2 thoughts on “Characters Have to Atone Before We Can Care About Their Redemption Arc

  1. If I may humbly disagree, I feel like someone needs to feel bad for things they’ve done before they attempt to atone for them. I’m okay with a show portraying a character as conflicted and working through their own feelings before actually atoning for them, but there needs to be a payoff at the end where they do atone.

    I think an example of this would be Spike from Buffy. He clearly did not want to be helping the White Hats but had no choice due to the chip. He then attacked Buffy and left saying he needed to fix himself (or words to that effect) before he came back to Sunnydale and atoned for his actions. (And I absolutely truncated the hell out of this process for him, but it was over the course of two seasons and change before he atoned.)

  2. But with Spike, they specifically used the chip to avoid this very issue. They knew they couldn’t use Spike without having him atone first, so they threw in the chip, which was akin to having an evil character show up with amnesia (also a very common trope used to avoid this very thing). So yes, that was an instance where a character atoned later on, but that was through a plot device used specifically because they knew it wouldn’t work otherwise to use him before he atoned. There is no such plot device for Nate, they’re just treating us to “Aw, look at Nate make a diorama for his crush. Hopefully she says yes!” They’re skipping steps without coming up with a plot device that would allow them to skip steps.

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