Going to say a few things about Dreamer and The Gifted, specifically.

First, I maintain that if I discover in some way that Dreamer will turn out to not be dead or be revived in the season finale, AND that character death will be handled much better on the show going forward, then I’ll watch the finale and promote it. That hasn’t changed.

Second, some people think this is purely about a character I liked dying, period. That’s not it. The way it was handled is the problem.

I didn’t complain about Pulse’s death or how it was handled. Why? Because he had very little presence on the show. I was disappointed in his death, I thought it was a pointless waste of potential too, but the very minimal screen time meant I kept it at simply saying I was disappointed that he died.

Dreamer, however, had a big presence on the show. She was part of the love triangle for Blink and Thunderbird, yes, but she was also there as Polaris’ best friend and provided support and dynamics in many scenes with her. Furthermore, she had an accidentally hostile dynamic with Jace. To put it simply: she had extensive roots in the show’s story.

A good show doesn’t casually rip a character out with such deep roots, throw them in the trash and move on like nothing happened. Gifted did that. They did it and didn’t seem to care one bit that they did it. They acted like the character had zero worth and rushed forward like nobody else should have felt she had any worth either.

It’s not the death that makes the problem. It’s not giving a damn about the death that’s the problem. A single short funeral scene and a handful of tweets that the show’s social media account only thought to make when people started really complaining are not sufficient. The show should have written and presented the character’s death with more tact and empathy.

And before anyone says something, I’ve considered the possibility that the writers meant for Dr. Campbell saying mutants helped him get out of the hospital quicker to be a hint that Dreamer would be alive. If that’s meant to be a hint, it’s not enough. It’s too easy to assume the writers meant that purely as a throwaway line for world-building and to further establish Campbell’s power over mutants.

This also isn’t like when people complained about Polaris not having green hair on the show, where people should have looked at her comic book history before rushing to judgment. We had something to go on there. IF Dreamer is coming back, we have nothing to go on except at best a throwaway line we have to bend over backwards to trust means something more.

But even if Dreamer comes back, and even if the Campbell line wasn’t a throwaway, neither of those things changes any of my complaints. Planning to bring her back doesn’t make doing a horrible job with her death somehow fine. If I have a girlfriend and I’m planning to propose to her, does that mean it’s fine for me to suddenly break up with her by text message, throw away everything she ever gave me, and ignore her any time she wants to talk to me until the proposal?

That comparison felt awkward, but it’s the best one I can think to use for the simple reason that show and fandom is a relationship too, and to me, how the show handled Dreamer’s death was toxic verging on abusive. I trusted the show to care enough to not pull what they did with their handling of Dreamer’s death, and I can’t root for a show that’s going to have that kind of disdain and disrespect for the emotional investment they get me to put into the show.

Gifted, Dreamer’s Death, Character Death in General

With Gifted renewed for season 2, it’s safer for me to speak more often, and more openly, publicly about how the show handled Dreamer’s death. I complained a lot about it initially, and I still brought it up occasionally, but I actually kept a fairly tight lid on it compared to what I would normally do.

This is entirely because as a Polaris fan, I’m aware the show is still doing amazing things for her and I don’t want the character to lose that. Now that we have another season for her continued presence, I can start really opening up. Ideally the show writers start to care and try to remedy the issue. If not, then at least hopefully other writers out there learn something from it.

Here’s my thoughts and feelings specific to Gifted, Dreamer, and how the show’s handled character death. I may later post a longer post about character death as a whole; I have it in drafts right now.

There are so many things I can say. Where to start.

I didn’t start out interested in Dreamer. I became interested in her as a result of Gifted, from the writers’ work with her to Elle Satine and Emma Dumont’s dynamics together. The instant we got dialogue of Dreamer calling Polaris her best friend, I started imagining so, so many things they could do together.

Other people were focused on the love triangle with Blink and Thunderbird. I never cared, even once, about that love triangle. What I cared about was how cool Polaris and Dreamer could be as a duo. Polaris as the tough sarcastic bruiser type, Dreamer as the kind gentle somewhat seductive type. Polaris was force and power, Dreamer was subtlety and psychology. Not that they couldn’t each have those traits, but they excelled at different things.

In the few moments they had together, that paid off. Polaris had many great moments, but the ones she had with Dreamer were among the best on the show. The scene where Dreamer’s trying to play it soft with the guard and Polaris creates knuckles out of a spoon was just great. Dreamer plays the straight (wo)man to Polaris’ playfulness in that scene.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. There were so, so many more things they could’ve done together… and now they never will.

Dreamer’s death would’ve sucked in any circumstance. It would’ve upset me regardless. But, I can handle character death and suck it up if it’s done well. I didn’t like the death of Andrea on Walking Dead, but I’m still watching the show. The way the show handled her death is why it bugs me so much.

Dreamer’s death was random, pointless, a complete waste of her character and her potential. The show paid very minimal lip service to her in the episode. They show Turner mad at her and Dreamer’s regret, they tell (don’t show) us that she used her powers at a women’s shelter, and then she’s killed off… to motivate two other characters and advance their story.

Her death was swift and happened exclusively for the benefit of other characters. It “raised the stakes” of the story, but those stakes could’ve been raised without killing her. There are many other ways. And if the writers wanted her off the show? They could’ve put her on a bus, as the trope goes. Her death was unnecessary.

What made it even worse was how quickly the show moved on from it in the episode and what people on the show clearly wanted to be the episode’s primary focus. In almost no time at all, the show rushed from Dreamer’s death like they wanted to put it behind them and on to hyping up the Cuckoo sisters. The Cuckoo sisters were what the people on Gifted wanted everyone to focus on and remember most.

Meaning, they didn’t want people to think much about Dreamer, her death and all the potential lost with her death, compared to how great and glorious and amazing they wanted people to see the Cuckoos as being.

The funeral for Dreamer in the next episode changes none of this. It just reinforces how the show saw her as worthless aside from “developing” all the other characters and “raising the stakes.”

Not to mention problems with execution in general. Coincidentally, the two women of Thunderbird’s love triangle happen to be the two threatened with death. Coincidentally, the character who gets killed off is the one the show and its writers don’t want to be in relationship with Thunderbird. In other words: the writers are basically saying with Dreamer’s death that they think she only had worth in adding drama to Blink x Thunderbird, and that they think without that, she no longer has any value and should just die.

All of this bugs me for many reasons. Among them: if not for the grace of popularity and writer interest in her, this could be Polaris.

As a Polaris fan, I know very well how little Marvel’s thought of her, how disposable and worthless Marvel sees her. She got treated poorly for decades, never killed but treated like a constant punching bag or plot device for the benefit of other characters. Things about her and all her potential would get ripped out or ignored in favor of building up everyone else around her.

What happened to Dreamer on Gifted with her death is the same attitude Marvel’s traditionally had about Polaris. I thought Gifted was better than that, and it broke all my faith in the show and its writers that they would behave that way even if it was toward a different character.

Nevermind a haunting undercurrent of thought I have that Gifted’s writers might very well do exactly this to Polaris somewhere down the line if they get their hands on “better” characters that are “more deserving” of attention and use than Lorna. If they’re going to treat a character like Dreamer the way they did, how would they treat Polaris if they got Storm, or Jean Grey, or Emma Frost on the show? Would they randomly, pointlessly kill Polaris off so we could see Storm get real upset about her death and what a great character Storm is, at the price of any respect for Polaris, what she offered the show, and what her potential was that wouldn’t be realized now?

There’s also a deeper personal reason I hate character death. Yes, I find it incredibly cheap and lazy writing when there are alternatives. But outside of that, random pointless death is everywhere in life. Some people think of that as a reason it should be seen as okay on Gifted or any fiction, but I see it as a reason it shouldn’t be.

We go to fiction to escape the horrors of the world, or to face them in safe ways where we can enjoy and understand them. We don’t go to fiction to be reminded of how shitty the world is and why everything sucks and why continuing to live is pointless because we can die at any moment. I don’t need random pointless character death to remind me of all that. I get enough of it in my actual life.

Those are all my longform thoughts for the moment. I may have more in the future.

Opinion: Polaris (Lorna Dane) writer pros/cons (2012 to present)

I’ve considered making a post like this for several months, and I’m starting to hate myself for dwelling on negatives lately, so it’s time I do this.

Here are my thoughts on the pros and cons of various writers and/or their runs regarding use of Polaris. I’m only doing since 2012 because to be frank, I haven’t read everything Lorna’s been in, and I’m only really concerned with recent use anyway.

Just because I list a con doesn’t necessarily mean I think that con is a major travesty. Some are huge problems, some are minor things that are included for sake of honesty. This also does not mean my views won’t change over time. I might spot a problem at some future point that doesn’t look like a problem right now. Could even be something I currently think is good. Conversely, something that’s bad to me now might seem good later based on how things change.


Mike Carey (X-Men Legacy, “Five Miles South of the Universe”)

Pros

  • Subtly confirmed Polaris is a mutant again with her powers
  • Confirmed Magneto is, in fact, Lorna’s father after the question was left open for too long
  • Let Lorna and Magneto interact for the first time in about a decade
  • Let Lorna demonstrate fine power capabilities again (altering molecules to patch up space station)
  • Got Lorna and the rest of the Starjammers back to Earth after over a year of limbo so they could take part in X-Men/Marvel stories there

Cons

  • Had Polaris mind-controlled yet again, by Friendless

Peter David

Pros

  • Provided Lorna’s origin story, after over 40 years without one
  • Provided Lorna interacting with her brother Pietro for most of ANXF, and sister Wanda for one issue of ANXF
  • Gave Lorna a leadership role of a team in her own right for the first time in over 40 years (before this, she was “substitute leader” for Havok, Magneto and Madrox)
  • Teased the notion of a romance between Polaris and Gambit; important, since Havok is literally the only love interest Lorna’s been allowed to have since Iceman in the late 60s while Havok’s had several
  • Was able to capture the playful “zinger” side of her personality well
  • At least had a good reason for team costumes for ANXF

Cons

  • Bias against Magneto meant he tried to keep the two apart, wrote Lorna disparaging Magneto more than once
  • Opposition to characters he’s writing taking part in bigger events meant Marvel had an excuse to exclude Lorna from Axis and other events
  • Very poor representation of Lorna’s mental/emotional issues in early parts of All-New X-Factor
  • ANXF #3-6 increasingly treated Lorna like “leader in name only” with Gambit acting more like the leader and Lorna like a member of his team; e.g. Gambit inviting Danger to the team while Lorna’s written as annoyed but getting no say in the membership of her own team (mostly changed for the better starting with ANXF #7)
  • Except with ANXF #243, tendency to disregard work of other previous writers and act like things they did are things he’s doing brand new
  • Prioritized team costumes over costumes that showed character individuality

Marjorie Liu

Pros

  • Acknowledged Lorna’s history with Iceman as one of his past love interest
  • Acknowledged Lorna (along with Gambit) had been one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen
  • Let Lorna talk about things other than Iceman in the few panels she had

Cons

  • Didn’t acknowledge Lorna’s specific history as the first love interest Iceman had in publication chronology
  • Didn’t have a moment of Lorna interacting with Nurse Annie (though they did share a panel with no words, sort of acknowledging that history)

Alan Davis (Savage Hulk, “The Man Within”)

Pros

  • Included Polaris in the story, in effect acknowledging she existed and played a minor role in the original story the arc was based on
  • Gave her slightly more presence than cameo via version of her imagined by Bruce Banner
  • Actually acknowledged and used the importance of Lorna’s headgear in the story – something almost nobody does

Cons

  • I guess… not more presence of Lorna? The “Jean taking Hulk power” mindscape bit would’ve been more interesting with Lorna in her place IMO. All that green and atypical for Marvel to let Lorna be powerful instead of Claremont’s preferred women.

Cullen Bunn

Pros

  • Got Polaris and Magneto back together interacting as father and daughter
  • Acknowledged Lorna’s history with both Genosha and Marauders/Malice
  • Brought Lorna onto X-Men Blue as a teacher for the teen O5 (incl. great few panels in Blue #16)
  • Let her be team leader of the last X-Men in an alternate future (Deadpool & Mercs for Money)
  • Awareness of how powerful Lorna can be shown in multiple instances
  • Able to capture her “darker” side, especially playful dark in Blue #16

Cons

  • Poor representation of how she would react in certain situations given her history (surprise attack on mansion, discovering the Malice costume suddenly on her body, etc)
  • Tendency to do opposite of Peter David and make Magneto look good at Lorna’s expense (changed for the better with Blue #15)
  • Presented X-Men Blue #9 as the big return of Polaris after two years of forced limbo, only to have Havok completely hijack her spotlight (in addition to Havok getting a Blue event focused on him next year)
  • Having Lorna interact with Havok at all when she needs more time to establish herself without his presence first

Dennis Hopeless (Secret Wars: House of M)

Pros

  • Acknowledged Lorna as part of the Magnus family/House of M and used it
  • Demonstrated Lorna with great intellect, strategic thinking, and power use
  • Showed Lorna providing support for her father and his kingdom
  • Lorna got to interact with Black Cat, tease idea of working together in thievery

Cons

  • Pietro treated very poorly, and Magneto poorly in a couple spots, for Lorna’s benefit (not needed)
  • Not enough of a dynamic with her sister Wanda

Gifted writers

Pros

  • Excellent representation of Lorna’s dark side and vicious, unfliching support/protection of mutants
  • Hilarious and awesome training methods for her students on display
  • Co-leadership role alongside Thunderbird
  • Though presently low-powered (as needed for a show), versatility and creativity to her power set demonstrated repeatedly
  • Great moments of Polaris and Dreamer, best friends, working together on missions
  • Polaris in a romantic relationship (Eclipse) that’s actually good, giving her the care and respect in her own right that Marvel’s almost never given her

Cons

  • Didn’t make very good use of Lorna’s time in prison (e.g. could’ve forged alliances, made contacts for outside prison) and did it too soon
  • Brought in a pregnancy storyline way too soon
  • Randomly, pointlessly killed off Dreamer and all the potential the Polaris and Dreamer duo had
  • Just generally don’t know how to do character death right, following the godawful comic book philosophy of cheap deaths out of nowhere instead of proper build-up and catharsis seen on countless other TV shows (Once Upon a Time, Walking Dead, etc)

… I saw a tweet today where a guy threatened Gifted’s writers and Campbell’s actor over Dreamer’s death on the show. I have no idea if this threat was an attempt at a joke in very poor taste to mock people, if it was very mistaken hyperbole, or if it was a genuine threat.

Regardless of why the guy made his tweet, I feel like I really, really need to make this clear: do not threaten to hurt or kill creators. There is nothing in fiction, whether real or perceived mistakes, that warrants this kind of behavior. If something upsets you or something’s wrong then absolutely call it out and complain, but don’t threaten physical harm.

This has been a very important reminder.

meeloistrying:

I love Polaris more and more everytime i watch a new episode 💚🙂 She’s super badass (and punch bad guys with a spoon) Lorna is so proud of being a mutant, of what she can do and it’s just amazing 😌She has such an awesome story and a tricky development. Emma is doing an amazing job, she’s awesome as Polaris and she loves her character !
People have told me that the painting looked scary, for me she looks angry and determinated ! >:D she’s fighting for her freedom here guys ! I loved that scene and i needed to do something about it 😊

This one is about 1m on 1.40m, it’s huge ! 

Follow me on Instagram @meelo.is.trying and Twitter @MeeloIsTrying !😁💚

Absolutely awesome work, I love every bit of it.

Disney and Fox are closing in on deal, could be announced next week: Sources

I have some things I feel I need to say about all of this.

I have made no secret about my pessimism and negativity toward Marvel itself, especially the idea of Disney managing to buy Fox productions and in so doing re-acquire the film rights to the X-Men franchise. Repeatedly, every time the notion of this deal has come up, I have talked about how this would be a terrible deal for the vast majority of fans.

I stick by that. Completely.

The normal “logic” some fans of various characters hold is that in this situation, they should keep quiet or perhaps even kiss Marvel’s ass. The thinking is that doing so means if Marvel does manage to buy the rights, they’re in Marvel’s good graces for future plans. The logic is that they can lobby Marvel to support their character once the rights go to Marvel.

But here’s the thing: I’m a Polaris fan. I’ve been one for 8 years. I know better.

I’ve seen Marvel’s history of treating Lorna poorly. I’ve watched as they technically did good things for her on rare occasions lately, but made absolutely certain that those good things never got any spread and never amounted to anything. And only so they couldn’t be accused of not doing them. Because they knew it looked bad for someone to be able to say this character that’s existed for over 40 years never once had her origin story told, or never lead a team of her own.

I was there for a certain editor at Marvel arguing that her ties to her father Magneto should be severed, and watched as he explicitly kept her out of family events and even had House of M scenes redrawn to remove her.

All of which is just recent. I’ve seen them seem to not acknowledge in any way that Polaris was treated like a punching bag for decades prior to the 00s. I’ve seen them ignore the fact that she survived the Genoshan genocide, a major traumatic episode that gave her severe PTSD. I saw that Marvel routinely and eagerly ignores major developments and events in her character existence just cause it doesn’t fit a certain era that treated her poorly.

I was there for Avengers vs X-Men, Axis, and everything with the Terrigen Mists. I saw how beyond just Lorna, Marvel viewed the X-Men franchise as so expendable that they could tear it down to build up the Avengers, then “replace” them with Inhumans.

I have two incentives to oppose Marvel getting the Fox studios. Poor treatment of Lorna, and poor treatment of the X-Men franchise in general.

Other fans may have their reasons for kissing ass, but I’m not going to. I know, for a fact, that Marvel having the film rights back means my favorite character is screwed, and most characters except the “most important” ones will get next to nothing from Marvel.

I can absolutely guarantee that if it were up to Marvel, I would not be watching Polaris be an awesome badass on Gifted. They would not have selected her to be a major featured character, and they most certainly would not have let her be as badass as she is on the show. Marvel’s view of her would have been that she should be either a minor supporting/background character, or the girlfriend of Havok, and nothing else.

That’s all Marvel sees in her. And I strongly suspect that Marvel would cancel Gifted or else kill off or demote Polaris once they gained control of the show.

Marvel spent the past 8 years keeping her separated from Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver before forcibly retconning the twins out of the family. They spent the past 8 years keeping Lorna isolated from broader X-Men and Marvel events, and excluding her from things like Axis where she sure as hell would have been involved if her actual stake in things was taken into account. Lorna’s back right now in X-Men Blue as a supporting character only, and that’s after putting her in forced limbo for two years.

Marvel’s made the fact it looks down on Polaris and doesn’t acknowledge her worth or potential very well known to me. I’m not going to kiss the company’s ass when I know they’ll do what they’ve already done for decades: tear her down. Hold her back. Undermine things she’s in.

We have Polaris on Gifted because Fox owns the film rights and Matt Nix wanted to use her. Marvel would not have done that all on its own.

End of my post.

Disney and Fox are closing in on deal, could be announced next week: Sources