The Bastard Son and Good Queer Representation

Recently the series “The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself,” debuted on Netflix, and millions tuned in to see this wonderful series. Based on the books by author Sally Green, “the Half Bad Trilogy” tells the story of Nathan Byrne, son of Marcus Edge, the most infamous Blood Witch that ever lived. Aided by his friends Annalise and Gabriel, he quests to find the one thing that can save him from certain death: his family’s blood.

What surprised me the most was how unapologetically queer this series is. From the moment you meet Gabriel on a date with a fling that has gone on too long, it just is and remains that way for the remainder of the series. It was such a refreshing aspect of the show. Out of the 3 young adults, Gabriel is the most heroic. As they face two-faced thugs, evil adults, and murderous siblings, Gabriel faces each obstacle with a smile, a joke, or flat-out sarcasm. His humor is solid gold as he moves from one scene to the next.

That humor is never a mask, like we see queer guys and gals use to hide how terrified they are of the bad things. It’s just Gabriel. When he finds himself jealous of Annalise, he doesn’t turn into a gay bitchy cliche. He simply pouts or grows quiet but protects her and Nathan, who he is “very” curious about.

What stands out the most about Gabriel and why I love him is that his queerness is as much a part of him as his hard drinking and weed smoking. It all adds to who he is and why he does what he does. As the episodes progress, the viewer peeks at his motivation and finds he is one hundred percent here for the journey and for Nathan, with whom he has witty, flirty banter. It all comes to a head when Nathan almost dies, and Gabriel’s sensitivity to this finally shows Nathan that he’s seriously in love with him. Nathan, who had limited interpersonal friendships of any kind, responded to this realization with curiosity and timidness.

I was surprised by how they portrayed both men’s growing feelings with so much screen time and candid moments. Many times in these shows, we see it fast-forwarded. Like they just get to that point magically while something else is happening. But we actually see the whole situation while falling in love with them. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I am glad that the decision to make it overly sexual never happened. It wouldn’t have made much sense between the near-constant fear of being killed violently and the pace needed for a show centered on being on the run.

Instead, we get a powerful kiss and its interesting aftermath without taking anything away from the remainder of the show. In fact, the kiss heightened the emotional chokehold the show had on me. It was almost time for Nathan to die, Gabriel was running out of options to save the man he loved, and the villains were especially villainous. How does it go? Watch and find out, but viewing the gay love between them was chef’s kiss. Seeing Nathan’s romance with Annalise was also beautiful and youthful with the delicate frailty of it.

This isn’t “Twilight” or “Vampire Diaries” where screen time is wasted on a love triangle. Here, people are figuring themselves out without dealing with the real-world homophobia that plagues people off-screen, so they have the freedom to do it.

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2 thoughts on “The Bastard Son and Good Queer Representation”

  1. This show gave such a delightful surprise last weekend. I started watching without any idea that it would have a same sex romance and was stunned when the chemistry between the two males started to play out. They were seriously electric and felt so natural that it made sense that it was never really questioned. Love should be like that. In an ideal world. Fell in love with the show aster that. I hope it continues!

    Liked by 2 people

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