Love your Dan/Amy musings. Rewatching Tehran, and something struck me: Amy expects Dan to ask her about them/their relationship, doesn’t she? She seems wary, but also unsurprised and even expectant, that he talks about them as a “we.” Perhaps the scene alludes to the fact that Amy is aware (more so than Dan) that there is something between them. What do you think about Amy’s understanding of Dan’s feelings toward her, pre-Nevada?

I love that scene, but I think I have a slightly interpretation to you, in that I am sure Dan knew exactly what he was doing there. He draws the whole thing out for far too long for it to ‘just’ be a misunderstanding.

My best guess, for what it’s worth, is that Dan, having been unemployed and rather lonely since he’d been fired (given that he was reduced to trying to start conversations with barmen) wanted the…ego boost of KNOWING Amy was attracted to him. And, when you consider how visibly happy he was to see her at CNN (the only other time we’ve seen him smile like that was in 6.10, and we all know why THAT was), there may also have been an emotional component to it as well – she’s the only person he’s ever seemed to really like, and it would be understandable if he wanted to know if those feelings were returned. (Bear in mind, all this is probably happening at a semi-conscious level, at best – I doubt Dan ever followed the fact of Amy being able to make him smile by walking into a room with him through to its logical conclusion). But there’s no way he was in the dark about how seductive he was being or how Amy was likely to react to it.

As for Amy, I tend to think that ‘beating’ Dan in the competition for the campaign manager job was crucial in allowing her to acknowledge, to herself, that she was attracted to him. Up until that point, I think she would have vehemently denied it, if anyone had ever asked. As much as Dan was a DICK to point it out, she clearly did feel self-conscious when he came to work with her – she even changes the way she dresses – and I think in Amy’s mind, she felt at a severe disadvantage, because whatever she might say, she and Dan both knew that she’d had feelings for him.

By taking his job, Amy levelled the playing field between them emotionally. And, helpfully, Dan then spends an unspecified amount of time (from shortly before the New Hampshire primary through to…Easter, I guess…that’s when he gets fired, isn’t it?) telling her what a good job she’s doing, and probably flirting with her on a daily basis, as he had been doing really ever since they started working together.

And, bear in mind, it’s also really not that long – probably less than a year – since Dan had acted like a jealous freak over Ed – so I think Amy was starting to feel reasonably confident that Dan actually WAS attracted to her (which is something she may well have had cause to doubt, if Dan had told her he dated her purely for his career), which is why she can’t quite hide her reaction when he swerves at the last second. What she would have said if he had followed through and actually asked her out, I’m not sure – she may not have known that herself.

This scene also plays a big part in why Amy was so unsure and tentative with Dan in Nevada. Because Dan had led her down the garden path so recently, she had to be worried that he was just messing with her. In fact, that’s probably why, when she did make a move, she did over the phone, rather than in person – that way, if he WAS just toying with her, she wouldn’t have to realise that somewhere he could see her (I imagine Amy is well aware of her lack of poker face).

What I find more interesting, is that this scene illustrates something, let’s say unexpected, about Dan. Because whenever Amy’s vulnerabilities are exposed to him – think of her mother’s “you broke her heart,” or her losing her temper with the producer, or running out of his horrible party because she was upset – he ends up MORE attached to her. Every one of those scenes is followed by Dan doing something out of character and being almost decent – he gets her away from her family, he steps in to make Selina complete the interview, he tells her she’s doing a great job at lobbying. And after this scene, when it becomes clear that, yes, she does have feelings for him, he swoops in and gets her a job only two episodes later. It’s impossible to imagine he’d do that for Kent or Mike!

Amy is clearly afraid that if she opens up to Dan he’ll sucker-punch her somehow, that’s why she starts blocking him out immediately after the Sophie incident, rather than telling him frankly what a shit he’s been. And yet, on the basis of what we’ve seen in the show, this seems like an unfounded fear – when Amy is upset and Dan sees it, he tends to come to the rescue (sometimes in a rather twisted way, but still). So, I think that she’s still afraid enough of that behaviour that she lets it drive her decisions in how she deals with him, speaks volumes about the nature of what he did to her before the show – I don’t think it was as harmless as him suddenly ghosting her, I think he had to have abused her trust in a far more blatant way.

This is is also why the Sophie thing is so damaging. For a second time, Amy plucks up her courage and decides to explore things with Dan, and at the last second he changes tack and implies he was never attracted to her to begin with.

No wonder she decided to write him off after that – to Amy, it must have seemed that Dan was getting off on having the ability to torment her, and getting the hell away from that could only be a wise move.