‘Legacies’ discussion: Is Sebastian worthy of redemption?
Let's talk about the TVDU's new bad-boy.
Legacies returned from its winter hiatus last week in 2×09 “I Couldn’t Have Done This Without You”, and our Salvatore Scoobies are anything but rested from winter break. While we saw some sweet moments (Landon and Josie decorating Hope’s room, gah!), fans are mostly talking about the drama between Sebastian and Lizzie. While the two have been hooking up all over the school (man, if those walls could talk), Landon was tasked with overseeing if Sebastian could pass Ric’s tests to stay at the school.
Sebastian seemingly passed all of Ric’s tests, playing nice with the werewolves during a game of dodgeball, and even stepping in when MG’s ripper instincts took over after one of the witches tried to lure Sebastian’s blood lust with an open cut on her hand. When Sebastian met with the rest of the witches, though, he was unable to keep his cool. One of the witches used magic to call out his deepest fear, a fear that every teen—vampire or not—faces: acceptance.
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Is Sebastian worthy of redemption? Of love? We learned that Sebastian’s parents sold him to pirates as a child, growing up to be known as, “Sebastian the Merciless” (you can read between the lines as to what that means.) Ric has a tracking spell cast on Sebastian, and after learning about his past, Ric catches him feeding on a random woman out for a midnight jog (when will the residents of Mystic Falls learn?!) Ric saves the woman, shooting Sebastian with an arrow and threatening him with another. Sebastian doesn’t try to fight his punishment; rather, he welcomes it.
He lures Ric’s anger, telling him how he’s manipulated his daughter into loving him (among other things no father wants to hear about their daughter.) Sebastian means to have us hate him, despise him— to scream at our screens for Ric to shoot another arrow into this vampire that’s toying with our beloved Lizzie. But like many fans, I found myself having empathy for Sebastian. He is, after all, the reason Ric and Caroline opened up this school. A school for children who need help, guidance, and most of all, love.
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Ric is no stranger to helping broken men. His best friend, Damon Salvatore, killed his first wife and turned her into a vampire (remember Elena’s birth mom, Isobel Flemming, TVDU fans?) So when we ask ourselves, is Sebastian worthy of redemption, of love? The answer is: of course he is. Even though he lived a human life where his parents sold him off and has lived his post-mortal life as a mostly-evil vampire, he still yearns for love and acceptance. That’s why he’s sticking around the Salvatore School, and that’s why he’s so drawn to Lizzie.
Sebastian and Lizzie’s current relationship reminds me of what Roswell, New Mexico showrunner (and TVDU writer-alum) said in one of our features about the relationship between two of her show’s characters, Michael Guerin and Alex Manes:
“These guys are working towards something better than themselves and this old town that has this ugly history of intolerance and abuse. Stepping into the light is the story that we’re telling [for Alex and Michael].”
Sebastian and Lizzie are both in an ugly place. Sebastian’s lived a violent life of being unloved and unwanted, and while Lizzie is aware of her mental health struggles (which is super awesome to show on TV, by the way), it doesn’t mean she still isn’t suffering. My hope is that the relationship between Sebastian and Lizzie is two people working through their darkness and stepping into the light.
So, did Ric grant Sebastian’s masked plea to put him out of his misery? My vote is no. Ric may have shot a second arrow at Sebastian, but he didn’t aim for his heart. You can’t break something that’s already broken.
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9pmEST/8pmCST on The CW.