So, I wanted to wait a bit before writing about it, but this happened:
And to me it settles the question definitely.
::take a breath::
I like that they’re only dealing with Hugh’s death next season.
I would have preferred he didn’t die at all, still. But I do believe that, from the palette of characters they had, and from everything that happened to all of them, this wasn’t a Wrong™ choice to make. I can accept it, since he’ll be back.
From there, the question was of how/when.
And well, if they had resurrected him right in the episodes after, it would have cheapened the event. That’s what would have been “for shock value” to me. Like Kirk’s death in the 2009 movie. Instead, we had a death that has weight and impact, that matters, and is given time and space to exist on its own before we get to the fixing it part. Unlike, say, Straal’s redshirt fate, about which I am still unhappy.
And even there, having the entire mourning-then-fuck-it-fixing-it arc in the next season works better for me; because it promises it will be given its own proper time and space to grow and be respectfully portrayed, instead of squished between two other plot points – like the terraforming was, you know?
We’ve already noted how much they had to wrap up in these two last episodes. There is no way squeezing Hugh into it wouldn’t have felt cheap. I truly appreciate, despite the frustration that we don’t “have him” back, that they made it about him being dead instead.
I’ve read talks about how Stamets wasn’t shown grieving – but that’s not true? We were shown Stamets avoiding his grief: between how hard it was to hold himself together facing Ash, the too-neatly-zipped-uniform when everyone else was taking a breather, the painfully not-quite-happy smile when the Kiddos™ bloomed, and now that medal scene… We were shown Stamets struggling to not let his grief tear him apart, and that’s not a lack of portrayal, that’s a portrayal of the prelude to the full crisis that will be his grief/quest to bring him back.
I believe this will be to the next season what the mirror universe was to this one, at the very least. And with the tweet I screened here, it makes a lot more sense all they said since episode 10. Including, perhaps most crucially, GLAAD’s validation of the storyline. They already had the whole arc planned, they didn’t lie/oversell their promise.
The only thing I’m still miffed about (aside from the fact we missed out on Hugh so much! What if there is no season ¾/etc, we won’t have anywhere near enough of him!! 🙁 ) is that they didn’t say clearly, right after episode 10: “this is for season 2″ – because then, I would have enjoyed the rest of the show without expecting then being disappointed every single week! The anxiety was very much NOT fun to ride through. =.=
But ultimately, looking at what the series will be like as a whole, I know I will appreciate a lot more that this character, and their couple, were treated with so much respect and care they were given so much space to develop through instead of being a B-plot on the side of the already packed general story!
As for the painful wait before we get him back… There has to be some downside to getting to experience the show as it airs, instead of binging the whole series ten years after it ends, right? Now I understand a lot more the weight Spock’s death had on the fans… and I’m grateful I get to share a similarly powerful & marking journey with the fandom in my own time!