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Held Gaze / Live-Action TV

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  • Our Miss Brooks: In ''The Magic Tree", before Mr. Boynton kisses Miss Brooks. It's All Just a Dream.
  • Done a lot in Smallville, but straightest in Bound when Clark and Chloe have a moment in an elevator. Curse you, Moment Killer!
  • Mulder and Scully of The X-Files used this trope frequently throughout the series, to the point of Facial Dialogue. It has a habit of shutting out everyone else in the room and making even small moments ridiculously intimate.
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  • Frequently featured between Lee Adama and Kara Thrace in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, especially when they're with other love interests. Fans like to call this "the eyefrak".
  • Soap Operas often use this trope to show the high tension between lovers—usually in the passionate look form.
  • How I Met Your Mother: This is one of Barney's "moves" to invoke intimacy and seduce women (and Ted).
  • In the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Guide to: Positives and Negatives", Sarah Gothman and Mark Downing have this before they kiss. It's electrifying.
  • Supernatural:
    • There's the platonic (Ho Yay-inducing) version: Dean and Castiel have been sharing long, tension-filled gazes since their first confrontation. At first, it's just because Dean's rather aggressive and Cas, being an angel, has no idea about little things like how long it's appropriate to stare into someone's eyes from two feet away, but they keep doing it. It eventually became so blatant that when Castiel gives him a dirty look after Dean's near-betrayal, Dean lampshades it by joking, "Gee, Cas. Last time somebody looked at me like that—I got laid." (That was less than two years after Cas first showed up at the beginning of season 4. They haven't stopped yet, and it's currently season 13. Cas still doesn't get "personal space" around Dean, either.) There's also a supercut—"Literally 10 minutes of every time Dean and Cas do the thing with the eyes".
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    • On Tumblr, there is a "How to Look at Your Brother" blog, with images/GIFs of some of the long, emotional, tearful looks the brothers have exchanged throughout the series.
  • Friends: Monica and Chandler do this frequently: when each of the other Friends find out about their Secret Relationship (TOW the Kips, TOW Everybody Finds Out, TOW The Girl Who Hits Joey) their immediate response is to look at each other, obviously appreciating that they can use the Held Gaze without suspicion.
  • Mad Men: This is combined with the Longing Look at the end of "The Rejected". Peggy and Pete lock eyes wistfully as they each follow their separate paths (her with new counterculture friends, him with businessmen in suits). However, you can tell there's always going to be a bit of longing and a "what could have been" vibe between them, even though neither one wants to travel down that path again.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Kirk and Spock do this all. the. damn. time. In the episode "Miri," they held each others' gaze for a full twelve seconds, in complete silence, as the camera flicked back and forth between closeups of their faces. They're still doing the exact same thing twenty years later in The Undiscovered Country, when Kirk whispers in Spock's ear and then pulls away just far enough to lock gazes with him.
    • Kirk and McCoy engage in the purely platonic "meaningful look" variant when they drop the friendly banter and display the fact that they are rock-solid best friends.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Chakotay and Janeway after Chakotay reveals his feelings for her in the episode "Resolutions".
  • Inspector Lynley and his partner DS Havers do this frequently, often immediately before solving the Case of the Week and proceeding to kick the villain's butt. They also do it a lot when they make up after a fight, or when they act as each other's confidantes, or...yeah. Suffice it to say that while this trope might not be intentionally romantic between them, it certainly played a major role in their UST, and spoke whole volumes about the characters' feelings for each other. In fact, during many of the most significant moments of their relationship, the words coming out of their mouths were completely incidental to the conversation they were having with their eyes.
  • Glee's Kurt and Blaine, right from their very first episode when Blaine sings "Teenage Dream" straight to Kurt. The ridiculously UST-ful gazes continue nonstop after that. They finally get their Relationship Upgrade in "Original Song"—and, later that episode, proceed to sing a duet together while staring dreamily into each other's eyes the entire time. Kurt and Blaine like this trope a lot.
  • Everyone does this to everyone else in Merlin. Everyone.
    • Especially Arthur, Merlin, and Guinevere. These three are capable of having lengthy conversations with each other without ever saying a word.
    • Nicely done in the episode "The Hunter's Heart" in which Arthur is considering marriage to a visiting princess, even though Merlin is urging him to get back together with Guinevere. After finding Guinevere's ring in the forest, Arthur and Merlin exchange a deep, wordless gaze. Behind them, Princess Mithian tries to get their attention, quickly realizing that something beyond her understanding is silently passing between the two men. Although Arthur/Guinevere was a Foregone Conclusion anyway, that's the moment the audience knows that Mithian is about to be sent packing.
  • Babylon 5: The more Sheridan and Delenn do this, the closer they get. Or rather, the closer they get, the more they do this.
  • In the Sherlock episode "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock and Irene Adler share intense, passionate gazes with each other at least twice in under five seconds, causing John Watson to snark out baby names since they are so obviously forgetting his presence in the room.
    • John and Sherlock are not exempt from this. No wonder everyone thinks they're together...
  • Parodied on 30 Rock:
    Liz: You know, some people actually craft stories, and when the story doesn't have an ending you don't just create one out of thin air by playing music or having people give each other meaningful looks. [music swells] Sure, that might manipulate an audience into THINKING they're feeling something, but it sucks.
    Jack: [gives Lemon meaningful stare, their eyes lock]
    Liz: [spins and locks eyes with Jack]
  • The platonic version happens between Shawn and Gus of Psych at the end of "An Evening with Mr. Yang". After saving his mom's life and helping catch the bad guy, Shawn finally gets to have his date with Abby. Shawn then turns around to look at Gus who is chilling in the backseat, still watching Shawn's back, even after the danger has passed.
  • Warehouse 13: There is almost no scene where Myka and HG are in the same room that this trope doesn't apply.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • When Buffy is brought Back from the Dead in Season 6 she keeps avoiding the gaze of her sister and friends, but when she first catches sight of Spike the two keep staring at each other until the Scoobies barge in and spoil the moment. A platonic love version occurs in the following episode when Buffy's Parental Substitute Giles returns to Sunnydale.
    • Its importance is lampshaded when Kennedy is on a date with Willow.
      "It's like flirting in code, it's using body language, and laughing at the right jokes. And looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you, even though she's not saying a word."
    • In Season 4, Willow is justifiably alarmed when she sees how her boyfriend Oz and sultry nightclub singer Veruca keep staring at each other as she sings.
    • In Season 7, when Buffy rescues Spike from the cave that the First had been keeping him in, he at first thinks it's just the First taking her form again. When Buffy cuts Spike's chains (something the First can't do due to not being corporeal), Spike reaches out to touch her in disbelief and ends up grabbing her shoulder. Buffy then turns to Spike and the two stare at each other, tears in their eyes, as Buffy silently confirms to Spike that she did come to rescue him. It's broken off when Spike begins sobbing in relief and Buffy walks him out of the cave.
  • Terrifyingly inverted in the episode "Midnight" of Doctor Who in which the Doctor goes face-to-face for a period of time with a woman possessed by some strange alien entity. He's already tried to argue to others present that they have no right to judge the creature, only to concede defeat with one of the show's most chilling lines: "I'd like to believe you're harmless...but your eyes are telling me a different story." Later it's hinted that the creature's prolonged Held Gaze with the Doctor allows it to paralyze him.
    • Try to find an episode in Part B of Series 7 where Clara and the Doctor are near each other and aren't holding each other's gaze.
    • And that goes double for Series 8 where the held gazes between Clara and the Twelfth Doctor last even longer.
    • The Doctor and The Master Sometimes do this, especially during the 5/Ainley era.
  • Richard Castle and Kate Beckett have a tendency to do this as part of their UST in general, but one particularly notable example occurs in "Poof! You're Dead", wherein one of their usual "getting so caught up in theorizing about the case they finish each other's sentences" moments ends with them staring into each other's eyes, with the look on Castle's face almost pinpointing the exact second he realizes that he's fallen in love with her. Unfortunately for him, however, Beckett isn't quite on the same page and just asks him what he's looking at, prompting a rapid changing of the topic which only confuses her.
  • Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl are all over this trope. Also known as them having "eye sex".
  • Donna and Eric have one of these in That '70s Show during her parents' wedding vows (that she wrote for them with Eric in mind). Then they have sex.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Klingons actually have their own word for this, at least the platonic version. Worf is explaining where his loyalty to General Martok comes from.
    Worf: You know that I was forced to fight the Jem'Hadar guards in the camp. Each day they would call me to the ring, and each day I would fight. But then there came a day when I...wavered.
    Sisko: You mean you didn't want to go back into the ring?
    Worf: No, I mean I considered letting them kill me. It seemed like the only way out. Just before I went into the ring, Martok turned to wish me success. And then he saw what I was planning, he saw it in my eyes. It was a moment of tova'dok.
    Sisko: Of what?
    Worf: There is no Human word for it. It is a moment of...clarity, between two warriors on a field of battle. Much is said without the need for words. In that moment, he knew what was in my mind. Once I realized that he saw my intention to give up I could no longer go through with it. I went back into the ring and fought once more. He had given me his warrior's heart. Perhaps it is something a Human cannot understand.
  • Call the Midwife has Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette, who can't seem to stop doing this. Unfortunately for them both, Sister Bernadette is a nun, which is a bit of an obstacle, to say the least. In the episode where she leaves the convent to be with him, they literally do not look away from each other for more than five seconds at a time when they're in the same scene. Understandable, since they're finally able to be together after months of mutual and very painful pining.
  • On NCIS:
    • This happens between Tony and Ziva at times. The most notable moment is in season 7's "Reunion," after Ziva returns from Somalia. Ziva unexpectedly shows up at the Navy Yard, and suggests something to Tony and McGee for the Case of the Week. She and Tony end up in a Held Gaze, completely oblivious to anyone else in the room. McGee notices and tries to give them some privacy. Awkwardly.
      McGee: And I'm going to go do that... right after I get a... Nutter Butter. [rolls eyes, leaves]
    • Gibbs and Sloane tend to make eye contact a lot whenever they're having a conversation, whether that conversation is work-related or personal. Then they don't break eye contact until either someone else joins the conversation, thus catching their attention, or one or both of them get self-conscious over how long they've been looking at each other.
  • On Community, this happens several times between Jeff Winger and Annie Edison in the first season. And then again in the second season. And again in the third. And the fourth. And again in the fifth. In short, the Held Gaze is Jeff and Annie's UST M.O.; there are probably fewer episodes where they don't have a Held Gaze than ones where they do. In an attempt to downplay it, Jeff describes an instance of this as "platonic shoulder-holding," and demonstrates on Leonard to show how normal and non-intimate it is. Leonard promptly responds by trying to kiss him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In "The Kingsroad", bed-slave Doreah instructs Daenerys on the importance of this trope during her Les Yay-filled sexposition on the art of making love to a man.
    • Averted when Daenerys discovers that her friend and adviser Jorah Mormont was originally sent to spy on her, and has him banished from her service. She spends most of their conversation looking over his head, either in disdain or because she's worried that she might feel sympathy if she looks him in the eye.
    • In the same episode, Oberyn shares a triumphant look with his paramour Ellaria Sand during his duel but that causes him to take his eyes off his opponent at a crucial moment.
  • In Robin Hood, Allan-a-Dale is on the verge of being found out as The Mole within the outlaws, and in desperation goes to Djaq to halfheartedly confess. She turns to look at him and says "I believe you're a good man," with such intense Puppy-Dog Eyes that he has to break eye contact.
  • Derek and Stiles have had many of these in the series Teen Wolf. Usually these looks are shared when Derek is in grave danger or when the two are having private conversations.
    • In "Magic Bullet" when Stiles first realized that Derek may die.
    • When Derek is dreaming of Stiles in season 3B, the two of them share prolonged eye contact before Derek wakes up.
    • While in the van with Liam, the two of them have an entire conversation nonverbally. This happens frequently in season 4.
  • The platonic variant happens frequently on The Rachel Maddow Show when Rachel's dear friend Richard Engel appears, particularly (but not always) when he's actually in-studio. Though other close friends of Rachel's do interviews with her frequently — Chris Hayes, Steve Kornacki, and Nicolle Wallace are just a few — and she's always glad to see them, something particularly special happens whenever Engel comes to visit. Unlike with anyone else, they sometimes seem to forget that the camera is there at all, instead taking visible and unrestrained delight in each other's company even when Engel is thousands of miles and multiple time zones away. When he's actually in the studio with her, they might as well be sitting on her sofa, just entirely focused on each other and geeking out over foreign policy.
  • Holby City has Serena Campbell and Berenice "Bernie" Wolfe, who have been sharing long, meaningful looks practically since the moment they first met. These only get more intense as time goes on, as they catch and hold each other's eyes up to and including while getting each other through tricky surgeries. Between them, Catherine Russell (Serena) and Jemma Redgrave (Bernie) are probably responsible for quite a few forest fires. Lampshaded by one of the producers after the episode where the two finally snog, who noted that "they could only play the sizzling glances for so long" before things turned physical.
  • Penny Dreadful: In the Season 2 episode "Above the Vaulted Sky", no less than three different Coitus Ensues moments are interspersed with Ethan and Vanessa sharing an intense held gaze moment, although nothing ends up happening between them that night.
  • Law & Order: SVU has this between detective Olivia Benson and ADA Rafael Barba, whose mutual Ship Tease has been noticeable since the latter first appeared in season 14. In season 18, however, this gets turned Up to Eleven; these two can't seem to go half a scene with each other without a long, meaningful, sensually-charged gaze that frequently lasts for half a minute or more.
  • Daredevil (2015) has this with Matt Murdock and Karen Page in many of their more private moments. This even though Matt is blind.
    • In "Penny and Dime", partway through season 2, the trope is used to invoke their upgrading to couple status. After walking to Matt's apartment in the rain, Matt abruptly stops, causing Karen to turn around and step back up to him. They stare longingly at each other, and then both break into nervous giggling. Matt then slowly runs his fingers up Karen's arm, then cups her face and kisses her.
    • In the season 2 finale, such a moment seems to happen when Matt, in his Daredevil outfit, locates Karen amongst the Hand hostages. The way the camera is angled, it looks like they lock eyes, and from Karen's point of view they certainly shouldnote . Karen just looks mildly aroused and confused like, “either this is Matt under the helmet, or I just had a really weird sexy moment with a total stranger,” especially since Matt is caressing her face in a way very reminiscent of the aforementioned rain kiss.
  • The White Queen: Anne Neville and Richard of Gloucester's Puppy Love is first revealed in Episode 2 when they stare adoringly at each other at a reception after the Queen's coronation.


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