asymptote (tree) wrote in het_reccers,

Shipper manifesto: Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries)

Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Pairing(s): Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson
Manifesto by: tree
Spoilers: Generally for everything, I suppose.

nathan and essie as jack and phryne

Phryne was getting out of the car. Dot closed her eyes. Miss Fisher was about to happen to someone again.

— Kerry Greenwood, Dead Man's Chest


Look, I'll be the first to admit that I'm just not terribly good at this sort of thing. But no one else has done one and Yuletide has been good to us (we were the second top requested fandom in 2014!), so, I mean, really, it's not like I had a lot of choice.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian TV series based on Kerry Greenwood's novels starring The Honourable Phryne Fisher. It's set in the late 1920s in Melbourne.

Our eponymous heroine grew up poor in Melbourne and landed in luxury due to so many of her father's male relatives dying that he inherited a title. She's gorgeous, sophisticated, and charming, very rich, and enjoys life immensely. She's also intelligent, savvy, well-educated, and deeply caring. She can drive a car, fly a plane, pick a lock, and scale a wall; she has her own gun and wears a knife in her garter, and knows how to use them both. Kerry Greenwood has said that she wanted her to be "like James Bond but much better dressed and with better taste in lovers".

Our hero, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, was a soldier in the war. He came back to his wife and his work a changed man in many ways. That has not, however, stopped him from being ridiculously honourable, kind, clever, and concerned above all with justice. Seriously, the man is a paragon. A beautiful, dry-witted, long-suffering paragon.

In the first episode, Phryne arrives home in Melbourne and ends up involved in the murder of an old friend's husband. Enter our hero. Phryne insinuates herself into the investigation, much to Jack's annoyance, and thus a beautiful (if unwilling on Jack's side) partnership is born!

(Uh, these caps aren't actually from that episode, but you get the idea.)

jack and phryne in marked for murder

Phryne: Besides, you have me on your team.
Bet you wish you had Phryne on your team!

The wonderful article, Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated 'Superhero' Without Apology, has a fantastic quote that sums up Phryne and Jack's dynamic:
Phryne has a bubbling, ambiguous romantic attachment to the breathtakingly dashing but emotionally reserved Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, played by Nathan Page. But in stark contrast to most will-they-or-won't-they television pairings, her attachment to Jack is not treated as ethically superior to the casual sex she's having. Her feelings for Jack don't motivate Phryne to wait around, staring at the ceiling until they manage to get together. While carrying on this flirtation that has clear and significant emotional weight, she's happily had any number of lovers over the course of the series, some of whom have turned out to be very bad indeed, and one of whom she sent off with her true best wishes, directly from her bed into a promising marriage.

(What's that you say? You need more visual aids?)

jack and phryne in death on the vine


Things I love about this ship in no particular order: these are clever people who have clever conversations — it's an intellectual romance; PARTNERS; found families; FLIRTING. SO MUCH FLIRTING; they value each other and value the other's place in their lives; rescuing each other; witty banter; they take turns being the serious one (though mostly it's Jack); shared bonds — scars from the war; THEY ARE BOTH SO PRETTY OMG; Phryne almost always calls him Jack, Jack almost never calls her Phryne; they love each other and they're each fighting it for different reasons *gross sobbing*


There are other people in this show, of course, and lots of reasons to love it. If you're interested, there's a fun primer on Tumblr. And blithers has a handy guide to how the Phryne and Jack relationship parallels the Harriet and Peter relationship, if you're a Lord Wimsey fan.

Also, season 3 has almost finished filming, so now's the perfect time to binge watch seasons 1 and 2 in preparation. Or binge rewatch as the case may be.

And now, recs!

Rec #1: Lit Up by the Moon
Author: BlackEyedGirl
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and Up

Why This Must Be Read:

It's just so lovely. This was the first MFMM fic I read that I fell in love with, that I felt really got the characters.

Phryne rescues Jack. She takes him home and wakes him in the night to check on his head. It doesn't sound like much—it comes to not even 2,000 words—but the mood and the tone and the character voices are so utterly right. There's so much between them unsaid, and so much that is said in roundabout ways, with humour, with silences, with small, glancing touches. There's an emotional depth and richness here that is moving and satisfying: the ways in which they understand each other.

Rec #2 Deliberate Provocation
Author: Siria
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): General Audiences

Why This Must Be Read:

A very short piece. Just a moment, really. Phryne and Jack getting ready to go undercover: Jack in doubt and Phryne her usual indomitable self. What's said and not said, and the way it's said or not said. It's a sweetness and a hopefulness.

Rec #3: fighting vainly the old ennui
Author: Fahye
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and up

Why This Must Be Read:

An AU in which Jack meets Mac first and Melbourne's elite are plagued by a particularly savvy jewel thief who leaves letters for Jack at the crime scenes. Surely it's no mystery who the thief turns out to be? I can't begin to express how good this story is: how satisfying and fun and lovely. Letters! Poetry! Secret identities!

Rec #4: intimacy colours my voice
Author: mardia
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Explicit

Why This Must Be Read:

A moonlit night, Jack reciting poetry, and Phryne is a little bothered.

Rec #5: Locked Rooms
Author: Lefaym
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Mature

Why This Must Be Read:

They're trapped and they might die and there's kissing! But then, rescue. And terrible awkwardness follows. For once, Phryne is at a loss as to how to proceed. Jack's avoiding her and Phryne's moping. No one is pining, though, of course. They're just out of sorts. In the end, Dot and Hugh come to the rescue. With the help of—rather surprisingly—Aunt Prudence.

Rec #6: New Mutiny
Author: Lenore
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and up

Why This Must Be Read:

Jack has another head injury (poor man) and this time when he comes to he can't remember anything that's happened since the war. In spite of this (and some very odd dreams) and because he's a clever, clever man, he manages to fool almost everyone and solve the case before his memory returns. There's so much insight into Jack, here, and his relationship with Phryne as he discovers what it is and what it isn't, and how small is the distance between here and the impossible.

Rec #7: Pot, Kettle
Author: eli
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): General Audiences

Why This Must Be Read:

To quote my comment to the author: bantering, being slightly flirty, arguing, acknowledging that they care about each other without actually acknowledging it, making up with cupcakes. These are all of my favourite things about the show. Well, there haven't been cupcakes, but that would be one of my favourite things if there were.

Rec #8: Slow and Close
Author: KiaraSayre
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and up

Why This Must Be Read:

Five scenes, the first set after 'Unnatural Habits' but I don't think you necessarily need to have seen it to understand. There's nothing here that wouldn't happen on screen, but then again it's what happens on screen that makes this ship what it is. The emotions are understated, the wit is dry, and the very real affection and enjoyment they take in each other is right at the fore. Plus, I mean, they quote Shakespeare at each other! How can you resist?

Rec #9: Something Wild
Author: ijemanja
Link: at Archive of Our Own
Rating/Warning(s): Mature

Why This Must Be Read:

The bridge is flooded! They're stranded in a rickety shack! They're wet and cold and huddling together for warmth! What do you think happens? If you did not guess sex then I'm ashamed of you. There's also whisky, biscuits, and wool socks.

Rec #10: In Sickness
Author: duskbutterfly
Link: at FFN
Rating/Warning(s): General Audiences

Why This Must Be Read:

Jack has a cold. Phryne takes care of him. I am bad at summaries. But people caring for other people when they're sick is one of my favourite things because so much is revealed in how that caring takes place. There's a gentleness in this story that echoes many of the more intimate moments we see between Phryne and Jack when they both entrust a little more of their private selves to the other. And there's a very beautiful and very believable conversation about Jack's feelings on his divorce. This is now part of my head canon.

(I feel compelled to note that the grammar definitely needs work. I usually don't like reccing things that lack in the technical department but sometimes I make exceptions. And this is one of those times when I think the exception is worth it.)
Tags: fandom: miss fisher's murder mysteries, ship: phryne fisher/jack robinson, special: manifesto

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