Some people have misunderstood my attitude regarding Dreamer’s death on Gifted, both how it happened and that it happened at all. It’s not surprising for some people to think of how I’ve taken it as an overreaction, but I’ve seen some who think I’m proclaiming Dreamer to be an incredibly important and popular character, as if she’s on par with Jean Grey or something.
I don’t have any delusions about Dreamer and how much or how little popularity she has. My remarks about how poorly the show handled it and the consequences aren’t from thinking she had popularity that could bring the show down, but from what it means in the overall scheme of things.
There are certain things that happen which are symbolic and serve as warning signs. People usually ignore them or don’t even notice they happened, but they exist all the same. They’re portents of things to come. Dreamer’s death is one such case.
Dreamer’s death was handled poorly. Okay, but “it was only one time” and “she was only a supporting character,” and “she wasn’t popular,” so brush it off. But then another character dies the same way. Maybe Shatter. Then another character dies the same way. Maybe Sage. Then another. And another. And another. Not just that they died, but that the script threw out all logic to force the characters into a situation where the death happens, and it only happens to advance the stories of all the other characters that remain.
These are all “unimportant” characters. They exist on the show solely to support the main cast, and they’re not popular. Right? If Dreamer’s death didn’t hurt the show much, surely they can just keep doing it and they’ll be fine.
Here’s the thing. A mistake doesn’t become better and accepted with repeats. It gets worse. The effect is magnified the more times it happens and the more it becomes a trend. There’s a reason people scoff at comic book deaths as generally cheap and empty even with Jean Grey dead for over a decade. It became a trend that people looked down on.
A lack of sufficient complaints and demands for the writers on Gifted to not do what they did to Dreamer again, or better yet to fix what they did, emboldens continuing to write character deaths – all of them – in the same manner. Let them keep at it and they become entrenched in that style. Then, when it comes to a head and people actually start complaining? It’s too late. The show’s reputation suffers, more and more people cut from the show because they feel no reason to get invested if characters are going to keep dying like that, and it’s hard to impossible to course correct by that point. Even if the writers want to.
Personal anecdote, and I haven’t looked around online so I don’t know the general perception of it: Heroes. My memory of the show, as seasons went on they started randomly killing off any interesting new characters they introduced. I don’t know about other people, but for me, I stopped watching the show somewhere around season 3 or 4 because of it. I especially remember the deaths of Daphne Millbrook and Adam Monroe as instigators in driving me from wanting to watch. I didn’t make a fuss online about it, I just simply stopped watching.
People deeply invested in the show are going to support it regardless of what it does, but that can change easily when something they’re personally invested in is thrown away in an insulting manner, and that’s not counting more casual viewers who are less beholden to sticking by the show.
I want Dreamer’s death undone on Gifted and for the show to never handle character death like that again. I want it for myself, of course. But what I want would also be good for the show. If the writers keep doing things the way they did, I am certain it will kill the show. It won’t be a matter of if, but when it reaches a breaking point.