The Good, The Bad, and The Dead: Thoughts on The Walking Dead Season 5 Finale

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Let me get the bad out of the way first, because, as always, there’s very little of it:

I don’t like when the characters have to be stupid in order to create the desired scenes in the story. Obviously, Nicholas is up to no good, making sure Glenn sees him leave the community after Glenn specifically told him not to and made Nicholas feel like the childish moron that he is. So why does Glenn follow Nicholas out into the woods to his doom without taking Maggie who was right there, or anyone else with him, or at least telling someone where he was going? At least if he mentioned it, maybe someone, like his wife, would have shown the slightest bit of concern that he’s out in the woods with an enemy Alexandrian after dark even though he said he’d be at the meeting.

Rick isn’t there either. And, like, the meeting is about him. There’s no “Michonne, why don’t you go wake up Rick, and tell him we’re about to start?” They just go on with the meeting like it’s no big deal that people are missing at this hour, especially the person in question to be exiled.

Where’s Rick? Off fighting a walker. Because the gate to the gated community was left wide open. Okay, I know you Alexandrians are completely inept and unqualified to handle the apocalypse, but come on bro, close the gate. It’s important. Instead of completing his extremely important duty, the Alexandrian asks Gabriel to close the gate for him and skips off to the town meeting. Gabriel has meanwhile flipped his lid, so you might say, he meant to leave the gate open. If that were the case, wouldn’t he just have come inside without even touching the gate? Or did he want it to look like he really meant to close it? Either way it comes off as just outstanding vigilance on everyone’s part /sarcastifont/.

So Glenn and Rick are missing in the dark, and didn’t it get dark really fast? In one scene it’s high noon, and then in the next it was black of night. I think this was because the writers wanted a cool, creepy-looking meeting around a campfire for Porch Dick to crash. That’s fine. Just start the scenes a bit later in the day so it doesn’t feel like we lost a chunk of hours in between.

Speaking of missing time, how did Glenn get away from those 3 walkers while he was writhing in agony? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did. I guess it’s just one of those things you have to suspend your disbelief for. At any rate, I’ll take Glenn alive because I thought for sure he was going, what with that “I love you,” to Maggie and all the heavy foreshadowing and close calls they’ve been giving him. But Glenn’s not out of the woods yet. (literally and figuratively) He’s injured outside the walls with the wolves nearby. (How chilling was that scene at the end where they looked through the pictures of the community?) I don’t read the comics, simply because I stumbled upon the show first, and now don’t want to spoil myself by reading ahead. From what I understand, people can die in the comics and live in the show or vice versa, or like Daryl, only exist in the show, so I’m holding out hope for Glenn to stay for the long haul. Sigh, I’m going to end up sad aren’t I?

Finally, a lot of people had a problem with the scene where Carol threatened Pete saying things like “Why would a guy who beats his wife be afraid of an old lady?” I’ll tell you why: Because Carol is a badass who stands up for herself, and Jessie is a pathetic blob of weakness. Pete is used to his tiny wife, and tinier kids taking his shit. He’s probably never come up against a strong woman in his life, and when it finally happened, he melted into a puddle of his own cowardice like all bullies do when finally confronted. I loved this scene. A victim of domestic violence herself, Carol is done taking shit from abusive husbands. I only wish Jessie could have stood up to Pete herself. Now she’s missed her chance to show strength, letting Carol, Rick, and the community solve her problem for her. All Jessie seems to do is cut hair and cry. Hopefully at least, she’ll inspire real women to take a more active role in their own abusive relationships. Hopefully she also starts showing some strength now, or she’ll surely be one of the next to die. Anyway, rock on, Carol.

Which leads me to the rest of the good:

There’s been so much good writing this season. I love how Rick told Jessie that you keep the windows in tact, you keep society in tact, and then he and Pete crashed through the window. I love how when Rick left Jessie’s house the first time, he saw kids walking dogs and holding balloons as though their society was storybook perfection. Rick is of course thinking, like the rest of us no, no it’s not. Your policy is to leave your own people behind to save yourselves. You’re weak. You allow women and children to be beaten so you can have a doctor. Your society actually kind of sucks. And after the fight with Pete, the red balloon flies into the air, the societal facade finally shattered.

But one of the best surprises from the last episode was Morgan! When I first saw him I thought “Wow, he’s become Donatello from the Ninja Turtles.” We learn that Morgan, now totally un “cray cray” values all human life. One of the most depressing recurring themes in the show is how little hope survives. As Rick says, people measure you in what they can take from you–how they can use you to live. There are very few humans left, and the ones who are left seem to only want to kill each other. Characters suffer and die, and rarely achieve any small victories that offer hope for any kind of future in this world. Morgan, like Glenn, offers hope. I loved the end scene, where he looked at Rick with fear and disgust, because something clearly has broken in Rick (and understandably so) that he no longer feels that value for everyone. Remember back in season one where he would put walkers out of their misery just to be kind?

Another good thing: Michonne really is with Rick! She had me wondering for a while. But not only did this episode solidify her loyalty to Rick, she took her katana back and the group is finally starting to seem like themselves again. They will not be lulled to sleep.

Despite some writing flaws in the finale, this episode was thoroughly entertaining. I heard some fans say it was the worst finale ever and bereft of action, and all I can ask is “What finale were you watching?” My heart was hammering the entire time, and I found it so refreshing that for once, no one (important) died.

The dead: Only Reg, Pete, and some unknowns and walkers! Yay!

I guess this was a sore spot for some people who were promised tears and blood, but I don’t want anyone to die. Enough main characters have died over the years. If the writers keep up their promise that no one is safe, soon there will be no one left, or at least no one we care about. You hear a lot of fans say if __________ dies, we riot. Or no matter who dies, we keep watching because it’s not just about one person. Both sides have merit. If everyone was safe, the show wouldn’t be suspenseful or real or hold our interest. But if too many of the main core die, I have to tell you, I’ll be part of the group who quits watching. I’m only partially invested in how the apocalypse affects human behavior. What I’m really interested in at this point is how it affects these particular characters’ behavior. Rick, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Daryl, and Carol are who I am interested in. Maybe you can kill one or two more of them, (and fans would still be pissed) But what then? If they keep killing off one or two per finale, we don’t have too many finales left. And even if we do reach the end, without any of the characters who were on the journey, why should it matter? Right now, Rick, Carl, and Glenn are the deal breakers for me. I’d be sad to see the others go too, but I wouldn’t stop watching. For these three I think I would. Glenn is the most descent character left, as last night proved. His courageous act of forgiveness towards Nicholas solidified his unwillingness to kill unless absolutely necessary. Let me tell you something about Glenn: all he wants to do is help people and love Maggie. Please leave him alone.

As for Rick, he’s the main character. I’ve been watching HIS journey, really, since the beginning, and the journeys of those around him. I don’t want to see the others complete the journey without him. I keep saying “complete journey” but I don’t even know if that’s a possibility. As of now, it looks like the writers will keep bringing in new characters and killing off others. It could go on ad infinitum in that way. Whereas in Breaking Bad, they had a set number of seasons in mind, a clear ending in mind, and made every moment up until that ending count. I’d quite like to see something like that on The Walking Dead, but I have a bad feeling that I won’t.

Carl has to be the future of the show, and of the world. It’s so interesting to see kids grow up in this world. It will be all Judith knows. I want to see someone reach adulthood with this as their normal, and see how it continues to affect them. Plus, if Carl dies, Rick will be destroyed, and I don’t want that. Besides, terrible things can happen to characters without them dying. It doesn’t always have to be death to equal conflict and drama. Sometimes things get much more interesting when there’s more characters alive to harbor all that conflict. Now that Pete’s gone, so will that conflict be.

Feel free to disagree. In fact, I insist on hearing all opinions! What were your thoughts on the season finale? Please comment below.

10 Things The X-Files Taught Me

The X-Files is back and I just can’t keep calm about it! I’ve been watching since I was six years old, and have waited thirteen years for new episodes, but I know without doubt it will be worth the wait. This show and its characters have meant so much to me, and I know I’ll share the excitement with many other Philes when we see Mulder and Scully light up the dark places with their flashlights again on January 24. While we’re waiting, here are ten important things I learned from growing up watching The X-Files.

1. Don’t give up. Or the value of hope.

This is a theme on the show that runs from season one, all the way to the most recent movie, I Want To Believe, and I expect to see it in the new revival as well. No matter how much adversity Mulder and Scully face–and it’s a lot–ranging from loss of family members, kidnapping, threatening, disease, memory theft, near-death experiences, mind games, and Cigarette Smoking Man burning their life’s work to ash–they never, ever quit. Scully got close once, in the movie Fight the Future, when she had finally reached her limit of never having acquired any physical evidence to back up their claims. And her wavering almost made Mulder lose his faith too. But in the end of Fight the Future:

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And at the end of the series:

Scully: Why would I accept defeat? Why would I accept it, if you won’t? Mulder, you say that you’ve failed, but you only fail if you give up. And I know you – you can’t give up. It’s what I saw in you when we first met. It’s what made me follow you… why I’d do it all over again.

Mulder: And look what it’s gotten you.

Scully: And what has it gotten you? Not your sister. Nothing that you’ve set out for. But you won’t give up, even now. You’ve always said that you want to believe. But believe in what Mulder? If this is the truth that you’ve been looking for, then what is left to believe in?

Mulder: I want to believe that… the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us… as part of something greater than us – greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen, to what’s speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.

Scully: Then we believe the same thing.

Mulder: Maybe there’s hope.

And at the end of I want to Believe:

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Mulder and Scully will never give up. They don’t have it in them. I don’t want to have it in me either.

2. The importance of wanting.

X-Files-I-Want-To-Believe-Poster1“I want to believe” is so much more than just words on a poster. It’s a mantra–a way of life. What we want, if we want it badly enough, can become what’s real.

“I want to believe” means never accepting the futility of the quest. If Mulder loses his belief, his passion, he would give up. Those are the darkest points in the show–the moments where Mulder thinks he wants to believe too badly, and that he has believed lies, and that his willingness to believe has led to all the misfortune in his life. But Mulder is that guy who everyone thinks is crazy, and is completely right about the oncoming storm. There is a conspiracy, there are aliens, people are out to get him, and if he ever stopped believing that, we would all be doomed, because there would be no one left advocating for the human race.

Hope, drive, goals, something to live for, the idea that there must be something more than what we know–what’s the point of living without that feeling?

3. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

Mulder shows little to no interest in religion in the show. However, he does believe in the paranormal, in ghosts, in at least some type of afterlife. Scully, the skeptic scientist, was ironically raised to believe in God, and never takes off the gold cross she wears around her neck. She refuses to believe in anything paranormal without hard evidence, yet believes God is watching over her unquestioningly, and this has often helped her cope with the most difficult moments in her life. A few of those moments have even swayed Mulder to her way of thinking, especially in the last episode when he touches his thumb to Scully’s cross and then to her lips, and the two confess that they ultimately want to believe in the same things.

But one of the most interesting moments in the show comes at the end of “Redux II” in season 5. Desperately seeking a cure for Scully’s terminal cancer, they’ve tried everything from radiation therapy, to Cigarette Smoking Man’s magical computer chip placed under the skin of her neck. It is never revealed to the viewer what officially sends Scully’s cancer into remission, but what we do know for sure is that she doesn’t start getting better until she embraces her faith and starts praying for a miracle.

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“You’ll be in my prayers.”

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 When it comes to science and faith, you can hold them both sacred. And it doesn’t hurt to believe in something divine.

4. Small victories matter, and they’re sometimes the only ones we get.

Through all of Mulder and Scully’s hard work in Fight the Future (and if you want to know exactly how much hard work, you need to watch the movie because I can’t possibly list it all here) all they are ultimately able to do is get the X-Files reopened:

Conrad Strughold: Oh, you look hot and miserable. Why have you traveled all this way?

Cigarette Smoking Man: We have business to discuss.

Conrad Strughold: You have regular channels.

Cigarette Smoking Man: This involves Mulder.

Conrad Strughold: Ah, that name. Again and again.

Cigarette Smoking Man: He’s seen more than he should.

Conrad Strughold: What has he seen? Of the whole, he has seen but pieces.

Cigarette Smoking Man: He’s determined now, reinvested.

Conrad Strughold: He’s but one man. One man alone cannot fight the future.

Cigarette Smoking Man: Yesterday, I received this.

[hands him a telegram]

Conrad Strughold: [reads it, then drops it with a worried look] Oh…

[we see that it reads: “X-Files reopened. Stop. Please advise. Stop”]

This doesn’t seem like much, after you’ve rooted for them throughout the entire movie, but a small victory can lead to a big one later. The X-Files being reopened will lead to Mulder and Scully continuing to fight the good fight, uncover more truths, and most importantly, keep their faith alive.

They may never be vindicated, but that doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t worth while. The universe is vast and we are so small. We can only control what we do. And Mulder and Scully stand up and fight the good fight every time, no matter how often they fail. Small victories matter, and they’re sometimes the only ones we get.

5. Teamwork: because no one gets there alone.

One year for Scully’s birthday, Mulder gives her an Apollo key chain, and Scully has a nice, long, tear-filled, two-part episode to ponder its meaning. At the end, while Mulder and Scully look at the stars, she says:

“I was thinking about this gift that you gave me for my birthday. You never got to tell me why you gave it to me or what it means. But I think I know. I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women–extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals. What can be imagined, can be achieved. You must dare to dream, but it is no substitute for perseverance and hard work. And teamwork, because no one gets there alone. And while we commemorate the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifices of those who make these achievements and dreams possible.”

Mulder jokes that he just thought it was a cool key chain, but it really is a symbol for the hard work they put in with each other and for each other, and an expression of his gratitude that she is in his life.

In Fight the Future, Mulder tells Scully:

“I don’t know if I wanna do this alone. I don’t even know if I can.”

Mulder and Scully only trust each other, and can only count on each other. All you need is one person. But you at least need one. If you try to go it alone, you will eventually perish under the weight of the solitary journey. But with a good friend shouldering half the burden, anything is possible.

6. Friendship is just as important as romantic love.

Chris Carter kept us waiting for seven long years for the obvious love between Mulder and Scully to come through officially on screen. But even if they’d never had a physically romantic relationship, what they had–each other’s company–would have been enough.

Having someone to depend on, lean on, who is always there for you, makes all the other tragedy in their lives worth it.

7. What true love is.

Mulder and Scully’s relationship did finally evolve into a romantic one, and I think it’s the truest love I have ever seen on television or elsewhere. In the beginning, all their affection was shown through concern for one another, worry, jealousy, a hand-hold, a touch, a hug, a meaningful look, a poignant moment. There was zero kissing for seven years, but it was obvious there was love between them. As Chris Carter says, Mulder loves Scully, and Scully loves Mulder.

When Scully informs Mulder she has cancer in season 4, Mulder is forced to confront his feelings for his partner. He can’t live without her. Later, as Scully lies dying of cancer in her hospital bed, Mulder all but falls apart. He realizes how close he is to losing her, and cries at her bedside while she sleeps, holding her hand.

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The tables are turned in season 7 when Mulder is the one in danger. After a horrifying ordeal with CSM tampering with his brain, and imagining living an entire other life of creature comforts without his quest, in which aliens end up destroying the earth, Scully saves Mulder in more ways than one. She physically gets him out of the operating room, but in his hallucination, she snaps him out of his metaphorical slumber demanding he “get up and fight the fight.” When he recovers he tells her: “The end of my world was unrecognizable and upside down. There was one thing that remained the same. You… were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant… my touchstone.”

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Scully sacrifices a prominent career in medicine, her sister, and her health to follow Mulder on his quest. Mulder goes on an epic, dangerous journey multiple times to cure Scully’s inoperable brain cancer, and save her from alien experiments. He literally goes to the ends of the Earth for her in Fight the Future when he rescues her from Antarcica. Mulder and Scully are there for each other in the good times and bad, can always count on the other, and always feel safe, comforted, and loved in the other’s company. That is true love.

8. The underrated value of truth.

It’s rare in this life that we ever actually know what’s true. Greed rules, lies reign, dishonesty often prevails. Even if Mulder and Scully never made the truth known to the world (yet*) To have it just for themselves, to know it, is something they never stop searching for. At times, it may not seem important, but why should we just accept whatever we’re fed? Why not try to uncover it? When you really think about it, it starts to eat away at you, like it does Mulder.

Agent Monica Reyes (In defense of Mulder): “What is the point of all of this? To destroy a man who seeks the truth or to destroy the truth so no man can seek it?”

Fox Mulder: “I’d like to congratulate you. On succeeding where so many before you have failed. A bullet between the eyes would’ve been preferable to this charade. I’ve learned to pretend over the past 9 years. Pretend that my victories mattered only to realize that no one was keeping score’. To realize that liars do not fear the truth if there are enough liars. That the devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil is a collaboration of men which is what we have here today. If I am a guilty man, my crime is in daring to believe, that the truth will out and that no one lie can live forever. I believe it still. Much as you try to bury it, the truth is out there. Greater than your lies the truth wants to be known. You will know it. It’ll come to you, as it’s come to me, faster than the speed of light. You may believe yourselves rid of your headache now, and maybe you are, but you’ve only done it by cutting off your own heads.”

The truth wants to be known. And it deserves to, for the vindication of those seeking it everywhere.

 9. Self Confidence.

Don’t care what anyone thinks of you. Mulder certainly doesn’t:

“I’m the key figure in an ongoing government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It’s a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet, so, of course, no one believes me. I’m an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it’s gonna be the shit-storm of all time.”

This show teaches you to be confident in yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter if the whole world thinks you’re crazy. Be you, believe what you believe in, and one day,  even if it takes decades, you will prove everyone wrong. And even if not, you lived your life in a way that was true to you, and that’s enough.

Furthermore, you never have to compromise who you are. See my previous post on Dana Scully: https://alyssawaugh.com/2015/03/24/kick-ass-women-of-scifi-fantasy-dana-scully/

10. Do what’s right.

This is something every character on the show struggles with.  For some, like Skinner, the decision is made more difficult by threats and precarious situations. Krycek can never decide what side he’s really on, but in the end, is usually just out for himself. Even Kersh has a moral epiphany in the series finale, and saves Mulder, doing “what he should have done a long time ago.” Mulder and Scully, will fight to do it every time, no matter the cost. That cost is usually the highest–the loss of family members, health, respectability, your life’s work, your sanity. But they never give up. They keep at it because they believe in what they do, and that bringing about justice is always right.

Even if you become an annoyance to your superiors and a joke to your peers, stand up for what you believe in, like Mulder does. The world will always need people like Mulder. Mulder not only stands up for the little guy, but represents him. This is why I love the Max storyline. Even though it’s short, Max is one of my favorite characters. Max’s story ends tragically, but that’s why we need Mulder to live on–so that Max and others like him will never be forgotten. Mulder is the only one who believes their stories, or cares about their plight. Mulder represents the Maxes of the world: The losers, the nerds, the geeks, the weirdos, the uncool, unpretty, and unbelieved–people who are never heard, people who when heard are called crazy, those beaten down by life at every turn, losing friends, family, and respectability, while acquiring diseases and alien tortures. Max is that weird guy, with the glasses and crazy hair that everyone always made fun of, only to die a horrible death without ever being vindicated. We need Mulder and Scully investigating that death, making sure it wasn’t for nothing, or at the very least, that the one thing Max has at the end, is that someone knows the truth. Mulder is the voice of the voiceless.

I want to shed new light on Scully’s quote from earlier:

“And while we commemorate the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifices of those who make these achievements and dreams possible.”

We can not forget the Maxes. If we do, nothing in our own journeys will be meaningful or right.

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Mulder keeps Max’s hat on the coat rack in the X-Files office as a constant reminder to keep fighting for the truth.


These were just 10 of so many poignant moments on the show. There are so many valuable truths to be discovered in the writing of The X-Files, and I discover more each time I delve back in.  What are some things you learned from the show? Share your favorite moments below. Until the revival episodes air, I’ll miss it so.

Can you believe it’s been over 20 years?

X-Philes–We never stop believing 🙂

Kick-Ass Women of SciFi & Fantasy: Dana Scully

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“Baby’ me, and you’ll be peeing through a catheter.”

Dana Scully….

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She was on The X-Files in 1993, and as one fan says:

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If you don’t understand what we mean by most women on T.V. today being portrayed as complete idiots, watch two seconds of any episode of Two and a Half Men. Go on, try to formulate an argument that women on Two and a Half Men are portrayed in any quasi realistic way.

indexBut as it always has, the science fiction genre shows women in strong and intelligent roles. On the cult SciFi classic The X-Files which aired in 1993, Dana Scully became an inspiration for strong women everywhere.

Despite her small stature, rest assured that Dana Scully can kick ass. She’s handy with a microscope as well as a gun, physically fit, can take down a man twice her size, and has on multiple occasions. Remember when she beat the bajesus out of Donnie Pfaster, destroying her apartment in the process? Man, did that guy have it coming. In addition, Scully is mentally and emotionally strong, not only holding her head high through her sister’s murder but always demanding answers, even if she had to find them herself. The characters on this show go through a lot–A LOT–of emotional destruction, and Scully is strong through it all, even giving Mulder a shoulder to cry on when he breaks down over his mother’s death.

Dana Scully is a medical doctor, forensic scientist, and an FBI agent, making it all look easy in a “man’s world.” She gave up a promising career in medicine to the disappointment of her father, because she’s a strong, confident woman who does what she wants, and doesn’t live her life to please others. Scully thought she could make a difference at the FBI. And she has.

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Scully totally legitimizes Mulder’s division, the X-Files, which is often subject to ridicule due to the paranormal nature of the cases he investigates. Let’s be honest. Mulder is such a nutbar when we first meet him that he was going nowhere fast. Dana Scully humanizes him and evens him out, providing a logical counterbalance to his crazy.

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Chris Carter has said that when he created the show, women were still generally thought of as emotional, artistic, right-brained characters. He wanted to do a role reversal in making Mulder the emotional one, and Scully the scientist. The result? Dana Scully’s character has inspired hundreds of little girls to go into STEM majors, particularly the sciences. Scully made it not only normal for a woman to go into this kind of work, but cool. It’s what’s known as The Scully Effect–the noticeable uptick of women in STEM majors since 1993. Gillian Anderson still receives letters from girls she inspired with her character, and we owe her for bringing Scully to life, because she’s the absolute perfect actress for the job.

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Chris Carter has also said that the role of Scully was meant to be played by a tall, blonde, voluptuous vixen.  Don’t forget this was the era of Baywatch, and Pamela Anderson was the epitome of what was considered sexy. You might be thinking that today “geek chic” is all the rage with shows like CSI, NCIS, Bones, and Fringe. Well let me tell you, that’s only because The X-Files took a risk by going in a completely different direction. In walks Gillian for her audition at 5’3 with red, unruly hair, freckles, and a healthy body weight that would make most models want to throw up their 3 daily calories. Luckily for us, her chemistry with David Duchovny was phenomenal and she was cast in the part. I’m so glad it was Gillian above anyone else, and here’s why:

Gillian Anderson, of course, is gorgeous. But she wasn’t the “ideal woman” people wanted to see on T.V. She was short, un-anorexic, hadn’t yanked out all her eyebrow hair, and since it was the 90s, dressed in baggy clothes with enormous shoulder pads, and wore short heeled shoes, doing nothing to elongate her short stature. She was beautiful, but she was REAL, not some plastic, airbrushed, complex-inducing swimsuit model. Scully looked like a woman you might actually see working at the FBI. She was real, and she was gorgeous anyway. Dana Scully never compromised a damn thing about herself or her appearance.

To illustrate this point, Scully falls in love with Mulder, and watches for seven years as past flames, and a few new ones, come in and out of his life. These women are always beautiful, tall, and thin, and sometimes wearing short shorts (Bambi), or undressing in his apartment for no apparent reason (Diana Fowley). Scully never changes her appearance or her clothes to get Mulder’s attention. She never wears a shorter skirt, or unbuttons her blouse. Her outfits become more modern as the seasons progress, but that’s more the styles of the time changing than her character. She is a complete professional, never allowing Mulder to see her out of full FBI attire (I think we see her in jeans a total of once, while she’s on vacation) and always closes her bathrobe tightly before answering the door in her pajamas. Scully is what’s known as a lady–something that’s becoming out dated, and old-fashioned.

But guess what. She get’s Mulder anyway! And she doesn’t have to compromise one iota of her integrity to do it.  He falls in love with her without the short shorts, or overt sexual advances. Scully did it with brains, wit, grace, strength, personality, and often by showcasing her unadulterated honesty in telling him the truth. Scully doesn’t try to be anything other than what she is (she has rather more important things to do, like discover the origins of an ancient alien virus) and gets exactly what she wants because of it, whether it be a job, answers to a case, or a relationship.

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Earlier this week concerning a post on strong female television characters,  I read a lot of comments complaining that we are just looking at actresses, and that actresses are nothing special–not like strong women in real life. I disagree. Little girls watch T.V. and see that it’s not only men in exciting professions, and that it’s not only normal, but cool to speak your mind, be authoritative, strong and go on adventures. Fictional characters can inspire real greatness, just like Uhura inspired a young Whoopi Goldberg, and just like Dana Scully inspired thousands of girls to go into science majors. Words matter, and so do fictional characters. They can make a difference. If I may borrow a magnificent quote from Albus Dumbledore: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

Remember our discussion on Uhura, and if any little girls out there were paying attention? They were. They still are. I was a nerd in school, in both Science and English. I still am a nerd. I’m short, and certainly don’t have the face of a model– something the mean people in my school never failed to call attention to. I’ve had friends say “you seem like the kind of girl I’d have hated in high school because you’re blonde and skinny,” (It doesn’t matter. Mean people can, and will, find something wrong with you) and “I always just assumed you were popular in high school because you’re always so confident.” Part of the reason I’m confident today is because when I was growing up, Dana Scully made me feel cool even though I was a smart “nerd,” beautiful even though I was short and imperfect, tough even though I was a small girl, and strong especially when it was most difficult to be. For still inspiring girls all over the world to this day, including myself, Dana Scully is and always will be a kick-ass woman of SciFi.

Needless to say, The X-Files was my absolute favorite show growing up, and still is. We X-Philes have been waiting with bated breath for the return of Dana Scully in the show’s revival later this year. Perhaps it’s fate that the week I decided to write about Scully, Fox confirmed six new episodes! I’m moving my post up, in conjunction with this most joyous event!  I can’t wait to see this kick-ass woman back on T.V.!

Kick-Ass Women of SciFi & Fantasy: Rose Tyler

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“You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You have the guts to do what’s right, even when everyone else just runs away.”

Let me ask you something: does that look like the face of someone you want to mess with? I didn’t think so. Don’t let the fact that she’s a pretty, 100 pound, blonde girl lull you into thinking she won’t kick your ass if you mess with the people or the planet she loves. If you piss her off, you better run for your life, because this girl is capable of carrying twice her body weight in guns:

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For this week’s kick-ass woman of SciFi,  I give you the big Bad Wolf herself, Doctor Who’s Rose Tyler, Defender of the Earth.

Rose Tyler is strong and brave, throwing herself into any new situation with guts and zeal, like the first time she entered the T.A.R.D.I.S., dropping everything to travel to other eras–other planets–with The Doctor in exploration of time and space, despite the inherent dangers in such an adventure.

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Rose running into the T.A.R.D.I.S. with speed and a smile

Rose Tyler is resilient. She doesn’t have it in her to give up. Ever. Even in “Doomsday,” when The Doctor said she could never see him again because they existed in two separate universes that couldn’t be crossed, she sought him out when the universes converged again in “Journey’s End,” at least getting to say a proper goodbye to The Doctor before the final, tragic separation. By proper goodbye, I mean one that doesn’t end like this:

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The words you may have noticed missing there, before he disappears, are “I love you.” Yeah. As per usual, for a freaking Time Lord, The Doctor has just awful timing and leaves us all in tears. Speaking of which, if you’d like to cry today, click below.

In addition to her resilience, especially in this moment, Rose is brave and fiercely loyal. Even though she knows she’ll lose her family–everyone and everything she knows and cares about–to an alternate universe forever, she is firm and sure in her choice to stand by The Doctor’s side in defense of Earth. Rose knows what she wants, and no one, not even The Doctor, is going to tell her otherwise.

I made my choice a long time ago, and I’m never gonna leave you.

Can we just talk about this quote for a minute? Think for just a moment how dedicated to someone you would have to be, how strong you would have to be, to accept that you will never see your own mother again, that you might very well die if you stay, but still to say with conviction “You are not sending me off to safety. I am going to stay right here with you, and we are going to save the world damn it!” Like I said before, Rose basically has two settings:

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 adorable        and      I will destroy you.

Doctor Who hints at the fact that Rose isn’t book smart, didn’t like high school, and at 19-years-old, is working in a shop instead of attending college. However, she possesses an intelligence about people and situations that can’t be measured in report cards or tests, often seeing key patterns in mysteries that The Doctor himself overlooks. What’s more impressive, is she keeps the strength to go on saving the world even after she loses him. That’s introspective intelligence. Rose is confident in and sure of herself. She derives self-worth not from the opinions of people around her, and not from the men in her life, but from her opinions of herself.  Rose loves who she is. You go, girl.

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This means she has to get over this emotionally devastating, tragic separation, (metaphoric for a breakup). Even though you can see the hurt clearly dripping down her face, Rose picks herself up, and realizes that life still matters even after she’s lost her romantic partner–a strong and admirable trait I can’t stress enough for young women to emulate when going through a breakup. There’s more to life. You are more than what a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse makes you.

But my absolute favorite aspect of Rose Tyler: she is the Bad Wolf. The part of the show I’m referring to here, is the story arc in which Rose and The Doctor keep seeing the words “Bad Wolf” wherever and whenever they go. They don’t know what the words mean, and neither does the audience, until in “The Parting of the Ways,” when faced with certain death, The Doctor tricks Rose into safety by sending her home in the T.A.R.D.I.S. to protect her while dying himself at the hands (er, robotic plunger arm things) of the Daleks. Rose would never willingly leave him, especially in times of crisis, so she kicks and screams the whole way home, then immediately starts working on a way to get back to him. That’s my girl!

Knowing what she is about to do is dangerous, and unpredictable, she looks into the heart of the T.A.R.D.I.S. as a last resort. The T.A.R.D.I.S. gives Rose all the knowledge of time and space–all The Doctor has and more, so that she can operate the ship and find her way back to him. When she arrives, she is no longer “just” Rose Tyler, but the Bad Wolf. She emerges from the T.A.R.D.I.S., to The Doctor’s shock and awe, as a glowing, powerful goddess, finally revealing the mystery of the words saying: “I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words; I scatter them in time and space. A message to lead myself here.”

 As the Bad Wolf, Rose stands up to an entire Dalek army poised to exterminate everyone on Earth and says:

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Hell yeah! She saves the Doctor and the Earth, though she herself is dying from far too much knowledge of the universe burning her brain. The Doctor saves her with a kiss, taking her pain into himself which would cause him to die, and regenerate. I love the way they sacrifice for one another 🙂

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“I think you need a doctor.”

But the best part of Bad Wolf, is what’s not explicitly said in the episode. To me, Bad Wolf means that a girl–just a regular, small, young, girl who isn’t brilliant or rich, and who otherwise wouldn’t stand out in the world–is anything but “just” a girl. Bad Wolf means “I am the big bad wolf. Not a little girl in a cape. Not a victim. I have the power to decide who I want to be (I create myself) and I have the power to shape my destiny” (a message to lead myself here).

The other really cool thing about Bad Wolf is and always has been a theme of the show: that words are more important and more powerful than any physical weapon. How does Rose save The Doctor and the world? Ultimately, by writing two words all over time and space: Bad Wolf.

Finally, at the long list of her awesome qualities, Rose is inspiring. Let’s not forget this wonderful little tidbit:

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Long after Rose is gone, her spirit, her resilience, her loyalty, love, and courage will be inspiring The Doctor to go on and stand up in the face of danger and do what’s right. He knows how strong, and how courageous and capable she is, as evidenced in this dialogue from “The Satan Pit:”

“If I destroy this planet I destroy the gravity field. The rocket. The rocket loses protection, falls into the black hole. I’ll have to sacrifice Rose. {the Beast laughs.} Except that implies—in this big grand scheme of Gods and Devils—that she’s just a victim. But I’ve seen a lot of this Universe. I’ve seen fake gods and bad gods and demigods and would-be gods. And out of all that, out of that whole pantheon, if I believe in one thing—just one thing—I believe in her.” {he breaks the vase.}

The Doctor knows that Rose can take care of herself, and she does save herself. He never has to worry about protecting a damsel in distress. Rose is the hero of her own story.

In “The Shakespeare Code” he professes his faith in her again:

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A witch tries to hurt the broken-hearted Doctor with the name “Rose”

For her bravery, resilience, loyalty, confidence, and ability to inspire, Rose Tyler will forever be a Kick-Ass Woman of SciFi.

What are your favorite Rose Tyler moments? Please leave a comment below 🙂

What is Alexandria? 8 Questions Raised on The Walking Dead “Forget”

1. What is Alexandria?

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Could it truly be the utopia it seems? Nothing ever is on this show, and theme of this season is “no sanctuary.” But I have to hand it to the writers because these people seem simultaneously both suspicious and not. At first I thought the season would culminate in a fight between Deanna’s group and Rick’s, but now I predict they might team up against an outside threat. Deanna had mentioned exiling people.Which leads me to question two:

2. Are there are hostiles outside the wall?

There’s a shed not too far away and Rick’s clandestine coffee-cup-gun has mysteriously vanished. What were these people exiled for? And does that mean Rick and Co better play ball so they’re not next? And three:

3. Could that have something to do with the Ws branded into the walkers’ heads?

After all, someone is branding them. Why? As a threat? A warning? A foreshadowing of what’s to come? “How dare you exile us; we’ll have our revenge,” etc. And if that’s how are these people weak enough and naive enough to believe that they don’t need that watchtower manned 24/7?

4. If a fight does erupt between the two groups living inside Alexandria, will it be Rick’s group who preemptively initiates it?

Carol may have already with her chilling threat to Jessie’s son. Are our guys transforming into the bad guys, like the governor? Have they finally suffered so much, that they have become what they hate?

5. Can we trust Jessie?

It seems convenient that this group has been “watching” (stalking) Rick’s group, knowing he has two children and has long been without someone to love, and then he immediately has a moment with this attractive blonde with three boys of her own. Is that how they all become The Brady Bunch of The Walking Dead? I’m afraid it’ll be more sinister than that. They seem to be dangling in front of Rick his greatest temptation, and even Jessie’s husband seems intent on getting the two together. What do they need Rick for, really? I don’t think it’s as simple as protection. Maybe procreation?

6. Who is Deanna?

Do we trust her? I’m still with Rick back when he didn’t want to follow Aaron to the community: Trust no one! She’s a politician, and definitely concealing something. Maybe they really are a perfect community, but maybe they’ve made a deal with the devil to keep it that way.

7. What’s with the applesauce?

At first I thought Aaron was absolutely trying to poison Judith. I mean when someone says, “Taste this if it isn’t poison,” you don’t go into a traumatic story about your childhood that made you dislike the taste of applesauce, you eat the damn applesauce so that Rick doesn’t kill you. Maybe it wasn’t poison, but something else seemed to be going on. Aaron is difficult to read. And then they used applesauce again at the dinner party. What’s in that stuff?

8. What is Enid’s deal?

What are they using her for? And why does she really leave the wall? I think there’s infinitely more depth to her character to be discovered.

For once, I’m glad I haven’t read the books before seeing the movie, or in this case show. I’m truly stumped, intrigued, and hanging on the edge of my seat with this new storyline. I don’t want to know what Alexandria is in the graphic novels, I only want to speculate on what it might be. This is what makes watching the show so fun.  Feel free to discuss these questions below, and add some of your own, but please keep it spoiler free 🙂 I also ask that you comment here, not under the Facebook post, so that everyone can participate in the conversation.

A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

May he explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. 

It’s a rare thing to have fans born in every decade from the 1960s to 2015, and to know with confidence that there will be fans of your work long after that–to have the entire world, people of all ages, saddened by your passing. I always find it interesting to find other people in their twenties, like myself, who are big fans of Star Trek and Spock. I got into the show because my mom and aunts were big fans when they were kids, so I’ve been watching it for as long as I can remember. I recall liking Spock more than Kirk because he was so different from any other character on T.V. Spock is truly unique, and lovably human despite his logical nature. Or perhaps because of it. Indeed, he perfectly complimented and counterbalanced Kirk’s emotions. A friend of mine and another relatively young fan described his initial reaction to the show: 

Spock was a character that grew on me. At first his dry logic was boring, but after a few watches I enjoyed the juxtaposition of his logic with the emotion driven actions of his counterparts. My favorite part of his character was his ability to look from the outside in at the human condition. Giving the writers the unique ability to display, otherwise taboo social, political, and economic subjects in an approachable way. Which is, of course, one of the great things about the show, movies, and enduring legacy spawned by the original cast and creators.

Nimoy is a cultural icon, recognizable as Spock even by people who have never seen an episode of Star Trek, who often appeared on admittedly nerdy shows like Futurama

and The Big Bang Theory

and in Canada where they are actually “Spocking” five dollar bills. 

Spock’s  iconic hand gesture is known as a symbol of good will and is universally recognizable. 

Yet, as someone who read his books, I can say that while Spock traveled the universe exploring strange new worlds, Nimoy was as down to Earth as they come. 

When I read his words it doesn’t feel like a celebrity is speaking to me, forcing his wisdom upon the masses. I read his insight, and feel like I can take it or leave it. But why wouldn’t you take it? I read his words and feel, here is a man who was wise enough to understand true happiness in life. It wasn’t money, fame, fans, or being an icon, though for him that was all part of it, but not the most important part. So what attitude, according to Nimoy, is the key to true happiness in this life? See if you can figure it out: 


Spock will be remembered as a beloved character. Nimoy will be remembered as a kind and loving human being. To all of his fans reading this right now, please keep his ideal of selflessness alive, and may you live long and prosper.

Eight Shows Every Story Lover Should Be Watching

As part of the campaign to replace reality shows with more stories that we as humans so desperately need, I’m constantly on the lookout for the most well-written and best told stories on the air. From veteran programs in their tenth season, to struggling new fledglings, these are the eight best T.V. shows that story lovers should be watching.

1. The Walking Dead

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“We are the walking dead.” This quote from main character Rick Grimes in a recent episode of the show’s fifth season pretty much says it all. When watching the early episodes, the title seems obviously attributed to the zombies that have destroyed civilized society—“walkers” or “roamers” as they’re known in the show and comics. The group of survivors the series follows, greatly diminished in numbers since they began their journey, has been through so much, and has been so beaten down, that they have all but lost hope in anything beyond their horrid mere existence. They have become the walking dead, trudging along sun-soaked highways with no food or water, depleted ammo, walkers on their trail, and the haunting memories of loved ones lost, and far worse dangers than walkers. You’d like to think that if the apocalypse really did come, the last remaining humans would band together and help one another survive. The Walking Dead gives us a more realistic and much sadder portrayal of human nature. As Rick says, “People measure you by what they can take from you, by how they can use you to live.” If you think the show is too far along for you to catch up, I’m telling you, the time to start watching is now. The group just found a supposed safe haven, but they’ve been burned before, and fans know by now to trust no one. The latest episode left me craving more, and the season finale in a few short episodes will be one not to be missed. The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9pm on AMC.

2. Gotham

What’s that you say? You’ve had your fill of Batman from the Nolan trilogy and the New 52? Don’t have room in your life for a sub-par T.V. show where Bruce Wayne is just a kid? Wrong. You are so wrong. Yes, that’s what I said at first too. But then I actually watched an episode. This is a dark, and truly disturbing take on the inhabitants of Gotham while they’re still young and haven’t yet evolved into the super villains or heroes we are familiar with. It features a young Bruce, whose parents die in episode one, Alfred, Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon and the GCPD crew, as well as a host of young villains-to-be including Selina Kyle, Oswald Cobblepot, and Edward Nygma who fans will recognize as Catwoman, The Penguin, and The Riddler. We’ve even met a young Joker, and while I’m always a little biased toward Heath Ledger, I have to say: where do they keep getting these awesomely insane, creepy actors to play the joker? But the one who really steals the show is Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney. I can’t even satisfactorily describe her character’s storyline right now; you have to see it to believe it. And if you’re worried the dark and disturbing factor won’t be on par with what we’ve seen from Christopher Nolan or the New 52, stop worrying. Gotham airs on Fox, Mondays at 8pm.

3. Better Call Saul

If you are hesitant to watch this because a spinoff of Breaking Bad could never live up to that show’s genius, then let me just remind you of one critical factor: Vince Gilligan. I’ve got enough evidence by now to know that I’ll watch anything this guy is involved with and like it. He’s just a brilliant writer and storyteller. Anything he has a hand in is going to be stellar. The way he develops his characters, examining them through a moral lens, is unique on television. I’d never before seen a character transformation like Walter White’s, and Saul’s, while different, is just as fascinating. This show follows beaten-down lawyer Jimmy McGill on his descent into dishonesty. Sure, he’s not a saint to begin with, but he does struggle to do the right thing. The audience is already seeing a common Gilliganian© theme: you can be good and suffer, or do one bad thing and live a little easier. The problem is, that easily justified one, small, bad thing inevitably snowballs down a dark path there’s no coming back from. Saul’s journey down this road is packed with humor, suspense, and drama. Don’t miss it. Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10pm on AMC.

4. The Flash

What a glorious time we live in when there’s a comic book adaptation on various networks almost every day of the week. If the disturbing terror and corruption of Gotham isn’t your cup of tea, you might enjoy the delightfully cheesy antics of The Flash. The show, despite having its sad moments, is more upbeat, colorful, and pleasant. Besides the awesome visual effects of Flash speeding around the city in a blur, saving the day, there are really engaging stories being told that are ripped from the comics and expanded. Even more interesting are the character dynamics. The cast of characters is a numerous and complex one. Each character is well developed, has their own agenda, and has different complex relationships with some characters than others. On The Flash you’ll get a moderated dose of unrequited love, romance, action, and mystery. Check it out. The Flash airs on the CW on Tuesdays at 8pm. It’s on break now, which gives you a chance to catch up, and will return March 17th.

5. Criminal Minds

This one has been on awhile, and I’ve been a fan since almost the beginning. When new, it was described as another procedural crime drama, albeit a good procedural, but so what? Here’s what sets it apart: this show has a fandom as strong as any superhero or comic book one. The characters are all memorable and lovable individuals, and work together as a team for justice. They are heroes, sacrificing their time, personal happiness, and often safety, to bring home lost children and save innocent lives from nightmares no one should ever have to live through. In fact, they are so heroic that team leader Aaron Hotchner’s son opts out of dressing like Spiderman for Halloween and instead:

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The stories are well-crafted, disturbing tales guaranteed to make you think, and keep you on the edge of your seat rooting for the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) to catch the real monsters of the world. This show is currently in its tenth season, and by now the reluctant viewer should be saying “Okay, I’ll watch it. It’s been on for ten years. Maybe it’s good.” Criminal Minds airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.

6. 12 Monkeys

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This latest SyFy endeavor is a remake of the 1995 movie starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, and is so much better than I expected it to be. Cole comes from an apocalyptic world where a man-made virus has eradicated nearly all life on Earth. He travels back in time (“splinters”) to enlist the help of Dr. Cassandra Railly to find the source of the virus and stop it before it can be unleashed on humanity. Of course, the implications of this are already huge. If Cole is successful, won’t he disappear or at least create a different version of himself? But if you were living in Cole’s time, 2043, you would take the risk to change it too. Cole and Cassie trace the virus to a creepy conspiracy known as the Army of the 12 Monkeys, but are so far (early in season one) no closer to changing the future, though the latest episode left me hanging and biting my nails on that front. What I love most about this show is it not only attempts to preserve human life, but human art and history. What is the point of survival, if that’s all we have? You can watch 12 Monkeys on SyFy, Fridays at 9pm.

7. Agent Carter

While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left me underwhelmed, its Agent Carter is the antithesis. Not only do I love a female hero in a lead role independent of Captain America to carry her, and with no super powers to speak of other than physical strength, brains, and wit, but the stories are action packed and suspenseful. I suggest going to ABC.com to watch 10 must see moments from the season finale, and then hope it gets renewed.

8. Constantine

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This show is currently floating in the limbo between cancellation and renewal, the decision being made in May. To lose this show would be a travesty, and I urge you to watch the first 13 episodes online, and if you like it, to show your support using #saveconstantine. The possibility of cancellation stems more from a poor timeslot on Friday nights when its main demographic is out of the house, and less from lack of interest in the show which already has a devoted cult following including over 2 million followers on Facebook. Constantine is based on a DC comic about a smoking, drinking “antihero” exorcist trying to save his own soul from a haunting mistake in his past, and it’s one of the coolest, creepiest shows I’ve seen on T.V. since The X-Files. It’s smart, sexy, story-driven, character-driven, dark, engaging and most importantly, different from anything else on T.V. right now. If these writers are given a chance to hit their stride, this show could be big. As part of the enthusiastic fan response to save the show, they’ve been writing professional messages to NBC and signing petitions. If you do watch the show, and like it, you can join the movement here: Remember, a vote for Constantine is a vote for less reality and more stories.

Writing and the Art of Anticipation

“The thrill is in the chase, never the capture.” – Doctor Who, “The Unicorn and The Wasp”

I cannot stress enough the joy that exists in wanting. My favorite writers share the idea that romance is less about kissing and having sex, and more about the anticipation of a kiss, and building sexual tension. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, this can go on for years. Chris Carter was able to stretch the relationship between Mulder and Scully on The X-Files for seven, right up until David Duchovny’s departure from the show. In other words, he kept us waiting until the last possible moment, and if viewers weren’t grateful, they should have been. Good writers know there’s an art in giving characters space to miss each other, time to want each other, and the magic of the tease.

Yet when I recite the quote above to my writing workshop full of high school girls, one of whom just read me a first-kiss scene that she is particularly proud of, I am met with skeptical stares. “No kissing in the first book of a series,” I’ll say, “and if it’s a standalone story, absolutely no kissing until the end.” It’s easier said than done, and even I’ve been tempted to write that sensual, romantic first-kiss scene too early in my novel. To myself, my students, and writers everywhere, I urge you: Don’t do it! Build romantic suspense instead.

The X-Files did this so well, it is in fact, the best I’ve ever seen. All the affection had to be shown through the characters’ concern for one another. Chris Carter mastered the art of keeping from the audience what they thought they wanted, which was for the characters to get together and accomplish their goal. What audiences really want is to want the characters to get together. We wait seasons for them to kiss, but once they do, that anticipation dissipates and things get boring fast. You can never get that first kiss or the feeling of wanting it back. Afterwards, characters become a sort of mundane couple sickening us with their constant cloying cuteness. Think Jim and Pam on The Office. I remember reading a fan comment about four seasons into the show that said: “For once in a show I just want the characters to get together and be happy. Is that so much to ask?” No! Bad fan! And yes, it is a lot to ask for, because you are essentially asking the writers to terminate the anticipation you feel when tuning into their show every week. Will this be the episode they finally get together? Think about it. Did you enjoy the show more when Pam was an unattainable goal for Jim, or when they were happily married and working on baby number two? This question is rhetorical given that we’d already seen the latter storyline with baby number one. Pam gets pregnant because there is nothing left to do with their story. The best parts are over. Remember when Jim was in emotional agony because Pam was engaged to Roy? Remember feeling that pain with him? That was good stuff.

I know I’ve been talking T.V. shows here, but it applies to books as well. A book becomes a series when the first one hooks us, usually because our main character meets a new and intriguing person and they spend the length of that book chasing one another and a goal. By the time we reach book two or three, and the characters have already gotten together, most of their time is spent kissing and arguing over who’s prettier. Think Edward and Bella in Eclipse. However, if done correctly, we’ll still be waiting with bated breath for Katniss to choose Peeta or Gale, or to see what happens between star-crossed lovers June and Day in Marie Lu’s Legend series. Lu kept me waiting until the very last page, and I thanked her at the end.

But using T.V. as an example seemed appropriate since this Friday I found myself on the page of one of my favorite new shows, 12 Monkeys, discussing the relationship of the two main characters with another fan. In order for me to get to this stage in a relationship with a new series, several factors need to be in place. First, the concept has to hook me. In order to get me to the second episode (a rarity for me), it must be well written with well thought out story lines. But how do we reach the stage where I’m on the internet talking to other nerds about the show? Thirdly, and most importantly, there must be interesting characters that want something and make me want it for them. That’s anticipation.

We’ll keep tuning in for a stolen glance…a meaningful moment…a hand hold…a hug, that moment where their lips almost touch but some awesome story-related snafu interrupts it.

This fan and I shared concern that Cole and Cassie might kiss by the end of the first season. There were a few moments already that showed the characters growing closer, and it’s romantic to be sure. We love to see them dance, appreciate art, and be generally adorable despite the time-oriented plot device keeping them apart. I’m loving the development, but I do hope they keep that first kiss at bay. So far, the writers are doing a good job of emotionally attaching me to Cole and Cassie, making me want what they want, a difficult feat in so few episodes. I want Cole and Cassie to be happy together. I just hope the writers continue to keep from me what I want. Because that’s what I really want.

Perhaps, like the students taking my workshop, you’re reading this right now with eyebrows raised, thinking I’m off my nut. Don’t believe me? This theory is backed by science, which you can read more about in the Daily Mail, and upheld by writers long before me. After all, it was Robert Louis Stevenson who said, “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” My fellow story lovers, I wish you long and hopeful travels wrought with anticipation.

Jack and Carter of Stargate SG-1 separated by a forcesheild in the episode “Divide and Conquer.” They will never share a kiss in the series that is unaffected by an alternate universe, disease, or memory.