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A Netflix original once again serves as more than just entertainment

Netflix recently has really stepped up when it comes to shows, and they seem to really want to tackle every genre known to man.

At the end of the year, the popular streaming service released the limited series “Godless,” their attempt at the iconic Western, and they beyond exceeded. Unknowingly though, the writers perfectly spoke to a college student by exploring topics all young adults do and should go through.

During the college experience, students get overwhelmed, tired and often forget why they pay thousands of dollars every year. No matter what their after-graduation plan is, they are at school to learn and everything else is extra. During the time that “Godless” was set, people craved to learn, to be educated and to have the money to have access to an education.

Within the show, Roy Goode, played by Jack O’Connell, spent his childhood and even part of his adulthood unable to read. Alice Fletcher, played by Michelle Dockery of “Downtown Abbey,” needed Roy to train her horses, and he saw this as an opportunity to have someone finally teach him how to read. Roy could’ve asked for anything in the world and he chose to learn.

Nowadays, if someone had the same choice, the last thing they would pick would be education, a reality that is especially true for college students, most of whom would immediately ask for money instead. Though the exchange is a small part of the storyline, if Roy didn’t have that desire to learn, he would have never known where his brother was or how to get to him. Whenever a college student feels like getting an education is pointless, they should think back to “Godless” and how jealous those characters would be at their opportunity to learn.

In addition to its lessons on the value of education, “Godless” also touches on the ephemerality of relationships, a concept that most college students begin to learn for the first time in their four years on campus. For example, saying goodbye to high school friends that you never thought you’d leave is a critical component of college adolescence.

In the same vein, every semester you’ll make amazing friends in your classes, only to never see them again after the final. Indeed, learning just how fleeting a friendship can be is one of the most important lessons of your undergrad.

All this heartache is a lot to take in and often hard to understand. “Godless” explores the idea of people leaving and lets the audience see why it’s actually okay. Throughout the majority of the show, the audience watches Alice and Roy get extremely close.

Roy even becomes a father figure to Alice’s son, Truckee, played by Samuel Marty. Of course, most viewers wanted the two to end up together after they’d fought all their demons.

The writers, however, had other ideas. The two end up parting ways, but instead of making their separation seem like a punishment to everyone’s favorite characters, Roy and Alice seemed to know deep down that they were only meant to be in each other’s lives for a short period of time. Though the characters made accepting this bitter life lesson seem easy, in reality, letting people leave your life takes an extraordinary amount of self-assurance, and is much harder than Roy and Alice make it appear.

Learning this life lesson during your college experience is very crucial because sometimes we hang on to someone that we should’ve let go and let go the people that we should’ve held tight. Every college student is going through their own self exploring and having the right people in your life at the right time is very important. “Godless” can be your guide the next time someone close to us has to move on.

Finally, like many of the best moral parables, “Godless” serves as a reminder to refrain from judging others before you’re made an effort to understand them. The majority of the show’s characters appear to be one thing, but after their back-stories are revealed, they turn out to be something completely different.

Alice Fletcher, to the other ladies in La Belle, New Mexico, is a widow who practices Native American “witchcraft” and ruined the marriage of the sheriff, Bill McNue, played by Scoot McNairy. Over several episodes, audiences come to see that the sheriff actually saved Alice from being raped, which is why they seem to have a powerful connection that outsiders don’t understand.

Though it’s true Bill was in love with Alice, the other ladies let rumors and appearances get in the way of becoming her friend. They only realize their mistake when she steps up to help protect La Belle.

Roy Goode, on the surface, is a man who helps Frank Griffin, played by Jeff Daniels, wreak havoc on small towns across New Mexico; due to that connection, he is perceived as an evil person. In reality, although he was roped into the gang at a young age, he was abandoned by his brother and desperately wanted a family.

Frank offered one, even if to the outside, it doesn’t seem like one. Everyone in La Belle was scared of Roy, except Alice who saw more than just a gang member and gained a friend.

In college, students are constantly meeting new people and often don’t interact with people based on appearances. If there is a lesson to be learned from “Godless,” it’s that giving someone a chance can lead to possibly learning something new and creating a new friendship. Next time you meet someone, don’t be blinded by looks because they could be the best friend who changes your life for the better.

The natural way to learn life lessons is to experience life, but sometimes watching characters go through them can give you a better understanding and lessen the heartache. The list of shows that effectively do this is excessive; it’s a great achievement to be considered to be on it. “Godless” easily made it on this list with its amazing writing, cinematography and acting.

After reading this, add this amazing modern western to your watch list on Netflix; begin binge watching as soon as possible!

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Ana Greening

Texas State University

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