But before I go, I wanted to write about something interesting I saw in a TV show last night. And by 'interesting', I of course mean 'jaw-droppingly out-of-character and violent.' I won't name the show because I don't want to spoil anyone, and also because I'm not even sure the particular show matters. Here are the particulars:
1) Character A is very, very badly hurt by Reoccurring Bad Person
2) Reoccurring Bad Person is captured
3) Character B beats captured RBP to within an inch of xir life in retaliation
4) Character C refuses to turn RBP over to The Authorities, apparently only so C can threaten RBP with the 'If xie dies, you die' trope.
5) All of this is supposed to be a) perfectly acceptable, and b) to show how awesome characters B and C are.
Now, because TV Tropes is my new internet boyfriend, after I had my few moments of O.o and assorted exclamations along the lines of, are they really keeping that bad guy just for the if/then murdering? and, If Character A bites the oatmeal, how will killing RBG bring xir back?, I went to the TV Tropes site to see if the "If X dies; you die" trope had an article.
I couldn't find one, alas. But I did find Knight Templar Big Brother/Parent. It's not quite as specific as I hoped for, but it's close enough.
The Knight Templar Big Brother/Parent basically refers to going apeshit on anyone who hurt your sib/kid, and I think the trope fits even if the characters aren't related. Like beating the snot out of the Reoccurring Bad Person who hurt your buddy, for example.
Okay, sure. Makes sense. I'd be pretty peeved too, if my adorable protege of adorableness was gutted like a prize-winning salmon. And the Character B who did the beat-down is, shall we say, not entirely unknown for such things. But, Character C is definitely not known for the apeshit beat-downs. In fact, C tells B to back off on the curb-kicking, which is somewhat odd considering Character C's intention in doing so is, apparently, to keep RBP alive in order to chuck xir out an airlock if Character A kaks it.
That's not very nice.
It's also not very moral, and considering Characters A, B, and C are all very much supposed to be the GOOD GUYS, the idea of Character C especially refusing to give up RBP while calmly anticipating spacing xir in the near future is not what I signed on for when I started watching the show. I mean, this is basic cable--I like to know which end of the spectrum my heroes are supposed to belong to. And murder for revenge is a little too far in the red for me.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, as they say, and killing someone because they killed someone is way more Judge Dredd than My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, if you know what I mean. Not that I'm talking about either Judge Dredd or MLP:FIM (though I'm sure Rainbow Dash would go apeshit if Discord killed Fluttershy). But you get the point.
Which is, I want my heroes to be, well, heroic, thank you very much. That doesn't just mean being badass, it means knowing when not to be as well. And sure, fallibility and conflict and drama and all that. But honestly, this show offers plenty of that anyway. If I wanted antiheroes, dark themes and gratuitous violence I'd watch The Walking Dead, which I don't. Because I don't really like antiheroes, dark themes or gratuitous violence. What's the point of escapism if you can't go anywhere?
I might as well watch the news, except for how it's way more depressing.
Picture is from The DVD cover for this Knights Templar movie, available from Amazon.co.uk. Coincidentally, it has Norman Reedus in it. Unfortunately the film seems to be very, very bad.