Just the other day I was thinking about the lack of fearful lady antagonists in films and television. Off the top of my head I could think of two females that scared the shit out of me. Annie Wilkes in the Stephen King adapted film Misery and Amy Dunne in the Gillian Flynn adapted film Gone Girl.
By mere coincidence, the strangeness of the absence of the psycho female role came up again as I sat down to watch another book adapted into a movie. This time it was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
This film engaged my attention all the way through. But the ending got me back to my original question. Why does Hollywood fear villainizing female characters?
When Better Call Saul first dropped I was impressed but also skeptical. I was impressed with the depth that the writers had put into Jimmy McGill AKA Saul Goodman. I felt like the show had a real star that was both entertaining and intense. Kind of like what they had in Walter White except more charismatic.
My skepticism arose from doubting they could team Jimmy up with someone equally as entertaining as himself. My logic was that you don’t have Breaking Bad without Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Both Walt and Jesse brought the darkness and intensity that fueled the series to success. But Jesse also brought some lightness through his innocence and his occasional humor. My thought was if Jimmy was bringing the lightness, humor and half the intensity, who will bring the darkness? Well it looks like episode six of the young series has finally answered the question.
I could literally hear my heart pounding with each passing second. “Coward”, Walt snarls at his former partner, and Jesse is more than happy to retort by spitting in the face of the devil himself. A fight ensues, these two would tear each other apart if they could, but Hank and Steve separate them and force them into different cars. Now it’s time for an exchange between another pair of partners, only it couldn’t be more different; this is one of the utmost respect. Hank, who can’t help himself from grinning, pulls out his phone and calls Marie, and she is beyond relieved that he managed to do the unthinkable. Grantland’s Andy Greenwald already singled out the line that followed as being the real gut-wrencher, and it’s the one that killed me too. “I gotta go, may be awhile before I get home. I love you.”