Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby Cinemama » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:59 pm

This is the original post – before any edits I made online. So forgive me, but the fine-tuning is lost.

I have to explain that I’m basing my analysis on some of my books about writing (especially 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt), but will not be quoting material directly from any books. Please see the General Information post for the details.

I can't say enough what a fabulous job the writers have done in making all of these characters come to life for us. And part of the reason we all feel so strongly about them is that the writers pretty much stay true to the archetypes they've picked for each character.

Mick has been written as two mythic or archetypal characters combined, actually. His underlying nature is the Protector/Gladiator, with the protector being the heroic side of him and the gladiator being the villainous or dark side of him. But because of the path he’s on, I believe he is also written as the male Messiah/Punisher archetype. This makes him such an interesting character and difficult to analyze, but I’ll give it a shot.

I think we can all see Mick as the protector without me having to pull examples…but here’s a short list of people we’ve seen him try to protect: Beth, Eileen (Lee J’s victim), any potential victims of Dr. Feelgood, Lennie in Fever, Cherish in Arrested Development…heck there’s someone in every episode. Even the smarmy movie producer in 12:04.

The protector is willing to give his life to save another. One very poignant example of this trait tipping to the darker, gladiator side (dark because he’s almost too willing to die) is in Fever when Mick tells Beth to take Lennie and leave him there. When she protests that he is dying, Mick gives that almost imperceptible smile. Ahhh…a valiant death. For the Gladiator, that’s not a problem, and I have to wonder if it would almost be a relief to him.

Mick doesn’t display much of the gladiator in the present, but I suspect that he very much walked on that dark side after being turned. He has alluded several times about the things he’s done in the past, and specifically at the end of LLF he tells Beth he wants to make up for them. Think of how he tried to make a meal out of Lee J. in episode 2. Acting so rashly, with no plan and poor results are typical gladiator behavior. He didn’t kill the bad guy, and because of his actions was left with a ticking time bomb to deal with later.

This protector archetype can be very much an ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’ kind of guy. We haven’t seen much of Mick before he was turned to see how this may have been manifested in him, but being a musician and a soldier would fit in with that lifestyle.

I don’t want to make anyone faint, but this archetype is very physical and usually makes a fantastic lover. There, I’ve said it, and I’m moving on, even though I’ve probably just lost most of you as you head to some pictorial threads…

Now, for the male Messiah/punisher archetype and how it fits into Mick’s character... So many have posted about their admiration of how Mick has his principles and sticks to them no matter what, how he’s the moral center of the show, my own post about ‘Mick the Hero’, Josef says, “I know, you have morals and scruples…”, and Lola comments on this as well. This all supports the male Messiah archetype.

Bear in mind that this archetype does not indicate that Mick sees himself as some sort of Messiah. It can be applied to a character who does, but in Mick’s case it’s more that he’s on a moral path, and that to him, staying on that path means more than life itself. He will also sacrifice his life for others. Although, this type does place a high value on life, both his own and others, so he won’t give his life or take another rashly like the protector might. In fact, several of the traits of the male Messiah negate the villainous/gladiator side of Mick’s nature.

What’s great about Mick’s character is that he developed this side of himself after being turned into a vampire. It was not part of his nature. At that pivotal moment when he saved Beth and made the decision to live a better life, he put himself on this path. So we enter the story long after he’s made that journey and is living his life in a moral way. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of that journey in flashbacks.

Helping others get on a moral path is one aspect of the male Messiah archetype, and is one of the reasons he lets his butt get kicked sometimes. He sacrifices himself in an attempt to reason with someone, to get them to ‘see the light’, so to speak, and choose to live a different way. And when they refuse (sadly, so far they have all refused), then he dispenses justice and maybe even punishment. Dr. Feelgood and the teen vamp/serial killer are great examples of this. Although ultimately, fate ended the teen vamp…but the only reason he got the upper hand was because Mick was really trying to reason with him for a little too long.

In some situations, he deems from the outset that his opponent isn’t deserving of a chance and his fighting is very different in those cases. (Tejada, anyone?) And we have seen that no one, not even 500-years-of-experience Lola, has a chance against him when he’s decided someone has used up their second chances. This archetype can come across as godlike. Very godlike, indeed, are the decisions and choices Mick makes on a regular basis.

The male Messiah aspect of Mick has allowed him to rein in the darker traits of his protector/gladiator nature. I believe it is also what gives him the strength to keep his ‘inner vamp’ under control. Think of the constant temptations that Mick faces every day walking among humans, but he is able to stay in control and keep to the path he has chosen. I can remember a philosophy prof once posing the question, “Who is a better person? One who lives a life without sin, but was never tempted, or one who has been sorely tempted and managed to resist temptation most of the time?” No real answer, of course, but it makes me think of Mick.

I’ve seen numerous posts about how shocking it was when Mick set out for revenge on Tejada in LLF. It was shocking, but I personally also found it thrilling. Some wondered if this is out of character for Mick. This revenge (or vengeance) against Tejada is completely within character, but is showing us the darkest side we’ve seen of Mick so far. Mick is well on his journey, and keeps his darker side under such tight control most of the time that it can seem out of character when we see him display his villainous side. But the gladiator and the punisher are very much part of Mick’s character, and they do get to come out and play when he feels it is warranted. That’s why I think he was downright gleeful in taking Tejada’s life – he was able to indulge his vampire side without any of those pesky feelings of guilt.

Another point I’d like to make about his character is that from reading about these two archetypes, I felt very strongly that Mick would not turn Josh before LLF aired. His Messiah characteristics would place what he deems to be sacred (being human) above life itself (his own life or others). Especially with no consent on Josh’s part. This dilemma Mick faces about whether he would turn Beth strikes at the very core of his beliefs, and will be very troubling to him.

And this brings us to Beth, and what role she plays from an archetypal standpoint. Her archetype, the Amazon, is the female version of Mick’s Protector. They complement each other very well, and will work so well together as they go about the business of saving others. She isn’t as far along on her journey, and so can definitely learn a lot more from him than he can from her. The male Messiah archetype is usually the one helping others to grow, and not necessarily doing any growing himself. But I hope we’ve seen a glimpse (in Sleeping Beauty and even before) that Beth will help draw Mick back into enjoying his un-life.

I didn’t mention the following on Beth’s analysis, because without Mick I don’t think it applies. But there is a female Messiah archetype as well. Do I hear groaning? Bear with me. The difference between the male and female is that the male attempts to show anyone and everyone the path that he thinks is right. The female IS the path. And I really think that the writers have placed Beth in this position with Mick. My thoughts: Saving her was what set him on his moral path. Because of her, he goes on living. She is his soul-mate. She is the path to his redemption.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby news » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:27 pm

Cinemama wrote:Bear in mind that this archetype does not indicate that Mick sees himself as some sort of Messiah. It can be applied to a character who does, but in Mick’s case it’s more that he’s on a moral path, and that to him, staying on that path means more than life itself. He will also sacrifice his life for others. Although, this type does place a high value on life, both his own and others, so he won’t give his life or take another rashly like the protector might. In fact, several of the traits of the male Messiah negate the villainous/gladiator side of Mick’s nature.


ok..here I go with Mick! I'll be getting to my sweet Beth, soon! ;) The first of many quotes I will try to understand with your help. In Moonlight, Mick always seemed to look upon himself as somewhat of a fallen hero type IMHO. I've seen many protagonists carry this trait. He never seemed to relish in taking any kind of credit for saving Beth, or anyone else for that matter. He often looked away from Beth when she spoke of him saving her. Humility is the word I'm looking for. Not wanting the praise as it just always seemed the right thing for him to do with regard to how he looked upon anyone's life..maybe? Seems to me that was one of many important factors in Mick's redemptive qualities?
Last edited by news on Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby seesaw » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:56 pm

Somehow Mick has the insight of the suicidal teenager who's father is running for mayor. As soon as she leaves the room, he leaves the room and talks to her about his vulnerabilities and how his secret tore him inside out on top of the roof until he told someone. There was an immediate connection with a stranger for him. While he stood on the edge of the roof he was endangering himself also; but he magically reached out to her at the exact time to save her life which she is grateful for. She feels relief that the truth was told just because a caring soul like Mick reached out to her. I love the idea that Mick can sense intuition from anyone he is in contact with whether they lie or need his help or know who killed who or know how they feel.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby francis » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:13 pm

You're right, seesaw. He has great intuition. Even when he was only human, so he couldn't have sensed her heartbeat or hormones or whatever, he got this girl. Maybe it's because he understands trauma. He is full of it. That alone doesn't make a person sensitive for other's needs, but Mick is a hero in that regard, not only with his brawns.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby news » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:32 pm

Cinemama wrote:Mick doesn’t display much of the gladiator in the present, but I suspect that he very much walked on that dark side after being turned. He has alluded several times about the things he’s done in the past, and specifically at the end of LLF he tells Beth he wants to make up for them. Think of how he tried to make a meal out of Lee J. in episode 2. Acting so rashly, with no plan and poor results are typical gladiator behavior. He didn’t kill the bad guy, and because of his actions was left with a ticking time bomb to deal with later.


Mick made the statement: I've done a lot of bad things when I was turned Beth, I'd like to make up for them. I sure would have love to have seen what he was referencing "a lot of bad things to." I too wondered if Mick may have had a bit of a darker side to himself, troubling as a human. We didn't get the opportunity to see much of him as a human, unfortunately. In the movie Gladiator, Maximus made a statement: What we do in life, echoes in eternity. This always made me wonder about Mick's human life, and maybe a bit of his problems following him into his undead life, maybe.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby Cinemama » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:29 am

news wrote:
Cinemama wrote:Bear in mind that this archetype does not indicate that Mick sees himself as some sort of Messiah. It can be applied to a character who does, but in Mick’s case it’s more that he’s on a moral path, and that to him, staying on that path means more than life itself. He will also sacrifice his life for others. Although, this type does place a high value on life, both his own and others, so he won’t give his life or take another rashly like the protector might. In fact, several of the traits of the male Messiah negate the villainous/gladiator side of Mick’s nature.


ok..here I go with Mick! I'll be getting to my sweet Beth, soon! ;) The first of many quotes I will try to understand with your help. In Moonlight, Mick always seemed to look upon himself as somewhat of a fallen hero type IMHO. I've seen many protagonists carry this trait. He never seemed to relish in taking any kind of credit for saving Beth, or anyone else for that matter. He often looked away from Beth when she spoke of him saving her. Humility is the word I'm looking for. Not wanting the praise as it just always seemed the right thing for him to do with regard to how he looked upon anyone's life..maybe? Seems to me that was one of many important factors in Mick's redemptive qualities?


Yes, I think you're right that he has a lot of humility, and doesn't really want praise for what he's accomplished. I think it's because of that transitional period that came between being a protector who was merely human and a seemingly very good fellow to being this messiah character who is trying to redeem himself. You know the time - Mick the vampire gladiator, partying with Josef and choosing women like wine. He wasn't all bad...still tried to help people as the Protector, such as Eileen in Out of the Past, but seemed to live very much on his dark side, using violence to solve problems. So once he woke up from that fever dream of blood and mayhem, he really feels that he's got a lot to make up for. We didn't get to see everything he did (drat it!), but it's implied that it was a lot of bad stuff. He mentions it to Beth at the end of LLF, that he's done some awful things and needs to make up for them.

So, yeah, now he's just trying to always do the right thing, and I don't think he feels (in these early episodes) that he's worthy of redemption himself.
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby seamus3333 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:03 pm

What a wonderful discussion! I have never studied archetypes, but I'm going to...May I add something in my less intellectual way? I assume from some of the episodes that Mick is an Irish Catholic, a lapsed Catholic. He knew the routine for confession; "Bless me father for I have sinned; it's been...years since my last confession, etc. His parents and he went to lunch after church every Sunday. He must have received some religious education or, at least heard some sermons. One of the "absolutes" I was taught in my 18 years of Catholic education is that the only unforgivable sin is despair, the loss of any hope for forgiveness.

Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, are consumed with guilt. In a show an ADA is asked, "So, what is it...do you feel guilty?" He answers, "Guilty? I'm Irish Catholic; I feel guilty when it rains!" I nearly fell off the couch, laughing...been there, done that. Read anything by any noted Irish Catholic author and you'll find guilt, despair, melancholy and depression.

Mick believes he is damned, beyond redemption. God has turned His back on him, deservedly so. (reminds me of another story. A man is moaning in pain muttering "I am truly the world's worst sinner" over and over. His guardian angel finally turns to him and says,"Oh, you are not!"

This is one of the reasons Beth is so important to him. If a human woman can know both parts of him, the man and the Beast, and not only accept but truly love him, why not God?

This was and is my personal view of Mick and the empathy I felt for him made me truly love him. If this has nothing to do with archetypes, I apologize. Hell, I not only recognize him, I is him!
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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby maggatha3 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:30 pm

:bump:
-It never ends well...
-Never?

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Re: Mick as the Protector/Gladiator archetype AND...

Postby jen » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:05 am

Fabulous analysis.

I haven't read it in a while, but it is very insightful!

Thank you!

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