Hi again! I feel like I ask you a constant stream on nonsensical questions about Dan and Amy but I just feel like you really get them (from your writing and from your posts on here), so I have another question but feel free to ignore it! So in 'You were always on my mind' Dan threatens Leon with physical violence but that is easy to do when someone isn't in front of you. What do you think he would do if Leon was in front of him. Do you think Dan would ever actually be violent on behalf of Amy?
Honestly, real life at the moment is so stressful that answering these questions is a VERY much needed distraction, so feel free to flood my inbox!
I think the first and most important question is…is Dan capable of violence, independently of whether Amy is involved. And I’d argue that, going by what the show depicts, he absolutely is, at least when it comes to other men (I’m fairly confident that it’s different with women). He straight up assaults Jonah in The Choice, after all. Now, Jonah has all the physical courage of overcooked spaghetti, and gives in immediately, but it seems reasonable to me that Dan would have continued to attack him until he got what he wanted.
That said, Dan resorting to physical violence only occurred when he is…wound up and emotionally stressed – he was sick on the boat, Selina had been taunting him about the campaign manager role, he hadn’t had any sleep… It’s clearly slightly out of character, and I doubt it’s something that would occur without substantial provocation. He does not, for instance, get physical with Teddy when he sees him harassing Jonah, though he was quite visibly enraged by it, and we’ve never, not once, seen him get physical with Amy when he’s angry with her (when SHE’S angry, it’s a different story, mind you).
On the other hand, hearing that Leon had assaulted Amy, and realising that the assault was the reason she abandoned him and struck out on her own…that’s a much MUCH bigger provocation than anything we’ve seen Dan deal with in the show. And part of it is a kind of projected anger at himself…because why DIDN’T Amy trust him, why didn’t she feel she could come to him and be protected and supported after a sexual assault? (I mean, we all know why, but for Dan I think it’s a very, very unpleasant discovery).
So my instinct is, in that moment, when he first realised, if Leon had been there, Dan absolutely would have attacked him. (Seriously, watch Reid Scott’s performance of Dan when he is genuinely ENRAGED – Dan doesn’t lose his temper very often, but when he does he’s kind of scary. He’s definitely capable of violence).
Later on, when the realisation has sunk in a bit, I’m not so sure. Of course we’re not in Dan’s head for that section of the story, but at some point I think his own culpability for what happened (not for the assault, of course, he’s not in the least bit responsible for that, but for Amy’s lack of faith in him and her feeling of isolation afterwards) sank in a bit, and at that point his focus is redirected towards getting her to trust him at long last, because it was that lack of trust that did so much damage. Note that when Amy freaks out during sex – because of the reminder of Leon’s actions – Dan is a lot less surprised by it than she is.
So, I tend to think that if he saw Leon at a later date, once he’d had that realisation, the encounter probably wouldn’t have come to blows – unless Leon said something. Especially in the four months or so between Amy moving out and Dan joining Tom James’ campaign, I think he would have been extremely prickly and easy to provoke about the whole thing.
Whether we’ll ever see a similar kind of protectiveness from Dan in the show itself, I don’t know. It would involve positive emotions on Dan’s part, which isn’t a well they go to terribly often – but at the same time, I think the audience is going to need at least SOME sense that he does actually care about Amy’s well-being (if only on the most basic level) if we’re going to stay with the story.