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Vampire Academy: Molnija

“What did you do?”

The Molnija represents Dominion’s highest ideals. Tradition. Duty. Bravery. Honor. This episode shows how low Dominion’s standards have fallen.

Tatiana personifies everything wrong with Dominion. She dares to accuse Victor of playing at faith while she uses the Dhampir deaths as proof both that the younger Dhampirs should be promoted to Guardians and that the older Dhampirs must not have been fit for duty. Tatiana also mined Sonya’s grief for her political advancement.

That said, I may be supplanting Judeo-Christian ethics for Elementalist ones. It’s not entirely clear what the Elementalist faith entails. On the plus side, we know it precludes murder and using magic against other Moroi. But it also appears to be the rationale for absolute deference to Royals and the subjugation of Dhampirs. So, there’s that.

If we needed more proof of Dominion’s perfidy, there’s Mason’s father. He may not be on the Council, but he’s just as bad. He is now profiting off the dwindling number of Guardians by charging the government to relocate non-Royals to safer areas. Victor’s is only half right. Dominion’s moral center is not corrupted, it’s practically non-existent.

But not quite. This episode introduced us to Kieran. A Moroi who took in his Dhampir children after their mother’s death rather than see them sent to a commune. On his deathbed, he took the time to comfort the Dhampir who ended his sign’s life. Then again, Kieran’s not a Royal.

There’s also Mia. The snarky social climber’s heart has grown three sizes since the premiere. Her love for her family is undeniable. And despite submitting to the Church’s punishment, she would use her magic again in a heartbeat if it meant keeping Meredith safe. She’s also befriended Christian, the outcast she denigrated only days ago. One could make the argument that she did so only to get him to teach her, but that wouldn’t explain why she promised to be there if he needed to talk. She’s fast becoming one of my favorite characters.

Lissa’s white hat is tinged with gray lately. Compulsion must be a tempting solution to one’s problems, but Lissa promised she wouldn’t compel Jesse and then did just that. Granted, Jesse was bigger, stronger, and was physically intimidating her at the time. He may be a jackass, but his lack of agency with his father seems to be the primary reason for treating everyone else so poorly.

While we’re on the subject, is it just me, or does Jesse have a death wish? Or, protestations aside, does he want to be Strigoi? I don’t think he demanded to leave the party in order to become a Strigoi’s snack, but he didn’t seem to mind the prospect.

Adrian is the third Spirit User we know of, not counting St. Vladimir. Apparently they aren’t as rare as we’ve been led to believe. If so, how has the church and the Royal Council kept Spirit’s existence quiet for so long? Especially, when the consequences for its use seem to be so debilitating. Lissa hasn’t suffered the effects Sonya has, but how long can her luck last?

Which brings us to the heart of the episode. This should have been Rose’s moment of triumph. She’s on track to equal, if not best, her mother’s record at the Academy. Instead, she’s wracked with guilt over Mikhail’s death. Knowing it was self-defense does nothing to ease her conscience. She hopes visiting Mikhail’s family will.

His sister, Sasha, knows Rose had no choice, but she’s not ready to forgive Rose for ending her brother’s life. His father, Kieran, is more understanding. He informs Rose that she saved Mikhail from becoming the thing he feared most. It may have given her some comfort, but in the end, neither Sasha nor Kieran can absolve her. She needs to forgive herself.

I guess opposites do attract. Dimitri doesn’t just follow the rules. He seems to crave the structure they provide. What is he trying to rein in? At first, I thought he was just an older, wiser version of Rose. He’d had a Royal Moroi best friend and lost him and contents himself with duty and religion to protect himself from more heartbreak. Now I’m not so sure. Regardless of the reasons, Rose has upended his ordered world.

Ostensibly, the series is about how Rose and Lissa spark a rebellion against Dominion’s repressive and antiquated traditions. Toward that end, each episode follows three major storylines. The first is the mounting reasons Dominion needs to be reformed. The second is Rose’s dawning awareness of that need and her decision to fight the status quo. Last, is Lissa’s search to learn the truth about Spirit and how she can use it to make Dominion a better place for all its citizens.

Once again, The Powers That Be succeed in their aims. Both Rose and Lissa have inched closer to their goals, and I remain thoroughly disgusted by the Royal Council.

4 out of 5 pool parties

Bits and Bites:

Pulling Mason off the Royal Tour may not have been an appropriate punishment, but I’m with Rose. It’s a good thing he didn’t get to see his dad.

Rose Hathaway, the brilliant wildcard. What a perfect description.

Last week’s question has been answered. Not only can Rose sense when Lissa is in danger, she can sense when Strigoi are nearby.

Another question answered. I wondered why the bigger, and supposedly stronger, Jesse didn’t stand up to his father. Now, we know.

Quotes:

Lissa: “If I can stop even a little to stop what happened to Mikhail from happening again, I have to try.”

Mia: “You ever just want to say, ‘fuck it?’”
Christian: “All the time.”

Kieran: “My son would have done the same for you.”

Sasha: “Why do they get to decide how we live or die?"
Dimitri: “Because the Elements will it.”

Mia: “Thanks.”
Christian: “Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that word before.”

Lissa: “Do you ever get tired of being such a selfish prick?”

Andre: “That’s my girl. Now, go get it done.”

Rose: “Do your duty. Be the good soldier. But I’m done following the orders of people who don’t put me first.”

Dimitri: “Guardians follow orders or the system crumbles.”

Announcer: “My lords and ladies, your host, the ever-irreverent and fabulously inappropriate, Adrian Ivashkov.”

Tatiana: “When I become Queen and institute better testing, we’ll know if someone is an incompetent fighter.”

Dimitri: “I know you’re hurting, and I’d do anything to make it stop.”

Adrian: “You up for an adventure?”

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

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