Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ruby: Love Her or Hate Her?

During Season 3 of Supernatural, two new characters strolled onto the Winchester scene, and they were – gasp! – girls. Many fans soon made it known that they didn’t like having these female interlopers into Winchester World. Perhaps they wanted the show to stay focused solely on the brothers, which is understandable and about which Kripke was quick to reassure them. Some just didn’t like the characters. While I could have taken or left Bela, I actually liked Ruby right from the start. She was the next in a line of kick-ass female characters I’ve enjoyed watching (Buffy, Faith, Sarah Connor, etc.). When she killed that demon with the knife in “The Magnificent Seven” (3-1), I was like, “Whoa! Who is this chick?” When she revealed herself to be a demon in the next episode, “The Kids are Alright,” but one who seemed to be on Sam’s side, I uttered another “Whoa.” Interesting twist that showed again that perhaps things aren’t all black and white in this war on evil. I don’t think anything illustrates this better than when she helps Bobby restore the Colt in “Sin City.” You can just tell that a demon offering to help and meaning it is just totally rocking his understanding of the world.

I loved Katie Cassidy’s sassy, tough, bad-girl portrayal of Ruby. And when budgetary constraints led to the demise of both her and Bela, I was bummed. I hated that Ruby had bit it. And I doubt she was welcomed back to Hell with open arms. Traitors usually aren’t.

Though Ruby works mostly with Sam, her snark is oh-so-Dean-like. A sampling:

Ruby: “It’s called witchcraft, shortbus.”

Dean: “But you’re a demon.”
Ruby: “Don’t be such a racist.”

Bobby (after he shoots Ruby): “What do you want?”
Ruby: “Peace on earth, a new shirt...”

Ruby: “Anyone got a breath mint? Some guts splashed in my mouth while I was killing my way in here.”

But Ruby is one tough, determined gal. She somehow convinces Lilith to give her another chance, and she’s let free from Hell with the task of killing Sam. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think some of the things she’s done to Sam lately have been killing him. But you’ve got to admire a girl who can totally trick Lilith.

Sure, she’s come back in a different body, and the feel of the character isn’t quite the same, but at least she’s back. I find her character really interesting, even though in my mind Katie Cassidy will always be Ruby. That’s not knocking Genevieve Cortese’s acting; it’s just that I’m never a fan of changing the actor when a role was established by another. I think it would be hard for any replacement actor to live up to the original. I do think that Genevieve has been creating more of an edge to Ruby lately. And even back when she was talking Sam into having sex, she’s going after what she wants like Katie often did in her portrayal – though Katie’s “Ruby” never got it on with Sam. (Her loss, btw. ) Here, see for yourself.

Sera Gamble has said that we’ll see and understand more about the changes in Ruby at some point. That should be interesting. I wonder if her punishment by Lilith has changed her somehow, or if the differences in hosts somehow effect the demons who possess them. We already know that there’s something different about Ruby because she’s helping the boys and she actually remembers being human when other demons don’t. She’s retained some of her humanity despite everything she’s been through. And I’m really curious why.

We’ve seen that Ruby can manipulate situations to her benefit. After all, she’s not pure as the driven snow, and she wouldn’t be half as interesting if she was. Even she says, in “No Rest for the Wicked” (3-16), “Uh, demon? Manipulative is kind of in the job description.” I suspect there’s debate about Ruby’s motives for getting Sam to use his powers to exorcise demons, but for now I’m going to believe that she truly is on Sam’s side and wants to defeat the baddies. But we all know that the writers have quite the ability to surprise us.

So, what’s your opinion of Ruby? Love her or hate her? And what do you think of Katie’s and Genevieve’s portrayals of the character?


kaybee said...

First time poster here and I hope this is OK! :)

So far I think Katie has been the better actress and I think that has to do with the material she was given. It's always easier to play the bad guy. They both are new green actors and I expect/hope Genevieve to get better with time.
Having her as a full on good demon would be interesting but I guess I really do hope that she has ulterior motives. Maybe her personality change has to do with making Sam trust her more to get him to use his powers more. She lied to him in Season 3 about how his powers would save Dean so who's to say she wouldn't lie now?
I have to admit I didn't really like her when she first showed up and saved the day but her character has grown on me after a season and a half. Can't wait to see what the writers are planning to do with her in this second half.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kaybee. We're happy to have you.

I was a huge Katie Cassidy fan. She was all snark, sass and kick ass. Genevieve is flat to me. As for Bela, I was glad to see her go. LOL.

I do look forward to learning more about Ruby, her motive and whether she really loves Sam.

phouse1964 said...

I liked Katie and I loved her portrayal of Ruby last season. Genevieve is meh, but I don't hate her. I think I tollerate her only for what she does for Sam's character.

I can't wait to see what evil things she is making Sam do to make his powers stronger. I hope it has something to do with her being a witch. It will be gross and Dean will hate it!

Maureen Child said...

I liked Katie right off the bat. Great attitude and the Shortbus comment is still one of my favorites.

Genevieve has a harder road, I think. She came into a character that Katie already owned and had to convince us all that she really was Ruby.

I agree with phouse...she's sort of 'meh'. Very cute, but without the punch that Katie brought to the role.

As for Bella...didn't really miss her. But I do wonder if she'll be sent out after the boys at some point. That would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kaybee! Thanks for dropping by...

I actually really liked Ruby when she was introduced via Katie (and I'm apparently the only viewer in the world that kind of liked Bela too, LOL). But Genieve doesn't work for me. In part because I thought Katie and Jared had good chemistry. So the scenes with GRuby and Jared just aren't sparking for me, because I keep wishing it were the original actress. But I agree that it's probably tough for G. to come in second season and try to take over "someone else's" role.

On the whole, I think the character of Ruby is intriguing (although I hate the wedge she's driving between the guys--which may be why so many people despise her) but I can't help feeling like this season would have had far more dramatic impact if we still had original flavor Ruby!


Vivi Anna said...

I like Katie as Ruby. I thought she was way more kick butt than the new actress. She was sassy and saucy and I didn't want to see her go.

Although we haven't really seen what Genevieve can do yet. She hasn't had much screen time.

Vivi Anna said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I love Bella's character. I was very upset to see her go. I like that she was immoral but still deep down had some sort of inner code. I would've loved to have seen her hook up with one of the boys.

Anonymous said...

>>> love Bella's character. I was very upset to see her go<<<

YAY! So I wasn't the only person? Most people I know, with concern to Bella, waffled between "meh" to "she must die now." Glad to know I'm not alone, Vivi Anna.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I was away from my computer yesterday so I'm REALLY late commenting!

Welcome, first-time-poster Kaybee! I hope you come back and post often! I think you have it right on about Ruby.

Tanya and Vivi, I always liked Bela, too! Especially the ep where she was introduced. I love a woman who's supremely confident but has vulnerabilities. I would have liked keeping her.

I liked Katie as Ruby and I like Genevieve as Ruby, though I think the very best Ruby was the housekeeper. :) Kripke said last year that getting rid of Katie was financial, and he said in an interview in Supernatural magazine that would have been conducted during late-summer filming that they were going to use multiple actresses as Ruby. I guess after that they decided it wasn't going to work.

Frankly, I can't see Sam and K!Ruby having sex. She was too hard and never would have been able to seduce him.

For the future...I fall into the camp that thinks Ruby's motivations are a little heavy on the side of personal vendetta that just happens to also help the world at large if she gets what she wants. I think she's a pretty complex character and I'm looking forward to seeing what her deal is!