Anyway, a final tipsythought before I sign off:
When a show’s canon is fixed, that is, when we’re still marathoning to catch up or after it’s already ended, we tend to be understanding of and even celebrate dramatic character shifts as being exciting and justified and somehow fundamentally necessary developments in a coherent narrative.
When a show’s canon is open, that is, when we’re watching live and legitimately have no idea what to expect, we tend to be wary and hypercritical of even minor character shifts because we’ve let a fixed vision of the characters and their relationships take root, and any deviations seem artificial. When we’re watching live, there’s a constant risk of something going terribly wrong with the characters and the story as a whole, and it’s very easy to stumble into the trap of deciding that any deviation from the norm is the first inevitable step off that cliff.
Essentially: even the most fully scripted and painstakingly planned show takes on an inherently improvisational quality when it’s airing live, and staring too long and too fixedly at the characters in the moment you finally catch up with their exploits can leave you with a still image seared on your retinas, blotting out any signs of gradual growth or change until they’ve become too extreme to ignore.