“Bad guys don’t deserve to be redeemed” is a boring plot mindset and it’s cancelled forever.
Show me bad guys that think it’s too late to turn their life around, and then turn it around. Show me bad guys that think they’ll never be loved because of the things they’ve done and then give them love and support that makes them feel like it’s worth it to change. Show me bad guys who are bitter, hold grudges, lash out at people, and then make them realize that this Isn’t Working and want more out of their life. Show me bad guys that ask the good guys for help!!
The “villain gets what’s coming to him and is never seen or heard from again” trope is old and played. I want to hear from them again. I want them to ask the good guys to drive them to their first therapy appointment. I want them to struggle through apologies, not because they’re too proud to say “I’m sorry” bc tbh that trope can die too, but because they can’t find the words to make things better and it makes it feel pointless to try.
Make it hard! Make it hurt! Make them question who they are and if change is possible and make them find out that they can be more than the destructive thoughts and behavior they’ve adapted! Make them learn that having bad thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person, and you can choose which thoughts and desires you entertain and act upon. Let the choice to ignore bad thoughts and focus on positive ones become easier over time. And let them feel proud of themselves for it!
Real people struggle with these issues every day and right now the social message is that if you fuck up, you’re scum and you deserve to suffer and you’ll never be more than scum. Real people need to know that you can’t undo the damage of things you’ve done, but you can be better in the future. Real people need to know that you’re not pigeonholed into being a Bad Guy for the rest of your life because you’re a Bad Guy right now.
Nobody “deserves” to be redeemed, it isn’t about “deserving” redemption, it’s about working your ass off not to keep hurting people because you can.