7 Things: Subtext Couples – #2

Barbara & Helena (Birds of Prey)

It’s been just shy of a decade since Birds of Prey had its short TV run. ‘Tis a shame that it was cancelled with such haste, for, when it comes to slashy subtext, the writers on the BoP staff certainly weren’t shy about it. Technically, Barbara and Helena both had male love interests, but those loves lacked the intensity of the Barbara-Helena relationship. It was no secret where each woman’s loyalty truly lied.

Plus, Dinah – with her metahuman ability to read people by touch – seemed very tuned in to the fact that Barbara and Helena were a couple. From the moment she met them.

How It Started

As far as this list goes, Barbara and Helena hold the very special distinction as the only couple that, coming into the pilot, feel as if they have already been together for years.

In a way, they have been.

Their association, of course, comes from the fact that Barbara, in her walking days, was Batgirl, and Helena is the daughter of Batman. Then, after Barbara’s shooting and the murder of Helena’s mom, Helena ended up Barbara’s superhero protege. So, they are a team, and oh so close are they.

NOTE: Remember how my decrypting program was being a li’l fucker? Well, triple its fuckeriness here. Through some bizarre cosmic insanity, it would rip only ten of the thirteen episodes from the DVDs and ripped only partial episodes of most of those ten. With one episode, for instance, it actually managed to rip the first five and last three minutes, but somehow managed not to rip anything in between. I couldn’t even begin to figure that one out.

So, instead of crying about the absurdity, I decided to just select my top seven moments from the footage that I had. And I still ended up with eleven scenes that I had to trim to seven. Because this show was subtexty to its core.

Here are my top seven Barbara & Helena moments, from the footage that I had available (MAJOR SPOILERS):

7 – Clothes (Episode 1.2 “Slick”)

Dinah has come to town and Barbara wants to mentor her, effectively turning the duo into the namesake trio. Helena is very anti-Dinah. She claims that it’s because they know nothing about Dinah and that Dinah could be dangerous, but it’s so obviously jealousy.

More importantly, though, one must wonder why Helena disrobes so frequently around Barbara.

6 – I Need You (Episode 1.1 “Pilot”)

So, here’s one of the places where Decrypter really interrupted my mojo.

We get a quasi-flashback where current-Barbara tries to talk flashback-Helena out of killing herself at a psycho’s urging. Much of the scene made it to my computer, but after this scene cuts off, Barbara whispers “I can’t do this without you” and then there is a majorly femslashy embrace.

5 – I’ll Fight With You (Episode 1.3 “Prey for the Hunter”)

This scene could be any mentor-protege relationship. The older, wiser superhero tries to talk the younger, more impetuous superhero out of running into a situation half-cocked.

It could be that.

Then, Barbara says “Don’t you do this” in such a way that you know there’s so much more to it.

4 – Motherhood (Episode 1.4 “Three Birds and a Baby”)

The Birds end up in possession of a baby. Barbara and Helena look exactly like a couple with a new baby, and then they sound exactly like a couple. Clearly, Barbara wants a family. With Helena.

3 – Wade (Episode 1.13 “Devil’s Eyes”)

So, Barbara’s love interest comes into play in the final episode in sort of a rushed, ‘they’re making it more than it is’ way that stole some of the impact, but we have to forgive them since they were already cancelled and they aired this episode to wrap everything up in a nice, neat little send-off.

Anyway, Barbara is supposed to be moving forward with Wade. Yet, her conversation with Helena makes it sound like she’s kinda already taken.

PS – Helena is hypnotized in the scene, which is why she’s acting so incredibly blasé about the whole thing. The other clips show that she is anything but indifferent to Barbara.

2 – Girl Fight (Episode 1.13 “Devil’s Eyes”)

With Helena still hypnotized, Barbara has to confront her. And that, of course, means…

Girl fight!

It’s Barbara’s faith in Helena, though, even if misplaced at the moment, and Helena’s reaction to the fight that make this scene so damn subtexty.

1 – Let Me Help You (Episode 1.8 “Lady Shiva”)

Perhaps the subtextiest episode of the entire series, “Lady Shiva” saw Helena rushing to Barbara’s rescue, only to have the favor returned at episode’s end, Helena going to her knees and pleading before Barbara, and Helena’s joy at having witnessed Barbara walking.

And that’s not including this top subtext scene, which was so a couple argument if I’ve ever seen one.

Check the slashy goodness out in video –



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  1. As a WMC fanfiction writer, I am surprised that Lindsay/Cindy is apparently not in your top 7. Could be #1 but I think you are heading for Helena/Myka. Or did I miss something in your earlier posts?

    1. Okay, you’ve officially gotten my attention. So, is there anything important that I must see in season one or can I skip it and go straight to the good stuff?

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