2010-05-13: Pulling Punches



Guest Starring:

Stuart Templeton Davenport

Date: May 13, 2010


Morgan goes on set to play … herself. Things are weird.

"Pulling Punches"

Afterlife Set

What the hell is she doing?

It seemed so easy in her mind, and it sounded like it would be fun. Taking Erin's place for a day, filling in as the actress, and essentially playing herself. Even were-porcupines can be traumatised, though. She didn't realise that they'd be 'filming' Morgan's continued captivity, and this cave looks so real. For the past five minutes, she's been going over ever detail, running her fingers over the walls. Plaster and stucco. Not stone, not cold and damp.

In fact, the overhead lights make it almost unbearably warm. Looking up, Morgan squints at them. That's one thing that's different; she's used to looking up and seeing— well, she can vaguely remember a ceiling to the cave. Made out of stone and rock, with stalactites and limestone — or was she imagining all that, too?

In her hand is a script. She actually has to say lines that someone prepared for her.

Okay, this is going to be cool. "You can do this, Morgan," she mutters to herself. Battling evil forces? Easy. Running lines? Hardest thing ever!




Knock knock

"Hallis they're ready for you on set…" The assistant to the assistant to the director was sent to get the young actress. Everyone had been stepping on egg shells lately with the news of the breakup of the socialite with her politician boyfriend, rather uncertain of what to expect from her. So far, her first day back on the set had been … better than ever.

With a smile, Hallis turns and angles her head lightly, as though posing for a picture. Her makeup artist commented that she didn't even need the glow today, that something about her was just different. Hallis can definitely feel it. "Okay, I think I'm ready… do I look good?" With her, it's always about the looks.

Stepping out of the trailer, she makes her way toward the director's chair and stands next to him. She doesn't have her script in hand, she'd memorized most of it last night.

Shirtless (dressed only in a pair of emo-tight jeans) and properly glistened with petroleum jelly to highlight his finer features, Stuart is waiting on set and offers Hallis a quick wave accompanied by a high-pitched whistle. "You always look good," Stuart winks as he steps towards the cave. Like Hallis, he has the lines memorized, ready to go.

He offers Morgan a small wave and then he walks over and shakes her hand; they've never done a scene together. This is a first. "Stuart Templeton Davenport," he greets. "Honour to meet you Erin. You've made this show a real winner. I can tell you take your craft very very seriously. Just like Hallis and I. Hallie is particularly talented, but soon enough she'll be doing even better." He winks as he turns to the director, "Where do you want me for this shot? Or… am I in this first one?"

Blue eyes focus on Ora.

Erin knows the actress' name is Hallis, but she looks so much like Ora that it's hard not to feel the trepidation that she feels every time Ora would come to see her. This one woman is entirely responsible for making Morgan suffer for months! Except she's not.

Except she is! Logically, if all these people are actors, if they all would have acted NICER to each other, then Morgan wouldn't have gotten captured at all! What a bitch!

"Uh— "

Suddenly, she's blinking up at Stuart. Because Morgan has been in the cave, albeit off-camera, she knows the man's voice, his appearance— "V- vampire," she stutters, taken off-guard, and for a moment, she completely forgets that this is not the same man responsible for helping Ora keep her in the cave.

Thankfully for Stuart, women in Llanview never punch anyone. He's going to find himself getting bitch-slapped, though.

Smiling up at Stuart, Hallis gives him a dreamy sort of look and sidles a little closer to him as they are engaged by Skip. As she listens to the setup, she steals a glance at the greased up actor and gives him a small smile. She can't help it, not really. He's practically dazzling, like a Twipire.

Hallis feels Erin's eyes on her before she actually looks up, then it's to meet the other woman with a bright smile. "Hi Erin, it's great to actually have a scene with you instead of all this separate filming junk, isn't it? I've been looking forward to this like.. all week!" Except she hasn't. She's had butterflies in her stomach, nervous stomach upsets. A rash of inexplicable origin… Horrible.

"Don't worry, not a real vampire, I play a fake-one on tv," Stuart beams and winks. "I've been told I'm a pretty convincing vampire though — " he winks again before running a hand through his hair and stretching his neck, producing a distinct crack. "You look lovely. Don't worry, Hallie and I are easy to scene with."

He shoots Hallis and equally charming smile. "Hi Hallie— I was wondering if you'd like to come out with me and the gang tonight for drinks again. And then back to my place just to hang out." He shoots her a bright toothy grin.

When Morgan's attempt to slap Stuart only results in a smile, she's obviously confused. Of course, maybe vampires don't feel pain — she doesn't remember Ken feeling any pain when he was a vampire, so—

But this isn't Archer, this is— Stuart. Stuart. Really? That's not a very bad-ass name. "Ah, yeah, I wasn't too worried."

Just very confused.

Morgan rubs her forehead where she ran into the door yesterday. It's still sore, but at least makeup covered the red mark. She's never had to have her makeup done before, but her face looked so completely hideous in the morning, she certainly understood why they did it! "No, that's fine. I should probably just— I'm not feeling well." That's the truth.
Archer has partially disconnected.

It's easy to see that Stuart's invitation catches Hallis off guard. She blinks and then looks up at him with a tiny gasp and then beams before nodding quickly. "Y-yeah, I'll go with you. It'll be fun." This time, no interruptions, no awkwardness.

The slap though, that makes Hallis bubble up with a giggle and she swats lightly in Erin's direction. "Oh my god, you had me totally convinced you were mad at him! You're great!" Compliment given, Hallis then glances toward Skip with a nod and takes her place near the edge of the cave.

In a vain attempt to relax, she rolls her shoulders, shakes out her hands, and takes a few deep breaths. Only to let each of them out with a long whoosh. Before she completely falls into Ora, she glances at Stuart and gives him a little wink. When she turns her head forward again, the transformation is complete. Her expression changes completely, she is Ora.

"You certainly are one of the good ones," Stuart winks at Morgan and takes a step back. "You watch out for her Hallie, method actahs can be dangerous to be around. Really get into charactah." He winks at Hallis now. "Excellent! I know a lot of the crew were hoping to have you around again, yeah?"

Stuart also takes a deep breath t push himself into character. After a moment he dawns those all-too-emo soulful eyes of his and that otherworldly expression. Not really vampiric, but more angelic. But then, Stuart naturally looks borderline angelic. He closes his eyes and when he opens them, only Archer is present, ready for this take.

Unlike the others, Morgan doesn't need to get into character. She has none of Erin's memories; the only thing in her mind is her own life - or the false one she's been led to believe she's lived. Method actor? Hardly. If you were looking at the faces of the people who kept you tied up and mostly unconscious in a cave for months, you'd be angry, too.

She actually has to get into character as Erin, looking at her script, even though the lines are so her. They'd come so naturally, even without these written words on paper. It's almost as if…

Someone's written her whole life.

She's going to improvise. Hopefully the writers don't hate her. Morgan tosses the script out of the set.


With the call, Ora steps forward to the mouth of the cave, even with her petite stature, she has a commanding presence. It's something that helps her well when taming vampires. Unfortunately, the one she can't tame is the one that owns her heart.

She looks back and to the right, where Archer stands and extends her hand behind her, reaching for him. The look she gives him is smoldering, "Archer… come to me. I have something I need to ask you." Her left hand goes to the pendant at her throat, a pretty stone laced over a glittering gold chain.

When he takes her hand, she turns and brings them both up to kiss his fingertips. Her eyes never leave his. "Archer, my love, I received news from a rather reliable source…" Her voice is soft, breathy, the hand on her pendant reaches across the space between them and glides down his greased up chest. "… is it true that you were here without me?"

Archer approaches as he's pressed. HIs gaze turns downward before he looks up again to meet Ora's, his eyes regretful, almost begging forgiveness before any confession has been made. "I was here," he says finally. "Here without you.

"My love. My soul. My heart. I… " he looks down again and steps away from the weregoldfish that is Ora. "…I'm the man you know. I am who you think I am: I am the man that loves you." He steps towards her to offer his arms for her embrace. "But— " he frowns now.

Turning to look at Erin he raises a hand towards her, "She shouldn't be your prisoner. She deserves freedom… we all deserve that, don't we?" His eyes stare off into the distant yonder.

The script indicates that Morgan should stay put, staring daggers at the others; released by Archer, but only in part, she should be still far too weak to move. She should be sitting on the alter-like slab that's been her bed for the past several weeks. Unlike she remembers it, it's warm under the studio lights…

Her eyes narrow, shoulders rising and falling with a determined breath. The only one who can affect her future right now is her, in a wonderfully unique opportunity that only she has ever been given. She's not weak. In fact, she feels pretty damned good at the moment, and with the serious desire for revenge, Morgan throws the entire "plan" out the window.

One delicate hand traces along the alter for just another second before she starts marching toward Ora with a serious purpose in mind. She's going to transform and tear the hell out of her. Her very determined march comes to an abrupt halt, though, when she realises that nothing is actually happening. That's when she spots the stone around Ora's neck; it's not the plain bare-bones weystone that she's used to, but it's certainly familiar.

"I'll just have to rip you apart with my hands," she snaps.

The director, Skip, glances at his script, then toward the cameras. Waving a circle with his finger, he indicates to them to keep rolling. He slides to the edge of his seat and rolls the thick makeshift book between his hands. What will Hallis do?

Improv, you gotta love it.

There's a sudden blink from Ora as she sees Morgan striding toward her, not weak, not dying. The goldfish shifts her position and flits behind Archer, her vampire protector, her wide blue eyes staring into Morgan's. Her pale pink lips twitch to a small smile and she peeks from behind him, not afraid as long as he's there.

"Archer, kill her for me, please?" The request is made with a meek voice, but the look on Ora's face. So full of conceit and hubris…

This is the kind of scene Stuart lives for. Some actors hate improv, but he has always seen it as a better reflection of the character. "Morgan…" his eyes soften as he turns to face her. "You don't want to do this— you don't want to become the monster Ora believes you are." His gaze then returns to Ora, but just for a moment before it turns to the floor. "I— I can't kill her. I can't kill anyone." His jaw tightens as he straightens further. "Ora, I am your loyal servant; your slave, I love you." He stares straight into the camera now. "But." And there it is, the hanging but. "But, I'm not what you think I am." His face flushes as he looks at Morgan now. All of the time he'd spent lying about himself floods into his mind. There's a pregnant pause as he stares at his feet in apparent shame.

"I'm not a vampire…"

Kill her for me…

Morgan's not afraid. She's been fighting these kinds of people for a long time, and while her captivity has been long, she hasn't forgotten. While her powers are gone, the sheer force of will that's driven her is out in full force today. "Oh, believe me, I do," Morgan says. She has no doubt in her mind that Archer won't do anything to her, because Archer isn't really a vampire at all. He's an actor named Stuart, who wouldn't hurt a fly!

Morgan thinks that maybe - just maybe - she might actually hurt Hallis.

For awhile, she pays no attention to the slightly improved lines from Archer. Not that she'd really know they were improved, since Morgan really only read her lines in the script. After all, she's not an actor. She had no idea that some lines from others are very important cues for her own. Still, as she elbows Stuart out of the way - perhaps way harder than she should - and tries to get to Ora-the-Goldfish, she isn't paying very close attention.

While Erin may know where all this is going, Morgan has no idea. Archer is a hated vampire. Evil. Working with Ora to kill her. Reaching out, Morgan wraps her hand around Ora's collar, drawing her fist back to - for the first time ever - deliver a punch instead of a slap—

And then Archer drops his bombshell, and Morgan is completely dumbfounded. Blinking, lowering the suspended fist while maintaining her grip on Ora's collar, she looks at him. "…What?"

At first, Hallis was surprised by Erin's sudden aggression but then the little flash hit her. My own stunts! Yay! and she went with it.

Ora's hands fly to her throat to protect not only her own life, but the necklace around her neck. As long as Morgan is touching it, she's weak. A little tchk is let off for dramatic effect and her eyes flit to the side to find Skip. He's on the edge of his seat. What is Morgan going to do next?

The ratings on this show are going to be so good.

Prepping herself for the blow, Hallis tries to remember exactly what to do when the fist is flying. Don't let it connect, move just as it's close enough to feel the breeze, go with the flow of the fist… and then Archer delivers his line…. Her eyes drift toward him, the hubris has been replaced by genuine fear. What if she misses the mark?

"Ora, please. Please don't hate me, I couldn't handle that— " Archer's eyes soften considerably while he steps towards Morgan. "I befriended you to save everyone— " he turns to Morgan, "You see, Ora took you because she was afraid. She's afraid of what she's become." He reaches for Morgan's hand to draw it away from Ora gently. Incredibly gently. In fact, Archer has become undeniably serene in his movements, almost floating as he moves.

"And when Ora hired me as a vampire, I knew I was meant to rescue you both. Can't you see?" his voice is now a whisper. "You're so alike." He reaches out to place a hand on both of their shoulders. "Afraid. Alone. Feeling like your life doesn't make sense." His eyes flit between them, inspecting every detail, every feature. "I used to watch you. Both of you." Pause. "You see, I'm not a vampire. I'm an angel— " cue the glow-like backlighting behind Stuart, essentially making him shine.

Afraid of what she's become— "I didn't hunt down the were that got me," Morgan snaps, her tone so spot-on that anyone watching on TV would think this was really Morgan. She gives Ora's collar a good shake - rough, intentionally painful - and stares the were-goldfish in the eyes. "I used my ability to help people. Did I like it? No. Could I live with it? I found a way! If anyone has a right to be angry, it's me. My brother caused all this! But we make due. We … make due with what we're given, even if it's not the life we want. Or a life at all."

How do they even know they exist?

The script would have Archer's gentle touch guiding Morgan's hand away, the ethereal quality of an angel's presence guiding her, making her gentle. But, like Ora's fake Weystone, Archer's touch has no affect on Morgan. "My life doesn't make sense. I'M NOT EVEN ALIVE!"

The last line is shouted. As the backlighting rises behind Stuart, Morgan, turning her despair into sheer - and powerful - anger, draws her fist back again and… Well, she's not pulling her punches. At all. Unless there really is some sort of divine intervention, that fist is going to collide with Hallis' pretty, expensive face.


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