Okay, apologies for the crappy screencaps, but good lord am I a sucker for well done OCD on TV (because it barely ever happens). Obviously my heart and soul belong to the
ImPossible Bel Rowley and Journalist McNevershutsup, but this scene, you guys. Also, Lix is the greatest, that goes without saying, and someone else should absolutely vomit feelings about this scene from her point of view, because I’d love to read it. But I just cannot get over how viscerally real Randall’s compulsive reaction to grief was.
If you know the feeling, I don’t have to describe it to you. You can see the gnawing that tugs him toward compulsion, and you can see it grow stronger by the second. His world has been shattered, scattered, thrown into a mess that swallows his jammed up brain. She’s grieving too; she can’t move. But he can, he has to, and he needs her to move, to leave, to keep away from this pointlessness that his whole brain and body cries out for him to do, and he’s already started, and she’s still there.
She can’t move, but he moves everything, back and forth and back again. He knows she’s watching but he can’t stop now. There’s supposed to be a click, a calm, a brief moment of peace, but it’s not coming, he can’t feel it. He’s not doing it right. His hands are shaking; the objects won’t stay put. (She stays put.) This isn’t working, this needs to work. This isn’t working. (Of course it isn’t working, because what the hell do the papers and books have to do with the child he loved, the child he left? Nothing and he knows it and she knows it and why won’t this just work?)
The gnawing grows and his whole body is stretched tight. He stops trying. He won’t get it right. But he can’t stop moving (she still can’t move) so he tears it all apart, fingers and elbows and shoulders snapping stiff with every jerky movement, as though he can fling the chaos outside of his body.
That doesn’t work either.
And then he’s done and nothing’s better, and then she has moved, moved to him, but oh god she can’t be there, not when he’s being clawed apart from the inside out. But once again, she stays put. She stayed and watched and knows (knows the pointlessness, but more than that - knows the child he left, the child he lost). Her hand burns his scalp. It scalds his palm when he takes it in his own. He lets it.