HomefilmPower of the Pooch — Never Shoot the Dog


Power of the Pooch — Never Shoot the Dog — 3 Comments

  1. In House of Cards, they show the main character kill a dog in the first 10 minutes of the first show. He does it after it’s been (presumably) fatally injured and gives a little monologue about putting things down rather than letting them suffer. I wasn’t sure I could watch the show. I managed to make it through, and the writers used that scene to make us understand the razor’s edge that character walks on: he does what he thinks is right, even (and especially), if its not right. I actually enjoy the show (as much as I’ve seen so far), but that first part really upset me.

    In another movie, The Warrior’s Way, the master gives the apprentice a small white puppy and tells the child it will be his only friend. Through grueling training, nearly starving, inclimate weather, he has the dog. His final task before leaving is to kill the dog. They do not show if he’s done this or not, but, since he’s become the top assassin in his clan, its assumed he did. This is used for his reformation later, when he saves the innocent(s) (rise from bad to good).

    Finally, there’s Dexter. In flashbacks just a few episodes in, we see the main character made up to look like a teenager, with dead animals around him. They are at the base of the scene, barely visible, and after his father initially reacts to them, they are cut from viewing ENTIRELY. In this case, they have to sell Dexter as a psychopath (whose pathology requires he start by killing animals), but as they want him sympathetic (you are rooting for him not to get caught because he is sort of a anti-hero in that he adores killing but only kills “bad” people) they try to minimize the killing as much as possible, while giving him as many innocents to save as they can.

    Its an interesting trope – all three movies handled it differently to sort of short hand information about the protoganist in ways that “show” instead of “telling.”

  2. No, there’s no legitimate argument that Ward didn’t shoot the dog. So yes, maybe the show is headed in the direction of casting him as irredeemable. But I wouldn’t put it past Whedon to be warming up to making a point about how who we are is less about what we’ve done before and more about what we will do next.
    But as much as I enjoy Whedon’s points, if this is the plan I am going to be dissatisfied simply because of how successfully the actor has channelled creepy and dead in the eyes. When he was telling Skye that his feelings for her were real, there was something so off about his affect that I’m just not buying anything other than that Ward is true a sociopath.
    But then Ward admits to having fond feelings for FitzSimmons, and I start worrying that the show is trying to have its cake and eat it, too…

    • That’s one of my concerns. They can’t seem to decide how they want us to interpret Ward. This show tries to play a number of things both ways. Consider that this is the Marvel universe and that there are actual superheroes and supervillains running around out there. Now consider that the show has emphasized several times that psychic powers are a ridiculous concept unworthy of serious consideration. More than a little inconsistent.

      I half expect Ward to die in the next episode, sacrificing himself in some redemptive act. Whedon hasn’t killed a main character yet this season, so we should all know it’s coming.

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