23 September 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E2 "The Hybrid"

Spoilers Ahead

If last week's episode was a bit lacklustre, "The Hybrid" more than makes up for it. It was full of all kinds of fun tension, plot twists, and the sorts of storylines that have become TVD's signature. The tentative toes in the water of the season are done and the show has now dived right in. I'm a happy fan.

"The Hybrid" begins with Damon taking down the remnants of his investigation into Stefan's whereabouts. The news is on in the background reporting on Andie's death. Suddenly Elena is there pouting that Damon's been avoiding her calls. It doesn't help that he's still not interested in finding Stefan even after she tells him about his late-night call and that she had it traced back to Tennessee. As she leaves Damon begins burning the papers in the fireplace.

Elena tries Alaric next, basically guilting him into telling her what he and Damon learned. When she finds out werewolves are involved she goes to Ty for more information. He gladly gives her directions to a known full-moon hangout spot in Tennessee (he figures he owes her one since Stefan wouldn't be in this situation if Ty hadn't bitten Damon). Elena then convinces Alaric to go with her to find Stefan even though they'll be on werewolf turf on the full moon. When did he get so whipped?

As Elena and Alaric hike through the Tennessee mountains she stops for a moment of bonding and gives him his immortality ring back. Suddenly Damon is there pushing Elena into the water. He is not happy that she decided to hike into the mountains after Stefan, Klaus, and a pack of werewolves a couple of hours before the full moon. Yeah, in retrospect it does seem like a pretty stupid idea. But Elena refuses to get out of the water until Damon agrees to keep looking for Stefan, which prompts him to go into the water after her and makes for a ridiculously sexy scene considering everyone is fully clothed. Since we all know Damon is Elena's bitch he relents and agrees to keep searching for Stefan, as long as they're out of there before the full moon (he's not about to risk another werewolf bite).

Meanwhile Stefan and Klaus find Ray's pack just in time for Ray to wake up. Klaus susses out the lone human and feeds Ray some of his blood to complete the transition to vampire (werepire?) He then proceeds to turn the rest of the pack. The only problem is that Ray, the first to fully turn, isn't looking so good. Among other things he's bleeding from his eyes. Klaus isn't overly concerned--until Ray suddenly takes off running with vampire speed. He orders Stefan to go after Ray and bring him back. But Ray is already half turned and he bites Stefan and runs again. Before Stefan can continue the chase he hears Elena and Damon. As their presence sinks in Klaus shows up. Stefan distracts him so he won't realize the others are there but Klaus is too busy threatening Stefan anyway, telling him he won't heal him from the bite until Stefan brings Ray back.

Ray, sick as he is, has managed to find Elena, Damon, and Alaric. As soon as he sniffs out that Damon is a vampire he attacks. They manage to knock him out but it ain't easy. They then use every bit of rope and chain they have to secure him to a tree. Only Ray starts turning while the sun is still up and they know he won't be held for long. Suddenly Elena is terrified and she insists they get out of there now. Even Damon runs this time. Unfortunately it doesn't take Ray, now in full wolf form, long to catch up with them. In order to protect Elena, Damon gets Ray to chase him. Elena doesn't want to leave Damon but she doesn't have much of a choice.

As Alaric points out to Elena, Damon can take care of himself. Once at a safe distance he stops running and starts fighting. He's doing pretty well too, but it's hard to fend off a creature with vampire strength and speed whose bite can kill you. Just as Ray's about to get the better of Damon, Stefan shows up and bashes Ray's head in with a rock. Stefan tells Damon that he has to give up on him because he's never coming home. Then he orders Damon to get Elena home and keep her there. As Damon returns to the car and he, Elena, and Alaric prepare to leave, Stefan watches from a distance.

When Stefan returns to Klaus it turns out all the other weres are dead too. Klaus either had to put them down because they "went rabid" or they bled out. Klaus is infuriated that turning them didn't work and he can't understand why. It's implied that Elena still being alive could be the problem, which makes it even more imperative that he never find out she didn't die permanently. It's also implied that Klaus is just a lonely guy. After healing Stefan he comments that Stefan is the only comrade he has left. Maybe all psychos like Klaus really need is a hug.

Speaking of psychos who need love, at home again Damon pays Elena a surprise visit. He tells her there's hope for Stefan after all and he'll help her bring him back. But first he wants to know why Elena suddenly changed her mind back in the forest and wanted to leave. She eventually admits she was worried about him and asks why he needs to hear her say it. Damon's response is probably one of the best lines ever about a love triangle. He tells her he wants her to say these things out loud because when he brings Stefan back to her he wants her to remember what she felt while he was gone. Watch the scene and tell me it didn't give you shivers. I hope Damon and Elena never do end up together--it would be a real shame to lose all this brilliant tension.

In other news Jeremy finally convinces Matt that he really is seeing Vicky. Then he manages to convince Matt to help him contact her properly; Jeremy needs to know why she asked him to help her the last time she appeared. Since Bonnie is off visiting her dad's family for the summer Jeremy doesn't want to bother her--besides, he read all about contacting the dead on the internet! I notice no particular search engine was mentioned for once so maybe the overt product placements are finished. One can only hope. When Vicky shows up this time she tells Jeremy that he can help her come back to life. Interesting...probably not good... But then Anna materializes and tells Jeremy not to trust Vicky. Now what? My guess is that Jeremy will help Vicky and wackiness will ensue.

The last time we saw Carol Lockwood she was shooting Caroline full of tranquilizer darts. In this episode she has a change of heart, although it's definitely a case of too little too late. After testing Ty with vervain to make sure he's not also a vampire she calls "Bill" to ask for his help with her vampire problem. It doesn't take long for Bill to show up and reassure her that she doesn't need to get her hands dirty dealing with vamp-Caroline: he'll take care of her. Meanwhile Ty figures out that the off taste in that morning's coffee was vervain and he confronts mom on Caroline's whereabouts. When she insists he can't be with Caroline because she's a monster Ty realizes his mom has no idea about what he is. He drags her to the old Lockwood dungeon cellar where he secures her before chaining himself and letting her watch him change. When he wakes up in the morning mom tells him she'll make sure nothing happens to Caroline. But her efforts leave something to be desired. She calls Bill and lamely wonders if maybe they're wrong about vampires. Bill then easily shuts her up with talk of monsters and being committed to the cause. Way to go, Carol!

The episode ends with Caroline locked in a room and shackled to a chair. A moment later Bill arrives, ready to slay the demon. And by the way, turns out Bill's her dad.

Its no real surprise that Stefan is going to be redeemed but how Klaus will ultimately be defeated promises to be interesting. On top of that the moments between Damon and Elena are just getting better--more please! I'm also curious to see what happens with Jeremy's ghosts, although I still think this is a storyline we could have done without. And what's up with Caroline's dad? He didn't even flinch when Carol told him the vampire was Caroline. Is it just me or are the parents in this town a little too eager to kill off their kids? Billy missed curfew again--go fetch the shotgun. But it'll be fun to watch her get out of this one; I have the feeling it won't be because Bill has a change of heart. Tune in for more exciting adventures next week!

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins and sharp fangs.

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Heightened senses. Ability to compel humans (Klaus can also compel other vampires). Fine-tuned skills of brooding and intimidation.

Weaknesses: Werewolf bites (Klaus's blood is the only cure). Vervain.

Mythology: To be turned a person needs to die with vampire blood in their system; to complete the transition they need to feed on human blood, otherwise they'll die permanently. As the hybrid, nothing can hurt Klaus.

Sound Bites

Stefan: I get that we're stuck together but if we could maybe just skip the chitchat that would be great.
Klaus: So much brooding. Your self-loathing is suffocating you, my friend.

Were girl: [to Stefan] Who are you?
Klaus: The important question is who am I.
Ray: You said it was gonna feel better. Why doesn't it feel better?
Stefan: Some master race.
Klaus: Lose the attitude.

Carol: Vervain? What are you talking about?
Ty: Let's skip the part where we pretend we don't know about the vampires in this town.

Elena: [re: Stefan] Damon, is he okay?
Damon: No, he's not okay, Elena. He's an insufferable martyr who needs his ass kicked. But he can be saved.

The Vampire Dia
ries, Season 3 Episode 2 "The Hybrid." Written by Al Septien and Turi Meyer. Directed by Josh Butler. From The CW.

16 September 2011

The Vampires Diaries Season 3 Premiere "The Birthday"

Spoilers Ahead

After far too long a wait The Vampire Diaries is back and it was... kind of underwhelming. Not that it was bad. But it didn't exactly rock my world, either--and that's including the scene where Damon walks around wearing nothing but bubble-bath foam. Hopefully the rest of the season will be more inspiring. But for now we were treated to a few highlights.

"The Birthday" begins in Tennessee with Klaus compelling his way into a farmhouse, terrifying the residents into telling him where he can find their roommate Ray (David Gallagher, Super 8), and then ordering Stefan to kill both girls, which Stefan does without hesitation. It looks like Klaus has latched his metaphorical claws good and deep into Stefan. Is it too much to hope he's working against Klaus from the inside? (Find out how he ended up with Klaus here.)

Elena, meanwhile, has been gathering tips from Sheriff Liz on potential vampire/Stefan activity. Although it's her 18th birthday (and Caroline is insisting on throwing her a party) all she cares about is finding Stefan. Can't really blame her. Then again with Damon unabashedly showing off his suds-covered assets you'd think she'd be a little distracted. Unfortunately she makes him cover up and discuss the latest lead. He lets her know this lead, like all the others, is probably a dead end. But he'll go check it out just in case.

While Damon and Alaric follow up on Elena's lead, Klaus and Stefan have caught up with Ray, who turns out to be a werewolf. Klaus has started building his army of hybrids and wants Ray to direct him to his pack. It takes a fair amount of torture with wolfsbane and, of all things, darts but they finally get the information they want. Then Klaus forces his blood down Ray's throat before breaking his neck. Meanwhile Damon and Alaric discover the dead girls in the farmhouse and Damon recognizes Stefan's signature 'Ripper' style (he blacks out during the kill and when he comes to he feels remorse and puts the bodies back together).

Just when you're thinking Damon might be about to catch up to Stefan it turns out Klaus has someone reporting to him on Damon's activities. Apparently Damon is getting too close to them and Klaus can't have that. Stefan offers to deal with his brother, reminding Klaus that he's in his service because Klaus saved Damon's life.

Back in Mystic Falls Elena's party is in full force. I thought it was pretty daring of the producers to show kids smoking joints (Jeremy thought relaxing would help him stop seeing his dead exes everywhere and Matt--apparently a complete lightweight--just wants to forget). And without even following it up with horrible consequences (although Jeremy still sees Vicky and Anna--maybe he should take up meditation). TV has come a long way.

Things get complicated when Damon goes to pick up Andie from work and Elena discovers his closet of evidence of his Stefan investigation. The investigation he told Elena was pointless and was getting them nowhere. Damon is a little too preoccupied to respond to Elena's anger, though, as he discovers Stefan at the studio. Stefan tells Damon to stop following him, that he was supposed to let him go. When Damon mentions Elena, Stefan compels Andie to jump off a parapet and then prevents Damon from catching her. Well, it wouldn't be a TVD episode without at least one death of a regular character. But who woulda thunk Andie would be killed by Stefan instead of Damon?

When he gets back to the party Damon has a slight confrontation with Elena in which he snaps that they're both idiots for pursuing Stefan. He tells her that the brutal murders they've been investigating have been Stefan's work not Klaus's. After Elena leaves, Damon heads to Stefan's room and flies into a rage destroying things until he finally exhausts himself. But Elena gets a phone call from Stefan. Even though he doesn't talk she knows it's him. He holds back tears as she tells him she loves him and that he has to hold on to that. There's hope yet for the Ripper.

The other major development centres around Caroline and Ty. After seemingly endless smouldering looks and awkward silences they finally give in to their not-so-hidden naughty feelings for each other. At last the world can witness vampire-werewolf sex! It's surprisingly underwhelming, actually. But it sets things up for the next morning when Caroline is sneaking out early and Ty's mom is waiting for her. As Caroline touches her purse she's burned. That's all Mrs. Lockwood needs. She shoots three tranquilizer darts into Caroline and the last thing we see before the episode ends is Caroline lying unconscious.

Interesting twist with Caroline and Ty's mom. Methinks it was a bad idea for Caroline to stay in Mystic Falls after she was turned. Can you really continue living your usual life after something as extreme as joining the ranks of the undead? Which also leads to the question of whether Stefan can really come back after his time with Klaus. Sorry, Elena--this breakup might be for reals.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes; black facial veins; and sharp, prominent fangs.

Strengths: Super strength and speed. Ability to compel humans (Klaus can also compel other vampires). Heightened senses.

Weaknesses: Vervain.

Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter a residence.

Sound Bites

Elena: You're late. Matt just called.
Jeremy: Well, maybe he'll fire me.
Elena: Aim high.

Caroline: [to Ty] Just because I tell you things doesn't mean you're allowed to know them!

Alaric: Your fake, compelled girlfriend wants you to be a chivalrous boyfriend?
Damon: Well, it's a complicated dynamic.

Damon: [to Elena] Stefan is gone and he's not coming back. Not in your lifetime.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 1 "The Birthday." Written by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Directed by John Behring. From The CW.

01 September 2011

Being Human (UK) S1 E3

Spoilers Ahead

Ghost love, werewolf sex, and vampire obsession: this was a fun episode. Of course none of it is easy for anyone involved. It's nice to know that life's dramas continue even when you're a monster (or dead). Then again maybe "nice" isn't the word...

Following the pattern of the previous two, episode 3 starts off being narrated by George as Annie gazes longingly at a photo of her and Owen. We then cut to Mitchell as he watches Lauren's vampire "porn" video (catch up here), his eyes going black as the monster emerges within him. The camera cuts before we can see any more of Mitchell's slide into darkness. Instead we get to see Annie as she later freaks out and manically tries to clean the kitchen with plumbing that refuses to work. She finally admits to George and Mitchell that in a few days it would have been her and Owen's wedding day. Mitchell's solution is to take Annie to a club where she can meet "kindred spirits." In this case, a 1980s new-wave ghost named Gilbert. He's melancholy and pretentious but I kind of love him. Also, he has great taste in music, no matter what any of the other characters say.

While Gilbert and Annie hit it off (sort of) Mitchell tries to encourage George to have some fun of his own. But George is morbidly afraid of losing control for even a moment. He insists that sex with someone like him (or Mitchell) isn't safe. Mitchell's not buying it (for either of them) but it's hard to argue with George when Mitchell's sex life already has a body count. A walking body count, and she shows up at the hospital desperate for Mitchell's help. Lauren claims Herrick and the others hurt her and forced her to make the film as punishment for talking to Mitchell. He can't deal with her so he walks away (yet again).

Meanwhile Gilbert takes Annie to visit her own grave. It's his weird way of telling her that the beauty of the world is still there for them. He also mentions that they're still on earth for a reason and unless they find a resolution they won't be going anywhere. Which suits him just fine as he's perfectly happy not to leave. Annie, on the other hand, decides she'd like to move on and wants to figure out what she needs to resolve. When she tells the boys George is happy for her but Mitchell is worried, wondering what she might find out.

As Annie and Gilbert spend more time together it starts becoming apparent that he's having squishy feelings for Annie. He makes her a mix tape (even if the songs are less than romantic), agrees to help her find her resolution, listens for hours to her talk about Owen, takes her out for "Gilbert fun" (dancing in the park, reading Nietzsche, telling off cops who can't see them), and even helps her play ghost housewife to Owen. She, unfortunately, is too busy still being in love with her still-living fiance to notice what's going on with Gilbert. Love sucks even in the afterlife (something to look forward to!)

Meanwhile George catches the eye of nurse Nina and, thanks to some unwanted meddling from Mitchell, ends up with a date with her. The date goes well with good food and better chemistry. They retire to George's room (with awesome gnome-patterned wallpaper!) and start with the smooches. As things get more intense George starts getting a little...growly. As soon as he realizes he's about to lose his tightly maintained control he backs off fast making an excuse that he has a problem with finishing a little too quickly in bed. Wow--willing to humiliate himself just to stay "safe." The good thing is because Nina's a nurse she's very understanding. A little too understanding. The next day at work she pulls George aside to have a talk about alternatives to intercourse. As she talks (a little too frankly, I think) George gets increasingly twitchy feeling the full moon pulling at him. Finally he lunges at her and takes her in a manly fashion, much to Nina's delight. Then he runs off to finally turn.

Not that all encounters at the hospital are so pleasant. Lauren continues to stalk Mitchell at work. This time she claims she clean, that is, she hasn't had any blood--but she's afraid she'll kill again since that's all she can think about. Wanting to help her get on the wagon with him Mitchell agrees to give her some of his own blood and then makes plans to meet her later that night. After more mutual fluid swapping he warns her that sharing each other's blood isn't going to sustain them for long. Plasma and animal blood don't do much for vampires, either. Mitchell insists the only way to stay on the wagon is to go cold turkey. Unwilling to believe it and feeling desperate Lauren runs back to Herrick.

At least Annie is happy as she takes care of Owen. That is until she realizes he thinks his new girlfriend has been the one cooking for him and ironing his shirts. Upset she runs upstairs and uses toothpaste to leave Owen a message on the mirror that could only be from her. When Owen sees it he flips out, but instead of being afraid like you think he'd be he's angry. Hmm. The next thing we know Owen is sneaking into Annie's house while the boys are out. She's thrilled to see him, as usual, and follows him upstairs to watch as he starts fussing with the toilet's plumbing. But when he pulls out a thong that was stuck in there Annie suddenly has a flashback of her death, beginning with Owen angrily accusing her of being a cheating whore and ending with him pushing her down the stairs and killing her. Luckily as Owen leaves, Gilbert arrives and Annie tells him what she's remembered.

Emotionally overloaded and awash in insecurities and self-doubt, Annie asks if Owen treated her the way he did because she is inherently unlovable. Gilbert replies that she's amazing and finally tells her he loves her. He really does. It's the first time he's ever been in love. Suddenly a door appears behind them. Gilbert realizes he's finally had his resolution. He wants Annie to come with him but she can't because it's not her door. Gilbert lights a cigarette, opens the door, smiles, and steps through. The door disappears. And I'm disappointed that we won't be seeing Gilbert again.

The episode ends with Annie telling Mitchell and Mitchell telling George about Owen (ruining George's excellent mood at having got laid). Now it's just a matter of figuring out what resolution Annie needs.

One part of me wants Mitchell and George to go all feral on Owen's ass but I'd really rather see Annie get her revenge. The only thing is, when Annie does get her resolution what's going to happen then? Would they get rid of one of the main characters? If not then how does Annie get away with not going through her door? Three episodes left this season--guess we'll find out soon enough.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, until the vampire emerges--then pure black eyes.

Strengths: Can get by on vampire blood instead of human blood, although not for too long.

Weaknesses: Blood lust. Only fresh human blood can sustain them long-term.

Mythology: Although they don't show up on film, vampires will sometimes videotape themselves killing a person as a form of vampire porn.

Sound Bites

George: Love should be the opposite of death. It should be our biggest reason for wanting to be here. I mean, what else have we got? Football? Shoes?

Mitchell: I never know with you if it's Jewish guilt or werewolf guilt.
George: It's pretty much the same thing.

Gilbert: Fun is such a bourgeois concept.

Being Human, Season 1 Episode 3. Written by Rachel Anthony. Directed by Alex Pillai. From the BBC.