hopefulnebula: "Matter of fact, it's all dark" on an eclipse (Eclipse)
[personal profile] hopefulnebula
So, just watched Eureka 4.01 "Founders Day." Loved it, right up until the last few minutes.

The episode was great until this point. It had Jo being awesome. It had Zane proposing to Jo. It had James Callis (though I'm not a BSG fan I think he's awesome). It had Allison being awesome, and Jenna being adorable, and Jack being a Favorite Uncle-type. It had time travel done interestingly. It had swing dancing.

And then came the last few minutes.


They went and got rid of Kevin's autism.

If it had been by Kevin's choice, that would be one thing. (Spoilers for Diane Duane's A Wizard Alone, click to skip) Diane Duane did something similar in A Wizard Alone when Darryl chooses to lock his autism away, but I like that ending because he chooses to do it. Getting rid of his autism is Darryl's own free choice, and he makes it for very good reasons. But in the newly-realized reality* the characters in Eureka find themselves in at the end of the episode, Kevin was never autistic to begin with.

And here I thought the whole season 2 arc where they made Kevin a conduit for the Artifact's power was problematic.

I can't say for certain why they did this. Perhaps it's the most dramatic thing they could think of without either returning Nathan Stark (which since Ed Quinn wanted to leave the show, they had a good reason not to) or completely getting rid of either of the kids. Perhaps they didn't think Meschach Peters was doing a good job playing an autistic person. Maybe the writers didn't think they were doing a good job writing an autistic person. Maybe the network was pressuring them to make him more "normal." Regardless, it's erasure just as much as if they'd decided to make Allison a man, or Henry white, or Vincent heterosexual.

The fact that he's a minor character doesn't really matter in this (though the fact that Kevin is apparently the only person with an ASD in Eureka is a matter for another rant). When the only times we see people with ASDs in mass media are as minor characters or the butt of jokes (because freaks are funny!), it's heartening to see it done even a little bit well. Eureka had that, and with "Founders Day," they have failed miserably.

Even seeing him cured artificially would be better than this -- at least then, it would be semi-plausible as character development. At least then we would see the process of Kevin changing, and we'd have a chance to learn his thoughts. But the way they're doing things, they've just failed completely, and it's actually kind of sickening. This kid has saved the world because he was autistic**. His autism has saved his life. And they've erased that, they've made him a completely different person.

I do have hope, though. I hope that in future episodes, Allison is going to at least address this, that she'll make it clear how much she loved her son as he was (as well as how he is, because she is, after all, his mother). Even if the writers do, it doesn't diminish the fact that they've just erased the show's only canonically disabled character.

My favorite scene in the pilot was the one where Carter lays the blackboard down on the ground because he realizes and accepts that that's how Kevin thinks. What I'm really pissed about is that they've deprived us of any future scenes like that.

They made Kevin different. They made him amazing. And now they've made him "right," which emphatically, absolutely isn't.

(Also, they sunk my ship, but I'm not as pissed about that because there's so much opportunity for good storytelling there.)

*Yes, that's a Farscape reference.
**Which makes me wonder how the world still exists without Kevin, but that's a canonical-type question for another time.

Date: 2010-07-10 07:44 pm (UTC)
softestbullet: Aeryn cupping Pilot's cheek. He has his big eyes closed. (Comm/ I am Batman. Or am I?)
From: [personal profile] softestbullet
WTF. :(

Date: 2010-07-10 08:47 pm (UTC)
feanna: The cover of an old German children's book I inherited from my mother (Default)
From: [personal profile] feanna
Yeah, that moment when Kevin started talking (in a neurotypical way) was totally WTF. In retrospect I'm just happy that they didn't have an OMG, my son is cured! How awesome! moment where Allison is really happy about it. Though reactions to the changes will happen next episode, so I'm hoping it'll stay that way.
I've always thought that Kevin was underutilized as a character, but this isn't what I wanted.

Date: 2010-07-11 04:32 am (UTC)
christinathena: A butterfly resting on a leaf, near a caterpillar and a cocoon (Default)
From: [personal profile] christinathena
That's seriously f*cked-up there!

Date: 2010-07-11 08:17 pm (UTC)
anonymous_sibyl: A blue and white coffee cup on top of newspapers. (Coffee & Books)
From: [personal profile] anonymous_sibyl
Saw this on access_fandom

I hate that, too. I think I can see what the writers are trying to do, that if they try to change the world back to the way it was that Alison will have to make this horrible choice to have this new non-autistic son or the Kevin she always had. Except that I cannot imagine Alison ever thinking that way because this is her son and she loves him for all that he is. He's brilliant, he's wonderful, he saved the world.

I hate this new changed reality. I hate it for a great many reasons but definitely for how they've changed the very thing that made Kevin who he is.

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