What do you think would have happened if Amy was the one who had the panic attack in London and not dan
See, this is really hard to answer, because you have to change so many things in how the show unfolded to get to that point. I’m also not at all sure that Amy would have a panic attack – her mental health issues don’t seem to manifest in that way.
It’s also worth considering how exactly things happened in London. Amy takes Dan to the hospital, but I’m not sure it was a… considered decision on her part. Realistically, if she’d had any time to think about it, I think she would have sent Mike with Dan – it really would have made more sense. What I think drove her decision was something very simple.
She was the only one Dan could stand to have touch him – he shakes off Ray, Mike and Kent quite aggressively, especially as he can barely stand. (Ben leaves immediately before Dan collapses, but I wonder if that would have applied to him). In fact, look how he keeps touching her when they’re in the taxi and the hospital – touching her seems to have helped him calm himself down. (Which is why it would probably would have helped him hugely if Amy had held his hand or something). (Also, aside from season one, Dan usually only touches Amy to calm her down, making the London incident an interesting inversion).
So, I think Amy made a split-second decision to go with Dan because she knew that he needed something from her that no one else could give – Anna Chlumsky said it in the commentary, I think, but it’s a sign that she really does care about him.
If the situation was flipped… would Dan have been that person for Amy at that point in the show? The person whose touch was a comfort, and who helped her control the overwhelming panic?
I have my doubts. Amy’s very closed off towards Dan at that point in time – all her emotional barricades are up (and it’s only screwing him over by taking his job that causes those barricades to come down). She’s also extremely…snippy with him when he’s made campaign manager over her (somewhat to his credit, Dan takes that a lot better than he could have – she must have been very annoying when they were in Detroit), and my instinct is that that would have only been intensified if she was having a panic attack and felt herself to be even more vulnerable. She doesn’t, as a rule, handle vulnerability to Dan all that well.
By the end of season four their relationship has evolved substantially but at the point of 3.07, I think it’s at best fifty-fifty that Dan would be the person Amy would want to have with her. In many ways, she may have perceived Mike as the safer option. (Not Gary – Gary’s far too anxious for anyone in the middle of a panic attack to want him around, he’d just make things work).
But, assuming she would want Dan, I’m not certain he’d have made that same split second decision. It’s hard to know, because the show always keeps Dan out of the moments when Amy is well and truly upset – he tends to stroll in afterwards and offer a lifeline, but those are decision he has time to think about and rationalise. In the moment things might be different.
Dan is a fundamentally selfish person, and I’m just not sure that his instinctive reaction to seeing Amy be that upset would be to protect her. Now, given how he has reacted to seeing her even somewhat distressed, I tend to think that he would, but I wouldn’t want to lay money on it. (Season seven may be quite instructive in that regard).
What I’m more sure about is that assuming things played out similarly, and Selina was considering firing Amy, Dan would have done or said something to prevent that from happening. Whether he’d have told her is anyone’s guess – on the one hand, he’d get to revel in having power over her, in having ‘saved’ her job, but on the other… he would have exposed a serious chink in his armour, because he wouldn’t be able to justify it with any of the “it’s good for my career” nonsense he’s hidden behind in the past.