I’ve been complaining loudly about not just that Dreamer died, but the way her death was handled by the show, ever since it happened.
I’ve complained about how poorly it was done. How the show made her sacrifices leading up to her death worthless and entirely illogical. How the show rushed to move on from her death to play up the Cuckoos at the end of the episode as the “big takeaway.” How the show cared so little about her that they told us things like “she worked at a women’s shelter,” but didn’t bother to show us instead, which would’ve been so much better.
I’ve also talked about her potential. How her powers could’ve been used in ways that weren’t considered (e.g. “fog of war” obscuring vision, or as a defense against psychic attacks by the likes of the Cuckoos). How more could’ve been done of Polaris and Dreamer hanging out as best friends. How if for some reason that wasn’t possible, she could’ve been with “the good guys” next season as counterbalance to the Cuckoos on Lorna’s side.
I’ve even raised arguments for why she should be around for other characters. For example, I’ve privately said to one Polaris fan that she was a “safe support” for Lorna, for example.
I’ve done all of that. But I haven’t gone into what is perhaps the most important reason the death is a problem at all: why Dreamer mattered.
For this, I want to start by directing attention to the amazing art below.
This was a piece of art drawn by Peter Nguyen, requested/commissioned by Jamie Chung and Blair Redford as a continuation of pictures Nguyen drew for the show of all the other main characters.
In this art, I want emphasize a very important feature, the thing that shows precisely what made Dreamer matter so much: hearts.
Think about all the characters on the show. Think about what they’re like, what they represent.
Polaris is fire and fury. Thunderbird is the do-gooder boy scout, the moral compass. Eclipse is the troubled man who’s done wrong and wants to be better. Blink is to sarcastic runaway, the noncommittal type who’s reluctantly sticking around. The Strucker kids are the next generation finding their way in the world. The parents are the old guard protectors trying to help leave behind a good world for their kids, while learning what their generation did wrong. The Cuckoos are the manipulative head-screwers who can look innocent and sweet one second and then vicious and cruel the next. Sage is the smart techie brains of the operation.
None of these characters is the heart of the show. When Gifted killed off Dreamer, they ripped out and stomped on the heart of the show.
As the heart, Dreamer did things that were wrong for the people she loved. She gave Blink her memories and feelings for Thunderbird. She went through Turner’s mind – and felt horrible about the damage done to him, that she couldn’t prevent. When the choice came between herself or the kids not using their powers, she was willing to sacrifice herself for the good of them and all mutants.
She did all of these things out of love and didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was fiercely against Lorna punching out the guy at the bar because, whereas Lorna felt like doing it, Dreamer felt it was unnecessary. She didn’t want a scene, yes, but under the surface, she also didn’t think the guy needed to be hurt.
She kept everyone around her good and loving, in ways no other character could ever possibly pull off.
A lot of people mistakenly think it’s cool and smart and edgy to spurn the heart of a show or franchise and any characters that represent that nature. They’re wrong. Without the heart, everything starts to get dull. Everything loses its color and life and becomes just an endless boring drudge.
The heart gives purpose and meaning and value. It provides a way back from the worst of the worst, and balances things out. You need a heart or you have decay.
When I said Gifted is screwed without Dreamer, way back when it happened, I didn’t have the words to say why the show is screwed. But now I do. This is why. Without Dreamer back as its heart, Gifted is going to sink. Probably not right away, but definitely as things progress. If everything starts to feel dull and repetitive and common. As there’s no color in the darkness.
That’s why she mattered. She represented more than people realize, and as much as many may scoff at the idea, that scoffing and conscious brain thinking isn’t going to change how they slowly react to the show on a subconscious level.