The Action Movie Hero As An Expression of Homosocial Desire

There is a moment, right before things start, when Turgen has a glimpse of dreadful clarity: he sees, in that one awful second, all the blood shed and bodies made in the heat of his revenge. Sees that moment, and backs away, turns into himself, and retreats.

Turgen is still angry, still wounded, still raw: he wakes up at night, sweating, the inside of his mouth filled with blood, lips and cheeks scarred with the inexpressible anger. He cannot stay in rooms with too many people. He goes on one date — just one — and halfway through the meal starts to raise his voice, to swear, and cuts himself and the evening off. He apologizes, and leaves, and does not belabor the point.

He goes to therapy, finds a therapist (it takes a while) who has no instinct to soothe, to calm, to explain; one who listens, and nods, and at the end of a long hour or two offers a few suggestions, things to do, books to read. He works out, weights and track, and doesn’t spar.

Years later, across a crowded lawn, he sees the man who hurt him. He weaves his way through the tuxedos and the platters, and when the man notices him at last, and trembles, and sweats, and drops the long flute of his glass, Turgen sighs, and shrugs, and turns away.