Medical Investigation - Natalie/Eva
Medical Investigation was a rather short-lived drama that premiered on NBC in autumn 2004. It lasted one full season, after which the network bastards executives decided to cancel it regardless of the fact that, ratings-wise, it was hardly the loser of Friday evening's killer timeslot.
I discovered this show by accident: I was bored and needed a life something new to watch. The title of the show seemed catchy, so I decided to give it a try. After a few episodes I was, embarrassingly enough, hooked, and the obvious femslash content of the show really didn't help the matter; it was just a lovely bonus for an obsessive fangirl like myself.
The show revolves around a mobile medical team of NIH [National Institutes of Health] which travels around the USA [and sometimes also abroad] in order to snuff out mysterious and unexplained outbreaks of fearful diseases. Simply put, a sort of a mixture between the CSI franchise and ER.
The Parties Involved
Natalie Durant is one of the three doctors in the team and she spends a big part of the episodes either testing various samples in her lab, or treating patients. Natalie is the shy one, the introvert, of the group. In the beginning all the patient 101 really gets on her nerves, since she sees herself as more of a researcher than a practical doctor. Due to this, Natalie also often manages to confuse people with her medical jargon.
Not much is known about Natalie's background, which isn't that big a surprise when the show's focus-on-the-case plot structure is taken into account. In "Escape", however, it is revealed that Natalie has been married once, but is now divorced. In the same episode a reference to an ex-boyfriend of hers is also made, but, all in all, we don't see her having much of a personal life outside of work until we dig into the subtext, that is.
The Press Liaison
Eva Rossi is the press liaison of the team. In other words, her job is either to a) prevent details of a case leaking to the media prematurely or b) inform the media about a case they are working on. Eva is the only one of the group without any medical education or experience; she used to be a journalist before becoming a PR person and joining NIH.
Eva is the complete opposite of Natalie: she's outgoing and energetic, her social skills are impeccable, making it easy for her to interact with people. Due to her nature she often gets emotionally involved in her work and feels very passionately about cases that hit a little too close to home.
Eva's private life seems to be just as non-existent as Natalie's; no references to relationships of any kind is made. About her background we do know one thing: in "Little Girl" we find out that she was given to adoption at birth and later on bounced from one foster home to another.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The case of Natalie and Eva is an intriguing one: the subtext between the two is more than obvious and you can easily see it if you want to. While there is never any overt mentioning of the nature of their relationship [it was a primetime show, what do you expect?], there is also nothing on the show that excludes the possibility of it being something more than just plain friendship.
It is never stated how long the team has been working together, but it is clear that they all [except Miles who joins the group in the pilot] already know each other rather well in the beginning. Being the only women in the team, Eva and Natalie understandably form a special bond, and that bond clearly becomes more and more stronger as the season progresses.
When the relationship between Eva and Natalie is being studied more carefully, some reoccurring features can easily be identified, and it is these features especially that form the basis of the subtext between them.
It is somewhat surprising that most women co-workers on TV these days don't seem to get along with each other. The general representation is that they are competitors and rivals, and this results in frequent arguments and quarreling.
This is not the case with Eva and Natalie: in the course of the 20-episode-long season we see them arguing only once. This takes place in "Coming Home" when their small squabble about a particular medical trial ends with Natalie snapping and exclaiming "Just do your job, Eva!". Eva looks after her with a I-cannot-believe-you-just-said-that look. The incident is finally resolved when Eva confronts Natalie about a whole different issue [Natalie steals an ID card to get an access to details of the trial].
Natalie: I resent the accusation.
Eva: And I resent you implying that I don't do my job. If I didn't, the medical trial your friend is involved in would've been scrapped about an hour ago.
Indeed. In other words, Eva saved the trial just because it meant so much to Natalie. Bring on the subtext, I say! Natalie is genuinely sorry, apologizes, and as she has already moved on, Eva glances after her with a smile on her face. This argument is definitely a watershed in their relationship; after this neither of them criticizes each other's work and we don't see them arguing ever again, quite the contrary actually: in "Escape" a museum employee is annoyed that Natalie has to take samples from a few paintings.
The museum employee: How much longer will you be ma'am?
Eva: [turning around] First of all, she's a doctor. And secondly, there're a lot of sick people depending on her, so she'll take as long as she needs.
Protective much? Also, in the very same episode, Natalie proudly comments on Eva's great journalist skills; they obviously share a mutual respect for each other. After their one and only argument, especially Eva seems to be extremely proud of Natalie and definitely lets it show.
Another interesting feature which makes an appearance quite early on is that Natalie is always the one who explains all the medical details of a case to Eva. They don't even need to speak up: when there is something she doesn't understand, Eva automatically glances at Natalie who, most of the time, is already prepared to talk the whole thing through with the press liaison.
This brings me to another very distinctive feature of the Eva/Natalie relationship: joking. At times the two women can be seen standing close together, laughing and talking inaudibly, before the "actual scene" begins. In "Spiked" Eva jokes about Frank [their toxicologist] not checking his messages more carefully, but instead of looking at Frank, she smiles at Natalie who grins back at her. A little later Natalie cracks a joke about Stephen [the leader of the team] and the same thing happens: the two women glance at each other, smiling widely.
They also joke a lot with each other when there's no one else around. In "Team" a case leads them to a freaky world of high school kids and to an odd outbreak concerning sorority members. Eva and Natalie need to ask a few questions from some of the students and head for the campus.
[very loud music playing in the corridor]
Eva: [smiles] If it's too loud, you're too old.
Natalie: [rolling her eyes dramatically] Well, then I'm too old.
Two of the sure signs of subtext between two people are definitely the lack of personal space and more or less overt eye-shagging. But, in addition to these, Eva and Natalie's conversations usually manage to result in pure flirting especially from Eva's part.
Personal space is completely forgotten, for example, in such episodes as "Progeny", "Team" and "The Black Book". In "The Unclean" Eva explains the others what she has succeeded in finding out about their current case and sits down on the table right next to Natalie, although there's plenty of room elsewhere. A bold move.
Overt eye-shagging occurs, at least, in "Team", "Price of Pleasure" and "Tribe".
The thing, however, which is the most characteristic to the Eva/Natalie ship, is the flirting. Especially Eva is constantly testing the waters. The first indication of this can be seen in "Coming Home" [third episode of the season. Indeed.] when it turns out that Eva knows who Natalie's favorite patient is.
Eva: Looking for Barrett?
Natalie: [frowning] How do you know about him?
Eva: [smiling a very flirty smile] Everybody has their favorite.
Eva is even more obvious in the following episode, "Escape", as she and Natalie are left to deal with a case in Miami while the others fly over to the Caribbean. Just the fact that Eva stays with Natalie is pretty damn convenient.
At first the press liaison tells Natalie how she had to show the chief of staff her special tattoo in order to be able to talk to patients. Natalie's smile is amused and she then asks Eva to go through everything again, all the medical files and so on. When Eva complains that she is not a doctor, Natalie looks proudly at her and says: "You were an investigative journalist before you became a PR person. You know how to talk to anyone." Eva looks pleased and eagerly accepts the files. Then this little gem of a dialog takes place:
Eva: [looking down at a file] So. How are things with that hockey player?
[Natalie looks up sharply]
Natalie: Excuse me?
Eva: That guy. Jeremy? Joe?
Natalie: Jordan. It's over. [a pause] Why do you ask?
Eva: [not looking sorry at all] Well, you just don't see that many women who are beautiful and brilliant. I'd think men would be all over you.
Now, if that is not a come-on, I don't know what is! Especially, since Eva is practically beaming after finding out that Natalie is single again.
A similar sort of vibe can be detected in "Mutation": the team finds out that there is a person, Stanley, who has antidotes in his blood for the disease they are currently fighting. Eva then accompanies him to the NIH where Natalie is waiting. During the procedure, Natalie tries to explain it to the old man, but unfortunately it ends up being complete jargon to him.
Stanley: [looking at Eva] Do you know what she's saying?
Eva: [trying not to laugh] It's like chicken pox, or the measles. How once you get them, you almost never get them again? This flu virus is close enough to the one you were exposed to, so that there's stuff in your blood that fights it. Dr.Durant is going to get some of it and help the other patients.
Natalie: [looking adoringly at Eva] Exactly.
Eva smiles and looks directly back at Natalie. Neither of them seems to remember poor Stanley anymore.
As the season progresses, an almost domestic feel to their relationship establishes itself. In "Tribe" the pair can be seen alone in Eva's office talking about nightmares. Seriously. Also, a little later in the same episode, Eva is pouring Natalie some coffee while engrossed in a conversation with her. Miles, who is standing right next to them, is completely left out.
At the end of "The Unclean" Natalie and Eva are actually leaving the NIH headquarters together, but then Stephen-the-king-of-angst shows up and Natalie decides to find out if he's alright. Damn you Stephen! The reason why this scene is so great, however, is the fact that the two women only share a glance and Eva knows exactly what Natalie is going to do. They stand there for a while, just gazing at each other [Natalie can't seem to be able to tear her eyes away from Eva's], until Eva finally says good night and leaves. Natalie stays no longer than a minute, tops, so I'm confident she runs after her girlfriend and reaches her in the parking lot.
Another sign of familiarity emerges in "The Black Book" when Eva suddenly calls Natalie 'Nat'. During the entire season only Stephen, and now Eva, calls her that. Draw your own conclusions people.
A small, but interesting, accident occurs in "Ice Station" when Natalie, Stephen, Frank and other personnel get stuck in an ice station because of a storm front. Eventually they lose all means of communication with the outside world as the satellite phone stops working, thanks to a broken generator. When, in the mainland, Eva's phone rings all of a sudden, she answers it with "Natalie???" while it could easily be at least ten other people as well. I guess we know where Eva's priorities lie!
Another distinctive feature of subtext is the physical contact. Eva/Natalie doesn't disappoint on that front either. The first non-obligatory contact takes place in "Alienation"; Eva explains that an upcoming press conference is going to be an extremely tough one. Natalie then looks at her with confidence, puts a hand on her back and softly says "Give 'em hell." After that it is not that surprising that Eva totally nails the thing.
The most important episode for the Eva/Natalie ship is the two-part season finale, "Mission La Roca". And this is not only because Natalie initiates physical contact not two but three times, but because it really shows the depth of their relationship.
Eva is somewhere in southern America with Natalie, helping her with a tuberculosis outbreak. Now, one can wonder what on earth a press liaison is doing there while, for example, the leader of the team is at home. She probably just tagged along to keep her girlfriend company.
Suddenly there's an earthquake, due to which the whole clinic they're working in collapses, burying Natalie under all the debris. Eva was driving to a nearby city while this happened and now she has to walk back. When the news reach Stephen and Frank, they fly over to help and find Natalie unharmed. The three of them are fretting in a local hospital when Eva finally shows up:
Eva: I thought I'd find you guys here.
Natalie: [face lighting up] Eva!
Neither Stephen nor Frank say anything and Eva and Natalie just stand there, staring at each other. The whole scene just screams "girlfriends!", and I was waiting for them to smooch right there and then, but damn it, hey never did.
In the course of the episode Eva finds a little boy among all the destruction and forms a strong bond with him. She tries to find his parents, but without any luck; nobody can be reached by phone and she becomes frustrated. Natalie looks at her sympathetically, lays a hand on her arm and quietly says "Keep trying." And just like that Eva calms down.
When Eva finally finds out that the little boy's parents are both dead, she sits in the stairs, looking absolutely mortified. Natalie finds her there and sits down next to her. She puts a hand on Eva's shoulder and softly asks how she's doing. Told you. Girlfriends. So obvious.
Eva then says that she doesn't know how to tell the little boy and Natalie immediately offers to go with her. She looks at Eva with a I-want-to-take-your-pain-away sort of way and they share a look that lasts a lot longer than would be appropriate, considering the circumstances. Finally Eva utters that she should probably tell him alone. Natalie understands, her hand finds its way on Eva's arm once again as she gets up.
What is also a little mind-boggling, is the fact that throughout the whole episode Natalie has plenty of time to help and console Eva, although patients are dying like flies around them. Yes, say it with me: girlfriends.
Because the little boy, Berto, has no parents, a social worker wants to take him to a refugee camp. Eva makes a drastic decision to avoid this: she decides to adopt him. Natalie looks nothing short of freaked when she finds out and asks if Eva has really thought it through. I bet her head is filled with horror scenarios of having no free time with her lover during the next twenty years.
Eva: [disappointedly] I thought you'd be pleased.
Natalie: [face softening] It's not that. I think it's wonderful.
Natalie just looks gently at her and lets it go. Later on it turns out that Berto actually has relatives who are alive. His cousin comes to get him and Eva is absolutely crushed. She glances pleadingly at Natalie who looks like she would want to take the smaller woman in her arms right there and then.
When listing the usual signs of subtext, it is clear that Eva/Natalie has most, if not all, of them. And especially if you're a femslasher, or if you want to see the subtext between them, there is no way in hell you can miss it.
It really is easy to see why Eva/Natalie would work so well. Among other things, these two women have a very similar frame of mind, which is clearly reflected in every single scene they are in. Also, the fact that they get along so well creates another layer to their relationship and makes it a lot easier for the viewer to see the spark between them.
So, let's recap, shall we?
Subject of Analysis: Eva/Natalie.
Question: Why are they a perfect couple?
Answer: Mutual respect for each other. Check. The lack of personal space between them. Check. Favorite sport seems to be eye-shagging. Check. Flirting openly with each other. Check. Simply acting like a married couple, most of the time. Check.
Now, at least to me, that is the perfect recipe for hoyay!
Turbulence by thenewhope
Seaside Surprises by thenewhope
Forces of Nature by lysachan [shameless self-promotion, but the number of Eva/Natalie fics out there is pathetic]
Return to 'Ship Manifestos
Return to Main Page