croik: (Maybe we could)
[personal profile] croik

When I came out of the theatre after watching Inception for the first time, my shipping compulsion didn't drive me toward Eames/Fischer right away. Like many people I was thinking Arthur/Eames, with a lesser interest in Cobb/Fischer and even Arthur/Fischer. It wasn't until I really dug into fandom that I gave much consideration to Eames/Fischer, and now, a year later, it's grown to become my favorite Inception ship. In fact, it has so much going for it, it still surprises me that there aren't more people who ship it, too. So for the fandom crowd that may be burning out on their favorite ships after a year's worth of squeeing, and the people still coming into Inception fandom for the first time (yes, they are still coming!) I decided to whip up this quick & dirty manifesto of sorts, to say just what I love about this pairing and hopefully gain some converts!

So let's start with the basics, those being, how these two characters interact in canon.


For the record, I'm not saying or even implying that I believe this to be a canon ship, or that Nolan wants us to imagine it might be, or anything of that sort. But fandom is all about possibility and potential and these two have got it going in that department for sure.

During Eames' introduction scene in Mombasa Fischer obviously isn't present--in fact, at that point not even Cobb knows just who the mark is. But Eames delivers some thoughtful commentary on inception by suggesting that it has to be as simple as possible. He immediately targets Fischer's relationship with his father as their way into Fischer's mind and, as it turns out, rightfully so. At the heart of the movie's plot is the inception itself and at the heart of that plan is Eames. This immediately gives him a connection to Fischer.

Our introduction to Fischer happens in Sydney, while Eames is undercover, working for Browning. We don't know for certain how much time Eames spent there, and whether his fake job put him in any kind of close quarters with Fischer himself, but we do see Fischer Morrow business being conducted in the same house where Maurice is bedridden (just outside his bedroom door, even). Though Eames spies on Fischer's conversation with Browning it's unclear if Fischer ever notices Eames and they have no direct interaction. This does, however, establish that other than possibly Saito, Eames is the only one that gets anywhere near Fischer before the job is underway.

Back in Paris, planning for the inception begins. Again it's Eames that comes up with the first suggestion as to how the inception should be carried out, and when Cobb rejects it, he offers a new one that becomes the framework for the job. During the training montage he lays out the plan step by step. Again, while Saito is the catalyst and Cobb directs the team, it's Eames' that provides the raw inspiration needed for the inception to occur.

The first time Eames and Fischer are shown to interact directly is on the plane, where Eames gets in Fischer's way as a means of picking his pocket (which Fischer is oblivious to).

I personally think you could make a case either way for whether or not Fischer recognizes Eames in this scene. On the one hand they share no greeting, no friendly familiarity, making it seem like they are just strangers. It might indicate that even though Eames was working in the Fischer home for what we presume to be a few days, they never met face to face. On the other hand, Fischer isn't shown to be the kind of man who displays friendly familiarity in the first place. It's been pointed out in fandom a hundred times already that Fischer either does not recognize or simply chooses not to acknowledge Saito's presence, on the plane or in the dream. When Cobb approaches him under the name of "Rob Green" in Level 2 of the dream, he introduces himself as someone Fischer ought to know and remember, and yet Fischer blows him off without a word. So I wouldn't say for absolute certain that Fischer's response to Eames on the plan is proof one way or the other that the two of them have had a previous interaction.

In Level 1, Eames hops into the cab just after Fischer. Eames is charming and Fischer is a prat, as per usual, as he tries to get Eames tossed out of the cab in the middle of the pouring rain. Then as the kidnapping portion of the cab ride gets underway, Eames becomes the only one of the kidnappers who Fischer has a direct, face to face conversation with (he sees Saito, but it seems Fischer still doesn't recognize either of them, or else just doesn't comment).

This is also the scene that has my favorite Eames face <3 Awww <3

And then bullets start flying! It's hard to tell how much Fischer understands of what's happening at this point--does he realize that the projections are shooting at him as much as his captors? That Eames is protecting him? Hard to say. It could be that all he'll remember is big burly Eames pushing him down. And Eames, being that it's part of the job, successfully keeps Fischer from being shot.

It's hard to see here but it is Eames and Yusuf that drag Fischer to the back room to be chained up.

Eames, are you zipping your fly back up!? No, wait, that is a gun.

After the drama of Cobb's limbo reveal, everyone gets back to work, and Eames prepares for his first forge of the movie. He tells Cobb "I was supposed to have all night." We never find out just what he was going to do that would take that long, but what we do get is a heart-breaking scene where Fischer pretty much tells the audience why inception is going to be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Because, and I hope you'll forgive me for going off on a bit of a tangent, this is the point in the movie where, for me, the shit got real. The first act of the movie is fun action scenes and neat-o training montages and the team working well together, being cool, discussing inception in concepts similar to those of any heist movie. But then we have Fischer (acted beautifully by Cillian, in this scene especially), forcing us to realize this isn't a heist, this is a complicated man with a troubled family history that they have to remake as a person. Fischer isn't just a mark to be exploited, he is a victim, and he's tough but also vulnerable. And Eames is the only one there to experience it.

In Level 2, Eames and Fischer meet briefly right at the onset, but of course, Eames has tits this time. I find this scene a little curious in that Eames forges a hot blonde for the purpose of "distracting" Fischer, and yet it doesn't seem terribly effective. Fischer is just as disinterested in "her" as he is most people. Never the less I wouldn't be a responsible shipper if I didn't point out that Eames gets to come on to him here.

This face doesn't read as "I am tempted by your scandalous offer!" to me, but then, in my headcanon he's gay, so.

Later, when Eames enters room 528 with Saito, Fischer barely notices Eames but that is par for the course.

But I can sure put these screen caps together to make it appear as if he does

However, it is worthy of notice that this is the point where we know for certain that the inception is starting to work, insomuch as Projection!Browning says everything they wanted him to say, even though Eames had to cut his time in Level 1 short. When you really look at just what's said, all it takes is Eames telling Fischer "There is a will that will destroy the company if you want it to," and "Your father loved you in his own way," and Fischer's subconscious fills in a TON of holes. No one suggests that Maurice wrote the will as a means of taunting Fischer into destroying the company, thus destroying his inheritance out of spite, and yet that's somehow what P!B comes up with. Again, because the plan was buggered up early on we don't know if this is what was supposed to happen, but it does the trick. So even though Eames seemed at a loss earlier, everything works out anyway.

Eames and Fischer spend the majority of Level 3 apart, up until Fischer is shot and killed by Mal.

At this point us happy shippers are treated to lots of Eames with his hands under Fischer's clothing.

But more seriously, Eames is the one that revives Fischer from death, supports and spurs him on into the safe.

And then, the inception itself. The way the plot unfolds it's somewhat unavoidable, but it still seems to be something of a strange choice that out of the inception team, it's only Eames that witnesses the crucial moment. Not Cobb or Saito, who have a personal stake in it, or Arthur who is invested because Cobb is his friend, or even Ariadne, the only one who shows a teensy bit of concern for Fischer as a person and not just a target. For some reason, it's Eames: Eames who has tried inception before and failed. Eames who planned the job from the ground up, and then got the ball rolling with his Browning forgery. It's another beautiful, heart-breaking moment, the climax of the film and of Fischer's character development, and again only Eames is there.

After the kick, Eames and Fischer climb up on shore together, and Fischer confirms for the audience that yes, the inception has worked. He's going to become his own man and create something for himself, just like everyone wanted him to. And of course, Eames is the only one there to hear it. He's the only one that can assure Saito that an inception even took place at all.

And then the movie ends.

So in total, Eames and Fischer are in roughly eleven scenes together, and have six conversations of varying lengths (two of which when he's forging), in addition to Eames playing a vital part of the inception that changes Robert's life forever.


Canon establishes a fairly strong thematic connection between Eames and Fischer, but if that's not enough for you to go on, let's take a closer look at some of the specific aspects of the pair that us E/Fers find so appealing.


Sometimes when you're shipping non-canon and rare pairings the hardest part is just getting the two in a room together. With E/F a convenient excuse is already built right into the plot: Eames worked for a short time at Fischer Morrow, presumably in the Fischer home itself. We don't know how long he was there, but there's plenty of wiggle room depending on how much information you believe Eames was charged with acquiring. He studied Browning so he could do his forgery, but he also had his eye on the mark, of course. He may have even tried to help Arthur with Fischer's background check. Whether he was there for a day or several, he had plenty of chances to see and meet Fischer, possibly more. In fact, I'd say a decent percentage of all the E/F I've ever read has taken place during Eames' research time.

Eames also has the benefit of being a freelance criminal, which means he wouldn't have any trouble following Fischer around after the inception, too, if it pleases him. "Eames checks up on Fischer post-movie to see if the inception stuck" is another convenient and popular trope among E/F fics. Not to mention that Fischer, being as rich as he is, would have no trouble country-hopping as easily as Eames.

Becoming the Mask

A con man falling for his target isn't exactly the height of literary originality, but hey, why argue with a good thing? Inception is possibly the grandest job of Eames' career, and his mark is gorgeous, rich, assertive AND vulnerable. What's not to like? And on top of the usual BtM angst, you have the added layer provided by inception, in that Eames isn't just stealing from Fischer, he's redefining him. He studies Fischer, learning the way into his mind, only to go in and change everything about him. It's like a zoologist studying an endangered species and then killing it: the man he took time to know no longer exists by the end. Which leads us soundly into:

Moral Ambiguity

My favorite thing about this pairing is the ethical questions it proposes, for both parties. It's one thing to fall in love with someone you've screwed over, another entirely when it's someone you've changed from the inside out. Depending on how you think the inception worked out, it can be played with in any number of ways. Maybe the inception worked perfectly and Fischer is happier than he's ever been: does that excuse Eames from having altered his mind against his will? If Fischer knew the truth, would he be grateful to Eames' interference or would he resent being manipulated? Would he be conflicted, wanting to enjoy the closure with his father inception affords him, but guilty knowing that he was living yet another lie? How are you supposed to feel when something horrible gives way to something beneficial?

And on the other hand, what if the inception is a failure? What if Fischer is destroyed, if Eames is wracked (or even just gently nudged) by guilt? Is there regret, anger, indifference? Does Eames try to repair him or does he run?

These are the questions that E/F thrives on. The complexity that arises from the inception allows for any number of fascinating scenarios, and fandom has only scratched that surface.


Eames and Fischer don't have much personal interaction in which Eames is himself, but it's easy to imagine their personalities meshing well. Eames is charming, intelligent, playful, but can still get right down to business, and is at times prickly. Fischer is arrogant and dismissive (some might even say "diva"), doesn't scare easy, and is pretty clearly a powerful businessman, but at the same time, can show moments of almost naïve trust and vulnerability, and a great potential to grow. Whether you see Eames as loving openly or being a tougher nut to crack, he's a good match for Fischer, whose insecurities make him just as likely to crave affection as mercilessly fight for his target. Even in canon E/F go from cutting banter to heartfelt confessions in the span of an hour--as a couple their range is limitless.

(I am personally fond of prissy BAMF!Fischer, secretly desperate for someone to give a shit about him as a person, vs outwardly-charming-inwardly-guarded Eames, relearning what it means to trust and be trusted by another person <3)

Fischer shows us what it means to be "Prissy BAMF"

Character Development

Eames is a criminal. We don't know if that equates to him being a globe-hopper, but as a gambler and extractor his life has got to be full of uncertainty. Fischer's life as a billionaire with kidnapping insurance has dangers of its own, but we assume it to be much more structured, corporate, and luxurious. Eames adjusting up to Fischer's lifestyle provides all sorts of opportunities for him as a character, whether it means settling down, or fucking on the go, or maybe just becoming Fischer's go-to espionage agent. Then you have Fischer, who again, depending on how you view the outcome of the inception, has no choice but to change from what we see in the movie. With his father dead and Fischer Morrow his to command, Fischer has every door open to him. Shacking up with Eames presents a lot of risk but a lot of opportunities. Their drastic differences in personality and lifestyle mean for a lot of push and pull, a lot of conflict, but just as many avenues for growth and development.

Daddy Issues

Fischer's daddy issues make up a good portion of the film, so they needn't be repeated here, but there's also Eames. Eames having daddy issues of his own isn't canon, but if you watch the scene where he discusses the job with Cobb in Mombasa, you can see him display a lot of emotion in a very brief amount of time (Tom Hardy we <3 you). There's a little twitch of his lip, and he looks away, possibly remembering his own relationship with his father.

What that might mean is open to a lot of interpretation of course, and it opens to door for Eames and Fischer having something in common despite assumedly growing up in very different circumstances.

Let's imagine for a moment that Eames does have unresolved issues with his father (living or deceased). It must have been oddly cathartic for him, healing someone else's familial relationship while his remains damaged--or else that much more painful.


Eames has tried inception before the movie, and failed. He doesn't give a clear cut explanation for why, or even what that original inception entailed, but Fischer is his second chance. And you really couldn't ask for a better scenario to do something impossible: not only is Fischer extremely receptive to the process when they get down to it, but the movie presents it as an almost best case scenario for him. If you're going to do something illegal and immoral, you might as well make someone a better person in the process, right? And as far as Nolan seems concerned, that's just what Eames does, giving Fischer closure and the freedom to control his own life. He does it by giving Fischer the fatherly approval he never had as a child, something that every boy should have, something Eames himself may wish he had. Fischer is Eames' success, on a professional and a personal level.

And yet at the same time, that success has its roots in a lie. A beautiful lie, but still. Can you say you would willingly live a lie if it meant your happiness, or is the truth more important? Could you make that choice for someone else? Eames did and the implications/ramifications of that stretch further than an extra note on Eames' mind crime resume.

The Pretty

It goes without saying that Eames and Fischer are played by gorgeous actors. But it can't go without pics.

So young! So lovely!

And for those of you with a taste for AU:

If I were a master photoshopist I would make those backgrounds match

Oh look, we are in the army!

Also, we're still pretty

Thug!Robert impresses greatly

What are they fighting about? Consider this a prompt.

Next up: Why I ship Bob/Michael

I was positive I'd be able to find something in The Take to go with this, but my skim failed me. Someone help me out here.

The Actors

Doesn't hurt that Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy are adorable together, even if you're not an RPS fan.

Fuck Yeah, Tom and Cillian!

From Fuck Yeah, Tom Hardy!

By mian87 on tumblr

And Off You Go

Now that you've been introduced to the fabulous ship of E/F, allow me to enable you via links.

[ profile] eames_fischer, LJ's Eames/Fischer comm
Eames/Fischer fanworks via [ profile] inceptiondaily's Delicious
Filled prompts on the kinkmeme
Unfilled prompts on the kinkmeme, in case you're feeling inspired
Eames/Fischer on Deviantart
Eames/Fischer on Yaoi Gallery
Fuck Yeah, Eames and Robert! on tumblr
(And also, Fuck Yeah, Tom and Cillian! on tumblr)


P.S. got my pictures mostly from Tom Hardy Fan and The Cillian Site, or else capped them myself, unless otherwise stated.


croik: (Default)

August 2017


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