I’ve been trying to formulate my reaction both within the story to Derek/Ms Blake and how fandom has responded to it, and it’s all kind of messy in my head, but I’m going to put it out there because maybe other people are feeling the same. What I’m NOT doing is saying this is the only/right way to feel. It’s how I personally feel. I am not attacking anyone’s opinion, but I am not going to soft shoe it either and be supportive of things I don’t understand/agree with - especially when I feel it’s damaging in some way. I am coming at this from the perspective of a Sterek shipper, and I don’t consider that a caveat at all, but rather a starting point.
1) Within the show itself:
I think these two posts by Suaine and Qhuinn have some very valid points about HOW the start of Derek and Ms Blake’s romance begins. It’s very cliche, much more so even than Scott overhearing Allison’s phonecall and immediately fixating on her. That was designed to fit within the concept of werewolves, anchors, etc. What Davis did with Derek and Ms Blake was straight up create a romantic relationship out of cheesy music and a hand stretched out in help. More problematic is the fact that they used the heteronormative expectations of viewers to create the romantic relationship in viewer minds without ever having them speak a word to each other. This is problematic in two-fold ways. First, it is based not on character chemistry or flirty interactions but on heteronormative romantic tropes - it’s purely designed to create a sense of romance with zero buildup/work. It’s like shipping a couple from the cover of a romance novel, without bothering to read the actual book. We all know Derek, but we don’t know Ms Blake and it’s a disservice to her character to have their romance start via cliches and not character moments. The second reason that it is so problematic is that they did this in the season after they discovered the popularity of Sterek, a fanon romantic relationship built of on many more scenes/chemistry, etc than Derek and Ms Blake were given. Yet Davis decided to straight up use heteronormative tropes and audience conditioning to show a het romance happening. Knowing how much more effort has to be made for non-Sterek fans see a romantic relationship between Stiles&Derek because of those same heteronormative assumptions - despite certain similarities between this scene in 3x03 to Derek saving Stiles in 2x02 - Davis went with the easy, heteronormative cliche route to show the start to Derek and Ms Blake’s romance. It bugs me, because it feels like Davis decided it was just easier to write a het romance and see how fans react, then to go for the harder writing of a Sterek slowburn because it bucks the assumptions of the non-shipping audience.
Now, while I find the start to their romance extremely forced, it’s possible that in the next few eps they will have more scenes together that show their chemistry/makes it more romantic. It was a bad start, but it could get better. And I personally am not opposed to Derek (or Stiles) having a relationship with someone else so long as it’s transitory. And given Jeff Davis has a bedside book titled “How to Torment Derek Hale” it would be probably the most shocking thing the show has ever done if their relationship works out. So while it’s off to an inauspicious start, and while I’m unhappy with Davis’ choice to do it at all, I’m not going to assume I’ll hate it. I won’t ship it, but we’ll see how the season goes.
2) How fandom reacts:
So, I really don’t like when slash fans respond to a love interest by hating on the character purely for being a woman and love interest. I think we’ve all seen the cardboard cutouts for characters many shows call love interests and are duly nervous - but insulting her purely for her gender is out of line.
On the other hand, I really don’t like when Sterek fans fall over themselves to show support for Derek/Ms Blake, either out of some misguided sense of fairness/not wanting to seem like a crazy shipper or because they truly like it. Here’s where things get dicy and I’m not saying people should do this or that, my way is right, whatever. I’m explaining my personal feeling. You know why I don’t like it when Sterek fans support Derek/Ms Blake? I feel like Davis is testing our resolve, seeing if he can convince people that Derek/someone else or Stiles/someone else is an acceptable substitute for Sterek, which would be harder for him to write. I feel like every time a Sterek shipper ships Derek/Ms Blake after seeing only the cliche romantic trope of their meeting, the probability of Sterek going canon decreases a little because it’s telling Davis that it’s ok to substitute an easier het romance for a m/m romance between two not immediately identified as gay characters. So honestly, every time I see a name on my dashboard who I know ships Sterek saying they also love Derek/Ms Blake I flinch a lot. I’m not invalidating anyone’s right to feel that way, I’m explaining how I feel when I see it, which is a different thing.
So, my take away is not that Derek/Ms Blake is a threat to Sterek because I doubt it is long term. It’s that I’m already side eyeing it because it didn’t start in a way that supports the characters themselves. And it’s that I’m worried Davis is testing Sterek fans to see if he can get away with substituting a het romance instead.
This is EXACTLY why, my personal feelings aside, the fandom reaction has broken my heart yesterday.
It goes like this.
The Camaro was a luxury. He bought it in New York when he was maybe starting to think that he could have something nice just for himself, something that was just his, not a tool for survival or something practical shared with Laura.
But then Beacon Hills happened, again. The ghosts nearly choked him and for a while the car was the only thing he could hold on to. He slept in the Camaro, before the train depot, most nights. When he slept at all, that was.
After what happened with Gerard, after losing Erica and Boyd, with the threat of the alphas over his head, something in him just stopped. He staked out the loft because it was better for Isaac, an address he could use when some school official asked too many questions. He traded the Camaro for a car that was sensible, less flashy, more easily overlooked in front of the school or anywhere in town, really. Practical.
He wasn’t growing up, he was shedding everything with meaning, and one day no one would even notice when he disappeared.
You know what’s really freaking nerve-wracking? Posting a fic within a fandom where you don’t really have a following.
Even more so is posting it, and having it fly under the radar for whatever reason - so I propose this:
Reblog this post, and if any of your followers are writers, they should take this as an open invitation to pimp out their own work - be it the first story they wrote, the one that was most challenging to write, or the story they’re most proud of - to you, in the interest of spreading the word around. You will then publish their asks with or without comment, if you so wish. It’s all about inspiring confidence in lesser-known writers.
I’ve seen countless fic-recs with categories which are missing stories that are simply amazing. Nobody’s going to know about them all.
Alternatively, if you haven’t caught the writing bug, I want you to respond with your favourite underappreciated fic that you’ve read.
(This way, if you don’t feel comfortable bragging about your own work - though you should, because you’re all fabulous - you can go on anon and pose as an avid reader. See? Everybody gets to play.)
I don’t want the fandom to lose authors because their work was pretty much ignored, and I know we are, at our core a place for love and encouragement - despite what goes on sometimes. Show me what you’ve got…