Hematite Badger (hematitebadger) wrote,
Hematite Badger

30 days of TV: Day 30

Finished! And only a day late.

Day 30 - Saddest character death

Kind of a weird note to end this on. I'd have saved yesterday for last, but they don't ask me these things when they create memes. Or if they do, I was in the bathroom and missed the phone call.

...I'm rambling.

Anyway, I feel like I'm going to have to justify myself on this one, not least because I'm going to the Doctor Who well again. (I swear I watch other television, but there's a reason I labeled it 'current obsession.') The problem with questions like this, where I'm being asked for a specific emotional response, is that I am a seriously meta fan. I am capable of going straight to the emotion in an appropriately engaging work, but even at my most riveted there is some part of my brain sitting back and looking at how the story is being told. And the death of someone your audience has grown to love is a difficult tale to tell right. It is rare for me to find a TV death that leaves me completely saddened. If it's a really good one, my sorrow is mixed with contentment at a satisfying end to a character's story, and a writer who honored the death and made it mean something. If it's a bad one, I get angry. Ohhh, very little pisses me off more than killing a character off badly, especially if it's for shock value. (Hi, Joss! BITE ME.) And considering the genres of a lot of my favorite shows, here are also times when you're gonna have to do some serious convincing to make me believe that you're not gonna bring the character back in some way next season. So it's kinda hard for a TV death to break my heart because it has to reach my heart first. And the one that did that the best was the death of Vincent Van Gogh in "Vincent and the Doctor."

This episode was utterly beautiful. Visually, atmospherically, emotionally. It immediately made the audience love Vincent with the same fierce and tender fondness that Amy and the Doctor did, and it made his suffering brutally real and human. And, speaking as someone who's never been quite that deep in that particular pit but who knows some of the shallower places like the back of her hand, familiar. His suicide was inevitable -- not because this is a fight that can't be won, God no, but because it's a fight in which he was unarmed and unsupported -- and the audience knew it and the Doctor knew it, and watching Amy realize that, and experience the first real grief of her adult life, was destroying. And there in the middle of it, at the heart of this season that I have already celebrated for championing love, was the Doctor whispering that there are some things that love alone can't fix. It was a death specifically designed to hurt, and in my distaste for being manipulated I should hate it for that, but to do so would be to miss what the rest of the episode was saying: Love can be painful, love can fail, and sometimes everything you can possibly do for someone isn't enough. But never let that fear stop you from trying. Heartbreak and hope, each stronger for being so close to the other.

In this brilliant season, I will admit that there are a couple of episodes I haven't rewatched because they're not that great. This one I haven't rewatched because I'm not sure I can yet.
Tags: 30 days, non-fic
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