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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dark Characters You Just Can't Totally Hate

            No matter how many shows you watch or how many books you read there's usually always that one character that's so evil or just as bad as they come that you can never fully hate. Some villains even have cult followings among fans. People marvel why we would cheer for someone who's goal is to destroy but truthfully we don't want them to succeed they're just fun to cheer for and you can't deny these villains have style. 

I feel like the King of England. Yeah Richard III

     1. Niles Pottinger (James Murray), Defiance

            This guy is definitely number one because if you have a character that's a stalker and a rapist and I still kinda like him then he deserves the honor. As someone interested in psychology I see Niles Pottinger as a textbook stalker: a borderline personality who over values relationships and is obsessive. He's that number one fan that believes he has a connection with a celebrity he fancies. In New York he stalked his childhood boy crush, Connor Lang, and raped his fiancé Amanda essentially destroying her and Connor's relationship. Niles got close to Amanda emotionally bonding with her all the while he was the cause of most of her heartache. Yet there was that small part that was human about Pottinger.

The most charming sociopath in an ascot with a pistol

         Niles suffered abuse (implying sexual abuse) from Votan soldiers when he was a teenager. He also took pity on a bio-man that he was ordered to abandon but instead saved. Niles was loathe to sacrifice Churchill and you could see how broken he was at the Need/Want. Niles even recognized that he was a monster, offering to sacrifice himself so that Amanda had a chance to live. If he wanted her to kill him then he should have told her that he was the man who attacked her in New York. No this doesn't absolve him from his crimes but you still a small twinge of pity for him. 

This is not a joke! Gabriel is laughing and smiling!

     2. Archangel Gabriel (Carl Beukes), Dominion 

               Yes he's the enemy of all mankind and dropped a bomb of darkness on Vega but Gabriel used to be a pretty nice guy. When God first turned the lights on, Gabriel was full of compassion, hope, and kindness showing a great sympathy for humankind. He pleaded mercy for mankind on many occasions even stopping Michael from trying to wipe them out during the Flood (one of Michael's blood fueled rages). Yet Gabriel reached a point where he began to doubt the good in humanity. 

Poor Gabriel. Maybe another orgy will make him
feel better

           Losing a child can make anyone lose their faith. Except instead of losing faith in God, Gabriel began to lose faith in humanity starting to see their flaws more than their virtues. When young David died you could see a part of Gabriel died too. After thousands of years of watching humanity continue to trip and fall, the Archangel began to resent God's love for these flawed creatures. Once God left Gabriel just exploded. He became a bitter, angry child throwing a tantrum with daddy abandonment issues (see the pattern?). Gabriel believes that wiping out humankind will make Daddy happy and bring him home but that's a naive notion. But whatever helps this angel cope.  

I actually like the beard... 

    3. Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

            True he's a sociopath but when you think about what happened to him Ward's really a victim. Look at his back story you see that he had very low self esteem being the chubby middle child with a sadistic brother and absent often verbally and emotionally abusive parents. He was in desperate need of a father figure and John Garret unfortunately got to him first. After we learn that Ward was a Hydra sleeper agent we start to see a pattern of insecurity where he served bullies: 1.) for his older brother because he was scared and felt he had no choice; 2.) Ward felt gratitude for Garret and felt he had to pay him back with unflinching loyalty. So it begs the question in part 1 of season 2 where Ward tried to make up for his mistakes and burned bridges: did the team treat Ward too harshly in giving him back to his abuser?

Stone cold killer

           Coulson struck me as a guy who was willing to give people second chances. God knows Mike Peterson did some horrible things but we've also seen how Coulson reacted to May's betrayal. So I winced when Coulson gave Ward over to Christian. I actually didn't like Coulson in that moment. They're supposed to be the good guys. After that once Ward saw that he would never be forgiven he decided to stop seeking approval from anyone who showed him attention. He even developed a relationship with the emotionally and psychologically damaged Agent Cara trying to help her heal (albeit in a bloody way). Cara's death sent Ward spiraling and we see at the end of season 2 he starts to rebuild Hydra into his image. Now another question: Did Coulson create a bigger monster or was the beast sleeping inside Ward all along? If you get to a person early enough you can save them from their darkness but this time Coulson and SHIELD refused Ward's hand. Now Ward is obsessed with getting closure for Cara, himself, etc. 

The devil you know and kinda like

     4. Crowley (Mark Shepherd), Supernatural

             He's the devil you know; he can't be much worse than the other demons who are all about chaos and destruction. From the start you can see that Crowley is a business man, a bureaucrat, in my opinion a perfect devil who honors the contract (as long as you read every fine print on that contract before signing in blood so have your lawyer present). He believes in the status quo and I can't help but admire his methods in reaching the top. He went from low level employee to the king of hell. You can't help but love his charisma and hilarious one liners: "You're good but I'm Crowley."

Yeah his ass deserves that throne

              Definitely a black and white villain wouldn't you say? Complete with abandonment issues and not being loved by mommy. Yet there were a thousand times where Crowley could have killed Sam and Dean Winchester and didn't. Then Crowley got a dose of humanity getting back in touch with his sensitive side, heart growing a size or two, etc. We see that all Crowley wants is to be loved. After that we've seen Crowley's humanity with making up with his estranged son, Gavin (whom he abused) and when he was having a boys' weekend with Demon Dean. Crowley then reconnected with his mother. You could see the power struggle there. Crowley wanted mother's love and thought he finally got it because he was in a position of power. Then he realized that was all she cared about. So deciding to love himself (like he didn't already) and choose to make himself happy and not his ambitious, manipulative mother, Crowley regained some self esteem. 

A toast! Now who's the first course?

       5. Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan), The Vampire Diaries - The Originals

            From black and white villain to anti-hero, the literal daddy of all vampires (and issues with mommy and daddy) should be number one but as I said in paragraph one, making me kind of like a stalker is a great achievement  Yet Klaus is also very textbook villain material: abusive childhood, fear of abandonment which developed into rage and self entitlement of wanting to be the center of attention, and a desire to be wanted and loved yet acting out and hurting others to make himself feel superior and in control. Where he was once abused he became the abuser. Klaus made the lives of his siblings hell. Whenever they found happiness or love with someone else, Klaus felt threatened and destroyed that sibling's happiness. And he does it with witty, biting (sometimes literally) remarks adding insult to injury. Not feeling secure enough in the love of his blood relatives Klaus sought to build an army of hybrids like himself. But when something doesn't go Klaus's way he kills everyone that disappointed him. However despite all of Klaus's evils we can't help but see past that.

It must be Monday when you see Klaus's
bloody smile

             Klaus wasn't born evil. He used to be a kind, sensitive soul. His not-father Mikael was very brutal and his mother, Esther, was needless to say distant despite her oath of devotion. Klaus was a victim at birth because of his mother's infidelity with Ansel, a local werewolf, being born a werewolf then becoming a vampire and killing someone activating his curse. This only made Mikael even more abusive and Esther helped by suppressing Klaus's werewolf side. That was when Klaus had enough. He killed his mother for her final betrayal. However he kept her body in a coffin carrying it around with him wherever he went along with the bodies of his other siblings he saw fit to punish on occasion. Talk about being morbid and obsessed. Deep down all Klaus wants is to be loved and to feel secure in that love. Now that he's a father who wants to give his daughter the fatherly love that he was denied we feel more sympathy for him but he seems to follow that pattern of destroying the happiness of his loved ones to keep them close. That may not work in his favor as his daughter gets older. Klaus's deepest fear is ending up alone and his self destructive personality may just lead him to that.

         All villains follow a pattern of being abandoned, issues with parents, abusive childhoods, and have deep seeded insecurities. Deep down all these guys are just lonely and in need of a hug and I think that's why they have appeal to some fans. We all feel betrayed, abused, or even alone sometimes haunted by our inner demons but they also serve as perfect warnings or examples of what happens when we allow those demons to win. Behind the witty, sarcastic remarks and brutal behaviors, these guys are looking for love and acceptance and that's what we all look for.
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