Vampire Diaries: Brave New World


“Talk about a town where history repeats itself.”

I groaned quite a few times during this episode. “Oh, I can’t believe they’re doing that,” I said to the cat. “It’s so cliché, and it’s been done before,” he responded with a wise nod. And then, moments (well, sometimes minutes) later, I realized that I should sit back and trust the man who brought us the Scream franchise. It’s not Vicky Donovan, 2.0. It’s not Token Black Guy and Racially Appropriate Relationship. It’s The Vampire Diaries, and it’s damn good.

Last season, Vicky’s descent into undeadville was a disaster, but so far Caroline seems to be a pretty cool vampire. She feels bad about drinking blood, but she took some pleasure in giving Damon a much-needed beat-down. With both Vicky and Caroline we can see how a person is still themselves once turned: Caroline is, at heart, still a control freak—only now she has to learn to control herself. I’m sure there will be some drama along the way, but I think Caroline will succeed at being a vampire the same way she succeeded at being Miss Mystic Falls. And someday she might be grateful that she got to leave the realm of the living on such a high note. Not sure how Matt will feel about it, though.

Secondary-female-character-gets-turned wasn’t the only potentially repetitive plot element that got spun on its head. Elena has tried to have one perfect teenage day before, and it never looks like it’s going to end well, even if Stefan always comes through in the end. It’s getting harder and harder, though, as more of her friends and acquaintances turn out to be supernatural.

Repetition with variation. Katherine/Elena/Isobel. Bonnie and Grams. Tyler and his father. This list could go on forever. As Damon pointed out: “We all know how this story ends, so just flip to the last chapter... Wait, wasn’t there a school carnival the night you staked Vicki? Talk about a town where history repeats itself.”

Speaking of supernatural buddies: our vampires haven’t heard of werewolves. This joke can’t go on for too long, but it’s fun while it lasts. Damon’s new obsession with the Lockwoods big and small will surely turn up something. Meanwhile, it’s keeping him from thinking too much about Katherine, or at least doing too much about it. Stefan was definitely in “observe and report” mode with Damon. That can’t last too long, either.

Carter, the Token Black Guy who made eyes at Bonnie, made me groan at first. Can Bonnie only date a black man? Will he die just as they become close, thus setting off Bonnie’s witchy ways? All of my self-important questioning were for nothing: Carter’s dead. Introducing a character just to kill them off is nothing new, but I was so convinced he’d last for a few episodes that I was astonished he actually died. Sure, dead black man is still a cliché. But I think that’s more tongue-in-cheek than naïve and/or offensive. Frankly, this show can really do no wrong in my book.

Well... except for the emphasis on the Lockwoods. I’m not interested in Tyler, and I don’t think his uncle is that interesting. I prefer Alaric. More Alaric, please! And maybe a bit less Bonnie, too. Her character rubs me the wrong way.

Bites:

• Damon: “Don’t you every worry that all the forest animals are going to fight back? I mean, surely, they talk.”

• Caroline: “I am so sorry about that. Now, what’s the story?
Nurse: “My husband likes to get kinky.” Only Caroline would come up with that cover story.

• Stefan: “Oh, you’re lurking.”
Damon: “Observing.”

• Damon: “If they’re not vampires, then what the hell are they?”
Stefan: “Ooh! Maybe they’re, uh, ninja turtles.”
Damon: “You’re not funny.”
Stefan: “Or zombies. Werewolves.”
Damon: “No comedic timing, at all.”

• Damon: “Maybe it’s the ambiguously supernatural mystery uncle.”

• Caroline: “You suck.” Vampire empowerment. Love it.

• Elena: “My best friend’s a witch; my boyfriend’s a vampire. I have an evil doppelganger hell-bent on destroying all of us.”

And Repetitive Pieces:

• Mrs. Lockwood’s first name is Carol. Carol, Caroline. Odd repetition.

• Stefan flew Elena to the top of the Ferris wheel. Have we seen him fly since the pilot?

• Jeremy used the word “epic.” (Like Elena and Stefan in the pilot.)

• Bonnie loves the fire, doesn’t she?

• Jeremy coming to kill Damon was reminiscent of Alaric doing exactly the same thing. (Except that I expected Damon to teach Jeremy how to whittle afterward.)

Three and a half out of four talking forest animals.

(Screencap courtesy of vampire-diaries.net.)

6 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Wasn’t the best episode but there was still a lot to enjoy. I loved little baby vampire Caroline. While making Bonnie a powerful wicca has made me like her less and less turning Caroline into a vampire has only made me love her more. Matt maybe typically clueless but surely Mommy Sheriff is going to quickly notice that something is very off with her daughter. Will Caroline's transformation change her attitudes towards vampires or will she follow the Code of Harry and kill her own child?

Billie Doux said...

For me so far, Caroline has been pretty much a nothing character. Them making her a vamp surprised me. And I loved the way she confronted Damon with what he did to her.

I sort of wish they wouldn't do the werewolf thing. I'm not a fan. But they've surprised and pleased me before, so we'll see.

Loved loved loved the photo you chose, Josie. It made me laugh out loud.

pucklady said...

Stefan has jumped at least two other times: to the rooftop where Damon was abusing Vicki (I'm impressed, have you been eating bunnies?) and to get Bonnie out of the hole in front of the tomb. And you might count when he attacked Damon and ended up on the ground in front of the boardinghouse.

Jay said...

I can tell this show has found it's footing. Hopefully it follows the Buffy/Supernatural progression where the second season is when it takes off.

Caroline as a vampire works quite well and I'm looking forward to seeing her develop this year.

And I agree with Bonnie having that "rub you the wrong way" kinda feel to her. She just seems so cold.

Also, I'm going to reserve judgment on the werewolf Lockwoods. I have a feeling this show will make it work better than True Blood did.

Harry said...

Hurrah for VD's new babyvamp :) Definitely agreeing with comments about liking Caroline more now. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Matt and Caroline are the Hoyt and Jessica of VD for me. I just hope they get more screentime than their True Blood counterparts.

Agreeing with lacklustre werewolfyness. Ahhhhh rage, hulkout bleurgh.
Or to be more pertinent - grrg, argh!

Patryk said...

Turning Caroline and keeping her alive is great! I can't seem to remember when or where has this happened before. I mean an established character becoming a vampire.

Usually in vamp shows there are only these types of characters:
-vampires from the get-go (well name one, and you'll be right)
-humans from start to finish (the main female character's)
-humans turned vampire on their first appearence (like TB's Jessica)

So TVD is actually more original then all the repetition seems to imply. Also i think it's better at storytelling then True Blood, which sometimes appears as a random collection of ideas with no pay-off.

Also TVD does episodes which while serialized in nature have a main story in most of them that's somewhat resolved. And don't force cliffhagners everywhere they can. It's funny how a series supposedly for teens feels more mature then a series for adults.