“Sinners and Saints” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.13.02 PMWow. This week’s episode of The Originals has officially cemented the show as our favorite of the season. Not favorite new show, not favorite show on The CW or favorite show about vampires. Flat out, simple favorite show. Why? We’re not even sure we can put our finger on it. We’re inclined to think that, mostly, it’s because The Originals – unlike most other shows on air at the moment – seems to wholly believe that mystery is compelling, but only in small doses. The writers of The Originals know that a good mystery can keep an audience hooked, but also know that dragging that mystery out for too long is as likely to turn an audience off as it is to keep them tuning in.

That understanding couldn’t have been more obvious in “Sinners and Saints” if it had jumped up and down screaming ‘I did magic in the quarter’. One of the more notable aspects of The Originals is that it, somewhat ironically, dispensed with the origin story. We mentioned this before – how the show is likely to be able to make great use of flashbacks because so much is unknown. And that remains true. We got an explanation about why Klaus and the rest of the Mikaelson clan were going to be in New Orleans but, beyond that, we knew very little.

And as the season has progressed, we have more questions rather than fewer, mostly about Davina – who she is, why the witches want her so badly, why she’s so much more powerful than the other witches, and why she’s so close to Marcel. This episode answered those, and Continue reading

“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

“House of the Rising Son” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.24.41 PMVast improvement over last week’s offering here. Blessedly all new scenes, and what scenes they were.

“House of the Rising Son” showed Rebekah’s arrival in New Orleans and the fairly predictable fallout from it. She’s never exactly been the model of emotional stability. It also gave us some background into Klaus’ relationship with Marcel (Klaus saved a young Marcel from a whipping) and Rebekah’s relationship with Marcel (steamy and, no doubt, something to be more deeply explored). It dealt with the issue of abortion (quite well) and showed us Klaus’ paternal side. It gave us a better look at Davina (Marcel’s resident witch, with Carrie-esque powers of persuasion [relative newcomer Danielle Campbell]). And it amped us up for the thrust of the season – unseating Marcel.

Though it’s likely that that particular eventuality will be quite a long way off. The first step for the remaining (undaggered) Mikaelsons will be rescuing Elijah. The need for a rescue is, of course, Klaus’ fault. Giving the daggered Elijah to Marcel in a show of faith was not only cold, it was a bit dumb. Rebekah, finding Elijah with Davina, sees that immediately and, despite Klaus’ deviously ingenious plan to infiltrate Marcel’s inner circle, the Mikaelson priorities will change.

Perhaps most importantly, “House of the Rising Son” also provided us with one important ingredient Continue reading

“Always and Forever” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.38.01 PMDisappointingly very little new from this premiere episode of The Originals. It was essentially a rehashing of the backdoor pilot that aired mid-VD last season (which you can read here to save us from having to write it again), but from Elijah’s point of view. This perspective gave us little new to be excited about, retreading old ground with very little imagination. The only new scenes to offer any additional expectation came in the very final moments, as Klaus daggered Elijah to get rid of his weaknesses (typical, power-hungry Klaus. The show can’t have much to do with the Original Family if they’re all daggered, though, so we’re not quite sure where this is going. With any luck, Rebekah will make her appearance next week and we’ll get more of a taste of where this is going) and Marcel’s secret weapon – which is keeping the witches in line – was revealed to be an incredibly powerful witch (or something).

We hope we’re not going to have to watch every episode twice this season, and we hope it regains that same sense of fun it had during the backdoor pilot. We’re doubly hoping that we won’t have to watch this episode again next week from Hayley’s perspective. Maybe that will be the entire first season… watching this episode from every perspective possible. Though as long as they maintain the fantastically New Orleans soundtrack, we’ll probably be happy. – K

Quoteworthy: “There is no power in love. Mercy makes you weak. Family makes you weak. If I am going to win this war I have to do it alone.” – Klaus (in desperate need of a hug)

“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

“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…