My website: lowercase k collected.
Spoilers: season 1 + the season 2 premiere.
Standard disclaimer: These are my opinions and certainly not representative of every single C/E shipper out there and way not representative of everyone who's loved Everwood over the past two years.
Colin and Ephram, to paraphrase something pearl_o once said, were so right for about two seconds. Or about three episodes. The rest is a little bit harder. For me, it's after the first blush, when the difficulties really set in, that the ship gets so fascinating and fun.
The Short of It - Your Handy Plot Summary.
Ephram Brown and Colin Hart are both introduced in the pilot to Everwood, Ephram present from the first five minutes and Colin at the end of the episode, lying in a coma. Ephram is nobody in Everwood, and worse, he's the son of the new town crazy. Colin, even in a coma, is popular, loved, and on nearly everyone's mind. Colin's on Amy's mind most of all, as they had been dating before the accident and were friends from childhood. Ephram has fallen for Amy, and after some persuading on her part, Ephram convinces his father, the brilliant brain surgeon, to operate on Colin. Colin comes out the coma, since Dr. Brown is brilliant, except he doesn't remember anything of his life. Colin and Ephram become real friends because Colin gravitates towards the one person in town who didn't know him before. Then when Colin's memory begins to come back, Amy becomes someone he increasingly relies on. He calls her his home base.
Colin and Amy start dating again in earnest. Ephram briefly dates Colin's sister Laynie. That crashes and burns when Ephram realizes while on a date with Laynie that he cares more deeply for Amy than he thought. Colin begins showing symptoms of continuing troubles from the accident but covers them up. When Ephram witnesses Colin trashing the gym teacher's office, he speaks up against the cover-up. Colin turns his anger towards Ephram in a major way, beating him up. At the end of "Episode 20" a few weeks later, Colin has a seizure. He has to have another operation and Colin starts apologizing to once and again best friend Bright and Amy for the way he's acted. The night before the surgery Colin and Ephram meet for the last time, and it's extremely awkward with no apologies or resolution at all. Then Colin dies. And then Ephram never mentions Colin again as his friend and doesn't appear to mourn his death. Good times. Good times.
The Long of It: Colin/Ephram
Colin/Ephram shippers sprang up everywhere when the episode "The Price of Fame" aired in January of 2003. In it, Colin comes back to school to audit classes and keeps being nice to Ephram. Talking to Ephram, having Ephram sit at his table, offering him rides. Colin calls Ephram over to 'the popular table' at lunch and gazes at Ephram with rapt attention. Ephram is weirded out by Colin's interest (plus Amy is freaked out by it and tells Ephram he has nothing in common with Colin). When Ephram blows up at Colin, Colin confesses that he doesn't know anybody, he feels lost, and says:
But you see it's different with you because you don't have any expectations. And I don't have to feel guilty for not knowing you. You see in a way, I mean we're both kinda new. And you look about as out of place as I feel which is probably why I approached you. What I don't get is why you don't like me.
But once Ephram gives Colin a chance, he does like him. And many many stories were written about the connection between these two from the first blush of meeting.
Even though Amy is still an issue on Ephram's side, for the next episode or so, Colin and Ephram are great buddies, smiling at each other, making each other laugh, hanging out together and excluding Amy and Bright. Colin chooses Ephram over Amy and Bright to hang with. Even though Colin is still recovering from his surgery and is sometimes very angry about the weakness in his right arm, his inability to really contribute at school or even remember his locker combination, Ephram is the guy who doesn't push, who wants Colin to feel better but doesn't care if Colin remembers anything. Colin is Ephram's friend, as he tells his dad, and Ephram won't narc on him.
Colin tries to make things work, and in the next episode "Colin The Second," Colin is flustered by being chosen Homecoming King with pre-accident girlfriend Amy as Homecoming Queen. He leaves before the ceremony begins and Ephram is sent to find him. Colin is hiding in his truck and he tells Ephram about how he feels like someone else entirely from Colin before the accident. And how he wonders who he was before, almost fearfully. A moment Colin shares with Ephram, not his pre-accident best friend Bright or pre-accident girlfriend Amy. Ephram listens, again with rapt attention. These two have connected, even with Colin's difficulties.
Before the accident Colin was different. Ephram's neighbor Nina describes Colin to Ephram like this:
Oh, he's a charmer. You know he's the kind of kid who forgets to mow your lawn for two weeks, then when he finally comes you end up paying him for three. I think he was all-state football, and pretty smart too.
When Colin starts remembering how to be that guy, the strong connection with Ephram starts to falls away. He goes for the coma boy discount ('I just gave 'em this blank face and they felt bad so they gave us the fries for free'), he lets Ephram tell him a story about Amy so he can make Amy happier and they get back together. (Though he calls Ephram on how close Ephram and Amy were before Colin came out of the coma, and the story is revealed while the two are sharing a room on a trip Colin begged Ephram to come to.)
For these three or four episodes, Ephram serves as the one who can read Colin the best, who knows what's wrong and what's right and instinctively treats Colin the way Colin wants. But Colin wants the accident and the coma to be behind him, over. And while he makes space for Amy and Bright again, he doesn't initially stop being friends with Ephram. Plus, thanks to the casting director, there's a real resemblance between the actress playing Laynie and the actor playing Colin, giving a little subtextual kick to Ephram's attraction to Colin's sister. (Also, Laynie helpfully tells us that Colin had planned to break up with Amy before the accident, even though Colin's fallen in love with Amy this time. It's more a surprise to Ephram than to the viewers, since flashbacks in episode 7 made it clear that Amy and Colin were not in the best place before the accident.) There's some hope that Colin and Ephram will still fit even as Colin goes back to being the most charming and popular boy in town.
The episode "The Miracle of Everwood" is a kind of death knell for the idea of Colin and Ephram, bestest buds that look further than their mutual attraction to the same girl and find each other. Colin is nearly recovered, but showing signs of trouble. And covering up those signs as quickly as he can, the way Colin before the accident could get away with nearly anything. Episodes of frightening rage are followed just as quickly with Colin's quick calculation and manipulation to get everyone on the same page, the same charm he used to have and never had to use on Ephram.
Greg Berlanti, the showrunner and creator, says in his commentary that Colin starts acting like a jerk because of the "brain chips," (bone fragments in Colin's brain from the accident) but I think that's too simple. Colin's 16 and he's afraid to die, afraid to lose everything he's gotten back. He wants to be that miracle. I think Colin thinks if he can just convince everyone he's fine, if things are like they used to be, then he can't possibly be sick. And the only people who can see that Colin's still sick and willing to say it to his face are Laynie (who leaves town again) and Ephram. Convincing Ephram he's fine is vitally important to Colin. Their importance to each other continues even after their friendship falters, in part because Colin still thinks Ephram's opinion is one of the most valuable in town.
In Miracle of Everwood, after Ephram sees Colin trashing the gym teacher's office, Colin is excused from any punishment by the principal. Ephram is surprised and disgusted. And Colin can tell.
COLIN: Fine. You can keep me in line, you can help me.
EPHRAM: Help you cover?
COLIN: God, would you get over this? You know, the rest of the world already has.
EPHRAM: Maybe if I knew you when you were still the golden boy, I could ignore it too but right now, you scare me.
COLIN: OK. If that's the way you want it.
EPHRAM: Not so much a choice.
Even after Colin realizes his attempt to charm Ephram back won't work ('you can keep me in line'), he still insists he's perfectly okay and he will show Ephram how okay he is. He shouts at Ephram that Ephram will see he's not like that - not crazy, not sick.
Later, Colin confronts Ephram and when forced, Ephram calls Colin on how sick he really is. Colin is experiencing nausea, mood swings, and all these things mean Colin is nowhere near out of the woods. But Colin has to believe he is out of the woods and it's all over, nothing will go wrong again. Colin and Bright follow Ephram outside and Colin beats Ephram up, trying specifically to break Ephram (pianist prodigy boy)'s hands. Bright stops him and gets a punch in the face for his trouble. Colin screams about how the two of them think he's crazy and sick and they're wrong. Ephram was trying to leave and ignore Colin, Colin wouldn't let that happen.
In the end, Colin tries to give Bright and Amy a great last day and apologizes to both of them. He says his own sort of goodbye to his father and even to Doctor Brown. But notably, in his one chance with Ephram for some sort of closure and apology, he says nothing. Colin has ignored or taunted Ephram since the confrontation over the gym teacher's office, but now he just stands there awkwardly. Ephram tries again to reach out, but Colin shuts it down. Colin is afraid he will die, still, but this time he's decided it's preferable to ending up in rehab again or being a vegetable. In the commentary on this episode (Home), the writers note that Colin's lack of closure with Ephram was on purpose. Colin and Ephram were a different beast from the other relationships in Colin's life.
Unfortunately, with all that juicy set-up, when the second season rolls around, Colin and Ephram in any sort of relationship is apparently forgotten. (Thank you, Greg Berlanti, except not at all.) Amy and Bright and the Harts all mourn Colin, even Andy Brown in his way, but Ephram is only a bystander in all those stories. I like to think of it as denial on Ephram's part, at least in tribute to all of the great stuff in season 1. As far as Colin's specific feelings for Ephram were concerned, we'll never find out.
Again with the disclaimer: this is not every C/E story ever written, it's the ones I particularly enjoyed. I'm certain I've missed some and please do comment if you have your own favorites to reccommend, since finding Everwood stories can be v. difficult. You can find even more at the lj Everwood slash community bus_riders and the Everwood fanfic archive Seeking Grace. (If y'all know of other archives, please comment as well!)
Over by synchronik.
Amnesia by hackthis.
Over To Maybe
ghost all four by Elizabeth. The last is an AU written after the second season premiere.
C/E drabbles by plumsnickety.
Honey and the Moon by lifeinwords.
for the earth is hollow and I have touched the sky by thepurpleswitch.
Transcripts from: http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/everwood/
This essay was made immeasurably better thanks to remainthesame and circusgirl.