All righty, so I’ve been watching Brimstone. It’s a canceled show with John Glover [the awesome! also gay!] as the Devil goading on some guy with a fascinating nose. The guy is Ezekiel Stone, who went to hell for killing his wife’s rapist. Now back from hell, he has a second chance at life on earth if he can round up 113 escaped souls and shoot out their eyes, sending them back to hell.
Well, the gender politics of this show are FUCKED UP. First of all, any women who come back from the dead inevitably seduce poor hapless male mortals and KILL THEM WITH SEX. For example, in Carrier, a 1920s flapper, institutionalized for being a typhoid vector, pops up and kills by kissing. She prompts instantaneous death by coughing, while CGI-enhanced yellow bacteria swarm out of the victims’ mouths. All of the female damned souls are like the equivalent of WWI anti-STD campaigns. “She make look pure, but…” But underneath her fair exterior is a vile hellhole of germ-ridden filth!
Wait…it gets better! Ezekiel, having died 15 years ago, suffers from the knowledge that his wife, Roz, is still alive. He mopes about her frequently, which is fine because people do that. In one ep, though, he hangs outside her house, watching her. Clearly adhering to the detached-from-reality-schema in which breathing down an unsuspecting person’s neck is oh-so-romantic, he considers introducing himself to her. His landlady, who’s sarcastic, snappy, intelligent, novel-writing, bouncy and much more interesting than his Sainted Widow, advocates a reunion with arguments taken straight from stupid romance novels.
Ezekiel has previously had a fling with a detective, Ash, who turned out to be an evil serpent goddess [?!], so he has been sexually active since his death. Though Brimstone’s men can be sexually active, we shall see how punishment befalls the Brimstone women if they dare to express desire. For Roz, the path to punishment begins when Ezekiel sees that Roz has a boyfriend who seems really devoted to her. Ezekiel becomes very distressed. Okay, fine, that’s also psychologically plausible.
So over half of the episode sets up Ezekiel’s mope and Roz’s boyfriend. Roz still remembers Ezekiel fondly and cries over him, but I’m starting to think that the episode will end with Ezekiel leaving Roz alone to live a happy life with her boyfriend. But no.
The Swift Narrative Hammer of Misogynist Doom smites Roz for having the temerity to be unfaithful to the memory of Ezekiel. You see — Roz the Sainted, Innocent and Clueless suspects nothing, but her new boyfriend is actually the serpent goddess in disguise! She wants to possess Ezekiel’s wife if she can’t possess Ezekiel. Or perhaps she wants to turn into Roz so that Ezekiel will love her, which is awfully pathetic of a super-powerful serpent goddess who is, incidentally, set up as the only escaped soul that the Devil fears.
Of course, since Roz’s new “boyfriend” is actually A MONSTER FROM HELL, Ezekiel the Heroic Stalker must swoop in to save the day. He scares off the Villain Who Dared To Entice Roz To Getting On With Her Life.
Then, just to make sure that Roz remembers her appropriate place as an inviolate globe of widowed purity, Ezekiel leaves Roz with a gift…one of the snow globes that she loves so much. It contains a bride and a groom with the title FOREVER. She therefore has a tangible reminder that she should be eternally faithful to Ezekiel, even beyond his death, and never commit the sin of being sexually interested in someone again.
As a woman, Roz has two choices. She can either be a sexually active person and get damned to hell and lumped in the same category as the serpent goddess who wants to destroy the world. Or she can remain faithful to the memory of her dead husband, who should be GONE THE FUCK AWAY AND NOT EVEN A CONSIDERATION, and keep her vagina closed and untouched by penises, like a GOOD WOMAN. It’s an unsophisticated, brainless version of the Madonna/whore complex. What offensive narrative laziness.