Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Vampire Diaries - The Last Day



***½ / ****
This is the kind of episode that stacks the deck and practically involves the entire cast, with Elena obviously the prize and those she loves fodder for the antagonist to lure into a trap so she cannot get away. But Damon isn’t one to just sulk around his mansion and let her just sacrifice herself. He impulsively feeds Elena his blood, assuring her that when Klaus kills her she would become a vampire! Stefan isn’t too happy with this, engaging in a fight with his brother for going against Elena’s wishes. Despite getting the better of Damon, Damon responds by staking Stefan out of intensified anger. As Stefan later tells Elena, all the senses are heightened, overwhelming. Stefan takes Elena to the top of an idyllic waterfall to talk about vampirism and if she ever thought about it or wanted to possibly be one. She insists this is not what is desired, Elena actually wanting to live a long life past 17 years old.

Klaus is the kind of smug bastard who throws around his superiority to “lesser vampires”. Damon does go after Maddox, Klaus’ witch, with Matt (of all people) saving the day with a rifle! Matt saving Damon…that is something I wouldn’t have thought was possible. This is The Vampire Diaries, though. The creative team finds ways to involve the entire cast in ways not imagined. I do like that Matt is now used more within the main series’ arc instead of just melodrama subplot underwear to put on and take off when he’s needed. First it was Elena who preferred Stefan, and at this point it appears Caroline is choosing Tyler of him. Matt is always just unlucky in love. But he just so happens to be in the right place at the right time as far as Damon is concerned. The episode returns to Jonas and Luka’s death, recognizing Greta—Klaus’ other allied witch—as perfectly willing to do whatever Klaus wants. It isn’t emphasized to any great extent, but Greta does dismiss her brother and father’s attempts to “save” her. They died in vain. That is a tragedy not quite given enough real emotional oomph, but Greta willingly joining forces with Klaus speaks on how futile it seems to try and save someone who doesn’t want to be.


To many of us the similarities to Twilight (2008) cannot be dismissed. And because of that, a certain section of horror fan won’t give The Vampire Diaries a passing thought. I admit that I watch the show because of my family. But I’m the first to credit the writing staff when I am impressed with the clever bait and switch work they apply which seems to indicate to us that Elena has no way out and the end is near only to produce an alternative route towards rescue. How to keep that up requires consistent ingenuity (and more than a bit contrivance). Still the show features the forces of darkness [insert soap opera gum in the works] seemingly trying to thwart a vampire and human in love; The Vampire Diaries can’t really disguise the familiarity it has with Twilight. Of course, this show has to move beyond that and develop multiple characters, not just Elena and Stefan. And including Damon in the triangle, as friends of Elena’s get drawn into the dangers trying to prevail against her, can gradually give The Vampire Diaries its own identity even as it includes vampires, witches, and werewolves in the horror genre.

Damon is often a help and curse to Stefan and Elena. He is dead set to prevent Elena from sacrificing herself in the hopes that Elijah’s “resurrection elixir” will return her to the land of the living. That was a chance Damon just wasn’t willing to take. Even though it is not supposed to be his choice to make, nonetheless, Damon doesn’t care. And his blood in Elena’s system would seem to indicate she’ll be a vampire by day’s end into night.


Caroline and Tyler as the vampire and werewolf picks Klaus decides are fit to die for the ritual [to set free his dormant werewolf side], Elena, the doppelganger, and Greta offering her witchcraft services to him as he is currently in possession of the moonstone…the episode builds up Klaus legitimacy as a serious threat that Elena and her friends may not overcome. Klaus is so full of himself, how satisfying it would be to see him usurped. Elijah appears early in the episode, only to never be seen again once Damon ruins his elixir plans. Damon getting vervain to Katherine so she could avoid being compelled by Klaus serves as a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” situation, getting information when needed. Klaus tests her often, but Katherine is good at avoiding detection. Even told to go into sunlight, Katherine has to endure the agony of the experience in order to keep her secret from Klaus. This is just the show’s way of keeping Katherine relevant, in my opinion. Caroline wanting to know why Tyler went away without saying goodbye, lured back to Mystic Falls because of Maddox’s sending his mother off her stairs, once again builds up yet another love triangle. Matt is released from any obligation to continue lying to Caroline, although her mother is determined to see through towards the fight against vampires. Damon learns of the tomb where Klaus is keeping Tyler and Caroline imprisoned in strong chain from Katherine by laying out the possibility that Stefan would have Elena forever as a vampire…I thought that was rather amusing. Katherine sure doesn’t want to compete for Stefan with Elena as a vampire; Damon knows exactly what buttons to push. And the continuous acknowledgment of the elephant in the room—Damon’s love for Elena—remains a thorn in the relationship of Stefan and Elena. Damon believes addressing matters head-on is the way to go while Elena wants to avoid getting those she loves hurt…this clashing of mentalities produces plenty of unneeded extra drama.






And Klaus rubbing his bravado in the face of Damon—knowing he was an Original while this Salvatore trying to undermine his plans is inferior in strength—creates this heavy presence of animosity. No results can be reached here because Damon can be exposed as too weak, leaving open his having to use his wits to somehow outsmart this adversary. Klaus does point out that Damon failed even as he freed Tyler (turning werewolf in the nearby woods after escaping the tomb) and Caroline…backup plan in Jules…and a transitioning Jenna! Elena finding Jenna at the ritual site, bit and on the verge of turning, the replacements for Klaus seem to assure he’ll be free of the “sun and moon” curse…only a matter of time. But where is Elijah? That is the ultimate question. And with Damon bit by Klaus, the werewolf infection emerges on his arm…how will he escape this bind???

*Alaric arrives as himself and recuperates the estranged romantic relationship with Jenna, only to potentially lose her for good.

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