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.
• 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: “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.)
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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