26 April 2011

The Vampire Diaries S2 E19 "Klaus"

Spoilers Ahead

"Klaus" is making my head hurt. Not only because there's so much going on within the episode but Damon alone is a storyline unto himself. The writers are not making my life any easier. On the other hand, I haven't been this engaged in a show probably since Buffy. That's saying something.

We start a short while after the end of "The Last Dance." Elena is still waiting for Elijah to revive after she removed the dagger. He seems to be taking a long time to come back but when he finally does the process looks (and sounds) painful. Disoriented, he confuses Elena for Katherine. In a series of short flashbacks, Elijah recalls meeting Katherine for the first time. He reacts strangely when he first sees her and apologizes, claiming she reminds him of someone. Back to the present he's not doing so well. He claims he can't breathe and says he has to get out of the house. I was wondering what would happen to him--a vampire who suddenly finds himself inside a house where he isn't invited. Now I know. He's better as soon as he runs outside, where he waits on the threshold for Elena. She promises to tell him everything--away from the Salvatores, who are elsewhere in the house. And to prove that he can trust her, she gives him the dagger. Never mind that she's already betrayed Stefan and Damon by removing the dagger in the first place. Oh, Elena.

The camera cuts to Stefan, waking in bed as though from a nightmare. He goes looking for Elena but only finds Andie and Damon, who are too busy being sickeningly cutesy and kissy to be overly concerned about Elena's whereabouts. You'll notice that Stefan spends the episode scoffing in disgust at Damon, starting with the way Damon treats Andie like his personal "wind-up toy" (although, strangely, when Stefan criticizes Damon's behaviour he calls Andie "it" rather than "she"). In any case, Andie doesn't seem to mind, telling Stefan it's none of his business. But does she really not mind the way Damon treats her or is she under his compulsion? And if she really is okay with it, does that indicate some kind of 'abused woman syndrome' on her part? More on that later.

As Andie leaves to get ready for work, Damon notices Stefan reacting to the open basement door. They both run downstairs where they discover that Elena revived Elijah.

At Alaric's apartment/Klaus's lair, Klaus is ready to depart Alaric's body and return to his own. To that end he sends Maddox to retrieve it. In the meantime he tells Katherine that all the elements are coming together to break the curse (the full moon is the next night). He also claims that the spell has to be performed in Mystic Falls because it's the birthplace of the doppelganger. Good to know. He then compels Katherine not to leave the apartment and heads out to meet Jenna.

It turns out that Elena and Elijah went for a drive and now they pull over to have their discussion. Elena offers him her help in exchange for his to kill Klaus. He's not quite as vengeful as you would expect but he's not exactly trustful, either. At this point Stefan calls and Elena promptly blows him off, refusing to tell him where she and Elijah are. Then she manages to soothe Stefan (sort of) and kiss up to Elijah by telling Stefan that she can trust Elijah because he's a noble and honourable man who knows she'd be "incredibly stupid" to betray him again. She also mentions she's proven herself by removing the dagger and she wants Stefan to respect her decision. Oh yeah, and she tells him to make sure that Damon doesn't do anything stupid (she should talk). When she hangs up Elijah reaches out his hand for the phone and she gives it to him.

Stefan's conversation with Elena prompts an argument between Stefan and Damon; Stefan says they need to trust Elena while Damon snaps that she'll get herself killed and they need to find her. When Damon makes a move to go after Elena, Stefan stops him and menacingly tells him to back off. Interesting how Stefan got so forceful all of a sudden.

Jenna's back in the picture, proving herself as useless as ever. She calls Stefan because neither Elena nor Jeremy are answering their phones (btw, where's John?) Apparently Elena left her a bunch of "crazy" messages (why wasn't she answering her own damn phone?) telling her to keep away from Alaric...but she's supposed to meet him for lunch at The Grill (I also love how she tells her teenage niece's teenage boyfriend about her man troubles). Stefan tells her not to go anywhere--he'll be right over. Damon declines to assist since he knows Stefan wouldn't want him to do anything stupid. I say it's about time people started cleaning up their own messes anyway, instead of constantly relying on Damon.

As soon as Stefan's gone Damon grabs Andie so they can do their own thing (so much for her going to work, I guess). This turns out to involve a trip to Alaric's apartment where they find Katherine. Damon can't enter the apartment and Katherine can't leave it but they can chat just fine. He ends up giving her a vial of vervain. It can't undo the orders Klaus has already given her but it will prevent her from being compelled any further. And now she owes Damon.

When Stefan gets to Elena's house he finds "Alaric" already there and acting super creepy ("I find chopping calming") as he prepares lunch. Suddenly he starts talking about vampires and how he's obsessed with them. He mentions the curse and claims that the creatures who have been cursed would do anything, kill anyone, to break it. Jenna and Stefan look less than impressed. When Klaus finally announces that vampires are real Jenna has had enough. She tells him to get out and when he won't she gets up to go. He decides to encourage her to stay by pointing the big knife at her. Stefan steps in at this point, easily grabbing the knife and pushing Klaus against the wall where he pins him with the knife to his throat. Stefan tells Jenna to get out now but she's confused and scared. It doesn't help when Klaus starts threatening to take over her body if Stefan kills Alaric's body. Stefan ends up vamping out and screams at Jenna to go. She finally listens. And then Stefan beats Klaus into unconsciousness.

Meanwhile Elijah experiences more flashbacks. In one he first introduces Katherine to "The Lord Niklaus" ("Call me Klaus"). He and Elena then pay Carol Lockwood a visit (among other things he needs a change of clothes. Being dead in a cellar can really wreak havoc on a guy's ensemble). Via another flashback we find out that Elijah and Klaus are brothers. How did something that seems so obvious now come as such a total surprise? Elijah ends up telling Elena that his entire family--parents and seven kids--are Originals. They did start out as humans (I hope we eventually find out how they became vampires but for now Elijah claims the story is too long) but they're the oldest vampires in existence and all other vampires come from them. Interesting addition to TVD's vampire mythology.

Elijah's next flashback brings even more startling news: there is no curse. It was Klaus and Elijah who made up the story and spread it throughout the world (the "Aztec" drawings are really Klaus's work). I'm a fan of this twist--I never liked the whole "sun and moon curse." It just seemed lame. But they did spread the rumours for a reason--Elijah says the easiest way for a moonstone and a doppelganger to be found is to have every member of two warring species looking for them. So why do they need the stone and the doppel? Elijah claims that there is another curse, a worse one, on Klaus. Before he can elaborate Elena takes a call from Stefan and finds out that Jenna is traumatized yet again. She has to go to her but she gives Elijah her word that she'll be back.

Elijah passes the time with another flashback, one of him and Katherine enjoying each other's company and a game of tag (hey, it was 1000 years ago--what else did people have to occupy their time?) As they take a break she complains that Klaus was supposed to spend the day with her but he never came back from the night before. She also wonders why he courts her when he doesn't seem to have any interest in her and she says she wants more--true love. Elijah says he doesn't believe in love but Katherine can't accept that, asking what the point of living is if you cease to believe in love. That's when Klaus shows up, covered in blood, and leads Katherine away. As they depart Elijah looks after Katherine wistfully. There's clearly something between them that's not being said.

After Elena apologizes to Jenna, calms her down and fills her in on what's been happening, she tells Stefan she has to get back to Elijah. He doesn't want her to go but he relents when she says she can't break her promise. Unfortunately as she's leaving Damon shows up and he's not quite as easy to convince as Stefan is. Once again Stefan has to step in and get menacing with his brother, although Damon's not going to put up with that much longer. But Elena does get to keep her word to Elijah.

When Elena returns we finally get the real story about what all the hoopla this season has been about. It turns out that after they were turned into vampires, Elijah's family discovered mom's deep dark secret: she had an affair. That affair produced Klaus, making him a half brother to the others. Elijah's father decided to get revenge by killing Klaus's biological father and his entire family. Unfortunately he unknowingly ended up igniting the war between the vampires and the weres. Yes, Klaus is a were-vamp (vamp-were? In any case, a hybrid).

Okay, I have to take a minute here to comment on some of this. Elijah said they'd invented the curse to get everyone looking for the doppelganger and the moonstone. Sounds reasonable enough. But how is it the Salvatores had never heard of either, let alone the curse? Damon thought werewolves were a myth. And I can't remember but I'm not sure they even knew about the Originals. You'd think they might have picked up on some part of it over the last 150 years, especially with their close connections to Katherine and Isobel. Next: is it just me or is it a little too coincidental that one of the first vampires in existence just happened to be fathered by a werewolf?

Anyway, apparently Klaus the hybrid is stronger by far than any other were or vampire. Too powerful for the witches--keepers of balance in the world--to let slide. So they cast a spell to make his wolf side dormant. Now Klaus wants to bring back his inner wolf so he can sire his own race of uber-monsters that would threaten everyone else's existence. So while Elijah initially helped his brother out of love, Klaus has gone too far now and has got to go. Did you get all that? Good because there's more.

The magical dagger won't kill Klaus because it's silver and werewolves heal from wounds made by silver. And since only that dagger will kill an Original they have a bit of a problem. Elijah is sure Klaus can be killed by a powerful witch at his most vulnerable point during the curse-breaking spell (and for that he needs Elena's help). Here we're treated to another flashback in which Elijah tells Klaus that he spoke to the witches and they think they can spare the doppelganger (in this case, Katherine). Since she's human Klaus couldn't care less about saving her and he's not too happy that Elijah feels otherwise. He orders Elijah to tell the witches to forget about sparing the doppelganger. By this point in the episode even Elena has picked up on Elijah's concern for Katherine (a mistake, he tells her, that he won't repeat again). My theory? The witches who originally "cursed" Klaus based the doppelganger on his sister in the hopes that he'd be less inclined to kill someone who is an exact replica of someone he had to have loved. That's why Elijah reacts when he sees Katherine and cares about her, but not in any kind of romantic way. We'll see if I'm at all close.

Speaking of Katherine, Klaus returns to the apartment in a foul mood. He compels her to sit down and shut up and although it doesn't work thanks to the vervain, she plays along. Klaus's mood improves a few minutes later when Maddox returns with a ton of luggage, Klaus's own body, and a witch who could well be Luka's kidnapped sister (although she looks pretty happy to be there so she's either compelled or Luka and his dad got the story wrong).

Damon's also in a foul mood, but in his case it looks as though nothing is about to improve it anytime soon. Andie's trying but he just snaps at her to go away. Then Stefan comes in and continues his episode-long lecture on the crappy way Damon treats Andie. Damon smirks back that Stefan should be happy Andie's there because it keeps him (Damon) from going after what he really wants (Elena). I guess Stefan feels he's kept quiet long enough because instead of walking away he escalates the situation by calling Damon on being in love with Elena. He also mentions that Damon can love her all he wants as long as it means he'll protect her, but Stefan has the one thing that Damon never will--Elena's respect. No surprise when Damon throws the first punch (and a good one at that) or that it degenerates into growling and choking and general hatred. But they break apart as soon as Elena shows up with Elijah and shouts at them to stop.

This leads to another flashback. This time Klaus is enraged at Elijah because, as we know, Katherine ran before he could sacrifice her and he believes Elijah warned her. Elijah swears that he didn't say anything and gives his word that he'll find her. In turn Klaus gives his word that if Elijah doesn't find Katherine then Klaus will kill him. I take it brotherly love only lasts as long as there are no chicks around.

Back in the present Elena announces that she and Elijah have renewed their deal, and he adds that he won't harm Damon or Stefan if they apologize to him. Damon's reaction to this request is priceless. Stefan, on the other hand, barely hesitates before he's kissing Elijah's ass. He claims he was protecting Elena and always will protect her. This is an echo of what Damon said at the end of "The Last Dance," when he told Elena he will always choose her, only instead of being met with a cold response as Damon was, Stefan gets a warm, almost smug, smile at his words. Damon is completely disgusted with all of them and tells them to go to hell before he storms out.

Back in his own room he discovers that Andie didn't leave after all ("you didn't compel me"). He tells her that he's upset and she knows what happens when he gets upset. He tells her she has to leave. But she refuses. She says he has to know that somebody cares about him. This prompts him to bite viciously before pushing her to the ground where she collapses in tears. Then he compels her to go away before he kills her. She finally goes leaving him to be upset on his own.

This scene is disturbing on so many levels. I like Damon (a lot) but it's hard to like an abuser, which he clearly is. He controls and uses and hurts Andie. But equally disturbing, albeit in a different way, is that the abuse stems from his own self hatred. He's not malicious; he's tormented. But does that mitigate his actions at all? (Btw, that would be no.) Meanwhile I get the sense the writers are trying to make the abuse seem not so bad by having Andie exhibit some free will. She tells Stefan to mind his own business and when given the option she chooses not to leave. But is this really a sign of free will or is it (a) compulsion (remember he compelled her to be in love with him) and/or (b) the classic mindset of a battered woman? On top of all this I think Stefan and Elena are doing to Damon what he's doing to Andie. They treat him like a joke ("make sure Damon doesn't do anything stupid") or a pest until they need him (which is frequently) and then they're happy to use him until he becomes an inconvenience again. Stefan even mocks him by saying he can love Elena all he wants as long as he protects her, while Elena masks manipulation as "friendship." I also mentioned several reviews back that Katherine victimizes him as well. So not only is Damon a self-hating abuser but he's also the abused, suffering from his own version of battered spouse/sibling/child syndrome. I need a consulting psychiatrist to write this review. So where does this leave Damon fans? Should we sympathize with him or revile him? Can he be redeemed as a character? Is he too badly damaged to ever be a true hero? I have no idea.

"Klaus" ends, fittingly, with Klaus being returned to his own form. Alaric seems to be himself again for the split second before he collapses, unconscious. I hate to think what's going to become of him trapped in his apartment with malevolent witches and vampires. Klaus, meanwhile, seems pretty pleased with the whole situation. Which is interesting because when Elijah was revived in a house where he wasn't invited, he was instantly sick and had to get out. Anyone recall Alaric inviting Klaus in? I don't think it counts if Klaus invited himself in while still in Alaric's body (besides, how would that even be possible?) And it has to be a resident that does the inviting. Is this a mistake or is Klaus really that special?

This episode is going to take a long time to process, I think. There's been an entire paradigm shift in the storyline and established mythology, not to mention big questions about Damon and various other lesser ponderings. Makes you wonder what the writers could possibly do next.

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 compel other vampires. Super strength and speed.

Weaknesses: Being compelled by an Original. Witchcraft. Vervain. Inner demons.

Mythology: Originals are indestructible; only a special silver dagger dipped in the ashes of a specific oak tree and plunged into their hearts will "kill" them, and then the effect only lasts as long as the dagger remains in place. A vampire needs an invitation into a private residence; Elijah becomes extremely sick when he's revived inside a house where he has no invitation. Elijah's family are all Originals--they are the first vampires.

Sound Bites

Stefan: What are you doing? It's not a wind-up toy.
Andie: It's really none of your business, is it Stefan.
Damon: Yeah. What she said.

Klaus: [to Katherine] Let's just hope that Elena isn't as stupid as you were.

Stefan: We need to trust her. We've just got to let her do her thing.
Damon: That might be your plan. Mine's better.

Stefan: You're seriously going to be like this?
Damon: You and your girlfriend are calling the shots, Stefan. I'm just backing off.

Damon: Thought you might be dead.
Katherine: Unfortunately not.

Damon: [to Katherine] You owe me. And I will collect.

Damon: [to Stefan] That's twice today you stood in my way. I wouldn't try a third.

Klaus: Love is a vampire's greatest weakness and we are not weak, Elijah. We do not feel and we do not care.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 19 "Klaus." Written by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Directed by Joshua Butler. From The CW.

21 April 2011

Vampire (B)ads

Because vampires get bored too...

And one for the hunters out there:

For the record I have yet to try any of these products, although in principle I'm not opposed. If you're going to get drunk (or wear jeans) anyway, might as well stick with the theme--even if the ads are unbelievably cheesy. By the way, you can get your own martini glass like the one at the top of the page here.

Love at First Bite by Michelle Roy Kelly and Andrea Norville

It seems strange to base a cookbook on vampires. Of all the things that we associate with creatures of the night, food is not one of them (at least, not the kind you'd find in a cookbook). The most interest a vampire might have in a human's diet would be to know whether it was heavy on the garlic, and as a vampire lover I sure as hell don't want to partake in the typical vamp's meal plan. Reading Love at First Bite: The Complete Vampire Lover's Cookbook and trying out a few of the recipes didn't make it seem any less strange. But I do have to admit that Gran Stackhouse does make a mean pecan pie.

Ultimately the book is more horror oriented than vampire specific. This struck me as a little lazy, as did the editing. Mistakes like "palette" instead of "palate" (p 1!) are sloppy but overlooked easily enough. In this context, however, calling the band "The" Bauhaus (p 105) and spelling Bela Lugosi's name "Legosi" (p 219) are unforgivable. These mistakes also make me think the authors are cashing in on a trend rather than having any real interest in the subject matter. Maybe it's a little high school of me but I can't seem to get the word "poser" out of my mind.

Other issues I have with the book include the eye-rolling-inducing puns and turns of phrase. The appetizers chapter is titled "Bits and Bites: Appetizers to Leave Them Screaming"; the salad chapter is "Salacious Salads: Grotesque Greens for Every Occasion"; the sandwich chapter is "Seductive Sandwiches: A Handful of Horror"...it goes on. The worst part is that the recipes barely even relate to the chapter titles. If there was a "seductive" sandwich or "salacious" salad in the bunch I didn't see it. Recipe titles are often even more confusing. How did "Corpulent Crudite" make the short list? Or "Foul Fowl Soup"? Not exactly inspiring images of fanged fiends in the shadows. And as I point out in my Heroes & Heartbreakers post on this book, Love at First Bite frequently misses the mark. Fruit bats get a shout-out but not the Salvatores. Spike gets a sweet potato recipe named after him but there's no mention of spicy buffalo wings or blooming onions. Again, I'm left wondering what the authors' motivation was.

Not that the book was all bad. It's nicely designed with good graphics and nice fonts. The "Tasty Tidbits" trivia found throughout are pretty good (the best part of the book, IMO). There's plenty of inspiration for horror-themed parties and dinners. Oh yeah, and there's recipes too. Due to various constraints beyond my control (including difficulty finding some of the ingredients) I ended up trying only three of the recipes. One (Blood Bowl, p 47) was mediocre at best. The other two (Blood Oranges & My Darling Clementines, p 10 and the aforementioned Stackhouse Pecan Pie, p 220) showed that the authors at least seem to know their culinary stuff. I would (and will) go back to this book in future to try out more recipes.

So should you get Love at First Bite? If you're looking for horror-theme party ideas, love cooking, or obsessively feel the need to collect all things vampire related, I say go for it. At worst you'll have some fun, get to eat something tasty, and have an unusual addition to your collection. But if you're expecting a truly complete vampire resource, you'll have to keep looking.

Love at First Bite: The Complete Vampire Lover's Cookbook by Michelle Roy Kelly and Andrea Norville. From Adams Media.

18 April 2011

The Vampire Diaries S2 E18 "The Last Dance"

Spoilers Ahead

Okay, kids--time for a life lesson. People you should go out of your way not to piss off: your parole officer; mobsters; and the oldest, most powerful vampire in existence. You'd think that would go without saying but it seems some people could use a reminder.

Katherine, for example. Klaus, in handy Alaric form (see last episode), is taking advantage of the chance to not only use Katherine for information on our heroes but to get slow, sweet revenge on her. For now by compelling her to repeatedly stab herself in the leg, but he's made it clear there'll be more where that came from. In the meantime he saunters off to see what else he can find out.

The Salvatores, meanwhile, think they can solve all their problems by signing their house over to Elena. Anyone else have a really bad feeling about this? Not least because Elena immediately goes on a power trip with Damon, not inviting him in until he promises to do things her way from now on (good thing he has no intention of keeping that promise). Elena also doesn't help her safety situation by leaving her brand new sanctuary to go to school, although you can't really fault her for not wanting to be a prisoner. And having uber-witch Bonnie as bodyguard helps. Oh yeah, and Stefan.

Of course they're at a huge disadvantage not knowing that Alaric is really Klaus. And the whole giving-Elena-the-house gambit later proves pointless when Klaus walks right in without an invite and participates in a discussion of all their anti-Klaus plans--including the "secret weapon" of Bonnie's new powers. Not good.

Matt is still pretending to be compelled by Caroline. He doesn't really want to keep up the act but apparently Liz needs him to buy her time now that she knows who the vampires are and that the Gilberts are "in on it." What she's doing with the time he's buying her I have no idea. I'd love it if she was giving them all the benefit of the doubt, but I don't think that would exactly make for scintillating drama. Besides, she wouldn't be a real hunter if she decided that some vampires were okay (wait a minute...)

At least all the kids have the big 1960s dance to look forward to. Well, sort of. Jeremy is still stressing about Bonnie using too much power and dying (and he can't give her his immortality ring because apparently it won't work on witches and other supernatural types). Matt is tense about having to act like everything is normal. Elena is freaked and Bonnie is on alert after Klaus compels a fellow student to ask Elena if she'll save the last dance for him. Still, that's not going to stop Elena from dressing up and partay-ing down (her costume options are great too--yes, I'm being sarcastic--Twiggy or sexy hippie, as if the latter were even possible). But thumbs up to Caroline and Matt's costumes as Jackie Kennedy and JFK. Not so much for Damon's open-shirt lounge lizard look. But I have to say that boy can dance. Ian must have had some training. Although considering Damon is supposed to be a chaperone, he spends an awful lot of time on the dance floor with a variety of underage female students. Not too big on ethics and morals at Mystic Falls High, I guess.

After finding out that Bonnie plans on killing him (and has the power to back it up), Klaus runs to his own witch, Maddox. He wants Maddox to take out Bonnie but Maddox claims she'll sense him coming a mile away and Klaus will have to do it himself. Maddox is also aware that the power will kill Bonnie so he concocts a protection spell for Klaus. All the vamp has to do is keep coming at Bonnie until she overloads and dies. Don't you love it when things look grim for the heroes? 'Cause you just know (or at least hope) they're going to do something cool.

(By the way, Klaus seems to share human vulnerabilities with his host body. Why can't one of the good guys just drain him? I have a feeling Klaus wouldn't be able to move to another human body without time to perform the magical ritual? Or would he just automatically go back to his own vampire form while the heroes succeed in killing only Alaric? Guess it's not worth the risk.)

Once Klaus arrives at the dance he doesn't waste any time. He compels the same student as before to make an announcement of a "special shout-out" to Elena from Klaus. The song is "Dedicated to the One I Love." Elena and Stefan are freaked while Damon thinks they all should act like nothing's wrong, have fun at the dance, and let Klaus come to them. Damon and Stefan then start rallying the troops. I must say I did enjoy the look on Klaus/Alaric's face when Damon dismissively claims he wasn't impressed by Klaus's overture. I don't think it's Bonnie Klaus really needs to be worrying about. Especially since Damon is making plans to help Bonnie increase her odds of winning and surviving (he overheard her and Jeremy talking).

Meanwhile Jeremy confesses to Stefan that if Bonnie tries to kill Klaus she'll kill herself as well. Stefan confronts Damon, who tells him not to tell Elena because she'll try to stop Bonnie. So Stefan tells Elena. Who immediately runs to Bonnie and forbids her to sacrifice herself. Oh, the drama. Bonnie claims that if the situation were reversed Elena would do the same for her. Elena's not buying it.

At this point Klaus decides to make his move. Using a bunch of compelled kids to beat up Jeremy, Klaus sets up a diversion to get the Salvatores away from Bonnie and Elena. Klaus takes the opportunity to lure Elena and Bonnie into the dark recesses of the school, at which point he reveals himself (minds out of the gutter, people). I think it was a little early for Klaus to be giving away the advantage--I don't know if someone who could wait 500 years for revenge would be so quick to out himself once he's got the perfect disguise. But he tells the girls that Alaric has left the building and even announces that Bonnie is on that night's hit list. After figuring out he's under a protection spell the girls take off, at which point Damon finally catches up with them. He sends Elena to get Stefan and asks Bonnie if she's willing to do whatever it takes to beat Klaus.

Apparently she is because a moment later she's going after Klaus, breaking bones and making him suffer. Of course her nose starts bleeding badly but that doesn't slow her down. Much like Elena and Stefan aren't slowed down by Damon when they return. Bonnie shuts them out of the room but takes a break from her onslaught to give Elena a long, sappy look. Then she collapses and dies. Stefan confirms she has no pulse. Elena freaks. Klaus disappears. And Damon orders Stefan to get Elena home so he can "deal" with the body. TVD is usually pretty impressive in its ability to surprise me but this time not so much; I knew right away that Bonnie wasn't really (or at least permanently) dead. When Damon tells Jeremy they need to have a little talk I know for sure that Bonnie's not really gone. Maybe they meant it to be obvious; I'm not sure. But it was a tad disappointing.

Back at the Salvatores' when Damon returns, Elena is devastated, crying and blaming herself for what happened. She confronts Damon about him knowing that Bonnie would be killed if she went after Klaus (I guess she doesn't entirely blame herself) and when he admits he did know she smacks him good. Definitely a palpable hit. But as Damon starts telling her what really happened, we switch to Jeremy in a candlelit tomb with Bonnie's body. Suddenly she wakes up *gasp* and tells him she had to cast a death-seeming spell to fool Klaus. Looks like they're going to be holed up in hiding for awhile. But it's okay, they've got a bunch of product placements to keep them company (Note to producers: stop it already. You're making enough money on this show to not need to keep inserting commercials in the middle of it!)

Stefan is pissed at Damon for not letting him in on the Bonnie plan but Damon couldn't risk Stefan telling Elena (gee, I wonder why). He then puts Stefan in his place by pointing out that Stefan cares too much about Elena's feelings while he's the one who's going to keep her alive. Nice.

When Elena later goes to talk to Damon he fully accepts that she hates him now. But she surprises him by telling him she understands why he did what he did. She also tells him she won't let Bonnie die for her and that they have to find another way to defeat Klaus. This leads to one of the swoon-worthiest moments of the show in which Damon tells Elena that if it comes down to her or the witch he'll gladly let Bonnie die because he will always choose Elena. But this begs the question: what is it about Elena that has both Stefan and Damon so committed to her? It can't just be that she's a nice version of Katherine (at least I hope not). I mean Sookie has irresistible fairy blood in her and Buffy has the whole Slayer appeal, but Elena...? Sorry, guys, I just don't get it.

Anyway, Elena decides to take matters into her own hands. She sneaks down to the cellar and removes the dagger from Elijah's body, then sits and waits for him to come back to life. Nice plan, Elena. It's not like he'll want revenge against all of them for, oh--I don't know--killing his witches and putting him out of commission...twice. No, I'm sure she'll have no problem controlling an Original like Elijah. And once he does her dirty work for her (i.e., killing Klaus) he'll certainly be on his merry way without another backward glance at the people who repeatedly betrayed him. Um...

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this episode. I think it might have rushed through some aspects of the storyline (an ongoing problem with TVD). It's set up some intriguing future moments, though. Then again, the whole Elijah thing just seems like a terrible idea and a stupid move on Elena's part. But Damon continues to be awesome (am I wrong in thinking that at this point he is the show?) Overall, I think I'll reserve judgment until I see where all this is heading.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges; then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins, and sharp, prominent fangs. Through magic Klaus can apparently possess the body of anyone he chooses.

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

Weaknesses: Vervain, mystical daggers. Being compelled by Originals.

Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence but Klaus--in Alaric's body--apparently needs no invitation. To "kill" an original you need to dip a particular dagger in the ashes of a particular oak tree and insert said dagger into the Original's heart. But the Original will only stay dead as long as the dagger remains in place.

Sound Bites

Klaus: [to Katherine as she begs him to kill her quickly] I've searched for you for over 500 years. Your death is going to last at least half that long.

Stefan: You promised her no more secrets.
Damon: I changed my mind.

Damon: No. Klaus is not winning tonight. No way. [to Bonnie] You still willing to do whatever it takes to kill him?

Elena: I understand why you did what you did. Klaus was fooled and Bonnie is alive.
Damon: Here's to duplicity.

Damon: [to Elena] I will always choose you.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 18 "The Last Dance." Written by Michael Narducci. Directed by John Behring. From The CW.

08 April 2011

The Vampire Diaries S2 E17 "Know Thy Enemy"

Spoilers Ahead

The Vampire Diaries are finally back and they did not disappoint! We've got secrets, betrayals, revelations, torment, serious power, and a little something for the ladies and the gents. I dare you to find something to complain about.

"Know Thy Enemy" (great title for this episode) starts off where "The House Guest" left off--with Isobel at the door. She claims it's important that she come inside to talk to Elena but Elena shuts the door on her. Then Elena gets the fun of dealing with an angry Aunt Jenna, who feels lied to and betrayed by everybody. Jenna really needs to try remembering that she's an adult. Getting teary, storming out, and locking yourself in your room--not an appropriate way of dealing with the situation. The Gilberts must have been really hard up for guardians when they were making out their wills. When Alaric hears what's happened and rushes over, Jenna coldly informs him and Elena that she's going to stay on campus for a while because she just can't stand being in that house. At least we get the satisfaction of watching Alaric give John a bloody nose after John gets even more smug than usual over the situation with Jenna.

Meanwhile, once Katherine hears that Isobel is in town she asks Stefan and Damon not to let Isobel and John know that she's still around. She claims that they might not be too happy with her for staying in town after getting out of the tomb. She also claims that she and Stefan and Damon are on the same team (the one that wants Klaus dead) and that she can prove useful as a body double for Elena. They don't exactly look convinced but they don't argue with her, either. By the way, guys--the tank top Katherine's wearing in this scene is definitely for you. Who woulda thunk Nina Dobrev had it in her to be such a hottie?

While this is going on Caroline's got her own problems: Matt got away from her after she told him she was a vampire and now she can't find him. She also doesn't know what he might say to anyone else. At least the vervain he'd been taking should be out of his system soon so that when Caroline does find him she can compel him into behaving.

Back at Elena's, as she's discussing the Isobel situation with Stefan, John comes to the door and asks them to come downstairs for a minute. It's no real surprise when we see that he's invited Isobel in. She claims that she's been looking for Klaus, although she couldn't find him, and that rumours of a doppelganger are rampant. She believes any vampire who wants in with Klaus would love a chance to deliver the doppelganger to him, so vampires are about to descend on Mystic Falls and kidnap Elena at any moment. She tells Elena she's got a safe house for her with the deed in Elena's name so that no vampire--including herself--can enter without Elena's permission. Elena doesn't buy any of it and snaps at Isobel to get the hell out of her house.

Damon, Jeremy and Bonnie are busy checking out Luka's apartment (confirming that he really is dead). They help themselves to all the grimoires that Luka and his dad had collected and Bonnie also finds the spell she needs to harness, as Damon puts it, "ancient dead witch power." Then they head to the burial ground/massacre location, which Damon has known about all along since he tried to save Emily Bennett from being burned there (not that ghost Emily appreciates it). Strangely enough the location is inside a house (why would you burn anything--or anyone--inside a building?) Inside, Damon becomes trapped by the window, unable to move. Then his sun-protection ring stops working. Luckily Bonnie counteracts the dead witches' magic with her own but Damon decides he'd be better off waiting outside. Wise decision.

Now here's where the real fun begins. Isobel returns to the foreclosed-on house she's staying in. Suddenly Katherine is there. They attack each other but then start smiling. It turns out Isobel and Katherine are good friends and Isobel is really in town to save Katherine, not Elena. Yes, Isobel has made a deal with Klaus (through one of his witches) that he'll forgive Katherine if she brings him the moonstone and the doppelganger. Meanwhile, believing that she's been trying all along to save their daughter, John has been unwittingly playing informant by telling Isobel everything that's been going on. Katherine and Isobel are pretty damn pleased with their current circumstances.

Later at the Salvatores', Damon, Stefan and Elena are trying to figure out their options when Katherine shows up, a little too interested in how they're planning on saving the day. But since they all despise Katherine no one gives anything away. It's a relief that the bad guys don't know quite everything. Yet.

Even though they don't trust Katherine they still leave her alone in the house while they busy themselves elsewhere. Katherine takes the opportunity to search Damon's room, pocketing a large wad of cash and lucking out when she notices the moonstone in a bowl filled with bars of soap (it does blend nicely, but I still can't believe Damon "hid" it there). So now all Katherine needs is the doppelganger and she's home free.

While Katherine's been taking care of things on her end, Isobel stops Alaric on the street. She gives him a heartfelt apology and tells him she really, truly did love him once upon a time. Then she lets Klaus's witch have him and Alaric collapses to the ground, overcome by magic.

Isobel's next stop is the Lockwood mansion, where Elena is accepting a cheque for her mom's charity (Jenna was supposed to do it but she's too busy sulking). When John sees Isobel he asks what she's doing there. Turns out she's creating a distraction. She bites him and a moment later John's body comes hurtling down the stairs, interrupting Elena's speech. Okay, I do have one complaint about this episode (damn). Why, when he knows Elena is in constant danger, does Stefan rush to John leaving Elena unprotected in the other room? Of course everyone else follows right behind, giving Katherine--dressed identically to Elena--enough time to forcibly switch places with her. Damon would never have been so stupid. Just saying.

Stefan returns to "Elena" and they leave. At least he's not dumb enough to believe that Katherine is Elena. He confronts her when they reach the car, but Katherine is ready for him. She injects him with something so that he passes out and can't follow her. Things are not looking good for our heroes. At some point Stefan regains consciousness and calls Damon who--and this one is for the ladies--is in the process of changing shirts. He's infuriated that Katherine has betrayed them and taken the moonstone.

The one positive is that Bonnie has luck with the spell. It involves her screaming and weeping in agony but she does end up channelling the power of all the dead witches. Now it's hers to use as she pleases (she starts by showing Jeremy her impression of Storm from The X-Men). Of course, there is the small matter of the witches giving a warning about not using too much of the power at one time but Bonnie's not too concerned about it.

Matt finally makes an appearance, looking dishevelled and slightly deranged. He accuses Sheriff Liz of covering up the real cause of Vicky's death (which she of course did, but she's not about to admit it, now is she?) She takes him back to her place to calm down.

Caroline is relieved to find Matt at her house (Liz left him there when she got a call). He shrinks from Caroline and feels betrayed by her and all his friends, but he says he didn't tell anyone about Caroline being a vampire or anything else she told him. His anger and hurt, however, are overwhelming so he asks Caroline to compel him. He doesn't want to have to look at her and feel this way about her. She doesn't want to make him forget but he gets so agitated she finally gives in.

Back to the bad guys and their nefarious plans, Isobel has Elena and is driving with her when she gets a call from Katherine. Katherine tells Isobel about her success with the moonstone and mentions that they'd better skip town fast. But wait! It turns out Isobel is double-crossing Katherine. She tells Katherine that she had to do what she was told and that what Klaus really wanted was the moonstone and Katherine. Before Katherine can fully register what's happened, uber-witch is on her.

Isobel then takes Elena to her own grave. She tells Elena how her parents still come to visit every week even though there's no body buried there. She also talks about the woman who should be in the grave, the one who gave birth to Elena and desperately wished she could see her grow up. If this is part of some diabolical plan it's a strange one. Suddenly she gets a call from Klaus's witch telling her that he has Katherine and the moonstone and that Klaus wants her to let Elena go (he's done with her for now). With that Isobel is free of Klaus's compulsion. She apologizes to Elena for being such a disappointing mother. Then she rips off her protective pendant and burns to death in the sun as Elena watches, horrified.

Safely back at Stefan and Damon's (not sure how Elena got there) they discuss why Klaus let her go and what their next move is. They decide to offer Elena some greater protection by signing over the deed to their house to her. Why do I get the feeling they'll come to regret that? Until then they're rather pleased that no one knows about Bonnie's newfound powers except them, which makes Bonnie their secret weapon. But a weapon, secret or not, is only good if you know where to aim it--and so far Klaus remains an invisible enigma.

Elena ends up having a serious talk with John, in which he explains why he trusted Isobel and swears he'll do whatever Elena wants him to do. She decides to give him a chance seeing as how he is the only parent she's got left. Maybe she can learn not to hate him. It's heartwarming, really.

Less heartwarming is Jeremy's discovery. He somehow manages to translate the dead witches' warning and realizes that it is significantly more serious than Bonnie let on. If she uses too much of the power it will kill her. Bonnie admits she'll need all the power to defeat Klaus but she's more than willing to sacrifice herself in order to save everyone else. What is with the girls in Mystic Falls? Is martyrdom in this year, or what?

The surprises keep coming. Matt and Liz sit in her squad car, talking. It seems he did tell her everything that happened with Caroline and Liz responded by giving him vervain and hatching a plan where he would ask Caroline to compel him. So everything that happened earlier was merely an act. Once Caroline thought he was compelled he returned to Liz and told her all the latest details Caroline had let slip. Then the two of them mourn Caroline since she's dead. This does not bode well (although you'd think they could see past the vampire to the person).

The biggest shock of all comes when Katherine wakes up in a strange room with the witch as he performs a spell over Alaric, who is unconscious. There are strange heart-shaped glass containers around Alaric, which are filled with blood, and transfusion tubing leading from them to him. Suddenly Alaric wakes up and stands. Hey, kids--guess why no one knows what Klaus looks like. Because he jumps bodies via blood and magic. No idea where Alaric's gone but Klaus has taken up residence inside his body. This is a creative and unexpected twist. And Katherine is terrified as soon as she realizes. Who can blame her? I just hope we get Alaric back eventually.

I love that TVD keeps us guessing. In this episode you hardly have a chance to settle in to each new twist before another one comes along and shifts the paradigm. Whatever happens next (and I hope I'm not jinxing it by saying this) it's got to be good. Stay tuned...

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires). Some vampires have magic rings or pendants that allow them to walk in the sun unharmed. Super strength, speed.

Weaknesses: Vervain, sunlight, witchcraft. Compulsion by an Original.

Mythology: A vampire needs an invitation from a resident human to enter a house. They don't need invites to enter vacant houses, houses occupied only by vampires, or houses whose owners have died.

Sound Bites

Isobel: Hello, Elena. It's nice to see you again.

Katherine: I did what I had to, to get out of the tomb. Now I'm reconsidering my alliance.
Stefan: What do you know?
Katherine: I know I want Klaus dead, which puts me squarely on Team You.

Damon: [entering Luka's apartment] Yep. Everybody's dead.

Katherine: I've been honest with you. Time to return the favour.
Damon: I'm going to be honest with you--don't mistake the fact that we haven't set you on fire in your sleep for trust.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 17 "Know Thy Enemy." Written by Mike Daniels. Directed by Wendey Stanzler. From The CW.

07 April 2011

The Gates S1 E13 "Moving Day" Series Finale

Spoilers Ahead

Well, I was wrong: The Gates wasn't tying up loose story threads in light of its imminent cancellation--it was gearing up for new storylines. At least one of which might have even been interesting to see played out. But it was too little too late for this show and now we're stuck with unresolved issues. I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, "Moving Day" begins, appropriately enough, with Nick and Sarah preparing to leave The Gates. Sarah is finally free of Devon's influence, but not the resulting trauma. And speaking of trauma, the kids aren't too happy about being taken away from the life they've just settled into.

Elsewhere Claire and Dylan desperately try to find Devon before the other vampires find out that it was Claire's blood that was used in the toxin that killed Vanessa. It's a good thing Devon didn't bother clearing the Google maps history on her browser. She's holed up in a cheap motel where she's soon joined by Mia, who's brought her spell supplies so that she can foresee what she needs to do to protect herself. Mia also brings the devastating news that Frank is dead. After taking a minute to gather herself, Devon performs the spell and sees herself smothering and killing an unconscious Charlie.

At the high school Brett's had a change of heart about his moment of maliciousness and admits to Lexi that he watered down Andie's medication. Lexi convinces him to tell Andie what he did. Only they can't find Andie, so they go to see Charlie. But wait--Charlie, rebelling against moving, has run off with Andie into the woods. Brett and Lexi decide to track him with their superior werewolf senses while Nick enlists Andie's dad and has Charlie's phone GPS traced. The Gates takes all the fun out of running away.

Dylan and Claire, meanwhile, have found Devon's motel room and the remnants of her spell but no trace of Devon. Claire decides to take the spell to Peg so she can find out what it does. Peg can't decipher the spell, but she does recognize the writing as her daughter's. Time to have a chat with Mia. Sporting a bizarre smile throughout the entire scene, Mia finally buckles under her mother's interrogation and admits that Devon has a secret room in the back of her spa.

Back in the woods, Charlie and Andie settle into an empty cabin and decide to seize the day. They start kissing and as it turns serious the blue succubus vein on Andie's back suddenly comes back with a vengeance. As Brett and Lexi are tracking Charlie and Andie they suddenly hear Andie scream. When they get to the cabin a few moments later Andie is freaking and Charlie looks dead. A moment after that the dads arrive and determine they have to get Charlie to Peg ASAP.

Peg claims that Charlie's life force is so depleted that he can't replenish it on his own. She tries tricking his body into thinking it's more alive than it actually is so that it'll replenish itself but that doesn't work. Taking him to the hospital is apparently out of the question. The only option left is--wait for it--enlisting Devon's help. There will be a price for turning to dark magics but Nick and Sarah don't care. Famous last words.

Dylan and Claire find Devon a minute before Nick shows up. The vampires want her dead, but Nick needs her alive to save his son. Of course the vampires back down. A few minutes later they end up having to fight and kill their way through an ambush by their fellow vampires. While Nick, Claire and Dylan risk themselves for her Devon cowers in the car. Anyone else disturbed that the vampires are turning against their own kind in order to help humans, one of whom they hate? They've clearly lived in the suburbs too long.

Once they're safely at Nick's, Devon is happy to work her dark magics to help Charlie--all she needs to do is kill him and then revive him with a potion. I have a hard time believing this is the only possible way to save him. But whatever. She smothers him as she did in her vision and a moment later he's back from the dead like nothing happened.

Things fall apart the next morning, though. Charlie wakes to a farewell message left by Andie (she loves him but can't risk hurting him again so she's leaving The Gates...forever!) Claire and Dylan are informed that The (vampire) Council will hear a plea of leniency--but only if the two of them deliver Devon to the others. Not that Claire or Dylan believe they'll be getting any leniency (after killing a bunch of their brethren, why would they?) so they start making plans to leave Emily with her biological aunt. Then they head to Nick's looking for Devon. But wait! The dark forces have asserted themselves in Charlie--he shuffles into the room zombie-like and throws Nick against the wall with an invisible force. Hey, they were warned there would be a price. Of course it might help if Devon didn't look so damn smug about it.

There's also a side story involving Marcus breaking into Leigh's apartment to look for "answers" and instead coming across the ornate box that was briefly stolen earlier in the season. When he opens it to look inside Leigh immediately starts getting sick. She rushes home and confronts Marcus, who insists on being told what the hell is going on. Leigh caves and tells him her ex used "voodon" to take her heart away (I so called it) so that she could never love anyone else. What's in the box is the only small bit of it she has left. At first Marcus is skeptical, but then he starts asking questions like 'can it be fixed?' (apparently Peg is helping her with that). Leigh also admits that her real name is Isobel Armant, which clicks with Marcus because a man has been calling for weeks looking for Isobel. It seems Leigh's vindictive ex has found her.

We'll never find out exactly what happened to Charlie or whether he'll ever be himself again. Or what's going to happen to Claire and Dylan. Or if the vampires (and everyone else) get their revenge on Devon. Or if Leigh's ex shows up and wreaks more havoc in her life. And really, I don't particularly care. Unfortunately The Gates was overwhelmingly mediocre (if you've read my reviews I wouldn't even recommend you bother watching it). Just another show that added very little to the genre and will quickly be forgotten. Oh well.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then sharp fangs and dark eyes.

Strengths: Super speed, strength.

Weaknesses: Magic toxins, stakes, other vampires.

Mythology: Vampires have to answer to one another (there's a vampire Council within The Gates) and can be punished when their actions break the vampire code. Breaching trust is a punishable offence among vampires.

Sound Bites

Charlie: What was I thinking?
Andie: You were thinking you can't live without me. Which is exactly the way I feel about you.

Peg: Devon can help him. But it would be through the dark arts. And with dark magic there is always a price.

Marcus: [to Leigh] You know, I came here looking for answers. Turns out I wasn't even asking the right questions.

Sarah: What did you do to my son?
Devon: I told you I could bring him back. I never said he'd be the same.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 13 "Moving Day" (series finale). Written by Grant Scharbo and Gabrielle G. Stanton. Directed by Fred Gerber. From ABC.

Read my previous reviews:

Episode 1, "Pilot"
Episode 2, "What Lies Beneath"
Episode 3, "Breach"
Episode 4, "The Monster Within"
Episode 5, "Repercussions"
Episode 6, "Jurisdiction"
Episode 7, "Digging the Dirt"
Episode 8 "Dog Eat Dog"
Episode 9, "Identity Crisis"
Episode 10, "Little Girl Lost"
Episode 11, "Surfacing"
Episode 12, "Bad Moon Rising"

05 April 2011

The Gates S1 E12 "Bad Moon Rising"

Spoilers Ahead

Hate crimes against vampires? What is The Gates coming to? Next thing you know witches will be working malevolent spells and werewolves will be stalking succubi. Oh, wait...

After being told about the more unusual aspects of The Gates (see last episode) Sarah's having a hard time accepting her new reality. But Nick is convinced they're surrounded by good people (even the ones who technically aren't people) and gets her to agree--albeit reluctantly--to give it more time. If only Nick knew what was coming he could have saved them all the trouble and just gone ahead and booked the movers.

The problem starts when Frank Buckley decides he's had enough of being human and asks vampire wife Vanessa to turn him after their anniversary party. Well, technically the problem started when Frank cheated on first wife Devon with Vanessa, but we'll get to that in a bit. Right now, though, Frank deciding to join the vamp ranks looks to the weres as though he's choosing sides. Alpha were Coach Ross lets Buckley know that he and his pack are not pleased, but Buckley, trusting fellow that he is, insists on following through with his plan.

No surprise that Devon is even less impressed than the weres when she hears that Frank is going to make an eternal commitment to wife number two. She breaks out all the nasty spell ingredients she's been collecting (vampire blood, werewolf eyes, facial peel remnants...) and then pays Sarah a visit. After pointing out that she's the only one who didn't lie to Sarah about The Gates' secrets and then hammering home the message that Sarah can trust her because she's also a "normal" human, Devon puts the whammy on Sarah, ordering her to have a chat with Frank and then conveniently forget all about it.

At the anniversary party (being held at Dylan and Claire's house--not really helping the whole 'choosing one side over another' theory), Ross and the other weres unexpectedly show up announcing that they're okay with Buckley choosing teams, after all. It's clearly a good night for vampire-werewolf relations as even Claire and Karen are getting along. Obviously it couldn't last. A pounding at the door reveals a heart staked to it with a note stating "Even vampires die." Frank still isn't deterred from wanting to be turned, convinced that the note is harmless (either he's really naive or The Gates is entirely populated by mischievous teens who are basically good kids).

After the party breaks up (the staked heart is pretty much everyone's cue to leave) and alone at last Vanessa finally gets ready to turn her husband. But as she starts drinking she suddenly begins choking. A moment later she's dead, having withered into a mummy-like corpse (something that Dylan later admits he's never seen and is not the way vampires usually go). After a lot of expository storytelling it turns out that Devon poisoned Frank's blood via a compelled Sarah. His blood will now kill any vampire exposed to it. Oh noes--and the weres are coming to get his blood so they can use it against the vampires (weren't they all friends a minute ago?) Frank still refuses to believe that anyone in The Gates would kill him. Then he kills himself (the vampire lead-medical examiner makes sure the body and its blood is completely destroyed). Meanwhile, Devon's gone into hiding and she could poison anyone else's blood again at any time, putting all the vampires in The Gates at serious risk. So the hunt for Devon is on. But as far as Nick's concerned it's time to grab the family and get the hell out of Dodge. I guess it was really only one good person keeping him there all along.

In other news, Brett's jealousy over Andie and Charlie finally gets the better of him when he finds out that Andie's taking medication that allows her to harmlessly act on all her succubus urges. Of course, this happens right after Andie and Charlie declare their love for each other and Charlie expresses his deep fear of losing Andie. What could possibly go wrong?

As The Gates nears its conclusion it's heartening to see that it seems to be tying up loose ends (nothing worse than an incomplete story). I'm sure the bad guys will be caught and punished, the good guys will find another reason to hang in there, and true love will prevail. Of course, there's always a chance we could be surprised. But I somehow doubt it.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human with sharp fangs that descend and retract at will.

Strengths: Strong emotional bonds with one another.

Weaknesses: Magic, blackmail, stakes.

Mythology: Turning a human into a vampire involves a blood exchange. Dead vampires don't usually looks mummified.

Sound Bites

Claire: [to Sarah] Well, if I told you the truth the first day we met do you honestly think you would have believed me?
Karen: And, after all, it's not the kind of thing you open a conversation with. 'Pleased to meet you--I'm Karen and occasionally I transform into a wolf.'
Claire: I suppose what she's trying to say is that... now you know what we are; try not to forget who we are.

Brett: What's the point of having teeth if you never use them?

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 12 "Bad Moon Rising." Written by Richard Hatem and Jared Romero. Directed by Arthur Albert. From ABC.

01 April 2011

Moonlight S1 E16 "Sonata" Series Finale

Spoilers Ahead

Just when things were getting good CBS had to go and cancel Moonlight. Such is the sad story of TV and we, the fans, can only hope to not be left hanging. Luckily we get something of a satisfying ending for Moonlight, although we also have to contend with the beginning of an intriguing new storyline that will never go anywhere. Sometimes I have to wonder if TV execs are all closet sadists.

In any case, "Sonata" starts off with Joseph being honoured by Hearst College for his generous donation of an entire arena (he also founded the school, he admits to Beth, after losing a bet to William Randolph Hearst). The evening is going well enough and Beth and Mick are enjoying their fourth official date--until the school's star basketball player is found dead in a hot tub.

As they investigate the murder (among the suspects are Joseph's freshie--human blood donor--and a vampire) Beth has a chance to find out more about vampire culture than she really cares to. She ends up jealous of Mick's desire to feed off other humans and confused about how she feels about being turned--or not--someday.

When Mick manages to catch up to the killer, Emma--one of the dead player's vampire managers, as well as his lover--D.A. Talbot and the police are already there. Emma is freaking, refusing to go to jail, and emphasizing her point by flinging the humans around the room. But Mick calms her down and convinces her to cooperate. You get a good look at Mick's gorgeous fangs in this shot. It's nice to see the vampires acting like vampires throughout this episode, actually, and their 'otherness' is featured prominently in "Sonata."

Once in jail, Emma gets melodramatic, insisting that if Mick doesn't get her out again she'll tell the police what she is and then hand over the names of all the vampires in LA. She then warns him he's got 24 hours. Um, okay. Not only does this seem like it's straight out of some cheesy "suspense" movie but leads to a trite scene straight out of a heist movie as Mick gathers up the gang (which consists of Joseph, Guillermo, Logan, and the Cleaner) to break Emma out. The "heist" itself is actually not bad. Of course it goes wrong, leaving the vamps scrambling for a last-minute Plan B. After all the trouble they go to getting Emma (not to mention feeding her blood) they have a quickie trial in which she's convicted of treason against vamp-kind and sentenced to death by flamethrower.

As the LA vampires are breathing a collective sigh of relief, somebody slips D.A. Talbot a list of all their names (a few are crossed out, including Emma's). Mick and Joseph's names are last on the list. Talbot then gets a mysterious phone call telling him the list is for his eyes only. This is the new intriguing storyline we're never going to get to see played out. Talbot has seen enough strange things in the last few episodes to start putting facts together, so I'm pretty sure he would eventually figure out the vampires' existence. But then what would happen? Would he be understanding or turn hunter? How would the vampires respond? And who is his informant? Damn, it would have been nice to have another season.

The episode (and series) appropriately leaves off with Mick and Beth. He goes to see her after the Emma situation has been dealt with. Beth is upset with all things vampire and she's decided she doesn't think the two of them can ever work out. Mick is speechless as he turns and walks out (nicely acted, Alex O'Loughlin). Beth closes the door behind him and dissolves into sobs. Out in the hall, Mick suddenly turns and goes back to her apartment. When she doesn't respond to his knocks he just walks in (gotta love a man of action). He gives a rousing little speech about "us" and their feelings for each other. Then he tells her he loves her and they kiss. From just outside the apartment we see Beth gently close the door again, as the two of the continue to kiss inside. Well at least we get something of a happy conclusion with those two, although again it really would have been nice to see how their relationship would have played out.

Overall Moonlight was a good show, one any vampire fan should make a point of checking out. There were definitely a few weak episodes but the vampires were cool, the acting was good, the makeup/effects were pretty awesome, and the relationships were compelling. Although we're left wondering what could have been, at least it was fun while it lasted.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges then ghostly white eyes and long, elegant fangs (these are probably the best fangs I've seen on any vampires).

Strengths: Super speed, strength. Ability to tell blood types apart by taste. Enhanced sense of hearing--vamps can tell from the sound of a person's heartbeat that they're lying. Can speak below audible human levels so that humans can't overhear them (although other vampires can still hear them). Enhanced sense of smell. Resistant to injury.

Weaknesses: Silver, fire, boredom, love.

Mythology: It's a common practice among vampires to have arrangements with humans who provide them with blood; these humans are called "Freshies." Vampires have their own laws and justice; above all they must keep their existence a secret.

Sound Bites

Beth: This is great--I feel like I'm back at my high school prom.
Joseph: You know prom wasn't really big back in the 1700s. High school either. The plague--the plague was big.

Simone: We should go.
Joseph: But this is so awkward. I love awkward.

Beth: You okay?
Mick: Yeah, well, I got hit in the face with the sacred ass paddle.
Beth: [shrugs] Karma.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 16 "Sonata" (series finale). Written by Ethan Erwin and Kira Snyder. Directed by Fred Toye. From CBS.

Read my previous reviews:

Episode 1 "No Such Thing as Vampires"
Episode 2 "Out of the Past"
Episode 3 "Dr. Feelgood"
Episode 4 "Fever"
Episode 5 "Arrested Development"
Episode 6 "B.C."
Episode 7 "The Ringer"
Episode 8 "12:04 AM"
Episode 9 "Fleur de Lys"
Episode 10 "Sleeping Beauty"
Episode 11 "Love Lasts Forever"
Episode 12 "The Mortal Cure"
Episode 13 "Fated to Pretend"
Episode 14 "Click"
Episode 15 "What's Left Behind"