Vampire Diaries: Monster’s Ball

“Trust me: last guy to hit on her is still paying for it.”

Last week I mentioned that I was initially confused by the episode, and this week I had the same trouble: the episode structure seemed to be ¾ build-up, ¼ revelation and surprise. That’s not a bad ratio, but it makes for an odd viewing experience—and lots of dialogue filled with exposition.

So much exposition, in fact, that Elena had to buy a new diary to explain why she has decided to major in Sherlocking at college. The mystery of the vampire-killed roommate is starting to seem less like a mystery (which I thought would have been neat) and more like an opportunity for the show to introduce a Buffy-esque professor-experimentation plot as well as a possible new recurring character, Aaron.

Aaron is Elena’s…dare I say doppelganger? Not literally, of course, but metaphorically: like Elena, Aaron has lost all the people he loves. He even has a guardian a la Aunt Jenna. Unlike Jenna, of course, Dr. Enfield is ambiguously evil. He murdered Jesse to run vampire experiments on him, but he also warned Elena that people will start asking “the right questions” about her vampire cohort on campus.

Will that plot intersect with the Silas/Tessa/Nadia plot soon? That’s ambiguous, too. Nadia has a very personal axe to grind with Katherine, her erstwhile mother, current victim. That newly-revealed relationship may or may not be relevant to the revelation that Katherine is apparently unkillable: in the episode’s most shocking scene, Katherine was drained of blood, seems to have died, and come back to wonder if hell is, in fact, other people (especially doppelgangers and exes).

That scene was shocking not just because I really thought Katherine might be dead, even as I was exclaiming “Oh, no, they didn’t!” It was also shocking that Elena stood idly by as Silas drained Katherine of blood. Has Elena become more vindictive? Did she really want Katherine dead? How will Damon’s scheming affect Elena’s feelings for him?

But I digress. Silas may want to destroy the Other Side completely, and he is now one step closer to doing so. His wacky shenanigans with Damon allowed Silas to discover that there is an object that keeps the Other Side anchored, and that Tessa now has access to it. Despite all the exposition, I’m not entirely clear on why we would want the Other Side to continue to exist, since being trapped between this world and whatever happens after death, doomed to watch but not participate, sounds miserable.

The increasingly arcane mythology surrounding Silas aside, this episode had quite a few highlights. Silas-as-Stefan flirting with Tessa was a lot of fun, as was Damon’s sublimating glee in breaking Stefan’s neck again and again. Caroline and Tyler were cute (handcuffs!), but the adorability was lessened since it was so clear Tyler wasn’t going to stick around—so clear to us, that is, but not to poor Caroline.


• Stefan: “It doesn’t mean that I’m not still brilliant and crafty, and becoming well-versed in the power of cell phone tracking.”

• Tessa: “In my day, it was all about lamb. No one thought to cure pig fat.”

• Dr. Enfield: “I couldn’t exactly tell her parents a mountain lion attacked her at a frat party.”

And Pieces:

• It is very odd to me that everyone knew immediately that Elena was Anne Boleyn. When I think Renaissance + murderess, I think of Lucrezia Borgia.

• Stefan was dressed as James Dean. Caroline did go easy on him.

• It seems safe to assume Tyler is headed down to NOLA and The Originals, right?

Three out of four “I’m sorry” kegs? Maybe 2.5? I’m just not sure how to rate this one.

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?)


Morgan India said...

It might just be me, but I was somewhat bothered by Elena dressing up as Anne Boleyn. Maybe it's because I've lost any respect for Elena over the last season and a bit. IDK.

Billie Doux said...

This is definitely a jam-packed full of plot season, isn't it?

I'd been thinking for awhile that the casting people made a huge mistake casting someone who looked so much like Nina Dobrev. Silly me.

And I was so happy that Caroline was finally broken up with Tyler, and then I realized he's bound to turn up on The Originals. Clearly, we'll never be rid of Tyler.

ChrisB said...

This show seems to be going around in circles a bit. New characters, new plots, new situations occur constantly, but we don't seem to be getting resolution to anything.

Except that Caroline is now finally, finally free of Tyler. She and Stefan need to look closely at each other.