – women can multi-task, guys have more trouble with this skill. So Amanda can have those thoughts about Lee but she is able to keep them in balance with what else is going on about her, hence her ability to also be focussed on the task at hand (as well as the fact that she is enthusiastic about the task at hand, which Lee isn’t).
    The one little thing that always annoys me about this scene is…why just one match! 😯 What if you lose it, or drop it in water? Sheesh Amanda! Didn’t you have room in that backpack for a box of matches? Or even a lighter? Perhaps a hacksaw blade too… ahem… that could come in handy. 😉

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    • I agree with you Kiwismh, Lee would know how to handle himself in the great outdoors ( all while lookin good 😉 )

      but! I think it bugs him a bit that Amanda is better at it 🙂

      You know, psychs say there really is not multi-tasking.. it’s more tasks switching!
      As I said in a reply to another comment.. I’ve not settled in my mind yet on what’s happening – I have lots of questions.. I wonder.. was Lee fighting confusing thoughts about Amanda from when he first met her?
      Or did it rear it’s head occasionally and drive him batty.. and then he’d go date Randy or something haaa!!!
      I am guessing some of us are going with the – Lee is now fully conscious of the depth and strength of his feelings for Amanda – and this needs to be addressed asap?! I may see it this way too.. eventually.. but currently not sure.. so just throwing ideas out there!

      I think we could give Lee’s behaviour a deeper meaning.. or we could put it down to more superficial factors.. will preferences decide this??or will the episode have much more to reveal?! I’m really not sure what to think yet! 🙂 but to use some famous words ‘I’m sure going to enjoy finding out!’ 😉

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    • I think that I can answer the match question. I have taken my students every year on a trip called Outdoor Education. It is basically a camping trip. We have been to several different camps and each camp has handled the outdoor experience differently. One of the camps had a class called “Survival” and it took the kids through different scenarios about surviving in the woods. At the beginning of the experience they were given a survival kit and it was one lone match. They were told to keep it dry and safe as we went through the scenario. Ultimately, after getting them lost and having them find food and build a shelter they were to figure out how to light the match to get a fire started. So I understand why Amanda has that one match.

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  9. I really don’t have anything to add to these great comments. I just wanted to participate in some way. I have been having tech issues with my laptop and with my computer at school. I have been able to read the blog on my Kindle, but it’s not great for responding. Nice to see Lee in his swoony-ness on a larger screen. While he may not like the great outdoors, it certainly likes him…a lot!!

    Lee’s crankiness is probably a comfort zone for him. It’s like Linus and his blanket in Charlie Brown. It’s like his go-to reaction when he doesn’t know how to react or how to respond when he is uncertain about something. He knows how to do cranky, if nothing else. Amanda has the patience of a saint and she has not been run off by that crankiness. Didn’t someone once compare Lee’s stunted emotional growth to that of a child and how he is going through the stages of adolescence as his emotions are growing? We are hopefully seeing the last stages of petulance. Okay, so, maybe I did have something to add.

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    • Hiya Valerie – the Lee is going through infancy/ childhood/ adolescence/ teenage stuff was created by Raffie!!! 🙂

      Miss ya Raffie!! come back when you can 🙂

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  10. They are so cute in this scene! And Lee is looking mighty fine IMHO. 🙂

    Oh, Lee, you are so out of your depth here with these local country maps and such. Amanda knows and you think you know it, but you are oh so wrong. LOL I think Lee is defensive because he knows Amanda knows he is lacking in the camping/nature/directions area and yet because he is the senior agent and should know more than Amanda he is trying his darndest to pull it off. Ha! If I didn’t love him so much I’d use the word pathetic.

    I’m not sure that Lee is diminishing Amanda here so much as he is trying to downplay the assignment and temper Amanda’s enthusiasm for it. He doesn’t want her to be disappointed so he’s trying to tell her in his own way that this is just not worth getting excited about. But come one, it’s S3, Lee! You should know better than that by now!

    Lee does look good here. Very good, in fact. But I think Amanda looks positively pretty here too. Maybe it’s the jeans and the flannel shirt – finally an Amanda outfit I would actually wear (minus the shoulder pads. Flannel and shoulder pads? Huh?), but her hair looks very pretty too! Sooo much better than that hair don’t!

    Lee is such a dolt here! But I’m glad he goes along with Amanda’s little role-playing about the trailblazer’s map. Good for you, Lee. I think he likes her feisty-ness but at the same time he doesn’t like knowing that she’s right, he’s wrong, and if he wants to not get lost in the woods, he needs to let her find the way! You know, I think Billy must now about Lee’s inability to do the map/directions/woods/camping thing and that’s why he’s sent Amanda with Lee. This is Billy’s way of secretly using Amanda to train Lee!!! LOL!

    Love the post, iwsod! 5 stars! I think Lee is very playful with Amanda here. He is trying to act superior to Amanda, but he just can’t cut it. He knows it, she knows it, and so this teasing, playful thing is how they work it out. Love that he doesn’t move out of the way when she gets the map, he can no longer help himself. The clock is ticking, Lee my boy….

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    • To build on your idea, BJo, maybe Lee has reached the stage where he wants to impress Amanda (having taken his charm for granted in the past, and not wanting Amanda to get the wrong idea). But how that he wants to impress her, he can’t because he’s actually a bit useless at the whole outdoors thing. So’s he’s a bit sulky and ungracious to her.

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      • whooo now this is an interesting idea!

        I’m not seeing Lee as wanting to impress Amanda (and getting it wrong) – why? Hmm.. maybe it’s because Lee is so dismissive firstly of the assignment itself.. and secondly of the trailblazers thing.. which.. oopsie.. you’ll see a bit more of in an upcoming scene.. but we can already see this now with Lee’s defensiveness over the map..

        I think Lee is clever enough to know criticising junior trailblazers is not going to impress Amanda.. 😉 even if actually being emotionally invested in this relationship is new to him.
        Just my 2 cents.. but I love to hear different ideas.

        Sorry to get a bit sciency 😉 or as horrible histories would put it : ‘Now for the sciencie bit!’
        -I love to hear ideas.. it’s like we throw hypotheses out there – and then together we get to test them 🙂 I do love that ‘together’ part 😉 you guys rock!!

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    • wonderful to hear from you BJo! 🙂

      I think by diminishing the assignment, Lee indirectly diminishes Amanda – who was given this assignment. and who is the reason (or may think she is the reason) why Lee is on this assignment. I think it’s an ouchie moment!! but.. I don’t think it’s intentional.. I think it’s an unintended consequence..

      I think Billy is aware of his agent’s talents.. their strengths and weaknesses.. and he knew about Amanda’s local knowledge of the countryside (after all wasn’t she suppose to be off camping in Odds on a dead pigeon? ) so I always thought this was why Amanda was chosen.. that and a chance for her to build skills..
      and Lee? was he chosen because of Amanda?? and in some ways she holds him back??… because of her he has to do a chicken feed assignment?
      Or.. was billy trying to teach Lee a lesson here by giving him this assignment? with Amanda? or.. was it both?!

      I’m full of questions.. and I haven’t answered them for myself yet! I think this one will come from the context of the whole episode..

      btw- I never saw Billy’s thinking Amanda would know the countryside as him playing to a stereotype – he knew she was into scouts/blue jays/trailblazing and it’s a strength she has.. Interesting to hear of the stereotypes around Virginia and the countryside! all news to me!

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  11. As far as I can tell, neither Blue Jays or Junior Trailblazers are an actual organization. Probably for the same reason they use bogus brand names on boxes of cereal; they don’t want to hassle with whatever it is they would have to worry about if they named a real scouting organization. When Amanda says “scout”, she is using it generically and it wouldn’t denote a specific organization (at least in the US; maybe worldwide, other folks just say “Scouts”? We would have to say “Boy Scouts” and “Girl Scouts”).

    I’ve been trying to figure out Amanda’s history with either or both of these organizations (Trailblazers and Blue Jays). At first, I thought Amanda had been a Junior Trailblazor in her younger days (which would make it a co-ed organization! Cool!) but then I don’t know what to do with the Blue Jay reference. Also, the troop or pack or whatever it is that meets at Amanda’s house earlier in the show is all boys, and I realized that she could be getting her Junior Trailblazers resources because she was a den mother for her boys’ group. Then “Blue Jays” would refer to the organization of Amanda’s youth, either the girls’ version of the Trailblazers, or a different organization altogether. Or maybe, Blue Jays is a figment of Francine’s imagination because she can’t remember the name of the organization Amanda is involved in — one of those outdoorsy sounding names, anyway. As far as I know, we have only Francine’s word for it!

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    • LOL thanks happycamper – trust you with your handle to try and explain the trailblazer/blue jay/scout confusion!! 🙂

      It’s all as clear as mud.. though it does seem trailblazer is a boy thing.. maybe blue jays is the girl equivalent? who knows.. awh well!

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  12. I actually think this scene is SMK’s take on the male “I know where I’m going and I don’t need help”/female “just ask for help when you need it” havigation disagreement that goes on in vehicles across the globe. Lee is at least enlightened enough to try to consult a map – my husband claims to have an “internal navigation system” 😀
    Amanda has her resources at the ready (back-up map, food etc) and she knows where to ask for help (Cob’s Corner). And she’s very patient with him; teasing him gently.

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    • I like this idea of yours learjet! The whole being outdoors and not being as expert as Amanda has always been a real sore point for Lee!! [remember Lee in Long Christmas Eve?! ouchy!] Hmm.. too much of a challenge to his I’m a rugged secret agent who can do anything awesomely image… but ohhhh wait.. this suburban housewife can do outdoorsy stuff better than me?? Trailblazers do better maps that the Agency??!!!! you know?? 🙂 I think this is all a part of what’s going on..

      Heck, I’m enjoying hearing everyone’s take on what’s going on with Lee and Amanda here at the start of this episode.. I do think we are given some clues about what is underneath it all as we progress – my thoughts aren’t fully formed on it though, an idea is starting to form in my mind..veeery slowly! lol… not quite there yet! tee hee.. sooo I’ll be touching on what is underneath all this behaviour from Lee later on (hopefully!).
      I don’t necessarily view it as central to the Lee/Amanda changing romantic relationship.. but who knows maybe it’s a part of it..
      Regardless of what I think – I enjoyed hearing everyone’s different ideas and different directions they took it in – so much fun!!!! 🙂

      I’m relishing the discussions – even if I don’t comment so much to reply.. (no time! sorry!)

      I am definitely listening to your ideas… taking it all on board and I’ll eventually settle on an interpretation for how I see the story.. but for now, I’m just toying with ideas.. keeping an open mind.. including about the episode order!
      Okay byeee guys!!!

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    • Yep, I agree, learjet. And just like Lee/Amanda here, I am the one to do the navigating while my husband “tries” to read the map. He thinks he’s good with directions, but purlease….he has no idea. Just like Lee.

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  13. Just wanted to say, that this is one of my all time favorite scenes. So great how she makes him ask for the map. Love it too!!!

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  14. I’m not sure how much sense you will get out of Kiwismh while Lee is in the outdoors wearing that gorgeous chambray blue shirt. Simply stunning 😯
    Both Lee and Amanda are nicely dressed today (although Amanda’s red plaid shirt is just a wee bit OTT but I can live with it after the recent wardrobe felonies we’ve had to endure).

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    • Agreed, Lee is looking truly droolworthy, in the sun with the green grass accentuating the blue of his shirt….Also love the beige body-warmer thing for the “rustic” look. I actually like Amanda’s plaid shirt, but not so sure about the white skivvy/polo neck/turtle neck.

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      • Lee’s “beige body-warmer” thing is quite common here in the U.S. We call is a vest and it has extra pockets for holding supplies that you might need while camping or fishing. I’m sure Lee’s pockets are empty though cos he’s not a camper/fisher. And Amanda’s plaid shirt/white turtleneck combo. is quite a classic look for us Americans, especially those of us who live in colder climates such as New England. I fondly remember having several plaid, flannel shirts like that that I always wore with a turtleneck. Now that I live in the southern US, though I no longer need either!

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    • You can do it, kiwismh! Just keep breathing!

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  15. I just wanted to say I LOVE this scene (although I am annoyed at Lee dismissing Amanda’s assignment as chicken feed.). Great screen caps and I’ll have to rewatch this several more times to see if you missed a ‘squeeze’ or two.

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  16. I haven’t read the other responses yet but something occurred to me as I watched this episode again last night. Amanda always gets enthused so I don’t think that’s out of character for her here but at the beginning of this episode she’s fallen back more into her ‘enthused as a housewife’ rather than ‘enthused as a budding agent’. She’s packing a picnic and showing him her maps like she’s a 5 year old trying to be important. It’s like they have both made a step in their relationship and freaked out so they reverted back into their comfort zone – Lee complaining about a chicken feed assignment with Amanda and Amanda as the caretaker/mom. It falls away pretty quickly but to me it’s a knee jerk reaction to what happened in Sour Grapes. I understand why people think this episode comes before SG but I’m leaning the other way. There are more reasons later in the episode that make me even more sure but I’m not allowed to talk about that now 🙂

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    • I have been thinking about your comment, allofakind, since you posted. I am intrigued by your idea of their behavior being a knee jerk reaction to SG. I’m not sure if I agree, at least not yet, about your episode order thoughts, and am anxious to hear your reasons. Somehow my train of thought seems to be stuck at the station, but there is something about their body language in SG and a few other things that lead me to think UN is first. What I’m probably going to do it watch them again in both orders and see if I can see what you see. Any excuse to re-watch is a great excuse for me.

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  17. Woo Hoo! Ok so this day started out kind of dicey for me, and it may continue that way. But for this brief moment I am going to slip into that lovely rabbit hole and have a field day!

    This scene is why I think Lee’s crankiness in the previous scene has a lot to do with his feeling for Amanda and his unsettledness about what is going on between them. Just my opinion…feel free to disagree. Ok, if this is right after the opera date (and that was a date!) maybe Lee isn’t sure what being with Amanda will be like. How is she going to react? Is she going to assume that they have a new sort of relationship? What is working with her going to be like? I wonder if Lee is a bit concerned about that, not that he has thought it through, I think there are a myriad of different things coursing through him and he isn’t good yet at sorting them out.
    So his comment about it not being a picnic makes me think he is trying to keep this on professional track. Amanda we are on an assignment, this isn’t about a personal moment, got to keep them separate. Maybe his compartmentalization is at work? And his comments about the Agency map vs the Trailblazer guides may be a bit more of the same thing that induced him to ask her to the opera under the guise of a training exercise. I think his defensiveness is because of this new aspect of their relationship that he is not yet willing to really come out and acknowledge and he is wondering if Amanda is going to acknowledge it and how it will change their working relationship.
    Of course, Amanda is brilliant here. She is all about the assignment. She hasn’t been thrown off balance by the evening at the opera or by Lee’s crankiness. She is ready for the job and excited for it. And even though Lee pours cold water on her enthusiasm, she doesn’t back away. She just good humoredly adjusts and plugs on. She stays in what she knows of their friendship and working relationship, pulls out the map and points the way.
    And I love Lee’s response.Amanda draws him right out of his nervous snit and brings them both right back to the wonderful reality of their growing, comfortable friendship. They are partners and friends, both good at their job and a very good team. they enjoy each other, sharpen each other and together they will get a job done. Lee can relax and just enjoy this little chicken feed assignment with his good friend and partner Amanda. Lets go to Cob’s Corner. I think that is why he seems so much more pleasant and comfortable from here on.

    Well, I wrote a novella. Oops. Again, this is just how I see this episode (works for me) but I love contemplating other ideas. Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks.

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    • Agree Morley. I think it is much easier for Lee to keep his feelings and his relationship with Amanda within his comfort zone within the structure and predictability of the office environment, their dates (which is probably safe territory for him because dates involve some etiquette and predictability), and in their “normal” lives. Out here in the country with no-one to interrupt and no safe apartment to retreat to, he’s having to dealing with his growing feelings for Amanda every minute of the day. Maybe he doesn’t quite trust himself. Maybe away from their everyday lives it might just be too easy for the relationship to progress beyond his (and her) current comfort zone.
      Their friendship is too valuable to jeopardise so I think he is very aware of his every moment alone with her on this assignment. Maybe that’s why he’s a bit on edge and not really as relaxed as he usually would be with their banter.

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    • Morley, Amanda is brilliant here. She handles Lee very well. She knows he is out of his depth, yet she is kind and polite with him and helps him to let her take the lead while “saving face” for him. She doesn’t embarrass him or belittle him even though he looks down on the assignment. I think her familiar touch on his arm and their physical closeness also help him to realize that she is still the same old Amanda, their opera date notwithstanding.

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