The Case for Skye

Yes, you read that right.

I’m going to defend the most annoying character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Me, the one who doesn’t particularly like River Tam (despite adoring Firefly). The one who can’t bring herself to watch Buffy because she just doesn’t have the gene that allows her to appreciate the Whedon fascination with badass post-adolescent females. The one who finds Skye to be as flat a character as most everyone else does and who is a bit bothered by the Super!Skye we are starting to see this season – the one with the badass rifle skills as well as the super hacker skills and, apparently, the mysterious background that drives, like, everything ever.

With that list I just made, you can probably guess that I see Skye as nearly a Mary Sue, with all the baggage that comes with one of those. (And yes, I am aware of her rumored original name, and I give props to the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew for that one.)

So why am I defending her?

Because of one thing, and one thing only: the fact that when Ward kills the first Koenig and Skye figures out his true loyalties, she doesn’t turn into a weeping damsel in distress or the girl who is paralyzed from the pain of having her heart broken by her “one true love.”

It would have been easy for Skye to go that way; for her to curl up in a ball and cry.

But she didn’t.

Instead, just minutes after she finally kisses her love interest from the entire first season, she figures out he’s a killer and that he’s Hydra, then tricks him into thinking she’s still on his side and manages to leave a message to her team about Ward’s betrayal. She knows she can’t beat Ward in speed or strength, so she uses what she has – her brains – to keep herself safe and work on ways to bring him down.

Her plans don’t work, but never once does she express anything even remotely resembling justification for Ward. She doesn’t try to convince herself that Ward was brainwashed or that he really does have a heart of gold deep down and that if she just gives him one more chance or if she loves him enough, he’ll change.

THAT is why Skye is not all bad and might even be pretty cool. Sure, the character still has her faults, but in this one thing, she is redeemed. Because a lot of people stay in bad relationships thinking their horrible partner will change. A lot of people think their love can fix someone who is broken beyond repair. Too many people blame themselves for the actions of said horrible partners. And all of those people are engaging in unhealthy behavior and putting themselves in danger.

Skye is having none of that, thanks. She knows Ward can’t change and that nothing can fix him. She also puts the blame squarely on Ward, where it belongs.

That’s rare and refreshing to see on TV, and I was impressed with Skye for this.

Skye also doesn’t turn into a puddle of goo on the floor, and that matters, too. Because how many women are brought to a state of nearly non-functional existence from a break up? Or even from something truly horrifying, like finding out the teammate you’re crushing on is a brutal killer? Honestly, not many. Most of us keep going to work and doing the dishes and taking showers (or, in Skye’s case, trying to overthrow Hydra) because we have to, even when we’re hurting or angry or scared. We don’t sit around eating ice cream while crying and watching soap operas all day, because we don’t have that luxury most of the time.

So why do we keep seeing it in our entertainment?

Can’t we quell the wilting wallflowers?

Do we really want another (and may the Force forgive me for saying this) Padme Amidala, a queen and senator, literally dying from “losing the will to live” (don’t get me started) because her boyfriend turned bad?

Come on.

We need more Zoes. More Janeways. More Hermiones. More women are soft and vulnerable sometimes, but who get the job done when it counts, because there is no other choice to make. (And incidentally, the same rules apply to male characters, though they tend not to be put in these situations so often.)

And though Skye isn’t anywhere near their league, she’s at least playing ball, not crying on the sidelines like a kid with a skinned knee.

Way to go, Skye.

Now, stick to your guns, okay? Don’t budge on this, no matter how much Ward claims to know about your daddy dearest.

Because if you don’t, well, you’re back to being a Mary Sue for me, kiddo.

GS Blogger: wabbit

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: