I’ve been watching the Sci-Fi Channel’s miniseries Tin Man. I like it – I like it a lot. It’s based on the venerable Wizard of Oz stories, with lots of changes, but enough commonality with the movie that most of us know and love to be recognizable.
Kinda. Okay, barely. But it’s still got a central story of innocence and good versus evil.
My problem with it is the nature of that evil. Spoiler alert – if you haven’t seen the second episode yet, avert your eyes.
In this version, the main characters are a pair of sisters, the daughters of the Queen of the OZ (Outer Zone). One is a bad seed, Azkadelia, who kills her younger sister at a young age and goes on to become a powerful evil sorceress. But the younger sister, DG, is reanimated by her mother’s love and is sent to our world to avoid her evil sister and one day return to set things right.
Okay, I’m buying it so far.
But then, in the second episode, they reveal the origin of Azkadelia’s evil. She and her sister were close friends until one day they inadvertently released an ancient evil witch from her prison. DG ran, leaving Azkadelia at the witch’s mercy. The witch then possesses Azkadelia, starting her evil rampage and imbuing her with cool flying monkey tattoos on her boobs.
Now, I’m no slouch at suspending my disbelief, but this runs counter to my personal philosophy of morality. The message is that the two sisters were both good, but subject to ordinary human weakness, and as a result, an outside force of horrific evil managed to overtake one of them and bring about lots of suffering.
I don’t think evil works that way. It is, very sadly, not something external to the human experience. People like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Pinochet weren’t bizarre freaks possessed by evil demons. Well, maybe they could have used some lithium. But they were the products of their upbringing, their society and their ambition. The horrible, evil things they did were, ultimately, human – something that any person could be a part of, given the right circumstances.
I think we have a desire to view evil as something outside of normal human experience because we’re afraid or unwilling to admit that we could ever participate in those kinds of things.
If we’re going to ever abolish evil, we have to recognize that it’s not something that comes from outside of humanity – it comes from inside it.
So, yeah – I would have been happier if they just made Azkadelia a raving bitch.