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#18 – Thoughts After Watching the Handmaid’s Tale with My Boyfriend

There are probably a hundred blogs and articles that you could read that tell you how AMAZING The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is and how it’s a must watch and analyze it through a much more critical lens than I. But while I’m definitely going to tell you, “YES! Please watch it!” What I felt like would be the most beneficial dialogue I could bring to the table is my own personal experience.

In the summer of 2007 between my junior and senior year in high school, I had a reading assignment for my Advanced Composition course where we were given several lists of books on certain themes and we needed to read a set number from each list and write reflection pieces on them.

To be honest, this was my first foray into “adult” writing. I’ve always been a fan of young adult and fantasy literature and that’s pretty much all I read for fun up until to that point. But this assignment made me read some really amazing and thought-provoking literature. To this day, I still consider many of them to be among my favorite and most informative books. (Some examples include The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez). But the book that influenced me the most was undoubtedly Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It was the first book I ever read that depicted sex (and a rather unsexy version at that). It was first time I saw the everyday injustices of being a woman. It was the first time I began to fear what the government (or really any group with unchecked power) could do to me. And so despite it’s dark subject matter, it became one of my all time favorite books. A choice which when people asked me to list my favorite books was always confusing or appalling to them.

So 10 years later, when a television adaptation premiered on Hulu, I was so ready for it. But there was also a part of me that was terrified of it. The show was in production before Donald Trump won the presidency but somehow it couldn’t have been more timely of a release. It’s message is an important warning for our current political and cultural climate. And if adamant Trump supporters and those on the far-right want to know what these “snowflake women” are afraid of, it’s the universe in The Handmaid’s Tale. A world that seems so insane that it couldn’t be possible and yet, somehow, came to be when people stopped watching. When they got too comfortable. When they thought they already had all the rights they could ever need.

But you just don’t realize how quickly everything you’ve taken for granted can be taken away from you until they’re already gone and you’re dressed in a red with your skull bumping against a strange woman’s crotch as her husband tries to impregnate you.

Watching Hulu’s adaptation was a must for me, and I convinced my boyfriend to join me because I felt like it’s required watching in these times. While I knew the story and would have watched to the end no matter what, he was hooked after the first episode because it was just so INTENSE. And watching it became our weekly, much-looked-forward-to ritual. (He lovingly referred to it as “The Handbride’s Tale” in order to lighten the mood). And when we finished the series last week, I’d come to the following conclusions:

  • I’m so very glad that the world of The Handmaid’s Tale disturbed him as much as it does me. I’ve seen that this hasn’t been the case for everyone who’s watched with their husband/significant other. The feeling of mutual horror is important to validate the fear one has of this actually happening.
  • He kept waiting for the action which I thought was indicative of his love for post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories. But what’s really surprising about The Handmaid’s Tale is how many rights get stripped away with so little fight. And the fact that the story is from the point-of-view of a normal woman. That while there is violence that happens (e.g. the bombing of the Senate and the House), so little directly happens to our protagonist. It’s the fear that keeps people in check and allows this theocracy to take over.
  • It was interesting to watch with someone who didn’t have any preconceived notions about the story. I was always surprised if he correctly guessed what would happen next. But because the series expands upon the original world of the book, giving us more perspectives from Luke to Ofglen/Emily to Moira to Serena Joy, we also had several discussions about what was “assumed” when reading the book to what was shown in the series and how it affected our views.
  • Finally, we never discussed the fact that the Commander and Serena Joy are originally written to be much older than they ultimately were portrayed in the series. It does make me wonder what my boyfriend’s reaction would have been to the same situation had the Commander not been the relatively swarmy Joseph Fiennes but instead a much older actor. I do wonder if his “appalled meter” could have gone any higher.

So if you haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale yet, get a Hulu free trial and binge that thing! If you have, I’d be interested to know what your thoughts and experiences while watching it were. Let me know in the comments!

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Why Stitchers is the Absolute BEST!

In a surprising twist of events, one of my favorite shows Stitchers on Freeform (which has had moderate views and ratings for two seasons despite being jerked around in timeslots and days) has premiered with a 3rd season!  This is extremely exciting for me because it’s 1.) An amazing show and 2.) Has a passionate fanbase.  And I think during the radio silence between season 2 and the announcement of season 3 when that fanbase was reluctantly coming to the realization that our favorite show might be canceled and cried out for renewal, we actually helped influence Freeform’s decision to renew. We might be a smaller fandom but we sure are full of spunk!

I’m so happy that Freeform took a chance on a third season for Stitchers, and I wanted to share my love with you (as inspired by gifs) so that you might discover the awesomeness that is Stitchers with me!

1.) It’s full of badass ladies.

This gif pretty well sums up why this show is awesome. The ladies do the dirty work. And Kirsten is just one of them.

2.) Men of Science

Linus and Cameron are the nerdy dream team. I want these Men of Science with me if I’m ever having to solve crimes by stitching into the brains of dead people.

3.) All the nerdy references you could ever want

Cameron is simultaneously a doofus and heartthrob. And anytime you throw in a Back to the Future reference I’m a happy gal.

4.) Just Camille.

She’s got so much wit and sass. I aspire to be Camille in my everyday life. She doesn’t take sh*t from anybody.

5.) The best cast ever.

Stitchers Season 3 opens with Kirsten’s team in jeopardy. She outright refuses to work without them and goes on a mission to save them. If you’ve watched Stitchers you know why. From Maggie Bapiste, an ex-CIA assassin and now the leader of the Stitchers program to Detective Fisher, an LAPD officer recruited into the Stitchers program to the rest of the Stitchers lab team, the Stitchers world is filled with awesome and compelling characters.

6.) Sci-Fi Crime Procedural Drama

Science Fiction + the NSA? Seems outlandish, right? However, it works because the characters themselves usually feel like it’s a bit crazy too. But who’s not going to whip out an NSA badge if the times comes?

7.) BFFs not Frenemies

Stitchers begins with Camille and Kirsten at odds. They’re too brainiac girls from CalTech and you might think that this catty dynamic will be central to the show. Turns out uber competitive and smart girls CAN get along and love one another in their own odd ways (even when one of them is incapable of emotion for the first season). I love their friendship. And I love how Freeform portrays it.

8.) Linus and his family storyline

There is life outside the Stitchers lab, and this became incredibly obvious to poor Linus in Season 2 when his dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Ritesh Rajan does an all-star job showing the emotion of a young adult who’s got his professional life all figured out but a chip on his shoulder in relation to his family, dealing with this real life drama.

9.) The way Kyle Harris looks at Emma Ishta

Oh gosh…just…MY HEART!

10.) #Camsten

Very rarely do I start a series and from day one am I completely gung-ho about a ship. But with Camsten, I just can’t even! They’re such a perfect pair, it’s crazy! And I’m hoping to get some great Camsten payoff in season 3 after these last two seasons of angst!

So guys if you haven’t already checked it out:

Also if you’re looking for the basic run down of the plot check out blog on the show pre-season 2 here, and my video about season 1 below!

 

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Why is Everyone So Angry?

Two weeks ago we discussed how toxic fandoms can become, especially in online discourse. And in writing that blog, I realized there was a much bigger issue at play that I also wanted to address: Why is everyone so angry?

I feel like I’ve gotten trapped inadvertently in a global outrage cycle. For a while, I thought, “Oh this is just the product of immature tweens with access to the internet and too much free time.”  Then in 2016, I thought, “Oh, well adults seem to be doing it too, but that’s just because of the U.S. election.” But by 2017, I’ve realized that an Outrage Virus seems to have infected most anyone who uses the internet. Because it’s not just about differing political views or recreational trolling anymore.

Sometimes it feels like the whole world has gone mad.

For example, have you ever watched a funny video about a baby or a pet doing something silly? Invariably, if you scroll down to the comments on a video like that, there’s at least one person irritated at the baby’s parenting or the ethics of filming your pet doing said silly thing. And that feeds into other people who were just there for a laugh seeing that outrage and becoming angry themselves (because why can’t people just watch the video and enjoy it?)

And the cycle begins.

I am both fascinated and horrified by this cycle. It’s like how you can’t look away from a terrible car wreck.  You’re disgusted by the sight, but you also think you can figure out how it got to this point if you look at it long enough and you also want to know what happens next.

And cue my addiction to online comments.

Donald Trump seems to be the current king of the Online Outrage Tribe, but he certainly didn’t start it. Who did? Have we always been this angry and just didn’t have an outlet to vent? Was it an exponential but unsuspected takeover as we became more disillusioned with the world because of the rapid expansion of technology?

Is there a cure!?

I don’t have answers for you, unfortunately. But I think it’s important to recognize a problem/trend so that you can be more aware of how it’s affecting your everyday life. And therefore, take actions to try to counteract it.  I do so by trying to make more videos with an optimistic take on life. A positive light on the horizon of a super dark sea. But I don’t think you have to be making videos to be an influence. Whether you’re tweeting or Facebooking or blogging or texting or discussing something in person, trying to take a step back from that viral outrage and look at the bigger picture is so important. It helps to shake others out of their anger trance too.  It’s actually a lot easier to be a literal light in the darkness of these dangerous and angry times than one might expect. You simply just have to make an effort to not get swept up in the story sea of outrage!

 

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Fandom Toxicity

Do you have a favorite TV show, book, video game, YouTube channel, or movie? Does it have a passionate fandom?

Fandoms are really interesting to me. I’ve always been a “fan” of things, and I love many of the things that super passionate fandoms create. I loved reading Harry Potter fan fiction in high school when it was at it’s height. I love watching Delena (The Vampire Diaries) and Captain Swan (Once Upon a Time) romantic moment compilations on YouTube. I love looking at fanart of Sailor Moon or Mario or Zelda or Disney characters. I love consuming much of the amazing thoughts, art, and tributes that my favorite fandoms produce, and even contributing to the fandoms myself as I sometimes write about my predictions or hopes for my favorite TV shows here on my blog and on YouTube.

But not everything that passionate fandoms create is beautiful and happy.  I’ve been noticing lately that some of my favorite fandoms have a creeping layer of toxicity under the surface that I’m rather disappointed with.

What seems to be happening is that fans have SUCH a vehement connection to a show/movie/game/character/creator that they feel a sense of ownership over it.  So that when something happens that doesn’t fit with the narrative that they cling to, there is a violent backlash.

To illustrate this a bit, take the Once Upon a Time fandom. I’ve written about the show on the blog here a bit so you know that I love this show. You should also probably know at this point that I have a bit of an addiction to reading online comments (see this vlog for the full confession). Combine these two together, you get me realizing that a show with a lot of distinct storylines and characters opens itself up for some EXTREME rivalry. Like there are people who love Regina and the Evil Queen and who ship Regina and Emma (not just as amazing friends and co-moms like they’ve become on the show but an actual romantic relationship despite there being no signs on the show of such a possibility so far). There are those who love Emma and Captain Hook together and those who think Hook is “trash.” There are those who desperately want Rumple and Belle to find a happy ending and others who think it’s an abusive relationship. Differing opinions on who should be the main focus of the show or who should end up with who is totally normal when it’s an ensemble cast. But if you hang out on Twitter or Facebook or even the Once Upon a Time Wiki long enough, you’ll find people pretty violently attacking each other for their opinions! That’s not what should be happening in a fandom! Isn’t it supposed to be a place where you can share your mutual love for a thing?

Many times it extends to the actors or writers themselves with attacks on their character or physical appearance or spreading questionable rumors about “who’s dating who” or “who hates who” among the cast. A few good examples here come from the Pretty Little Liars fandom (which as a whole I think is actually less toxic than many of the other shows I love, but I suspect it’s because fans have been kept in the dark so much about what’s actually going on). When Sasha Pieterse who plays Allison, the notorious “dead girl” on which the show was based around, ended up not being dead and became a regular on the show, fans attacked her weight viciously, wondering if she was pregnant when in fact, she’d simply grown up (she’d filmed the pilot episode when she was only 13, the youngest of the all the “Liars”), filled out, and discovered she had a hormone imbalance. Similarly, fans speculate on riffs happening between the PLL actresses, claiming that because Troian Bellisario (Spencer), Ashley Benson (Hanna), and Shay Mitchell (Emily) have posted photos together that they are somehow on the outs with Lucy Hale (Aria).

It just makes me wonder, why are some fans are so obsessed with something that they take it beyond just enjoying it and celebrating in a community of like-minded individuals to the point of critiquing every aspect of the story, the creators, or the actors.  Is it because they think they could do a better job? Is it because love turns into misguided ownership? Is it because the immediacy of social media has given the impression that fans have more control over a piece of art than they really do?

Fans and fandoms, of course, have a big voice in the content they love in this digital age, but it’s still up to the creators as to how much control they actually allow fans to have. You can’t just yell about something on social media because it doesn’t fit your “vision” and expect something to change. If you really want it to be different, make fan art or fan fiction.  Create your own version to satisfy your burning passion for a thing. You’ll probably find someone else who enjoys it!

But all the outrage isn’t helping anyone. It just makes for a toxic environment in a community that’s supposed to be about shared passion.  Respectful debate is one thing. It contributes to the awesomeness of fandoms because obviously we’ll have differing opinions, but letting it devolve into hate and trolling and rumor spreading to either hurt other fans or the very people who make the thing inspiring the fandom is just a waste of the potential that fandoms have.

Communities of people who have a shared passion are incredibly powerful. Spread the love, friends! Not hate!

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Sailor Moon and the Power of Female Friendship

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One of the things I include in “My Favorite Things” video is Sailor Moon, and as I was editing down my passion-filled ravings to fit in the allotted video time, I realized that my love for Sailor Moon deserves a bit more than a shout-out in a video. It’s still one of my favorite things to this day. (And I eagerly await the next season of Sailor Moon Crystal). But it was also an extremely influential part of my childhood.

I had a hard time making female friends growing up. Scratch that. I still have a hard time making female friends, but at least now I have a greater understanding for what’s causing it than I did when I was a kid. As an awkward 11-year-old, I felt like a fish out of water with large groups of girls. Sometimes I would make a connection with one girl for a while, but eventually my “best friend” would (from my perspective) be stolen away by another “cooler” girl or group. I was inconsolably lonely for a long time. I knew female friendship was important from an objective point-of-view, but I just couldn’t seem to find other girls who I authentically connected with.

I had female “friends.” I was invited to various sleepovers and pool parties and birthday celebrations over the years. But I always remember being a bit of an outsider no matter how hard I tried to connect or the other girls attempted to be accepting. I remember one sleepover with a group of girls I considered to be the “popular” crowd when I was 8 or 9. They watched the Spice Girls and performed their own choreography to the music and snuck into some of their mom’s makeup and gave each other makeovers and had a fashion show. I remember feeling so very out of place. I’d never heard of the Spice Girls (i.e. I was pretty sheltered). I knew I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or short-shorts. And even though this was all just fun and games into the late-night, it felt like a violation of my core values. Even though I wanted to fit in and have friends, this wasn’t the way I felt comfortable doing it.

Instead, I spent a large portion of my childhood and teen years imagining what my “real” best friends would be like. While I couldn’t seem to find a best friend in my everyday life, I was still convinced that she was out there. There were just dark forces keeping us apart like in my favorite TV shows and movies.

Consequently, I devoured the magical girl genre–in anime, books, and movies. And Sailor Moon was always at the forefront. It was a much less distressing idea to my fantasy-obsessed child self that dark forces were separating me from my true friends rather than accepting that I didn’t have any female friends.

Instead, I drew cartoon sketches of how my imagined friends would look and wrote detailed notes about their likes and dislikes, taste in fashion and TV, and of course, their magical powers. I imagined stories for us: how we would find one another, how we would save the world, what our nemesis would be like. Essentially, I reconciled my loneliness and lack of female companionship with the tools that shows like Sailor Moon gave me. That I was a special “magical girl” and I would find my friends and place in the world once I came into my magical powers.

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Maybe it seems sad to you. Maybe you had a really amazing childhood with close friends or you didn’t feel as outcast as I did by struggling to make friends so this seems a little foreign to you.  But for me, even though my “best friends” as a child were imagined magical girls inspired by anime, Sailor Moon gave me peace. I struggled a lot with the need to be loved and accepted but also my inherent desire to be myself and invariably stand-out. And I was in the unfortunate situation of not finding the connection I desperately wanted with other girls despite how much I craved it.

So I never became a magical girl (at least not yet!), but I did find female friends as I grew older (especially once I went to college). And I found what Sailor Moon had taught me about female friendship still held true.

That it’s not about finding people that are exactly like you, but rather finding those girls who compliment you. (And no I don’t mean “Oh I love you outfit” kind of compliments). What was cool about Sailor Moon was that the Sailor Scouts each had their own unique powers and personality and they were always more powerful when combined. Two Usagi’s would probably destroy the world rather than save it (she’s just a bit too clumsy, ya know?) But throw in Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako, and you have a pretty powerful team.

When I started to understand female friendship this way, I felt like I really began to grow as a friend to other women. Because of the experiences I had as a kid and tween, I was fearful of trusting my friendship with other women for a long time. I always assumed I would be quickly and easily judged unworthy or weird and cast aside for someone else. But I started to learn that my weirdness (rather my uniqueness, one might even say, my “magical power”) was valuable to a friendship. Because these other girls had their own weirdness/uniqueness too. We had our similarities (in Sailor Moon it’s a love for Sailor V and the need to save the universe) like wanting to make movies or loving to sing or having the same favorite color or being introverts which initially brought us together. But it was our “magical powers” that grew our friendship as we learned more about each other and from each other.

Women and especially female friendship is many times characterized by cattiness and backstabbing. And it generally just sounds unpleasant. Like women can’t actually be friends because it’s all a competition for who’s the prettiest and can get the most guys to chase after her. I know there are women that do this. But this is not true female friendship. It’s far more powerful and meaningful than that. It’s really just as magical as the Sailor Scouts if you learn to be open and loving and celebrate other women’s “magic” rather than tear it down, cast it out, or label it as undesirable.

So this is a story about a girl who couldn’t find a connection with other girls like she so desired. But who, over time, learned about the “magic” in each of us and started to trust and respond to others who also recognized it. And in doing so, found other women who inspired and awed her. And made up her own magical girl gang. 🙂

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‘This is Us’ Shines a Light on Anxiety Attacks

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I’m a pretty naturally anxious person. There are times when it is manageable. But there are other times when it consumes my world.

My first memory of it overwhelming me was when I was 11. I became so irrationally fearful of germs after a bad bought with a stomach virus that I could barely function. If I heard that someone was sick at school, I’d start to hyperventilate. Some students would bully me by touching or breathing on my food at lunch because they knew I wouldn’t (couldn’t) eat it. I’d wash my hands obsessively until they were cracked and dry.

This all led to my parents taking me to a psychologist and a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My parents didn’t particularly want to put their 11 year old on medication so instead I learned how to manage my symptoms through weekly therapy sessions for about a 6 months. I learned deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.  With time, the overwhelming fear that came from the prospect of germs at every turn dissipated.  But my desire to control the world around me as much as possible and my sometimes violent bodily response when I felt like I was losing control did not.  It just shifted from germs to something a bit more easy to control (but no less at the whims of the universe)–my academic success.

I had to be the best at any cost to my own health or sanity.  It wasn’t some kind of narcissistic drive for power, but instead a fear that I was not anywhere close to being the best. That I’d fooled everyone to get even this far, and someone was going to figure it out.  But also that I needed to be the best to feel like I had any kind of worth in the world.

This lead to many nights in high school where my drive for success spun out of control and left me hyperventilating, crying at the computer, blind with internal rage, or screaming and thrashing nonsensically on my bed. My mother and father would try to talk logic to me. One grade isn’t that important. Nothing in school is more important than your health. You know this, you just need to calm down and think. But it did little good. I was too far gone into the black abyss of an anxiety attack.  The few things we found to work were my mom forcing me to take a half a Valium pill or if I wasn’t a harm to myself, to let me rage it out alone until I drifted into an exhausted sleep. This is not ideal, obviously. But I didn’t understand my own emotions, and my parents didn’t understand enough about mental health to really help.

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But this was my life as a teen and young adult. It wasn’t until I graduated college and got into therapy and on an antidepressant regime for issues with depression that I really started to understand what was happening. At first I thought it was all caused by depression, but I wasn’t depressed when I was 11 and diagnosed with OCD. At 22, I was still experiencing some of the same attacks where my chest would constrict, my thoughts would race, and I could work myself up into an irrational fit. At 11, it was about germs and whether or not I was going to throw up because of a stomach virus. At 22, it was much more complex than that. Sometimes it was just me sitting in church or going into a grocery store. I didn’t have school to stress about or try to control anymore so what was causing these overwhelming feelings?

With some research, I began to see that while depression was the overarching factor in my life (perhaps because I had lost any sense of control once graduating college?), high-functioning anxiety had been a constant companion for years. Most of the time, I didn’t even recognize that I had anxiety. I mean, yes, normal social anxiety, but not an anxiety disorder. Does someone with an anxiety disorder find as much success academically as I did? Does someone with an anxiety disorder give speeches and travel to new, uncontrolled places so easily? Well, you might think, no. But with high-functioning anxiety, it’s not like I’m curled up in a useless ball on the floor of my bedroom 90% of the time. I FEEL like that’s what I should be doing but very rarely do I actually give in to the constant buzz of anxiety in my head and belly. But when I do succumb, it’s bad.

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It’s the kind of the bad that I’m fearful of talking about or allowing other people to see.  Which is why when This is Us portrayed Sterling K. Brown’s character Randall’s overwhelming anxiety and subsequent attack, I was in awe. It was the first time I’ve ever seen in any kind of mainstream entertainment, a portrayal of anxiety like that. And what was great, was that it showed Randall’s experience as a high-performing teenager trying to make sure he was Valedictorian (something that hit all too close to home), and as a adult juggling family and work responsibilities.  In both instances, we find him crying, murmuring incoherently, trembling uncontrollably, and losing his sight. The outcome of his teenage attack is not revealed, but as an adult he’s shown in an almost catatonic state.

It’s ugly and painful on screen. It raises the questions: Why can’t he just let it go? Why can’t he ask for help? To someone who can think rationally, the solutions to his problems seem obvious.

But I know what it feels like. I know how irrational everything becomes when you get into that state. I know that it’s not a simple “let it go” or “ask for help.” (If it was, we’d have far less people suffering through anxiety).  

So I loved this episode of This is Us. I want to delve deeper into Randall’s high-functioning anxiety. We’ve now established it as a problem so let’s not just move on and forget about it. (That’s an all too common way of dealing with it in reality…until the next attack comes around). It obviously doesn’t have to be the main focus of the show, but it’s an important aspect of Randall’s character, and it gives the This is Us showrunners a great opportunity to bring mental health awareness and recovery to the mainstream rather than using it as a stereotype or easy plot point. Representation has power, but accurate and resolutionary representation has even more.

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There Seem to be No Happy Endings on The Vampire Diaries: Episode 08×11 Review

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If you haven’t seen The Vampire Diaries episode 08×11, then be WARNED! This post is full of SPOILERS!

 

I hate giving away spoilers, but this episode warranted a post BAD.

 

Are you still here? No complaining if you haven’t watched the episode!

 

So with just a few episodes left in this shortened final season of TVD, things had really started to look dire. No-Humanity-Stefan was ripping through bodies and had straight-up lost any long-held love for his brother.  And while the Sirens were finally out of commission, Cade was now in town, and I feel like we finally have a worthwhile villain this season. Not that cannibal sisters Sybil and Seline weren’t villainous, but they walked a razor-thin line between being potentially redeemable and just annoyingly evil. (As opposed to Cade’s bone-chilling, pure evil. I mean, he IS the keeper of hell so…)

Basically we had about a minute of “this might not turn out so bad” until Cade showed up and threw out an ultimatum and everything started to go downhill. But it wasn’t until nearly the end of the episode when we realized how FAR downhill it had actually gotten. We were in a veritable pit of no return. Because Stefan was going to kill Elena’s comatose body and Bonnie and Enzo were the only things standing in his way.

Which lead to two devastating things happening this episode: Bonnie giving Stefan the cure (to save herself), and Stefan ripping out Enzo’s heart.

I should have known that there was no happy ending in store for Bonnie and Enzo. I’ve watched 8 seasons of Bonnie getting the short end of the stick so why would anything change now?

Bonnie became my favorite character in season 6 when she fought her way back from the 1994 prison world. While I knew objectively that the previous 5 seasons had literally been Bonnie sacrificing things/people she loved or even herself, it wasn’t until season 6 where her true strength and spitfire came through. (06×13 “The Day I Tried to Live” where Bonnie contemplates suicide after the solitude of the prison world finally gets to her utterly broke my heart). Sometimes it feels like the whole “Bonnie and Elena’s lives are linked” so that Elena will sleep so long as Bonnie is alive thing is actually a metaphor for how Bonnie can’t have an interesting storyline on the show while Elena is around. Because she’s literally ALWAYS sacrificing something for her.

And with the loss of her BIG LOVE Enzo, it’s once again happened. So I honestly don’t blame her for shoving the cure into Stefan and essentially ruining Damon and Elena’s human future together. (Arguably, she saved their future because if she hadn’t stopped Stefan, he would have killed Elena and Damon’s ability to take the cure would have been useless at this point anyway.)

But just…WHY!? Why does this always happen to Bonnie?

On the upside, that little “whoosh” of air as she wept over Enzo’s desiccated body sure looked like her magic might have returned. And it sets up the last five episodes of the season for a showdown in hell.  

So basically, if we’re not going to get a Bonnie/Enzo happily ever after, here’s what I predict/hope/want.

Our heroes break into hell and 1.) destroy Cade and 2.) destroy his hell prison and save all our friends over the years who inevitably would have been sent there after the “Other Side” was destroyed at the end of Season 5. Something like this seems to be suggested from all the behind-the-scenes photos from set with deceased characters such as Tyler, John Gilbert, Aunt Jenna, and Vicki Donovan. And I want Badass Bonnie at the center of this prison break. While I really want her to have a happily ever after, this just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for her. So the next best thing in my opinion would be for her to be the amazing, cut-throat hero we’ve known she’s been all along. But no holds barred this time. I really want her to let Cade have it.  She’s had happiness ripped out from under her too many times at this point. It seems cruel.

However, knowing that Nina Dobrev promised to return for the final episode, I do worry that Julie Plec plans to martyr Bonnie in order for Elena to be awoken and we have our beautiful Delena end-game moment. Martyring Bonnie after EVERYTHING that’s happened is not something that I’d be okay with. She’s literally been the martyr the whole series. It’s so predictable! Not to mention, it sucks to be Bonnie if that’s the case. Not even a remotely mediocre ending for her. Geez!

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I also have to make a note about the Bonnie-Enzo relationship which I know not all the fans were on board with. I know I was certainly taken aback a bit when they started making out in episode 07×03 after the three year time jump. But after they showed the development of their relationship and the changes that Enzo made to his outlook on life for her and because of her, I was a total Bonnie-Enzo shipper.

I guess, at this point it should be noted that there are only 2 main ships on the show–Bonnie/Enzo and Caroline/Stefan. While I love Steroline’s friendship and the development of their romantic feelings I still always felt like Stefan was weirdly settling and that Caroline really belonged with Klaus, but that’s just me. I’m a big Klaroline shipper. So Bonnie-Enzo felt like a more organic ship for me to root for.

I like that Bonnie fell for a vampire–or rather that she fell for a guy and looked past his vampirism (which for someone who’s life has been ruined by vampires over and over, that’s a pretty big step). But I also love that Enzo was willing to become human for her. Their relationship mirrors that of Damon and Elena quite a bit. Damon and Enzo are both the “bad boys.” And Bonnie and Elena know they function best as humans (as compared to Caroline who made it very clear in 08×11 that she was a better person because she was a vampire). But while Damon struggled with the prospect of becoming human for Elena, Enzo was willing to give up his immortality with barely a second thought if it meant spending his life with Bonnie. So despite all the horrid things Enzo has done since he was introduced, we see that he’s less of a flawed being than Damon in that simple action. Which is why, I mourn his death and the end of the beautiful relationship between Bonnie and Enzo.
Their relationship was short and chaotic, but it was pure in a way that Damon and Elena (while still my vote for end-game!) couldn’t achieve.  Damon and Elena always felt simultaneously right and wrong for each other because they consistently pulled each other in opposite directions. At the time of Elena’s sleeping spell, it looked like they finally might be going in the right direction, but when Bonnie and Enzo found each other, they made a much more effortless blending of paths. Which is why I think, Bonnie and Enzo might actually be my all-time favorite TVD couple.

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