28 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E6 "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Spoilers Ahead

This season definitely smells like something but I don't think it's teen spirit. And may I just thank the writers for appropriating my generation's anthem of ultimate apathy and using it for the title of an episode that revolves around a lame high school's even lamer "Spirit Squad." Kurt Cobain is rolling in his grave (then again he already does that every time Courtney Love opens her mouth). But I digress.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (shudder) starts with Elena and Alaric getting up at an ungodly hour in order for him to teach her how to fight vampires. I don't know who she expects to be defending herself against exactly since all the vampires she knows are either her friends, in love with her, compelled to protect her, or too strong even for other vampires to fight. But best to be safe I guess. The fact that she's too weak to trigger the staking device strapped to her hand isn't exactly a promising start, though.

Damon, meanwhile, wakes up to a house of dead and/or bleeding girls and his Ripper brother thinks it's all a big joke (or at least nothing to get riled up about). Damon's annoyance only increases when Rebecca shows up on their doorstep and invites herself in (literally--isn't the house still in Elena's name? How did Rebecca just walk right in?) It seems Klaus was in such a hurry to leave town that he left her behind (or he left her to keep an eye on Ty; both explanations are given). So she's decided to crash with the Salvatores even though neither of them wants her there. And she calls them rude.

But Rebecca isn't the only one making herself at home where she doesn't belong. It's the first day of school and while all the girls are preoccupied with their boyfriend troubles (Bonnie's upset that Jeremy sees his ghost exes; Caroline is worried about Klaus-sired hybrid Ty; and Elena...well, you know...) Stefan decides to show up and play student again. After all, he does have to keep an eye on Elena. And woe to anyone who gets in his way (Alaric, various random students).

While Elena is dealing with Stefan Caroline is having the worst first day of school ever *pout*. First Ty is somewhat out of control. He comes to school with blood on his shirt--from a blood bag that Rebecca hooked him up with. He's also super stoked that he's Klaus's first successful hybrid, not to mention one of Klaus's assets (along with Elena). He's not too careful about compelling teachers in front of other students, either. Even worse Rebecca has decided to become a student as well--and she makes it clear she wants Caroline's life, including her boyfriend. But before she steals Ty she takes over Caroline's beloved Spirit Squad. Oh noes--now it'll never be the bestest year ever!!

Elena's already figured out that this isn't going to be a great year so she starts working out as a way of getting strong enough to fight the bad guys. You can see why Damon would be amused when he walks in and finds her lifting a barbell. With barely any effort he pushes down on it so Elena can't lift it. Yeah, she'll be ready to fight vampires any minute now. Giving up on the weights she tells Damon that she wants to lock Stefan up until Michael kills Klaus and the compulsion is broken. Damon does what Elena hates and points out reality: in this case that even without the compulsion Stefan is hooked on human blood. So Elena breaks out her default response: do it for me, Damon. Ugh. Anyone else sick of the way she uses and manipulates him? Yeah, taking advantage of someone who loves you is definitely the right way to go. But, of course, he gives in and even shows her (all sexy like) how to properly stake a vamp.

Damon, Elena, Alaric, and Caroline get together to work out a plan for capturing and containing Stefan. They want to ask Ty to raid his mom's vervain supply for enough to keep Stefan down for awhile but it turns out Ty's not on board. Why? Because putting Stefan out of commission isn't in Klaus's best interests. Rather than attributing Ty's weird behaviour to compulsion (the reasonable conclusion), Damon figures out he's been "sired." Siring is apparently really rare and involves excessive loyalty to a vampire's maker. Ty is putting Klaus's good ahead of his own and there's no cure.

Once they get Ty out of the way our heroes put their cunning plan into action. At the bonfire party while Damon distracts Rebecca (with somewhat over-the-top marshmallow flirtation), Elena gets drunk and makes sure Stefan knows it. He then spends the night following her around to make sure she doesn't get hurt. (He also calls her a lightweight, which is weird because I seem to recall a road trip with Damon where she nearly out-drank him.) There's a vaguely interesting bit when Elena watches Damon flirt with Rebecca and is definitely jealous (although she completely denies it).

As for the rest of the gang, Matt is preoccupied with his ghost sister instead of actually taking part in any school-like activities. He's happy that he gets to talk to her again and she uses that to her advantage, telling him that he can help bring her back. She won't be alive exactly but she'll be able to come and go as she pleases instead of having to rely on Matt to pull her across. All he needs to do is perform a ritual while a witch Vicky is in contact with on the other side works some magic from her end. But oops--Jeremy overhears and hurries to tell Anna all about it. Anna is distressed, insisting there's darkness around Vicky and that if she crosses over it'll upset the balance of nature. Next step: talk to Bonnie.

Bonnie is pissy because Jeremy spoke to Anna before he spoke to her, especially when she realizes that Anna is still there with them. She storms off to find Matt and deal with the Vicky situation. By then it turns out Matt has already successfully performed the ritual. What started out as a happy reunion with his sister goes bad fast when Vicky explains that part of her deal with the witch involves her restoring balance to the world. She informs him that Klaus's hybrids can't be allowed to survive and since they need doppelganger blood she's going to have to kill Elena. When Matt finally confesses everything to Bonnie she decides to try a magic-blocking spell to keep Vicky from crossing over.

Back to Elena's sidekicks, Caroline is busy having a talk with Ty about his obnoxious behaviour. After he swears he doesn't want to be his old jerkoff self again and promises to be good he and Caroline end up getting naked. Damon gets put out of commission with a marshmallow-roasting stick through the gut when Rebecca realizes he's trying to distract her. But even though she's pissed that he's trying to distract her and she leaves--where does she go? She disappears. You'd think she might try to find out why Damon is distracting her--especially since Stefan is nowhere to be found.

Stefan is still following drunk Elena and she's now hanging out by herself at the top of the bleachers. This leads me to an(other) issue I have with this episode. The bonfire everyone is attending is the "Spirit Squad" bonfire. Which makes it a school-related event. The bleachers would indicate it's even on school property. So (a) where are the teacher chaperones and (b) how are all these students drunk? I love how everyone on the show is negative about drug use and looks down on the school stoners but binge drinking among underage kids is just fine. I guess drinking is just cool. And Elena shows how cool it is when she climbs over the railing on the bleachers. Even Stefan asks if she's 5. Of course she falls like an idiot (what's worse is she does it on purpose) and Stefan bolts to catch her. When he does they have a moment ("I knew you'd catch me"--well, yeah, because he's compelled to!) A second later Alaric shoots Stefan full of vervain.

As they load Stefan into Alaric's car and Elena gets in after him we see Vicky standing nearby. We also see a gas can and the cigarette in her hand. Sure, she has to kill Elena--why not kill her in the most horrible way possible? Vicky throws the cigarette and the car is quickly engulfed. The doors and windows are also stuck shut. As Alaric fails to break the window Vicky materializes inside the car. At least she has the decency to apologize to Elena, even if she can't hear it. Meanwhile Bonnie is trying to work the spell to stop Vicky. Elena manages to rouse Stefan long enough for him to kick out the back panel of the SUV. Just as Vicky is about to prevent Elena from escaping she disappears and reappears in the room with Matt and Bonnie. Matt finally says goodbye to his sister and Vicky disappears for good. Wow, anticlimactic. Once Elena gets out of the car she and Alaric drag Stefan away as well. Then the car blows up. Just another day in Mystic Falls.

Back at Damon's he insists on putting burn lotion on Elena. I think it's silly but whatever--it gives them an excuse to continue their ongoing romantic tension. Elena comments on his flirting with Rebecca and he responds that he thought she was too drunk to notice. She says she was faking most of it and he responds with "So was I." Yes, very sweet. And yet she's still obsessed with Stefan. There's really no accounting for taste.

As Elena and Alaric are leaving, Stefan is up and recovered. He points out to them that they need him and are better off with him around. Sure--it's not like Elena is friends with any other vampires. He asks Elena why she saved him from the fire and she responds with a speech about hope and not giving up. He calls her pathetic and she finally manages to trigger those hand stakes right into his stomach (seems to be the favourite non-lethal area for staking). Apparently she's all strong now. After a whole day of working out. Maybe I should run around the track and lift weights for 10 minutes.

Caroline and Ty have missed all the action that didn't directly include them but Caroline refuses to stay the night. The second she's out of there Rebecca shows up with a compelled girl as a present for Ty. He tells Rebecca to leave but when she bites the girl on the wrist, he's there a second later helping himself to neck. So much for his promise to Caroline.

I should also take a minute to mention vampire vampire-hunter Michael. Katherine has been trying to revive him with the blood of various humans and animals with no success. It seems he's not interested in eating anything. Katherine's about ready to give up but after an "encouraging" phone call from Damon she agrees to give it another shot. She grabs the nearest person and force feeds Michael, partially reviving him. He then becomes rather insistent that Katherine take the blood away, which she reluctantly does. Later Michael apologizes and tells her he's denied himself human blood since he was turned. He also tells her he can and will kill Klaus. Katherine removes his chains as he claims he doesn't feed on living things. So guess what he eats. Apparently Katherine is dumb as dirt because she has to ask and, surprise, he grabs her and bites. A few moments later she goes limp.

As the episode winds down Bonnie is still avoiding Jeremy. But then he admits to Anna that he can't stop thinking about her (Anna, not Bonnie). Anna says she feels the same. As they reach over to hold hands they're shocked to find out they can actually feel each other. They have no idea what it means. Meanwhile as Damon is cleaning up at home a vase falls over and breaks while someone/something streaks by. Of course Damon assumes it's Stefan but a second later he's thrown across the room and knocked out and it turns out ghost Mason is in the house. Okay so bring on the angry ghosts.

You can probably already tell how I feel about this episode. Not loving the ghosts, the plot holes, the overwhelming lameness of it all. It's extra disappointing because we know how great this show can be. Maybe it'll pick up. I hope so because I have better things to do than watch shows that bore and annoy me. Even if they do star Ian Somerhalder.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires). Super strength, speed and gymnastics abilities. Unsurpassed skill at taking liberties.

Weaknesses: Stakes, vervain, blood lust, fire. Siring (excessive loyalty by a vampire to their maker).

Mythology: Vampires can turn off their emotions and humanity at will. Originals can only be temporarily "killed" by a certain type of dagger plunged into their hearts; when the dagger is removed the Original returns to life (only now it turns out there is some way to kill them permanently).

Sound Bites

Damon: [to Elena] Yeah, so you might not want to come around here for awhile. We have a new housemate: Barbie Klaus.

Elena: Who are you?
Stefan: I'm the guy who's been assigned to protect the human blood bag. I mean, no offence or anything.

Elena: Which is why it's your job to keep her [Rebecca] away.
Damon: How? She's an Original. Last time I checked we're out of daggers.
Elena: So then preoccupy her with your charm.
Alaric: You might have better luck finding the dagger.
Damon: You ever not going to be mad at me, Ric?
Alaric: Doubtful.

Elena: [As Damon presses down on the barbell she's trying to lift] What are you doing?
Damon: Helping you out.
Elena: Damon!
Damon: Come on, Buffy.

Ty: [to Caroline] Everything I like about me is you.

Ty: You should go.
Rebecca: You sure? I think my brother would want his hybrid to indulge in everything life has to offer.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 6 "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Written by Julie Plec and Caroline Dries. Directed by Rob Hardy. From The CW.

19 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E5 "The Reckoning"

Spoilers Ahead

Before I get to the episode I have to ask: these people are 18--why are they still in high school? High school is still only four years long, right? Did they all get held back? And their idea of wacky fun times is setting up pranks throughout the school? Sadly, that's only a taste of this season's lameness. I think TVD has lost the plot. I'm officially depressed.

Anyway, "The Reckoning" starts off with Matt (who looks about as much a teenager as Damon does, which is to say not at all) is working out in the school gym late at night. Sure, why not? Hearing a noise he goes to investigate and discovers his classmates embroiled in setting up pranks (mousetraps all over the floor! Honey on the doorknobs!) for Senior Prank Night. Um, yeah. Well, they have been looking forward to this since they were freshmen. Besides, Caroline insisted they need to get involved and create memories that they'll remember for the rest of their lives. Sure, when Caroline is 200 she'll be looking back fondly on gluing down toilet seats when she was 18. Do any of the writers actually remember that she's a vampire? Hopefully they will soon because she's gotten to be as useless and annoying as she was back in the first season. Hint: it's called character development--look into it.

When Elena takes off on her own to glue Alaric's desk shut she runs into Klaus. He's not too happy to see she's still alive and he takes it out on two random students, compelling one to hold up her leg and the other to beat her to death if she lets it drop.

Elsewhere Stefan wakes up and finds Rebecca guarding him. It turns out Klaus has been breaking his neck all afternoon, which is strange since Klaus claimed he wasn't angry at Stefan. Maybe he changed his mind. Or maybe it's one of those (many) things the writers let slide. Rebecca has also changed, from an apparently sensible woman in the 1920s to a bitchy, jealous brat in 2011. Her jealousy, of course, is aimed at Elena and Stefan's feelings for the doppelganger, which Rebecca expresses by staking Stefan in the gut with a crowbar and repeatedly voicing her desire for Elena's death.

Once Stefan is immobilized Rebecca goes and finds Caroline and Ty. She knocks Caroline out without any problem and drags Ty to Klaus. When Matt and Bonnie arrive ready to TP the place Klaus is elated to see Bonnie. He explains his hybrid problem (they die when he tries to turn them) and orders Bonnie to find a solution. And just to add a little more pressure he feeds Ty his blood before breaking his neck, forcing Bonnie to find a solution before Ty wakes up and dies. By this time Stefan has regained consciousness and makes his way to the gym to join the party. After a scuffle in which Stefan badly tries to pretend he doesn't care about Elena (did he really think telling Klaus he would do whatever he wanted would actually work?) Klaus ends up compelling Stefan to do whatever he says without question, starting with killing the previously mentioned random teenagers. Then, because there wasn't already enough pressure on Bonnie, Klaus decides to start a 20-minute countdown at the end of which--if Bonnie hasn't come up with the solution--Stefan is to kill Elena. Of course the fact that he doesn't bother telling Bonnie this makes it that much more fun or something.

Bonnie and Matt, meanwhile, have taken off to figure out what to do. Bonnie is stressed because the curse is ancient and none of her grimoires go back that far. But then in a flash of inspiration she realizes she can get formerly dead Jeremy to talk to her dead witch contacts (who won't talk to her anymore because she repeatedly used them) and find out from them what to do. The only problem is she can't find Jeremy. Rather than worrying about what might have happened to Jeremy (it's not like no one's seen or heard from him for at least a day or anything) Matt gets the brilliant idea to kill himself by drowning in the pool and have Bonnie bring him back with CPR. That way he can see Vicky again too. Of course it all works out perfectly and Vicky has a message for Bonnie from the Original Witch: Klaus's hybrids are failing because...wait for it...the doppelganger is still alive! Gasp, shock. Pretty sure we already knew that.

Klaus overhears this, however, and seems to think it's valuable information. While this is going on Elena is back in the gym reminding Stefan of their love and urging him to fight the compulsion. Stefan spends the time trying to convince her he's now a psycho killer, telling her that even though she's the only thing that's kept him from shutting off his emotions, if he gets near her blood she's dead. Just what you want to hear from the person you love! By this time Ty has also woken up and is not looking so good.

As the timer runs out Stefan tells Elena to run. He holds himself back as much as he can but he can't entirely stop himself from chasing her, although skewering himself with a broom handle seems to help a lot. As she's making her escape Elena runs into Klaus. He drags her back to Stefan where he pulls the makeshift stake out of him and then compels him to shut off his emotions/humanity. Then he offers Stefan a drink from Elena's neck.

Of course he doesn't let Stefan kill Elena. No, in a fantastic leap of logic that Fox Mulder would be proud of Klaus has decided that the Original Witch hated him so much that he should do the opposite of whatever she says. So if she claims the doppelganger needs to be dead he thinks what he really needs to do is feed Elena's blood to Ty. And success! Ty makes the transition to hybrid. See, Klaus figured out that the witch's failsafe was to require the doppelganger to be killed for the curse to be broken, but that hybrids couldn't be made without the doppelganger's blood. That way she would ensure that even if Klaus ever did break the curse he would always be alone. It turns out that so many people have had to die because all Klaus wants is some company and the Original Witch just wanted him to suffer. Yup. So Klaus takes Elena to the hospital, where he compels a nurse to keep Elena sedated as she takes (and bags) even more blood. His plan is then to take his doppelganger and his hybrid and get the hell out of Mystic Falls.

Side Note: Is it just me or is this the worst curse/failsafe ever? First of all, why keep making doppelgangers if the Original Witch really wanted to curse Klaus? Why keep giving him chances to break it? As for making sure Klaus is alone forever, wouldn't he just have to wait until the next doppelganger comes along? Sure he'll be alone for awhile but what's that to an immortal being? Looks like someone didn't think this one through too well. Back to our regularly scheduled review...

Meanwhile Damon and Katherine's big road trip involves driving aimlessly. According to Katherine it's so they can get far enough away that Damon won't go running back. Even though he insists that won't happen he still pulls over and throws away the keys, refusing to go any farther until Katherine tells him what's going on. The one thing that redeems this scene is the kiss between Damon and Katherine (he just thought he'd give it a try). Very hot although too brief. It would be totally worth risking a car wreck to get to lock lips with Damon (or Ian) for a moment. Hey, I never said I didn't have issues. It's probably good that they didn't wreck the car, though, as it turns out Jeremy is unconscious in the trunk.

It seems Pearl and Anna knew how to kill Klaus but since they were both dead Katherine never mentioned it before (it was Pearl's leverage, yet Katherine still let her get entombed so she could continue running from Klaus. Maybe saving Pearl instead would have been the smart plan...) Now that it turns out Jeremy is a ghost whisperer Katherine wants to use him to talk to Anna to find out what will get rid of Klaus permanently. At first Anna refuses but after Damon smashes Jeremy's head against a rock (really?) she tells them they're looking for Michael, a vampire who hunts vampires (is she sure she didn't mean Angel?) She also lets them know they'd be stupid to wake Michael because he'll kill them all.

After finding the car keys Damon discovers that Bonnie's been texting him about Klaus. He leaves Jeremy with Katherine (really??) to find Michael while he returns to Mystic Falls--despite insisting he wouldn't go back--to help Elena et al. This is where we get the only other decent moment in the episode. Katherine can't believe Damon is going to risk his life for Elena and she shouts after him that the Damon she knew would never be so stupid. Damon pauses and replies that he wouldn't have done this for her. The line and the delivery are pretty devastating and it's a rather satisfying moment (although he did do it for her when he tried to free her from the tomb and ended up getting shot and killed, but we'll overlook that oversight this time).

When Damon gets back to Mystic Falls he finds Klaus just in time. As Klaus is about to kill him Damon mentions Michael, telling Klaus that he and Katherine found him and that Michael knows where Klaus is. That shuts Klaus up. He ends up taking off without Elena or Ty. That leaves Damon free to rescue Elena from the hospital, carrying her out all heroic-like.

As for the rest of the gang, Matt is happy to finally get a chance to talk to Vicky and (theoretically) say goodbye. Ty insists he feels phenomenal, although Caroline looks worried. And no one seems to remember that Jeremy is missing.

Back at his place Damon gives Elena bourbon (although I really think she could use some plasma after all that blood loss) to help her forget. He also offers to compel her but she refuses, claiming she needs to remember everything. He then tries to give her back her necklace, which he re-stole from Katherine, only Elena doesn't take it. Instead she laments that Stefan is really gone this time and then whines that Damon wasn't there (sure, complain when he acts like a vampire but when she needs his help suddenly he's obligated to be her vampire saviour). Still he's her bitch so he promises that he'll never leave her again (it's actually a rather romantic moment but I'm too irritated with Elena to care). Just then Stefan saunters in and gets himself a drink. Apparently Klaus has compelled him to watch over and protect Elena until he comes back for her. So basically this is season 1 all over again with Salvatore role reversal. This should be dull.

The episode ends with Jeremy and Katherine finding the crypt in which Michael has been entombed (a witch did it in the 90s). He's chained and looks dead but as soon as Katherine pushes the cover aside he opens his eyes.

After all the drama of Klaus finding Elena and taking over the school the whole thing ended with a whimper. The episode felt anticlimactic and uninspired. Events were resolved way too easily, there was no sense of tension, and definitely no real surprises. The writers almost seem to have given up (or maybe they're just really lazy). All I know is we're five episodes in and I've been consistently bored and annoyed. Come on Vampire Diaries--it's not too late to turn it around (you've done it before).

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires). Super strength (the older the vampire the stronger they are) and speed. Fast healing.

Weaknesses: Stakes. Compulsion by Originals. Vampire hunters.

Mythology: Vampires can turn off their emotions if they choose to. In order to turn into a vampire a person must first die with vampire blood in their system; to complete the transition they need to feed on human blood (in the case of Klaus's hybrids they need to feed on the doppelganger's blood). Originals can only be temporarily "killed" by a certain type of dagger plunged into their hearts; when the dagger is removed the Original returns to life (only now it turns out there is some way to kill them permanently).

Sound Bites

Klaus: [to Elena] You are supposed to be dead. What are we going to do about that?

Elena: Don't, Klaus--you don't have to hurt anybody.
Klaus: Come on, love, of course I do.

Rebecca: So this is the latest doppelganger? The original one was much prettier.

Katherine: What if I told you there was a way to kill Klaus? And not dagger dead. Dead dead.
Damon: I'd say you were desperate and lying. Or drunk. Or desperate lying drunk.

Elena: [after Klaus compels Stefan to shut off his emotions] What did you do?
Klaus: I fixed him.

The Vampire Diaries
, Season 3 Episode 5 "The Reckoning." Written by Michael Narducci. Directed by John Behring. From The CW.

12 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E4 "Disturbing Behavior"

Spoilers Ahead

I don't know if it's me or what but I'm less than impressed with this season of TVD. It just seems so...predictable. And dull. Where's the tension? Where are the twists? Where's the Damon that was a force to be reckoned with? Maybe he's too busy helping Elena get her boyfriend back and getting his ass kicked. Please tell me this season is building up to something good. Eye candy alone does not a watchable show make.

Anyway, "Disturbing Behavior" starts off in Chicago with the newly awakened Rebecca trying on clothes and getting up to speed on modern-day fashion. Stefan decides he needs some fresh air and while outside sees Katherine. They have a quick chat in which we find out that Katherine knows about Elena/Rebecca's necklace, that Stefan thinks he has it all under control, and that Klaus is smarter than everyone (according to Katherine, at least). Informative.

Meanwhile Damon is helping Elena get ready for the Founders' party at the Lockwoods'. Well, mostly he's giving her a hard time about making chili ("everyone brings chili") and for still wearing the necklace Stefan gave her. (Side note: isn't that necklace full of vervain, which is why Stefan gave it to her in the first place? And wouldn't it be a good idea to keep wearing it for that reason?)

Once Damon's had enough of Elena he meets up with Liz. It turns out she's been keeping Bill detained while the vervain leaves his system and now she wants Damon to compel him. Oh sure--now she appreciates his vampirism. Anyway before Damon can re-write his memories, Bill gives what I hope was meant to be an ironic speech about how the mind is so strong it can be trained to overcome the basic nature of a vampire. I kept waiting for Damon to ask him if he thinks he can train his mind to be straight instead of gay but he never did. No one did, which I thought was kind of ridiculous given the circumstances (come on, doesn't Bill sound exactly like those extremists who send their gay kids to be retrained to be straight?) Damon does at least compel Bill to leave town immediately, remembering only that he went shopping with Caroline.

While Damon's away Elena hangs out with Bonnie and Caroline. They (well, mostly Caroline) also give her a hard time about the necklace, as well as about all the time she's spending with Damon. Elena can't win. And as if to drive that point home her necklace suddenly burns her. When Bonnie takes a look at it it's clear the thing is rife with magic.

It turns out the magic is coming from Gloria, who is trying to locate the necklace through Rebecca. After performing her spell Gloria claims she knows where the necklace is! Oh, but not really (I hate it when writers use a line for dramatic effect even when it doesn't make sense). She then tells Stefan, Klaus and Rebecca that she needs some alone time to keep working on it. Stefan leaves with the other two but returns to find out exactly what Gloria knows. She admits she heard Elena and the others talking about Stefan but she has no interest in helping Klaus. Before Stefan can breathe a sigh of relief she informs him that the necklace is a talisman of the original witch and that she wants it for herself. Then she threatens Stefan before immobilizing him with her magic. Looks like it's torture time for Stefan as Gloria looks to find out what he knows the old-school voodoo way. Strange, though, that she's not worried about Klaus walking in on them. Then again it turns out Klaus isn't the issue. Just as Gloria finds out all about Elena, Katherine shows up and kills her. Guess she's not all bad.

After Stefan thanks Katherine and tells her to get lost (come on, dude--maybe you should get over it) he meets up with Rebecca at the warehouse. He asks her why she doesn't un-dagger the rest of her family and she claims that if she did Klaus would hunt her down and kill her. Which tells us that Klaus's family is a bunch of cowards. As if they couldn't have put him in his place if they'd all worked together. Anyway, Stefan then asks a bunch of clumsy questions about who Rebecca and Klaus are running from (she can't tell him because Klaus would be furious). Then she kisses him and realizes he's been lying (she has extra special powers of vampire-woman's intuition). When Klaus returns, Rebecca immediately tattles on Stefan, claiming she doesn't think he's with them. Stefan tries to protest but a second later everything goes black as Klaus attacks. So much for Rebecca and Stefan's great love.

It turns out the Founders' party is the main event this episode. While at it Alaric decides it's a good time to tell Damon to back off from Elena. Before Damon can properly respond he's called in to the Council meeting. He, Liz, and Carol Lockwood all claim the town is vampire free and the rest of the Council buys it. And then Bill shows up. It turns out that Damon's compulsion didn't take (he's got quite the trained mind, after all). Bill demands to be head of the Council and also wants vervain put into the town's water supply (woe to any humans with an allergy). Damon is furious about it but when he tells Alaric and Elena he doesn't exactly have their support. Elena is even stupid enough to suggest the vervain will help keep him in check. Rightly pissed off he makes sure Alaric is wearing his immortality ring before snapping his neck. Then he takes off to kill Bill.

Damon finds Bill where he left him and stops to have a quick chat with him. Then Damon bites him. I do have to say it's nice to see a vampire acting like a vampire on this show. The problem with having vampires as the good guys is that they act like good guys. Call me crazy but I want to see fangs and blood. Unfortunately it's over too quickly as Caroline, warned by Elena, shows up and puts an end to Damon's (and my) fun. For whatever reason she still loves her dad (you'd think the torture would have put a major damper on that) and her anger makes her stronger than Damon. See what I mean about him not being himself? Even Caroline gets the better of him. She does quit while she's ahead, though, and takes off with her dad while she still can.

Damon then has a confrontation with Elena in which she whines at him that he *gasp* acts like a vampire! He finally comes to his senses long enough to snap at her that he is a vampire and he's not Stefan, a concept she doesn't quite seem to grasp. At least she finally kinda-sorta admits to Caroline that she maybe could be attracted to Damon. We'll see if this actually ends up going anywhere.

When Alaric finally revives he's also pissed off at Damon. It's like everyone just noticed that Damon isn't a choir boy. Alaric's response to his newfound knowledge is to go to the Council and insist he gets a spot on it as the Gilbert family rep. He does have a point that Carol, Liz and Damon aren't entirely unbiased. And that supernaturals look out for themselves so the humans should do the same. But I'm getting the icky feeling that Alaric is on the road to anti-vampire fanaticism. Damn. Damon has his own--not quite sensible--reaction to all the flak he's been getting. When Katherine shows up at his door (with Elena's necklace, which she scammed off Bonnie) he agrees to go on a road trip with her. Yeah, okay, he could use a break but Katherine? Really? Sigh.

While all this is going on Jeremy is having some awkward time with his girlfriend (back in town at last) and his ghost ex. It seems Anna has been trying to get his attention for days but he's only just suddenly been able to hear her. From what Anna can determine, for Jeremy to actually see and hear her she needs to be pushing (from her side of reality) to be noticed at the same time as he's pulling--in other words he has to want to see her. Interesting that he keeps wanting to see her while he's with Bonnie. Anna tells him that she's alone and lonely where she is. She also mentions that she feels a darkness whenever Vicky is involved and that Jeremy has to be careful not to let her in. Sure if you can trust one ex's word against another's. It doesn't matter too much in any case. After Anna shows up at a rather inopportune moment Jeremy decides he's better off without her in his life. Even as she's begging him not to do it he shuts Anna out. Then he goes and finally tells Bonnie what's been happening since she brought him back from the dead while Anna cries and tries to get his attention to no avail. Sucks to be a ghost.

The episode ends with Stefan waking up in what turns out to be the back of a truck. Klaus is there too and surprisingly isn't mad at him. But he is wondering what Stefan's been hiding. So he figured it made sense to go back to the source. Welcome back to Mystic Falls, Stefan!

Maybe I'm still the only one not loving this season but you've got to admit that when the most interesting plot development is a road trip with Katherine the show's low on ideas. Maybe things will pick up in the next episode. If not it's a long time to wait for True Blood to start up again.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Ability to compel humans, except for Caroline's dad. Ability to heal human wounds with their blood. Super strength and speed (the older the vampire the stronger they are--unless the younger one is really, really pissed off, apparently). Witty repartee, mad chili-making skillz.

Weaknesses: Vervain, magic.

Mythology: Original vampires can't be permanently killed, although they can be put into a death-like state with the use of a particular dagger. They return to life as soon as the dagger is removed.

Sound Bites

Rebecca: So women in the 21st century dress like prostitutes, then? You know, I got dirty looks for wearing trousers.
Klaus: You wore trousers so they could wear nothing.

Caroline: [to Elena] If my own father, who I love dearly, can't change me no one's changing Damon. Not even you.

Elena: Where have you been?
Damon: Managing Bill Forbes. Apparently he's impervious to compulsion.
Alaric: How?
Damon: I have no idea. But he threatened to out me! Don't get me started on the irony of that.

Bill: I knew what I was risking when I didn't leave town but I figured you're not self-destructive enough to kill the Sheriff's ex-husband.
Damon: Makes you the third person to underestimate me today.

Damon: [to Elena] I am not Stefan--how about you stop trying to turn me into him?

Caroline: Daddy, I'm gonna be okay.
Bill: You're a vampire, sweetheart. I don't think you'll ever be okay again.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 4 "Disturbing Behavior." Written by Brian Young. Directed by Wendey Stanzler. From The CW.

06 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E3 "The End of the Affair"

Spoilers Ahead

I don't know what it was about the third episode of this season but it was lacking. Maybe it was a matter of too many flashbacks. Maybe it was the somewhat unbelievable storyline. Or the anti-climactic resolutions. But just when it seemed the season was starting to progress it goes and takes a step back. I need to start looking up new ways to say "disappointing."

"The End of the Affair" starts off back in Mystic Falls after Elena, Damon and Alaric's field trip to the Smoky Mountains. Damon's morning drinking is interrupted by a phone call from Katherine, of all people. Damn--her again. She won't tell Damon how she knows but she informs him that Stefan and Klaus are in Chicago. Damon immediately retrieves Elena and prepares for yet another road trip. Hint: there are these newfangled inventions called airplanes and they happen to move a lot faster than automobiles.

Anyway, Stefan and Klaus are indeed in the Windy City. Both have been there before but Stefan claims he blacked out most of his Ripper days. Our first flashback takes us to Prohibition-era Chicago, where Stefan dresses like a member of the Rat Pack and hangs out at a speakeasy imbibing illicit alcohol and draining innocent women. He also meets an intriguing blonde vampire lady named Rebecca. She has an English accent so it's instantly obvious she's...spoiler alert...Klaus's sister. I hate it when something is that transparent before the big reveal. It's quite disenchanting. But whatever happened in the past Klaus is in Chicago now to pay a visit to his "favourite" witch in order to find out what went wrong with his hybrids.

It turns out the witch--Gloria--was the singer at the speakeasy. The club is still there and Gloria, thanks to some anti-aging herbs and spells, runs the place. She tells Klaus that since they can't ask the first witch about the curse (she's the one who placed in on Klaus) they'll just have to get his sister Rebecca's help. Convenient. Meanwhile Stefan's found a photo of him and Klaus back in the day and he's completely confused because he has no recollection of ever meeting Klaus before he showed up in Mystic Falls. Hmm...mysterious. But not really.

Once they get to Chicago Damon gives Elena a quick tour of Stefan's previous depravity so she'll be prepared for seeing him at his worst. Besides giving her Stefan's diary he takes her to Stefan's old apartment where he has the names of all his victims written in a secret compartment. It's a long list. Then Damon does something completely stupid: he leaves Elena alone in the apartment while he goes out looking for Stefan. I feel so let down.

Elsewhere Klaus has taken Stefan to a warehouse where he proceeds to tell Stefan a bit about their past and we're treated to another flashback. It seems Klaus and Stefan didn't get along at all at first, mainly because Klaus didn't like that Stefan was dating his sister. But over time Klaus came to appreciate Stefan and even learned some of his favourite tricks from him (like compelling an angry husband to drink his wife's blood). I should probably also mention that in the flashback Rebecca was wearing the necklace we've since seen Elena wearing and that she claimed it was given to her by the first witch. See where this is heading? So dissatisfying. Anyway, back in the present Klaus locates Rebecca's body and removes the dagger from her heart. Despite their past romance Stefan doesn't recognize her. Since Rebecca is taking her time reviving, Klaus decides to take Stefan to his old apartment for more reminiscing.

Of course Elena is alone at the apartment when she hears Klaus and Stefan approaching. She decides to hide in the secret cupboard, which is precisely where Klaus takes Stefan in order to show him the "secret" list of names. Stefan sees Elena there but basically ignores her, instead choosing to distract Klaus with a bottle of 1918 single malt scotch. After they've gone Damon finally returns, uncharacteristically unconcerned about what happened and how much worse it could have been. Instead he's come up with a cunning plan to distract Klaus while Elena deals with Stefan.

Back at the club Klaus and Stefan reminisce some more, along with more flashbacks. It seems they really were BFFs back in the day (Stefan is even the one who gave Klaus the idea of becoming the hybrid king of the paranormals). But then one fateful night the speakeasy is raided (not uncommon) and the police are shooting wooden bullets (very uncommon)--time for Klaus and Rebecca to book. In the melee Rebecca drops her necklace. But Klaus takes a moment to compel Stefan to forget them both. Best to tie up loose ends, as Klaus later tells Rebecca before stabbing her in the chest for choosing Stefan over him.

As Stefan listens to the story he notices Damon off to the side motioning him to follow. Making an excuse that he needs a "real" drink he follows Damon outside where they have yet another confrontation (how many times can Stefan tell Damon to stop following him?) But Damon steps aside so Elena can talk to Stefan. She asks him to come home and then tries to stab him with a syringe. Sigh. Stefan snaps at her that it's over, he doesn't want to come home and he doesn't want to see her again. Basically he's a total selfish whiner. Meanwhile Damon is inside being stabbed with a drink umbrella by Klaus and nearly staked (Gloria steps in and tells them to take it outside). Stefan returns to Klaus and Damon returns to Elena ready to leave town. But wait--why didn't Klaus stake Damon? He wants him dead--was it really too much of an effort to step outside of the club to do it? Lame. And lazy.

Back in Mystic Falls Caroline is still being held captive by her dad. I believe the word you're looking for right now is creepy. Besides keeping her restrained in a steel chair, daddy is also using atomized vervain to keep her weak. He gets her to tell him how she walks in the sun and then he removes her ring. It turns out the room she's in was built expressly for vampire torture. Behind her is a shuttered window and daddy seems to have no problem opening the shutters and burning Caroline repeatedly. It's for her own good, you know. He plans on teaching her to associate blood with excruciating pain until she finally represses her vampire urges. And if that doesn't work, well, he'll just have to kill her. But he only does it out of love. You know, the world really needs more psychotic parents.

At least Caroline's mom no longer falls into that category. She's looking for Caroline when Ty shows up on her doorstep. As Bill leaves Caroline for the night (the sun has set so his fun is ruined) Liz shows up, gun drawn. Bill tries to convince her that what he's doing is the best thing for Caroline but Liz isn't buying it. She sends Ty in to get her daughter while Bill watches helplessly. It totally sucks to have someone ruin a perfectly good father-daughter torture session. Whoever came up with this storyline is not at all a twisted individual with serious issues. Even better--Caroline spends the rest of the episode crying that her daddy hates her now. Wow. That's what you're upset about? Granted that would be an awful feeling but you'd think she'd be a little more concerned that he kidnapped and tortured her and was willing to kill her, if "necessary." I don't know but if that had been me I think I'd be planning a little payback, vamp style.

The episode ends with a return to the warehouse and a reunion with the revived Rebecca. She is pissed at having been staked by Klaus but forgives all when she sees Stefan. Klaus compels Stefan to remember them again so it's a reunion all around. And then Rebecca realizes her necklace is gone. One more flashback and we see Katherine at the club watching Stefan as he picks up Rebecca's lost necklace curiously (never mind why he's still at the club when wooden bullets were flying around). Suddenly a vaguely familiar cop shows him a picture of Klaus and Rebecca and asks if he's seen them. Of course he hasn't.

So who is this cop chasing after Klaus and Rebecca--and why? Why has Katherine been stalking Klaus all these years when he's wanted to kill her? What is Stefan really up to? Why was I so bored throughout this entire episode? I think maybe the writers need to tone down the melo in the drama. Being a little more realistic with characters' motives, actions, and responses wouldn't hurt either. Most of all give the fans a reason to care. The real trick to keeping the magic going is to stop the audience from being disillusioned. This episode did not measure up.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins, and prominent fangs.

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

Weaknesses: Vervain. Sunlight (unless vampire is wearing magical sun-protection jewelry). Stakes, piercing wooden objects.

Mythology: Originals cannot be killed. The only thing that can be used on them is a special silver dagger dipped into the ashes of a particular oak tree and plunged into their hearts. Once the dagger is removed they return to life as if nothing happened. As the hybrid, Klaus is immune.

Sound Bites

Damon: Is that what you're doing--looking out for my brother?
Katherine: Maybe. Maybe not. I'm conflicted.

Elena: [re: Stefan] He's in Chicago? How do you know?
Damon: Came to me in a dream. I was naked. You would have loved it. Start packing.

Bill: [to Caroline] Blood controls you, sweetheart. This is how I'm going to fix you. (Burns her.)

Elena: Stefan could live anywhere in Chicago and he chose this?
Damon: There used to be an all-girls high school around the corner but it shut down for attendance issues. Weird.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 3 "The End of the Affair." Written by Caroline Dries. Directed by Chris Grismer. From The CW.