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This Again?!

I’m not going to say, “Stop killing your queer characters,” because if we want to be treated equally on screen, character deaths happen. They’re part of television, movies, books, etc. I get that. What I will say, though, is two-fold.

  1. Stop pretending like it’s an original idea that you and only you just thought of.

  2. Stop doing it after they have one actual moment of happiness in their story, like you’re doing us a favor.

This isn’t news at this point, but we’ve had yet another queer character death *checks calendar* … in 2022.

How many times have we said recently, “Didn’t we fight this battle before?” We’re repeatedly having to debate things that we shouldn’t have to or things we’ve already debated and decided on years ago. And now, we’re still here, making one simple request of TV writers: stop burying your gays, specifically, your WLW characters.

I’m not really sure why it’s so hard to keep someone like Villanelle alive at the end. Did anyone who watched the show for years expect a perfect cookie-cutter ending for these two? No. But death? Unnecessary. Write better. And I say this as a writer.

It’s not that hard. If you wrote yourself into a hole, get out of it; we’ve all been there. But you don’t have to kill off a character like this to do it. Would it have been all that bad to end the show with the two of them in a cabin somewhere alone and have a letter show up magically, years later, threatening their lives or saying, “I know what you did last summer,” and their happiness is interrupted while they go hunt down whoever sent it? No, it wouldn’t have.

Could you have sent them on another mission together in a few months? Yup. There are thousands of other options, and no, death wasn’t the right one. It’s not even about serving a community that has been a devoted one to your show. It’s just lazy writing. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that writer’s room. Did someone actually say, “Let’s have Villanelle and Eve kiss. That’ll give them something. Then, we’ll have them shot, and The End, with blood dripping on the screen?” Did they get a cookie after and a pat on the back for having such a “great” idea?

You’re not being inventive. The imagery you created didn’t land. It can’t because you did it wrong... again. When you give us that happy moment between characters we’ve been rooting for and waiting on for years, we’re still there. We’re still in that moment. We’re cheering and happy that it finally happened, and our characters get to be happy… gunshots. Angel wings in blood… we’re not paying attention to. We’re watching the character get shot trying to get to the woman she loves. We’re watching that woman scream for the other. We aren’t paying attention to how cool you think it looks that the soon-to-be-dead character’s blood makes angel wings in the water. Read the fucking room.

People are dying in real life because they love who they love… in 2022. They’re being told we can’t say “gay” and are being asked to define what a woman is by cis-het men in suits who think a uterus is a requirement to be female. None of them even know what a hysterectomy is, let alone understand or care to understand the things they’re attempting to preach to get Twitter followers and get voted back into office.

Now, you’re saying that for Eve to be “re-born,” she has to watch the woman she loves die? Right after she finally accepts that she loves her and is ready to start her new life? She was already good to go, thanks. Well, as good to go as anyone on this show could be. So, no, you didn’t need to kill Villanelle. But if you really, really thought that was important to your narrative, you have them get together earlier. Literally, everyone knows this. Put them together at the beginning or middle of the season, give them some happiness for more than 2 minutes on screen. That way, when the gut punch comes later, it at least lands a little better.

Even the movie A Walk to Remember got this right. At the end of the movie, Landon comes to Jamie’s father and tries to give him Jamie’s book back. It’s been four years or so since Jamie’s death in the movie, but to us in the audience, it just happened. Originally, in the script, they’d planned to have Landon come back and tell Jamie’s father that he was getting married again. They decided NOT to do that because we’d just watched Jamie and Landon get married and heard that she died. How did the people behind movies understand that years ago, but none of these writers did?

So, let’s back up and talk about the comparisons that have been made. I watched Lexa die the night the episode aired. One day, maybe I’ll be able to write a blog post or something about how much that impacted me, but I’ll try to sum it up a little for now because I still can’t; I ramble every time I try because I can’t believe it happened. The one thing I’ll give The 100 is that Alycia was leaving the show and they had to write her off. That’s it. That’s all I’ll ever give them because they still messed it up. Lexa didn’t have to die to let Alycia go do Fear the Walking Dead. There were, once again, lots of options for Lexa’s character. Maybe not as many as with Killing Eve, since Killing Eve was ending and The 100 was mid-season and likely, going to be renewed. I’m also not going to accept that the writers of The 100 had their stories worked out for future seasons and Lexa had to die for them to happen. The stories weren’t great, guys. You would have been better off sticking around Earth and showing us two bad-ass female characters lead their people, because that, at least, is somewhat still original.

Clarke and Lexa finally, finally have one moment where they’re together. The acting, the cinematography, the lighting – everything in that scene was perfect to me. It wasn’t the sex; I didn’t need to see them have sex. None of us are over here going, “We have to see gratuitous sex for us to know they love each other.” But a decent sex scene between two women on network TV is always welcome when done right, because #visibility. They make love, and they’re smiling and talking after, and it’s great. For me, that’s the end of the show. Nothing else happens after unless I wrote it in my FanFiction stories because the writers probably said, “Okay. So, they finally do it, and then Titus tries to kill Clarke, but Lexa dies.” Lexa didn’t just die. She was taken from us. She was taken from Clarke when she arrived in that room to check on Clarke after hearing gunshots. In a way, Lexa died for Clarke. Don’t get me wrong; that death scene is also perfect. It just didn’t need to happen. Again, lazy writing. We deserved better. But I don’t just mean the community I keep referring to; I mean everyone who watched the show. It got worse after this moment. This was The 100 jumping the shark, in my opinion.

But we spoke up after that, didn’t we? Writers made pledges. We donated to causes. Conventions like ClexaCon were formed. We asked for the bare minimum: “Don’t bury your gays.” It’s in a writer’s best interest not to do this because it’s been done so many times before, it’s tired. But also, this community is one of, if not the most, devout with our fandoms. If you do us dirty, we’re gone. But if you take care of us with reasonable (just reasonable is all we’re really asking for) representation and storylines, we stick around long after the show is off the air. We show up at the conventions, buy your merch, and binge-watch on Netflix. We’ll follow the writers to their other shows (and actors, too, since it’s not usually their fault as they don’t write the shows they’re on).

No one here is saying, “You must do what we ask or what we want,” but you had the chance, as writers, to actually end the show well; to have awareness of what has been done before and not to do it again. Be better writers. Understand that the primary community that supports your show is probably this one. Listen to us because WE know what’s been done before. Have the awareness that, especially now, this community is hurting. We’re not asking for charity; pace the episodes better. Give them that happy moment earlier in the show. Don’t waste your opportunity to get it right when so rarely people do. Look at the shows people devote themselves to because of the non-lazy writing. I.e., Wynonna Earp is a fan-favorite that did right by its queer characters.

I just keep coming back to this… It’s really not that hard. Tara didn’t have to die on Buffy, but I understood that from a storyline perspective for Willow, becoming the big bad in season 6. Could they have revived Tara, after Willow turns evil, and had her be the one talking Willow off the literal cliff? Maybe. With Clarke and Lexa, could Clarke have gone back with the Sky People during the kill order and Lexa, aka Alycia, be mentioned off-screen until the end of the year when they brought her back for the finale episode anyway? Yes. Hell, I’ll even take the overly used miscommunication/fight trope TV uses so often over killing an amazing character like Lexa and losing the possible storylines we could have gotten with the two of them as a couple saving humanity. Could both Eve and Villanelle have lived? Yes. It’s just that simple. Yes, they could have. Did any of us expect them to have a house in the burbs with 2.5 kids and a dog, with Villanelle driving the kids to soccer practice? No, because that’s the stuff Eve DIDN’T want. She left the marriage and life she thought was boring, for Villanelle. Now, that’s breaking complex relationships down to one sentence, but it still applies. There was a chance to get it right; to have a brilliant finale. The twist was them ending up together. That was the assignment you didn’t understand.

So, I’ll go back to my original two points:

  1. Stop pretending like it’s an original idea that you just thought of.

  2. Stop doing it after they have one actual moment of happiness in their story.

It’s really not that hard.

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