Thursday, May 24, 2012

111 Girls Who Kick Ass, Number 10: Bonnie Bennett

"Bonnie Bennett. How do I even begin to describe Bonnie Bennett?"

Well, I guess it makes the most sense to start at the beginning, since the beginning is where all of this started: If I hadn't found out that the main character's best friend was a witch, I never would've ever given The Vampire Diaries --- which is based on a book series that seemed stupid when I was TWELVE --- so much as half a chance.

It's been about a year since I did start watching (although it feels longer), and she is still my favorite character, but she also frustrates me more than anybody else.

But before we get to that, since this is a show where so much of the "plot" is driven by romantic bullshit, let's briefly examine her relationships:
  1. In season one, after every other main character has paired off with someone while she was busy discovering witchcraft, she finally finds the courage to talk to Ben, a bartender at The Mystic Grill. It doesn't go very well because he turns out to be a vampire who wants to kill Elena (of course) . . . but, even before we get there, you can't help but wonder, what the hell is a seventeen-year-old high school junior doing going on a date with a guy who's old enough to be a bartender? I mean, sure, he's hot, and if you're gonna make a bad decision about a guy, the time to do it is when you're seventeen, but the fact that he's into her should've set off her spider-sense. Or, at least, Elena's. She's usually fairly level-headed about these things, but in this case she just came short of physically pushing Bonnie to talk to him.
  2. In season two, she starts dating Jeremy. Who is Elena's little brother. Considering that Elena and Bonnie have been best friends since childhood and think of each other as sisters and either of them would die to protect the other, this is creepy. Shouldn't she think of Jeremy as her own little brother? But anyway, even if you're immune to the creepy, there's really no denying that they have one of the most boring romances in the history of the show.
  3.  In season three, she finally reconnects with her mother, who abandoned her when she was a toddler (long story). She's surprised to find that her mother has adopted a son, Jamie, who is about her age. After her mother is turned into a vampire (again, long story), they lean on each other for comfort and that's great. But then she asks him to be her date to a school dance. Her date. Come on, guys. We know you're not technically related, but you have the same mother. What is wrong with you?
ALRIGHT THEN. Now that we've got that out of the way . . .

Bonnie Bennett is the most powerful character on The Vampire Diaries. Now, to be sure, I have a knack for making statements like this about my favorite characters --- but, in this case, there's really no way you can make so much as a half-coherent argument for anyone else being even in her league (unless they turn out to secretly be a witch or warlock, which would be literally impossible for Klaus, Finn, Rebekah, Elijah, Stefan, Damon, Caroline, Tyler, Alaric, or Elena).

Unfortunately, even when you consider that she's still relatively new to being a witch and doesn't know everything there is to know about magic yet, she's a bit too powerful. There are so many plotlines that don't get resolved because the writers won't let her go near them because she's the only character who could do anything about them . . . but if she did anything about them there'd be no conflict and without conflict there'd be no drama and without drama we'd all be watching some godawful kooky sitcom.

(For example: When Damon and Elena come up with a "secret plan" to finally kill Klaus about halfway through season three using that episode's Ultimate Original-Killing Weapon One of a Kind Only One in the World Act Now TM, it is a very elaborate plan. Which, naturally, blows up in their faces. Because they don't give Bonnie anything to do. Because, from a storytelling perspective, she can kill Klaus by pretty much standing there and saying, "Hey, Klaus --- just DIE already!" Only, you know, in Latin.)

After three seasons, I still find Bonnie's arc to be more interesting than any other character's (although Caroline and Elena are very close seconds). I'm very excited for season four, because it looks like she is FINALLY realizing how powerful she really is and I'm hoping against hope that this new attitude actually sticks.

You know, it's possible that so far I haven't done a very good job of convincing you, the reader, that Bonnie Bennett does indeed kick ass. Fair point. I have just kind of been rambling about other aspects of her character (which, by the way, I REGRET NOTHING; most of this is stuff that's been bugging me for a while).

So here you go.

I think we've all gotten quite tired of Klaus by now --- but, when he was introduced in season two, "the oldest vampire in the history of time" was quite a big deal. They can't kill him because he doesn't have a body, he's determined to kill Elena, and he'll gladly kill anyone who gets in his way. What do they do, then?

Well, here's the very best plan that the heroes (who, at this time, included three vampires, one vampire hunter, and a werewolf) could come up with:

* Distract him.
* Stay out of his way.
* Let Bonnie do some witchcraft in his general direction.
* Hope for the best.

Anyway. There's a lot more I could say about Bonnie and how much it bugs me that she's so hesitant about her own powers (even if you ignore every other thing she can do with magic, there's no getting around the fact that she could easily toss everyone else around like rag dolls with her thoughts) and how badly I want her to track down an older wiser witch to teach her more and how much I wish Lucy would come back and how annoyed I am that "the vampire-hating Bennett witch" has never killed a single vampire

. . . but, oy vey, I think that's enough for now.

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