Rock Climbing I (107.8)

This change of scenery reminds the viewer that while Ben figures out who Fiona Clarke is, there is a lot he does not know about his daughter, and her other “dad”. Even Danny can be dumbfounded by her, at times, as this scene depicts.

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Olives climbs

Scene shifts to a rock climbing gym where Danny is watching Olive climb an artificial rock structure with ropes attached to her. Danny, as Olives belayer, is holding the rope.

DANNY: Hey, did you crush that soccer tournament like you’re crushing this climb?

OLIVE: Had to bail. It was like two days after the plane came back.


OLIVE: I have another one in a week.

DANNY: Nice. Wish I could see it.

Olive falls and quits

Olive pauses her climb, and appears to lose her focus, before slipping and allowing the rope and harnesses catch her lowering her to the floor.

OLIVE: Oh, damn it.

DANNY: It’s all right. Next time, make sure that your knee is bent before you reach.

OLIVE: I don’t want to do this anymore.

Why Olive loses her focus

When she realizes that she and Danny can’t be as close as before because of all of the changes brought on by Cal and Ben’s return, she wants to quit.

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Danny does not push

DANNY: Well, where’d that come from? This morning, you seemed pumped to climb.

OLIVE: Yeah, and now I’m not.

DANNY: Olive, talk to me.

OLIVE: No. I’m out.

DANNY:  Well, I’m not. I’ll be here tomorrow.

Rock climbing metaphor works wells here

The writer’s continue to surprise us with how well they integrate the story line and character development with the real world. Any rock climber understands that the safety ropes which secure a person during a climb need to be pulled not pushed. The force that is created is called tension. Pushing something with a rope is impossible since the rope will go slack, and lose the tension that allows it to pull in the first place. As long one’s climbing partner applies tension at the other end of the rope, a climber who falls will not fall far. As the climber moves on the climb, the belayer must make sure that the climber has the right amount of rope by paying out or pulling in excess rope.

Everything we know about Danny seems consistent with this. He knows when to let out, and when to pull in just at the right times when interacting with Olive. Whether he is talking about meatloaf they are having for dinner (105.13), picking her up after she was caught shoplifting (104.17, cf. 104.20), or giving her the freedom to return to rock climbing the next day, Danny is willing to give her just the right slack. As we will soon see, however, this tension has to work and balance itself out in both directions, and when other people are involved (i.e. Grace and Ben), things can get a whole lot more complicated.


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6 thoughts on “Rock Climbing I (107.8)

  1. When it comes to taking Danny at face value, I see him as being on the creepy vibe side of the storyline. True. People not biologically related can love children in a non-creepy way.

    My major complaint with Danny is that he doesn’t respect boundaries. He went to Ben and Grace’s home unannounced and without being invited after she had told him she was trying to rebuild her marriage.

    By doing so, he disrespected Ben as a Husband, and as a Man. He also disrespected Grace … who told him, “You can’t be here.” And why was he there?

    According to him, not because he couldn’t get over losing Grace, but because he didn’t know if he could get over losing Olive. Why was it so urgent for him to tell Grace that he couldn’t get over losing Olive?

    And why would he say that to Grace? I can get over losing you, but not your daughter? It strikes me as being out of the norm.

    Danny doesn’t respect boundaries by forcefully intruding into Grace’s marriage and Ben’s relationship with Olive, irrespective of his own feelings. He’s either lying, mentally unstable, or simply being manipulative when it comes to his true motives. Or possibly all of the above.

    For me, Danny is a mysterious character … with a creep factor vibe written all over him.

  2. I think if it continues it will definitely be creepy weird. How many teenage girls are that affectionate with their stepfather? Most dream about their real Dads coming back in their life. Olive’s semi-rejection of her Dad doesn’t ring true. Let the real father take his rightful place. Olive is almost an adult…it will be close to almost dating if they continue this relationship in the future.

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  3. Danny was a widower before he met Grace, as I recall. So I take it that Grace was his first relationship after that, and it’s only been a few weeks since the return of the flight. I don’t get a creepy vibe at all, I’m taking Danny at face value – he’s a nice guy who cares and loves for Grace and her daughter. People not biologically related can love children in a non-creepy way, and one would hope there are more step-parents that do, rather than not (though there are plenty in the not category).

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  4. Poor Danny. He’s getting more of cranky teenage Olive. Even though it makes Ben uncomfortable, I’m glad that Danny and Olive are still spending time together. When you spend four years together, you don’t just stop caring about each other even if you weren’t the ones who were dating. I remember when I read High Fidelity and Rob talked about how after he and his girlfriend broke up, he realized that he’d never see her parents again despite spending Christmases in their pajamas together.

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