“True Lies” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 4.34.47 PMWe weren’t too impressed with this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries. We’re not quite sure what it was that put us off. Maybe that it just wasn’t that exciting. Maybe that, after four years, we just can’t care about yet another disaster or about mysterious villainy. Maybe it’s that, with just two episodes under its belt, we already prefer Tuesday-night counterpart The Originals. Maybe we miss Klaus and Rebekah. Or maybe it was just an off week (for us and for the show) and next week will be a return to regularly scheduled awesomeness.

The episode wasn’t a total wash, however. For every moment of not giving a damn about Silas, we had hilarious one-liners from Caroline, or Katherine being a little bit of a badass. For every stupid, predictable coincidence – new hot guy, Jesse, is in the microbiology class of the lecturer who faked dead roommate’s death certificate – there’s the promise of a little bit more intrigue. For every introduction of thoroughly pointless gypsies, we had a truly emotional moment between Bonnie and dead Matt, or  between Bonnie and Jeremy. Because that’s one thing you can always say about TVD. Even the bad episodes are not without their saving graces.

So what do we know now that we didn’t before? Continue reading

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“I Know What You Did Last Summer” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.04.22 PMWelcome to the first edition of Vampire Diaries does College, brought to you by a healthy dose of mystery and vervaine-laced water. Yes, kids, you heard us right. Elena and Caroline are in college and it’s not smooth sailing. We repeat, not.

But that was the least surprising bit of the episode, so we shouldn’t complain. The rest of it more or less surprised at every turn, and served as a great opening for the CW stalwart’s fifth season. Sticking with the college theme, we take a look at that brand new mystery first. From the moment Sheriff Forbes told Elena that Whitmore (their new college) is where Daddy Gilbert fell in love with medicine, we knew the campus would give us some echoes of the Gilberts. We weren’t expecting the extent to which the Gilberts would be relevant to the story – we have a suspicious roommate, a suspicious dead roommate, and a suspicious dead roommate who knew Elena’s dad and has pictures of him and her on her cell. Yes, they’re all the same person (new [dead] character Megan; relative unknown Hayley Kiyoko). Megan will likely be a recurring character. But as a ghost. Or a vampire. Bringing us neatly to the second college-based mystery: who killed her? Our money’s on hot-new-guy-for-Caroline (now that Tyler’s out of the picture), because he’s the only one getting any screen time, and we all know she can’t be happy for a hot second.

But college wasn’t the only venue providing the fun times. Back in Mystic Falls Continue reading

“Graduation” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.18.31 PMOh. My. God. Omigod, omigod, omigod.

We could waste time and precious page space talking you trough every single moment of this incredible season finale – one in which so very much happened – but we think the rest of the episode is entirely immaterial when one considers the MAJOR moments that came toward the end and completely changed the face of the show. Suffice it to say that everyone graduated and there were some touching goodbyes before the veil went back up. But we barely care about any of that, because the ending. Oh wow. The ending.

Let’s deal with some of the smaller big stuff first, before we get to that. And relationships up first, because they’re only big stuff for the intense ‘shippers among us. But, boy, was this episode just chock-full of romance! (Be prepared for overuse of couple names.)

First up, Rebekah and Matt. This was perhaps the tamest of the four main love affairs featured in the season finale. It was notable only because they’re finally embarking on some sort of relationship after two years of build up. But it’s more of a friendship than a romantic entanglement, so fans of this particular ‘couple’ will have to wait a little longer for the money shot. Though we feel as though the ‘money shot’ isn’t even necessary. Rebekah’s swiftly changing personality, her sacrifices and sweetness, were not lost on Matt and romance is sure to bloom, if a little reluctantly. What can we expect from this new pairing? Well we’re not sure. Claire Holt, who plays Rebekah, is signed to the cast of The Originals. Will we be seeing Rebekah and Matt exploring life in New Orleans, or will some tragic falling out drive Rebekah to her brothers and Matt back to tending bar in Mystic Falls?

Next we have Klaroline, and perhaps our Continue reading

“The Walking Dead” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 12.38.21 PMIt seems as though the closer VD gets to its season finale, the more it successfully atones for its sins and the more it makes up for those less than fantastic elements of Season 4 (we wouldn’t even know where to start with a list of them). “The Walking Dead” was exceptionally well written and the major plot twists, for the most part, steered well clear of VD’s almost patented over-complication of plots. It was relatively stripped back and focused on relationships as much as on plot development. It swept Delena/Stelena mostly under the rug, and delved into friendships and blossoming feelings rather than that old well-worn ground.

What it most reminded us of was the stellar Buffy episode,  “Conversations with Dead People”. An aberration from the usual teen drama and handwringing in favor of a more grown-up and serious conversation. It lacked some of what made that Buffy episode great – Joss Whedon’s sharp writing, for one – but we can’t help but feel that it was a deliberate nod to it nonetheless. And its timing was impeccable. Coming a week before the finale, it gave the show a human element that can sometimes be lost amid all of the supernatural stakes. It reminded us of the emotions behind what each of the characters does, with a subtly that has been lacking. We were shown the emotions rather than told that they exist, and that was a refreshing change.

Aside from the (presumably temporary) shift in tone, the episode did give us a couple of monumental leaps in plot. (Spoilers!) Chief among these has to be Continue reading

“She’s Come Undone” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 6.31.49 PMVampire Diaries reached new heights of cruelty this week, and we’re not talking about the torture scenes. Silas taking on the form of Klaus to torture Caroline. That was just mean. Not for her. For us! Because Caroline actually seemed to want to go to New Orleans with him. We were about to get our way. Klaroline in NOLA. Alas, (so far) it’s not to be. And Candice Accola prevaricates beautifully when questioned about it. We’ve never seen someone dodge questions so skillfully. One has to wonder why she even agreed to be interviewed. Excuse our sarcasm. We’re feeling bitter.

The rest of the episode was actually pretty good, by VD standards. The Elena torture scenes were not overly disturbing, but still packed enough of a punch to make them feel realistic. The Matt and Rebekah storyline continues to get cuter. We appreciated the nod to Buffy when Matt tried to pull a Xander to get Elena to flip her switch. And we were actually brought to tears twice – first by Matt’s ‘death’ (and Elena’s reaction to it [switch is most definitely back on]), and then again by Caroline’s mom’s ‘death’. That latter scene actually made us more hopeful about the potential for a NOLA-based Klaroline. As Caroline pleaded with her mother not to leave her, she promised to get her out of Mystic Falls. Is a move to Louisiana on the cards for the Forbes?

Other than that, there were two main strands that will likely be significant as we move forward: Continue reading

“The Originals” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 10.31.31 PMWhile we were certainly looking forward to this backdoor pilot for The Originals, we were also somewhat skeptical about the likelihood of its success. Consider us converts to the cause. We’re staunchly pro-Originals now. As pilots go, this sure knew what it was doing. It had intrigue, laughs, drama and twists in all the right amounts. It gave us a taste of what a full-length show might offer, showing us everything from series regulars right down to the potential soundtrack (a hint of edgy indie pop-rock with a sprinkling of New Orleans jazz and blues). It set up the entire run of the first season – which has now been announced as a certainty – by introducing us to potential villains, frenemies and partners. It tantalized us with the prospect of Klaus puppies (how cute would they be?) and a transferral of Klaroline from Mystic Falls to NOLA. Aside from romance and plot, it also gave us the strange feeling that we were watching a better written, less-convoluted version of Treme – embracing the culture and music of New Orleans, without failing to point out that the city is a shadow of its former self.

A little summary of the episode, to set us up for its full season run: Klaus heads to New Orleans to find a witch who is out to get him, but not in the way that he thinks. Here, he meets his old mentee, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis, Grey’s AnatomyThe GameSwitched at Birth), who now runs the city and has turned it into a vampire’s paradise. Through Marcel he finds the witch, Jane-Anne (Malaya Rivera Drew, The L WordER), who is promptly killed. Klaus is wise enough to know that that doesn’t mean the end of anything, and tracks down her sister, Sophie (relative unknown Daniella Pineda). Sophie and the other witches have Hayley captive and demand that Klaus help them to take out Marcel. If he doesn’t Continue reading

“Pictures of You” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 8.42.32 PMWe can’t describe how much we love that Vampire Diaries took time out from its dramatic storylines (sort of) to let the kids go to prom. After week on week of ‘Silas this’ and ‘Elena that’ and ‘Bonnie the other’, this episode gave us a chance to breathe and blow the cobwebs out. It is VD, so we didn’t have a thoroughly drama-free episode by any means, but the action and intrigue was spread out somewhat, leaving us pleasantly calm and brain-fuzz-free by the end of it.

And adding to our enjoyment? Just as prom is a night heavily caked in nostalgia, “Pictures of You” gave us the opportunity to reminisce in our own small way – Jeremy and Tyler made welcome, if temporary, returns to the show. Jeremy appeared as one of Silas’s many guises to screw with Bonnie, while Tyler showed up to give Caroline her perfect prom night.

Elements running through the prom were the continuing fight for the cure (Elijah had promised it to Rebekah on the condition that she go a whole day without using any of her vampy powers), Elena’s continued evilness, and Silas’s continued assholeness. There were a few nice moments – Bonnie and Matt winning prom king and queen, Rebekah and Matt’s touching moment (not literally) after she potentially sacrifices being a human just to act like one, and Caroline going to Klaus for help about her dress – but the rest of it was fraught with drama, even if it was far more manageable than usual. Elena going completely off the deep end and trying to kill Bonnie (and failing spectacularly) was the icing on a somewhat evil cake.

The big stories going forward will be Continue reading

“American Gothic” – Vampire Diaries

This episode of Vampire Diaries was a vast improvement on last week’s. Not that that’s hard. This week didn’t have to be exciting, or groundbreaking, or jaw-dropping. It didn’t have to be full of edge-of-your-seat drama, or life or death situations. It didn’t have to have twists in the plot or, in fact, any plot development at all. And it didn’t have any of those things. What it did have was great storytelling, and a stripped-back, (relatively) pressure-free look at the characters. And, like “After School Special”, that made all the difference. We’re beginning to think that VD is at its best when it focuses more on the people than the mysticism.

Not that this episode was completely devoid of that. Silas features (briefly), this time in the guise of Caroline, and there is still that constant thread relating to the cure. The drama surrounding the cure has been upped, though not significantly. While it is now heading toward Mystic Falls – surprisingly enough, in the hands of Elijah ‘where has he been ‘til now’ Mikaelson – we’re no more concerned or enlightened than we were last week, or the week before, or the week before that. We’re just a little more curious. But only a little bit.

There was a smidge of drama in the form of Damon letting Rebekah take what they both thought was the cure (we were never fooled) because, on some level, he preferred vampire Elena to I’m-allowed-to-make-my-own-decisions-(sometimes)-cos-I’m-human Elena. That drama was short lived (Damon realized his mistake as quickly as Rebekah downed that “cure”), and served only to inspire Stefan to make a decision – when Elena is cured he’s going to break his and Damon’s pattern of falling for (and fighting over) the same girls, and will make sure Elena’s out of his life for good. We don’t think he’s going to kill her, so where does that leave us? Will they be going to different colleges in the Fall, or something?

The most concentrated drama (possibly in all VD history*) came in the form of Elena finally and completely flipping her lid. This also marked the point at which we stopped preferring vampire Elena to I-don’t-kill-innocent-people-who-are-just-trying-to-give-me-my-free-refill Elena. We are finally willing to admit that she’s not better when she’s being bad – this week, she just went too far. Though this does land our boys in a sticky predicament – do they keep trying to convince Elena to take the cure, thereby risking innocent lives, or wait for her to figure it out on her own damn time? We all know she’s eventually going to be human again. Now all that’s left is to find out how. Are we the only ones wishing the writers would just get that over with already?

Charming romance (read: screaming matches and sizzling, off-the-charts tension) was prevalent between Klaus and Caroline. And that’s something else we wish the writers would just get on with. It’s been long enough to make it believable if Caroline gives in. So make it happen, thanks. In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with the smoldering glances and lingering pauses. And the joy of watching Caroline being slowly proven wrong about someone.

Our only problem with the episode was what wasn’t in it – Bonnie. After the dramatic twist to the end of last week’s episode, we were hoping for some scenes in which Bonnie wrestled with her guilt and grief over Jeremy’s death. This sounds sadistic, we know, but we were sort of looking forward to some real, human moments. Maybe we’ll get them next week.

And now we end on some broad supposition and speculation. As we move forward, here’s where we stand: the cure is completely in Mikaelson hands. Elijah doesn’t immediately matter to the outcome. He just wants to give Klaus the cure in exchange for his girlfriend Katherine’s freedom. What happens next is really anyone’s guess. Will Klaus give it to Silas, let his sister have it, or cram it down Elena’s throat so that he gets his doppelgänger back? Until this week, we probably would have been Team Rebekah, but now? We’re not so sure. We’re dying to get Elena back (for the aforementioned reasons and to see how things with she and Damon play out), but we’re also curious about what they would face with Silas. Whether he gets his cure or not, he’s certainly going to be the Big Bad next season. All that remains to be seen is how the pieces will align against him, and what exactly they’ll be fighting. – K

Quoteworthy:

“She lied.”

“I hate to say I told you so, but… duh!”

– Elijah, Elena

 

*(We’re lying…

“Because the Night” – Vampire Diaries

And we go right from a pretty awesome episode of Glee to a pretty disappointing episode of Vampire Diaries. Best summed up by the descriptor ‘meh’, this week’s episode never lived up to its potential. The correlations between Damon’s time in New York with Lexi in the 70s and his time in New York with Elena (and party-crasher Rebekah) were a nice touch, but not enough to save an episode that should have been so much more. For once, the action in Mystic Falls was what really kept us going. Stefan, Caroline and Klaus teaming up to find Silas and stop him before he can carry out his third and final sacrifice was relatively gripping (though we wonder if we would have thought that had the New York side of things been less boring).

The big explanation of Silas’ motivation, while welcome (it gave us poor, struggling souls an idea of what the writers have been thinking all along, and wrapped it up in a neat little bow), was vaguely idiotic and nonsensical. Stefan describes it thus: “Silas wants to die and be reunited with his one true love. But he’s supernatural. So if he takes the cure and dies he gets stuck on the other side. … But if he destroys the other side altogether, he can take the cure, die and pass on. But, in destroying it, every dead supernatural being will return to our side.” Aren’t they all missing the point, here? The clue is in the name… It’s called the cure. As in curing someone of vampirism. So he wouldn’t be a supernatural being anymore. If he took the cure, he could pass over and have his eternal rest and wouldn’t have to go to the other side. Are we wrong? Have we missed something? Or are we right, and does Silas have a far more terrible plan that he’s keeping hidden?

If there’s one good thing we can say about the episode, it’s that it kicked up some exciting storylines for the remainder of the season.

First among these is Rebekah and Elena teaming up to find the cure. As they depart on a road trip together, we have to wonder if they’ll end up as friends or if one of them will end up dead(er).

This week also saw Caroline nearly give in to her obvious feelings for Klaus. But he had to be bitter and stubborn and drive her away. This is the most interesting romantic arc in the show’s history, as both protagonists are simply too stubborn to let their guard down. We see it having a happy ending, though.

Then we have Caroline (accidentally) fulfilling the final sacrifice. To save Bonnie’s life, Caroline stabbed the witch that was about to stab Bonnie. This killed the other 12 witches and completed Silas’ expression triangle. This brings up two storylines that will have to be dealt with over the next few episodes: Caroline’s guilt over murdering 12 people, and Silas’ next step.

That next step was somewhat dealt with in this episode. He now has the power to destroy the other side, but won’t do it until he has the cure. Enter Klaus. Silas charges him with getting the cure and bringing it to him. He breaks the white oak stake off in Klaus’ back as motivation. This puts Klaus on the same road as Rebekah and Elena. There are always sparks when the sibs are on the same trail, so how will this end? We see Klaus and Rebekah getting distracted trying to take each other down, leaving Elena free to snake off with the cure. But it’s really anyone’s guess.

Finally, we have the potential ramifications of Bonnie’s long spell under Silas’ influence. The combination of his brainwashing and the witches’ attempts to rid her of expression left her without any memory of anything since she got stabbed in the cave. As Stefan begins to tell her what happened to Jeremy, we have to wonder how she’ll cope with the news now that she’s free of Silas’ thrall. Will she still be Team Silas or will she be back on Team Sanity?

These final moment revelations and twist are all that was worthwhile about the episode and, it has to be said, they almost made the rest of it worth watching. We’re excited, now, for what’s left of the season. Until next week… – K

Quoteworthy:

“I’m not stupid.”

“Let’s not say thing we don’t mean.” – Elena, Rebekah, Zing. 

“Bring It On” – Vampire Diaries

       

Well right off the bat we have to say this (though it may be an unpopular opinion, based on some of the responses we’ve had in the past) – no-humanity-Elena is just better. We brace for the cries of ‘how could you think indiscriminate killing is better?!’ To that, we have a simple answer. She’s a vampire. This is, to all intents and purposes, a show about vampires. We don’t want wishy-washy Twilight vamps here. There’s no history on the show of that. These vampires are supposed to be, and frequently are, bloodthirsty killing machines. And to see Elena embrace that? Well that’s just wonderful. No more whining, no more second-guessing, no more guilt… all that with the added bonus of her being a brutally honest bitch? We’ve never been happier. And we’re enjoying it while we can because we know that all of her friends can’t let her stay like that forever. Even now they’re working on finding her the cure, just because they don’t like her like this.

And, truly, that’s the most troubling aspect of this entire episode – not Elena’s wild abandon, not the fact that she almost staked Caroline, but the fact that everyone in her life is so controlling. She’s Bella Swan and everyone else is Edward Cullen. (Forgive the Twilight references. We’re having a marathon of the movies this weekend.) The discussions they have about her behind her back, their constant use of the sire bond to get her to be compliant and do what they want, their disapproval, their lecturing… It’s like they’re trying to program her. They’ve taken away her free will. Or tried to, at least, because the other interesting aspect of Elena post-humanity is that the sire bond is gone. Completely gone. It was tied to her feelings for Damon and, now that she doesn’t feel anymore, he can no longer control her. The fact that she heads off on a road trip to New York with him at the end of the episode, much as we’d like to believe otherwise, was more a matter of convenience than love.

The rest of the story progressed well. Rebekah is back and quickly filled Damon in on Shane’s death, dispensing with any doubt that we’ll have weeks and weeks of them not knowing Silas is in their midst. They also quickly figure out that Silas is in town. Though they haven’t put him and Bonnie together, they notice that all the blood stores in the area have been stolen and reason that Silas is stockpiling. Klaus is trying to talk Haley into telling him where Katharine is, but only succeeds in talking her in to bed. He notices a birthmark that may hold the key to her true parentage. If he can reunite her with her family, she’ll almost certainly tell him what he needs to know about Katharine. But how will the intrepid gang convince him to let them have the cure for Elena before he can destroy it? Tyler sent Matt the deeds to his house, making it a sanctuary for Caroline (she’s the only vampire that’s been invited in). So here we have a safe house for our main characters when the going gets tough with Klaus/Katharine/Silas. That’ll probably come in handy later.

One aspect of the show that has started to bug us, though, is the overt and frequent referencing of New Orleans. Anything and everything related to Katharine and the Originals just keeps coming back to NOLA. The writers are clearing trying to hype The Originals as much as possible. Honestly? We just wish it would air sooner so that they can stop doing that… – B+K

Quoteworthy: “Maybe you should try to turn it all off. Who knows, you might stop whining about how Tyler left you. Added bonus? You won’t have to feel guilty about all the dirty thoughts you have about Klaus.” – Elena, to Caroline

(PS From K: I’m picturing a Treme/The Originals crossover. Davis McAlary tries to take down the corrupt vampire hierarchy with rap/bounce. Toni Bernette files a civil suit on behalf of everyone who’s been bitten and a few vampires who didn’t want to be turned, and takes on the dirty cops who have been covering up the vampire infestation. Sofia Bernette tries to strike up a relationship with a vampire who is far, far older than her. Janette finally quits the restaurant after Feeney tries to force her to introduce blood on the cocktail menu. Antoine finds a whole new pool of ‘women’ with whom to cheat on Desiree. And LaDonna reopens Gigi’s as a dive bar that caters exclusively to vampires. Anyone else want to see that happen? No? Just me?)