Bye Bye Bonnie: The De-Evolution of TVD’s Bonnie Bennett Pt. 2
Bonnie Bennett was wronged.
The Vampire Diaries series showed this character receiving bottom of the barrel storylines to further every white character narrative. She was the lone reason any saw the finale at all because of her legendary magical lineage.
Once discovered Bonnie (Kat Graham) descended from a powerful line of revered Bennett witches that helped found the town, it was the beginning of her slow decline into obscurity. As a fan, I’m breaking the silence on her mistreatment from the first to the last season.
These are the five elements that contributed to The De-Evolution of Bonnie Bennett.
Kat Graham was uber talented and wholly underused.
A consistent scene-stealer and unifying show thread throughout earlier seasons, she wasn’t given material that truly showcased the broad range of her acting skills until (Nina Dobrev) left the show in s6. Even promoted to lead actress, Kat’s spotlight was often dimmed in favor of other plotlines.
Additionally, she was only invited to attend 4 out of 8 SDCC comic panels for the show despite being a cast member since the pilot.
Bonnie had chemistry with every character ever. Even guest stars. Problem was it prevented her from being with anyone longterm beside Jeremy (the cheater) and Enzo (the dead-ex). She deserved overflowing love and only received a trickle of adoration whether it was Ben (the kidnapper) or Jaime (the fling). I’d argue her best relationship was with BFF Damon. The pair never shared a romantic kiss, but it was clear by their actions that they loved and respected each other. Not surprisingly, the duo was never pursued and she ended up alone.
Never had there been a character put through as much turmoil. Just how much did she endure?
She was kidnapped, possessed, coerced into the vampire world, Grams died protecting her, cheated on twice by the same guy, died, used by vampires, long-lost mother turned into vampire by her friends, brainwashed into using dangerous dark magic, killed herself accidentally, was a ghost, Dad murdered before her eyes, resurrected but suffered immense pain, became an anchor to afterlife, tortured, abused and abandoned while trapped in a prison world, attempted suicide, suffered from PTSD, life magically linked to another’s by abuser, lost her magical connection, turned into a vampire huntress against her will, boyfriend murdered, went to hell & defeated the devil himself.
She was human but wasn’t treated humanely at all. Never allowed to dwell on all she’d “lived” through or acknowledge that she needed support from those around her.
Her feelings and fears were valid but were never validated.
Bonnie had infinite power and TVD did all it could to take every ounce of it away.
Where she was once focused, intuitive and smart…she became chronically self-sacrificing and deprecating. She’d literally kept an entire community alive since her teens but was robbed of experiencing life herself. Instead, she was relegated to an object. A magical negro, melanin Hail Mary but most importantly…expendable. Her potential was thwarted so consistently that by series end, Bonnie fans were just happy she was still breathing though there were so many avenues to continue telling Bennett stories.
She deserved a stand-alone spin-off for her efforts but what she got were travel brochures and the chance to finally live for herself when she should’ve years ago.
A blip on the scale of reparations due to her character.
Bonnie was the only WoC on the call sheet all 8 seasons. She wasn’t invited to fancy balls or trips other characters were afforded. Crossovers included. She only appeared when she was needed.
What message did that send to viewers of color, young and old, about their value? It reinforced the belief that they are less. Useless, worthless and meaningless.
Her life was unnecessarily complicated and as a result, she changed because she was forced to. In my opinion, the fault lies with show writers who dropped every ball with her name on it.
What a shame, we saw both the rise and fall of a legend.