Hero’s Journey: Ordeal: The hero experiences a major hurdle or obstacle, such as a life or death crisis. Reward: After surviving death, the hero earns his reward or accomplishes his goal. The Road Back: The hero begins his journey back to his ordinary life.
That is what was wrong with the way Continuum ended, a TV series that I adored until the last episode. Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) was the hero. She sacrificed everything and fought hard to change the world. Life or death crises on multiple episodes. She was smart. Strong. High morals that she stuck to. She influenced situations and everybody around her. We saw her watching old videos of her son that her sim in her head recorded, and she would cry as she watched. And she never swayed in her determination to get back to her child. But when she finally changed the world for the better, and was able to return to her time, she couldn’t go back to her son because her alternate self was with him. So even though she accomplished part of her goal–that of saving the world’s future–she didn’t get her ultimate goal of reuniting with her son.
I think it would have been so much better if Carlos had followed her into the future and had been there for her when her “reward” came crashing down out of her reach. He loved her. There was nothing in his timeline that would keep him there–no family, no significant other, no friends. And I think she loved him, but she was just so loyal to her family that she couldn’t act on her affection for Carlos. If not love, then there was a deep affection. Once her family was out of her reach, I really do think she would have come to accept her love for him.
Maybe the show was going to be canceled and the creators felt rushed, and this is what they came up with. Which sucked.
Another series that ended badly was Merlin. Of course, as you guessed, Merlin was the hero. I feel like the creators of that series wanted to follow the legend of King Arthur. But they deviated from the classic story and so I think they could have done so at the end. Anyway, in most of the seasons the tone was light and fun … adventurous, with Merlin keeping his powers secret, but always there to protect Prince Arthur, which was his hurdle. And Arthur came to the rescue for Merlin, too. They became very close and there was a camaraderie between the two of them, and Guinevere. Morgana was in the mix, too; she was protective of them, and they were of her, although Merlin had premonitions of her turning evil, which he wanted to keep from happening The last season was really dark. Morgana turned on Merlin and Arthur. She murdered Arthur. So all of Merlin’s hard work of keeping Arthur save, fails. He sacrifices everything, yet doesn’t achieve his goal. Guinevere ends up ruling in Arthur’s place. And Merlin is so depressed over his failure of losing his beloved Arthur, that he leaves the kingdom and wanders the earth for centuries and is still around to this day, influencing outcomes of major events. Who cares? He failed and lost his best friend! So depressing to me. The whole story/TV series is ruined because the creators’ promise to the audience was broken. It is so, so important to deliver on the promise! To reward our tortured, hard-working, sacrificing heroes! To win. Get the girl (or in Continuum’s case, the boy). Be able to finally live the life that he hero deserve after his/her long struggle. Otherwise, what’s the point or the whole story?