‘John Wick’ Trilogy Character Analysis: Will The Baba Yaga Ever Stop Spilling Blood?


In her last letter, John’s wife asked him to find just one thing: “his peace.” Why is it that something that sounds so simple is often the most difficult thing to achieve? Peace is not some tangible commodity that you can pick up from the supermarket as and when you desire. Maybe peace is a state of mind, and you can find it within yourself if you are willing to work for it. But men like John Wick, who have a history of violence, find it difficult to do that. John Wick was on an endless quest to pursue peace, though he knew that it might be an illusion for him. Men like John Wick are like volcanoes, always on the verge of exploding and always embroiled in chaos from within. It is their superpower, but it is also their curse.

Spoilers Ahead

Who is Jonathan John Wick?

John is a body of anger. He wouldn’t shout, scream, or channel the rage through any other loud actions. But the way he pulls the trigger and stabs with a pencil is suggestive of the simmering violence within him. But why so much anger? What’s the root of it all? Maybe, like all orphans, John wasn’t able to overcome the feelings of abandonment. The people who raised an assassin like him made sure that they fueled his anger from time to time so that they could turn John Wick into the ultimate killing machine. From a very early age in life, people like Wick believe they have been wronged by fate or by people. They are God’s neglected children. His own parents abandoned him, and when he ultimately found a home in another person, God intervened and took that away as well. In Wick’s case, the loss happened too soon. Unfortunately, the Baba Yaga cannot shoot God, so when a “human” wrongs him, Wick makes sure that person doesn’t see another dawn. It is his answer to God, if there is one, watching over his neglected child.

After Helen’s death, Daisy was the only link to humanity that John had in his life. The dog was his reason to pursue peace and his only partner with whom he could share his grief. But after her murder, the last thread of his sanity was lost forever. By killing the dog, Viggo’s son poured gallons of gasoline into a dormant volcano, and as they teach children, if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned, and in Wick’s case, you burn in hell. Their only mistake, or probably their last mistake, was to spare the demon’s life. Not only that, but they also gave him a reason to hunt them down and kill them all in the most merciless way possible. Baba Yaga was coming for them, and there wasn’t a single living soul on Earth who could stop the boogeyman from taking revenge.

John is a creature of hell, and only the dead know what he is capable of. His victims don’t survive to tell the real facts and figures, which is why there are so many tales surrounding him. Most of them are the imaginations of frightened minds, but of course, in Wick’s case, the truth is bloodier than fiction. The best way to stay alive is not to cross Wick’s path, ever. John had left the life of crime for a woman, but the woman died. And the gift she gave to John to grieve in peace was lost forever. He had nothing to hold him back, and thus, without further ado, he marched down the path to unearth the weapons he had hidden for a lifetime.

There Is No Turning Back From Hell

John had left the underworld for good. He had retired, as he told everyone. But such men cannot escape their fate so easily. It was probably John’s karma, or maybe the curse of those he had killed in his past life, that forced the faceless entity to take his wife away. We only have one life, and we pay for our sins with it. John could have just ignored the fact that some men killed his dog, but he wasn’t a person who could overlook something so personal. He had to act. 

John and everyone around him knew that if he returned from retirement, there would be no going back. He would be digging graves for eternity and end up in one eventually. John measured the possibilities with the seriousness he always had on his face and decided that he was ready to burn everything down for the sake of personal vengeance. It was a conscious choice. Viggo tried everything to protect his imbecile son, but there was nobody who could escape John Wick’s vengeance. John killed the father-son duo because the vendetta was personal.

The Ghost of the Past Haunts You Forever. It Is Karma

To escape the world of crime, John had taken a favor from very powerful people. They knew John wouldn’t come out of retirement, but he did, and thus, it was time for payback. A devil in the form of Santino d’Antonio arrived at John’s door and asked him to kill his sister. John wanted to reject the plea, but he was bound to accept it. It was his duty, against his own wishes. He had made a pact with the Devil to escape the underworld, and he had to deal with the consequences. The marker was the price John agreed to pay to be with Helen, but she was no more, and John needed to clear the books.

John did what he promised, but you know things aren’t so black and white in the world of criminals. Santino d’Antonio made the same mistake once again. He tried to kill Baba Yaga and made things personal. There was no stopping John now. You see the pattern. John is a person who wants to retire, but what he really needs are anger management sessions. He cannot suppress his anger, or he would have been able to make better choices in life. In the entire trilogy, everyone tells John to walk away, but you see those outbursts of anger like a volcano erupting suddenly—these are the milliseconds where everything goes wrong for John Wick. At last, John ends up killing one of the members of the High Table and thus declares war against the entire fraternity. Is there any way to stop now? We think not.

Help The Devil, And You Go Down With Him 

While the first two films in the franchise were about revenge, the third one was about survival. You may ask why a person who seeks only peace wants to survive. Well, maybe preferences change? If peace was what John was looking for, then he could let someone kill him, and everything would be peaceful thereafter. But no, John wants to live so that he can remember Helen and live with her memories. Complicated enough. In this entire hustle, it is not John who pays the most, but the people who made a choice to help him. The High Table sends an adjudicator to deal with the matter. Previously, John had killed Santino under the roof of the Continental, thereby breaking the single most important rule of the fraternity. Hence, John and his friends need to pay the price.

However, what makes John special as an assassin is that every person he has ever worked with has tried to help in the best way they possibly could. And John, being a humble being, tries to repay it with his loyalty. The Elder made John an offer. He asked him to kill his friend Winston in exchange for his own life. John had promised he would accomplish the task for The Elder, but he had been in two minds since then. Winston had helped John every time a new peril arrived at his door, so John didn’t want to betray his only friend. The adjudicator asked Winston to step down as the manager of the Continental, but Winston didn’t entertain such requests. He declared war on the High Table and invited his best friend, the Baba Yaga, to fight on the front lines. Their joint forces forced the adjudicator to offer a parley. Maybe both John and Winston saw that coming, but what John didn’t expect was that his friend would betray him. Winston shot John twice on the terrace, and the way he fell from there, it felt like he broke all the bones in his body. Winston got his Continental, but at the cost of a friend. Should John be angry? Maybe not. He had clearly stated millions of times in the film that actions have consequences, and maybe this betrayal was part of the job.

Will The Baba Yaga Ever Stop Spilling Blood?

If the trailer for the fourth film is to be believed, John Wick is in dire need of some rest, and why not? In the previous three films, he had killed hundreds of men and been stabbed and shot for what seemed like millions of times. The question here is, “Can a person like John Wick really rest?” For him, it is more about changing his own temperament and letting things go instead of acting upon them and waiting for worse consequences.

Maybe John Wick is part of a chain reaction where one action leads to another until the entire universe is involved in his battle. And probably there is only one person who can stop this: John Wick himself. His only weakness is that his enemies know that John is capable of slowing down or stopping, which is why they keep igniting the fire inside him. It keeps them entertained and serves their ulterior motives as well. Take The Bowery King, for example, who doesn’t waste a moment to bring a wounded Baba Yaga to his sanctuary in order to fan the flames of betrayal inside him and prepare him for a battle against the High Table, which isn’t exactly John’s war. He could walk away any moment, but people around him won’t let him do so until John himself takes a stand.

John, too, had made himself believe that whatever war he had been part of was the last battle he would fight. But the number of battles kept increasing as Wick moved forward. He tells himself that he is seeking peace, but killing people to stay alive isn’t peaceful at all. He is constantly under the radar, and the most merciless assassins are hunting for him. What John really needs is someplace where he can disappear and spend the rest of his life with the memories of his wife. A nice cabin in the coldest spot on Earth would do, and he probably needs to contact a travel agent as soon as possible. But in the meantime, blood will spill, as always, until John Wick decides to put the gun down and disappear forever.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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