Supergirl - Season Four

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kai "the spy", Jul 17, 2018.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, he thinks he's good but he's wrong and we the audience know it. We don't need to indulge his viewpoint. I very much would like to get to Supergirl punching Nazis rather than listen to them piss and moan.

    But that's just me.
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think that giving a character complex motivations is meant to make us feel sympathy for him, just to make him plausibly written. Most people believe that the things they're doing are right and justified, even when they're horrible. It can be an interesting creative or intellectual exercise to explore how an awful person rationalizes his awfulness to himself. And a complex villain is more interesting for the writer and the viewer than a one-note villain.

    It also has value for illustrating the way that people can be radicalized, the way that anger and pain can metastasize into hate and extremism. We tend to assume that racists are all just vile people through and through, but many people have racist or prejudiced attitudes they don't even recognize or that they resist giving into, and it can be all too easy for those attitudes to escalate and take someone over with the right (or rather, the wrong) stimuli. A lot of people over the past few years have had to walk away from friends and family who turned out to be more racist and twisted by hate than they had seemed.

    Plus, of course, it's done for the sake of giving Sam Witwer a complicated character to play, so he can show off his acting chops. It'd be a waste of his talents to give him a one-note character.
     
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  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I also think graying the morality of a character is a mistake. I want to see Supergirl punch Nazism and not hew and haw over it.

    But that's just me.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I just said, I think it's a false premise to equate making a villain multilayered enough to be interesting with "graying" their morality. There is more than one level on which fiction is experienced.

    Indeed, since fiction is escapism, there are many cases where irredeemable villains are still charming, likeable characters that we enjoy watching. That doesn't mean we want to go out and emulate their behavior, just that we want our fictional characters to entertain us.
     
  5. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As you will, I'm just noticing Ben is getting a lot more than the Kryptonian Witches and Rhea.

    And not to the story's benefit.

    Its problematic when the Neo-Nazi gets so much screentime and justification.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And yet again, I don't agree that plausible motivation equals justification. Just because fiction portrays something does not mean that it endorses it.

    Like I said, most people don't start out evil. Largely decent people can go down a dark path. But Lockwood has long since crossed that line, and the show has made no bones about it. Yes, an alien murdered his wife, but last week's episode had his son come out and say explicitly that her death was Lockwood's fault for creating the climate of violence. So we know where the writers stand on this. The death of Lockwood's wife was not meant to make us sympathize with him, because we're past that point. It was meant to motivate him to new extremes of hatred and escalate the plot to its climax.

    Although that does basically mean that his wife was fridged, which is problematical in another way. But maybe that's meant to play into the toxic-masculine mindset he embodies -- he uses his wife's death as an excuse to justify his own agenda, rather than letting it be about her. As was clearly illustrated by the fact that he walked out on his wife's funeral in order to go hunt aliens. That makes it pretty clear where his priorities really lie, and is another thing that made it clear that the writers were not inviting us to feel sympathy for him. If anything, it was the opposite -- they offered him one last chance to recognize the cost of his vendetta and stop the cycle of violence, but instead he literally walked out on his wife and son and embraced violence all the more. That is not a sympathetic portrayal. That is a damning portrayal, a moral event horizon he crossed without hesitation.
     
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  7. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The sudden declaration that he's simply "a monster" and unworthy of any sympathy or understanding is exactly what *they* do to the people they wish to dehumanize for *their* purposes. It's too easy, and we have to be better than that. No, what we have to do is much harder: we have to see how they got to be how they are, remember that they are people, *sympathize* with them, and STILL be clear morally and ethically that they have to be removed from society by whatever means they have made necessary. Even while mourning their loss. Because that decision *should* be hard for any good person. And any strong person will make it when necessary, anyway.

    I feel bad for Lockwood. Doesn't change what needs to be done.
     
  8. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think there's a word for saying that people who hate other people for being a different race are the same as people who hate people who hate those bigots.

    That word is Silly.

    Its like Daenerys crucifying the masters for their crucifying children.

    Yeah, there's a big fat difference.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. There's a difference between what a person does and who a person is. You can condemn someone's actions unambiguously while still understanding and even empathizing with the circumstances and motivations that led them to those actions. And understanding them is necessary if there's to be any hope of rehabilitating them, getting them to understand how and why they went astray and how to get back to the light.


    That is absolutely not what we are saying. We're saying that hating people's actions does not require hating the people themselves. And we're saying that it's always better to gain the fullest possible understanding of a threat. Running away from understanding a threat because you don't want to face it is a fear response, not an intelligent choice.

    And what I am also saying is that you're taking this whole thing way too damn literally because we're talking about an imaginary character in a story. There are plenty of fictional characters who do utterly irredeemable things but that we still enjoy watching or sympathize with as characters, because we can distinguish fantasy from reality.
     
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  10. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I said uptopic, it was very much to the story's benefit to make Lockwood a character who challenged the heroes in interesting ways, and not just a punching bag with "Bad Guy" scrawled on it. I recognize that you don't care to sympathize with a violent racist, and you don't have to. As Christopher keeps saying, understanding a character is not the same as excusing him. But it does make for much more substantive and dramatic storytelling than your "Supergirl punches Nazis," which without some context and complexity, is not actually a story at all.
     
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  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    (Waa-aay back) Ben's father is dumb.

    Daddy was given the opportunity to upgrade his factory to employ the use of nth metal alloys but he declined because... Alienism?

    Dude must have been told that anyone who is not using Nth Metal alloys will not be able to sell their products in America, and doubly so to any government contracts.

    Pragmatically, the Lockwoods should have been trying to sell their shitty terrestrial steel to foreigners, who were probably not legally allowed access to Nth Metal from where-ever America is getting it. But yes, the only thing stopping them from doing that is probably good old fashioned Racism and Nationalism, because China probably would have taken their entire inventory, and the company would have been saved.

    Nth metal is Thanagarian.

    200 years from now there is (sometimes) a Successful Thanagarian invasion.

    If there is currently a nebulous trade deal between Earth and Thanagar, and that trade deal is step one to invasion and occupation... Then Nth Metal is probably a trap somehow, and Ben Lockwood is RIGHT.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  12. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Just a thought on the late Mrs Lockwood.

    We know she was killed by the alien but we don't actually know the circumstances.

    Yes it could have be deliberate act in which would make it murder or it could have been self defence.
     
  13. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree.

    IIRC from the fight club episode, someone mentioned those spines were a self defense characteristic of the species. The alien might have gone to Lockwood's home to ask the wife to intervene with Ben to release the father of her children.

    Although the Missus has been shown to be just as anti as Ben, I would not be surprised to find out Otis Graves or some other Lex Luthor minion was sent to the home to cause mischief and the Missus was killed in the crossfire.
     
  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Lockwood took her husband to an internment camp, and threatened her children.

    An eye for an eye.
     
  15. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Verified Disney Princess Moderator

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    It always makes me happy to know how unhappy it must make them and how it must really bother them to see more and more of their world slip away. Just knowing that more and more people see them for what they always were, stupid angry losers terrified that people who aren't exactly like them exist and there's nothing they can do about it anymore. They used to get their way, but it's long over and it's never ever coming back.

    One day the last one will finally die a bitter old loser and the species will finally be free of an illness that has poisoned us forever and we'll actually deserve to survive as a species.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  16. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it is nice to see a positive and uplifting message being compatible with good marketing. A lot of brands marketing research seem to have reached similar conclusions. There have been a number of successful marketing campaigns recently that have taken the socially liberal side on a number of issues that get portrayed as controversial in the news.

    Social conservatives, by definition, find themselves on the losing end of history as the entire philosophy is based on maintaining a status quo in a constantly changing world.
     
  17. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Verified Disney Princess Moderator

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    I find it disgusting that treating your fellow humans with respect and allowing them to be themselves is political. I really think it says a lot about the people who are against it.
     
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  18. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Lockwood is going to split into two people.

    Fascist-racist and non-fascist-racist.

    One is going to be President and the other is going to be on a moon prison built by Supergirl, forced to watch Sam Bee in a loop.

    A moon prison would be easier if Supergirl could fly between worlds under her own power.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's a nice fantasy, but people will always find new things to be prejudiced and fearful about. Once we've all accepted other humans as equals, we'll just become bigots about AIs or dolphin/elephant sentience or aliens. (Indeed, that's kind of a stock trope in sci-fi about fantasy racism -- the characters who are bigoted against the aliens or robots or fae folk or whatever are frequently played by nonwhite actors or shown to have racially diverse friends. For instance, Supergirl has done this in the past with the real Hank Henshaw, and the movie Bright did it with Will Smith's character.) Or humanity will diversify into new groups that develop intolerance for each other. Space habitat dwellers look down (literally) on planet-dwellers. The genetically enhanced marginalize the naturals (e.g. GATTACA) or vice-versa (e.g. Star Trek). Cybernetically linked collective consciousnesses are subject to hate crimes by singlemind purists who fear assimilation. Etc.

    That's why we can never grow complacent and believe we've conquered bigotry forever. As Picard said in "The Drumhead," it takes eternal vigilance of ourselves to remain true to our ideals. The universe is governed by entropy, so things always get worse unless we do the work to make them better.
     
  20. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    leaves everyone blind.
     
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