John Pope 2.0: A Man of Many Words

For the first part of a two-day look at everybody’s favorite anti-hero, John Pope, Contributing Author Tammy returns! Check out KidCarnival’s previous look at John Pope in John Pope: A World of Grey

Snark and the Single Skitter Killer: Why we need humor (and Pope) in a post-alien invasion world

It’s me again! I’m sure from the title you can only guess what I’ve got on my mind today.

That would be our own dear Berserker-in-Chief (or is that Chef?) Mr. John Pope.

I promise. This will be my last Pope article.

That is, until he does something cool (hopefully on next week’s episode, did you SEE all that blood?).

So, why Pope? Why did he win as fan favorite character last year over Tom Mason and Dan Weaver and a host of other members of the 2nd Mass? Why do we love to hate him so much?

Well, for the same reason that we have always loved anti-heroes…..

The goody two-shoes “real” hero types are BORING. I mean, don’t get me wrong; Ben Mason and his super powers are awesome. And Weaver and Tom have done a GREAT job keeping everyone focused, and heading in the right direction (except Charleston, still think that’s a trap/concentration camp/reservation/neutral zone/no go area/whatever you want to call it), but Pope…. Ah Pope is that bratty little brother that keeps poking at you to get your attention, to tell you that you have blinders on and you are going to fall off a really, really big cliff if you don’t pay attention.

But in a show like Falling Skies, do we really have time for the sarcasm, the snark, the Pope-isms? Well, if not now, with aliens of all stripes breathing down our collective necks, then when? It sure beats the alternative for tension breaking activities (i.e. MORE uncomfortable romances).

And anyway Pope himself would tell you, characters like him tend to play either the fool or the foil to the main hero archetype and make the story all the more interesting.

And while Pope is not stupid by any stretch of the imagination (we can talk about my theories about his background later), I do think that he plays the part of the post-modern fool in this series. And by fool, we mean the old Shakespearean type fool where he uses humor (or snark in Pope’s case, post-modern I say) to either lessen the tension between drama heavy portions of the narrative or point out lies or half-truths which the hero types don’t want to hear, thereby increasing the tension and helping to drive the hero type to their next act of daring-do.

Pope’s snark and rapid repartee is generally used to point out what is wrong in the 2nd Mass. From throwing flags on plays and pointing out that Tom “had a Chip in HIS head” to pointing out to Matt that he is one of “Princelets of the 2nd Mass” Pope is always there to point out what a lot of folks are thinking (oh wait, he said that too).

It’s just not how most of us would say it. Which is what makes him more fallible, more human, more “lovable” than the almost always right Weaver and Tom (once again, I say Charlestrap bad).

But Pope is not just the fool of the 2nd Mass; he also plays the foil to the hero so very, very well. Pope does not take any order that he doesn’t 110% believe in. He takes away a very important member of the 2nd Mass (Anthony) off the playing board for a good length of time this season (look for him to bug out with Dai next, maybe that’ll get Dai more screen time afterwards, KidCarnival). He even goes so far as to start a faction within the 2nd Mass to do what no one else wants to do. What the heroes wouldn’t dirty their hands with he get done and with more flair than most of our heroes. And it annoys the crap out of our White Hats.

Although, by playing by his own rules, we have seen him painted into corners a few times, but isn’t that what the guys in white hats for? To save even the most obnoxious person in the group even if you deep down don’t really feel like he deserves it?

So, if Pope is such a loose cannon, why does Weaver and Tom keep him around? Why has the 2nd Mass let him cook their food, make their mech metal bullets and build their bombs? Not cause he’s just like the rest of them, not because he can be trusted as far as he can be thrown by Ben (which as this point is a pretty long way), but because in the end not only does he make good points in a bad way, but he’s got knowledge that the 2nd Mass needs.

Tammy is a Contributing Author here at THE Falling Skies Blog, I believe in love with John Pope, and I think makes dresses? She can be found on Twitter, @laughing_coyote, where links to her blogs can be found in her Twitter bio.

The second, longer, part of her Pope examination will be posted tomorrow!

Keep the Resistance Strong!

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~ by The Falling Skies Blog on August 7, 2012.

5 Responses to “John Pope 2.0: A Man of Many Words”

  1. “Why do we love to hate him so much?” That’s a line I’ll never understand. I don’t even see how he is the jerk everyone sees in him. To me, such characters are “ah, finally, normal people”, because the realist in me thinks there are way more John Popes in the world than there are Tom Masons and Dan Weavers. It’s always a bit bizarre to see a guy like him as “the minority” in a (2nd) mass of holier-than-holy heroes. This weird inversion of my percieved reality aside, Pope is the closest thing to a character I can identify with/”does what I would do” (except, frankly, I’d be worse). He’s the bridge between reality and fiction in Falling Skies; someone who acts believable and adds the realism that allows the suspension of disbelief for me.

  2. Hey KidCarnival! Glad for your comment. Of course, Greg is right, I am unashamedly in love with the character, but not everyone is, which is why I used the cliche. Maybe I should have said that most people love to hate? Or even hate to love if the fan polls are to be believed? 🙂

    I have the sneaking suspision that while most folks out there want to identify with/like/love folks in a series who reflect society’s norms (White Hats), it’s the morally ambiguous ones (Grey Hats shall we say?) that really make a work of fiction come alive and be more realistic, just like you said so well.

    Greg, yes you are correct, I do sew dresses on my off time. 🙂 I also sew other costume stuff, quilt and make historical reproduction toys, but

    • I try to avoid fan polls because fandom ruins many, if not most things. So I don’t know or care what polls say; it’s better for my own sanity to ignore it. I usually run as soon as the fangirls start their Draco in Leatherpants routine and sure hope the writers will show the same ignorance to the matter. It’s bad enough we have Hal as estrogen brigade bait incarnate – a perfect example how it ruins potentially interesting characters. (And speaking of it, can someone please make that kid demading Lourdes in a bikini on imdb go away?) Pope as a character works as long as he isn’t overused. He is unpredictable, but if you put him too much in the focus, a pattern will develop and voila, decay sets in. So if anything, the polls make me fear this might happen.
      I generally prefer my characters to be shades of grey, the more the merrier. Because that’s how real people are. No-one is plain black or plain white; there are no true heroes or villains. So I don’t see Pope as antagonist in this case, just as more realistic than some others. I neither “love to hate” nor “hate to love”.

  3. Great thoughts! Pope’s my favorite after Ben and the rest of the Masons for the reasons you stated. He’s a huge DB whose loyalty is questionable at best, but that’s the interesting part. He cares about killing Skitters and that’s it. Right now, he’s with the 2nd Mass because that’s the best way to do it. Later…who knows? Unpredictability is interesting.

  4. I love the John Pope character so much ,, it is my main reason for watching “Falling Skies”.. the story line and the emotional drama I love too.. Now I will be looking for Colin Cunningham in future film and TV. he is funny, witty and extremely sexy..haha

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