Monday, September 24, 2012

Face Off: We don't Forgive You

'Asking For Forgiveness' photo (c) 2011, Vic - license:

One common arc we see in a lot of Urban Fantasy is the redemption tale. After all, we are dealing with big bad monsters here, sometimes finding their humanity can be an epic tale in its own right. After the bodies are buried, the monster raises its bloodstained maw to the sky and gasps “what have I done?!” and begins the long, painful path to redemption.

Or, y’know, they could say sorry and everyone will pat them on the back and say “there-there” and next week we’ll treat them as if they’d done no wrong. Unfortunately, this is where they lose us. We’re not against a good redemption tale, we are against short cutting redemption and, ultimately, there are characters we do not forgive, even if the rest of the cast does.

Stefan Salvatore: The Vampire Diaries

Stefan is well known as the ripper because he feeds so viciously that he actually serves the heads of his victims. When he goes off the deep end with Klaus, Elena, Damon and Alaric are determined to get him back. This is of course after seeing dead bodies that he has left behind, as well as a long list of the kills that he has made. After learning exactly how many people that Stefan has killed, as well as the manner in which he killed them, of course Elena still wuvs him. Her willingness to forgive him continues the love triangle which has become essential to the plot. Elena may have forgiven him, but we certainly do not.

Damon Salvatore: The Vampire Diaries

When Damon made his first appearance in season one he was the antagonist.  He killed indiscriminately and worked very hard to terrorize Mystic Falls. Over the seasons to come, he has slowly been redeemed because other antagonists arrived, and combined with his growing love for Elena, this quickly put him on team good guy. Damon still uses his powers in ways that are harmful and though it is occasionally acknowledged, like when he turned Andie Star into a virtual slave using his powers, it is not taken seriously.  It is seen more as Damon being self-destructive, rather than him abusing Andie and his powers. Elena even forgives Damon for killing her own brother.  If you look at the bodies and violence that Damon has left in his wake, there is clearly nothing redeemable about him but still yet, Elena has forgiven him repeatedly. She may be willing to turn the other cheek, but we most certainly will not.

Allison Argent: Teen Wolf.

Allison passively watched her family continue their evil, sadistic murdering for a large part of season 2 of Teen Wolf. This escalated to an extreme degree after Allison’s mother tried to kill Scott (for the dastardly crime of daring to sleep with her daughter) and got bitten in the process. Unable to face up to the consequences of her actions, she decides to kill herself (on Allison’s bed, just in case she isn’t traumatised enough).

So there’s definitely some major issues Allison has to deal with. However, from this she goes on the warpath. Despite long associations with the werewolves, she sees zero nuance in her mother’s fate following her own aggression, works with Evil Gerard Argent, hunts and fights the werewolves and in an ultimately unforgivable act - attacks and tortures Boyd and Erica. Even if we did accept that she is justified through trauma or manipulation for going after Derek (though that would require believing she completely shut down her brain) there was no excuse for the last.

After the defeat of Gerard, it seems Allison is in the clear. In fact, Scott is trying to convince her to date him again. Well, Scott may forgive Allison, but we most certainly do not.

John Pope: Falling Skies

What does this man have to do in order for everyone to cut him up into little pieces and feed him to the aliens? When they first met him, he was a racist gang leader who was, at best, abusing Maggie. That’s not a great start.

From there, he screws up missions by knocking Dai out and deciding to go randomly (and loudly) kill Skitters. He tries to get Tom killed after his little space ship jaunt, then he kidnaps him and almost murders him. He continually ignores orders, puts people at risk and is the very definition of a loose canon. Yet he is repeatedly brought back into the fold. Enough, we didn’t forgive him the first time, we certainly didn’t forgive him the 4th.

So what about you, dear readers? Who haven’t you forgiven? And whose too easily forgiven crimes have we forgotten?