4 Fictional Characters That Are Secretly Dark As Hell
Surviving in a cinematic universe takes ruthlessness. You have to be larger than life, have oodles of charisma, and be at least interesting to look at, or you're relegated to the background with the rest of the nice guys. That might be why it might take a few rewatches to notice that some of the most beloved or at least seemingly harmless characters of our favorite series and franchises are also scary as hell ...
Winston From New Girl Is A Dexter In The Making
Winston Bishop, one of Zooey Deschanel's hapless roommates on New Girl, is generally a good guy. In fact, one character once describes him as "the gentlest person I know." He gets sympathy PMS, is a master handbell player, and still believes in Santa Claus. He also occasionally but genuinely and graphically offers to murder people. In the season two episode "Bachelorette Party," when the guys are asked to "kidnap" another character's fiance, Winston asks, "Roughhouse him a little bit, drop him off in the desert 'til he don't breathe no more?" before being corrected that they just need to take him out and keep him busy for the night.
It's played off as a wacky misunderstanding, but let's examine what just happened there: He immediately offered to commit desert murder upon not just a complete stranger, but the loved one of a friend at the slightest suggestion. That's not "going too far," a habit Winston also displays by being "bad at pranks" (which often put people in mortal peril); that's downright terrifying. Later, he threatens to kill his author friend's editor, insisting, "You can't tell new ideas to a dead man." From anyone else, his deadpan delivery could conceivably be a joke, but his earlier offer casts his quiet rage in a whole different, bloodthirsty light. Oh yeah, he also once spent a whole episode trying to kill his girlfriend's cat as revenge for cheating on him.
In the end, he gives up in favor of merely stealing the cat, with who he goes on to have an adorable relationship, but that's no way to meet cute. He later becomes a cop and freely admits to abusing his power, so have fun with that, people of Los Angeles. Have fun with this guy:
Gilmore Girls' Glenn Babble Has Red Flags For Every Occasion
That first year or two at Yale was a chaotic time for Rory Gilmore: There was family drama, boat theft, charming media scions who wanted to marry her, etc. While she was fretting over all that, there was one character lurking in the background, clearly biding his time until he inevitably becomes a tragic headline.
Glenn Babble, a fellow staff member of the Yale Daily News, is first introduced in an early season four episode, where it comes out during a conversation at a party that he doesn't think working-class people should be allowed to vote. That's probably a view held by a majority of people at Yale, but it quickly becomes clear that his defining characteristic is a constant rumble of seething incel rage. He creeps on one of Rory's roommates, flat-out stalks a woman (revealing that he's been watching her through her blinds, which is how he knows she's not too busy to go out with him), and shows Rory a picture of his girlfriend that appears to be of a preteen girl. When Rory comments on it, he screams that it's an old picture and "she can drive and everything," reassuring no one.
Even more concerning, somehow, are the offhand comments that hint at a vast well of rage bubbling beneath the haphazardly combed surface. One day, while working in the cafeteria, he tells Rory, out of nowhere, "Everyone is going to be sorry one day. Everyone." Later, when the editor-in-chief is scolding the newspaper staff, Glenn complains, "Every time I hear you, I hear my mother. See my mother." Incidentally, that's the last time we see him. So he definitely went on a murder spree, right?
James Bond - Her Majesty's Secret Psychopath
The dashingly dressed martini addict may be fun to watch, but he also ticks just about every box on the psychopathy checklist. He's charming, he's fearless, he can't maintain relationships, he manipulates and uses women for sex and occasionally as human shields, and he guns dudes down like Fortnite with no apparent emotion about it.
Sure, it's fun to watch someone take out bad guys and perform a tight five at the same time, but you definitely wouldn't want to meet them. He's basically a Terminator, and the only reason we feel okay about it is that the other guys are worse. That's the Dexter defense, and it's never a good look.
Where it becomes really clear, though, is in the books, where we get a glimpse of the inner workings of Bond's mind in addition to his murderous quips. He's fundamentally bored, always desperately craving some new type of stimulation to make him feel something, anything. That's what creates serial killers -- they have to keep amping up their transgressive behavior to stave off the existential dread until they're straight-up stabbing folks. If Bond hadn't managed to find a job that directs his dark impulses toward arguably heroic ends, he would definitely be one of them, which doesn't necessarily bode well for the future of British national security. You don't put a fecalpheliac in charge of waste management.
Albus Dumbledore Manipulates Everyone
No one's here to claim that Dumbledore was The Real Villain All Along of the wizarding world (that was clearly J.K. Rowling). He personally fought not one but two Wizard Hitlers, putting him squarely in hero territory. He was also a deceptive, manipulative asshole who used people, including children, like pawns, even when it put them in mortal danger. He just happened to be on the right side.
Let's set aside his own youthful dalliance with magical Nazism, which isn't nothing, but it was short-lived, and Grindelwald was really, really hot (as described by Rowling, at least, not played by Johnny Depp as Billy Idol). Who among us never had a terrible teenage political stance? No, even in his fight against sorcerous tyranny, he manipulated people left and right, from sending poor Newt Scamander all over creation under false pretenses right up to marching a child he's watched over from infancy to his death.
Throughout the entire original series, he constantly swings between leaving Harry in the dark about important developments (including that time he, as one of the few adults Harry has grown to love and trust, coldly avoided him for an entire year) and turning a blind eye or outright encouraging him to venture out into danger when there were plenty of capable adults around to handle it. He also played Snape like a fiddle, his love for Harry's mom as his bow, but Snape sucks too, so that's fine.
What provides perhaps the greatest insight into the depths of Dumbledore's soul-shaped black hole, however, is his response to figuring out that Harry was a Horcrux. Keep in mind that Dumbledore, in his long and impressive career, was the closest thing the wizarding world has to a scientist (Science Wizard notwithstanding). He was responsible for some of the greatest breakthroughs in the practice of magic of his generation. So ... did he even try to find a way to destroy a Horcrux without destroying its vessel? If so, his tortured failure to somehow spare the life of this child who sees him as a father figure isn't mentioned.
Of course, it would be unethical to create a Horcrux just for scientific reasons. If only he managed to ferret one out early on that he could have tinkered with for a while ... oh, right, he did
And he immediately attempted to use it for his own selfish gain and then hastily destroyed it before doing even one science on it. If he'd even been paying attention, he would have noted that he didn't even end up needing to destroy the ring to destroy the Horcrux, just crack it a little, and realized that maybe this could have life-saving implications for his boy wonder. If he did, though, he didn't tell anyone. He just let Snape -- and Harry -- go on thinking that Harry had to die. Just let a 17-year-old walk right up to the abyss with nothing but ghosts and an astonishingly strong bladder. To be fair, work is hard.
Top image: Warner Bros.