Season 3 (part 3) – Repercussions

Season 3

Season 3 has 3 areas of concern:

Check your watches, Animals. It’s time to talk about:

Origin

In season 3, the origin theme is expressed as:

“Repercussions”

There are two common ways you see this repercussions idea play out:

  • Debts
  • Revenge

Debts

This is where someone is owed something. We then see the repercussions of paying that debt.

We see a prime example in Supernatural. In season 3, we learn that the thief Bela made a deal with a crossroads demon once upon a time. She sold her soul, to rid herself of her abusive parents. Now, a decade later, the hellhounds have come to collect that soul. They’re here to collect that debt. This parallels Dean’s own struggle all season, to get out of his crossroads deal and avoid going to hell. But a debt is a debt, and the hellhounds always collect.

Let’s take a look at how debts play out on The Shield. In season 3, Vic Mackey’s old partner shows up asking Vic and the Strike Team for a favor. Vic feels compelled to help, even though he’s knee-deep in his own troubles. Vic feels he owes him a debt, so he helps him out.

Revenge

Here, past actions have incurred someone’s wrath. A past mistake is chasing down our characters to hurt them back. It almost feels like a specific kind of “debt.”

In Angel season 3 we see the demon Sahjhan pull vampire hunter Daniel Holtz from the past, and bring him to the present. Back in the day, Angel and Darla killed Holtz’s family. Holtz is here to exact revenge. That’s some big time “origins” and “repercussions.”

For a more subtle, real world, example – let’s look at the new 90210 – (2008-2013).

In season 3, scumbag Oscar shows up. He and Ivy used to be friends when they were kids. Turns out, Oscar blames Ivy’s Mom for his own mother’s suicide and he’s here to get his revenge. First he seduces Ivy’s Mom.

Yikes.

Then he breaks up Ivy’s relationship with Dixon, and seduces her. He even takes her virginity for good measure. It’s kind of an odd way to get revenge. But hey, revenge is revenge.

So whether it’s through debts, or revenge, make sure you service that origins idea in season 3, via “repercussions.”



Season 2 (part 2) – Meaningful Death

Season 2

Dramatic Structure:

Time to address the:

Negative

Season 2 expresses this negative theme via:

“Meaningful Death”

Someone’s going to die. And it has to matter, in big and important ways.

Ideally, it will be a close friend or a family member of a major character. But you have a few other choices if you want to get more subtle. You could kill off a major enemy, or even kill off an important dream of one of your main characters. Get creative.

Friend

In Roswell season 2, we see the death of Alex. A close friend to our main players, and a regular cast member on the show. Killing Alex was a huge deal, for both the characters on the show and the audience. It was undoubtedly meaningful.

Family

In Rescue Me season 2, we see the death of Tommy’s young son Connor. In a world where firefighters are constantly in danger, where it is accepted as “just part of the job,” this death hit the hardest. So unexpected and tragic. It was the most meaningful death in Tommy Gavin’s life.

Enemy

In Dexter season 2, we see the death of Doakes. The man who always saw through Dexter’s facade and spent season 2 trying to catch him. He was a regular on the show, he’d been a major part of the story since day one, and he dies. Even in a show where people die in nearly every episode, you’ve got your meaningful death.

Stranger

The character who dies doesn’t always have to be someone we know well. It could be a stranger.

Maybe one of your main characters hits a stranger with their car and peels off. It’s a hit and run! Season 2 could then play out the ramifications of this event. We see this very thing happen in season 2 of the new 90210 – (2008-2013).

Or you could do something like what Friday Night Lights did.

Towards the end of season 1, Tyra got attacked by a guy in a parking lot. A few months later, in season 2, the attacker returns. But this time her buddy Landry comes to her aid and hits the stalker with a pipe, killing him. Instead of going to the cops, they freak out and dump the body off a bridge. Season 2 then sees them struggling to keep what they did a secret and hold themselves together, as they deal with the gravity of what they’ve done.

These are examples of a different way to exploit the meaningful death. The meaningful part is played out in the repercussions of the killing or the death.

Let’s keep digging.

What else could we do for a meaningful death?

Maybe you wanna go big and do what Prison Break did. In their season 2 we see a unique and extreme application of this meaningful death idea.

Throughout season 2, we see FBI Agent Mahone tracking down and killing many of the show’s supporting cast of characters. There isn’t just one meaningful death, there are a bunch, in the escalating chase to catch the escaped convicts Scofield and Burrows. The death is meaningful partly because characters we know are dying, but mostly because of how many are dying. The meaning is being underscored by the quantity of the death.

In choosing your meaningful death, you’ve got a lot of options to play with. But someone is going down. Ideally it’ll be someone very close to your main characters – to pack the most dramatic punch.

So when writing your season 2 you’ve gotta decide:

Who’s gonna die?