Lourdes: Not Totally Useless?

Our exciting continuation of Guest-Writer-A-Con (I’m not bitter at all that I didn’t make it to Comic-Con this year…) comes from a new friend of the blog: Justin Mathai. He has made really good comments on the blog, we have had some good conversation on twitter. Today he talks about someone everyone seems to have a strong opinion on, Lourdes!

A Long, Essay-type Rant on why Lourdes ISN’T a Useless/Annoying/Stupid Character

Greetings, Falling Skies population! Let me start with an introduction. My name’s Justin, I’m a fiction writer looking to do something with his passion for writing. I love compelling stories and characters which is why I love this show so much. But it has come to my attention recently that people really don’t like Lourdes. If you don’t know what I mean, Google ‘Lourdes Falling Skies’ and one of the top searches there is ‘Lourdes Falling Skies Annoying.’ Really, people? In any event, I find it necessary to defend the poor girl from your nit-picking as I actually happen to really like the character.

 

I’ll start with the first reason why Lourdes is a great character. This reason will appeal to the male population. Ladies may wish to skip reading the rest of this now but Seychelle Gabriel is (to keep it respectful) a highly attractive young woman. Want proof? Go see the IMDB message boards and read all the pigs commenting on how much they would ‘tap that.’ The show certainly has no shortage of eye-candy for both genders (Sarah Sanguin Carter, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood and even Will Patton if you’re into that sort of thing) but it couldn’t hurt to have another uber-attractive character, can it?

 

On to a more serious dissection of her character now, though, because I’ve no doubt just frightened a bunch of you of. First on the list, her usefulness to the show. She’s a pre-med student, which makes her an important character because Anne/Dr. Glass really can’t be expected to care for hundreds of civilians all by herself. In that sense, Lourdes contributes to the believability of the situation. She may not have any practical experience but she understands enough to be of some use. In many ways, it’s like she’s still in school. A school with high stakes and no learning curve but a school nonetheless. It stands to reason that, in their desperate situation, anyone with a passing medical knowledge would be asked to help out. So there’s reason number 1 for why we don’t just blow her head off in the opening sequence and tie her entrails to the back of Pope’s motorcycle.

 

Now the religious aspect of her character pissed a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people off. I get that not everyone is religious but I’ll put it to you this way: how many characters without any visible religious affiliations are there on this show? What? All but Lourdes? That’s right! (And shut up about Weaver starting to pray with her in that one scene from season 1 because it doesn’t count. He’s obviously lost his faith by now). Falling Skies is dedicated to telling a human story in a seemingly inhuman world. At their heart, these characters are supposed to represent various archetypes found in today’s society. Tom represents the classic father, willing to risk life and limb to save his kids. Anne is our rock, a strong, rooted character. Weaver is our archetypical grizzled military man, Pope represents our jerk, etc. Religion is a HUGE aspect in society. We fight WARS over religion. So why is it that in the world of fiction and entertainment, the second someone references religion (especially Christianity) everyone gets all bent out of shape?

 

What I mean is, it stands to reason that SOMEONE out there would still have faith in the darkest of times. Lots of people would. I think the fact that the writers put this in was plausible, believable, even great. Lourdes’ religion gives her substance, shows us more about her character then can possibly be revealed by her limited lines that Anne enjoys cutting off and trampling over. From this, we learn that she’s optimistic and hopeful. Some of you say delusional and maybe you’re right, but in times of crisis we tend to hold on to that which gives us hope. The religious aspect shouldn’t be something to antagonize her character but rather something to humanize her.

 

Moving on now to the people who think she’s useless. I believe ‘underused’ is more appropriate here. I’ll admit, she doesn’t get that much to do. Poor Seychelle Gabriel is left wandering in the background as Moon Bloodgood speaks for her. But at the same time, she gives us a sense of the ambience in the room. She fidgets uncomfortably when Anne is speaking sternly to Captain Weaver, she awkwardly walks in on Tom and Anne in the make-out-over-a-whoopie-pie-scene, etc. She’s sort of ‘the viewer’ in these scenes, feeling just as awkward or uncomfortable as we would were we the ones in her place. She gives us a sort of ‘anchor’ if you will, someone to watch for cues of how everyone else feels in that room at that moment.

 

And, lastly, I want to talk about the whole Jamil death thing. Okay, I’ll admit, I kind of wanted Hal and Lourdes to get together. I even wrote a fanfic about it. But the writers chose to give her this new boyfriend and as soon as he walked on screen something told me he wouldn’t make it out of season 2 alive. Neither are major characters with significant screen time and this left many viewers confused when he told her he loved her before dying a gruesome, nightmare-inducing death. I like to imagine that they had a romance going on away from the camera. She’s a character that very much seems to depend on people being there for her, protecting her if you will. She’s inherently shy and I think Jamil brought out another, happier side of her during their time together. And that is precisely why he had to die.

 

Realistically, how long can things go your way before it all comes crashing down? Lourdes had everything going for her up until this point and I like the way the writers went with it. You see, this darker (some may say ‘emo’) Lourdes is clearly the polar opposite of what she once was. Part of me hopes she’ll go all badass and start killing skitters with a plastic knife, a bottle of Jack, and her bare hands. But we see how disillusioned she’s become. Lourdes was always the idealist of the show, someone who kept it positive despite the crappy world around her. And we see (as in all great works of literature) that the idealist must become disillusioned at some point because the world just doesn’t work out perfectly all the time, if ever. So while you may hate the ‘drama’ of her struggle with Jamil’s death, I think it further humanizes her. We’ve all lost people we love at some point, we can all relate to that pain. It isn’t that much of a stretch to see her suddenly becoming despondent and even hostile. She’s afraid, confused, and emotionally in turmoil. Her entire world view just came crashing down around her for goodness sake!

 

I think we all forget that characters are modeled after real people. We seek desperately for someone who is almost godlike in nature on television and get all pissy when writers create realistic, believable characters that represent different world views, especially ones we don’t necessarily agree with. I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it, and every troll on the internet forums is doubly guilty of it. But approaching it from a writer’s point-of-view, Lourdes is artfully crafted to represent a good portion of the world’s faithful, innocent, idealistic population and that’s what I love so much about her. So please, let’s not bash characters just because of religious affiliations or perceived uselessness. I just showed you how she impacts the show postively. Thanks for reading and GO TEAM LOURDES!

More of Justin’s stuff can be found at: http://justinmathai.wordpress.com/ and he can be followed on twitter at @JustoMathai

Keep the Resistance Strong!

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~ by The Falling Skies Blog on July 25, 2012.

8 Responses to “Lourdes: Not Totally Useless?”

  1. To start Lourdes was to religious to start out and that`s one good thing she lost that and started realizing god can`t save her.When I first saw her in Falling Skies she acted like a teen,wanted Hal and was kind of annoying but they involved her more and with the medical stuff and her character improved.Season 2 Lourdes seemed different,they gave her Jamil and her character seemed stronger,now Jamil is dead and Lourdes has a attitude and lost all hope and faith,I think she might get mad and grab a gun and try to kill Skitters next but that would lead to her getting killed off.Anyways let`s see where she goes next,her relationship with Dr. glass is suppose to get better..We will see what happens.

    • If you don’t mind my asking, I’m curious why you think it’s a good thing she lost her faith? As I said before, some people draw comfort from it even if you don’t. I do agree that she does seem stronger this season than last, though.

  2. […] at fallingskiesblog.wordpress.com. You can link to the article here if you’re interested! https://fallingskiesblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/lourdes-not-totally-useless/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in […]

  3. I belong to the few who never saw Lourdes as annoying or useless. On some level, I found the religious aspect weird – but I find religion weird in rl, too, so there’s that. I personally would have hated to see her get together with Hal, especially in retrospect. She’d be in Maggie’s place now: stuck at being someone’s girlfriend, almost violently refusing to develop a personality of her own. Without Hal, that door is open; she can and hopefully will become her own person.
    At first, I found it a bit forced to materialize a boyfriend for her out of nowhere, but compared to the overload of Hal-Maggie (and as of “Love and other acts of courage” also Tom-Anne) their relationship was fine in my book. Not that I expected Jamil to live very long; I mentioned somewhere “they can keep that couple around in case they need a dramatic goodbye or dying lover”. Anyway, it was believable that two people with important (though not main character worthy) jobs would be a couple, but not start to play house like Tom and Anne and instead still see their jobs as the most important thing. They were what Moon Bloodgood called a “exchanging glances across a crowded room romance” (Anne and Tom in season 1) – and that’s the kind of romance I do find believable in a post-apocalyptic world. Making out while hiding from mechs or looking for escape tunnels… not so much.
    Anyway, here’s how I see Lourdes’ future: http://circusofscars.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/lourdes-sartana/ Not for a single moment did the word “emo” cross my mind. I immediately thought: That’s Punisher Girl in the making. She lost her family (or at least the hope they might be alive) in episode 3. She lost her boyfriend – and possibly her faith now. She’s got nothing left to lose. So someone hand her a gun already.

  4. I’ve seen a few people on comment sites from the early episodes who didn’t like her, but in the fandom on tumblr and in the people I’ve met who like Falling Skies, most people seem to agree that she’s a sweetheart who deserves more screentime.

  5. Lourdes sucks. She has no redeeming qualities. She starts cryin and saying everyone is going to die when the shit hits the fan. Terrible character, and poorly written dialogue as well. When she tries to sound sagely she sounds naive and pompous.

  6. Her character is ridiculous. A premed student that all of a sudden becomes a doctor? Premed is nothing more than basic biology and anatomy physiology biochem. She now can do Medical procedures? Resuscitate patients in the case of Hall? This really detracts from a credible story line

    • I learned how to resusitate people in eigth grade health class, and you’re telling me a premed student being able to do so isn’t credible? Also, Anne even says that Lourdes has learned a lot after the first season, and that, yes, she’s highly capable of getting shit done.

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