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Vampire Diaries: Masquerade

“I won’t hesitate.”

The first two-thirds of this episode were brilliant. The last third left me so discomfited that I had to bring the question up the corporate ladder and ask Billie what she thought. I’m still uncertain.

The team getting together to fight evil was great: except for Elena, everyone has superpowers, even Jeremy and Alaric with their magic rings. They decided to use their great powers very responsibly, to take down a threat to themselves and to the town. Five-against-one also emphasizes just how powerful Katherine really is. My favorite part was the texting, as it really showed Kevin Williamson’s and Julie Plec’s delight in how modern technology doesn’t ruin suspenseful moments, but can actually heighten them. My second-favorite part was that their plan included an awareness of Katherine seeing through it—and the assumption that Katherine would see Caroline as the weakest link. My third-favorite part was that Katherine had compelled both Matt and Girl #2, as back-up.

In the planning stages, there was an important moment of truth when Damon asked the team if anyone wanted to chicken out. Like Katherine, he singled Caroline out as a potential weak link, even though he’s seen her in action and knows how incredibly cool she can be. (I guess we always underestimate our exes.) I was worried about Bonnie, because I’ve never really understood where she’s coming from. (More on that in a bit.) But Damon and Stefan proved to be the weakest links: instead of killing Katherine, they entrapped her.

Billie pointed out that this is the only thing the writers could have done to keep Katherine in the game, and I think that’s why I’m so uncomfortable with the decision. It feels writerly, not related to the characters, who were so certain about their plan. Did being trapped in the room with Katherine remind our boys of their affections? Did they decide that holding her in the tomb was better than killing her? Did Bonnie want to avoid killing anyone at all? I trust this show to make a good story out of these tensions, but at this point I’m a little put off.

I did, however, love that Katherine’s counter-attack was so poetic. Even with vampire super-senses and all their knowledge, Stefan and Damon must have struggled with beating up someone who looked so much like the woman they both cherish. It’s also a neat bit of foreshadowing, if Katherine’s claim that “the doppelganger must be protected” is correct. What on earth could that mean?

Meanwhile, we got some sparkage between Bonnie and Jeremy. This might be another attempt to bring Jeremy into the fold, but... ew. Maybe my age is showing, but Bonnie asking Jeremy when he got his license really emphasized that he’s a little boy, even if he has grown up a bit and gotten a decent haircut. By the way, I’ve been meaning to say this for many reviews now: have you noticed that Tyler and Matt both made that jump from teenager to young man over the summer? They look so much more adult now.

Tyler Lockwood did some growing in this episode, too. Enter the werewolf.

And Bonnie got to meet her distant cousin, who will surely re-appear. Right? I sort of expected Bonnie to die, because she seemed to have that fey thing going on, and because we’ve all seen Scream and know that white people just have longer shelf lives--plus, she doesn't really like the supernatural power-plays, as she conveniently explained to Jeremy (and us). Her death also would have upped the ante, although then we would have lost the witch.

Maybe I’m not happy with this episode because I wanted more death? Girl At Party and Girl #2 are dead, but they don’t really matter. Then again, I would miss most of these characters if they were to die, and I think I’d stage a protest if Caroline died.

Bites:

• Caroline: “Then, I had to pretend to use the bathroom, even though I really didn’t have to go, because I’m a doofus.” Best. Vampire. Ever.

• Jenna: “I walked into a knife. How does that even happen?”

• Bonnie: “What’s going on?”
Jeremy: “We’re gonna kill Katherine.”
Stefan: “I can explain.”
Bonnie: “Please.”
Stefan: “We’re gonna kill Katherine.”

• Jeremy: “You want to dance of something while we’re waiting?”
Bonnie: “No! I mean, no, thank you.”

• Katherine: “Did I mention how inconvenient your obsession with me has been?”
Damon: “You and me both, honey.”

And Pieces:

• Alaric’s wrist-stake thing will always remind me of Wesley and his karatĂ©.

• Hey, random thought: who did Mayor Lockwood kill to become a werewolf?

• Katherine and her witch twice referred to themselves in terms of dating. Hot lesbian vampires? Dimitri, you really should start watching VD.

• Katherine looked so beautiful in that dress. Caroline looked terrible in hers. If a dress makes Caroline look misshapen, it’s just not made right.

I’m going to let all of you rate this one. How many distant Bennett cousins out of four?

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

11 comments:

  1. I don't think Mayor Lockwood killed anyone. I think he had the dormant "gene" because before he died he was like "I don't know why I'm here." So I don't think he ever changed.

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  2. Simply a brilliant episode. I loved every second of it.

    Josie, imprisoning Katherine in the tomb was decidedly more poetic than practical but I saw it as the brothers refusing to take the risk that Lucy was telling the truth about the spell being lifted. Much as they love/hate Katherine I doubt either of them would ever risk Elena’s life on the word of someone they don't know or trust.

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  3. I agree the mayor never killed anyone, he just had the capacity to become a werewolf and the luck not to meet Katherine when she needed a werewolf.

    I also have to believe that locking Katherine in the tomb was Plan B for the group. The old "seal the vampires in the tomb spell" was broken. Damon doesn't have the power to cast a spell. So either Bonnie cast it, on the slight chance that they would need Katherine later, or witch Lucy did, for no reason whatsoever. I'm thinking the tomb was Plan B all along, with everyone realizing that either Stephan or Damon would blink when it came to killing Katherine.

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  4. I loved every moment of this episode and would give it four stars. There was such a Buffyesque Scooby feel to it, I loved seeing Damon and Stefan so simpatico, and Caroline was awesome again. (Although I agree that her dress was a big miss.) The texting worked beautifully, as you said, Josie. Bonnie felt like part of the group for a change, too. I like the theory that Damon and Stefan decided not to kill Katherine because there was a possibility it would endanger Elena, after all -- makes sense.

    And I thought Bonnie and Jeremy were an interesting possible couple. Definitely sparkage, as Buffy would say. He's not *that* much younger than she is, right? He's grown up a lot in the past year.

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  5. billie- i got scooby gang vibes as well! but the end of the episode... ack, katherine's nondeath was so contrived! i also thought it would have been much more powerful to end the episode at the tomb rather than the "enter, new villain" scene. instead of upping the intensity, it felt rushed.

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  6. I loved our revamped (ha) scooby gang, with Stefan as Angel, Damon as Spike, Alaric as Giles, Bonnie as Willow, Caroline and Elena seem to be sharing Buffy and Cordelia between themselves and I guess Jeremy is a sort of he-Dawn complete with *Help writers, give me a purpose* vibes. Still, I liked the sparkage with him and Bonnie.

    I am surprised you'd take issue with them leaving Katherine alive Josie. I didn't twig that the brothers may have been worried that Katherine was still linked to Elena but I was just glad she didn't die. Nina Dobrev was so amazing this episode, I'd be gutted if Kat died.

    Hurrah Matt's safe!

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  7. Loved this episode as well. I even liked Bonnie this time around. Lucy the witch was also cool, although I sense she's destined to die.

    Not only did they not kill Katherine they locked her up with the Moonstone. So they insured the necessity to reopen the tomb. I would have been disappointed if they killed her off anyway, and having her locked up is a lot better than her just escaping the brother's trap.

    Jeremy and Bonnie could be cute and they're 15 and 17 so both are still age appropriate.

    Have Matt and Tyler really changed that much. I have to see some first season episodes and compare.

    A solid 3 star episode.

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  8. 4 out of 4 for me. I as actually relieved that they kept Katherine alive. It's only been 8 episodes with her involvement, that's too early to ice a great villain.

    That of course depends how quickly they will release her and how quickly she reluctantly helps them to defeat whatever greater threat is surely coming.

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  9. I'm a bit behind, so I don't know what's coming next. I do have to say that I am glad to see the back of Katherine for a while - at least I hope so. She's so awful that I struggle to see what the boys saw in her all those years ago. As a result, I can't take their 'love' for Elena too seriously.

    Am completely hooked on the show, however, and will now proceed to the next episode on the BluRay. Can't wait to see what Caroline is up to!

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  10. Loved this episode...But why oh why did they leave the moonstone with kat? they knew she wanted it so shouldnt they have kept it with them. It seems like the other 'writerly' stuff!
    And Josie I am a big Caroline fan but I hope you meant that comment ( Best. Vampire.Ever.) in just The Vampire Diaries. SPIKE!!!!!

    PS: How abt TVD instead of VD as the short form?

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  11. I completely agree about keeping Katherine alive seeming forces and also about everything prior to that being amazing! I especially loved Caroline's part and was so happy for her when she pulled it off perfectly! Then as they got toward the end I found myself yelling at the screen. I was very happy that Jeremy thought to put the ring on Elena, and then I said, "Okay now tex Stefan and tell him 'You can go ahead and stake her now!'" Then when Katherine was convulsing on the floor I said, "Stake her! Why aren't you staking her?!" Yes, I suppose Katherine and Elena might still be linked in the properties of doppelgänger, but couldn't they have established that flat-out rather than expecting the viewers to look for that excuse?

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