Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 5: Character Deaths I Never Got Over

Some shows, like Lost, earn a badge of honor by how unexpectedly and ruthlessly characters can be killed off.  Other shows only kill characters when they have run out of all other melodramatic options.  In the former type you end up spend a great deal of your viewing time simply counting down the minutes until someone bites it, while in the later type the whole thing is so overwrought and drawn out you, instead of the character, end up feeling like the one who has been released from suffering by death.  But for shows that simply accept death as an essential part of the human experience, a character's death can be as irrevocable to the show and the viewer as that of a real-life loved one.  Here are 5 characters that I still get a little choked up when I see them on a re-watch/they're mentioned/something stupid happens on the show they vacated/the actor luckily went on to another job.

Ianto Jones, Torchwood
Pretty much everyone who could die was dead by the end of Torchwood.  (I'm not acknowledging this mythical S4 until it is in front of me, and even then I will probably ignore it, so as far as I'm concerned this show is at its end.)  Owen and Tosh were sad, Jack's grandson was gruesome, but Ianto was just unforgivable.  Loyal, kind, competent Ianto stood by Jack's side, ultimately to his detriment.  His love outweighed his sense of self-preservation, and the futile nobility of it was heartbreaking.

Donna, Sons of Anarchy
In the timeline of the show, Donna has been dead for less than 6 months (I think, I might be off about this).  At the end of S1 Donna was gunned down by Tig, mistaking her for Opie, on Clay's order because Stahl framed Opie as a rat.  There is a lot of human collateral damage on this show, but Donna will always be the benchmark of tragedy.  As Donna drove down the street we waited for some miracle, something that would stop the forthcoming devastation, but in the unrelenting candor that is SoA, there was no such rescue.  In a shower of bullets Donna's life, the opposing forces of which she had recently rectified, spilled on the street.    And as far as I'm concerned, Charming will never be the same.

Chris, Skins
I cried and cried and cried.  I might cry thinking about it.  I have re-watched Skins S1 and 2 up until the end of "Chris" and I cannot get any farther knowing that in the penultimate episode of S2 funny, messy, loving Chris will fall victim to the same genetic condition that killed his brother Peter.  I, like Cassy, just want to run away from it.

Fred, Angel
Fred.  Seriously, Fred.  Fred survived being trapped on a demon planet where she nearly lost her mind hiding in caves, got rescued and sane again, fell in love twice, became an essential member of Team Angel and the successful scientist that she was always meant to be, only then to have her soul burned to cinder when an ancient demon took over her body.  It would have been sad on it's own, but what pushes Fred past the limits of tolerance for character death is that after she died the thing that killed her walked around in her body, mentally and emotionally torturing the people who loved Fred, especially Wesley.  Without Fred, Wesley succumbed to a world without hope and (essentially) drank himself to death.  Even judged on the Whedon-Scale-of-Tragedy, this was horrifying.  

Billy, Battlestar Galactica
Characters of greater significance died (and came back) on BSG, and for the most part, they were all sad, but for me, Billy's death was too much.  Mostly because it was so unnecessary.  Billy wasn't a solider, he was an administrative aid with a very good heart who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So despite the fact that she was on a date with another guy, Billy sacrificed himself for that bitch Dualla!!!  Yes, that is my interpretation of events, feel free to disagree with me.  He was trying to be a hero, because by being with Lee, Dualla was clearly stating that Billy wasn't the kind of man she wanted, and so he made a very foolish choice based on that impetus.  So, a good and ordinary person, the kind of people that the fleet was supposed to be protecting in order to rebuild the human race, died, casting doubt on the efficacy of the Galactica crew, and reminding us (as every episode tended to do) that there would be no (lasting) relief for the remains of civilization.  Oh, and if all that didn't make you want to crawl into a hole, because Billy died we were subjected to the unmitigated atrocity that was Lee and Dualla's marriage.  Shudder.  Puke.  Shudder.

The TV Girl

P.S. Yes, I know that there is a SIGNIFICANT character death on Game of Thrones that I haven't written up yet (actually that I haven't watched yet, long story), but I can't even begin to tell you how upset/outraged/frustrated I am about that.  But I will tell you, eventually, later this week, I hope.


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MK said...

I agree about Billy's death and I SO agree about the atrocity that was Lee and Dualla's marriage, although for me Billy's death is overshadowed by the atrocity of Starbuck's death or departure (or whatever) in the last episode. That Starbuck and Lee did not end up together was the greatest failure of that series (which I adore) in my mind. It was so wrong. So, so wrong. Lee and Kara were clearly soulmates. Sure, she had some sparks with Anders, but it was so obvious from the very beginning that Lee and Kara were soulmates. And that they didn't end up together was an atrocity that two years later I still cannot get over. She was never, never, never going to have the depth of relationship with Anders that she had with Lee, and that she sort of chose Anders at the end and then distanced herself from and left Lee was just so, so wrong. Earth should have been a new beginning for her and Lee. I just cannot get over that. Thank you for allowing me to vent. I don't know too many people who have seen BSG, so I generally keep this frustration bottled up. :-)

Kara H. said...

I never got over Fred either. Way to kill the bright spot among narcissism and angst, Whedon.

The TV Girl said...

MK- I completely and totally 100% agree with you.

Kara H.- Fred is just too much for me. I'm actually glad the show ended soon after, I couldn't take much more.