It was the good ending- Thoughts on Dr. Horrible, Ben Linus, and villaining in general

So…I loved Dr. Horrible. Once again Joss plays with the geek as supervillain theme. Some of you might know that Andrew is my favorite Buffy character. Its an… internal issue for me.

People I’ve noticed are sad that Billy’s love interest dies at the end. In fact this is the good ending.

You see heroes can choose to/are forced to maintain a constant balance between their pedestrian life and their life as heroes, a second identity. The literary reason/spiritual reason for that is so that they maintain touch and feeling for the people they are protecting, and keep their perspective.

In contrast the effective villain’s ties with his pedestrian life must be cut, or they will only weaken him. This is why generally it is the shattering of a once-perfect pedestrian life that creates a great villain (Re: Two-Face for a timely example). Otherwise, if the villain chooses his own path, he must undergo a symbolic rebirth, generally by destroying the old self (Ben from Lost’s murder of his father, and the Dharma purge in general).

This is why women are often the downfall of great villains.

A villain who tries to walk the line between a person and a monster is doomed to fall prey to the failings of a human.

That’s why Ben’s obsession with Juliet worries me. He expends the energy chasing her that he needs to direct to his schemes. She’s rejected him, and isn’t going to change her mind any time soon.

Unfortunately, his own ambition and drive are the problem in this case- he can’t stand to fail at winning her.

To reference the Evil Overlord list, he needs to shoot her, and then say ‘oh well’.

Or he’s going to die.

So I repeat, Dr. Horrible got his good ending. She and Billy, his pedestrian self, were the sacrifice that success demanded.

A villain is and must be a narcissist and solipsist. While it is okay to assign value to others, allies, friends, loves, even enemies, at the end of the day the villain’s self-worth is the only worth that must be considered.

As a villain you must cut ties with or destroy anything that you value above yourself.

Cut yourself away from those things that can tarnish you, and be born in the flames of your old self’s death.

And to that end, I have an announcement.

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