Thursday, May 10, 2012

Helen: The Modern Cathy?

I usually try and spread out my posts on Primeval, but I don't have another topic I really want to focus on right now and my Primeval posts have been getting a decent amount of views, so here I go with more rambling about the show.

Cathy, assiduous readers will recall, is from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights (and it is Cathy senior I am discussing). Cathy is, of course, at the center of a love triangle with Heathcliff and Linton--she chooses Linton, but really loves Heathcliff. She is also, at certain points, sort of like the unrestrained feminine force. She even seems on the psycho side at times. (It's things like this that make the novel so entertaining to read and analyze . . . )

Like Cathy, Primeval's Helen sets up her own triangle. Back when she was married to Nick, she had an affair with Stephen. In Seasons 1 and 2, Helen seems to go back and forth between the two, trying to gain the trust of whichever one she thinks will listen to her. It doesn't take long for Cutter to dismiss her, so it is Stephen who ends up trusting her (essentially to his doom, you could melodramatically say). Would that make Cutter Helen's Linton and Stephen her Heathcliff? Maybe. But you could also argue for the opposite. Cutter also becomes the man Helen can't have (since he keeps rejecting her), like Heathcliff (although Cathy could have chosen Heathcliff--sort of).

Let me return to the "unrestrained feminine force" idea. Helen is completely mad. And completely smart and driven. She's disturbing because she always lies and we hardly ever know everything she knows or what exactly her plan is. She says things against humanity, but always comes back to humanity--back to the ARC, to Cutter, to Stephen. I suppose you could say that she's disturbing to Stephen because she's desirable, even though he knows what her personality is like. Is she femininity gone completely off? Sort of. Although this isn't because she has been, like a nineteenth century character, suppressed--it's just because she's Helen.

I wonder what Cathy would think about Helen. She might think Helen has some good ideas, but I think Cathy would be very unlike Helen if she were born today. If that were the case, would she have had any reason to ever pick Linton over Heathcliff? The two of them could have just lived their life together, not like Helen who had to constantly be discovering new things and feeling in power essentially over existence. Since Helen's character isn't responding to repressed Victorian women's ideals, she has to respond to other things. Technology, science, ethics, knowledge, awareness, privacy and publicity, that sort of thing.

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