Continuation of the Details--page 2
The Operation The preparation for Bob Allen's operation sets the tone for Christy's indoctrination into MacNeill's world, and we see her reaction to it and to him. It is quite a shock to her delicate sensibilities to be thrust into this untamed place in the midst of such a gruesome situation. Christy's first encounter with MacNeill is her first real encounter into how difficult life is in these mountains and how different life is from that which she left in Asheville. (MacNeill represents the mountains and its people. Her coming to love these people, these mountains, and this way of life will correspond with her learning to respect and love this man.) The symbolism in the scene leading up to Bob Allen's operation is significantly masculine---that is because healing is MacNeill's domain and the torches, the tall shadows cast on the walls, even the axe stuck into the floor by Mary Allen, all contribute phallic imagery. The scene reveals a major contrast between MacNeill's rugged masculinity and Christy's delicate femininity. Why this initial episode is so important is that it contributes to the enigma that is Neil MacNeill, and it wonderfully contrasts with what we (along with Christy) learn about this man over time--that part of his charm is indeed that he is all man but also that he has a gentle heart, a wonderful sense of humor and a special tenderness toward children and the pretty young schoolteacher. It doesn't appear that Christy has ever been around a man as intense or as masculine as MacNeill is and that is why she is so confused by her reactions to him. This scene is an introduction to MacNeill and Christy's bewilderment of him, but, no, there is no overt swooning in this scene unless you count Christy nearly fainting from the smell of the ether (and we're not even discussing what kind of weirdo would count that as a swoon moment!)
The Crossing at the River Christy accompanies David one Sunday afternoon on his way to preach in Lufty Branch and while crossing the river, her mule steps in a hole, and she is forced to get off the mule into the cold water. MacNeill comes to Christy's rescue, reaches her before David, leaving the young preacher to lead the mule out while MacNeill sweeps Christy
up to safety and carries her in his arms to the
river bank. (for those looking for the hints: clue #1) The scene plays almost like a sexual conquest, with
the hero carrying the maiden off in his arms...to where? his cabin. SWOON!
The MacNeill Cabin The scenes that follow here are some of my absolute favorite in this episode...those with Christy as she gets the first look
inside MacNeill's cabin. Where earlier she experienced MacNeill's public world of being a doctor, now she comes face to face with his private world, and she discovers a sensitive and gentle side to him in the midst of such a masculine environment. When she first enters his home, she looks around enchanted. And what a sweet smile is exchanged between the two of them when Neil hands her a lovely dress to wear while her clothes dry. Christy shows a fascination with MacNeill's cabin, especially with the locked room and his bedroom as she tries to take in everything about him and the room. Notice how she sits so enchanted on his bed. And because the bed is the central image in that scene, it is clear there are some major foreshadowing/symbolic gestures taking place (clue #2). Christy seems delighted in the room and is intrigued by this glimpse at Neil.And we see her long hair is down and loose making her look very feminine, natural and attractive. She looks quite comfortable and lovely in his bedroom.
The Lavender Dress When Christy walks down the stairs into the room below, and MacNeill looks up and sees her wearing his wife's
lavender dress...pay attention! The camera wants you to notice him in this
scene as it moves past David and focuses on Neil MacNeill as Christy makes her entrance
(clue #3); his eyes soften and his face reveals the fascination and attraction he feels toward her. She smiles sweetly at him, acknowledges his look and then walks toward him to the warmth and heat of the fire. SWOON! Christy breaks her gaze from MacNeill as David draws her attention, and the moment shared between Neil and Christy is gone. This is the first look at David as the blocking character in this romance; his presence will continually be an obstacle to our favorite couple.
That's Dr. Hillbilly to you. David is reluctant to leave Christy with MacNeill, and rightly so for he senses the obvious attraction MacNeill has for Christy. With David out of the picture and on the way to Lufty Branch, the discovery phase of MacNeill and Christy's relationship begins, and Christy wastes no time in asking about the dress, about his background, and finally about his medical practice. What we learn about MacNeill is that he had a wife at one time, he was well-educated in Scotland and yet he has returned to his people to practice medicine when he could have taken a much more lucrative position elsewhere. Christy is curious about the wife, impressed by his training and sacrifice in returning, but she is suspicious of why conditions are still so deplorable in the Cove. This leads to their first confrontation, and we get a peek at these two verbally sparring, which shows how well-matched the two are in passion and in spirit. On the way back to the Mission, Christy tells David, "I'm not sure I like him." This is the first of several ambiguous statements Christy will make to others about her feelings toward MacNeill. But we sense that he fascinates her while also confusing her. MORE->>