Vampire Diaries: The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You

“Ho, ho, ho!”

Let’s take a minute to talk about suspense. Remember when people died on this show? And how now, they don’t? (Tyler doesn’t count.) If Elena’s Sleeping Beauty spell is basically a metaphor for this show’s pacing, this episode’s opening shocker is a metaphor for suspense. The episode started with Stefan’s voiceover about how it may be his last day on earth, reminding us of everything at stake.

Then, Damon walked in the door. Totally not dead, thus rendering last week’s cliffhanger moot. The mootiest.

As Stefan said, “It’s a little hard to be sympathetic about your death when you’re standing right in front of me.” And it’s a little hard to wonder about what will happen when the show seems so committed to not letting anything happen. Even Caroline seemed more amused than bemused by the “Damon’s alive, Bonnie and Enzo are late…” Christmas dinner disaster, although that may have been the white wine talking.

With few actual stakes in the present day, TVD is mining the past: in his Ripper days, Stefan encountered Seline in Monterey. He made her so remorseful that he ruined her for Cade. That situation—Stefan’s contagious remorse—makes him more desirable to Cade. Because good-turned-evil has a higher carbohydrate load than just regular, gluten-free evil. Or something.

Sybil’s death and Stefan’s promise are the big events of this episode. Will Sybil stay dead? Damon should have taken the heart with him and put it in a blender, but maybe his memories of Elena put him in a good mood. Will Stefan uphold his commitment to Cade—one year of terror for eventual freedom? I suppose we won’t find out for a while. A year, or possibly the span of the mid-season hiatus.

Other than that, not a lot happened. I felt bad for Matt discovering that his father was absentee for no good reason, but since we haven’t seen their relationship develop, it didn’t have much impact. Seline severed her psychic link with the twins, but since I didn’t know that was a problem, I wasn’t dying for a solution. And while the dinner was awkward, it was more painful than either funny or scary.

Bites and Pieces:

• Stefan put up an excessive amount of garland. And that’s coming from someone who spent this episode wishing she could type a review and piece her nine-patch Christmas quilt simultaneously.

• Cade described the separation between earthly reality and the Dutch-angle dreamworld Stefan slipped into as “the veil,” which is reminiscent of the Other Side.

• Alaric had a sort of Jimmy Stewart look going on, didn’t he?

• If Seline helps Alaric just to earn redemption and avoid hell, is she really doing good? Or just being as selfish as always?

• Bonnie was affected by the tuning fork. I wonder if that’s a sign she may get her magic back soon.

Two out of four T-shirts. Because I suspect Enzo appreciates them, and at this point I’m grading on a curve.

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?)

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Sadly for The Vampire Diaries, I loved this review more than the episode. Laugh out loud funny, Josie. As you said, character death simply has to mean more than this, or it's the mootiest. I am unhappy with the direction they chose for this final season because I don't want to see Damon and Stefan evil like this. Honestly, my favorite bit in this episode was Sybil matter-of-factly tearing the Christmas turkey into pieces with her bare hands.

I suspect Enzo will love the t-shirts because he's apparently genuinely free of Sybil now, and I kept expecting he'd go back under at any moment. When did Bonnie and Enzo become my favorite VD couple? Maybe they should go get a blender and pick up that heart, and lol again.

Okay, here's a question. I just added a link to our "Let's Doux Christmas" index because this episode of VD felt like a Christmas episode -- but the Arrow episode on Wednesday didn't. Arrow felt like an Arrow episode with Christmas in the background. What do you guys think? Am I right? Are they both Christmas episodes, or neither, one or the other?

Arrow episode: What We Leave Behind

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I'm not sure, really.

Yes, the plot was contrived. Yes, there were no stakes. Yes, it's repetitive. Yes, the whole concept is overly sappy.

This said... I sort of enjoyed this episode anyway. I enjoyed it more than the last outings, at least. For the last five seasons at least, TVD has been the epic trials of a bunch of really charismatic actors trying to sell shit as filet mignon. I think the performances were rather fine - "excellent" if you account for the quality of the source material.

The show's tendency to try to spend as much screentime on Elena as before, even though she's left the show, is absurd. Laughable, embarrassing. When Elena left, I was hoping for a resurgence of the creative writing of TVD. What we got was even worse material than the previous season, with 7 being the worst and least engaging season yet. (I think 8 is shaping up to be... more tolerable.)

I like Steroline. Always have, always will, ever since the pilot, really. Of course TVD being TVD they've screwed them up all ways to Sunday now that they're a "romantic focus couple" but again, I'm mostly in it for the actors. Candice and Paul are good at selling that romantic relationship.

I'm fine with Bonzo. Not too thrilled, but I never really shipped Bonnie with anyone. I'm not a huge fan of Bonnie.

Finally there’s something legitimately wrong with me finding it cute how much Damon loves his evil ripper brother.

Laure Mack said...

'Because good-turned-evil has a higher carbohydrate load than just regular, gluten-free evil. Or something.'

Hahahaha.

Patryk said...

I'm so ready for it to be over. It's getting harder and harder to care, but it's only 9 episodes to go so at least it's not far to go now.

Come VD make room for the quality shows that are held on the CW for midseason like iZombie and the 100. (I hope the Originals will join that list too)

Mallena said...

Mootiest, indeed. I agree with so much of what Thomas wrote, that it is now mootless for me to add more. However, I will say that the only real things that keeps me watching VD these days is Paul's physical perfection, and Ian's snarky-ness.