30 November 2011

Being Human (UK) S1 E4

Spoilers Ahead

Monsters and mobs go hand in hand. I mean, what's the point of being supernatural if you don't have the occasional run-in with villagers and their pitchforks? Well, we've got the mob this episode but they're going after the wrong monster. It's an interesting twist and makes for the perfect plot device.

Episode 4 starts off with Mitchell narrating and having something of an existential crisis. I think we can all relate to his concerns about belonging. But it's particularly poignant for our three protagonists as George returns home after the full moon scratched up, wearing women's clothes, and scaring off the normal people. As for Annie, what is she if not the ultimate outsider, continuing to exist but unable to fully interact with anyone else? You really understand the pain and unhappiness inherent in what otherwise seem like pretty cool circumstances (powers, immortality, superhuman strength...)

Enraged about Herrick taking Lauren back last episode Mitchell goes to pay him a visit. Herrick shuts Mitchell up with a lecture on how badly he's treated Lauren, abandoning her after turning her and not taking care of her as he should have. He points out that Lauren's only with him (Herrick) because Mitchell isn't taking responsibility for her. Considering Mitchell treats Herrick like he's the devil incarnate, Herrick is pretty patient. You really don't get a sense that he's evil at all--just that he cares about Mitchell and is loyal to his fellow vampires. He finally dismisses Mitchell by telling him to go do his thing (that is, try to be human) and when he's done to come home as there will always be a place for him. Makes you wonder why Mitchell is so adamantly opposed to all things vampire and Herrick in particular.

When he gets home Mitchell finds Annie stress cleaning after her realization that the man she loved is also the one who killed her. More disturbing than the cleaning, though, is Annie's new--and uncontrollable--skills as a poltergeist. Every time she's set off dishes go flying, glass explodes, fixtures fall from the ceiling. Fun all around! And speaking of stressing George has a date with Nina and is panicking, not only about what to wear but also that she might just prefer the wolf (which was on the verge of emerging the last time they saw each other) to him.

Things start really getting interesting when Mitchell intervenes as two boys bully another one. The bullies give him attitude and he scares them off with his all-black vampire eyes. In the process he makes friends with the bullied boy, Bernie, and his mom, Fleur. Charmed by his defending her son (and undoubtedly by his smouldering good looks), Fleur invites Mitchell in for tea. Later she lets Mitchell take Bernie out for the day, which I find a bit weird. Fine--she doesn't believe children should be wrapped in cotton wool (agreed) but letting a man you only just met take your kid out for the day--is it just me or is that asking for trouble? Come on--even Mitchell asks her if she's sure that's a good idea!

Not that he has any ulterior motive other than just hanging out with a nice kid who reminds him of himself at that age. They bond and bowl and all is going well until Lauren shows up. Mitchell pulls her away angrily but Lauren claims she's only there to say goodbye. She says she and the other vampires got the message and that they're going to respect his decision and leave him alone. Although he still worries about her his relief becomes increasingly evident. Especially when Bernie falls and cuts himself and Mitchell doesn't react at all to the blood. Maybe he can do this human thing, after all.

To celebrate he brings Bernie home to meet George and pig out on junk food. At one point Bernie notices a Laurel and Hardy statue and asks who they are. Aghast at the ignorance of youth Mitchell tells him to run up to his room and grab the first Laurel and Hardy dvd he sees. Mitchell promises he'll laugh more than he ever has before.

The next morning Bernie puts the movie on but it's clear he did not end up with a Laurel and Hardy dvd. Instead he's watching Lauren's vampire porn. And then Fleur sees it. She shows up at Mitchell's enraged and starts telling the entire neighbourhood that he's a perv and a pedophile. Mitchell tries to explain what happened but by then no one's listening. All the neighbours start turning against him (and by extension, George), spraying graffiti on the house, egging it, picketing, throwing garbage, refusing to let them shop in their stores, spitting on them and worse.

As if things aren't already bad enough for Mitchell, Herrick shows up at work in an official capacity (for anyone who's forgotten, he's a cop) to see him about the serious allegations made by his neighbours. Herrick is more than willing to make this go away and before he leaves he has Mitchell reminiscing about the good old days when they would deal with problems like this vampire-style. Mitchell claims he doesn't want Herrick's help but it's hard to believe he really wants nothing to do with his fellow vamps. It's pretty obvious Herrick doesn't believe it either.

Events come to a head when Bernie sneaks over to apologize to Mitchell for everything that's happened. As Mitchell is reassuring him that none of it is his fault, one of the more obnoxious neighbours intervenes. Soon the mob has arrived and Mitchell is starting to get pissed off. Meanwhile Fleur starts shouting from across the street for Bernie to come home now. Poor Bernie is clearly torn but then he starts running for home, somehow not seeing the car that's coming toward him. Mitchell sees it, though, and runs. Unfortunately he gets there a second too late and they're both hit by the car. But only Mitchell gets up again. Fleur and Mitchell are devastated. The mob just gawks.

George and Nina's relationship is really up and down this episode. At first he's relieved to find out she doesn't prefer the wolf to him when she suggests they slow things down a bit (apparently when he rocked her world last episode it was a bit much for her). But as things start going downhill with the neighbours he becomes convinced he and Mitchell will never be accepted anywhere or be able to live any kind of normal life. He becomes cold to Nina and then tells her it's over, that trouble follows him and he can't be with her anymore. Nina's not entirely convinced and she shows up at his place to tell him so. He keeps pushing her away until she finally gives up, first making sure he knows she would have listened to him.

He's determined to stay away from Nina but after Bernie is hit George goes to see her, horrified to the point of tears that he's just seen a child killed. Nina is a great support and George eventually tells her that he has secrets but he can't tell her about them yet. This prompts her to reveal her own secret--horrific scars on her abdomen (she doesn't give details, just says that people can be bastards). Their relationship seems to have found its footing and I really hope it works out for them.

While all this has been going on Annie's been having her own relationship issues. Her stress level goes off the charts when Owen shows up at the house with his new girlfriend. Annie tries her best to control her uncontrollable poltergeisting (yeah that's a word), although her efforts aren't entirely effective. After talking to the guys about the situation with the neighbours Owen is understanding but still gives them notice--they need to get out so he and Janey can move in. This about pushes Annie over the edge. Not only is she about to lose her only friends but her ex and his new girl are getting ready to step into the life that was meant to be hers. After Owen and Janie leave Annie makes a decision. She's not going to lose the guys or let Owen and Janie have the house. She's breaking with her past and to emphasize it she has a little barbecue of all her Owen-related items. Although the boys are concerned she claims she's never felt more alive. And she might just be right. When Bernie is hit Annie comes outside to see what all the commotion is and is shocked that people can see and touch her. Does anyone else see ghostly revenge on the horizon?

Bernie ends up on life support, although he's fading fast. Fleur is blaming herself when Mitchell shows up. Probably breaking every rule there is he tells her he's a vampire and, after offering some proof, tells her he can turn Bernie to save him. Fleur is disbelieving and then torn, unsure whether that's the right thing to do. Mitchell responds that she has to make that decision. The next scene is Fleur sobbing over Bernie's body while Mitchell sits outside. From there he meets Fleur at the train station. She's got a bag and is leaving town. She lets Mitchell know that she told the neighbours she was wrong about him and he's actually okay. Whether that'll make a difference remains to be seen. But Mitchell's focus is elsewhere, particularly when Bernie shows up looking pale and carrying a bag of his own. He and Fleur are happy to see each other again but when Bernie tries to thank Mitchell for saving him, Mitchell says "don't" and walks away. So if he thought it was such a horrible thing to do why did he do it? Especially when the next moment Bernie tells his mom he's hungry and the formerly sweet kid suddenly has a tinge of menace about him. In this moment it becomes all-too clear just how difficult his and Fleur's lives are going to be. Not just difficult but dangerous.

The episode ends with Mitchell going to see Herrick. With just two words ("I'm in.") he turns his back on his humanity and joins again with the vampires. Is it out of self-hatred, disgust with humans, an overwhelming need to belong, or any number of other reasons? I don't know but I'm also not sure how long it'll last.

I like this episode a lot. It somehow manages to show the difficulties of life as a human and as a "monster." No matter what it's not easy and there's no clear winner in terms of which is preferable. So how does one decide which path to follow? Maybe Mitchell's right--maybe it's just a matter of finding where you belong. Or maybe we're all a bit of both. Whatever the case I'm not too sure one can survive without the other.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, until the vampire emerges--then pure black eyes. A vampire's image cannot be captured. Vampires are cold to the touch.

Strengths: Not easy to hurt, quick healing.

Weaknesses: Blood lust, cruelty to humans.

Mythology: Ideally a maker should take responsibility for their "children," helping them through the transition and teaching them about being a vampire. To make a vampire a human must be "snatched" at the moment of death.

Sound Bites

Mitchell: You can piss your whole life away wondering who you might be. It's when you've worked out who you are that you can really start to live.

Nina: [Re: taking it slow with George] Don''t get me wrong, I'm not suggesting we wear those weird chastity rings--you know, American kids 'we're not shagging 'cause we're mentals'...

Lauren: [to Mitchell] God, it's always about the blood with you, isn't it? Like that's all there is. There's a whole dark and beautiful world and you're obsessing about what we eat.

George: We're not fit to live among decent people.
Mitchell: It's a good job we don't, then.

Fleur: If you were me, would you choose that life for your son? Because I don't see much happiness in you, Mitchell.

Being Human (UK), Season 1 Episode 4. Written by Brian Dooley. Directed by Alex Pillai. From the BBC.

25 November 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E8 "Ordinary People"

Spoilers Ahead

This just might be my most-hated episode of The Vampire Diaries. I don't know what they were thinking when they put this hot mess together. Here's some free advice for the writers: Vikings don't have English accents and they do not have Biblical names. Furthermore you're telling us there's no archeological evidence for an entire Viking village in the US from only 1000 years ago? Congratulations on coming up with one of the stupidest story premises I've seen in a long time.

So "Ordinary People" starts off with Alaric, Elena and Damon in the caves under the Lockwood estate. Alaric shows Elena the glyphs and explains that they tell a story before he points out that the Viking runes (which he can apparently read) include the names Rebekah, Elijah, Michael and Niklaus. See, I'd have no problem if the characters ended up changing their names over time but the fact that their names appear in runes means those are their original names and how can you expect me to believe any of this stuff if you can't get something as simple as names right? You show me evidence of a Viking named Rebekah or Elijah and I will give you a million dollars. Seriously. But Alaric, Elena and Damon have other things on their minds. Alaric's managed to interpret that werewolves lived in Mystic Falls long before there was such a thing as Mystic Falls, while Damon figured out that Michael is the Original dad.

We're also treated to a series of flashbacks, starting with one of Rebekah and Klaus in the cave as she carves the runes. Why? Who knows? I guess there wasn't much to do back then. We also find out that they and their siblings are all afraid of their father. We get a sense of why when we later see the miserable bastard chewing out Klaus for nothing.

Back in the present Alaric takes photos of all the glyphs so he can study them at home. As they're discussing their next move Elena spars with Damon (let's just say she's no Buffy). Elena finally decides they need to talk to Rebekah to find out more about Michael and the Originals. And after a few threats Rebekah is more than willing.

Rebekah tells a truly ridiculous tale. Apparently her parents, back in the land of the Vikings, lost a child to plague and decided they needed to take their family someplace safe. That safe place was the new world (already populated by werewolves) where everyone was healthy (they apparently travelled there with the help of a witch.) First of all, you don't get plagues in sparsely populated areas. I don't think plague was a real issue for the Vikings. Second of all losing children was commonplace back then. Yes it was sad but people were used to it. Running away from the dangers of life wouldn't occur to anyone. Thirdly I can't believe a Viking would run away from anything. But Rebekah goes on. She adds that her family lived in peace with the weres, retreating once a month to the caves while the wolves did their thing. That was, until the night Klaus and youngest brother Henrik decided to go out and watch and *gasp shock* Henrik ended up dead. Well, that was it--no more friendly relations with the weres. Because, you know, it was their fault the kid got himself killed. And the family couldn't go anywhere else because Michael was too proud to run (except from disease, apparently). No, Michael decided they had to use witchcraft to make themselves meaner and stronger than the weres so they could kick their collective ass. Really? When their witch refused to do something so against nature, mom Esther (another fine Viking name), also a witch, stepped up.

Although it goes against everything witches stand for Esther agreed to work a spell to change her family into the first vampires. She didn't include herself in the spell, however, because you can't be a witch and a vampire. Of course now that they've said that unequivocally you know a vampire witch is going to show up at some point. By the way, Esther was also the Original Witch. Once the spell was out of the way Michael fed his kids blood and killed them. Then when they woke up he brought them fresh blood in the form of a girl to complete the transformation. Of course there were consequences, being the weaknesses we all know about (see Fang Files).

But wait, the worst was yet to come. When Klaus killed his first human it triggered his werewolf gene. Of course that made him Michael's greatest shame. So Esther put the curse on him and turned her back on him. But Michael still couldn't deal. He slaughtered half the village and then killed Esther in front of Klaus. From there the family was scattered, although Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah stayed long enough to bury their mom and vow to always stick together.

Elsewhere Damon has decided to amuse himself by releasing Stefan from the cell. He's not a big fan of the Lexi rehab plan so he's going to try another way. It's not a particularly subtle way as they head to some random bar where they indulge in whiskey, blood, and dancing on tables. Damon claims he wants Stefan to remember what freedom feels like so he'll get mad and fight back against Klaus. Before they can really explore that idea Michael shows up. How he found them considering they don't even really know where they are, who knows? He starts questioning Stefan about where Klaus is but because Stefan is compelled he can't give anything away. So Michael decides to motivate him by shoving his hand into Damon's chest and threatening to rip out his heart (by the way, this counts as impaling if you're playing my drinking game!) At first Stefan still insists he can't tell Michael anything but just when Michael is about to perform amateur heart surgery Stefan suddenly admits he can lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls. Good enough--as soon as Klaus shows up, Michael will kill him. And if Stefan can't get Klaus back then Michael will kill him.

While Elena is busy with Rebekah and Damon is busy with Stefan, Alaric has Bonnie bring him the necklace that wouldn't die. With the necklace he can confirm that one of the recurring glyphs is the symbol for witch. Once Elena is done with Rebekah she joins Alaric and helps fill in the blanks in the glyphs. And--OMG--she realizes that it wasn't Michael who killed Esther--it was Klaus!!!!! When she runs back to Rebekah with photos and a breathless revelation the vampire first gets angry and then starts crying. Because somehow it never occurred to any of them that Klaus might have been lying about Michael killing their mom. I can sympathize with Rebekah, though--this episode made me want to cry too.

There is a satisfying moment, though, when Stefan mouths off to Damon and Damon handily kicks Stefan's ass. As Gordon Ramsay would say, well thank fuck for that. The episode ends with Damon waiting on Elena's bed as she's about to settle down for the night. There's an amusing moment as she's pulling on the blanket, trying to budge it so she can get under it while Damon ignores her and keeps talking. But then she slides in anyway, tells him they might have Rebekah on their side, and mentions that she thinks Damon will be the one to save Stefan from himself--not because Stefan loves Elena but because he loves Damon. Aww. Then she falls asleep under Damon's watchful eye (you know, when the Angel[us] would watch Buffy as she slept it was considered creepy. Now it's the romantic thing to do...)

I really can't stand shows that make it up as they go along. Yeah maybe that helps with the element of surprise but mostly it encourages the element of idiocy. Come up with a long-term story outline, makes sure it all makes sense, execute. How hard it that? At least this show still has Damon. He's the only thing that keeps me coming back.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Difficult to kill, quick healing. Super strength and speed. The ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires).

Weaknesses: Sunlight (unless wearing a piece of daywalker jewellery). Magic. Pointy objects. Blood lust. Need an invitation to enter a private residence. Vervain. Heightened emotions.

Mythology: Originally there was no way to permanently kill an Original (especially Klaus) but now it seems there might be a way (involving a stake made from the white oak tree). Vampires can turn off their emotions/humanity at will. In order to be turned a human needs to die with vampire blood in their system; to complete the transformation they need to feed from a human.

Sound Bites

Damon: [re: the cave glyphs] Yeah, it's the Lockwood Diaries, Pictionary style.

Rebekah: [to Elena] If you wake Michael we are all doomed.

Elena: [re: Stefan] How does he look?
Damon: Pasty and pouty.

Stefan: Damon, you are worse than Elena. Getting me drunk, brotherly bonding. What, you think I'll break down and you can pull me back from the edge, is that it?
Damon: I happen to like the edge, Stefan. Your problem is your inability to resist falling over it. You're all or nothing, man. You can't just be. Although, who am I to judge?

Rebekah: A witch is nature's servant. A vampire is an abomination of nature.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 8 "Ordinary People." Written by Caroline Dries and Julie Plec (based on a story by Nick Wauters). Directed by J. Miller Tobin. From The CW.

22 November 2011

True Blood S4 E7 "Cold Grey Light of Dawn"

Spoilers Ahead

It's weird: necromancer Antonia should be a more sympathetic character. After all, she was imprisoned, tortured, raped and finally burned at the stake by vampires. Her desire for vengeance is justified. And let's face it--her powers are pretty damn awesome. So why is she not only unlikable but also being portrayed as the bad guy? I guess her insistence on killing all vampires everywhere has something to do with it (nobody likes a fanatic). But even the "good" vampires on True Blood have done some pretty horrible things. This is all getting too confusing. Do I root for the vampires or for the wronged witch? Can't we all just get along?


When we last saw Antonia she had made herself comfortable inside Marnie's body (the possession thing is also a little too creepy). She had then enslaved vampire Sheriff Luis. "Cold Grey Light of Dawn" starts off with Antonia using Luis to execute the "treasonous" Katie (one of Bill's security guards who infiltrated Marnie's coven). Too bad--I kind of liked Katie. Luis is then given orders to give his King a message.

When Luis goes to see Bill he informs him that Antonia is back. Then he shoots Bill before trying to stake him. Of course Bill gets the upper hand. When he demands to know what Antonia wants, Luis says one word--"Resurrection"--before staking himself.

From there we go to Pam--still decomposing alive--as she attacks Tara and her girlfriend. Just as she's about to choke the life out of Tara she notices a group of locals watching and taking photos. Reluctantly Pam puts Tara down but promises to come back and shred her like confetti. Tara's shaken, so much so that she sends her girlfriend away claiming she doesn't want her to end up dead as well.

Depressed, alone, and granted a temporary reprieve Tara spends the night getting drunk and wandering along the side of the road. Out of nowhere Antonia shows up and gives a rousing speech about how alike she and Tara are, how they've both been used by vampires and how together they can avenge their torment and exact retribution. Of course Tara agrees to help (she has to be the most easily swayed/manipulated character on this show) and they set about recruiting more people to their cause.

Jason shows up doing some truly impressive pushups in an effort to get his mind off Jessica. Too bad his plan doesn't work out. Especially when Hoyt shows up and, after a perfunctory show of concern for Jason ("You were raped" "It's okay I'm over it" WTF?) he starts going on about how Jessica is slipping away from him and it'll kill him if he loses her.

Speaking of Jessica, she's busy being filled in by Bill on the Antonia situation. Their relationship has evolved into a rather sweet father-daughter bond (reminds me of Buffy and Giles). I want to see more of the two of them. Anyway, Bill's convinced that Antonia will reprise her last stand and lure the vampires out into the daylight so he comes up with a plan to send away as many of the Louisiana vamps as he can and to have everyone else bound with silver during the day. It's not going to be fun but it'll keep them alive.

While all this has been going on Sookie and Eric continue to have sex--in the glade, at home, the entire way from the glade to home. Don't these two get tired? They finally take a break and the pillow talk turns to whether Sookie will still want Eric if he gets his memories back. Way to ruin the moment. She's not sure that she will still want him but she wants to. I guess that's something.

No sooner do they get some clothes on than Bill shows up. They thank him for allowing their happy reunion (he looks completely miserable) and then he tells them about what's been going on. He offers Eric a secure cell at his place but Eric isn't leaving Sookie's. Bill hands them a rather large pile of silver chains and heads back home to start getting ready. He makes sure his mansion is light proof and then he silvers Jessica and himself. The silvering process looks pretty horrific, worse than we've seen it before. Bill ends up taking pity on Jess and holds off on silvering her neck.

Since the pain from the silver is so intense the vampires can't sleep and that seems to put them in a confessing mood. Jessica tells Bill that she's not sure she can love Hoyt anymore. Meanwhile Eric tells Sookie that he doesn't want his memories back--he's perfectly happy as he is with her.

Now that she's taking a break from trying to kill Tara, Pam has decided to see the doctor about a cure of some sort. Unfortunately the doctor can only clear the surface rot and keep Pam pretty--she'll still be internally decomposing. Even that temporary fix involves ripping off the external layers of skin (shudder) and taking six injections four times a day. You've got to wonder if it's really worth it. Lucky Ginger gets the task of injecting Pam, as well as covering her with silver chain mail and keeping watch over her coffin. It's so glamorous hanging out with the vampires of True Blood!

After an inspirational talk Antonia gets down to business with her fellow witches and vampire haters. As they cast the spell the vampires all start going crazy, begging to be set free to see the sun. It turns out one of Maxine's neighbours is a vamp but didn't get the memo as she bursts into flame on the front lawn.

In other happenings, after vomiting and passing out Tommy is feeling better (the doctor blames food poisoning). Once he's sure Tommy's all right Sam gives Luna a call and is shocked when she's less than friendly. He ends up going to see her in person and when she realizes he doesn't remember sleeping with her it ends up dawning on both of them that Tommy is a skinwalker. They're both sickened at the thought. Later Tommy wakes up to find Sam staring at him. Sam is enraged, not only at what Tommy did but at what he might do (like kill Sam and take his place). In his anger he starts choking Tommy but eventually backs off. Then he tells Tommy he has 2 minutes to leave forever and, just in case Tommy isn't devastated enough, Sam tells him he wishes he could forget everything about him.

Meanwhile Jesus and Lafayette decide that even the relative safety from vampires isn't enough to keep them at granddad"s (the fact that he decided to prove that Lafayette is a medium by nearly killing Jesus might have had something to do with that). But why they went back to Bon Temps isn't too clear. Lafayette goes back to work at Merlotte's like nothing's happened, which is also strange. But I guess it gives an opportunity for him to see the lady ghost hanging around Arlene's baby.

As for Debbie and Alcide, after being inducted into the Shreveport wolf pack Debbie's jealousy toward Sookie starts becoming more apparent. Alcide assures her she's the only girl for him and although she seems mollified I have a feeling the jealousy issue will be rearing its ugly head again before long.

The episode ends with Jason stopping by to see Sookie. Hearing Eric's screams she quickly explains to him what's happening. As she returns to Eric Jason starts running for Bill's. Jessica has managed to break her chains and escape from the cell. For a second it looks like Bill will stop her: he commands her as his maker to...release him. She ignores him, however, and crawls upstairs. As Jason runs toward the house he gets intercepted by one of Bill's guards. As he grapples with the guard Jess finally reaches the doors and throws them open as sun streams in.

I will not be happy if Jessica dies. She's definitely one of my favourite characters. I hope the vampires have a good plan for putting Antonia out of commission; otherwise, the silvering is going to get old fast. And despite my questions at the beginning of this post, when it comes right down to it, I always root for the vampires.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans with red-rimmed eyes and long, snakelike fangs that extend or retract at will (and also when the vampire is excited). A dead vampire is a mass of stringy, bloody bits.

Strengths: Super strength. Ability to glamour (hypnotize) humans. Mad skillz in the bedroom.

Weaknesses: Witchcraft/necromancy. Stakes, silver, sunlight. Lack of sleep causes "the bleeds."

Mythology: Vampire society is highly hierarchical with Kings and Queens ruling over Sheriffs and lesser vampires, and all ruled by the mysterious Authority. Vampire blood (V) is an addictive and illegal drug. If a maker orders his child to do something the child can resist but with great difficulty.

Sound Bites

Redneck 1: What the hell's the matter with her face?
Redneck 2: Show us your face!
Redneck 1: Are you sure she ain't a zombie?
Redneck 2: Oh crap, now there's zombies?
Redneck: That's exactly what a zombie would say!

Bill: Since when has any fanatic been held back by the improbability of their righteous mission?

Jessica: When we survive the day I am going to eat that fucking witch, starting with her face.

Antonia: Vampires are not immortal. They are only harder to kill.

True Blood, Season 4 Episode 7 "Cold Grey Light of Dawn." Written by Alexander Woo. Directed by Michael Ruscio. From HBO.

02 November 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E7 "Ghost World"

Spoilers Ahead

I propose a new drinking game: every time Damon gets impaled this season you take a shot. Hint: if you play make sure you have a designated driver on hand.

At the end of the last episode the ghost of Mason Lockwood showed up and knocked Damon out. "Ghost World" starts off with Damon strapped to a chair with a fireplace poker stuck in his chest (echoing what he did to Mason to make him a ghost in the first place) and his daywalker ring on the floor. As Damon slowly regains consciousness he immediately blames Stefan for his predicament but although Stefan is amused by the whole thing he assures Damon that he had nothing to do with it. Stefan removes the poker and releases one of Damon's hands but then walks away. Mason, seeing Damon's about to get free, throws open the curtains so the sun streams in. Crispy fried Damon ensues.

The weak excuse for a plot device this episode is the Founding Families' Illumination Night (blah blah big historical significance that's really all about vampires blah). I hope there aren't any actual towns that are this obsessed with their founding families--it must be really fun for everyone else who lives there who isn't part of that particular group. In any case as everyone helps set up for the big event Damon arrives and lets Bonnie know she screwed up the anti-Vicky spell because Mason Lockwood is apparently back and really pissed (then he leaves to tell Alaric, even though Alaric still can't stand him). Luckily Bonnie's grimoire opens on its own to the spell she needs (maybe her spells would work out a little better if she didn't keep waiting for the books to tell her which ones to use). This particular spell is to reveal "veiled matter" aka ghosts (but not to get rid of them).

Meanwhile Elena has decided that if ghost-whisperer Jeremy would talk to Lexi and find out how to help Stefan that'll solve all her problems. But never having met Lexi, Jeremy's not sure he can do it. He's probably also a little distracted by Anna, who seems permanently attached to him now (not that he's complaining). In fact, as soon as they have a minute to themselves Jeremy seizes the moment and kisses Anna, which ends up being way more romantic than anything he's ever had with Bonnie. Yay for ghost love!

Speaking of, Bonnie and Caroline end up going back to the witch house to perform the spell (even though the witches are all gone Bonnie decides the house is a good place to work in peace). As Bonnie gets into the spell suddenly her Grams appears. But she's not the only ghost who shows up. Elena walks in on Anna and Jeremy (and sees Anna); Mason confronts Damon and Alaric; and Lexi arrives to kick Stefan's ass. Grams tells Bonnie that when she sent Vicky away the witch helping Vicky on the other side decided to take advantage of the situation and wedge the door between worlds open. Now any ghost with unfinished business can get through. Grams is there to help Bonnie restore the balance (witches and their balancing) by destroying the other witch's talisman aka Elena's necklace aka Rebekah's necklace. That way the ghosts will be sent back and the witch won't continue to be able to work magic on both sides.

Caroline calls Elena to find out where the necklace is. Elena tells her Damon has it and then tells her about Jeremy and Anna kissing. So Caroline tells Bonnie. Ah, teenagers, truly the souls of discretion. Anyway, after Elena hangs up and leaves Jeremy and Anna she runs into Lexi who's there to pick up Elena for Ripper Detox 101. Suddenly Elena isn't so eager to get rid of the ghosts. It turns out Lexi's got Stefan locked up in the vampire jail cell (where Caroline's dad tortured her). This time Lexi purges the blood lust from Stefan by somehow getting into his head and making him hallucinate that he's been starving for years (wouldn't that just make the blood lust worse, though?)

Conveniently Caroline and Bonnie can't find the talisman/necklace anywhere in Damon's room (did they actually talk to him before barging into his house? And where's Rebekah during this? Doesn't she desperately want the necklace back?) Elena asks them to hold off on sending the ghosts back so Lexi can fix Stefan. Unfortunately it turns out the tomb-vampire ghosts are also back and they still want revenge against the Founding Families (get over it already). If only they had a big Founding Families event to infiltrate so they could easily wreak their vengeance on all the gathered founders' descendants...oh wait... Jeremy and Anna are the ones who call Caroline to let her know about the tomb vampires and Caroline immediately accuses Anna of having stolen the necklace (again...Rebekah?) Anna denies it, which causes a fight between Jeremy and Caroline.

Meanwhile Lexi is telling Elena that they need to make Stefan feel something--anything--to make him see past the blood. Once they do that they can start bringing him back. Lexi's method of making Stefan feel is to stab him repeatedly with stakes. Well, that's one way to do it. It's a bit much for Elena, though, so she runs outside and meets up with Jeremy (minus Anna this time). He admits that he doesn't want to send Anna away and that he loves her and always has. But Elena tells him it's not real, that he can't love a ghost. At this point Anna reappears along with the necklace. Elena tells her she's holding Jeremy back and Anna returns the necklace. You know, this all would have made a lot more sense and been a way more interesting storyline if Rebekah had stolen the damn necklace. Once again TVD rushes the resolution.

After Elena leaves, Anna tells Jeremy that she is holding him back. She also apologizes for taking the necklace and claims that when she saw the tomb vampires she was hoping she'd find her mother. She doesn't know where Pearl is and she doesn't want to be alone anymore. Jeremy assures her he won't let her be alone--right before he runs off to give the necklace to Bonnie.

Bonnie has nothing but scorn for Jeremy when he shows up but she takes the necklace and starts the spell to destroy it (with Grams helping). It doesn't take long and then the ghosts start disappearing. Lexi tells Elena that Stefan is still in there--she just has to break through; Eleni assures Lexi she can go be at peace now. Anna finds Pearl and they have an emotional reunion before they disappear together. And Grams tells Bonnie she's proud of her before she also goes. Once they're alone Bonnie tells Jeremy to get lost--she's done with him (well, she doesn't exactly say that but it seems to be the case). After he leaves, though, a shower of sparks fly out of the fireplace and suddenly the necklace is back and in one piece. What's that wacky original witch up to now?

Once Lexi is gone Elena tells Stefan he has to fight to come back, to feel something again. Because if he doesn't he'll lose her forever (the thing is, does Stefan really care?) But in an echo of what she said to Jeremy she tells Stefan that she won't love a ghost for the rest of her life. Then she leaves him locked in the cell.

While all this is happening, Mason claims he just wants an apology from Damon. So, I guess he's had enough vengeance? Once Damon offers a halfhearted sort-of apology Mason accepts it before sharing that he might know of another way to kill Klaus (he wants to help Ty by breaking the bond between him and Klaus). Mason tells Damon to meet him at the old Lockwood cellar with a shovel. Once at the cellar they break through a wall into a secret tunnel and start looking for the supposed secret way to kill Klaus. As he's walking ahead Damon stumbles into a trap and--get the alcohol ready--gets impaled by numerous flying spears. I guess the Lockwoods really didn't want anyone to find out this secret. Because why would they want people to be able to defend themselves against unkillable vampires? Makes no sense.

Once Mason frees Damon (depales him?) they continue forward until Damon is stopped by a magical barrier. Since he can't pass through, Mason has to go on alone. Just when Mason is about to tell Damon what he found he goes poof. So Damon has to call the only human he trusts besides Elena: Alaric. He's still pissed at Damon but once Damon apologizes (Ian does an excellent sheepish grin) Alaric finally relents and forgives him. I think if you're going to be friends with Damon Salvatore you have to be willing to overlook some psychopathic tendencies. Just saying. Anyway, once Alaric goes through the barrier he finds what Mason found: a room covered in glyphs. How long has it been there and how do they know it pertains to Original vampires? Also, what the hell does it mean? We don't know but neither does Alaric--I guess the fun will be in figuring it all out.

I don't know what to think about this episode. It wasn't quite as bad as some of the others this season but it was also kind of pointless. The show still doesn't have the hang of pacing and the writers take too many shortcuts. On the other hand if you played the drinking game you should be buzzed enough by now not to notice these issues. Excited about the next episode? Wish I could say the same.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Difficult to kill, quick healing. Super strength and speed. Apparently some vampires have the ability to get inside other vampires' heads and make them hallucinate (but it's not compulsion).

Weaknesses: Sunlight (unless wearing a piece of daywalker jewellery). Ghosts. Magic. Pointy objects. Blood lust. Rehab.

Mythology: Originally there was no way to permanently kill an Original (especially Klaus) but now it seems there might be two ways: vampire vampire-hunter Michael and a mysterious Lockwood secret. Vampires can turn off their emotions/humanity at will.

Sound Bites

Damon: Yeah, well, I don't have time for vengeful Lockwood. When I kill someone they're supposed to stay dead.

Lexi: Hi.
Stefan: You're dead.
Lexi: Yeah, well, technically so are you.

Damon: [apologizing to Mason] You're right--I didn't have to kill you. I do a lot of things I don't have to do.

Damon: Aren't you supposed to be all-knowing?
Mason: I'm a ghost not God.

Alaric: I was your friend, Damon. You shouldn't have done it in the first place.
Damon: Well, sometimes I do things I don't have to do.
Alaric: You're gonna recycle that same crap-ass apology you gave Mason Lockwood?
Damon: Yeah, well, I didn't mean it with him.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 7 "Ghost World." Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine. Directed by David Jackson. From The CW.