Kirsten Clark (Emma Ishta) and Cameron Goodkin (Kyle Harris) do not initially hit it off when they first meet in the pilot. Cameron challenges her on why she doesn’t have any friends and insists that he is the dominant nerd in the room. The way these two build from this single conversation over the course of the season is pretty great. Ishta and Harris do a wonderful job creating a chemistry between these two characters that from the moment you see both of them on-screen, you’re already rooting for them. As the season progresses and the partnership between the two grows closer, you really start to understand how these two begin to rely on each other.
“You asked me to trust you and I did. Now I’m asking you to trust me.”
Beyond their clash of personalities upon first meeting, these two understand that their jobs depend highly on each other. Trust becomes a major factor between the two. And their differing personalities begin to compliment each other. Kirsten is logic and tough where Cameron is emotion and a bit softer. I’ve seen enough T.V. to know where this is going.
Here we find the genesis of Camsten. When a beautiful and intelligent woman walks in to your lab, you would have a difficult time not developing a crush on her. A crush, that despite the rocky, and on Cameron’s part, painful; starts to develop into two people who work together. They learn to use their resources and crack at the walls of their own boundaries to solve the crime and save someone’s life.
As the first half of the season progresses, these two keep circling back to the trust factor. Cameron has major fears that Kirsten does not listen or depend on him and that they could suffer because of it. Stitching is a dangerous process and even with an experienced pilot like himself, you never know what could go wrong. He recognizes this and is always asking her to trust him. By 1×04 the two decide on a ‘no more secrets policy’, which grows a bit more complicated by the end of the episode, as we discover Cameron has some secrets of his own that he’s not ready to let go of yet.
The two share a few intimate moments through the first few episodes, where the crush Cameron has developed has started to grow in to something more. His concern grows for Kirsten and his friendship and caring nature start to show through.
The development of Camsten really begins to hit its stride around 1×05 “The Stitcher in the Rye”, when Kirsten shows up at Cameron’s apartment in the middle of the night to accuse him of a serious crime within the lab. Part of him is hurt after the accusation but both of them do what they do best and work together to figure out the next steps. Later on, when Kirsten’s life is once again endangered, Cameron steps up and steps in and does his best to be her “Knight in shining armor.” The death of someone who participated in the program brings them a bit closer together as a pivotal scene plays out, when Cameron compares his grief to Kirsten’s Temporal Dysplasia; pointing out that it may not make things so hard. This is where we see a rare moment of Kirsten’s walls crumble. She knows her illness and she recognizes within herself that it’s a tough thing to deal with. She implies that even if it seems “easy” to suffer with it, what she is doing is just that: suffering.
By the end of 1×06, the two start to see each other as equals, if anything.
When Liam (Jack Turner) is introduced, the dynamic shifts. Cameron’s once open shot suddenly feels as though it’s closing in. Quickly. He’s threatened by the thought and presence of Liam, who seems to be absolutely perfect in every way, including for Kirsten. How could Cameron even begin to compete with such a perfect do-gooder who has a perfect body and perfect accent? It’s not that he maliciously wants to find something bad on Liam, but as he tells Linus, he is doing so because he’s worried for Kirsten. He doesn’t want her to get hurt. He sees that Liam may not be the best influence for her, as he has been in and out of her life for the past several years. That all changes when Liam asks Kirsten a very important question…
“Will you marry me?”
In 1×08 the lab is trapped in a lockdown because of a deadly virus. Everyone is falling ill and despite Kirsten having not answered Liam’s question, Cameron urges her to call him. They may not get a chance to leave the lab and Cameron insists she call Liam, several times. They are friends and his hurt at her keeping the proposal from him is evident. She slipped away from him before he even had the chance to do anything about it. An important scene is when each member of the team are saying their ‘goodbyes’ to their loved ones. Cameron calls his mother. When she asks him if giving up a coveted position with MIT to go work for the government was worth it, he looks straight to Kirsten before sobbing out, ‘yeah’. It’s beautifully written and major props have to be given to Harris for the acting. You begin to see just how much Cameron has really come to care about Kirsten and now not only did his future with her slip away, but now he’ll have to watch her die. Don’t worry though, like always, they come through at the last-minute.
Cameron isn’t the only one who has grown through the season. Kirsten has started to depend and trust in him. He puts all of the cards on the table when he revels the secret surrounding his health scare and the intimate scene between the two remind us viewers that in only eight episodes, these two have grown into a steady partnership. A lot of obstacles have come their way and they’ve managed to work together and rely on each other to jump over them. Through the stitches, Kirsten has learned how feelings are starting to affect her. You can begin to see this through the back half of the season.
“We’re partners, aren’t we?”
As 1×09 begins, you realize that where you thought the season was going, is completely wrong. You don’t know how monumental these final two episodes of the season are. The murder of a psychic occurs and suddenly roles seemed reversed. Cameron, all ‘man of science’ doesn’t believe for a second in anything that the psychic has to say. Kirsten explains her point of view in one simple sentence, “science is just magic that’s been explained.” She is quite the believer. Then again, she has seen and been a part of some pretty crazy things by this point.
You begin to see Kirsten in a different light as she inspects her own feelings and wrestles with herself over Liam’s proposal. It’s pointed out in a visit to the psychics employment that she is battling with something. Cameron receives a quartz crystal to ‘protect his fragile heart’ and Kirsten receives advice to look within herself before making any extreme decisions. Kirsten, who has most likely never battled something emotionally in her life carries this weight around her most of the episode.
With all of this on her mind, she hops in the fish tank for another stitch. In this stitch, she is pushed to a collection of stones, a glowing quartz crystal grabs her attention and she touches it for only the briefest of moments. A flash of Cameron in the corpse cassette scares her. She calls out to him and he let’s her know he is fine. But she can’t shake the danger when she gets out of the tank and she insists on finishing the case by herself. Cameron who doesn’t believe in psychics makes it a point to let Kirsten know that he “believes in her.”
He winds up following her to the event anyway and Liam shows up. Inferring that the two had come together and that maybe he isn’t needed in Kirsten’s life, after all. She is hurt as evident on her face, but in order to finish the case; she has to stay. This is where Cameron insists that they’re partners. They’ve come far in only nine episodes. From strangers to partners. Great times and tragedies in between, but now their partners.
“Do you love him?” Cameron asks as they walk through the alley at night after the event. Ishta and Harris get all the praises as they took this short scene and completely shined. You can feel Kirsten’s battle and you can feel that Cameron knows he may not like the answer he gets to his question. It’s important and speaks to the characterization of Kirsten. Has she learned to love?
After the case winds up and Cameron has a slight health scare that turns out to be nothing like she saw in the stitch, Kirsten returns home, to a fuming Liam. He wonders if Cameron could be to blame for her lack of enthusiasm regarding his proposal. She says there’s been no one but Liam. That seems to be it for those two.
One of my favorite scenes in the whole season happens next. As far as we can assume, Kirsten calls Cameron to come to her house after Liam leaves. They visit on the porch for a while about the case and Cameron, sensing the need to rid himself of the quartz that isn’t doing any good for him, hands it to Kirsten. “Here, you take it. To protect your heart.” He shyly smiles as he hands it over. The weight of the moment is only the beginning.
“When are you going to learn to trust me?”
As the finale begins, we see the two have become closer than ever. Cameron is injured during a shooting and Kirsten is visibly shaken because of it. Rushing to his side at the scene even though a woman has been killed and Detective Fisher was shot. You notice the concern written all over Kirsten, which is brilliant acting from Ishta, as she has a private moment with Cameron in the hospital. She and the rest of the team conclude that they are going to do whatever it takes to figure out what happened and who attacked two members of their team.
Luckily for Cameron, he bounces back pretty quick, and the next day he’s back at the lab. He’s roughed up but able to pilot the stitch for Kirsten. Things go off without a hitch and the clues lead them right where they should. Kirsten comes across an old book that sends her straight for Cameron’s apartment. She is close enough with him to share the video that they find in the book and when she discovers a secret about her illness, he comforts her. The truth is starting to come out and Kirsten is starting to feel the ramifications of it. From her mother and caregiver, Ed, she has learned that they did what ever they could to keep her safe and they were killed because of it.
Cameron Goodkin would do anything to keep her safe because the threat of her safety increases rapidly during the episode. A scene between the two in the hospital as they look on towards an injured Fisher speaks a lot to how far they’ve come. But something is missing for Cameron. He still feels like he doesn’t have her complete and utter trust and it’s something he desperately needs. He’ll do anything for it and when the opportunity arises to get answers for who is after them by stitching in to him, he takes it. The only problem is, you have to be clinically dead to properly stitch in to an individual.
We see the core team march in to the lab as Cameron explains that in order for Kirsten to stitch in to him, he has to die. Only temporarily though, from a chemical concoction that will stop his heart for four minutes. Debate ensues. Kirsten isn’t going to let Cameron do such a stupid thing for her but the moment the team turns their back he injects himself, effectively slowing down and stopping his heart all together. Kirsten rushes to his side, her wide eyes and head shaking back and forth urging him to stay with her speak for themselves. With his last few breaths, he let’s her know why he decided to give his life for her, “I need to keep you safe,” he states before collapsing.
The team has four minutes to stitch in to Cameron and Kirsten insists on continuing with the stitch instead of reviving him. The moment she delves in to his memories, she sees herself pop up. The memories flash past her. Moments from several episodes during the season, all showcasing her. She realizes how deep Cameron’s feelings for her are when she reaches the latest stitch, which occurred only moments before. She states, “I didn’t know…I’m everywhere.”
The stitch didn’t yield the results that they had thought it would and Kirsten’s anger and frustration can be heard as she informs the team that she’s unable to pull any information. Cameron did this for nothing. Before Kirsten bounces she is pulled to one last memory. It follows Cameron along as a young boy in the hospital after his heart surgery. He comes across a young girl with her parents. This is the first time that Cameron is introduced to Kirsten. The moment shakes Kirsten to her core and we begin to see some tears as she realizes it’s time to bounce out of his memories.
Kirsten’s eyes open and the rush to save Cameron is the only thing that matters. She races for him as the team begins attempting to revive him. She is pleading with him not to die. Barely holding it together as the team pushes in their attempts to bring him back.
The season ends with Kirsten frantically calling out Cameron’s name as he flat lines.
You’ll notice that I did not include the Halloween episode, but as we don’t quite know where it falls or if it’s a dream, I decided to forgo putting it in this evolution post! I hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane! Make sure to put your favorite Camsten moments below! Stitchers premieres March 22nd on Freeform at 10/9c.