Farewell Michelle, thank you Reiko

I admit it right away: the whole situation might look a bit pathetic and it is quite dubiously that I look at it and at myself. I have been troubled over the past hours by the death of one of my favorite characters from the TV show 24… no comment.

On the contrary, let’s comment: I am the first one being surprised by it. As I have been estranged from my own emotions for quite some time, looking from some distance at what happens in my everyday life, what could this emotion mean?

Editor’s note: this article is about what happened at the beginning of the show’s fifth season (2007), which I’ve just seen. I thus feel there is no spoiling at discussing all this but please stop reading if you still want to discover those episodes on your own.

During the first minutes of the season (which, by the way, is almost unanimously considered as the best one), some leading characters are killed: among them is Michelle Dessler, played by the touching Reiko Aylesworth. Why is this character more impactful to me than the others? One of the reasons I can see is that, contrary to others, she has always been extremely well-written. She never became a superhero a la Jack Bauer who would save the world all by herself. She was a strong woman, really strong indeed, but never crossed the thin line that would have made people say she could only be a fictitious TV character. She was profoundly human. We saw her as we would have seen a friend, strong-willed and brave but also sensitive, the one people could count on. Someone we would love to get to know.

Why am I being affected by this? It is mere fiction.

Maybe does it come from the discrepancy between this character and what I was expecting from 24, which we wouldn’t think could be about feelings whatsoever, at a time where it is difficult for me to feel anything? Maybe does it come from her death itself, as she is just a collateral victim of an overall conspiracy in which she doesn’t play any part? Her departure from the show is even completely outshined by other events and other deaths much more closely related to the plot. For Michelle, it all seems a bit gratuitous and she is indeed quickly forgotten by the surviving characters who nonetheless do seem to care about those who died, simply not her. The only true repercussions of her death will be seen with her husband Tony (admittedly leading to new events but only because of Tony, not so much because of her).

Maybe does it come from the fact that even in her last moments, her destiny echoes what we can experience in our everyday life? We die and it doesn’t have any particular signification. We die and the world keeps going on shockingly. It makes a difference only for those closest to us, for a period of time. A life comes to an end and a whole entity is erased from the world, along with its future, its present and its past. As for me, sans echo, I hope to make some kind of difference and not be forgotten.

Is all this ridiculous? It might very well be.

I nonetheless accept it with no shame, as it changed something.

Farewell Michelle. Thank you Reiko, what/who you’ve managed to bring to life made a difference.

Translated from this article, apologies for language approximations

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