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Shalimar Fox is in her late twenties. She has feline feral capabilities, which according to Genomex sources maybe either Cougar or Lynx. Her feral capabilities make her wild, unpredictable, territorial and protective of her pack, which is the Mutant X team.
Nicholas Fox, Shalimar’s father and the owner of Naxcon, believed there was something wrong with his daughter due to her New Mutant abilities. At age 10, Shalimar’s parents locked her in a mental institution where she was subjected to various beatings for behavior modification, in hopes that it would cause her feral abilities to go away. While at the institution her feral powers began to grow. One day when the guards came to give her daily treatment, she was strong enough to fend off their attack and escape the institution. She never spoke to her parents again for years, until a mission for Mutant X required her to do so.
At age 15, Shalimar was living on the streets until Dr. Adam Kane found her. However, this new home was only temporary. After living with him for only a few days she ran away. The ever-persistent Dr. Kane found her a few days later in a rundown motel, she hadn’t eaten in a few days, and her feral abilities were running wild.
Her new life with Dr. Kane at Sanctuary was very different from her life prior to this point. Adam Kane helped her learn to control her feral side and a close father-daughter bond formed between the two of them. When Shalimar first arrived at Sanctuary she wasn’t the only one to be living with Adam. Another feline feral by the name of Nikki Rogers shared a room with Shalimar and the two became as close as sisters. The two of them were to become the beginning of the current Mutant X team, however, Adam soon realized that he would need a mix of New Mutant talents in order to create the perfect team. Unfortunately Adam had to choose between the two girls, feeling that Shalimar would be more capable of controlling her feral abilities, he decided to keep her as the first member of the Mutant X team.
Some point during her late teens, Shalimar left Adam and life at Sanctuary for an unspecified period of time. During this time away from Adam, Shalimar got involved with some criminal activity. Her boyfriend at the time Zack Lockhart, who was also a New Mutant, framed Shalimar for one of his criminal heists. The details behind how Shalimar was able to clear her name is unknown, however, it was most likely due to the help of Adam Kane.
After her brush with the law, Shalimar returned to Sanctuary where she has continued to live till today. Shalimar helps rescue and relocate New Mutants, maintain the Underground, go out on missions for Adam, and teach her team members techniques that Adam taught her to help them control their New Mutant abilities.
Fashion Sense: This needs to be broken down by the different seasons. In season one her fashion was classy, sexy and very appealing. She was very sophisticated and decently clothed at all times. In season two and three she had the occasional classy outfit, however, the majority of them seemed trashy and sleazy. Most of her outfits showed a lot of skin and made her appear like she was a teenager while during season one she appeared to be a very mature in her appearance.
Name: Jesse Kilmartin
Played By: Forbes March
Code Name: Synergy
Intro Scene: As Emma is running down an ally to get away from the GSA in a SUV, Jesse runs from another street to knock her out of the way of the car and phases himself when the car was about to make impact with him. After the SUV goes through him, GSA agents climb out of the car and begin to attack them. Shalimar jumps down from a rooftop to help with the fight, and at one point in the fight sequence Jesse masses to shield Emma from bullets fired from the GSA agent. After Mutant X successfully defeats the GSA, Jesse uses his com-ring to take pictures of the unconscious agents lying around the ally.
First Line: "Smile loser!" To GSA Agent
Mutant: Molecular Powers: Can alter his density so that he masses to be like a rock at one point or phase and become like a ghost the next instant. Jesse can now also phase other objects simply by touching these objects (such as walls, doors and other people). *According to Forbes March in an early interview about Mutant X, Jesse's original power was to split into three different people instead of being able to mass and phase. However, the produces felt that was too hard of an effect to create and would take too long to shoot in order for it to be practical.*
Best Line: "Are you kidding? If I had the week off, I'd go to Mexico, find myself a little seniorita! Yeah, I'd be a little pissed." To Brennan in "Understudy" Also, "I tend to phase from thing to thing." ~ "Taking of Crows"
Worst Line: "I thought you did okay as an interim leader, and I'm sorry for giving you such grief before. Sorta." To Brennan ~ "Within These Walls" (Most fans don't agree with the fact that Jesse apologized to Brennan. The order of who takes over the team in Adam's absence should be by seniority. If Shalimar didn't want to be team leader the next person that should be it is Jesse, not Brennan. Even Emma comes before Brennan on the Mutant X hierarchy by seniority.)
Most Memorable Scene: In "A Breed Apart" Jesse rushed into Sanctuary after meeting Kelly in one of the safe houses. Kelly had given Jesse a booklet about a group called 'The Strand'. The first person Jesse runs into at Sanctuary is Emma, who was trying to concentrate. Since Jesse had already interrupted her, he told Emma about this experience. Jesse: I met this girl at the safe house. Emma: Why do all your stories start like that? Jesse: It's not that type of story. Soon after having this exchange with Emma, both of their powers mutated and Jesse phased the stairs under Brennan while avoiding a psionic blast from an out of control Emma. (Come on, I just had to mention this point too.)
Most Unmemorable Scene: In "Lest He Becomes" Jesse claims that it took him 28 years to believe in something and he wasn't about to leave it now. Its honorable that Jesse wants to support Adam and stay with the team, however, its stupid that he will still follow a man that directly lied to him for years. We have higher hopes for Jesse. Also, Jesse's most unmemorable scene ought to be his behavior in "Understudy". He was chuckling while making the comlink ring for Nikki while Shalimar was in such grief. He is the closest to Shalimar so he should've tried to comfort her instead of smiling or discussing with Brennan "What's wrong with Shalimar etc". His flirting hints to Nikki were also obnoxious.
Most Note Worthy Episode: Russian Roulette
Professional Idiosyncrasies/Quirks: Jesse is very smart when it come to using computers and likes to prove his worth to the team by displaying his hacking skills in early episodes. By the third season Jesse has become the computer and tech guy for the team. Virtually taking over Adam's role.
Disagreements/Arguments: In "Within These Walls" Jesse gets in a argument about who should be team leader since Adam is missing. Eventually he gives into Brennan. However, he still called Brennan "Fearless Leader" because Brennan is just so commanding.
Professional Info: Jesse came from a very wealthy family. It is said that his grandfather was a famed industrialist. His father Noah Kilmartin worked in covert ops. Jesse and his father had a close relationship (they even entered father-son Karate tournaments together) until Noah's job took him over seas. Jesse was briefly engaged to Alisha (last name unknown) who was his high school sweetheart. Jesse broke the engagement just prior to him joining Mutant X. In "Taking of Crows" Jesse told the fans that there was much about his past that the Mutant X team (and fans) didn't know about when we Brennan learned for the first time that Jesse could speak Italian.
Fashion Sense: A Commentary by Crazy Mutant!: Jesse is certainly the best dressed among the three male leads of the show. His sense of fashion is a blend of trendy clothes as well as classy. His colors such as black, white, sky blue etc show the boyish as well as responsible sides of his character. His choice of clothes matches well with his "rich family" background. His best outfits are the full black from "Blood Ties" and light colors from "Meaning of Death" and "The Grift". His worst outfits aren't any because he is incapable of looking bad. However, fans agree that the weary gray colored shirt that he wears in "Power Play" and few other episodes doesn't look too good on him. His best hairdo is certainly Season 1. However, his long wavy hair in Season 3 is also very lovable which also gets my personal vote for best hairdo that we have seen on Jesse.
Shalgal, Crazy Mutant!, Frickangel, RK9 and Jessegal
Lexa Pierce is the newest member of Mutant X team. Although she is a new addition of the team, it appears that her connection to Mutant X and Adam Kane is deeper than anyone realized. Lexa was a member of Mutant X 1.0. What this means exactly is unknown to the fans at this point. It appears that Mutant X 1.0 was Adam Kane's first attempt at forming a Mutant X team. Obviously this attempt 'failed' considering there has been no reference to this original team throughout the prior seasons to the series.
Lexa's powers at first glance seem to be elemental and molecular. The elemental factor is that she can create laser blasts to fire at people and things. Also she can create bursts of light to temporally blind people as demonstrated to the Mutant X team in "Into the Moonless Night". While the molecular factor is that she can become invisible. She creates an aura around her body that refracts the light beams around herself and other people (when she is holding their hand). Therefore it appears that she has mixed classification powers.
Lexa was not only a member of Mutant X 1.0, but was also a member of the Genetic Security Agency (GSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She currently works for the Dominion, who over the past few 100 years have been policing abuses of science. One of these abuses happens to be Adam's research at Genomex that created the mutants.
There are a few things known about Lexa's past. Lexa came to Mutant X as an arrangement with the Dominion. Lexa cleaned up Adam's mess and the Dominion would help Lexa find her brother. Lexa has one brother that is her fraternal twin, whose name is Leo. Lexa's parents were army intelligence that participated in a fertility experiment. When Lexa and Leo's mutations began to show, their parents give them to their bosses under orders. Until age 14, Lexa and Leo were raised in a military facility. When Leo started having problems with being lost in the other personalities that he created, they left the military facility and ended up at Genomex. As it turns out, Lexa only began working for Eckhart as a way to pay for her brother's medical expenses (Leo is a multiple and can become a wide variety of different people). Lexa ended up killing Leo in Brother's Keeper.
The BrenShal UnThing By Shalgal
Summary: It's like an urban legend: no solid evidence but it persists anyway! Isn't it time to dispel the myth of the BrenShalUnThing?
From a Shalimar Fan's Point Of View
Brennan and Shalimar. Shalimar and Brennan. Two of the most active and prettiest members of the Mutant X team. Over that course of three seasons audiences all over the world have fallen in love with these characters. Now we, the audience, are being led to believe by The Powers That Be that after seasons of flirting these two characters are now in a relationship and have 'fallen in love' with each other. The only question remaining is "What are The Powers That Be smoking?"
Now I must confess before we get deeply into this discussion, that I am a huge season one Shalimar fan. From the very first episode I thought that Shalimar was cool, intelligent, sophisticated, fearless, and sexy while still remaining very classy. However, when season two began Shalimar's image changed. Her appearance was not as classy as before, quite possibly even trashy. She stopped doing the things around Sanctuary that highlighted her intelligence and skills. It was obvious that she was merely becoming a piece of eye candy. But worst of all The Powers That Be decided to have her in a "relationship" with Brennan.
The Shipping Begins
Since the beginning of the series one of the more popular 'ships' among the Mutant X online fan community involved a relationship between Brennan and Shalimar. People claimed that all throughout the first season The Powers That Be have been dropping "hints" that Shalimar and Brennan were in a relationship. Such "hints" included the fact that Adam tended to send them out on missions together more often than any other combination of the team members and in many of the promotional pictures for the series, Shalimar and Brennan are standing next to each other. Both of these "hints" can be easily explained. These two characters were sent on a lot of missions together simply because the actors who play them (Victoria Pratt and Victor Webster) are two of the more physically capable actors for stunts on the show. As for standing next to each other in group pictures, that is simply due to the physical shape of the actors. Victor Webster is the tallest member of the cast while Victoria Pratt is the shortest cast member. Having these individuals stand next to one another makes the group look more symmetric, or more proportioned in terms of size.
Example of group shot :
The Near Kiss
The Powers That Be began to openly recognize the "chemistry" between Brennan and Shalimar in the season one finally, "A Breed Apart". In this episode a heavy load was dropped on the fans. At different points throughout the episode it appeared that Shalimar and Brennan were sexually attracted to one another. In this blunt attempt of attraction, The Powers That Be, failed to notice that this attraction between the characters did not seem completely natural. For an entire season we've seen these two characters together, but merely as friends. Now in the final episode of the entire season we are lead to believe that there maybe more to this friendship. In the last five minutes of the episode we see Shalimar and Brennan talking in one of the many hallways of Sanctuary. They are discussing the recent day's events involving Shalimar being kidnapped by Gabriel Ashlock. Brennan begins to explain that if anything were to happen to Shalimar, he would never be able to forgive himself. Then all of the sudden, Brennan leans in to kiss Shalimar. When he does Emma yells, "Hey guys come check this out." (My personal belief is that Emma had picked up Shalimar's freaked out emotions because Brennan was about to kiss her.) The kiss never happens and Brennan apologies for what was about to happen. That's it! That is all that happened. However, since all this happened on the season finally, it makes the audience wonder all summer if a relationship will develop next season. The Powers That Be figure if the viewer wasn't interested in Gabriel Ashlocke or what will happen to Genomex (a question that was never answered in the series). At least the audience will want to know if there will be a relationship between these two lead characters.
Green Eyed Elemental
Jealously is said to be the 'Green Eyed Monster'. If that is the case, Brennan for most of season two, should be seen as the 'Green Eyed Elemental'. During different episodes such as "Body and Soul" and "Under the Cloak of War", we the viewer, see how jealous Brennan is of other men that Shalimar pays attention to. For an example in "Body and Soul", Shalimar flirts with Doctor Mark Kearney. When Shalimar goes to visit Mark at the clinic to try to receive information from him, Brennan becomes very jealous that Shalimar wants to see the doctor again. Having failed to get any information from Mark the first time, the second time Shalimar visits Mark at the clinic Brennan decides that he needs to go with her in order to get the information and set the doctor straight. Not only does Brennan appear overly protective of Shalimar; his behavior makes him appear to be jealous of Shalimar flirting with Mark.
In "Under the Cloak of War" we see the best example of Brennan being overprotective and jealous when it comes to other men hitting on Shalimar. Within the episode the best evidence of Brennan's jealously is demonstrated at the very end. After the weapon that was attached to Shalimar's arm goes off, Shalimar gets into a fight with Noel, the lead assassin that she had kissed (in front of a hidden Brennan). Noel pulls out two guns at Shalimar and Brennan sends a zap of electricity at Noel to get him to drop the guns. In doing so he tells Noel that he isn't good enough for her (My question to Brennan is 'As a felon, what make you think you are good enough for Shalimar?'). It doesn't get more obvious than that.
Now Shalimar on the other hand doesn't express the same level of jealously towards Brennan's attention to other woman. In "Cross Roads of the Soul" when Brennan doesn't return home on time, Shalimar suggests that he was ".maybe with a small town waitress. Shacked up in a hotel/motel using the 'I think we have some electricity between us' line". This proves Shalimar knows that he is fooling around with a variety of girls. Also in "The Grift", Shalimar does not seemed overly concerned that Brennan is with is ex. Shalimar was concerned with what Brennan was doing, but she didn't seem jealous of the girl that he was with. Showing that out of the two of them, Brennan was the only one truly concerned with the other being in a situation with the member of the opposite sex.
A Needed Reality Check
The episode that best examines the relationship between Brennan and Shalimar is "Reality Check". In this episode, shippers all across the world should have received a much-needed reality check. Shalimar was trapped within her head. When she first 'wakes up' within her head, Shalimar is in a bed. As she turns in bed something very shocking happened with in the Mutant X Community:
The kiss! The Shalimar and Brennan kiss. Shippers across the fandom screamed and cried. Even the anti-shippers began to scream and cry. Everything seemed perfect with in the Mutant X Universe for people who believed that these two belonged together or deserved each other. However, the shocking wasn't over! When Shalimar came to her senses about her surroundings and whom she was with she had a much different reaction:
It may just be people who are not particular fans of a ship between Brennan and Shalimar, but Shalimar just doesn't seem too pleased about her surroundings and especially with whom she was with. After this image Shalimar acts completely shocked and disgusted with the idea that she and Brennan are suppositively married. Darn! There went every hope and dream that Shalimar wanted to be married to Brennan.
Another reality check that is in order for all the shippers is how likely Brennan and Shalimar are to actually hooking up on the series. One of the worst moves a television series can do is allow two of the main characters (whose actors have sexual chemistry) to hookup. Doing so looses the element of sexual tension that these characters have. Also it doesn't encourage some viewers to tune in on a weekly bases to see if these characters are finally going to be together. Allowing these two characters to hookup could be seen as a stupid move on the behalf of The Powers That Be. Now I'm not saying that there is no way that these two characters are going to be together, I'm just saying it could be suicide for the show. But then again after the first few episodes of season three we have learned that Mutant X will most likely not have a season four. Therefore, anything could still happen.
Seeing Is Believing
It's true what they say, seeing is believing. Some people see all of the things that I have tried to disprove and think how wrong my argument is. These individuals would be the Brennan/Shalimar Shippers. Other people will agree with the argument I presented. They are 'The Anti-Shippers'. No matter what the pairing is, no matter what the fandom is, there will always be shippers and anti-shippers. When mixed together these two groups can be very deadly. Any difference in opinion can cause these groups to be at each other's throats. So pick a side, make your case. Be prepared to defend your view for if you don't either side will simply dismiss your claim.
The BrenShal Thing – More Than Urban Legend
I am a shipper, every anti-shipper’s worst enemy. That said, I became a Bren/Shal shipper entirely on my own. No one ever pulled me aside, pointed at Brennan and Shalimar on the TV and asked, “Hey, did you see that? Did they...?” Never happened. In fact, for a long time, I thought maybe I was imagining the BrenShal ‘thing’. Its said that seeing is believing – with the things that I saw in season two and three especially, I can’t help but believe there is something there. These are various thoughts based on my perceptions that will hopefully dispel the myth of the BrenShal UnThing once and for all.
The First Roadblock, or, “Shalimar Would Never Go For a Guy Like Brennan!”
Passing this roadblock is critical to understanding how a BrenShal thing is even possible. It’s been said more than once on various message boards all over the ‘net, in threads discussing Shalimar, Brennan, or both of them. Its been a cornerstone for the argument as to why Bren and Shal shouldn’t be, or could never be, together. Shalimar would never go for a guy like Brennan. All of her previous interests were clean-cut, intelligent...right? Wrong. What about Noel, the assassin from ‘Under the Cloak of War’, who worked for Blue Bolt? He doesn’t count you say, because Shal was only playing him? How about Zack Lockhart, Shal’s old flame in ‘Ex Marks the Spot’? Not exactly Dr. Richard Saunders. Zack, the master thief and motorcycle riding bad boy, cut from the same mold as Brennan Mulwray. If you’re paying any attention to the episode, its obvious that her relationship with Zack was an...involved one. And once she got over her initial anger at being scorned, her attraction to him is pretty clear. Zack had already agreed to help out with the mission before Shalimar decided to make out with him. When Zack said that he’d missed her, she replied with “Yeah, me too,” as in I missed you, too. Her weakness for this bad boy, in spite of the fact that he hurt her in the past, means that it is not impossible or out of character for her to have a ‘thing’ for Brennan. Even putting that weakness aside, Shal fell for Zack again because she believed that he had changed into someone better, someone she could love. She could have that same belief about Brennan, too.
Let the Subtext Begin
Some call it flirting, and for the majority of the first season you could say that’s all it was. Shippers call it subtext, a tag that applies to more than just the flirting between Bren and Shal. Take this exchange between Adam and Brennan in ‘Ex Marks the Spot’ for example:
Brennan: “I just don’t think Zack is the right guy for Shalimar.”
Adam: “This is spoken as a friend, of course.”
Brennan: “Yeah...What else?”
What else indeed. Even Adam at this point had picked up on something between Bren and Shal – his words insinuated quite clearly that Brennan might be jealous. Why would Adam do that unless he thought there was something for Brennan to be jealous about? This moment is believed to be the very first “hint” intentionally dropped by The Powers That Be.
Another hint came in the very next episode, ‘Nothing to Fear’. Brennan finds Shalimar asleep and, in a very sweet moment, covers her with a blanket, giving her a kiss before he leaves. Just friendly affection? Perhaps, except that we’ve never seen him do anything like that with Emma. It was more like a sign of a deeper affection, even love, that he was starting to develop for Shal. Subtext is born.
Jealous? Who’s Jealous?
Brennan jealous over Shalimar. Shalimar jealous over Brennan. We’ve all seen it. It is Shalimar who may have been jealous first, going as far back as the season one episode ‘Lit Fuse’, where Shal’s initial reaction to seeing Brennan’s attraction to Ashley Elliot is less than pleased.
Fast forward to ‘Deadly Desire’. Emma has picked up on the fact the Brennan is with the scorpion feral Lorna, and ‘not doing much resisting’.
Shalimar: “What did you pick up, Emma?”
Emma: “...he was definitely with a woman.”
Shalimar: (sounding very irritated) “Brennan would not fall into bed with someone like
C’mon Shal. You know Brennan’s a player. Lying to yourself because you’ve got a thing for him? Now, what Brennan would really do is open to debate, but the last line makes it abundantly clear that Shal is jealous of him being with Lorna.
Another undeniable moment came in ‘Understudy’ when Shal had her little blowup at Nikki. When she walked into her room and saw Nikki with Brennan, she snapped. Nikki had just moved in on what Shalimar viewed as her exclusive territory. In Shal’s mind it was ‘Brennan is mine! Not yours!’ If Brennan hadn’t been there, it would never have happened. If that wasn’t jealous rage, then I don’t know what is. Case closed.
Brennan’s over-protectiveness and jealousy where Shalimar is concerned really come to the forefront in the season two episodes ‘Body & Soul’ and ‘Under the Cloak of War’. In ‘Body & Soul’ he was so jealous of Shal’s interest in Mark Kearney that he had to be her chaperone on her next visit to see him. In ‘Cloak’ not only is Brennan jealous when he sees Shal kissing Noel, he’s extremely distressed.
Because we’re talking about ‘Cloak’ I’m going to deviate from the topic of jealousy for a moment to bring up another important point, this one being about Brennan’s over-protectiveness in the episode. Many have seen that behavior as a sign that he doesn’t respect Shalimar, citing that lack of respect as a reason that they can’t have a ‘thing’. In actuality Brennan was concerned for her. In starting to care more deeply for her, he’s afraid of her getting hurt. It’s a sure sign that he has some growing feelings for her. He’s so concerned that he isn’t thinking about the fact that he might be ‘stepping on Shalimar’s toes’.
Lastly, it has been observed that Shalimar never seems to get as jealous over Brennan as when it’s the other way around. Its because his little flings aren’t a threat to a possible future with him. Brennan is going to come back to her. Only when someone she perceives as a real threat comes along does Shal really get her hackles up.
From ‘Like a Brother’ to ‘Teammates’ in Three Short Episodes, or, “Are You Two...?”
Its an element that’s been in more than one episode – some outside character asking about the nature of Bren and Shal’s relationship. The first time was in ‘Lit Fuse’, when Ashley asked Shalimar if Brennan was her boyfriend. Shalimar’s response what that he was ‘like a brother’. Her hesitation before saying it was more than enough to catch my attention when I went back and watched it recently. What is even more interesting, though, is the answer Shalimar gave the next time the question came up. When Bo asked her in ‘Dark Star Rising’, her reply was a too quick ‘teammates’. From brother to teammate... Seems as though her perception of Brennan was changing. Can’t very well be thinking of him as a brother if you’re starting to feel an attraction to him, now can you, Shal? And when that same “are you two...” question came up again in ‘Conspiracy Theory’, she seemed to have a hard time finding an answer...
A Kiss Apart, Whose Kiss This Almost Was, and The Taking of a Kiss
‘A Breed Apart’ has the most undeniable proof of a BrenShal ‘thing’. Attraction or otherwise, it can’t be ignored. Its been said that the almost-kiss was a development that was sudden and not completely natural. What about the flirting? What about the affectionate kiss Brennan gave Shalimar just a few episodes before? Its not so sudden when you consider the subtext. There is a popular theory that the kiss in this episode was interrupted by Emma on purpose, that she was picking up on some kind of distress on Shalimar’s part. So why then does Shalimar close her eyes and make like she is going to kiss Brennan if she doesn’t really want to? Like Brennan with Lorna in ‘Deadly Desire’, she didn’t appear to be doing much resisting. After the interruption, Brennan says, “I’m sorry.” Shal’s reply is simply, “Yeah...” The way she’s looking at him says it all. Her expression is saying ‘Yeah I’m sorry we didn’t kiss’, rather than a relieved ‘Yeah, you shouldn’t have tried to kiss me’. The attraction fairly sizzled between them – a person would have to be blind not to see it.
Another almost-kiss occured in ‘Whose Woods These Are’. It starts with the trademark flirting. There’s a comment from Brennan about Shal sucking the poison out of his bug bites, Shal says that she’ll oblige if he buys her a drink first. Shalimar moves in close to put the peppermint on his bites, and the attraction starts to spark. Something with the two of them noticeably changes, and just when it starts to look like a kiss, Shal hears a twig snap in the woods and the spell is broken.
Season three gave us a similar moment at the end of ‘The Taking of Crows’, one of the biggest teases between the two characters aside from the season one finale. It appears, after Brennan’s comment about showering, that Shalimar is coming onto him. What’s more, he’s completely buying it, even playing with her hair as she leans in close. Just as they’re about to kiss, Shalimar chickens out and tells him ‘you wish’ instead. It looks as though she was really planning on kissing him, and changed her mind right at the last instant. Poor gullible Brennan looked very disappointed.
The Big Teasers
The opening teaser of ‘Wages of Sin’ has a favorite subtext moment among shippers. Bren and Shal are staking out an alleyway, waiting for their target to show up, when they have this little exchange:
Brennan: “You know, I still think we’re wasting our time.”
Shalimar: “You have a lot to learn about hunting, Brennan. This is the best part...the anticipation [she steps in very close]...stillness...[runs a hand down his chest] waiting for your prey to show itself...”
The words alone don’t make this subtext, but the way they are spoken does. The tone of Shalimar’s voice, the look in her eyes, and her body language lend a very loaded second meaning to what she is saying, especially to the line about prey. From a subtext point of view, it is as though Shalimar is dropping a huge hint that she is only waiting for Brennan to make a move. On the note of body language, Shalimar gets awfully close to Brennan, and her hand on his chest was much less of a touch and much more of a caress. This moment is similar to the one in the woods in ‘Whose Woods These Are’ – just as its about to become like a possible kiss, the bad guys show up, and the spell is broken once again. The difference this time around is that there is a lot more spark to the attraction between them, and a lot more sexual tension than we saw in ‘Whose Woods’.
‘Possibilities’ was another episode with a loaded teaser. In it, Brennan is chasing a very playful Shalimar, who has decided to play ‘keep-away’ with his little black book. This behavior leans toward extreme, even for our flirtatious feral. She’s acting like boys and girls on the playground who torture each other because secretly one likes the other. And let’s not forget her asking if she’s in his book – blatant subtext. The most striking evidence, however, is not in any of the dialogue at all. Shalimar gets Brennan pinned on the floor, and as she gets up to take off again, she gives him a more-than-playful smack on the rear. Not necessarily something you do to a guy who is ‘just a friend’. But wait, there’s more: Brennan chases her onto the floating stairs and gets her pinned against the wall. Obviously, she is letting him catch her, since she is more than capable of getting away using her feral powers. Attraction sparks. Shalimar, with the grin of a huntress who knows her prey, turns the tables and flips Brennan around, effectively pinning him against the wall with her body pressed fully and quite suggestively against his. Then, in a moment very reminiscent of ‘A Breed Apart’, Lexa interrupts when, if they had been left alone, they would have kissed and likely done more than that. What happened in ‘The Assault’ doesn’t seem so out-of-left-field when you consider the opening of this episode.
More Than Just Attraction
There is plenty of evidence to support the existence of sexual attraction between Bren and Shal, more than enough to qualify that they do in fact have a ‘thing’ for each other. There is also evidence that attraction isn’t the only thing between them. The subtext in the following episodes hints at deeper feelings from both of them, and sets the stage for what could be their first steps toward love. It starts with a trilogy of episodes from season two that aired almost back to back, all of them having an undercurrent of more than simple physical attraction, and comes up again in later episodes like ‘The Breed’, ‘Hand of God’ and ‘The Prophecy’.
The first episode in the trilogy is ‘Under the Cloak of War’, whose ending had a very touching, and very telling, Bren/Shal scene:
Brennan: “You know, I was thinking, when you were in there with him [Noel]... What if
you never came back to...to us? You know, the team.”
Shalimar: “And what would that be like...for the team.”
Brennan: “Well, I...I don’t know what ‘we’ would do without you.”
Shalimar: [smiling] “That’s nice.” [Gives Brennan a sweet kiss]
Again, the subtext is all in the delivery of the dialogue. There are some key hesitations and ways that certain words are said that clue us into the fact that Brennan didn’t say exactly what he meant. This is how the conversation goes with the subtext translator turned on:
Brennan: “What if you never came back to me?”
Shalimar: “And what would that be like...for you.”
Brennan: “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Brennan almost does say ‘what if you never came back to me’, but covers it up by saying ‘to us’ instead and making it about the team. Shalimar didn’t miss the hesitation, either. She knew what he had almost said, evidenced by the meaningful beat she left before saying ‘the team’ and played along with his cover up. This is an obvious admission that he does really care for her and a sign that he is developing feelings for her. If he just wanted to play her, it wouldn’t matter whether she was with him in the future or not.
The next episode is ‘Once Around’, whose closing scene has another touching Bren/Shal moment, a shipper favorite. Shalimar finds Brennan in his room, and after a short bit of conversation, basically asks him if, were she in trouble, would he protect her by taking the fall for her. His answer was that she didn’t have to ask – in other words, he would take the fall to protect her, another sign of how much he has come to care about her. That, and the very affectionate hug they share before the fade to black. Only when you really care about someone are you willing to sacrifice yourself. Never mind the earlier scene where Shal walks in and sees Brennan working out...
The last episode of the trilogy is ‘One Step Closer’. Brennan goes after the bad guy, a senator’s head of security, and has another nearly fatal electric seizure. Shalimar finds him passed out on the floor of the parking garage with the bad guy out cold beside him. Her first fear is that Brennan might be dead.
Shalimar: “You still with us?”
Brennan: “I think so.”
Shalimar: “That is, by far, the dumbest move you have ever made.”
Brennan: “Is he [the senator’s head of security] dead?”
Shalimar: “No. We’ll bring him with us.”
Brennan: “Bring him where?”
Shalimar: “Back to Sanctuary, Brennan. Back to Adam. And I’m not asking you to come with me. I’m telling you. Look I know you’re scared. We all are. I don’t care about that anymore. What I do care about, is you.”
The dialogue speaks for itself – an admission from Shalimar that she cares about him, said with much more than the concern of a friend.
Moving on, we come to the season three episode ‘The Breed’. Brennan has been infected by a parasite that will turn him into a mindless, enraged zombie. The first subtext is Shalimar’s near hysteria at the mention of him being shot and killed before he can infect the others. She flipped out to the point of holding a gun on the people that they were supposed to be helping. She and the team are supposed to be protecting those people and she’s turning on them suddenly because it’s Brennan they want to kill. It appears that she cares so much for Brennan that she would go against the greater good to save him. It takes more than friendship to push someone to that. This is the lioness protecting her mate. And when Brennan starts to turn and takes off, she goes after him, in spite of knowing the danger that she is putting herself in. She doesn’t care about the danger to herself. She only cares about saving Brennan. When she tells her teammates that he has turned, they try to dissuade her from chasing after him, but she’s having none of it, telling them “he won’t hurt me”. She’s basing this belief on a bond she feels is between them that he is going to recognize, that he cares enough for her and feels strongly enough that even though he’s completely out of his mind, he could never hurt her. It takes more than friendship or physical attraction to do that. And don’t forget the kiss that Shalimar gave him when she saw he was alive and cured after she shoved him into the hi-tech electric fence. It wasn’t a peck on the cheek. She took him in her arms and gave him a full-on-the-mouth kiss. ‘Just friends’, huh?
‘Hand of God’ gives us possible proof that Shalimar has feelings of real love for Brennan. It has been argued among shippers that the subtext in this episode really isn’t subtext at all, but actual proof-providing maintext because it comes across so strongly, and is not based at all in any kind of flirting. Brennan is shot and he’s dying from the wound. Shalimar takes him to Kristoff, a mutant with the ability to take someone’s injuries onto himself, effectively healing them, and then transfer them to someone else if he choses, asking him to heal Brennan. The catch here is that Shalimar meant what she said to Kristoff earlier, that she would never ask him, or anyone, to die in place of someone else. “Give it to me,” she says with desperation and no hesitation whatsoever, wanting Kristoff to heal Brennan and pass the fatal wound on to her. She has decided that she will die for Brennan if that’s what it takes to save him. What’s more, she never once tried to persuade Kristoff in any way that might let her live. It’s her life for Brennan’s, and it seems that it was a decision she made the instant she figured out that he was dying. Not only is it a testament to her unselfishness and sense of honor, but it is proof of her deeper, hidden feelings for Brennan. You aren’t willing to trade you life for someone when its only about sex, and the choice doesn’t come free of hesitation when the person is just your friend, no matter how close of a friend they are, like family or no. Back on the Helix, Brennan expresses what all the shippers watching have going through their minds; he tells Shalimar that what she was ready to do for him, sacrifice herself, went beyond the risks they all take for each other on every mission. He recognizes that there was something much more behind it. Though Shalimar hides it well, there is a hint from her expression that she realizes it, too, even if she doesn’t understand that its because she loves him.
‘The Prophecy’ is a case of The Powers That Be finally acknowledging the subtext by having other characters call Brennan and Shalimar on their somewhat hidden and long-denied feelings. In this first scene, Shalimar has come back after being unceremoniously dismissed from going with Brennan and Riley. Sure, she’s upset about being ditched by Brennan, but that isn’t her real reason for being upset, and Lexa knows it.
Lexa: “So how hot is she?”
Shalimar doesn’t answer her, just keeps hitting the punching bag furiously.
Lexa: [whistles] “That hot, huh? Look Shal, speaking as a friend...okay fine speaking as me... you’ve really gotta clear up your Brennan issues.”
Shalimar: “What are you talking about?”
Lexa: “I’m talking about every time he gets near another girl, your hackles go up.”
That stops her.
Shalimar: Okay. First, you’re way off, and second... you are way off. [resumes punching] We’re like family...”
Lexa: [disbelievingly] “Yeah. I hope you like it that way, because until you get honest with yourself and Brennan, that’s all you two will ever be. [Pause] You know what, Shal? He has every right to keep looking.”
That last line stops Shalimar cold. She can only stand there, frustrated by the truth in Lexa’s words. Eventually she follows it up with an angry, frustrated punch to the bag. She wants Brennan for herself, she doesn’t want him with anyone else, but she’s afraid of a relationship. Lexa hasn’t been with the team for that long, and even she recognizes that Shal has ‘Brennan issues’. She even gossips to Jesse about Bren and Shal having a ‘thing’ for each other, effectively becoming the voice of the shipper community, and confirming that there definitely is a BrenShal Thing. And what is it that Lexa is saying Shalimar isn’t being honest about? She’s saying Shalimar isn’t being honest with herself about her feelings for Brennan, ergo, Shalimar loves him and is in total denial. She isn’t the only one, as evidenced in this exchange between Brennan and the bounty hunter, Riley:
Riley: “So it’s her.”
Riley: “The woman whose fingerprints I feel all over your heart.”
Brennan: “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Besides, didn’t I tell you to stay out of my head?”
Riley: “Oh that wasn’t psionics, hun... that was just female intuition.”
Brennan: [sarcastically] “Yeah. Female intuition.”
Riley: “Well... I hope she’s not in as much denial as you are.”
Shalimar’s fingerprints are all over his heart...he loves her, even if he denies it. And when he asks Shal if she’s got his back, her reply is an incredibly warm “Always”. Last but not least in this episode, there is Bishop’s prophecy that ‘true love will call’...
The ‘Reality Check’ Theory
What a lot of shippers wondered after watching ‘Reality Check’ was this: How did the psionic interrogating Shalimar come up with the whole scenario that she was married to Brennan? There is a very insightful theory that can answer this question. The theory is that he pulled it out of her subconscious mind. Now we know that her cover on the mission was that she was married to Brennan’s alter-identity, but there is no evidence to support the fact that the psionic interrogating her even knew that. Aside from that, he had to be pulling snippets from her mind to create the rest of the illusion. How did he know about Eckhart, or even better, Emma and the others? He had to have pulled that stuff out of her memories and thoughts. So somewhere in her subconscious, Shalimar is entertaining thoughts of being involved with Brennan, possibly even being married to him? It appears so. And when Shal was in the illusion, she was extremely surprised, not horrified, to find herself married to, and in bed with, Brennan. How would you react if you had just gone from being friends to being married with no memory of what happened in between? And waking up to Brennan kissing her in the first place? It was a subconscious desire finally showing itself, regardless of her reaction to it.
The End of Subtext, or, The Proof is in The Pudding
The illustration of the denial on the part of both Brennan and Shalimar in ‘The Prophecy’ tells us that there is really something there between them. Otherwise, what would they have to deny? When you combine that with the part of Bishop’s prophecy that says ‘true love will call’, it is almost a confirmation from The Powers That Be that there is indeed love between the characters just waiting to be admitted, that there is, in fact, a BrenShalLoveThing.
The proof really is in the pudding. They had sex in ‘The Assault’. There isn’t any better proof of a ‘thing’ than that. It didn’t look like love, nor was it any kind of proof of a relationship, but it was the consummation of an attraction that has been simmering between the characters ever since ‘A Breed Apart’. They have quite obviously had a ‘thing’ for each other for quite some time, and finally acted on it. What it was supposed to lead to, we may never know. May subtext rest in peace.
I Still Don’t See How This All Adds Up to a Relationship
That’s just it. It doesn’t. Brennan and Shalimar haven’t had some secret relationship for the better part of three years. That’s because there isn’t a one...not yet. Many shippers, myself included, never thought that Bren and Shal were in a relationship, but rather that they were building toward one. Through three years of flirting, over-protectiveness, and jealousy, the two characters increasingly came to care for each other, until at some point their feelings started to deepen into something more. Slowly, they have been falling more and more in love with each other without either one of them realizing it. Brennan loves Shalimar. Shalimar loves Brennan. Neither one of them can admit it because they are so in denial about it.
Shalimar said it best when she asked Brennan, “Why does it feel like we are always on the edge of something and never quite there?” This is the very essence of the BrenShal Thing. That something they are on the edge of is love, true love, but they are never quite there. When Brennan answers, “Maybe we think if we go there, there may not be any going back”, you have the reason why. They have been afraid of losing what they already have. The undercurrent is there all the same. Unfortunately, The Powers That Be have ruined all of this. Sex was an almost inevitable part of the Bren/Shal equation, but the utter lack of any indication of any kind of love whatsoever in their act casts the entire BrenShalLoveThing in doubt.
One thing is certain – whether its love or just the attraction, Brennan and Shalimar most definitely have a ‘thing’.
Post questions or comments about what you’ve read on my site:
Sources & Inspiration
·Shalgal’s “BrenShal UnThing”
·Numerous episodes of Mutant X
·My personal posts on The Feral Sisterhood and PureMX Boards
Huge Disappointment, Big Mistake: The Bren/Shal Fiasco (by a B/S Shipper)
Let me start this off by saying that I am probably the biggest, most enthusiastic, hard-core Bren/Shal shipper in Mutant X fandom. I wanted them together ever since that almost-kiss in ‘A Breed Apart’. For two years, I have waited, pining away for that moment when it would finally happen. What I got at the end of season three, after waiting for so long, was a huge disappointment and the biggest mistake I think I have ever seen made with two characters on a series. Ever.
I should have known there was trouble on the horizon when I read an interview with Mutant X’s executive producer, Peter Mohan, in the June 2004 issue of Sci-Fi Magazine. In the interview, Mohan said, “What becomes even more interesting, character-wise, is we start to develop some of the relationships. We develop Shalimar and Brennan’s, where they actually, by the final episode, have sex.” After the initial rush of excitement, I heard warning bells in my head. Love wasn’t mentioned. Okay, I thought, they’re keeping that part of it hush-hush. No big deal. The weeks go by, and I’m not seeing any progression with Bren and Shal at all, with the exception of a few snippets in ‘The Prophecy’ of the usual subtext, beefed up a bit to foreshadow the event Mohan said was coming. Okay, so they’re saving it all for the last episode. Fine. I can deal. But, I wondered, won’t that rush things a bit? Mohan wouldn’t let that big of a mistake be made, would he?
When I finally sat down to watch ‘The Assault’ I was already worried. The minutes tick by while I’m watching the episode, and nothing’s happening. No buildup for Bren and Shal at all. Not even the usual flickerings of love and tenderness that I am used to seeing between them, just very suggestive flirting at the pool hall. Uh-oh. Cut to “the big scene”. Bren and Shal have their first kiss, and I’m thinking that maybe there is hope after all. No joy. When the scene was over I felt...disappointed. And not just because it was short. Everything about their ‘love scene’ was wrong, primarily the fact that there was no love in it. After the kiss it went on a downhill slide straight into meaningless sex, and I couldn’t believe what I had just seen, or rather, not seen. No emotion, no meaning, no ‘I love you.’ And those were the things that I had been waiting for. Talk about your big mistakes – it doesn’t get any bigger than that.
I wouldn’t say that the encounter meant nothing to the characters, and that’s the problem. The way the scene was written, and the way it played out, was a direct contradiction to everything I had ever seen between the characters, and a direct contradiction to what they should have shared. I was especially upset that it seemed to go completely against Shalimar’s nature. Last time I checked, she didn’t go around having sex with hot guys just because she thought she was going to die. What I wanted, what I’ve always wanted, was for them to make love, not have a quickie in ‘Mason’s office’. Brennan and Shalimar deserved better than that. They deserved a proper love scene, and the proper buildup over the course of the final episodes to back it up. What they got was too rushed, too unrealistic, and too meaningless.
In that same Sci-Fi Magazine interview, Peter Mohan followed his statement that Bren and Shal would indeed “have sex” with, “[its something] the ‘Shippers are going to hopefully appreciate.” What in the world was he thinking!? Did he honestly think that people who wanted to see Brennan and Shalimar in love were going to buy that? I didn’t appreciate it at all. I didn’t want them to just go and have sex. That was never what I wanted, and quite frankly I feel insulted that the writers thought ‘Shippers would appreciate that loveless act. I’m even more insulted by how bad it made my favorite characters look.
I believe that there is love between Brennan and Shalimar, but whatever that scene in ‘The Assault’ was, it wasn’t love, and it was a horrible disservice to the characters. A lot is going to have to be done to justify that mistake. I can only hope that there was a plan for future episodes to explain/sort out what happened, but somehow I think that is expecting too much. Like I said...huge disappointment, big mistake. Brennan and Shalimar deserved better.
·TV In Focus, Kathie Huddelston, Sci-Fi Magazine June 2004
·My personal posts on the Feral Sisterhood and PureMX message boards