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Vampire Academy: Death Watch

“Even small actions can make a big difference.”

After a couple of lackluster episodes, Vampire Academy is finally living up to the promise of the books it was based on. This episode puts the Royal Moroi’s elitism and political machinations on full display. It’s not a pretty picture.

My hope that Rose would raise her standing by fighting off the Strigoi was misplaced. The Strigoi attacked St. Jude’s, a sister school, to St. Vladimir’s. Although, the attack proved Sonya's theory was correct. The Strigoi are not mindless animals. Not only was their attack coordinated, but they also had help from the inside.

Yet, the Royal Council chose to blame “Dhampir Error” when a simple explanation could not be found. Even worse, they would rather use the Psi-Hounds they know are unreliable and dangerous than agree to reinforce the wards protecting the school. Oh yes, and don’t forget, Moroi men should, as the Queen says, “Fuck more.”

It’s no wonder Dominion is ripe for a rebellion. It’s amazing the Dhampir’s haven’t staged a revolt. Female Dhampir’s can be Guardians or be broodmares for the Moroi to breed more Guardians, or become blood whores. I’m not sure if that last one is a step up or a step down. Theoretically, if you’re a male Dhampir, you’re only option is to become Guardian. And in the best-case scenario, one in three Guardian’s will die defending the Moroi. Fun times.

The non-Royal Moroi may not have to put their lives on the line. However, every aspect of Dominion society is geared to reminding them of their inferior status. They’re not even allowed to take part in the festivities to mourn their dead.

Enter Tatiana. She may not have been raised at Court but make no mistake, she’s a political animal. She acknowledges the need to modernize Moroi traditions, and unlike her Royal counterparts, she paid her respects for the Dhampir dead. Whether that was out of genuine sympathy or an attempt to shore up Dhampir support, we may never know.

Regardless, driving a wedge between Lissa and the Queen before bringing that ancient law to light was masterful. Would the Queen have pushed Lissa aside if Lissa hadn’t just forced her hand? It does beg the question if she was the Strigoi’s “inside man” at St. Jude’s. Tatiana’s plan would never have worked if the Strigoi hadn’t killed Lissa’s cousins.

Speaking of the Strigoi, not only are Christian’s parent’s still alive; it’s clear they haven’t forgotten him. They slaughtered Christian’s former roommate and resident bully. Then sent Christian the boy’s jaw as a memento. How thoughtful? No matter what their intentions were, they’ve caused even more damage to Christian’s reputation. Between that and his fear that his parents may still be searching for him, he ends his budding romance with Lissa before he puts her in more danger.

While the show hasn’t been subtle with the religious overtones, I have to keep reminding myself how important religion is to the Moroi, because let’s face it, the hypocrisy is strong In Dominion. Screwing Dhampir women to create more Guardians is the holy sacrament of rebirth, but if you drink their blood while having sex, it’s a sin.

Besides the political intrigue and the Strigoi threat, are the more mundane but no less important issues. Rose’s mother is in town. Rose believes it is to make her life a living hell, when, in reality, it is to impart a little wisdom to her errant daughter. Having the most decorated Guardian for a mother would put a chip on anyone’s shoulder, but I wonder if Rose would be this antagonistic if she didn’t suspect her mother was right.

Rose is well aware that her options as a Dhampir female are limited, just as she knows how close she came to being sent to a commune. And while Rose believes Lissa will change things when she becomes Queen, Rose is attempting to behave.

However, desperate times and all that. What started as research to find out why Rose can see through Lissa’s eyes just got more complicated. Lissa has specialized in a rare fifth element called Spirit. So, of course, even discussing it is blasphemous. On the plus side, it means Lissa can hold Mia’s snark to a minimum.

Speaking of, we’ve also learned an important fact: Mia does have a heart. She was nice to her bird lady of a sister and Meredith in the same episode. Miracles will never cease.

The same cannot be said of Jesse. If this is they’re attempt to make him empathetic, it’s not working. His father may be an asshole with a Napoleon Complex, but Jesse is still a tool.

Finally, there’s Victor. There’s no power in the ‘verse that makes me believe he’s dead. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be out of commission for a while. Since he appears to be the sole voice of reason on the Royal Council, I’d hate to see what would happen in his absence.

The world-building of the previous episodes is bearing fruit. Both the need for unity and the reasons for rebellion are coming into focus. We’re also seeing hints at how Lissa and Rose’s journey from teenagers, content to leave political squabble to others, to activists, who spark a rebellion, might come to pass.

This episode was a welcome change. More, please!

3.5 out of 5 Death Watch Masks

Bits and Bites:

This is just a minor nitpick, but they could have used a little more time on the Psi Hound graphics shots.


Lissa: “Whenever I look for you, I go to the place with the least amount of people.”

Mia: “We have places to be and kissing an Ozera outcast is not something that can happen ever.”

Mason: “Your mom is such a badass.”

Lissa: “We need you out of my head.”
Rose: “And I need her out of mine.”

Mia: “I’m sorry, but you’re going to need something a little more credible than the word of the Dhampir and the Bird Lady.”

Tatiana: “Girls like her only exist to make other people feel bad about themselves.”

Lissa: “We are all a part of this Dominion. We mourn as one.”

Silver: “Oh, we’re all fancy now that we’re out in the open.”

Queen: “I am still Queen. No more surprises until I’m not?”

Dimitri: “I hope you dance half as well as you fight.”

Janine: “The Queen’s political capital can fade. You need to protect yourself.”
Rose: “I’ve been protecting myself my whole life, not that you’d know.”

Dane Zeklos: “If you’re going to fuck a Dhampir, do it right.”

Victor: “Let me be clear. I’d sooner die than see your family’s bloodline on the throne.”
Tatiana: “Perhaps the saints will grant you your wish.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, the supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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