Reminiscing of that time when Derek & Chino climbed El Sendero Luminoso one clear day in Potrero Chico, Mexico. We kept checking in throughout the day to see their progress, and cheered when they made it to the top. Climbing is so fun 😊missing you@dirtbagdispatches & @kg.yap &@katelynmerrett and the rest of the Homeros crew!
Dear Antis & Pablo Hidalgo: We're not stupid. We KNOW Kylo is the villain.
No one is saying (or should be saying) he’s not a villain. If they are saying that, they’re analyzing the information incorrectly. TFA makes his villainy ABUNDANTLY clear. They don’t sugarcoat anything, we are told outright that he destroyed his Parents’ and Uncle’s lives, they don’t brush Lor San Tekka or Han under the rug, they don’t downplay his torturing Poe or Rey or hurting Finn. JJ flat out calls him a coward, which he is. Kylo Ren is a persona, someone who WANTS to be like Vader and who WANTS to deny the light exists. He thinks Ben Solo was weak and foolish. This inner conflict is one of his key defining characteristics, the other is that he is NOT HAPPY with this path he chose–this path he supposedly wants so badly–whether he admits it or not.
Since Pablo likes to apparently mock men who show emotion or people who deal poorly with their “manpain” (which is another way of saying “LOL, this guy could be coded as mentally ill but really he’s just a pathetic pussy and a crappy whiny entitled anti-hero that I can’t stand and I want everyone to know that his parents were PERFECT and Snoke manipulating him was a JOKE we threw in at the last minute because Leia is just a hopeful mom who doesn’t really know anything about her own child–Ben Solo was BORN BAD and you should all hate him cuz I sure do, LULZ!”) Pablo is, to me, just another useless unhelpful derogatory petty black-and-white only! asshole fanboy I can’t ever take seriously. And if he wrote these movies and wrote Kylo like he apparently wanted then I know many people besides myself who would have been *sorely* disappointed. This writing team wrote three heroes AND A VILLAIN that I’m invested in now. Suck a dick, Pablo.
Since Kylo is NOT written like other Star Wars villains I can’t really bring myself to have a set standard of expectations for him as I do other Star Wars villains–which includes:
• death by the hero’s hands, or
• redemption by death
Perhaps another option is available now because Kylo makes me **gasp** question a lot of things, especially when it concerns Rey and their “interesting relationship going forward”!!! So, my dear Antis & Pablo, I guess I should apologize for… what exactly? For being interested in this unique villain’s fate? How his role as a villain might change later based on the multitude of conflict in his character? For the canon compassion he has strangely shown to a prisoner of war? For looking deeper into things–for speculating beyond what few details we are explicitly told? No, I can’t (and won’t) just overlook that Kylo has done horrible things but I also can’t (and won’t) overlook that he is ALSO written in the script, the film, and both novels (and blatantly I might add) as a character with Byronic traits and sympathetic qualities:
• He has a “Bottomless well of pain”
• He has been taught by Snoke to think that Vader only “failed” because of sentiment. Vader *choosing* to return to the light was not discussed, rather it was Luke’s sole desire to “tempt” his father into death from compassion
• He is pleased when his own people fear him, which feeds into his obsession with Darth Vader, who he wants so badly to emulate because he fears that he himself will never be strong enough
• Is told “you are my favorite, you are so special” by his father figure only to be told the next minute “I don’t think you’re strong enough to do this one thing I need you to do though.” I mean… they can’t make it any clearer. That is textbook abuser/groomer lingo.
• Is shown to be very passionate and emotional (of all shades) and openly forthcoming with those emotions. Still very capable of attachment though he stubbornly denies it.
• So isolated that the only support system he has to console him in any time of need is the charred mask of his dead grandfather
• A man who has “shirked the sun”
• “A student who took no joy in his studies. One who perceived only the great problems of the galaxy and not its simple pleasures.”
• “His mind was a turbulent ocean of fear”
• Han did not understand nor have faith in his son, in his eyes Ben “was always drawn to the dark side… he had too much Vader in him” and Han “would’ve given anything for his son to be ordinary–like him.” Daddy issues are very much a thing for Kylo Ren
• Is directly berated by Snoke for being weak (“You have compassion for her.”)
• “Starved himself of nourishment”
• “His eyes were dim and dark and terribly sad.”
• At the mere mention of Leia both by Snoke and by Han, Kylo Ren shows intense emotion. There is still a strong link there.
• “In his last few seconds of life Han saw only his son. The darkness in his eyes. And the sadness. Han forgave his son for what he had done and prayed that his son could forgive him in return.”
With defining characteristics like that, Kylo’s character has choices in his story arc if only for the simple fact *because* he is written as multi-dimensional and occasionally sympathetic. This all points to what I said before–Kylo Ren is unlike the usual Star Wars villain… he is actually suffering intensely for his craft and letting himself be Snoke’s puppet because he has so little self worth besides his Force abilities. He doesn’t know anything else. I went into TFA fully expecting to hate Kylo with my entire soul but, like Han, I saw sadness there and a huge absence of joy in being the villain. Now, I personally enjoy Kylo’s villainy, I love his Skywalker sass and his melodrama, I love that he can be completely calm or completely unhinged, I love that he’s not completely consumed by the dark yet but he WANTS to be so badly, I love that the light in him refuses to go away, and I love that he’s not pure evil incarnate for the sake of evil such as Tarkin, Palpatine, Vader, Boba Fett, Jabba, etc. He is a *really* interesting villain and I don’t understand why Pablo despises him so much except that he resents the fact that so many fans have taken to Kylo Ren. Maybe don’t make such a relatable human villain next time, kay?
I also want to add that I don’t think Kylo was brainwashed at all. I don’t get that vibe. Kylo isn’t stupid by any means… but he has definitely been coaxed from a very young age by a predator to think in a way he wouldn’t normally think. Pablo is so confusing because he doesn’t always correlate to what the film and the novels tell us. He makes it sound like he was “born bad” but that’s not what the story is saying to me at all. A powerful Force-sensitive being took advantage of this child’s innocence and twisted it into fear, obedience, and insecurity. I’m not sorry for having sympathy for Kylo, at least for that much. Pablo also says that Kylo blames everyone else? I’m sure he blames his parents for not being there and blames Luke for something as well. But as far as we can see he *wanted* to be with Snoke and wouldn’t blame his fall–something he wanted–on anyone else. He doesn’t blame Snoke for a DAMN THING and even defends him to Han.
What happens to Kylo from now on lingers on Kylo NOT being the coward anymore. He is so powerful but so afraid, and so alone. The dark doesn’t have to be his destiny, and I hope it isn’t. Some people can’t seem to accept that we’re not excusing actions or making him blameless. We’re saying he can change, the way he has been written thus far supports that. Also… this is Star Wars. Darth Vader became a freaking light side Force ghost after killing perhaps millions of innocent people. I’m not saying Kylo will get a redemption, I’m not saying he *deserves* a redemption, I’m saying he is the type of character who could make a redemption arc work in a really powerful way. You don’t know what’s going to happen… don’t knock us for something you don’t know about either.
I expect him to be very villainous in Episode VIII… but as a character I also expect growth because he is a focus of this trilogy just like Finn and Rey. Killing Han weakened him, being defeated (and turned down) by Rey appalled him, he’s going to have to prove himself even more to Snoke now because he did a huge chain of fuck-ups during TFA, including the huge one that Snoke blatantly warned him about: that nasty ol’ compassion. I’m really excited for Episode VIII and I won’t let antis or Pablo bring me down. I’m giving Rian Johnson my full attention.