Sunday, March 31, 2013

TV Obituaries, Vol. 3: March 2013

March was a fucking TV character bloodbath!

Spoilers follow for Banshee, The Following, Justified, New Girl, Revenge, Revolution, Scandal, Spartacus, Supernatural, Vikings and The Walking Dead.

List is ranked according to what percentage of the show's total episode count the deceased character appeared in at the time of their death, starting low and counting down to high.

R.I.P. Walt Miller (New Girl)

Died: Season 2 Episode 20 - "Chicago"

Episode Count: 1 / 44

Cause of Death: Heart attack

Obituary: I won't regularly include one-episode characters in TV Obituaries, but if it's the parent of one of a show's leads, I can let it slide. Nick's dad Walt showed up and got Nick and Jess wrapped up in a horse-selling scheme. He was kind of an asshole but also just a bit of an asshole with a heart of gold. Then he died offscreen and had an episode dedicated to his Elvis-themed funeral.

R.I.P. Meg (Supernatural)

Died: Season 8 Episode 17 - "Goodbye Stranger"

Episode Count: 13 / 166

Cause of Death: Killed with magic dagger by Crowley, King of Hell

Obituary: Despite a relatively small episode count percentage-wise, the demon Meg (real name unknown, "Meg" was the name of her first human shell and what she's gone by since) has had an impressive arc over eight seasons of Supernatural, evolving from Sam and Dean's archenemy to minion of Lucifer to ally of the guys against Crowley to a hero who, in "Goodbye Stranger," willingly sacrificed herself to Crowley to allow the guys' escape. She did some evil in the show's early years, but I daresay she'll be missed.

R.I.P. Trask (Revenge)

Died: Season 2 Episode 18 - "Masquerade"

Episode Count: 4 / 40

Cause of Death: Snapped neck

Obituary: Revenge now has a rich tradition of introducing and then hastily killing off one representative after another of the Americon Initiative: First the white-haired man, then Helen Crowley, and now Trask, whose neck was snapped by Aiden Mathis as revenge (hey, that's the name of the show!) for Padma and his sister. For a supposedly all-powerful evil organization, it's beginning to make them look a bit wimpy.

R.I.P. Heracleo (Spartacus)

Died: Season 3 Episode 6 - "Spoils of War"

Episode Count: 4 / 35

Cause of Death: Hot branding iron through the throat

Obituary: Self-proclaimed pirate king Heracleo sailed on into Spartacus's conquered city of Sinuessa en Valle, offering shipping and supplies. Then he betrayed Spartacus to Marcus Crassus, smuggling Crassus' soldiers into the city. Crassus gave Heracleo the Roman noblewoman Laeta as a slave as payment, but when Heracleo looked away Laeta put a hot branding iron through his throat. Whoops!

R.I.P. Grayden Osborne (Scandal)

Died: Season 2 Episode 17 - "Snake in the Garden"

Episode Count: 4 / 24

Cause of Death: Staged suicide (actually assassinated by CIA officer/White House mole Jake Ballard)

Obituary: CIA Director Osborne was suspected of being a mole for like, terrorists, or something, inside the White House. But it turned out he was just kind of a dick, and another guy who was the real mole killed him. Truth be told, it was kind of a nothing role for an actor as good as Kurt Fuller, but his presence did have the effect of making me surprised by his sudden end.

R.I.P. Colton Rhodes (Justified)

Died: Season 4 Episode 12 - "Peace of Mind"

Episode Count: 12 / 51

Cause of Death: Gunshot

Obituary: In terms of plot mechanics, Colt didn't do that much through this season of Justified beyond be Boyd Crowder's henchman. But the performance of Ron Eldard was charismatic enough, his banter quick enough, and his military police backstory intriguing enough that I felt a pang of sadness when he drew on Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson, forcing Tim to shoot him dead.

R.I.P. Nemetes (Spartacus)

Died: Season 3 Episode 5 - "Blood Brothers"

Episode Count: 9 / 34

Cause of Death: Sword to the throat by Julius Caesar

Obituary: For a while, Nemetes was just one of Spartacus's soldiers who didn't do much beyond fight in the background of battle scenes and get a line here and there in crowd scenes. Then it was revealed he was, unbeknownst to Spartacus, really into kidnapping, raping and torturing Roman women after battles. So his bloody end was, whatever his allegiance, a moment of fist-pumping triumph.

R.I.P. Milton Mamet (The Walking Dead)

Died: Season 3 Episode 16 - "Welcome to the Tombs" (season finale)

Episode Count: 10 / 35

Cause of Death: Stabbed by the Governor (then killed in zombie form by Andrea)

Obituary: The Governor's scientist/nerd henchman, Milton was all into experimenting on zombies but nevertheless pretty sane for a Woodburian. When he confronted the Governor about, you know, being evil, the Governor put a knife in him. He never had much backstory or motivation or personality beyond "nerd" or a lot of screen presence, but at least he made more of an impact than Axel.

R.I.P. Padma Lahari (Revenge)

Died: Season 2 Episode 18 - "Masquerade"

Episode Count: 14 / 40

Cause of Death: Killed offscreen by Trask by unknown means

Obituary: Padma was introduced early in Revenge's second season as a business associate (then ally, then lover) of tech wizard Nolan Ross, and spent the entire season doing nothing but trying to rescue her kidnapped father. Now that she's dead, that's probably never going to be resolved. It's up to you whether that's a bold narrative curveball or just frustrating, unsatisfying storytelling.

R.I.P. Merle Dixon (The Walking Dead)

Died: Season 3 Episode 15 - "This Sorrowful Life"

Episode Count: 13 / 34

Cause of Death: Shot by the Governor (then killed in zombie form by his brother Daryl)

Obituary: Merle Dixon, resident unpredictable violent racist gun-nut redneck of Team Rick, was written with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer through his entire run on The Walking Dead. But actor Michael Rooker nevertheless gave a great performance, one of the show's best, crafting what he was given into an entertaining character. I'd honestly rather watch him than almost all of the show's other "good guys," so, unlike this year's other Walking Dead fatalities, it's actually a bummer he's dead.

R.I.P. Donar (Spartacus)

Died: Season 3 Episode 6 - "Spoils of War"

Episode Count: 16 / 35

Cause of Death: Stabbed self in the head just before Caesar could kill him

Obituary: Donar was a consistently backgrounded rebel soldier, mostly there to fill out battle and crowd scenes, who I doubt had more than thirty lines in the series put together. Still, his suicide-by-sword-to-his-own-skull was pretty badass, even if it came after losing a fight to Julius Caesar.

R.I.P. Olivia Warren (The Following)

Died: Season 1 Episode 7 - "Let Me Go"

Episode Count: 3 / 7

Cause of Death: Strangled by Joe Carroll

Obituary: Olivia was serial killer/cult leader Joe Carroll's somewhat hesitant lawyer. She arranged his transfer to another prison, during which he was rescued by his followers and immediately after which he strangled her. Thus was her entire character.

R.I.P. Benjamin Longshadow (Banshee)

Died: Season 1 Episode 8 - "We Shall Live Forever"

Episode Count: 5 / 8

Cause of Death: Old age and/or disease

Obituary: A rare example of a character in a violent action show dying of old age, Banshee's Chief Benjamin Longshadow was arguably just a bit of a "wise spiritual Native American" stereotype, but actor Russell Means was likable enough in the role that I'll overlook it. That his son Alex Longshadow is a non-clich├ęd suit-clad dick and his daughter Nola Longshadow a sexy assassin also helps.

R.I.P. Mayor Dan Kendall (Banshee)

Died: Season 1 Episode 10 - "A Mixture of Madness" (Season Finale)

Episode Count: 7 / 10


Obituary: Dan Kendall was Banshee, Pennsylvania's somewhat soft and ineffectual mayor, perennially pushed around by the town's criminal element. He was chilling in an under-construction building when criminal boss Kai Proctor, not even knowing Kendall was inside, blew it the fuck up. An ignominious end, to say the least.

R.I.P. Olek (Banshee)

Died: Season 1 Episode 8 - "We Shall Live Forever"

Episode Count: 6 / 8

Cause of Death: Stabbed in the heart with a piece of broken wood

Obituary: Olek was Banshee villain Rabbit's generic Eastern European-accented henchman with an obligatory sympathetic backstory about being in love with Rabbit's daughter Anastasia (who now goes by the name Carrie Hopewell). When he beat up Carrie and tried to take her back to Rabbit, she fucking stabbed his ass to death with a piece of wood, first in the side, then the heart.

R.I.P. Knut (Vikings)

Died: Season 1 Episode 4 - "Trial"

Episode Count: 3 / 4

Cause of Death: Stabbed by shieldmaiden Lagertha while trying to rape her

Obituary: One of Viking protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok's grunts, albeit shiftier and less trustworthy than the rest, Knut was in the midst of a raid in England when he tried to rape Ragnar's wife Lagertha, herself a trained warrior, so she fucking stabbed his ass to death.

R.I.P. Paul Torres (The Following)

Died: Season 1 Episode 9 - "Love Hurts"

Episode Count: 7 / 9

Cause of Death: Willingly smothered by pillow

Obituary: One of many of serial killer/cult leader Joe Carroll's followers, Paul spent years posing as half of a gay couple with fellow follower Jacob. They then kidnapped Joe's son from his mother along with another follower, Emma, and Paul, Jacob and Emma had them some kinky bisexual threesomes. Then Paul got injured while escaping the cops and Jacob had to smother him with a pillow (with Paul's permission). It was theoretically sad, but, like the rest of The Following, played as hilarious camp.

R.I.P. Danny Matheson (Revolution)

Died: Season 1 Episode 11 - "The Stand"

Episode Count: 9 / 11 (too soon?)

Cause of Death: Helicopter gunfire

Obituary: Revolution's ten-episode 2012 run was entirely centered around the quest to rescue protagonist Charlie Matheson's annoying little brother Danny from the clutches of the Monroe Republic, so it was unexpected, hilarious, and hands-down the most brilliant thing the generally middling Revolution has done in its eleven-episode run when, approximately three-quarters of one episode after finally being rescued, Danny was shredded by gunfire from a Monroe Republic helicopter. Hell, it might be the most applause-worthy moment of 2013 television to date. Kudos, Revolution.

R.I.P. Andrea (The Walking Dead)

Died: Season 3 Episode 16 - "Welcome to the Tombs" (season finale)

Episode Count: 31 / 35

Cause of Death: Suicide by gunshot after a zombie bite to the neck

Obituary: For a character who appeared through almost three full seasons, it's a shame how little impact Andrea ever actually had on me. In season 1 she had a dead sister, then in season 2 she suddenly became a zombie-killing crack shot in the space of one episode, then in season 3 she was Michonne's friend and then the Governor's girlfriend and then suspicious of the Governor, who then locked her in a room with zombie Milton. I only really think of her in terms of plot mechanics. There's only about three or four Walking Dead characters I'd miss if they died, and she wasn't one of them.

R.I.P. Crixus (Spartacus)

Died: Season 3 Episode 8 - "Separate Paths"

Episode Count: 37 / 37

Cause of Death: Stabbed in the back and then beheaded by Tiberius Crassus

Obituary: Crixus' death is too raw and recent for me to really even wrap my head around yet, but I'll just say that he rose from a slave to a gladiator to champion of the arena to a rebel to a leader and finally, in his last days, to general of his own army, striking a blow at the very heart of Rome. Along the way he evolved from a man solely of violence to one who understood love and compassion with the help of Naevia. He butted heads with Spartacus from the day they first met as slaves until, well, the episode before he died, deep into the war, but in the end they were brothers and best frenemies. More discussion about the Undefeated Gaul and his demise in episode 1 of my podcast.

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