2016: The bad guys and girls I like a lot more than Negan

Negan TWD Daryl

The one you hate to love, that is how Kirman and Gimple insisted Negan would become for the Walking Dead fans. They confused the comic fans with the show's viewers on this one. It is simple to switch alliances in a comic, sure you get attached to the characters, but a character that is designed his half your own projections, he or she is a lot less concrete than a living, breathing, sometimes growling actor/actress with a great Instagram account. Comic book reader are different. Better, they  proclaim themselves to be. They really get it. Honor the material. But the material can drag you down, if you let it. Every adaptation has right to his own life.
I was watching Talking Dead yesterday and Kirman was disputing a survey where the viewer could choose between Daryl or Negan, who would you rather...It wasn't even close but Kirman kept saying: ' No, no, Negan all the way.'
As a writer, you love a dynamic character. Sure, you get attached to your own creations. From the inside out. You love them as you would yourself. If you are not a full blown narcissist that means that its the story that you are faithful to, the one that will sacrifice yourself, and all your characters for.
A creator would underestimate the attachment that tv-viewers at this time would have with an actor.  A living, breathing actor.
Suddenly this dude comes in, kills two of our living, breathing friends and we are supposed to get over it.  It's impossible. There is no love there.

Season six was a good season of the Walking Dead, Season 7 feels too beholden to the original. I hope they will split from the comic soon, having to endure Carl's special relationship with Negan, sounds boring. It would be a great pleasure to see them kill Negan. So I said it. Just boom, gone. Next.
It may be Jeffrey Dean Morgan's interpretation, it is half good, half bad. Whenever Negan leans in and whispers, he is really good, whenever he leans back, does his little curtsey and says something as Damn...it is jarring, and not in a good way. The Walking Dead started as this naturalistic show, slow, eerie, dreamy, and violent. Surprisingly it wasn't cartoonish. I get that it's cool to see a favorite scene come to life, but it is also predictable, safe and not dangerous enough. How evil Negan is, and please don't get me started about people and their: ' Well he has this code.' he doesn't feel dangerous enough. He doesn't stir anything up in the underbelly, how uncomfortable he makes Olivia, he puts the viewer right at ease. We saw somebody as him before. Flashy, psychopathic.
It's interesting when people genuinely like someone like Negan. Perplexing as people genuinely like someone as Trump, that baffling thing, when people are not able to look right through a simplistic villain.
I am not enamored by Negan, but fortunately 2016 had enough other badasses on offer.

And some of them where sweethearts. Or not...


When ever I see Michael K Williams on my screen, I point and scream: Omar Devote Little! Omar is coming! (you see how tenacious love for a character can be).  The moment you see Freddy Knight leaning over the balustrade checking out Naz, the little lamb, being brought in, you know you are in for a treat. Menacing at first, his interest in Naz seems just an violent outburst waiting to happen. But his evil influence is more a toxic kind of helpfulness. He genuinely likes Naz, he needs him, and helps him survive prison by showing him the road of no return. Sure Naz got out, and Freddy pulverized that boxing bag, channeling the abandonment, but like Freddy poor Naz won't  be able to escape, an addict, and hardend now. Did Freddy save Naz from certain dead in prison, was it inevitable without protection or would Naz been allright and was Freddy's invitation to a slow path of destruction his undoing? You are never 100 procent sure if you watched the modern version of Shawshank's Andy and Red or a sinister bond. It's impossible to measure Freddy's goodwill or calculating evil and selfishness, but no matter what the base of their relationship may be, that last scene when Naz  gets out, and leaves Freddy  there, both without much of a future, without the chance of saying goodbye is heartbreaking.


Talking about hate to love, I pledge my allegiance to Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. She is such an evil machine. It is very difficult to describe how well this character is written and how wonderfully interpreted. Conflicted characters are always fascinating, but Elizabeth Jennings, is a layer cake without bottom. As a KGB spy she had the best training, and years of experience, what she excelles at is subterfuge. Never is she as bad as when she beams in the front door, holding a casserole inviting FBI agent Beemen to dinner. 'Would you like to come in, Stan?' It sound so fucking believable. Of course it's no wonder that Keri Russel is able to make that fake warmth so impenetrable. But she has given Elizabeth such a hot burning steel core. A fanatic, calculating operative, who's is also sympathetic to some very worthy causes, and someone that will kill an innocent witness without one second of doubt. This season we saw her killing an attacker, killing one of her assets, and destroying a poor Koreans men's live ( and giving a crap for the first time.). In the three season before we saw that Elzabeth will sleep with everybody, will kill, and endure imaginable pain with a hint of liking it. At home she will ignore her husbands doubts or right them with her political conviction. As we witness Philip oh so slowly crumbling Elizabeth has been steadfast. When you describe such a character without ever having witnessed Keri Russel's acting, you imagine this glacial bitch. But there are more layers, Elizabeth is empathic, her attachmnet to her children, and Phil never in discussion.  It is her curiosity that is her most vulnerable side. This season it leads her to explore the potlucks at her daughter's church, setting her hate for organized religion aside, and even attending a meeting at EST, the cultish feel good introspection group that Phil is attending. Followed by one of the best intimate scenes on tv this year when Elizabeth and Phil finally unleashed all the frustrations that they have to suppress to function as a couple that was arranged so they could give their heart and souls to mother Russia.
What is so wonderful about Elizabeth is that you can't make assumptions which way she will go in the coming two seasons. Pay attention because this Russian is lethal, and the choice between her conviction and love for her family is coming.


In real life villains are not that ones that are prone to violence. Passive aggressiveness is a much more common trait. Undermining somebody is a very vile act.  As Maya Angelou has said: 'Don't enter a relationship with people that peck you to death like a duck.' This trope in entertainment comes often in a comedic interpretation, that of the mother or mother in law, then mostly it's benign. Unlike Chuck. What a little weasel he is. But the writing in in Better Call Saul genius as it is, it gives Chuck all the reasons to be who he is. He has worked so hard, kept on the straight and narrow, fought for the love of his parents, and the respect of his peers, and here comes his idiot brother, a cunning, scheming fraudulent impostor, and steals his thunder and the love he thinks he deserves. The one mistake Chuck makes, and the one that makes him the villain in Better Call Saul, is not being able to forgive, give his brother a break. In Season One it looked like that stemmed from fear and caution, and a superiority complex, and it was still bearable. But now we know it's envy and jealousy that fuels why Chuck wants to keep his brother in his place. I really like this conflict, because I can totally sympathize with Chuck, Jimmy is a screwup, he doesn't know his place and he is getting by on bravado and flash.  In this political climate where a clown is dancing all the way to the White House over de dead bodies of the country's elite it is all the more interesting. But Chuck's sin, and the reason he is also so easy to hate is that he is convinced Saul is a similar ignorant jester, denying him praise for his incredible work ethic, his acute intelligence and very large heart. Saul is in essence a decent man, and Chuck with all the formidable educations he has, his manners, his standing, is not.
So when Chuck used Saul's own tricks against him,  and gets him on tape, even if it's a reaction to being conned, humiliated, even if Chuck stands in his right to take revenge,  that moment is so chilling and thrillingly villainous that it earns Chuck his rightful his place among all the killers and criminals and badasses.


Negan was supposed to be cool, wasn't he. He sure can take a few lessons from this girl. Sure he is naming his penis, uhm bat, with cutesy names, and killing people right and left, but his swagger is old fashioned, this is what that means having it anno 2016. She surpasses him also at her own balcony speech to rile up her army of hackers. Seeing her taking over for her brother was surprising and thrilling. Mr Robot has lots worse people on offer than Darlene; Waitrose, Joanna (Brrrrrr! Negan wouldn't stand a chance with this one.), Philip Price, Tyrell Wellick, and Mr Robot himself. I'll go for Darlene anyday. It may be Carly Chaikins's face, with punkish Angelina Jolie features, her vocal fry, the lanky way she stands and the total indifference that is her shield, but this girl charms the hell out of me. With Elliott out of fsociety for half of the season, Darlene improvises and imposes her way to the top of the hackers cooperative. When Elliot is at the helm, we don't know what the hell he is going for, justice or total destruction, it depends which alter ego is talking, but Darlene is a true believer, if not she would be a monster, and she tries to finish the job with absurdist improvisation skills. Kidnap the Stockexchange's bull, castrate him and drop his balls through the ceiling of the house of Representatives, brilliant. Blackmail E Corp, and make Scott Knowles burn a fortune while wearing fsociety mask, why not? Break in E-corp's top lawyer's apartment, hack the FBI, all perfect. Darlene swings a baseball bat at Cisco after finding out he is spying on her for the Dark Army, it felt like the good kind of shock, nothing like another scene I am not talking about. That cliffhanger came at the end of the episode Darlene owned, the one where she held the stun gun  to Susan Jacobs pacemaker and let her drown in revenge for laughing when E Corp was cleared of the toxic dump that killed her father.
She lies about it afterwards, incinerates Susan and confesses to Cisco that she doesn't feel a thing. She may be in shock as Cisco suggest, but I don't buy it. There's a book about women terrorists called Shoot the women first. The reason behind the title was that the women in the Red Brigades, IRA, the Red Army Fraction were labeled as much more dangerous than the men by the attack teams that were trying to capture or kill them.
So Dom is quite brilliant, she focuses on Darlene to take fsociety down, 'us two Jersey girls, we are going to be best friends' , but if I were her I would watch this one...


THE PUNISHER IN DAREDEVIL: I know Matt is a good guy, trying to save his city while never betraying his Catholic beliefs, but it makes for one frustrating watch when the people he fight against are just so vile, so having The Punisher there mowing everyone made it a whole lot more enjoyable. Is he insane, well that is always the question with John Bernthal. What would Shane do remains a valid question throughout The Walking Dead, and I missed him. Welcome back you crazy, crazy guy.

I am only a few episodes in, but for all your Downtown Abbey fans, please check out Michelle Dockery as a jittery, ruthless, duplicitous and hopeless con woman. It reminds me very much of The Grifters, but I am not sure if Letty will step into Anjelica Houston, or Annette Bening's shoes. Certainly not in poor John Cusack's ones.


Is he a villain? What is so great about the role and Courtney J. Vance's interpretation is that even if he may embody everything that is wrong with lawyers, he doesn't seem to be aware of it at all. Johnnie fights for a just cause, reducing violence by police against blacks, so he could be a hero, but he dilutes and smears his legacy by subverting that to free that one black man that didn't deserve it. Grandiose, hyper intelligent, flashy, and very human, what a role!


This is how you do cartoonish. I don't knew where came up with that voice, Marhershala Ali certainly didn't have it as Remi in House of Cards . Maybe it is strange to include him, his cousin Mariah got rid of him quite easily. But he left a giant hole in the show,  Alfre Woodard was great as Mariah, but Diamondback wasn't scary, and Shades is just too slick to stick. RIP Cottonmouth.

So, who did I miss?