Thursday, May 12, 2016

#12Monkeys Monkey Musings 4 - I have a problem with Aaron Marker

ETA: I almost didn't publish this because it feels like I'm picking a fight when really I'm asking someone to change my mind? Let's talk, Monkeys.

We in the fandom have been talking a lot lately about who the Witness is. Personally, I think it's going to be Sam, Ramse’s son--mostly because it'll then all literally be one person’s fault, because that one person fought so hard to make sure that kid existed--or one of the Joneses because they are the ones who broke nature to invent time travel. Story-wise, and based mostly on my own personal writing habits and understanding of stories, those are my favorite theories.

But actually--if the Witness is actually a villain and not misunderstood or trapped*--on an emotional level, I’m hoping it's Aaron Marker. Because he's a punk and a weenie and I want him to keep being a villain and not get out of owning up to his weenie-ness so easily as dying.

See, here's the thing. I have a problem with Aaron Marker. The fact that Cassie is so pro-Marker in her anger right now has brought into focus what it is for me: he is a problem.

Cassie loved him in the beginning and it looked like they were set up for a fantastic rich-and-influential-people life. But then Cassie, the woman he's engaged to, who he wants to spend the rest of his life with, is kidnapped--and he doesn't support her through her trauma?

Okay, I get that she's talking about time travel and killer viruses and it looks like she's snapped, but he's the one person in the world who should have been there for her, and he wasn't. From what we’ve seen, he mostly wanted her to stop talking about it and never think about it again--to pretend she was still the same as before--and get back to their lives as if nothing had happened. As if that wouldn't have driven her insane for real.

Then, when he does know for sure that she’s been telling the truth all this time, we never see him apologize for being so unfair to her for two whole years. He just, again, tries to pick up where they left off. He doesn't give her space to mourn her dead partner she was on the phone with when he died, that we see, he just wants to sweep it all under the rug. Again. And she’s lost and lonely and grieving and without purpose again, and goes along with it. Before Cole comes back after Chechnya, she doesn’t look as okay with all this as Marker does, no matter what she says.

And then, when that's blown up again, and they find out they still need to combat the end of the world, his third chance to get on board with the mission the woman he loves is dedicated to whether she likes it or not, he sells them out.

Now, I don't doubt that he loved her. If he's alive, I don't doubt that he’ll say he still does. But it was a small, closed-doors, narrow-minded sort of love that led him to literally be okay with killing the whole world if he gets to keep her--despite the fact that she had already told him that's not acceptable and he knew that she'd been working on this problem for two years. That’s what bothers me the most about his tactics: she specifically said that’s not how this is going to go, and he goes that way anyway--and tries to force her when she won’t go willingly. He was willing to not only sell out Cole, but to cut Cassie off from the only purpose she has in life now, and to hold her hostage while something she could have helped avoid happens all around her.

That's not a good man.

And it's my opinion that he would have still been that man even if the plague was never going to happen and Cole had never shown up. He proved to be the sort who isn't far-sighted enough to think of the many, the sort who isn't secure enough to let his potential wife make her own choices or trust her own experience, and the sort who more than once tries to avoid both dealing with big issues and taking responsibility for actions taken because of them. They would have gotten married and been rich and powerful--and then some other crisis would have shown who he really is.

For all his faults, Cole always believed in Cassie’s intrinsic value and capableness--which, in the beginning, is probably one of the things that drew her to him. He accepted her for what she is, and didn't try to make her fit some mold he had predetermined for her. In fact, he told her not to change, to stay who she is.

And now, in her anger, Cassie has decided that Marker was some wonderful thing and that Cole systematically took that from her. It irks me. I have infinite compassion for the trauma she's going through, but I really hope we get some time with her dealing with what's happened to her and realizing that Marker wasn't good for her, that he never had her own wishes at heart and often directly tried to stop her from making decisions as if she wasn't an autonomous adult, and that Cole has never systematically done anything. I think she’s mourning the life she thought she had and lost more than the person Marker actually was, and is avoiding dealing with the fact that he was always a weenie and they would have all died if Cole hadn’t smashed into her life like he did.

Marker made his own bed. And Cassie needed fuel for anger to keep her alive and sane, so she canonized him and blocked all that, and blamed Cole.

But he's still a weenie.

Think of the reality check Cassie will get if they find out the Witness is Marker. If he's justifying everything he's done with his love for her--if he’s upped his game from letting the world die to actively making it die in an attempt to keep her. Cole will also take the blame for having beaten him and not made sure he was dead in that fire, but that beating was directed by Cassie of her own free will. She made him, and he made himself, and they've been against him all along. That's a story I would love to watch.

I love Noah Bean, so I’m inclined to like him, but he’s made a character that severely bothers me on a personal level--and I think that’s some genius casting. Take this inherently likable guy, and make him this hard-to-define low-grade ordinary-standing-in-the-way-of-epic bad. Make him less bad than the actual baddies, and therefore more ambiguous. And pit him against the heroes. Then, maybe one day, revealing him as a greater villain than they thought. That’s brilliant, and it’s worked so well so far. What potential! 

I fully expect the show to throw every wrench** at me on this topic, like all others, but the story feels unfinished and in the middle of the action, and I’m willing to have my opinion changed...because it’s not a great opinion of the man right now. And, of course, with actual change thrown in, maybe they've already altered him and his story, but still have their own memories of before to deal with...

*Olivia is making me think that either a) the Witness is not telling everyone everything and is more devious than we’ve been led to believe, or b) she’s just saying whatever she wants and calling it the will of the Witness, which would make her worse AND bring the opportunity that she’s USING the Witness rather than serving him.
**Monkey wrenches!

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