Here is a story about expectations, hope and crushing anxiety. No, don’t worry, it’s not about our presidential election cycle – this time. It’s about the return of “Person of Interest” for its final season. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not follow the show closely. I’ve watched on and off. But I care, unusually deeply, about how the series will ultimately handle Root and Shaw. Given the insane death toll for queer female characters this year and the ensuing LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign, Root and Shaw (it’s Shoot, right, we’ve all decided on Shoot?) will have heightened attention on them when they return to our television tonight.
Look, like any red-blooded lesbian, I want them to hook up and live happily ever after. But what I’m most concerned about his how another fandom and queer women in general are pinning their hopes, dreams and then some on this couple.
Show co-producer Jonathan Nolan spoke about “The 100”/Bury Your Gays backlash to the site iO9:
“We’ve never shied from killing off our characters, and this season is no different. Our team does not make it out intact... We’re equal-opportunity killers… It’s a bloodbath.Ruh-roh.
There have been plans in place for where these characters’ stories would go for many seasons. And we’ve stuck with that plan… So [Root and Show is] a very cool relationship, and it’s one we’ve had a lot of fun writing to. But ultimately, the plan is the plan.”
He goes on to say that “there are some unfortunate tropes that play themselves out.”
So, yeah. Unless he is just trying to throw us all off, that sure sounds like Root or Shaw or both are goners. Damn. Just damn.
They go on to say things about respect and heroism and all that jazz. Stray bullets be damned. But, with all due respect to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” that show is not in fact the originator of the Dead Lesbian Syndrome. You’d have to go back, way back, to pulp novels and the like. But on TV you’d have to go back to 1976. And tropes, no matter how they play out, aren’t “exciting,” They’re actually the exact opposite.
Look, I know this final season of POI was filmed a year before the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign was born. But may it be the very last show to claim ignorance – partial, full or otherwise – of the Bury Your Gays trope.
p.s. Yeah, I know I should be fuming. But those 1.5 seconds of Root and Shaw apparently tearing each other’s clothes have me, uh, distracted.