Vampire Diaries: Founder’s Day

“I came to this town wanting to destroy it. Tonight, I found myself wanting to protect it.”

Last week, I made a few predictions. What I didn’t count on was this show’s willingness to kill off so many people. Sure, I should have known: some of the early cast members have already died, after all, and in the course of one season, the vampires and the secret council have nearly destroyed the entire town (some with the goal of saving it). But still...color me impressed. Either way, let’s run down what I got right, and what I got very, very wrong:

We got way more than one death. Anna, The Mayor, and all the Tomb Vampires are certainly dead. The Mayor is no big loss, although I do wonder about his werewolfism (I’m just assuming that’s what it is.). He must have known that he’s a werewolf—wouldn’t his hackles perk up when he learns about “a frequency humans can’t hear”? The bigger question is whether he knew that his son was following in his father’s paw-steps.

Anna’s death actually felt like an appropriate ending for her character: she was in so much pain over her mother’s death that she finally agreed to turn Jeremy. For Anna, death might have been a release. Then again, she obviously didn’t want to die: despite being so old, she has something of a young outlook on the world. (Do vampires sort of retain the maturity they had when they were turned in this universe?)

We got way more than one cliffhanger maybe-death, and one maybe-turning. Caroline’s injuries from the car accident sound fairly awful, but I assume that she’ll live. After all, Mystic Falls is running out of people. Uncle John seems doomed: that finger-slicing thing was gruesome, to say the least. And Katherine isn’t known for her mercy. Jeremy, meanwhile—well, what is his plan, exactly? Won’t he need a live vampire at some point, even with the vial of Anna’s blood? Impracticality aside, his pain was so obvious, and so obviously manageable from the perspective of no-longer-a-teenager, which just made it more poignant. Yes, life sucks and is painful and awful. People die, and they go away, and they lie. But there are also kittens and chocolate and other goodies. Jeremy just isn’t in a place where he can see that: he wants to die so that he can live without emotion.

That’s what I got right. Well, sort of right. What I got wrong, though: I predicted one tearful goodbye that felt permanent but wouldn’t be. Nada. I also predicted that Jeremy and Elena would reunite and re-discover their affection. But as Jeremy said, this isn’t just something that goes away: he feels her betrayal too deeply. She lied to him and stole his pain. Damon and Jeremy had a touching talk, but it didn’t feel like a goodbye—at least not to Damon. If it had felt like a goodbye to Damon, I don’t think he would have left Jeremy alone. Damon has come too far.

I also predicted that ‘Katherine’ would be the last word. I was off by about 40 syllables. I’m tempted to class this as something that I got completely wrong, though, as I really didn’t see the Elena/Katherine fake-out coming. I was surprised that Elena kissed Damon, but it was so very darn sexy that I thought maybe she just got caught up in the moment. Even when she grabbed the knife, I still wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until she cut off all of Sark’s fingers that I realized Elena would probably not have the nerve to do something so gory with her aunt and brother in the house (shudder).

Speaking of fake-outs: Bonnie. I haven’t talked much about Bonnie so far in these reviews. I can’t really get a handle on her character, and the fact that she got her magic PhD off-screen just makes her more impenetrable. She’s trying to do what’s right, but her vision is skewed by her grandmother’s death. She also seems to be on something of a power-trip: just because she is Elena’s best friend (and not a very good one, lately) doesn’t give her the right to kill vampires. She’s enough of a loose cannon that I wasn’t sure if she would let the Salvatores out of the burning basement. And I think she did it to prove something to herself, not because it was the right thing to do.

How could I get this far without talking about Damon and Stefan and Elena? Their love triangle, and its uneasy resolution, got a bit lost in all the bloodshed. But even though Stefan was grumpy at his brother (really, that’s his predominant emotion, isn’t it?) he was still willing to run into a burning building to save him, possibly risking his own life. Damon is finally realizing what we realized last week: he’s opening himself up. Turns out, he’s a protector-type. Opening himself up to Katherine-as-Elena, though, is only adding fuel to a whole ‘nother fire.

And that kiss? Damon wanted it, but he looked very uncertain as he walked away. Is he willing to hurt his brother? That’s one mystery they’ll have to answer in Season Two. The mystery I’m more worried about is the fall-out from Katherine’s visit: will Elena think Damon turned Jeremy? Will the town think Elena killed Uncle John? What will happen to Elena’s aunt? Bonnie’s threat to “take down” Damon if he “spilled so much as one drop of innocent blood” is pretty much foreshadowing writ large. Damon, watch out!

Bites:

• Stefan: “It’s only real when it comes from your desire to do the right thing, when there’s nothing in it for you.”

• The Sheriff: “You want to use our town as bait?!”

• Damon: “I’m a vampire. What’s your excuse?”

• Elena: “I’m asking you not to.”
John: “That doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Elena: “As my father, it should.”

• Damon: “I saw her killed. I was watching her, and all I wanted was to help her.”

• Damon: “Life sucks either way. At least if you’re a vampire, you don’t have to feel bad about it if you don’t want to.”

And Pieces:

• Damon inserting himself into Elena’s line of sight. Cheeky vampire.

• Elena confronted her bio-dad, but she didn’t seem to have very high expectations that they would suddenly bond. A lifetime of hating Uncle John, and an evil vampire mother, will do that to a girl.

• Was Bonnie using Elena as an ‘anchor’ in the Latin Anti-Fire Spell?

Four out of four silly parades.

(Thanks to vampire-diaries.net for the screencap!)

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

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was on the edge of my seat several times during the show. I believe that Damon is confused about the kiss. He should be able to tell if he is kissing a human or not. I have a suspicion that he did not venture too far off. I hope they find Jeremy soon. Not really liking Bonnie so much right now. But I'd love to see her and Damon butt heads a little more.

Anonymous said...

I've got a question here - who did Damon actually kiss? He thinks it was Elena, and that is what counts, for him. But didn't he kiss Katherine? I mean, Elena only arrived a few scenes later... Although, I'd love to see Elena kissing Damon (who wouldn't fall for Damon, so much more interesting, charming and hunk than Stephan...). Because if he did kiss Katherine, things are going to get even more weird than they are! When is season 2 starting?! Thanks for reviewing, Josie.

Josie Kafka said...

Hi Anonymous (the June 8th Anon, not the May 19th Anon),

Yes, he definitely kissed Katherine. Why couldn't he tell she was a vampire and not Elena using his special vampire sense? I don't know: I think he was blinded by lust.

I'm dying to see how next season deals with that. Will Nina Dobrev play two roles?

pucklady said...

Upon rewatching this episode, I can't help but notice that on the Battle of Mystic Falls float, Tyler shoots Jeremy. Hmmm. Foreshadowing much?

Felipe said...

I howled at the TV when she cut off all his fingers, and even then I didn't realize it was Katherine till John said her name. What a great cliff-hanger.

What did you mean by Jeremy needing a live vampire at some point? I'm confused.

Bonnie's new found attitude isn't working for me. I mean I enjoy the whole bad ass witch they're trying to portray, but I don't think the actress is doing a very convincing job of it.

Josie Kafka said...

Hmmm...what did I mean? It definitely has something to do with how vampires are made. You have to drink blood and then die, right? I think I thought there was more blood-drinking after that.

pucklady said...

You have to drink vamp blood. Check. Then die. Maybe check. Then drink human blood. But should he accomplish all those tasks, he probably will need a live vamp as a teacher. Maybe Katherine will be his mentor! Ewwww.

But I don't think he will die. The last thing Elena said was that she was going to check on Jeremy. After she gets done dealing with whatever is going on in the kitchen, I'm thinking she will go upstairs, see the empty bottle and call an ambulance. Well, I guess they will need two ambulances, come to think of it.

pucklady said...

About that kiss ....

Here is the Season 2 trailer from ComicCon where, among other spoilery things, Damon talks about who he thinks he kissed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7qlrSLk-Uk

Mark Greig said...

I originally had no intention of ever watching this show. It looked too much like a shameless attempt to cash-in on all the Twilight hoopla (which, let’s face it, was probably The CW’s intent). But after reading some of your reviews, Josie, and watching that spectacularly cheesy trailer for season two I decided to give it a try.

The first couple of episodes were as terrible as I expected thanks to the stilted acting, wafer thin characters, clunky dialogue, nauseating voiceovers, endless horror and teen show clichés and the non-stop assault of bland college rock. Were it not for Damon’s snarky charm, Nina Dobrev and the assurances of these reviews and the dubious Paul Kelly that it gets better I would’ve happily given up after two episodes and never looked back.

Thankfully I stuck with it and the series quickly began to improve. ‘Haunted’ was the first episode that I fully enjoyed without groaning or rolling my eyes even once and by the time Damon and Elena took their road trip to George in ‘Bloodlines’ I was well and truly hooked. But I’d have to say that it’s this episode that has finally turned me into a true fan. Thank you Josie and Mr Kelly, from now on I’ll know better than to judge a TV show by its initial advertising alone.

This was just such a brilliant finale. I love how it managed to bring together all the show’s plot threads, resolving some while setting up others, without ever once feeling rushed or overstuffed. For a group of people who used to hate each other not so long ago I like how Damon, Stefan, Elena and Alaric have turned into an effective little Scooby Gang, albeit a highly dysfunctional one. Bonnie would make a nice addition to the team if she wasn’t about three hexes away from going Dark Willow on everyone's arses.

After being carelessly wasted on Heroes it’s great to see David Anders getting a meaty role as evil Uncle Sark (the closest thing the season has had to a Big Bad). I already knew the Katherine twist was coming (the season two trailer gave it away, which is what often happens when you play last minute catch up) but my jaw still hit the floor with a great loud thud when she sliced his fingers off (ouch, that was shockingly graphic). I’m sure I’m not the only one who hopes that evil Uncle Sark survives by some improbably but more than welcome miracle. Who knows, he might have vampire blood in his system (David Anders would make a mint vampire). Season two can’t come soon enough.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it Mark!

David Anders would be a fabulous vampire.

Paul Kelly said...

Dubious? Me? Actually, that's the closest I've come to a compliment in some time - I'll take it!

Now, what will it take to get you to watch Dexter? Thumb screws? A never ending loop of college rock? The boxed set of Paradox?

Mark Greig said...

No, not the Paradox box set! Please, I beg you, anything but that!

I’ll watched Dexter, I swear, just don’t force me to sit in the comfy chair with the soft cushions and watch Paradox!

Billie Doux said...

OMG Mark, you don't watch Dexter? Poke him with the soft cushions!

I just saw this finale for the first time (the rerun got preempted in Los Angeles because of wretched football again) and it was fabulous. I was expecting Elena to be Katherine at some point so the Damon kiss made me suspicious that it was her. So I wasn't that surprised when she attacked Sark (will we ever call him his VD character name? Nope) but the finger thing was still a shocker.

Can't wait for season two, and fortunately, it's right around the corner. Personally, I think Damon realized who he was kissing. And I think both Sark and Jeremy will live. Or I hope they will.

Thank you again for sticking with this show and reviewing it, Josie. If you hadn't, I wouldn't have watched it this summer.

Marianna said...

It's amazing how far this series went in one season!

I get why eternal youth might be appealing, but if I were going to choose an age to stay, it definitely would not be 15 or however old Jeremy is. I would probably go with something around 25.

It seems like we're supposed to hate Bonnie for not actually removing the spell from the weapon. But is she really wrong? If she had removed the spell, I don't see how they could have stopped the tombies from killing a lot of innocent people. Yes, she should have been more honest and protective of Stefan at least, but Stefan and Damon have been artificially alive for over 100 years. Isn't it worth it to risk Stefan's life than dozens of innocent human lives?

Maybe next review I'll comment on the ethics of stealing blood bags vs. drinking from people: is stealing blood bags really better? =)

Mallena said...

Marianna, how come every time I rewatch a show I like or start watching something I've put off watching for years, I find your comments at about the same time I'm also commenting? I don't think I have any long lost sisters. The vampire diaries is one of those shows I thought I wouldn't like because of the teenager angle, but since they don't look or act like teens, mostly, I can forget about that part. I was hooked from the first glimpse of Damon and Stefan. Gorgeous, check. Brothers, check. Older brother charming and funny, check. Younger brother serious and brooding, check. Sam and Dean, check. Too bad we can't have a crossover since they would try to kill each other. The girls on the show are okay, but Katherine is actually more interesting to watch than Elena. Hopefully she'll get better as she gets older. I liked Buffy more during the college years. Damon can stay the way he is now, he's great. I do like that he and Stefan seem to be bonding. Sure that will change, it always does. Can't wait to find out.

Billie Doux said...

Marianna and Mallena, your commenting has been intertwining lately. :)

I can't remember where I read it, but someone did a comparison article somewhere that I enjoyed about the Winchesters versus the Salvatores. The conclusion was that if they met, vampire heads would roll. As much as I love the Salvatores, I have to agree with that conclusion.

Mallena said...

Great, now I have to find that article on top of watching VD and commenting when I'm supposed to be working on my twenty years behind scrapbooking project. It's this site that has me watching everything recommended. Thanks??

Marianna said...

Mallena, That's amazing! You apparently have excellent taste. What are you thinking of watching next? =P

Mallena said...

Marianna, I'm going to rewatch Farscape when the brilliant but procrastinating J.D. finally gets around to finishing the reviews. Ditto for Star Trek Voyager. I know you probably have a life, Juliette, but... I'll watch The Originals after TVD, or when they crossover. I watch on Netflix, so current seasons of shows I watch a year later, unless I get motivated to record them on my DVR. The shows that I like that I wish they would review here include 12 monkeys, The Magicians, and Stargate Sg1. It's only 10 seasons, guys. Ha! I love science fiction and the supernatural. Real life is boring so I like my fiction out of this world. Some super heroes and an apocalypse is nice too. Thinking of rewatching Six Feet Under also. I love how that show always starts with an amusing death. I'm morbid, I know. Since I found this site, I'm trying to watch or rewatch most of the shows featured. What are you watching? Hope we don't annoy Billie if we chat here. Maybe she can add a community chat thread. Are they still called threads?

Billie Doux said...

You can chat here if you like. We've had lots of threads go sideways and become conversations. It's fun.

J.D. has officially dropped Farscape because he has other projects, by the way, and we're all currently overcommitted, big time. Farscape is an important show, though, and I'm certain that someone will eventually pick it up, when things quiet down.

Marianna said...

I'm currently doing a rewatch of Lost. Shows I'm watching more or less as they come out include The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, and Gotham. Shows that I binge a season at a time include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Once upon a Time, Bones, Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards, Sherlock, Arrow, The Flash, Supernatural, Jane the Virgin, and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. (I know the last two sound stupid, but they're actually really funny.)

I think this summer I'm going to do a rewatch of Breaking Bad and start watching Better Call Saul. I try not to think too far ahead for what shows to binge next for purposes of preventing insanity. =)

Docnaz said...

Hi, guys! I just got back from the Vampire Diaries Convention in Dallas. I took my 14 yo daughter there for the whole three days for birthday. I thought it would be hell, but I actually had a wonderful time, even though I only knew 3 actors. I have crammed the 2nd half of this season, just watching it in the background, not really appreciating it. It was super expensive but I would do it again and hopefully would have seen most of it by then. I am toying with the idea of going back for last convention next July in New Jeraey. I would love to Submit a review of the convention at some point. Seeing Ian ( Boone) was the highlight. He really is a deep, caring, intelligent person. I look forward to watching the rest of this show.

Billie Doux said...

Hey, Docnaz: If you'd like to send us a convention report, we'll post it. You can send it to our site email, which is douxreviews at gmail dot com.

Docnaz said...

Ok, Billie, I will do that!