"Fridging" or "women in refrigerators" refers to the trope Stuffed Into the Fridge, in which a female character is tortured, raped, maimed or killed for the express purpose of advancing a male character’s plot. Not just the death of a female character, but when a female character is killed off and her death or injury is used as motivation to move a male character forward.
This has happened twice on Teen Wolf in season 1. Well, it’s happened definitely once, and the second instance can be debated. We’ll talk about that in a moment.
And there is a distinct possibility that it may have happened for a third time in 2.09. Gonna talk more about that too.
Laura Hale was “stuffed into the fridge” before season 1 started. This female alpha werewolf, who presumably could take care of herself pretty well, was murdered by her uncle for power, and then cut in half by werewolf hunters and used as bait to lure her brother back home.
Derek had been living in Brooklyn when he got a call from Laura to come back home. He gets back home and she’s been murdered and cut in half. This started Derek’s mission for vengeance. For a large portion of season 1 all we know about Derek is that A) he’s a werewolf B) his whole family is dead C) his sister is dead D) he wants to avenge his sister. Laura’s murder is part of Derek’s manpain.
We know nothing about Laura except that she was an Alpha werewolf, and now she’s dead. She gets no character development at all because she’s killed offscreen to get the plot rolling. Poor Laura.
The second example of “Stuffed into the Fridge” is Lydia Martin. Now, Lydia didn’t die. She got attacked, mauled, went/is going crazy, and got mind-controlled. Why did these horrible things happen to her? Not because she was smart and capable and amazing (which she totally is), but because Stiles has a crush on her. Lydia because a target for Peter because Stiles wanted her.
Peter needed Stiles’ help and cooperation. He got that by attacking Lydia. Peter used Lydia as a bargaining chip, as an object, to get Stiles to work with him. In classic example of manpain, Stiles proceeds through most of 1.12 while covered in Lydia’s blood.
Now, I said this example may count as fridging. I’m unsure. Because, while Lydia’s attack was definitely orchestrated for Stiles’ plot development, it’s also pushed forward Allison’s character, and Lydia’s character. So, since two female characters are being moved forward via Lydia’s attack, I’m not 100% sure it counts. What do you guys think?
This moves me to episode 2.09 and Victoria Argent’s assisted suicide.
Not everyone liked Victoria, and with good reason, but she was definitely a strong and powerful female character. At the end of 2.08 she was bitten by an alpha werewolf, meaning she would either die or become a werewolf herself.
Victoria’s death was encouraged by Gerard, (old, entitled white man) who insisted that Victoria was already dead, and was just a cocoon waiting to hatch into a monster. So Victoria spends most of the episode trying to put her affairs in order, with the intention of killing herself. She and her husband have a brief discussion about gendered suicide statistics (Which I thought was really cool that Victoria opted for the knife, because Chris is right) and then she decided to stab herself to death, in her daughter’s bedroom.
Now, I’m not entirely sure of my opinions on Victoria’s death, but I found it interesting what while she chose a traditionally male method of suicide, she hesitated and needed her husband’s help to go through with it. Her eyes flashed yellow at the very end, highlighting the fact that she was turning and that this was a “mercy killing.”
I am not yet sure if Victoria’s death was “fridging.” There were implications that this may have been a redemptive death—which is a traditionally male fiction aspect—so a lot will depend on what happens next. How will Victoria’s death affect her husband. If Chris becomes obsessed with Victoria’s death and allows it to define him, then I’d argue she was fridged.
I also see this as an inversion of the trope. Because Victoria’s death was carefully scripted to be a motivation, not for her husband, but for her daughter. She died on her daughter’s bed. Her husband tells their daughter the specifics to propel her forward into a fit of vengeance, with the intention of setting her on Derek, to become Derek’s destruction.
So, what do you guys think? Has Victoria been “stuffed into the fridge”? Will her death become the main motivation for the development of her husband and daughter? Does Allison being a girl indicate that the trope is being inverted? Does it fall short of the trope since Victoria killed herself? Is Allison being given “manpain?”
I’m really interested in knowing what you guys think about Teen Wolf and Women in Refrigerators.
ETA: This post is one of those examples of writing meta, and then the next day deciding that you no longer agree with most of the points you made.
Also, it’s been pointed out that Stiles’ mom would be a really good example of fridging, and I agree, but I no longer fully hold the opinions I held when I wrote this post originally. :)
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- gladdecease answered: Huh. From the blurb above the cut I was sure the newest fridging you were gonna mention was Stiles’s mom. Victoria didn’t even occur to me.
- maibeitsmayberlline answered: Kate Argen’s death lead to the appearant of Gerald who could be deemed as driven by revenge.
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- happysztori answered: Victoria’s death was to advance Allison’s character. nice try tho
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- s-qualo answered: I also think that another example is when Kate is killed, arguably it’s avenging her death that brings Gerard to Beacon Hills.
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- foxkings answered: IMO it’s an inversion since I think it was for Allison. Also there is a chance she’s alive bit.ly/MWPpNE forgot to save the reply but!
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- daughterofscotland answered: What about Erica and her being to stand “more pain”? Does that count in there, too?
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- starkwords answered: I think we have an inversion of fridging with Victoria. Fo sho.
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- for-the-other-shoe answered: I really liked that you talked about this. Regarding Victoria, I’d actually think that it was more Allison because she’s more of a main char.
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