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Helen and Thomas; Helens' quick pull
Topic Started: Apr 5 2014, 09:36 AM (1,747 Views)
Prairiegirl
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G2 landing
So at the end of Season 3, Helen breaks up with Nikki and (apparently) immediately gets involved with Thomas. Now according to timelines, is with him for about a month before getting back together with Nikki. But things move pretty quickly with Thomas. And she seems to be able to just crook her little finger and have a man. What do you think it is about Helen that she is able to move that quickly? And do you think she is different with Thomas than Nikki? How? And do you think that she is attracted to Nikki because of patterns (bad?) ones in her dating relationships with men?
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richard
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This is a tricky matter as Thomas is under the big disadvantage of inadvertaintly getting in the way of Helen and Nikki and for that reason, he hasn't come under any great scrutiny.

Here are a few thoughts on Thomas. He is clearly idealistic in pursuing his interest in psychology for the common good and, after being brought in as consultant over Pam Jolley, becomes pretty scathing about her standard of care and of Dr No No. There's a clear parallel that he is fighting the old guard and, in particular, of replacing Dr No No as resident health specialist. He has a number of quirks in his choice of sandwiches and in going to the dog tracks and is unlucky in love as his wife ran off with his best friend. He has pretty strong ideas on not being betrayed and in people being honest and this compels a definite parallel with Nikki. If you check out his final scene with Helen in the restaurant, you can see that he doesn't give a toss about discussing personal matters in a public place and he gave Helen a definite shove to Helen in Nikki's direction in his accurate description of how much Niiik meant to Helen in the same way that in Chix, Trisha did to Nikki. What's interesting is Nikki's description of Thomas as the "dashing doctor" and "the one decent guy" with no trace of sarcasm

There are differences in the way Helen behaves with Nikki than he behaves with Thomas as she sort of reverts to type in the way she behaved with Sean. The only exception is her single minded watch she made of Virginia O'Kane's 'knocking shop'. She had always been single minded in pursuing Fenner's dodgy deeds but this reaches a new intensity especially as she understandably wishes to confide in as few people as possible.
Just a few preliminary thoughts.
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magical_mist
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S3 E12 is a massive episode for H and N as it's basically both of them doing a 180 out of the relationship, both rebounding faster than the speed of light, and both looking a little bit at times like they regret it. As for Helen moving very quickly, lets consider the evidence..she's (at least initially) very angry at N when she hints with Thomas that he can hold her hand at the conference (grrrr!). She sees Nikki go into the potting shed and then kiss in the library with Caroline. This all takes place before H starts proper flirting with T. When she walks in on Nikki in the library, N is pretty cold with her, speaking to her like she's a governor...she refers to her not by name but as "miss" for the first time when they are alone together since early series 1. When N leaves the library I always feel the phrase "can I go now please?" has a double meaning. She's asking if she can literally be allowed to leave but I feel Helen is considering it as a sign that N is literally asking "are you letting go of me?". H looks pretty pained at this point and we all think she might just be about to try to reel N back in when N says impatiently "well?" and gets the confusing "Be careful" line. Later after Caroline gets moved, Nikki goes on the rampage to H's office, including accusing her of pulling power over her. When N leaves and H sits back in the chair I always feel like H is literally stiffening her upper lip and putting the shield up to try to not feel hurt. She knows she is genuinely trying to protect N. It's right after this she agrees to a pub meal with Thomas on the way to the conference. I think H is thinking that Thomas can be a good uncomplicated man for her if she's going to revert back to her pre-Nikki uncomplicated heterosexual life. H is rebounding to Thomas because she knows she can get him easily (confidence booster) and N is rebounding to Caroline to probably cover the hurt at being royally dumped/treated so poorly/annoyed with H's lack of morals over Femi/intrigued by an "uncomplicated" relationship with another prisoner.
I think in that episode H starts her flirting with Thomas, but I think it was on the cards from his point of view for a while. They'd been quite close in working together and they were both single - Thomas was oblivious to H and N as it was a secret. Thomas can see Helen is a stunner as much as the viewers can. Plus H knows he's a handsome moral and dependable man - possible father for her children(?). In the DVD extras Simone says of Thomas something like "I think she really likes him, he's very handsome". Oh FFS Helen pick a team! Bah. So anyway Simone is definitely playing H like Helen really likes Thomas. Bah. (can't remember if Helen had shared the Fenner report with Thomas by this episode but I think so, so she trusted him).
As for patterns in dating with men, I think Richard quoted the Bad Girls book - I don't have it but I'm paraphrasing from memory - it says something like Helen has had many boyfriends but never wanted to commit to any of them. (Mmh wonder why Helen?) So I think with Nikki she definitely breaks a pattern in terms of it being a with a woman, and crossing a professional boundary. At this point in time she hasn't committed (ie got engaged or moved in for obvious reasons) as such, unless you count things like working on N's appeal and promising her there will be an "us" if N gets out. Er so does she break a bad pattern ...still thinking about this one. Now that I'm rewatching S1 like a forensic scientist with a scanning electron microscope I noticed how easily she tells Sean she loves him (S1 E7 "I didn't realise how possessive you were..(laughs) I love you") yet I only recall her saying it to N once. You do kind of get the feeling though that the thing with Sean could be H at least believing she was in love with him, but the thing with Thomas never really felt real. The night H "stays over" with Thomas is almost painful, you just want her to get up and go for her own sakes as much as for Nikki's. You can almost feel her resisting and then just thinking "ok here I go again". What are everyones thoughts on how regular H slept with Thomas, do you think it was just this once and then she was always busy staking out the massage parlours or do you think it became a regular thing?
Edited by magical_mist, Apr 6 2014, 03:31 PM.
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Prairiegirl
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I'm going to break this down into pieces because there are a lot of comments going on here.

Holy crap they rebound fast. There is apparently a month between when Helen and Nikki break up and when they get together (pieced together by other folks who have a timeline). Helen breaks up with Nikki, like the next nanosecond has pulled Thomas. You have to wonder why - was she having second thoughts about Nikki? How long? It is hard to come up with another answer besides that. Or she is just easy - I guess that could be too. She was having to believe in something pretty tenuous for a really long time so it makes sense she would be having second thoughts but she seems to turn it on and off very quickly.

Nikki makes a bit more sense in turning it on and off - she is already in such a tenuous situation that it isn't surprising she jumps at whatever comes along. But you can also see her hesitancy around it. She pushes off the advances for a while - do you think she agrees because she wants to make Helen jealous? Or because she really believes (for the third time) that Helen has really moved on?
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Prairiegirl
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I do think Thomas is easy - it seems like Helen latches onto whatever walks by in Y chromosomes. I know how he says he thinks they get along really easily but I wonder if that is because Helen keeps things from him. There are several times where he asks her things and she deflects. She does the same thing with Sean. Is it that she doesn't really present herself honestly to men? Is that part of the issue that she picks up boy toys, plays with them and then punts them when they are onto her? Or they punt her? We have so few clues.
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Prairiegirl
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One thing that always struck me is that with Sean, Helen was like, whatever. She asked him to move in and does say she loves him but won't commit. With Thomas also, he says he loves her and all that but again, she won't commit. With Nikki, however, she's practically superglue. I mean no rational person would have gotten into this relationship (love is not rational I know) but the amount of commitment Helen shows to Nikki and doesn't show to these two men is quite striking. I've ordered the book to see what it says.

Do you think Helen knows she is beautiful and can easily pull men because of it? Do you think she uses it with Thomas? When I watch it, it seems like there is some veneer she puts on with him.

Magic - you put out the word possessive. She really doesn't like Sean being possessive. She really pushes back on that. She pushes back with Nikki too although not as hard. One would think she has an issue with commitment except for the Nikki think. Is it just that women work that much better for her? But then why is she conflicted?
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richard
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This last set of questions by Prairiegirl is a good one and there appears to be some veneer with Thomas and Sean though I've tended to feel that Thomas and Nikki have some similarities. Thomas is more intense than Sean (though any guy could be). The difference with nikki I that Nikki is really intense and demands a high level of emotional honesty that is new to Helen. I was looking through the "Cat and mouse" episode and it is noticeable that as a helpmate in Larkhall Prison skulduggeries, Thomas means well but he hasn't got the grounding that Helen has as Nikki has. In her pursuit of Fenner, the only person she confides in is Yvonne .

There's anther aspect here and that's that Helen is definitely a flirt which doesn't stop her using reason to achieve he ends. She does this with Nikki, Sean,Dominic and Thomas but it's equally significant that there isn't a whisper of this with say Fenner

This is rather a roundabout reply but I'd be interested in what others think.
Edited by richard, Apr 12 2014, 01:46 PM.
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Prairiegirl
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Do you think it is in part because Nikki is high maintenance? I have a theory that some relationships have a rock and a bird. The rock is solid, steady, reliable but also kind of bored in who they are. The bird is high flying, high maintenance, mercurial, interesting but kind of unstable. The bird needs the rock to be safe and secure and the rock needs the bird for interest and excitement and motion in their life. In her relationships with men, Helen seems to have been the bird but in her relationship with Nikki, she seems much more to be the rock. This puts different demands on her than her relationships with men. She has to be more committed, more steady, more stable. And maybe that fits her better?

This also explains to some degree why she puts up with Nikki's stroppyness. (is that a word?)
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richard
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This is an interesting one. Helen is certainly the rock in pursuing Nikki's appeal and Nikki defers to Helen's advice (and also Claire's advice for obvious professional reason). On the other hand, Nikki saved Helen's neck over Monica's overdose. There's an interesting interchange between the two of them as Helen has a structured attitude considering rules and regulations while Nikki freewheels through it all according a sense of morality yet each gets to see the other's point of view- Helen breaking rules by photocopying Nikki's prison file for Claire's purpose (strictly a no no) yet Nikki sees the virtue of the CCRC and the appeals process. They do sometimes cause each other grief but Helen is having to strike out into unknown territory- check out Helen's statement in the arts room scene that Nikki "has turned her life upside down" and there aren't any signposts (i.e the way she behaved with boyfriends being implicitly part of this)
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magical_mist
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I love the bird and rock analogy, I've never heard of that before. Yes I think it fits very well for Helen and her relationships. I do think part of why we see N get a bit less stroppy in S3 is part of an equalizing in order to make N and H more realistically workable. You couldn't see H put up with N outside Larkhall if she was accusing her of flirting with men everytime she speaks to one, but by S3 she is not suspicious of Helen and Thomas going out for a drink (even though they were having a relationship!) and she's not physically fighting with people and being sent down the block repeatedly. Helen or her love for Helen has tamed her.
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Prairiegirl
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Hm - what about Helen do you think tames Nikki? I am intrigued about how Helen acts differently in her relationships with Sean and Thomas vs Nikki but hadn't thought much about the differences in how Nikki relates to Helen vs Trish. We only have a little to go on with Trish but how do you think Nikki is different? Or is she at all?
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richard
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This is an intriguing question and certainly Nikki does tend to calm down in Series 3 yet it is rather up and down like a roller coaster . Certainly Nikki doesn't kick off about Thomas yet on the other hand she gets payback against Fenner for him assaulting Helen. The riot sequence in Series 3 shows how things are much more complex than the near riot in Series 1 where she has very mixed feelings. There's also a point that where her appeal becomes more possible, she accepts Helen's repeated advice to "keep her nose clean". Regarding Nikki with Helen or Trisha, we only have the final scene in Chix and her first visit in Series 1 to go on. In the second scene, Trisha considers that the "better woman" has won.
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mlbach
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Keys for the handcuffs!
richard
Apr 12 2014, 06:54 PM
There's an interesting interchange between the two of them as Helen has a structured attitude considering rules and regulations while Nikki freewheels through it all according a sense of morality yet each gets to see the other's point of view-
I agree. One of the things I love about this story is how they take turns and as a result the two of them together are much more than the two of them apart. The relationship is marked throughout with unselfishness and taking risks to benefit or protect the other. Each truly wants what is best for the other (once initial hurt feelings have been addressed). This is part of who they are as people.
As for how Helen interacts with the boys, just compare the boys to Nikki. When Helen breaks up with Sean, he burns his wedding suit (which could also be interpreted as Helen in effigy). Nikki sends her off with her blessings. And if Nikki had been in Thomas's situation, she would have been riding shotgun in Helen's crusade against Fenner instead of whinging that Helen wasn't spending more time with her and worrying aloud whether mom would think what Helen was doing was "normal. "
Edited by mlbach, Apr 14 2014, 09:07 PM.
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magical_mist
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Lovely point there mlbach about their unselfishness. I know that if Helen Stewart asked me to sit in her car with her night after night I wouldn't have been choosing to stay home and watch Coronation St or whatever "normal" thing Thomas got up to on those evenings. I know Nikki wouldn't have either! Still you get the feeling that towards the end of S3 (E15) Thomas is "totally in love with" her and gearing up to maybe take things more seriously with H and you can tell by her face she's starting to get that feeling of dread like she got with Sean. Good acting Simone! One point on Helen with Sean; we've probably all known a bridezilla in our lives and it seems to me Sean is mistaking H for being one of those sort of women whose whole week would hang on getting the right date for the registry office etc. You had the right idea Sean, but you had the wrong woman!
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richard
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Great points made here especially about the two of them together being more than the two of them apart. There's one intriguing point that Thomas strikes me as quite a lot different than Sean. Sean just has to be oh so cool and only shows emotion after Helen calls off the wedding while Thomas tends to put his heart on his sleeve more yet he doesn't go apeshit as Sean does. You get the feeling that Thomas is a touch reminiscent of Nikki without Helen being aware of it. Only a thought though
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