09 May 2011

The Vampire Diaries S2 E20 "The Last Day"

Spoilers Ahead

Damon is nothing but trouble this episode. The kind of trouble that results from trying to make things better and instead only making them worse. The kind of trouble that makes devoted fans twitchy wondering what's going to happen now. The kind of trouble that leaves us wishing they'd just kill off Elena already so Damon could stop making things worse for himself trying to save her every five minutes. This episode is giving me a headache.

"The Last Day" starts with Damon brooding in bed. No complaints here. But after his anger at Elena, Stefan, and Elijah last episode you'd think he wouldn't be so quick to forgive. And yet a few moments later as the others discuss the full moon that night, Damon suddenly bounds in enthused to kill Klaus immediately--before the ritual that night that will kill Elena. What happened to our grudge-holding anti-hero? Sometimes love is just stupid.

Speaking of stupid, Elena is opposed to Damon's idea because secret weapon Bonnie will likely end up just as dead as Klaus. Instead she'd rather be the one to play martyr. Of course, there's a chance the immortality ring could work on Elena and bring her back after the sacrifice (or maybe not since, as a doppelganger, she's supernatural) and Elijah does have a 1000-year-old resuscitation elixir she could try. Surprisingly, Damon is the only one who doesn't want to put their trust into these iffy solutions. But Elena would rather be dead than sensible. And once again I have to wonder: what's her appeal?

Suddenly--and seemingly out of nowhere--Jenna is pointing a crossbow at Alaric, who's standing in the doorway. After proving he really is Alaric he tells them Klaus let him go to deliver a message: the sacrifice happens tonight. Is anyone else not buying that Klaus let Alaric just walk away so he could deliver a message everyone had already figured out? What, is Klaus suddenly out of minions he could send? And why do none of the characters suspect that Alaric might be compelled to do something harmful to them? This just seems like lazy, lazy writing to me.

Anyway, as Alaric tells them about what it was like to be possessed by Klaus, Elena notices Damon is missing. So what do you do when an upset, slightly drunk vampire has separated himself from the group? You follow him, of course. And tell him more of what he doesn't want to hear. And oh yeah, use his feelings for you to manipulate him (holding his hands, Elena? Really?) No surprise when it backfires on her. In a desperate move, Damon forces Elena to drink his blood so she'll definitely come back after Klaus sacrifices her (seems like the best plan so far).

Stefan interrupts the process, although not quickly enough and he and Damon finally get into the fight that's been simmering below the surface for far too long. Just when it looks like Stefan is winning, Damon stabs him in the stomach. Ouch. Elena angrily orders Damon out of the room and he, equally angry, stalks away. But it takes Elijah to calm Damon, which he does by pointing out that Elena will never forgive him for what he did. And as Elijah says, never for a vampire is a very long time.

Meanwhile Maddox magics Carol Lockwood into calling Ty and begging him to come home because she's had an accident and is in the hospital. Then Maddox rather viciously knocks her down the stairs. It's amazing she actually survives. But it does get Ty back in town.

Elsewhere Matt has had enough of pretending to be compelled. Talking to Liz he tells her that either Caroline is the world's greatest actor or even as a vampire she's still really Caroline. Liz says it's all an act, that her daughter is truly gone, and that she needs more time to gather information. But Matt thinks Damon is the real problem, not Caroline. So Liz dismisses him, telling him she'll take it from here. Why are adults on these shows always so closed-minded? Yeah, Liz was raised to hate vampires. So what? We're all raised to believe all kinds of things--does that make us slaves to those beliefs? Or maybe it just goes back to the ridiculous idea of not trusting anyone over 30 (unless they're hundreds of years old and still look like teenagers, I guess). But watching shows like TVD, you'd think all adults are irresponsible, narrow-minded, and/or incompetent. Yeah, thanks.

Anyway, once Stefan heals he decides to take Elena for a hike, not only as a way of enjoying her last day as a human but to get her to talk about the thing she refuses to say. I'll save you some time because this is a less than interesting subplot. Elena eventually admits she doesn't want to be a vampire, breaking down and crying about how she'll never have the chance to grow old. Yes, it would be a real tragedy to have to trade old age and decrepitude for eternal youth and strength. What a burden. Please. On top of that her emotional admission just emphasizes Elena's pathological martyrdom: she was fine at the thought of dying and not coming back but she''s flipping out at the idea of becoming a vampire. I'm getting tired of seeing this same storyline throughout the world of vampires, and especially in this particular mythology where you don't have to kill anyone and going out into the sun is no problem. Is there anyone out there who actually wants the chance to get old, who would be disappointed in having to give it up? Writers need to stop trying to convince us how much better it is to age and die.

Back to the story. As Ty leaves the hospital with Jules, ready to lock themselves up for the night before leaving town again, they run into Caroline. Jules walks away to give them a minute. Caroline is upset with the way Ty left in the first place and even more upset to hear he'll be leaving again. Before they can really get into it she collapses in agony, followed by Ty. Maddox and Greta collect them. Klaus has his vampire and werewolf. Although you'd think he would have come to town with his own instead of hoping there would be spare ones around (particularly a spare were, who--as we know--are supposed to be super rare). Seems like a big oversight for someone so detail oriented.

Meanwhile, burdened by guilt and the idea that Elena will never forgive him Damon heads to the bar to drown his sorrows, where he's soon joined by Alaric and then Klaus (who just wants to remind Damon not to do anything he'll regret). After Klaus leaves Damon gets the bright idea that if he takes away the werewolf needed for the ritual, Klaus will have to postpone for another month--long enough for his blood to leave Elena's system. He doesn't even care that Klaus will kill him for interfering. Now do you melt at the depth of his love or bitch slap him for being such a dumbass?

After getting the needed invite from Alaric, Damon pays a visit to Katherine in Alaric's apartment/Klaus's lair. When she refuses to tell him where Klaus is keeping his werewolf Damon tells Katherine about the vamp blood in Elena's system and offhandedly comments about how she'll have to compete for Stefan's love for the rest of eternity. That gets her talking. Klaus is storing his sacrificial victims in the tomb, which makes me laugh because the tomb in TVD is like the factory in Buffy (thinking particularly of "Lovers Walk"). Anyway, three guesses where Damon is heading next.

As they wait in the tomb (Ty in useless human form and Caroline full of vervain) Ty and Caroline have a bit of a heart to heart about the way he left. Ty tries to explain that she deserves better than him but her position is that they're still friends. Personally I think she's way too forgiving of what he did to her with the other wolves, but whatever; they're friends again and that's all that really matters. Good thing too because the cavalry has arrived! Unfortunately Maddox is waiting for Damon and he's no match for the witch. But it seems Matt has followed Damon and came armed with a rifle loaded with wooden bullets. But instead of shooting Damon, which had to have been his plan all along, he shoots Maddox. Damon finishes the witch off and knocks Matt out before continuing with the rescue, although he's less than impressed with Caroline since her boyfriend obviously knows about them.

By the time Damon grabs Caroline and unlocks Ty (who swears he can lock himself in the family cellar before he wolfs out) it's somehow gone from light out to darkness. How long were they down in that tomb? There's even light streaming in while Damon's unlocking Ty--how did it get so dark all of a sudden? Hello, continuity editors? You might want to look to that. And of course because it's so dark Ty begins changing almost right away. He goes straight for Caroline but Damon steps in and fights him off, slowing Ty down long enough so that he can take off in one direction while Caroline and Matt head for the cellar.

Back from their cathartic hike, Elena and Stefan return to his place and find Klaus waiting for Elena. Stefan is ready to put up a fight but Elena calms him down. Ever willing to sacrifice herself, she kisses Stefan and tells him she loves him before telling him to close his eyes (this also reminded me of Buffy, "Becoming: Part 2"; maybe I have Buffy on the brain...) When he opens them again Elena and Klaus are gone. Ooh, dramatic.

After being filled in by Stefan, Damon pays a visit to Klaus. He tells Klaus that he has to postpone the ritual, that he took Klaus's werewolf and killed his witch and he doesn't care if Klaus kills him for it. But Klaus was prepared for this, expecting one of the Salvatores to do something stupid. Guess what--he has a backup witch (Greta), a backup werewolf (Jules) and, oh yeah, a backup vampire.

The episode ends with Matt and Caroline locked in the cellar as Ty in wolf form attacks them; with Elena being taken to the sacrificial area by Greta (who definitely doesn't need saving from Klaus) and discovering Jenna there as the sacrificial vampire (she's currently transitioning); and Damon waking up in Alaric's apartment only to find out that Klaus couldn't use him as the sacrifice because he's got a nasty werewolf bite tainting his blood. Fan-tastic.

When I watched this episode I didn't really have a problem with it but the more I think about it the more issues I'm finding (it's definitely not the strongest episode). The end of "The Last Day" is by far the best part, especially the new Damon storyline. And as confident as I am that they will find a way to save him, a small part of me is also anxious that a show this full of surprises might actually just go ahead and kill him off. Of course if they did they wouldn't have much of a show left. But still, you can never be too confident when it comes to TVD. Silly vampire, is she really worth all this?

Fang Files

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

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

Weaknesses: Vervain, wooden bullets, magic, werewolf bites. Sunlight unless in possession of a "daywalker" ring. Vampires have heightened emotions, which can be overwhelming for them.

Mythology: A vampire needs an invitation to enter a private residence. If a human dies with vampire blood in their system they'll return as a vampire.

Sound Bites

Elena: Bonnie can't use that much power without dying.
Damon: I'll write her a great eulogy.

Stefan: She [Elena] chose to trust you too.
Damon: Then maybe you shouldn't be so sure about her instincts.

Damon: I can't lose you.
Elena: You won't.

Klaus: [to Damon] The ritual will happen tonight. So if you want to live to see tomorrow don't screw it up.

Caroline: Why did you leave me?
Ty: I knew you hated me. I thought you deserved better than having someone like me in your life.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 20 "The Last Day." Written by Andrew Chambliss and Brian Young. Directed by J. Miller Tobin. From The CW.

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