I am one of those who is debating doing a de-rec of the show. Below cut, trigger warnings and spoilers for those who are still unspoiled.
Triggers: depression, suicide, suicide-ideation
I dislike character death, but I've had to deal with it before and a show that airs every nine months gives me lots of time to deal and move on. What I'm not sure I will get over is how they did it and to who. This show has been actually literally good at handling depression and suicide ideation and showing how people live with it, deal with it, both good and bad. I wouldn't have watched this show at all if it had done this badly, so the fact they had the bisexual, depressed, suicidal character and had him commit suicide (for a good plot cause? Uh.) was not okay.
To add suicide-ideation wish-fulfillment...for fuck's sake, that bullshit was a fucking checklist of how you think when you're severely depressed and/or suicidal.
The problem isn't the character death, it's the trust. A show failing on an issue isn't a big deal, every show, even the best, will fail, that's the nature of the beast and of being human; failing is going to happen. The trust was that they would try, they would do the best with what they had, that the mistakes made in execution wouldn't be mirrored in intention, and that they understood what they were writing.
And in all honesty, I might have still been fine; I really enjoyed this show and nine months, I might have gotten over losing my favorite character because honestly, the entire cast is amazing. That is, if the writers had kept their goddamn mouths shut on what they were doing and proved they failed on the most important count possible: they did get what they were writing, about who they were writing, and they did it anyway. This? Was intentional, right up to the suicide-ideation fantasy of what happens next. That was what they meant to do.
I'm not sure people really get the problem isn't character death or even the ship; removing Quentin from the show entirely for good was to me a bad decision, but that's just something that pisses you off and makes you rant about shitty writers, but that's TV. Lost ship: dude, I've shipped all my life and I'm really used to not getting my way. That's why I have fanfic.
(I won't go into how utterly bad the plotting was in this show this season because it wasn't; the problem was it was great plotting and anticipation that was entirely abandoned and threads wrapped without resolution. I say this honestly; the first nine eps of this season were breathtakingly good and then everything that was being built up was just--gone. But that's for later when I'm more objective.)
The problem here was in the choice of how with who, and the fact that actually, the writers did know what they were doing and that's why they did it.
As someone who is mentally ill, that was painful and horrifying and I'm not sure how to be over it when the show decided to represent on screen--as a positive--some of the most dangerously dark moments of my life. I'm not sure how to watch again and not remember feeling horrified, and at this time, I'm in a pretty damn good place both in terms of mental health and mental stability. I know what it must be doing to those who aren't in that place or are in the borderlands.
For those who identify as queer/LGBTQAI/non-binary/non-represented identity and struggle with mental illness--I think devastating is a very gentle word for what many must be feeling after seeing that, and I don't even pretend I know all the ways this must have fucked with them.
I know this sounds dramatic, I know it's not rational, but I'm not rational right now, and it's bothering me enough to put it here.
I recced this show for a lot of reasons, but one of them was for how it handled mental illness and how much work they put into doing it well, showing both short- and long-term consequences and ongoing issues. To anyone who watched because of those recs, I'm so sorry.
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