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Monthly Archives: November 2013

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THEY ARE CHILDREN: Defending The Alpha Twins

This post contains SPOILERS!

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Everyone with any form of social media account has discovered that for some unknown reason MTV’s Teen Wolf has an EXTREMELY active fan following. In this past summer’s Season 3a (3b will be coming in January), the main ‘bad guys’ are a group called the Alpha Pack and a ‘dark druid’ called the Darach. In the Alpha Pack, there is a set of identical twin Alphas (who combine into a really freaky looking mega!wolf sometimes) named Aiden and Ethan.

In all my years as a fan of television shows that have dedicated fan presences online I have never come across a more vastly divided set of fan opinions than those around the twin Alphas. From sympathizers to haters there are so many opinions on Ethan and Aiden. However, recently I came across an anonymous tumblr ‘ask’ a friend replied to (that I won’t link in respect for her privacy) in which the anonymous person expressed their opinion that “The Murder Twins are pure evil and they should have killed them, not let them stick around.

I’ve been meaning to make a post like this for a while now, and this incident has given me a perfect opportunity to force myself to do so. As we know, here at Modern Minutia we have a soft spot for sympathetic villains. As such I feel like it’s about time someone argues the much less popular opinion that they deserve so much more sympathy than this person seems to think.

To start with, let’s look at their biggest ‘crimes’:

  • We meet them as they are trying to get Isaac and his mystery rescuer. (They later help fight her and their leader, Deucalion, kills her.)
  • They later attack Isaac and Scott and then frame Isaac for attacking them.
  • We find out that Ethan and Aiden got close to Danny and Lydia because their leader thinks they will need to kill one of them.
  • They attack most of the pack at some point.
  • Worst of all of these, the twins help kill Boyd.

(The one thing that fans seem to find the MOST unforgivable is their part in Boyd’s death. The most often used line is ‘Are we forgetting they KILLED BOYD?!’ really.)

Yes. They are part of a pack that does unspeakable things and commits horrible acts. There is no denying what the Alpha twins have to be held responsible for. I do agree with the less dramatic and angry fans who simply say that they would like to see them show remorse for what they have done (Though with this show’s seeming phobia to character development, I’m not holding my breath). However, to the fans who feel that they don’t deserve to be forgiven, and ESPECIALLY those who feel they deserve to die, allow me (with the help of a friend who helped me organize these arguments that has no real online presence so will remain anonymous) to outline all of the reasons they deserve sympathy.

Point #1: THEY ARE KIDS!

Apparently this escapes some people’s notice, but these are CHILDREN. Yes, there is the hint that they may not actually be the age they are pretending to be to fit in at the school, but they are clearly somewhere in the range of sixteen to twenty and even if they are legal adults, they’re still KIDS. Even if they are full out evil why would you want to see CHILDREN die?! Who is heartless enough they wish to see children die for their ‘sins’ instead of be given a chance to atone for them?

Point #2: They are ABUSED kids!

Ethan reveals to Scott and Stiles in “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” that they were from a pack of ‘monsters’ who were the type of werewolves that gave the reputation of mindless killing machines to all werewolves. They were the Omegas of that pack, meaning that they were beaten and abused by their brutal pack. They were only able to rise up and kill their abusers when Deucalion came to them and helped out. From this we can infer that, most likely, the twins either are orphans or their parents were part of the group abusing then. They have probably been abused and mistreated from a very young age. They faced so much daily and inescapable torment until Deucalion came and saved them.

Point #3: Deucalion gave them power.

When Derek became Alpha the surge of power made him seek out and turn three teenagers who he knew wouldn’t say no just because he could. Those three teens were all overcome with their new found power as betas. They all displayed their new found power in extreme ways to prove that they were no longer invisible like they were before becoming werewolves. Yes, these four people all had pretty poor lives and were given power. However, Ethan and Aiden went from suffering even worse abuse than Isaac and less attention than Boyd or Erica to suddenly being powerful Alphas in an extremely powerful pack where they were no longer the victims. It is a proven psychological fact that “Even the smallest dose of power can change a person.” Now we look at the sudden transference from ‘powerless’ to ‘powerful’ and who gave this to them? Deucalion. Who gives them their orders? Deucalion. Why does this matter?

Point #4: Loyalty

Obviously, anyone who is saved by another person expresses gratitude towards that person. Anyone who is given power by someone else also has gratitude for that as well. Hand in hand with gratitude comes loyalty. If they challenge his orders, they are challenging the loyalty they feel to the person who saved them. Think of someone who did something for you that changed your life for the better. Now imagine that being the ONLY person who has EVER shown did anything that changed your life for the better EVER. The pull to pay them back would be tremendous. This is the type of pull that Ethan and Aiden face. They owe everything to Deucalion. They owe their power to Deucalion. They owe their very lives to Deucalion. That brings us to…

Point #5: Fear

While Deucalion saved them, and they are loyal to him, they also fear him. He may not abuse them the way their old pack did, but he does discipline them. We saw him strike them across the faces and cut their cheeks, so there is at least a measure of discipline. Beyond that, however, is the knowledge of how strong he is and what he could do to them if he chose to. They have been under his command long enough to see him kill people. If not Deucalion, the others in the pack are loyal to him and wouldn’t hesitate to do his bidding. While many fans would argue here that ‘I would chose death over committing murder’, there is another thing to remember.

Point #5 continued: Fear for each other

They are the Alpha twins. It is possible that if there was only one of them, they might would chose death over being forced to kill. Many people would die for other people. Many of us would sacrifice ourselves for perfect strangers, even. It’s different, though, when it’s someone you care about that is threatened. Ethan and Aiden know that if they question Deucalion, he can hurt the other twin. It’s likely they have suffered watching their brother hurt before in their days of being abused children. Anybody with a close sibling knows that you would do anything to save them. How many times have we said, “I would kill for my family”? Only identical twins can really understand the bond between them. Aiden and Ethan are all each other has. They are part of each other. They are (literally) two halves of a whole. They are both well aware that, “If I anger Deucalion he won’t hurt me, he’ll hurt my brother and it will be my fault.” So they know they are on their own with only each other to trust.

Point #6: They have NO REASON to trust the Beacon Hills pack.

While the viewers know that Scott and his friends would likely help Ethan and Aiden defect, they have no reason to trust them. They have no reason to trust anyone. They have only ever known being either used or abused. They have likely never known kindness in their whole lives. They grew up knowing that they can only trust each other and, when Deucalion saved them, he only did so to use them for his own devices. They have no reason to suspect that, if they defected from Deucalion, they wouldn’t have two packs after their blood, not just one. Even though we see Ethan at least showing the beginnings of remorse for what they have done, Ethan and Aiden both know that their options are to stick with Deucalion and survive even if it means doing bad things, or run away and try to survive with even more people wanting them dead.

Point #7-infinity: THEY ARE ABUSED CHILDREN WHO HAVE NO REASON TO THINK THERE IS ANY CHOICE FOR THEM BESIDES ‘DO WHAT DEUCALION SAYS’!

We get at least some idea that they didn’t want to kill Boyd. There is no denying that there was reluctance in their part. However, Kali’s order to hold Derek’s claws so she could drop Boyd on them is still an order. They knew that saying no would mean turning their backs on their pack with no other pack to run to for protection. They are CHILDREN who have MOST LIKELY never known any kindness before Deucalion’s semblance of compassion, who have no reason to think they will find anything but threats from anywhere else, who fear for their lives and the lives of each other, and who have a reluctant loyalty tying them to Deucalion and his orders.

I don’t mean to get belligerent, but I really just fail to understand how anyone can say ‘they deserve to die’. I understand those who wish to see them show remorse and atone for their actions, I too want to see this. The way this show is written, we often don’t GET that sort of character development, so I generally just infer that it’s there. I can understand if a fan can’t accept that because most shows aren’t so lacking in the character moments, but ‘they should have killed them’?

I really don’t think so.

(Opinions are welcome, but please don’t argue with each other in the comments. Logical and calm explanations only, please!)

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Doctor Who: Countdown To “The Day Of The Doctor”

Day-of-the-Doctor

While I make no claims to be a Doctor Who expert, I AM a big fan. I’m sure all of us can agree that when it comes to Doctor Who, you are either a big fan or have no idea what’s going on in Doctor Who. Trying to understand Doctor Who from an outsider perspective is nearly impossible. As one of the most often heard lines shared by fans claims:

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But for those of us who ARE Whovians (as the fans are called), one of the biggest television events of the year, if not the decade, or possibly even our lives (if you want to be dramatic) is coming up fast. The 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who, “The Day of the Doctor” is not only airing November 23, 2013, but it’s also going to be simulcast across the entire freaking world so that nobody has to avoid spoilers like the plague in the hours leading up until their region’s air-time. (For those of us in the US, that time is 2:50pm EST) You still don’t think it seems like THAT big of a deal? Try the fact that the entire week leading up to the 50th Anniversary Special, BBC America has a scheduled full week of nothing but the “Doctor Who Takeover Special”.

For many people, no matter how long you have been a fan, The Doctor is an important part of your life, not because it’s just a television show you enjoy greatly, but because the characters are some that you hold in your heart. Doctor Who is such an overwhelmingly well done undertaking that creates characters that viewers learn to know as if they were friends, not fiction. And sadly for everyone, there comes a time that no matter who they are, your favorite character must leave. The Doctor himself is no exception.

Every fan can tell you who their Doctor is. Not everyone has a favorite companion, but everyone has their favorite Doctor. The one person who is THE Doctor to them in a way no other shall be. Fans go into “The Day of the Doctor” with heavy hearts beneath their excitement because we all know that that time is fast approaching and Matt Smith’s run as The Eleventh Doctor has to end to make way for Peter Capaldi‘s Twelve. However, while the 50th Anniversary Special marks one last hurrah before a passing of the torch, so to speak, in the Christmas Special, it also marks a wonderful chance for one last hurrah with some of Whovians’ favorite characters they have long since bid farewell to.

In this trailer we see that, though Eleven is leaving us soon, seeing him interact with his previous regeneration (David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor) and his old companion Rose Tyler once again shows exactly how the Doctor has grown and changed as a character through his eleventh regeneration.

While Whovians eagerly count the days until “The Day of The Doctor”, BBC graciously gifted us with a seven minute prequel to tide us over until the 50th Anniversary will inevitably blow our minds:

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Loki: Exploring The Development of A Sympathetic Villain

Many of you may remember the post about the Five-Part Spectrum of characters. In that, we mentioned the Sympathetic Villain and used the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Loki for that example. In celebration of the Thor 2: The Dark World being released, let’s take a closer look at what makes Loki a Sympathetic Villain throughout the three films he has been in.

Thor

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In Thor, we meet Loki as the eponymous hero’s little brother. He is very much the proverbial ‘spare’ to Thor’s ‘heir’ in their father’s eyes. Odin, the King of Asgard and their father, is not alone in showing favoritism to Thor. All of their friends seem to ‘put up’ with Loki because he is Thor’s brother.

And then the truth is revealed. In the photo above, Loki has just discovered from Odin that he is not only not REALLY Odin’s son, but he is not even the same species. Instead, he is the abandoned child of Asgard’s sworn nemesis, Laufey of Jotunheim.

Why this is important:

This is the MOST important point in Loki becoming a Villain in any form. This is the moment that pushes Loki over the edge from feeling a little left out to feeling completely betrayed. This is also a key point to him being a Sympathetic Villain because the viewer empathizes with him. You see a son learning that the reason he feels unloved is because, not only is he adopted, but he is the same ‘monster’ that his family is famed for destroying. This is a prince who was raised on the stories of Frost Giants being the most vile, horrible things in all the realms. He has lived his life hearing stories and playing games as a child in which he and his brother slayed the ‘horrible beasts’ just like their father, only to discover that he is one.

Beyond this moment:

In Thor, Loki’s ‘villainous’ deeds, while very undeniably villainous, were all actions carried out in an attempt to make his father love him as much as he loves Thor. He takes his father’s throne when his father is injured to prove to his family that he’s not worthless. He goes to Laufey – his birth father – and helps him sneak into Asgard on the pretense of murdering a bedridden Odin only to use it as an opportunity to kill the ‘horrible monsters’ in Odin’s chambers to try and prove himself. Even his attempts on Thor’s life are Loki’s way of trying to protect Asgard from an unprepared Thor taking the throne.

In conclusion:

Loki in his first MCU appearance is the villain that nobody could hate. He is essentially a prince trying to make his family love him and choosing all the wrong methods to try and do so. The viewer watches him fall to his ‘death’ and, rather than be glad the villain was defeated, mourns him.

The Avengers

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In The Avengers, Loki is our main villain. This time, he is clearly a very deranged villain who is harder to find sympathy for. Loki appears in a top secret laboratory via a magic portal he opened using the Tesseract that is being studied in this lab. He then steals the Tesseract, takes hostages, and goes on a murder spree that kills 80 people in two days.

However, from the moment he arrives, we can see that he is clearly not well. In the above photo, you can see how sickly he looks and you can see that his previously green eyes are now an eerie blue just like the Tesseract. In a scene further into the film, we see Loki going into some form of trance to discuss the plan with his co-conspirators, at the end of which, one says to him, “You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain!” 

Why this is important:

Loki is clearly not okay. We are given the idea that he fell into the ‘abyss’ between the realms and languished there for a while before Thanos and who knows what other unknown evil collected him. His appearance and this clear indication that his co-conspirators are really his masters help support the implication that he was held captive and tortured.

In conclusion:

What mental break Loki suffered in Thor has clearly been compounded with brainwashing and torture for who knows how long in The Avengers. The actions in this film are more villainous, and less excusable, but there is still this idea that this is a man who has been driven to the edge and then, quite literally, tossed off it and into the hands of torture and abuse that has driven him fully insane. His actions are less understandable, but the viewer still feels sorry for how he got to this point.

Thor 2: The Dark World

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WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THOR 2 YET THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

In Thor 2: The Dark World, we meet Loki as he is being sentenced to imprisonment. Odin makes it clear that the only reason Loki is receiving this leniency for his actions on Earth as opposed to execution is because his mother, Frigga, loves him still as her son and Odin loves his wife. We then see him in prison talking to Frigga, who asks after he denies vehemently that Odin is not his father if he also doesn’t think of her as his mother. There is a moment where his anger drains and he reaches out to touch her only to reveal to us that – surprise! – Frigga is a glamour she sent down to the cells in her absence (Odin decreed that Loki never see her again).

And then, of course, Frigga is killed by the Big Bad of the film, Malekith. In the photo above, Thor comes down to talk to Loki about helping him defeat Malekith and when he asks him to drop his glamours, this is what he finds. In the photo, Loki has shed his nice clothes, he has destroyed his cell, he has stopped caring for his hair, he has bloody feet from walking on the broken dishes he shattered in his grief fueled rage, and he is lying in a pitiful heap as he mourns his mother.

Why this is important:

Loki isn’t THE villain of this film, but he is still clearly not a ‘good guy’. This set up gains him so much sympathy because virtually every viewer either has experienced or can imagine the complete and utter devastation of losing a mother. The viewer overlooks his past wrongs, forgets for a while that he is ‘evil’, and is left with a broken man who has lost the one person who loved him unconditionally before them.

Beyond this moment:

Loki actually doesn’t betray Thor, contrary to every expectation every viewer had. The empathy the viewer feels for him in his hopes of helping his brother kill their mother’s murderer makes the viewer almost forget he is evil, but it doesn’t erase the expectation of him betraying Thor in the end.

In conclusion:

There is some argument to be made that Loki isn’t the ‘bad guy’ in this film, but he is a Villain in general, so the sympathy the viewers feel for him at the loss of his mother will remain to be thought of later in his story as he becomes the Villain once more.

This sympathy viewers have for Loki, regardless of currently not being the main protagonist, makes him even more of a Sympathetic Villain.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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