Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ben Sherman -- Epilogue, Part I

The recent series finale of "SouthLAnd" left our "hero" -- Officer Ben Sherman -- lying on the ground after being confronted by his partner, Officer Sammy Bryant, about his scum-bag ways.  Many folks were left wondering what would have happened to Ben Sherman if the series had been given a sixth season.  Would he have found redemption or would he have continued along his dark path?  It seems dubious that he could once again become that lovely, though rather haunted, young man we remember from the earlier seasons.  It would also be unrealistic for the show's writers to return him to that state.  For, after all, human nature does not work that way.  And the people who made "SouthLAnd" always remained true to what we flawed humans are actually like.  We flawed humans cannot undo our actions, either the good or the evil ones.  Our actions always impact our psyches, our characters, our personalities.  Our actions become part of us.  And our wrong-headed decisions never leave us entirely unscathed, entirely without scars.  But, what we can do is choose where we go from where we are.  So, what would the creators of "SouthLAnd," perhaps in collaboration with the actor who portrays Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), have chosen?  I will map out what I see as one possibility. 

I realize I have been rather silly at times in writing about "SouthLAnd" -- in my "spoilers" and "predictions."  I have enjoyed doing that.  Humor has helped me deal with the heartbreaking intensity of Season 5.  It has been a coping mechanism, of sorts.  But, in what I write now -- though it will probably contain humor -- I will try to remain true to the spirit of the show and to the work Ben McKenzie put into portraying Ben Sherman.  And I am pretty sure Mr. McKenzie would not want Officer Sherman to have an easy out from his situation.  Maybe he wouldn't even want to see the character ultimately redeemed.  But, I do.  So, I'm going to go with that and I hope Mr. McKenzie won't mind if he ever happens to come across this blog.  I want Officer Sherman to have a "happy ending."  Not fairy-tale happy, but I want him to come to a place of peace.  Why?  Because I am a Catholic, and I also don't give up too easily on people.  I believe in grace.  I believe most people want to choose the good.  I believe that often, when people choose what is wrong, they do it believing they are choosing what is right.  We see this demonstrated in the final scene between Ben and Sammy in the series finale of "SouthLAnd."  Ben tries to justify himself to Sammy.  He tells Sammy that he has done "what any sane person would do."  Sammy, being actually sane, realizes what insanity this is and punches Ben.  This is the wisest thing Sammy could have done.  My dad would have said that Sammy was "knocking some sense" into Ben.  That's something guys have to do for each other once in a while.  Not that I condone violence, or anything.  But, occasionally, a guy with a good head on his shoulders needs to punch a screwed-up guy in the nose.  This is often the best way of getting the screwed-up guy back on the right path.  As we watch Ben try to justify himself, though, I think he actually believes what he is saying.  I think he has convinced himself of the rightness of his actions.  He has chosen the bad believing it to be the good.

So, as Ben picks himself up off the pavement, his desire is to choose the good...

To be continued... ;-)

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