So I’ve been sitting on this gifset for a while, trying to think of how I want to parse this.
Maybe I’m following the wrong blogs, but I just do not see enough meta about Natasha’s story arc in this movie. This scene here is, to me, one of the three critical moments for Natasha that are the reasons she ends up being the one to release all of SHIELD’s data to the world.
As follows (quotes paraphrased as I don’t have the script):
- The first critical moment comes on the Lemurian Star, right after Batroc throws a grenade at her and Steve. They end up sitting on the floor and she says, “Okay, that one’s on me” and Steve replies “Damn right it is.” Her reaction to that isn’t disdain or frustration with Steve, it’s very clearly a form of disappointment — she’s upset with how Steve views her, his opinion of her. Sure, I’m reading a lot into that expression, but I think it is pretty masterful of ScarJo to show that side of Natasha in such an ambiguous way. The take-away here, however you want to describe it, is that Natasha’s unhappiness has less to do with being nearly blown up than with her working relationship with Steve. He doesn’t trust her, and that burns her.
- The above gif’d scene, where it’s clear that she’s pretty shocked and upset to hear Steve admit that previous to their current situation, he would NOT have trusted her. It’s a blow for her to realize just how she’s been perceived by those she’s given her complete trust and faith to.
- The scene where Fury’s survival is revealed is the final one, where Natasha reacts as if to a body blow when she realizes that Fury didn’t trust her, but he did trust Maria Hill. Earlier when he was “dying” it was clear that she’s somehow emotionally attached to Fury, and whatever reason you want to concoct for that, the fact is that she clearly believed that he did trust her…but he didn’t. My opinion of her reaction shot at the reveal is that she’s not angry about it, she’s heartbroken.
What I believe this all points to is really well reflected in her line to Steve, “I don’t know everything, I just act like I do” (paraphrased), and then reiterated in the truck ride where she talks about being the person she needs to be, as opposed to who she is.
In other words, Natasha is so good at being “whatever you need me to be” that it is exactly what the people who know her best expect of her, and accordingly don’t feel like she’s trustworthy because they don’t know the “real” her. Meanwhile she has been operating on the belief that they do know the real her and so therefore do trust her.
It’s like…a double blind situation, where both parties aren’t privy to the truth, even though they think they are. Everyone up to and including Fury “knows” that Natasha is a spy and nothing she says can be trusted; Natasha “knows” that the people she trusts see through that mask and trust her in return because they know the real her. She goes around in this movie constantly surprised and disarmed by the fact that her closest friends/co-workers doubt her loyalty.
So in the end, when Pierce is asking if she is ready for her past to be revealed, she is so fucking ready it hurts. She knows it is the right thing to do, but putting that on top of the experiences given above, it’s easy to see that she felt she had to do it for herself too.
Can she be trusted? You’re damn right she can, and she was willing to burn down her entire world to prove that fact to the very people she thought knew it already.
*Stands up and slow claps for this!* Alllllllll this.