Pulling Punches

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Lost and Invasion (the shows have aired, but if you're like me, you may not have seen them yet.)

A couple of weeks ago, I watched two shows that in my mind didn't deliver on the promise made. The first was Invasion, where Larkin found out that Russ had committed a felony as a juvenile. She was angry he didn't tell her, even more angry when she learned it was something violent. So at the end of the story, he told her that he'd killed his uncle, who was a bad guy, because his uncle had killed his friend in cold blood. Yes, yes, good motivation and all that, but what if Russ had just been a bad kid and got turned around by working in the Everglades? Wouldn't that have been more interesting? If he'd done something bad just because he could, and then was redeemed?

Of course, I can't figure out, really, how it tied into his temper tantrum earlier in the show, which caused Larkin to suspect there was more to her husband to begin with. And if he had to work in the Everglades as his "sentence," when did he have time to go to college to meet Mariel?

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The second instance was Lost. For over a year, they've built Kate up as a baddie, right? She committed murder, she manipulated men, she was one tough cookie. Only, we find out that the man she killed was her mother's abusive husband. So she did it in cold blood, but I felt a little let down. That wasn't the action of a bad person. It was a desperate person. Again, I think it would have been cooler if she'd REALLY been bad and was now regretting it.

What do you think? Do you think Shaun and JJ pulled their punches? Have you ever written a real baddie to be redeemed? How did you do it?

We're off to see King Kong today, and I got a call last night from a lady ordering more scarves. I wish she'd left me a message of which ones she wanted so I could get the yarn before the movie.....


Anonymous said...

I think they took an easy way out. They were afraid. That was what I loved about the first season of Lost. It pulled no punches. It did things in a whole new way and it was awesome. Same thing with the first three seasons of Alias. That show rocked.
I don't watch Invasion, but based on what you've said I agree. A redeemed bad guy is always an interesting character.

Gina Black said...

I'm curious about these scarves you mention. Maybe that's because I've been knitting for Xmas this year.

Even though I don't watch TV if I can help it, I have been watching DVDs of FOYLE'S WAR which was some BBC series, and quite good too. They are nice to knit to.

MJFredrick said...

Mary Beth, I think you're right. Still, disappointing.

Gina, I crochet scarves. Like you, I like to do it watching TV. I used to rock during Alias episodes!

Toni Anderson said...

Hi Mary!! I didn't quite get the killer Russ bit. It jarred with the character because we didn't know why the uncle deserved to die.

Anyway, I'm back and madly organizing Xmas. Arhhhh!!!

Hope yours is going well!!

Amie Stuart said...

I would have really liked to see Kate just be a bad person. Honestly after finding out what happened, I didn't see what all the fuss over her running was about. It seemed a bit extreme.

I spent the afternoon catching up on Sleeper Cell (bless showtime on demand) and I love the main character. he's a good guy, pretending to be a bad guy and you can just FEEL how much his conscience (and his fear) is eating at him. And not just fear for himself but fear over not knowing what's coming, when, where, or if it's even stopable. He makes a really great tortured hero.

MJFredrick said...

Welcome back, Toni! What bothered me about Russ was the sudden show of temper, when he's always been a pretty even-keel kind of guy (and apparently his wife thought so, too) and THEN she finds out he's killed a man. Sigh.

Cece, EXACTLY. What was the big deal with the running??

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I don't watch Invasion, but I disagree about Lost.

I didn' t think Kate's actions were at all positive. She didn't kill him because he was abusing her mother, she killed him because she didn't like that he was her real father. She didn't do it out of nobility, but out of some sense of martyrdom--she expected to be supported and back-patted by her parents, and when everything happened the opposite, she was too weak to face the consequences.

I think it was Evangeline Lily's best performance, too. I know you weren't talking about the acting, but I thought she did a great job. She made me more disgusted with Kate in general, and I kinda think that's what the writers were going for. People are reacting as if we're supposed to feel sorry for her and we don't, but I think we're supposed to be disgusted.

MJFredrick said...

Natalie, I didn't get that at all. I need to watch it again.


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