John Mitchell - Vampire, friend, housemate, Real Hustle fanboy. Rest in peace. You first died in the battlefield of WW1 and now you die before a new war is about the begin one your friends are left to fight alone.
Betrayer of his kind in S1, would be leader turned serial killer in S2, all round crazy in S3 John Mitchell was the show’s angst ridden anti-hero. The good looking vampire desperately fighting his killer instinct in order to be human. In the early seasons we definitely felt his struggle, going cold turkey and giving up the red stuff altogether was hard for Mitchell, he tried to stop but could never fully admit that perhaps deep down he didn’t want to give up the intoxication that blood and killing gave him. It was only in the final few minutes of this week’s episode as he pleaded with best friend George that he could actually come to terms with what we knew for a long time, he is a killer and he would kill again.
Throughout the series the viewer had seen what Mitchell was capable off, the death and turning of Lauren, the inability to get rid of the Vampire porn DVD, of course the Box Tunnel 20 slaying, his willingness to present Nancy as a Herrick’s dinner. But we also saw his desire to be human, he helped George deal with his werewolf nature, he fought to get Annie back, he had a lovely relationship with former flame Josie and ‘saved’ Bernie by turning him. It wasn’t like Mitchell was all bad otherwise George and Annie would not have stayed friends with him; they wouldn’t have found it so hard to accept he was the serial killer an entire nation was hunting.
Yet Mitchell couldn’t or maybe wouldn’t turn away from his true nature, his shame at his secrets, his inability to truly open up to those that loved him. A dangerous catalyst of paranoia and desperation began to control him.
Lia’s warning of a wolf shaped bullet, did it really come as a surprise to anyone that she was lying and that it was all just a self-fulfilling prophecy? Watching parts of S3 was like a psychological thriller, the increasing manic behaviour of Mitchell as he hid away his secrets and started distrust everyone around him, pushed away Annie the woman who truly wanted to help him, instantly distrusted Tom and McNair, become distant with George, deliberately kept on trying to awaken the dangerous memories of Herrick.
Mitchell was on a way one road to death. It wasn’t fate’s doing, it wasn’t Lia, it wasn’t Nina phoning up the helpline, it wasn’t Annie forcing him to let the police arrest him, it wasn’t George eventually pushing that stake through his heart. It was Mitchell through and through. A monster who successfully masqueraded as a human for a couple of years thanks to the help of his friends ‘Thank you, all of you. You made me human’
Does this mean that other vampires like Adam don’t have a chance of staying clean? Not necessarily whilst Mitchell was born as a Vampire in bloodshed and under the tutelage of Herrick murdered hundreds over the course of the next century, Adam lived a sheltered life, feeding only from his family. I think unlike Mitchell he has a better shot of successfully becoming human.
You may think I’m being unnecessarily harsh about Mitchell but then I think the show intentionally made us stand back from the character and question his motives so that when this inevitable ending happened we could accept it for being the only conclusion to his story. He wasn’t the Vampire upset at missing the Real Hustle anymore or joking and laughing with his two best friends, he was a cold killer and like Annie and George we had to learn to accept that.
Mitchell is gone now and some fans are unhappy at this, but I think partly people tend to romanticise the bad guys, I’ve seen it happen with other shows Sylar in Heroes for example some sections of fandom (and eventually the writers themselves) actively began rooting for him, thinking he could be redeemed, wanting that despite the fact that he was a cold hearted killer. Mitchell of course wasn’t portrayed as the show’s bad guy but the undeniable fact in the end was that he was a killer, he couldn’t change.
Like all anti-heroes he went out in a final blaze, killing Herrick this time for real, no doubt pissing the Old Ones head office off by taking himself out of the picture.
After trying so hard to be human for the last few years Mitchell finally achieved by asking no pleading with George to kill him. He finally took responsibility for his actions and realised he could never live with it and he would act on his impulse to kill again. In a way you could say he was being a coward taking the easy way out but he knew he wouldn’t be able to change, he knew the Old Ones would have gotten him out of prison and he would have been free to kill again. He needed all temptation to be taken away from him, all choice. The only way was with his second and this time final death.
So goodbye Mitchell, death has taken you and given you that peace you needed and allowed your friends to move on. To stand up and fight the oncoming storm.