I really can't be fair about this one because the thing is, it's like, IDK, the perfect heist. Complicated, strategically planned long-term revenge wielded with exquisite timing for a perfect trap shutting slowly, painfully, inevitably over the victims as they watch in horror is hot.
Heathcliff's biggest advantage as he is, in all actuality, a goddamn woobie--and I do not use that term lightly, or ever. His life sucks. Everyone who should care about him? Sucks. He gets flogged and hurt and loses his bff soulmate and God knows what he had to do in those three years of his disappearance. His second biggest advantage as a character is that unless he was murdering puppies (I do not put this past him, or drowning kittens), everyone else is so unsympathetic that you don't actually care if they didn't really didn't quite earn Heathcliff's hatred. Because again, they suck.
(Except Hareton, who is awesome, and Young Catherine, eventually, when she stops being shouty.)
Okay, I am okay with this adaptation (Hardy does a truly unsettling Heathcliff), but Heathcliff does not blow his brains out. How did they miss the huge massive religious juggernaut of a reason why Heathcliff did not commit (active) suicide? Christ, if it were that easy, he would have done it years ago. Unless--which is possible--they are trying to imply that Cathy convinced him to shoot himself, which is thematic but still off because of the plausible deniability of starvation versus gunshot in regard to mortal sin.
There really wasn't enough Cathy haunting him--though what there is, Christ, the gravedigging scene shall haunt me forever, but at least until the future set bits, Hardy played Heathcliff gorgeously (I can't say best or worst because it is Heathcliff and I love him), who is both shouty and passionate, but scariest when he's very, very calm. Futurebits the crazy came through too suddenly, but when he's younger and he's just come back, he's papered over all that passion with a thin but diamond hard layer of chilly calm. And a weird talent for showing his utter contempt and still getting away with whatever he wants.
I'm trying to compare Rochester and Heathcliff and coming up against the labeling issue on hero/antihero/villain. Erasing those, the only thing I can see that really separates them characteristically is that Rochester projects his mistakes/issues/pain internally--he punishes himself. Heathcliff isn't so picky; he punishes everyone, including himself. It's weirdly stupid for a villain, but not for an antihero; revenge isn't satisfactory when the accomplishment rips up everything left inside you that's still fine enough to be mutilated, and sadly for Heathcliff, he never did root out the best parts of himself. I'm honestly wondering if he even wanted to; he really, really seemed to want to really feel like shit as much as humanly possible. Even after a quick re-read, I'm still not sure if Cathy broke something in him or if her death did.
(Also, Heathcliff makes out with Catherine with blood staining his shirt from getting beaten and oh. Yeah. Just. I was there.)
I'm uncomfortable on two key points:
1.) who Heathcliffe's father really was.
2.) who Young Catherine's father really was.
I know book canonly the first is supposed to be vague and the second is not, but the second bothers me more than the first (if anything, the first makes the entire novel make surprising amounts of sense). The only reason I even suspect point two is that Heathcliff's entire mission was fucking up that generation; marrying off his daughter to his son would appeal morbidly to the part of him that was doing this shit. That's why the Hareton/Young Catherine in the end makes me uneasy and pleased; I don't know why, but I know there's something wrong there or Heathcliff would not have let it happen. I just don't know what.
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