TV is full of characters that wear eyepatches for various reasons, and sometimes it’s simply to stand out among a huge cast.
When it comes to dramas like “Twin Peaks” or genre series like “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead,” massive casts of characters allow for variety, whether it’s the run-of-the-mill diner waitress or the sword-swinging knight or the eyepatch-wearing neighbor.
At the most basic level, an eyepatch sets a character apart, giving them a dangerous, rakish or even quirky air. Beloved by stereotypical pirates, the eyepatch has also been used to indicate that someone is a seafaring person.
But often, the eyepatch is used to signify some sort of trauma in the past. It’s also an easy way for a character to visibly show a badge of suffering without losing mobility or requiring complicated CGI or other effects.
How a show decides to explain why a character has an eyepatch, and if they show that traumatic injury happen, tells a lot about the show itself. Is the scene meant to evoke sympathy, create understanding of character, shock and repulse? Depending on the storytelling, this information can stick with a viewer indelibly or be glossed over completely.
Here’s one way to test the strength of that storytelling. Take a look at the characters in the gallery above (or click here) to see if you can remember how that person came to wear an eyepatch — before clicking to see the answer in the next photo.