Much ado has been made in the last few days about Tilda Swinton being in talks for the Doctor Strange movie, making her the second surreally-visaged actor to potentially claim a role in said film. At first blush, this could be cool; Tilda Swinton is weird and wonderful, she’d be a welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Except for one thing: she’s apparently set to play Doc Strange’s mentor, the Ancient One—a traditionally Tibetan (and male) role. While on one hand, it’s nice to see that Marvel is finally thinking out of the box in regards to casting, it’s also pretty dang racist to whitewash a role that’s traditionally filled by a person of color.
If they gotta cast a white person why not cast Tilda as Strange? Get B.Cumbs out of my MCU…
This leads me to ask: when should a character not have a certain set of powers? Are there certain kinds of magic that are tied enough to specific cultures that it’s not right for someone outside that culture to have them?
About two months ago, I took a closer look at one of the non-werewolf supernatural species, the banshee, in my beloved Teen Wolf. To sum that post up, in the creation of the banshee for Teen Wolf, consistency, continuity, and logic had clearly gone out the window. Did the show do any better introducing later creatures? After the Celtic Druids (who sometimes brought up Norse gods) in Season 3A, Jeff Davis expanded beyond just a Euro-centric mythos and looked a little further east for inspiration in 3B. The viewers met a new brand of being: the kitsune. While the new characters brought girl power and much needed Asian representation to Beacon Hills (and TV in general), did they bring any more consistency and logic than the banshees? Not so much.
Possession is one of the most terrifying staples in the horror genre’s arsenal. Its terror stems from two main sources: firstly, the fear of lack of control over one’s own body, and secondly, the shock of seeing someone you know and love doing bad things. But aside from the visceral discomfort viewers feel from seeing a possessed person, how is possession used in the overall narratives of a work? In other words, what is the point of possession? I think it largely depends on who or what is doing the possessing, and the character development impact that the possession has for the character being possessed.
Season 3B: I did lose my mind, thanks a lot, Jeff Davis. I also lost my faith in humanity, my hope for this show, and also my dignity.
I’ll examine two notable examples from recent television. For those of us who are somehow still Teen Wolf fans, the latest season, which wrapped up this past week, featured an extensive possession story arc. This season, everyone’s favorite Loyal Best Friend, Stiles, came to the forefront (look at many promotional image for 3B, like the one above; Stiles was literally in the forefront, featured as more central than the Teen Wolf himself, Scott). Stiles was possessed by a malevolent Japanese fox spirit, called a nogitsune. Fox possession may sound strange to Western audiences, but in Japanese mythology, it’s totally a thing. On the other hand, most American media will feature the more familiar demonic possession, exemplified for the purposes of this post by the case of Sister Mary Eunice in 2012’s American Horror Story: Asylum.
Several Teen Wolf actors let hints drop on Twitter before “Insatiable” aired that there would be a major character death this episode, and they weren’t kidding. Let’s see if I can make it through a recap without ragequitting and then I’ll tell you how bogus and stupid said character death was.
Another Monday, another Teen Wolf episode. In this episode, Stiles throws books off a shelf like an angry cat and Chris Argent is a Jedi, but all this gets pushed aside so that Scott and Kira can listen to a really long story that proves why someone else should be writing this show.
“Due to the mature theme of this episode, viewer discretion is advised.” Oh shit. First time, to my knowledge, that Teen Wolf has begun with a viewer advisory. This does not bode well, my friends. This does not bode well at all.
As the majority of last night’s episode takes place in a psychiatric facility, I wanted to pass this warning along, straight from the official Teen Wolf Tumblr:
We would like to take this time to warn everyone that tonight’s episode will feature some potentially triggering content such as suicide, abuse, self-medication and mental health; just to name a few. We strongly advise that anyone who may find any of this content triggering or harmful avoid the “Echo House” tag on Tumblr.