After an episode that finally brought us up to the three-years ahead flashfowards, my expectations for “Days of Future Past” were high: Would the show resume its tension now that we, once again, don’t know what will happen? Would the recent renewal (for an eighth season) push the writers to develop some compelling season-spanning plots?
Meh, kinda, yeah? “Days of Future Past,” as the title basically implies, spends a fair amount of time catching us up on what Stefan/Valerie, Enzo/Armory, Matt, and the entity known as Nora Louise have been up to. In sum: traveling the world, scheming, mourning, and captive (respectively).
Between those flashbacks and the present day events—which consisted mostly of people driving around in cars while talking on cell phones—this episode was both busy and relatively inconsequential. After three years with Valerie, Stefan automatically distrusts Damon’s plan to fix the scar. After a series of unfortunate events, Stefan winds up trapped, again, in Phoenix-Stone hell. I assume they’ll get him out, right, even though the stone was destroyed?
Nora Louise’s shared fate was less ambiguous: they’re dead. I’m fine with the characters no longer being a part of the show (I never cottoned to them), but there have been some interesting—and correct—discussions online about the way that TVD tends to kill off its gay characters.
That the Armory experimented on Mary Louise does establish that they are not the good guys. However, they are an odd villain: sometimes a resource (as when Stefan hopes they will help him contain Rayna) and sometimes a threat (they’ve been tracking Bonnie for three years; Enzo is hiding her).
For that matter, Rayna is an odd villain, too. She scarred Stefan by accident, is compelled to kill him, is looking for loopholes because Damon is awfuler, but… isn’t she supposed to just kill vampires? Didn’t Stefan used to be a “Ripper,” which sounds—if you are pro-death-penalty for vamps—like a darn good reason to do him in?
That’s the sort of logic that we’re not supposed to apply to this show anymore, though. TVD’s flashforward had so much potential: do you remember how great the [redacted for spoilers] season of Lost was? It was mindblowing! But this episode’s road trips back and forth across the South seem indicative of the show’s current rut: spinning in circles, searching for a center.
I haven’t lost faith, though. I think that TVD can repair some of the character damage done in the past few episodes. The death of Nora Louise is promising, since it shows TVD is willing to cut the deadwood. And once we get Bonnie, Alaric, and Caroline back in action, we’ll have some better (and frankly, more stable) characters in the mix.
Bites and Pieces:
• Damon: “Are hashtags still a thing?”
• Enzo’s Sister Alex: “Why does Enzo do anything these days?” Good question!
• Rayna: “Mystical nature calls.” Basically, Rayna is in a perpetual state of compulsion.
• Is the whole TV station setting some sort of meta commentary that I’m not getting?
• This episode was directed by Ian Somerhalder. He did a nice job.
I can’t even figure out which sort of object to use for this week’s rating. Any suggestions?
Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, 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?)
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