Vampire Diaries: Original Sin

"We have a lot to catch up on.”

This was such a mythologically dense episode, filled with so many wide-eyed brunettes of both genders, that a lesser reviewer might be intimidated. A lesser reviewer might even have said to herself, “Wow, I should have paid more attention to that Qetsiah...Quetsyah…Tessa stuff last season” and “Gee, is there a TVD wiki?” (There is.) But fear not, dearest readers. I'm not gonna let Silas's 2000 year-old ex-girlfriend screw things up between us.

At first, I thought Tessa’s revelations were a massive ret-con. Really, though, the bones of Silas’s origin story are the same: love, vengeance, tomb, cure. That Silas betrayed one woman (Tessa) to love another (Amara) is no shocker, given his casual relationship with kindness and morality. That Silas is a Traveler is not surprising, although I wonder why people called Travelers were hanging around a place with immovable columns.

That Amara was the original doppelganger—wait, you can’t have an original duplicate. Amara is the original einzelganger (not a word). She is the first woman in the long line of Elena/Stefan gangers who are victims of the ultimate shipper: The Universe. Now that is a surprise.

And not just for me. Damon and Elena’s passionate kissy reminders of their love for one another are starting to seem like a couple whistling past the relationship graveyard. Although Elena and Damon are willing to try to trump nature’s desire to create balance, Damon will surely have to grapple with Tessa’s idea that he, like she, is “merely the conflict that makes [Stefan/Elena] interesting.”

Despite her protestations, Tessa is not a “sane, rational, well-adjusted woman,” although calling her a “raging bitch-witch” whose vengeance created an entire realm of suffering seems a bit harsh. Anyone would get upset if their fiancé used her magical powers to immortality link himself to her maid. Hell hath no fury, and all that. Tessa certainly has caused a great deal of trouble, though, and created a chain of gangerships that affected numerous people for over 2000 years.

Judgment aside, Tessa is the best new character TVD has introduced in a long while. Crazy, funny, intense, and willing to hurt anyone to get her vengeance on: she’s like a sexy plot-generating machine. She even managed to make a huge exposition-dump interesting. Here’s what we learned, in addition to the stuff I mentioned above (let me know if I’ve missed something):
• Bonnie dropping the veil between the Other Side and this world gave Tessa a chance to re-enter this world.
• Tessa is a self-described “living, breathing mortal,” which means she can be killed.
• Tessa has marvelous witchy powers that might help take down Silas, who can no longer read minds.
• The Other Side was created so Silas would take the cure hoping to see Amara and find Tessa instead. (What a fun, sneaky bait-and-switch.)

We also learned that Silas wants the cure, which is now running through Katherine’s veins. Silas wants to destroy the cure (right?); Tessa wants to “cure” Silas so he can be killed (right?). And somehow the Traveler Nadia fits into this, in addition to her dead brother Gregor, who might only be partly dead, thanks to Matt’s immortality ring and Gregor hitching a ride in Matt’s mind. I've neglected Matt's arc in my past two reviews, but I'm really enjoying it, and I look forward to him being Gregorized with some of his friends. It's gotta happen soon.

For an episode without any Jeremy, Bonnie, or Caroline—and with some silly flashbacks—this was far more amusing than it ought to have been. I’ve stopped watching promos, but I was nervous about the return of the Ripper, which has never been my favorite plot. Tessa is a delight. And Stefan has amnesia! That’s a delicious twist. I can’t wait to see Damon try to explain the whole vampire thing to him. Not to mention everything else.

Bites:

• Tessa: “Quetsyah. Sounds so ancient-timey, doesn’t it?”

• Stefan: “2000 years is a very long time to hold a grudge.”
Tessa: “You clearly have never been left at the altar.”

• Tessa: “Have you not been listening to me? I have trust issues. I’m controlling, and paranoid, and a little crazy. And that’s working out just fine.”

• Damon: “Question: Why is my brother wearing your compost pile?”

• Silas: “GPS tracker. It’s even better than a locator spell.”

• Damon: “Look here, Miss Crazy, why don’t we just dial down the destiny talk?”

And Pieces:

• Do you think the Amara/Silas gangering repeated once a generation, then hit a snag after Katherine was turned?

Three and a half out of four souvenir key chains

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

8 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Loved this one. I was going, did they really just *FINALLY* explain what the doppelgangers are, and did it actually sort of make sense? It brought up all of these interesting questions, like why Stefan isn't meant for Katherine instead of Elena, and how vampirism probably screwed the whole thing up. It also changed the balance of the love triangle, too, because now that we know Elena is destined to be with Stefan, her relationship with Damon has more weight somehow.

I agree that Tessa/Ketsiyah is a terrific character. I wonder if Janina Gavankar's role on True Blood was written out because of The Vampire Diaries? And isn't it funny that she just moved from a shapeshifter role to a witch role?

Anonymous said...

just wanna let u know "Einzelganger" (Einzelgaenger, since we have the a with two dots above it ;)) actually IS a word. A german one that means roughly the same as "loner", aka a person that stays away from ppl and doesnt have many friends (but its not by some kind of fault, but by choice).

anyway, I like how you used the word xD



Ellen said...

I was pleasantly surprised by this episode too, although I'm now quite confused about the love triangle. I do like Damon and Elena together but I was pretty sure they were going to crash and burn too, until the whole fate thing. Surely they can't have Stefan and Elena end up together now simply because its fated? Maybe she'll dump them both (smart move).
Quick question: was Nadia Gregor's sister? Cause I kind of got a different impression from all the making out. But then I've never been to Prague.
P.s. didn't Roerig make an awesome angry Czech man? Never thought I'd say that.

ChrisB said...

I do like where this story is heading, but is it cynical of me to think that the writers are setting it up so that both Stefan and Damon end up with one of the doppelgängers? I do think that Stefan and Elena will end up together eventually, but would that leave Katherine for Damon?

It occurred to me while I was watching this week that we are seeing the doppelgänger of last year’s storyline. Instead of watching Elena adjust to being “America’s most boring, self-righteous vampire” (LOL), we are watching Katherine adjust to being human. This latter story is much more interesting and much better told.

CrazyCris said...

Ketsia/Tessa/whatever definitely embodies the whole "Hell hath no fury" thing!!! Woah! Overkill much?! :p

If there's supposed to be a doppleganger appearing at the same time all the time... shouldn't there be a mortal Stephan out there to match Elena? And a Katherine around Stephan's era? *my head hurts*

Poor Damon. I DO NOT like this turn of events!!!

But can't wait to see what happens next! :o)

Josie Kafka said...

Anonymous, thanks for the info! I don't know a lick of German, so I'm now very proud that I managed to "invent" a German word that already existed.

In my next review, I will re-invent the wheel.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? Why isn't Stefan meant for Katherine as well as Elena? Or why isn't Silas all gaga for both of them? And why is there an Elena if Katherine never died? Or conversly why isn't there a human Stefan?

Me no understandy.

Laure

Samantha Gomes said...

LOL at your re-inventing the wheel,Josie. It was an unbelievably good episode. I wonder how Damon will explain it all to Stefan...I'm not going to repeat all that's been said, but wow, I can't wait for next episode.