It is a weird thing, trust, a delicate feeling. Whether you give or receive, you have to handle it with care because it takes very little to damage it and only a little more to break it.
When that happens, when you stay there, knowing that something that could have been will never be, fragments strike you like the reflections of sun on the water caressed by wind.
It is such a precarious feeling and it is said to be easier to love than to trust and to have someones confidence is an honor more precious than being loved.
Raised with Wolves’ absolute protagonist is trust.
Trust that you would give but too much pain keeps you from daring.
Trust that your logic would never give but the heart has already granted, no matter what.
Trust that has always been there, you’ve just never thought to call into question and that, however, is likely to crumble apart, crumbling even you.
I don’t want to sound corny though, watching Mary Kills People one episode after another, I am invariably struck by how much and how well everything contributes to a riveting, engaging narrative.
Examples are in every scene, proving mastery and dedication of all the professionals who contribute to wrap such a beautiful product.
Grady waiting for Mary framed by water transparency or Ben talking on his cell with the picturesque lake on his back, are just two examples of the will to engage the viewer in sharing not only a tale but the emotional warmth of the scene.
You can breathe harmony and mutual understanding behind the narrative, even in conflicts.
The continuity of direction by Holly Dale, undoubtedly ensures consistency to the canvas, from background to single details. Characters, scenery, lines, lights and sounds, everything spreads real emotion, rough, conflicting and uncertain, just like those in real life.
The most intense tones are those generated by conflicts and hardest conflicts are those within each character.
Trusting another person means giving that person the power to break your heart and hoping they won’t.
This hope is so fragile in Des… He is determined to avoid Mary, to give her the chance to break his heart.
Fear of betrayal, by the only person who counts on him, is so big that he prefers to play himself in the role of the villain, compromising its principles and let it all go to hell, not to have to test his friend loyalty.
Ben, on the contrary, wants to conquer Mary’s trust, intimately gratified by her cry for help.
Deserving, perhaps, even more than conquering, aware that he had tried to betray her confidence before earning it.
Then he says what he shouldn’t say, does what he shouldn’t do, goes where he shouldn’t go, as he didn’t know whether it is strongest the desire that Mary trusts him, or the confirmation that he can trust her.
His feelings for Mary, the irrational instinct to protect her from her own vulnerabilities, are so strong and pressing that, for Mary, he is willing to go to the limit of what his ethics allows. Maybe he would be ready to cross some limit too because of Mary. After all, Ben is aware he has got her and understands her reasons. However, knowing what Mary is doing, he disapproves, though, as only one who loves can do, he is ready to accept it…Indeed, he has already done so, almost earlier than Nicole (Hats off to Charlotte Sullivan’s extraordinary skill, delivering a character so complete and complex, with just a few brushes as an expert painter).
Ben accepted Mary without wonder and shyness, he doesn’t let what Mary does to be a reason to hold back his desire to be there for her.
He doesn’t allow Mary to be defined by her mistakes…
Ben’s ability to see the good in Mary is amazing in spite of the truth of what she does, which is, for him, burning, crystal and inescapable.
Ben seems ready to do anything for Mary. He admits with candor to Frank at the district.
For some reason she chose him. Him, the son of a happy couple who share a serene retirement in Florida. He, who was brought up on good and right, cannot hold back.
He cannot remain emotionless to what he saw in Mary, when, alone and desperate, she came knocking on his door.
That evening, two solitary beings took refuge in one another.
He is so sure of the vulnerability he saw behind her strength. A strength that only fear and pain feed.
He is so sure as to follow his instinct leading him to her side. He moves us most with the sincerity and tenderness with which he proposes the trip to Florida with Mary or with looks and the sweetness he reserves for her,later, at every Nicole sympathetic allusion.
This is why the disappointment of then, it hurts so much ….
That’s why Ben does not have the clarity of mind nor the calm to understand that Mary is going to tell him exactly what he has just found out.
Mary’s “I want to be honest with you” has a tremendous, unappreciated value.
Mary confirms his instinct, Mary trusts him.
But in Ben’s ear, on the pontoon, there is only the cry of pain of his broken heart and Mary’s sincerity, the reciprocated trust, is lost in that echo of pain.
Ben was freaked out by Mary’s vulnerability and fell in love.
Jumping to conclusions during the phone call, believing everything he had imagined about her suddenly wrong, miserably shatters the confidence he felt, the trust he thought she deserved.
Even before being betrayed by Mary, Ben is betrayed by the collapse of his expectations. Doesn’t wait, doesn’t listen, he overreacts.
It’s too painful to think that Mary is not as fragile as she looked in his arms.
In front of her, he was incredibly himself.
Too much pain to think that she has not reciprocated.
It is not the thought of a Mary “worse” than he thought to crush Ben’s heart and logic,
it is the horror at the thought of exposing himself, to have been true in front of someone capable instead of pretending emotions, fragility and involvement.
Once undermined the trust in Mary’s emotional honesty, there is no room for his feelings.
Ben goes away, leaving Mary torn and lonely.
That’s how Mary has always seen herself. How she always felt.
The immensity of pain inside her to suggest that such an immense sorrow could not be shared, could not be understood and loneliness was the remedy to survive.
Keeping all this pain inside, though, because your sister does not deserve it, your husband would not understand (and that’s how he became an ex) and taking this almost clinical detachment from any emotional involvement, makes you tougher, preventing you from trust issues, pushing people away, even daughters.
The fear of allowing the ones she loves to come too close to her runs deep and corrodes her soul like a burning fire.
Mary can only rely on herself.
An indelible pain which will never die, as she says, has been caused by those who loved her most.
She is no longer used, not capable and too afraid to trust. She would not trust Ben and she is committed to strenuously keep him away since the beginning, at her wake up in the motel.
She slams in his face that he cannot be trusted because he is the one always working, the one pretending.
She shows coldness, distance. She knows how much any weakness could cost.
And trust would be for her an unforgivable weakness.
The temptation to break her haven of loneliness’ barriers is great, the price is likely to be very high.
Mary would like to give up, oh how she would.
Close her eyes, shoulders enclosed by his arms as when he taught her to aim, protected.
“To properly aim you have to control subconscious”, he said.
Surrounded by him, her inner demons silent at last, she felt herself, without fear and the shot was direct and precise.
I wonder what she thought.
Taking a deep breath, the warmth of Ben on arms and back, she must have thought how everything would have been easier, in that warmth, finally protected.
However Mary seems to resist there and later, during the walk.
Yet, Ben’s protective desire to crumble Mary’s solitude broke through, the sincerity of his feelings not unheard.
She needs just a little encouragement by Nicole as she had already settled inside her that Ben and what he means, is worth the risk.
Sadly just to hear his voice in delivering her real name, it’s enough to know her choice was late.
Nothing ever easy for Mary.
The resolution to confide, to share everything with Ben, not just the loneliness, is a difficult and important step, so bitterly reviled by the simple lack of timing.
Not enough strength to grab Ben, to stop him, yelling at him that what he found out was exactly what she went to tell him. That it’s what she meant her “to be honest”.
He should just listen to her.
She is so resigned to being disappointed by those who love her that she doesn’t even try, does not believe it.
It is easier to keep protecting herself, to see in Ben’s reaction a cold pro calculation rather than his disappointed irrational bitterness.
Easier to whisper to herself “I told you so,” and letting him leave, rather than risk of not being trusted once she explained.
Rejecting because of the dread of not being accepted.
Expectations play a role in the episode secondary to that played by the trust.
Ben and Mary, they wound each other because of the fear of being hurt, because of hesitation in believing, afraid that trusting each other will mean to concede too much into their vulnerability.
To protect themselves, expose both of them to a bigger pain.
To trust means exposure to risk of suffering, of course.
Those we love can hurt us more than anyone else, even not on purpose.
What Ben and Mary must both ask themselves, from the depth of their solitude, is whether the warmth of the presence of each other in the other’s life is worth the risk of getting burned.
Edited by Lisa
Charlotte Sullivan is a Canadian actress who is known for her role as Gail Peck in the police drama Rookie Blue. She got her break in the late 1990s, first landing a role in the movie The Legend of Gator Face followed by guest roles on Goosebumps and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Sullivan remained on the TV circuit for several years and simultaneously scored roles in the big screen with The Hidden Dimension, Shadow Builder, How to Deal and Fever Pitch. But her most notable roles were playing Katie in Across the River to Motor City, Maxima in an episode of Smallville’s 8th season and a starring roles in The New Ghostwriter Mysteries and Harriet the Spy.
In 2011, Sullivan appeared as Marilyn Monroe in the Canadian-American miniseries The Kennedys.
She was nominated for an Academy of canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in the 2011 film Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster.
After her outstanding performance as Nicole, Mary’s wise little sister, in both season of Mary Kills People, we are waiting to see her as Jennifer Baker, in debutant Canadian series Caught, based on the novel by Lisa Moore, coming to CBC Febraury 26th.
2011 Edwin Boyd
2011 The Kennedys (TV mini-series)
2010 Rookie Blue (TV series)
2010/II The Appointment (short)
2009 Alice (TV mini-series)
2009 Iron Road (TV mini-series)
2009 The Listener (TV series)
2009 Unstable (TV movie)
2009 The Cry of the Owl
2009 Ny-Lon (TV movie)
2008 Smallville (TV series)
2008 Murdoch Mysteries (TV series)
2008 M.V.P. (TV series)
2008 Love & Justice (short)
2007 Across the River to Motor City (TV series)
2006 The House Next Door (TV movie)
2006 Population 436 (video)
2005-2006 Puppets Who Kill (TV series)
2005 Tagged: The Jonathan Wamback Story (TV movie)
2005 Fever Pitch
2005/I Booth (short)
2004 This Is Wonderland (TV series)
2003 Beautiful Girl (TV movie)
2003 Radio Free Roscoe (TV series)
2003 How to Deal
2003 Platinum (TV series)
2001-2003 Blue Murder (TV series)
2001 My Daughter’s Secret Life (TV movie)
1999 Are You Afraid of the Dark? (TV series)
1999 The Famous Jett Jackson (TV series)
1999 The Wrong Girl (TV movie)
1999 Mary Cassatt: An American Impressionist (TV movie)
1998 Shadow Builder
1998 Harm’s Way (TV movie)
1997 When Innocence Is Lost (TV movie)
1997 The New Ghostwriter Mysteries (TV series)
1996 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (TV series)
1996 Goosebumps (TV series)
1996 Harriet the Spy
1996 The Pathfinder (TV movie)
1996 The Legend of Gator Face