When The Writers Kill Your Characters: Saying Goodbye

Warning: Spoilers

This year will be difficult for nerds. With Loki seemingly disappearing after Thor 2: The Dark World in film, and several potential goodbyes in television, I think it’s high time I stock up on boxes of tissues and a chocolate stash.

Matt-Smith-Doctor-Who-001Matt Smith’s Nerd HQ panel at Comic-Con brought tears to my eyes. When asked, “Why are you leaving Doctor Who?” he replied with, “…I don’t know.” Absolutely heartbreaking. Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor is my favorite doctor. He’s my¬†Doctor. From the very first episode of season 5, I fell in love with his zany, childlike enthusiasm and yearned for the end of all goodbyes.

Saying goodbye to the Ponds was difficult enough (I might never recover from “Angels Take Manhattan”), but knowing that Matt Smith will be the Doctor no more is nigh unbearable. My favorite episode is one of his: “Vincent and the Doctor.” He was my introduction to British television. He’s responsible for an art project I created, as well as several bowties. He has influenced my view of story, acting, history, and art.

While I will most likely still enjoy Doctor Who (after all, the premise of the show is that he regenerates every so often), it won’t be the same, and we’ll never see Matt in a bowtie or fez again (at least until we get a Doctor Who special, reunion, or some such project).

I’m also worried about the introduction of Charlie (played by the incredible Felicia Day) to the Supernatural canon. Now that she’s spending more time with the Winchesters, her days are numbered. Or, of course, we might be saying goodbye to Dean (again), Sam (again), or Cass (…again). Or even Crowley which, at this point, would be terrible, as he’s one of the best villains ever to grace a television screen.

Supernatural-s8-ep20-Charlie-holding-her-badge-upside-downAfter the end of Supernatural season 5, I had to grieve for weeks. Even though I knew the brothers were both alive, the death scene had felt so real that I did feel the loss of one of my favorite characters. Bobby’s passing reminded me that the writers for Supernatural are not against killing off a major character if it folds into the story, and I always fear for my favorite characters’ lives. Meg’s quiet demise was one of the worst deaths I’ve encountered, especially after she’d hit it off so well with Castiel. It’s amazing I still even watch this show since it’s so painful.

With the potential loss of Charlie, I still can’t wait to watch the show. I’m anxious especially considering that Charlie is now in Oz, but I’m hoping for a spin-off (and a very much alive Charlie). But as all of us in the Supernatural fandom know that the moment a female spends time with Sam and Dean she’s just signed a death wish. After a while, we’ll have to say another goodbye.

One of the worst goodbyes I’ve ever seen this year is the death of Myka from Warehouse 13. It was sudden and shocking. I knew she was sick, but I did not expect the writers to pull the rug out from under my feet in a show that’s supposed to be all fun and games with a little angst thrown in here and there. While I’m not quite sure she is dead, I am wondering if this signals Joanne Kelly’s exit from the show or if they simply had to write ku-xlargeMyka’s story that way. Whatever it means, I felt betrayed, horrified, and upset. And yet I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I hate goodbyes. I wish television shows would continue on forever (with the caveat that they continue on well), that my favorite characters would never die, and that, somehow, they would all get their happy endings. Unfortunately, that isn’t good writing, and doesn’t ring true to life. We feel these losses because we’ve experienced loss in our own lives. We resonate with their grief because we’ve gone through our own grief. We cry with them because we’ve spent time with them. And we keep coming back for more because we care about them.

What characters have you cried over? Which shows are you waiting for where a character’s life hangs in the balance? Which character would you resurrect if you could?

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone is a story nerd, particularly for the episodic stories told via the medium of television. When not parked in front of the TV, K.M. Cone can be found writing kooky urban fantasy on her personal site, attempting to learn German, or making a huge pot of soup for her friends, who are probably coming over to join her in her latest TV or animated film obsession.
K.M. Cone

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