Pop Culture Pet Peeve: Awesome characters dying lame deaths

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Image Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

(Warning: We’re talking about pop culture deaths, so spoilers ahead!)

I’ll admit it: I fall for the bad guy. No, I’m not talking about romantically (unless your name is Ryan Atwood). What I mean is that I always end up rooting for the guy who seems invincible. For example, Dominic Toretto is one of my favorite movie characters. And actually, I do love him. So maybe this is romantically.

Regardless, I cheer for the guy who can’t be beat. On Breaking Bad, that was Mike (This case is definitely not romantic.). Back before Walt strapped bombs to wheelchairs, there was one guy who kept Gus Fring’s entire operation running smoothly. Mike was the guy you called if you needed help. He was the guy who was so calm and so smooth that cops could never pin anything on him. And he was the guy you didn’t want to piss off. He could walk into an entire warehouse by himself and kill everyone involved with only a handgun. And the guy was a grandfather, for goodness sake!

But when it came time for his death — why he had to die, I have NO idea — nothing seemed to add up for me.

First of all, Mike knew how to pick the right guys for a job. He checked and double-checked before letting someone in on an operation. And you’re telling me that he chose some idiot lawyer who blabbed to the cops the first chance he got to help him pay off his guys in prison? I don’t believe you. We all make mistakes, but not like that. Not Mike.

And then, you kill him by having Walt shoot him in a moment of panic, immediately realize he didn’t have to do it, and then have Mike just fall off a rock?! You spent seasons building up what a badass Mike was, and he dies with a bullet to the stomach, sitting on a rock. Did Mike not survive multiple gun shot wounds after they killed the cartel?!

At least Gus got a death worthy of his badassness: He got half his face blown off. If you were going to kill Mike, it should’ve involved something BIG. Maybe sacrificing himself for his granddaughter or something. After all, this is the man who once survived machine guns shooting up a truck with him inside with only an ear wound to show for it.

This brings me to my next death: True Blood‘s one-and-only Eric Northman (This case is definitely romantic).

*Disclaimer: We know Eric will be back next season, but we don’t know that he’s alive, so I’m treating this as his death.*

When we first met Eric, he was sitting on a throne of sorts at Fangtasia. His long hair and tall stature were almost as intimidating as his cold stare. He was immediately presented as the sexy bad guy opposite Bill’s sexy good guy. And over the years, we got to see other sides to Eric, but he never lost his edge. If you were trapped in the Authority, Eric was the guy you wanted to break you out. Or if you found yourself kidnapped and stuck in vampire jail, Eric would surrender himself simply because he was that confident that he could find a way out. Eric was the man.

Did I mention that Eric was a viking? The guy was more than 1,000 years old. He had fought more battles than humans could even imagine. And yet he went out sunbathing nude all by his lonesome? Don’t get me wrong, I think the death fits perfectly with True Blood‘s campy style, and of all people, Eric would be the one to die completely naked, but is it a death worthy of the show’s strongest character? I’m not so sure.

The argument for Eric being in Sweden when Warlow died (and therefore Warlow’s blood no longer protected Eric from the sun) is that he was still upset over the death of his sister, Nora. That’s understandable, but Eric didn’t leave the country when his MAKER died, so why did he feel the need when his sister died? And not knowing exactly how Warlow’s fairy blood worked, I find it hard to believe that Eric would go so far away to risk it all.

My other issue is the fact that we only see Eric in about 30 seconds of the finale, and it’s his death scene. It’s not as if they were building to this big moment, but rather it was all one big “Oops, guess I shouldn’t have gone sunbathing alone in the mountains of Sweden.” Eric deserved better. And hopefully, we’ll find out next season that this wasn’t his death.

Bottom line: These worlds are fictional, you guys. If we get to decide the deaths, they should be worthy of the characters they’re killing. Don’t spend years building up a character and then dispose of them like they’re an after-thought. Are you all with me on this? What movie or television death really gets on your nerves?


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