The series final of IPS was such a damn clusterfuck - for every Mary/Marshall shipper, and to a certain extent most fans of the show - that the shipper mix I was working on HAD to go past the series and fix things... so this mix is part 'shipper, part fix-it, and actually always has been!
For those who've never seen it, In Plain Sight (which features in a few other entries here in my LJ, if you click the tag) is a TV show that ran from 2008-2012, about two US Marshals who work in the Witness Protection Program, played by Mary McCormack and Fred Weller.
Mary Shannon is fiery, stubborn to the point of death, prickly, intensely loyal (mostly to people who don't deserve it), downright phobic of change and terrified of any kind of committed relationship, and very, very damaged by her shitty childhood (more on this in a minute). Marshall Mann (yes, he's Marshal Marshall!) is laid-back, a font of trivia and interesting hobbies, intensely loyal (mostly to people who DO deserve it) and while he has some family angst of his own, is far more stable and well-adjusted than Mary - and an unofficial part of his job is following Mary around and picking psychic shrapnel out of everyone who she mows down in the course of her average day. They are both utterly badass (though Marshall hides it better), superb at their jobs, and a near-matchless team.
The title comes from their Marshal's badges, and a long-standing love of pie that has become part-tradition, part-running gag between them; one of Marshall's many catchphrases is 'Pie makes everything better'.
ZIP file can be downloaded at mediafire
(if you already know about the series, just skip to the bottom for the tracklisting)
When the series opens, Mary and Marshall have been partners and BFF's for roughly 3 years. Marshall is right on the verge of admitting he's in love with Mary, while Mary can't even admit that Marshall's her best friend until he's been badly wounded.
Most of Mary's character flaws stem directly from her aforementioned shitty childhood; her bank-robber father walked out after joining the FBI's most wanted list. This left seven year old Mary as the primary caretaker of her infant sister, Brandi - and her alcoholic, promiscuous, shiftless mother, Jinx. (I'm really not a fan.) Mary's in her thirties when the series opens, and has basically moved to Albuquerque from New Jersey partly to join WitSec, but also to get away from her mother and sister's never-ending demands of her. However, the respite doesn't last beyond the pilot episde. Jinx and Brandi spend several years freeloading off Mary, during which they don't give her rent or contribute to the household expenses, and constantly whine and bitch at her about her 'killjoy' ways, the huge amounts of time she spends working, and her inability to 'keep a decent man', while expecting her to come to the rescue whenever they get themselves into trouble. Admittedly, Brandi improves greatly around season 2 and starts to actually grow up; however her own childhood issues cause a major back-slide at the end of season 4 (mostly because I don't think the producers had the budget to keep the actress on full-time). Jinx takes several seasons to get sober and is very nearly as annoying at the end of the show as she was at the beginning.
Mary might be described as 'unlucky in love, lucky in getting laid' - which is how she wants it, for the first half or so of the show. However, at the end of season 3 comes a major turning-point; Marshall has finally had enough of his and Mary's push-pull of hearts, and suggests that what she really needs is a serious relationship with someone who loves her, who she loves in return. Barely unspoken is that HE wants to be the other half of that relationship. Mary panics, runs away to Mexico on vacation, and reverts to form by inviting sleazebag Special Agent Faber (who was universally hated among the fandom even before this!) to join her. Marshall's near-heartbroken by this blatant rejection, and decides that six years of waiting, hoping, and suffering are enough; he quickly forms a relationship with Abigail, a detective in the Albuquerque PD (popularly known in the fandom as 'Texas Cheerleader Barbie'). In a lot of ways, the fandom became splintered between the diehard shippers who wanted Mary to yank her head out of her fucking ass already, and those who thought that Marshall, quite frankly, deserved better - not to mention a small faction who genuinely liked Abigail.
Due to actress Mary McCormack's real-life pregnancy, things became even more complicated when Mary fell pregnant after a one-night stand, triggered by a jealous hissy-fit on Mary's behalf because of Marshall's happiness with Abigail. When S4 opens, Marshall has by all appearances given up on Mary as a romantic choice. But when Mary finds out she's pregnant, Marshall doesn't tell her 'I'm your best friend, I'll do whatever I can to support and help you', he doesn't tell her 'I'll be the best Uncle ever, if you keep the baby'. No, he tells her 'We're having a baby'. Not just identifying himself as a parent to Mary's child, but by implication as Mary's partner.
In S5, Marshall's story arc could have involved him and Mary learning to redefine their partnership and friendship, now they each have someone in their lives (Norah and Abby) who is as important as each other. It could have been about Marshall struggling with a proper work-life balance, now that each half of his life, in and out of the office, now has a living human representative. But instead, Marshall's story arc in the final season was about choices of the heart. It also continuously foreshadowed that he would have to make a choice between Mary and Abby that was not be about priorities or even loyalty, but about love. Even his own father hinted that Marshall was choosing the woman he believed he should have, rather than the woman he wanted. And it was also continually implied that in Marshall's heart, Mary still comes first - she's the one he gets out of bed for at 4am.
The fifth and final season was cut short by 5 episodes, more or less at the last minute; I've wondered more than once if things would have ended differently if the producers had had a chance to play out the S5 story arc they originally planned. The show itself ship-teased the audience like mad both consistently and continually, for the entire five seasons! Instead, the final episode had Marshall promoted to Chief Inspector (thus Mary's boss), engaged to Abby, and a heartbreaking discussion on the balcony of the WitSec office, when Marshall asked Mary to set him free - in effect, he couldn't quit her, so he needed her to quit him.
I discovered the series shortly before season 5 started, and promptly obtained DVD box sets of seasons 1-3. I was three-quarters of the way through season 1 when I found out the basics of the series final, 'All's well that ends'. I put them up on the shelf, and haven't opened them since. After posting this, I may actually go back and try watching it again.
There were lots of places where I could 'fix it', but I went for the one that hurt the most; the series finale. Basically? Marshall and Mary miss each other so much they finally work out that life without their partnership isn't a life worth living - and nothing can fill the gap. So Abby moves back to Texas in a huff (she DID have lots of warning, after all) and Mary and Marshall become partners in life and love. (I never did quite work out what to do about Marshall technically being Mary's boss; usually, I like to think that Stan, their old boss, transferred back and Marshall gave up the promotion - because he was basically forced into it by departmental politics - ostensibly because he didn't want to give up fieldwork yet)
Silver Stars and Pie
A fanmix (and fix-it!) for Mary Shannon and Marshall Mann
Of ‘In Plain Sight’
Awake My Soul - Mumford and Sons (Mary)
Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes - I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free
I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie (Marshall)
How I wish you could see the potential,
The potential of you and me
It's like a book elegantly bound,
But in a language that you can't read
Cut Me, Mick – Yellowcard (Mary)
Someplace somewhere behind me
I walked right through the truth
Truth is that you’re the one thing
That always pulls me through
This troubled life I choose
Right Here Waiting - Staind (Marshall)
I hope you're not intending
To be so condescending
It's as much as I can take
And you're so independent
You just refuse to bend
So I keep bending 'till I break
But you always find a way to keep me right here waiting
You always find the words to say to keep me right here waiting
If you chose to walk away I'd still be right here waiting
Searching for the things to say to keep you right here waiting
It's Been Awhile - Staind (Mary) – WARNING: NSFW LYRICS
And all the things I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that are rendered
I stretch myself beyond my means
And it's been awhile since I could say
That I wasn't addicted
It's been awhile since I could say
I loved myself as well as
And it's been awhile
Since I've gone and fucked things up
Just like I always do
And it's been awhile
But all that shit seems to disappear
When I'm with you
All Over You – The Spill Canvas
(Marshall – S3 finale, ‘A Priest Walks into a Bar’. After Marshall finds out Mary went to Mexico with Faber.)
Yeah he's a looker,
But I really think it's guts that matter most.
I displayed them for you,
Strewn out about from coast to coast.
In my daydreams, in my sleep,
Infatuation turning into disease.
You could cure me,
See all you have to do now is please try.
Give it your best shot and try.
All I'm asking for is love,
But you never seem to have enough.
I gotta feel you in my bones again,
I'm all over you.
I'm not over you.
I wanna taste you one more time again,
I'm all over you.
I'm not over you.
This life is way too short
To get caught up in all this stuff
When I just want you to love me back,
Why can't you just love me back?
Criminal – Fiona Apple
(Mary’s counterpoint. She’s screwing up the best thing in her life and she knows it, but she can’t stop it. Everything good in her life gets destroyed, so crushing it herself first has gone beyond habit to compulsion.)
I've been a bad bad girl
I've been careless with a delicate man
And it's a sad sad world
When a girl will break a boy just because she can
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love
Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds
Before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep livin' this day like the next will never come
One Hit – The Rolling Stones
(S4: Marshall decides he has to move on, for his own survival)
One voice calls out my name
Shook me straight to the mark
(Straight from the heart)
One punch and you knocked me down
Tore my defenses apart
One round took me out of the game
You did me some permanent harm
It took just one hit
It took just one hit
It ain't enough for me
It ain't enough for me
Oh, your love is just sweet addiction
I can't clean you out of my veins
It's a life long affliction
That has damaged my brain
The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most – Dashboard Confessional
(Mary in S4: It’s not enough anymore and she knows it, but she’s too scared to do anything about it... or admit it)
Buried deep as you can dig inside yourself
And hidden in the public eye
Such a stellar monument to loneliness
Laced with brilliant smiles and shining eyes
Perfect make-up, but you're barely scraping by
But you're barely scraping by...
Well this is one time, well this is one time
That you can't fake it hard enough to please everyone
Or anyone at all...or anyone at all
And the grave that you refuse to leave
The refuge that you've built to flee,
The places that you've come to fear the most,
Is the place that you have come to fear the most.
You’re not the only one who feels this way - Ammonia
(S5: Marshall can’t help himself; he’s beyond second thoughts – more like one-hundredth)
Cuts like pins and needles
Miles and miles away
Hope to let you in
Hours and hours a day
Come to this conclusion
These walls couldn't stay
This is the first and last time
Ever feel this way...
Ever feel this way
I put the phone right down and
There’s nothing left to say
This is my only defence
The only game to play
Think this is easy for me
I pray to choose a fairy tale
But if I play to win?
Losing You – Dead by April
(Mary, S5. She sees him slipping away, but she can’t muster the honesty – or the courage – to do anything about it)
Distant, so far, destiny is selecting me
I can't be strong, life is disconnecting me
Now loneliness infecting me
Gone are the days, you were there protecting me
So cold (so alone)
All I have is you
(It is all that I'm waiting for)
All I need is you
(Now I can't make it through)
I am losing you forever
(I am lost in pain without you)
I am leaving ground forever (forever)
All I have is you (It is all that I'm breathing for)
All I need is you (Now I can't make it through)
Miss You Love – silverchair
(‘that’ talk in ‘All’s well that ends’. First verse Mary, second verse Marshall. Last part both)
Got a big shot deal
And thrown it all away but
But I'm not too sure
How I'm supposed to feel
Or what I'm supposed to say
But I'm not, not sure,
Not too sure how it feels
To handle every day
And I miss you love
Make room for the prey
'Cause I'm coming in
With what I wanna say but
It's gonna hurt
And I love the pain
And I miss you love
And I miss use love
I love the way you love
But I hate the way
I'm supposed to love you back
Always, All Ways (apologies, glances, and messed-up chances) – lostprophets
(Mary, post-series. That whole ‘let go’ thing isn’t exactly working out)
I guess I'm trying to say I'm sorry,
But it always comes out wrong,
I think a part of you still loves me,
Even though we're moving on.
And I'm sorry for what happened,
But I want you there to see,
That I'm changing all my actions,
I don't wanna set you free.
Always, all ways I want to see it through
Always, all ways me and you
And I wait here on my own,
And I wait for you to see,
All the time I spend alone now won't comfort me
Trying Not to Love You – Nickelback
(Marshall, post-series. Yeah, it’s not exactly working out for him either.)
You call to me, and I fall at your feet
How could anyone ask for more?
And our time apart, like knives in my heart
How could anyone ask for more?
But if there's a pill to help me forget,
God knows I haven't found it yet
But I'm dying to, God I'm trying to
'Cause trying not to love you, only goes so far
And trying not to need you, is tearing me apart
Can't see the silver lining, from down here on the floor
And I just keep on trying, but I don't know what for
'Cause trying not to love you
Only makes me love you more
True Tears of Joy – Hunters & Collectors
(So this time? The ‘talk’ goes the way it SHOULD HAVE, DAMMIT!!)
Come on confess your confusion
Spread it around
They trickle down your cheeks, tears fall
Like seed on barren ground
Your thoughts are scattered
Like paper everywhere
Tiny pieces of laughter and despair
But you cry true tears of joy
Forever – RED
(The mostly-happy ever after: Mary)
I ignored the signs, opened every door
But I couldn't find what I searched for
I try to fight but I turn and run
Every move I make is the wrong one
You patiently waited for my next mistake
I know it won't be much longer
You waited 'til I sobered
You came when you knew that the game was over
I didn't even want to be found
You gave me so much more
Than I could ever ask for
But I turned and followed
A road that left me hollow
And still you waited for me to come back home
You brought me home....
Here With You – Saliva
(The mostly-happy ever after: Marshall)
Well the first time I ever seen your face
I saw the ghost behind your eyes
Ever consuming me with your warm embrace
You're a woman and a child
And in just one second
Just one moment
It finally feels like home
From Memphis to Oklahoma
From Boston to California
From Detroit to Arizona
I will always be forever,
Here with you
In life there will be trials and troubles
But we will always have each other
And there will never be another woman in this world