It’s Valentine’s Day of 2018, the perfect time to reflect which TV ships of the past year should hitch their wagons or break the chain.
Ships that need to sink
Jughead & Betty – ‘Riverdale’
How many times can one couple fight, break up, and get back together again before both parties realize it just isn’t meant to be?
For two people who claim to be so in love with each other, they seem to frequently find reasons why they can’t be together. It’s a constant battle between Jughead’s ‘you’re too good for me’ nonsense, and Betty’s ‘my life is in shambles’ excuses. Take a look at Archie and Veronica. Veronica didn’t want to drag Archie into her shady life, but Archie doesn’t care. Veronica hasn’t continued to fight him on it, she accepts his decision, if hesitantly.
There’s a trust that’s lacking between Betty and Jughead. They don’t trust the other person’s willingness to handle each other’s dramas and issues. If they’re going to keep playing the ‘woe is me’ card, then it’s high time they just ended their relationship for good and start moving on. At the end of the day, maybe Betty and Jughead do truly love each other, but they don’t yet know how to actually be in a relationship.
Shadow & Laura – ‘American Gods’
These two are so all over the map with their love for each other, it’s just not worth either of their emotional time. Their strong history continues to keep their lives tied together amongst current predicaments, but once the battles are over, they ought to go their separate ways.
Shadow and Laura will probably always love each other, but they won’t be in love with each other. Laura was clearly unsatisfied in her relationship with Shadow, and life in general, so for Shadow’s sake, it’s better if they break it off. Having been given a second chance at life, Laura should take the time to figure out what makes her happy, without dragging Shadow along with her.
Ubbe & Margrethe – ‘Vikings’
Ubbe married Margrethe for love. Margrethe married Ubbe for power. Unfortunately for both parties, neither is actually getting what they want.
It doesn’t appear Ubbe holds much love for Margrethe anymore. In fact, Ubbe has already moved on to Torvi. As for Margrethe, she wanted the eldest son because she believed he would, if not inherit, then seek out power. She’s less interested in Ubbe, instead using him for her to achieve her goal of becoming Queen. Little did she know, Ubbe is not that interested in anything but farming, and Ivar is the brother who is most likely to gain power.
Margrethe’s constant urging for Ubbe to aim for something more has become tiresome for both Ubbe and us. Add Ubbe’s affair with Torvi, and Margrethe has finally cracked. Pair her with the also cracked Ivar, and then we may actually have two interesting ships to root for.
Jon & Daenerys – ‘Game of Thrones’
We could talk about the whole aunt and nephew thing, and we probably should because first of all, gross, and second of all, gross, but there are reasons more than incest for why Jon and Dany should sink fast. Maybe you ship them romantically, but it’s unwise to ship them strategically.
Dany’s entire storyline on Game of Thrones has been about becoming Queen of Westeros because she’s the ‘rightful’ heir. Of course, we now know that Jon, as the legitimate son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, is actually the rightful heir. Dany’s claim to the throne is now void unless Jon dies, or she marries him. Would Dany really want to marry Jon though? Is she humble enough to share the throne with the real heir?
If Jon and Dany do happen to marry, that presents a strategic issue for Jon. He promised Cersei he would remain impartial in her war with Dany, in exchange for Cersei leaving him out of it. Breaking this pact will result in Cersei coming after him now, and he doesn’t have a strong enough force to defeat King’s Landing, certainly not when the White Walkers have broken the Wall, their strongest defence.
Matt & Elektra – ‘Daredevil’
I get it, these two are super in love and there’s never going to be anyone else in their lives who will understand them as well as they do each other. But the constant warring of values is tiring, especially when it’s done better with Frank and Karen.
How many times will Matt try to save her before he accepts she doesn’t want to live by his righteous rules? How many times will Elektra try to convince Matt to join her before she accepts he only wants to live by his righteous rules? How many times will they die for each other before they accept that maybe their relationship is too volatile to work? Matt and Elektra just need some time alone to get their lives in order before they attempt this chaotic affair again.
Ships that need to sail
Clarke & Bellamy – ‘The 100’
Cue the “I did my waiting! Twelve years of it! In Azkaban!” gif, because the wait for Bellarke to become canon is just as torturous as a Dementor sucking out your soul. Clarke and Bellamy have been on our list every year since 2015, it’s safe to say we’re feeling more than a little desperate at this point.
Are platonic, trusting male/female relationships lacking on TV? Yes. Is it great that The 100 is giving us a developed, platonic male/female relationship? Yes. Do I still want it to turn into a romance anyway? Oh yes. How long will this carrot be dangled? A slow burn is nice and all, but can we just turn up the heat a little bit? It’s not even hot enough to take off a jacket.
Karen & Frank – ‘The Punisher’
Look no further than The Punisher for the biggest ship tease of current television. Never have I seen a stronger, non-canon ship, and I die a little inside every time they share the screen. The 100 should take note, because Kastle is a prime example of how to keep a ship sailing without actually making it canon. They have all the tenderness and vivacity of a long-lasting relationship without any of the frivolous tropes common among imminent romances.
Amidst the violence and destruction of The Punisher is light-of-Frank’s-life Karen Page. Karen’s affect on Frank is so visceral, she humanizes Frank in a way nothing and nobody else can. Frank is a dark character with a lot of baggage, and despite Karen knowing all of this, she still cares for him. Not only that, she also isn’t afraid to challenge him. She accepts his darkness, but she pushes him to fight toward the light. She refuses to let him fall into a state he’ll never return from.
Though Frank often rebuffs Karen’s efforts to change his moral code, he can’t help but let his guard down around her. She’s the only person he can truly trust and be honest with, providing him a much-needed reprieve from the chaos surrounding the rest of his life.
Jim & Barbara – ‘Gotham’
Isn’t anyone else even a little nostalgic for the ship that began Gotham four years ago? Aren’t you just a little curious what a relationship between Jim and Barbara would be like with their current personalities? What if Barbara has been right all along, and they are meant to be together? After all, Jim hasn’t been able to retain a relationship since Barbara. Maybe it’s about time they gave it another shot.
If Jim and Barbara dated again, who would have the bigger influence? Would Jim make Barbara a little more sane, or would Barbara bring Jim to her crazy side? Maybe Jim would just pretend to join Barbara as a double agent, attempting to infiltrate the criminal world. Then again, maybe Barbara would do the same, pretend to be moral again to gain Jim’s trust and get intel. Whether for plot device or genuine feelings, it’d be an engaging throwback to see these two back together again.
Carol & Ezekiel – ‘The Walking Dead’
Before you Carol and Daryl shippers unleash your pitchforks, you have to consider that your ship has been docked for quite some time, and there’s not enough crew on board to weigh anchor. Ever since King Ezekiel was introduced to The Walking Dead, he and Carol have shared many tender, stern, and honest moments with each other. Ezekiel doesn’t feel the need to keep his façade up around Carol, (although that’s mostly because she never bought it anyway).
Daryl, on the other hand, is beginning to go down a darker path, and Carol is better off staying far away from that. As someone with her own demons, it’d be easy for her to follow Daryl, instead of keeping his moral compass in check.
Ezekiel is a leader that matches Carol’s strength, but has a levity that brings out the softer side of Carol that’s been buried for so long. In return, Carol keeps Ezekiel humble by calling him out on his nonsense. They balance each other well, and frankly, this relationship is more likely to sail than Carol and Daryl. If you want to avoid disappointment, you’re better off boarding this ship.
Dean & Castiel – ‘Supernatural’
I’m pretty sure this is the ship that got me into shipping.
Admittedly, I stopped watching Supernatural after season 9 (I’m sorry guys, but so many shows, so little time). As someone who peruses the internet though, I’ve noticed Destiel moments as they’ve popped up over the years, and it’s stopped me from ever truly letting go of Supernatural.
I have no idea if Destiel is canon or not. Based on this lovely tribute, I’m going to guess it’s not, even though it’s still going strong. But I, for one, will not be satisfied until we get an “I love you” from Dean. In the series finale 10, 20, or 30 years from now, when Dean is about to die for the 56th time, but this time without coming back, I want to see him crying as Cas leans over his decrepit body, and saying, “I love you. I’ve always loved you.” I don’t care if it’s out of character, it’s the end of the show, just give it to me!
Take a look back through the years
What TV ships do you want to see sink and sail?
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13 Reasons Why season 2 delves into more difficult topics with imperfect storytelling, but it finds strength in many of its characters.
They're lovers, there's no other explanation.
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