I thought I would change things up for the blog post this week and talk about something nerdy and then get to the important, Biblical aspects of it at the end.
In every TV Show, because there’s so much time for characters to grow and develop, character arcs is so important—especially to me. When I watch a TV Show, I get into it because of the characters. How well are they written, and what are their arcs like? Where do they start, where do they end up? Do they change over time?
Sometimes, though, TV Shows will throw in twists and surprise and characters will not quite end up how I expected. I love these moments, because it makes the show unpredictable especially when it comes to these particular characters. I don’t like being able to predict what’s going to happen or how a character’s going to end up. I go into the show expecting them to be or act or end up a certain way or in a certain place development-wise, and sometimes, the show surprises me.
So, here is a list of ten characters whose character arcs genuinely surprised me.
- Tyler Lockwood from The Vampire Diaries
Tyler literally starts off as a jock who is a major jerk to his friends. He doesn’t know or care about the supernatural world, so sports, partying, drinking, and girls is pretty much all that matters to him. He can be a major jerk, so he ticks a lot of people off and is a bit of a bully who also just so happens to be rich and arrogant—coming from the harsh way his father treats him and the fact that his parents are massively important to the town. He ends up becoming a werewolf, forced to suffer and lose control every full moon. The more he gets involved with the supernatural world, the more he matures and becomes a young man, especially after his father dies. In the end, he loses everything and everyone he loves and cares about and becomes so broken up inside—it’s like who he ends up is a completely separate character from who he started off as—completely unrecognizable and that’s how you know you have some amazing character development.
- Agent Mahone from Prison Break
Agent Mahone is one of those characters that I started off hating. He was the antagonist of Prison Break Season two and was literally a well-respected FBI Agent and a pretty good one too. He’s sent to track down all the prison escapees and eventually, you find out a twist on who he’s working for. As you delve deeper into his past, eventually, you find out he’s a drug addict and eventually, he becomes totally unhinged—such a far cry from the respectable agent he once was. As if that wasn’t far enough away from who he used to be, he ends up a prisoner in the third season and does a lot of things to try to survive and escape.
- Bellock from Prison Break
Bellock, on the other hand, is a brutal prison guard in Prison Break Season 1. He’s an antagonist just because he’s a dirty guard who does questionable things all throughout the season. During season two, he pretty much stays the same, except he was fired and now he’s bent on capturing the prisoner escapees in revenge for his job, and to try to get it back. Season three is when it all changes for him—and goes downhill. He becomes a prisoner, but unlike Mahone, who does a lot of things to rise in rank and escape, Bellock, does the opposite. He becomes the lowest of the low, pathetic, terrified, and wimpy.
- Hank from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
Hank is also portrayed as an antagonist during most episodes of the show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. He runs the saloon, so a lot of times, he’s against the morals that the other characters stand for. Sometimes, when the main characters are in trouble, he isn’t there to help. He also hates Native Americans, and stands against one of the main characters—a mountain man named Sully who loves the Native Americans and sees them as family. But sometimes, in a few episodes, they give us a glimpse of Hank with a heart—a guy who actually cares about somethings. We see that he does have moral lines even he won’t cross and I especially LOVE the episodes where he stands with the main characters. It’s not an arc per-se, but it’s wonderful to see glimpses of the other side of him. Not everything is black and white and I love shows that portray that.
- Shiranuri from Hakouki
The anime Hakouki is a historical fantasy set in the time of the Boshin War in Japan. While the samurai are fighting to stay alive so their way of life doesn’t die off—sound familiar?—the fantasy background has these creatures called Furies. They’re basically vampires, so the Shisnengumi has a lot of time and are trying to hide and help the war. Shiranuri is a bad guy—one of three—who are creatures called Oni. They hate furies and see them as cheap knockoffs to what they are and the power they have. They fight and attack them a lot with some pretty epic battles. During one of them, he ends up teaming up with one of the human samurai from the Shinsengumi and they work together to fight off a horde of enemy furies. This makes them fast friends and their friendship is so amazing to watch, which shows us a different side to Shiranuri. What’s worse is after the human dies, Shiranuri grieves for him in his own way and in the movies, we see a special bonus scene where he’s almost sad about the end to the human samurai and their way of life—that the Oni will live on but the samurai will not.
- Regina the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time
Regina literally is the villain of season one and a somewhat antagonist through the others. Eventually, she turns good and her development and arc is so shocking to me. I thought she would stay a villain, but she fights for herself to be good, even though it’s always tempting for her to make all the wrong choices. Even once she becomes one of the major heroes in later seasons—literally one of the main heroes—we still get flashbacks from her past as the Evil Queen and the bad things she’s done. Regina has one of the most amazing character arcs in TV I’ve seen and it’s one of the reasons why she’s one of my favorite characters in the show.
- Sokka from Avatar The Last Airbender
Not all of the characters on this list are surprising to me because they started off bad and ended up good—I promise. Sokka from Avatar is one of the ones who surprised me for other reasons. Avatar is a story about a kid who is the master of all four elements in a world where people are either human or can bend one element at a time. The fire nation has taken over and started a war and he teams up with a water bending girl and her silly, human brother named Sokka—to train in all four elements so he can stop the war. As I just mentioned, Sokka is silly. He’s the comedic relief of the show and sometimes, he and the young Avatar are there to remind us that they’re really just kids thrust into a war and a situation they didn’t have to be. What surprised me so much and why I love Sokka—other than for his hilarious sense of humor that never ceases to make me laugh—was the fact that he literally ends up becoming a highly skilled warrior and a major leader in their rebellion. It was totally unexpected and not what I expected. He’s so silly, it was hard to take him seriously enough to believe he would become a major fighter in the war, but he does and they pull it off so well with this show.
- Zuko from Avatar The Last Airbender
Speaking of Avatar and how wonderful this show is at pretty much everything, Zuko is another character whose development I didn’t see coming. He’s another antagonist turned hero, but 1) I love when they’re doe well and 2) I love when they’re unexpected. I love watching a show and seeing a bad guy, and I hate loving them sometimes because you know they’re against the heroes and it’s heartbreaking. I love even more when they slowly become good and when it’s done right, with subtle hints you miss until they’re good and then you look back and see how far they’ve come. That was exactly what happened with Zuko. I wanted him to be good so bad. He’s a guy you root for—you feel sorry for his tragic past and just want him to be good and want to see him become good. When I first watched this show, I had no idea if that would happen or not. He had done too much and gone too far to believe he could be good. Except that he did and he, like Regina, worked hard to become trustworthy of the heroes, to make up for his past, and to become the hero he had once despised.
- Klaus Mikalson
These last two are from The Vampire Diaries (and the Originals, a Vampire Diaries spinoff show, in Klaus’ case) but so worth mentioning. Klaus comes in the Vampire Diaries as literally one of the most hated villains I’ve ever seen. He does SO much bad stuff and hurts the main characters so much you’re just like left there hating the guy. But then, he’s so charming and awesome that you hate to love him and love to hate him. Sometimes, you even get a glimpse of his past and think MAYBE MAYBE at some point he was once good. Then, you go and watch the Originals and see the relationship with his family and you realize that he’s actually just a guy who doesn’t feel loveable who wants to have power and be in control. How can you hate a guy like that? You want him to be redeemable, like Zuko, but as I’m watching the show, I’m not sure if that’s going to possible. I know it wasn’t for the main characters in the Vampire Diaries. I just started The Originals, so we’ll see where it ends up.
- Damon Salvatore
You can’t have a list of surprising character arcs without including Damon Salvatore from the Vampire Diaries. He comes in as the villain who hates his brother and has literally promised his brother an eternity of misery in revenge. Even when he sometimes work with the good guys, he flip-flops. Sometimes, he’ll work with them, and other times, he won’t. Like, at least with Zuko and Regina once they turned good and worked with the heroes, they STAYED good. Damon… really doesn’t. He always has those moments where he makes bad decisions and does terrible things and the heroes typically hate him. His relationship with his brother redeems him at times and it’s only at the end of the TV show in the last several seasons that he starts consistently doing good things on a more consistent basis, but even then “Damon will be Damon.” The fact that he ever make a few good choices at all surprised me because he seemed like a bad guy that was here to stay just that—a bad guy—without being able to be redeemed. But in the end, he is. In his own, Damon-like way.
So, what’s the Biblical aspect from this? What does God have to do with all these TV Shows that seem to have NOTHING to do with God or the Bible, or real life for that matter?
We all start off bad. We’re born with a sin nature and are drawn to it, to become enemies of God. But we don’t have to stay that way. Through God, we can become new creations and trust in Jesus and in His grace to save us, to change our hearts and make us clean. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He will give you a new heart with new desires.
Your development doesn’t have to stop or just stay put. In real life, only God can change us and without him, NONE of us are redeemable. And unlike the characters in these shows, we CANNOT do anything to redeem ourselves.
Only God can redeem us and it’s done through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.