Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Vampire Diaries - The Birthday



*** / ****
Stefan sure doesn’t appear to be at all in control of the softer side, if the opening episode of the third season of The Vampire Diaries is any indication. In fact he’s full blown psychopathic, told by Klaus to tear into two young women in a Tennessee house once they divulge the location of a certain werewolf named Ray Sutton, located at a bar. Klaus wants werewolves so he can create hybrids. Stefan is obedient to him so that his own “family” isn’t a target of Klaus. So Klaus is the perfect villain to despise because he’s responsible for keeping Stefan and Elena apart. When Stefan calls Elena at the end, it is here that we realize that Damon is not quite right, believing his brother is so far gone (after compelling Andie, the reporter girlfriend of Damon’s, to leap from a balcony in her television news station) he’ll never return to who he was, considered totally a “ripper”.

When Damon and Alaric head to Tennessee, following animal reports very similar to vampire attacks, locating the house Stefan and Klaus passed by at the beginning of the episode, it confirms Damon’s worst fears…the bodies of the female victims are set up in a pose, as if still living, on a coach, hands open as arms are stretched on their legs. This pose, Damon iterates, comes from Stefan’s guilt, returning to himself after a ripper feed. Damon happens to touch the body of one of the victims, and her head falls from the neck. It is a gruesome revelation…Stefan, completely over to the bloodlust, is a savage beast, coming to his nasty handiwork with a horror of what he’s responsible for. And Damon later tells Elena—after she refuses to let him conceal Stefan’s behavior since this excursion to the darkside at Klaus’ behest—that he’s been on a tear down the Eastern seaboard, a map later detailing Stefan and Klaus’ exploits. Damon thought it best to keep Stefan’s ripper activities from Elena, but she is too stubborn to leave things be. Stefan trying to maintain the darker alter ego so that Klaus won’t target Elena and his brother, the ending shows that he isn’t quite too far gone. But when he kills Andie, it is quite a contrast to Damon: the roles are reversed now.

Caroline and Matt eventually have a brief conversation at Elena’s birthday party (she’s now 18!)—extravagantly pulled together by Caroline—but by the end of the episode, the extreme horniness of her and Tyler results in their passionate sexual encounter. Yep, as vampire and werewolf respectively, these two have quite the heightened sexual drive. And their scene is the basic “clothes coming off fast, bodies moving at a quickened pace to get to the bed”, but the next morning has Mama Lockwood surprising Caroline with a vervain trick that reveals her vampirism, firing wooden bullets to her back. That’s right: Caroline is once again a victim of a surprise attack. Things are about to get even more complicated for Caroline, as if she needs anything else! Matt, meanwhile, smokes some dope with Jeremy (who is working at the Mystic Grille during the summer and still seeing his dead girlfriends) and tries to come to terms with everything he’s experienced over the last few months. Jeremy, understandably, is really having a hard time trying to keep the girlfriends away!

Damon in the role of Stefan is certainly taking some getting used to. Despite surprising Elena naked, Damon can’t get her mind off of Stefan. The episode has Elena celebrating a birthday without him, and her dour mood reflects Stefan’s absence felt. The Vampire Diaries is all the more a soap when Elena longs for Stefan and vice versa while Damon just can’t hide how he feels for Elena. And Stefan separated from her, no matter how he must do so in order for Klaus to leave Elena alone, remains a reminder of who he is when the ripper doesn’t Hyde from within to ravage those Klaus wants harmed. Poor Ray, at the bar, endures torture and suffering, eventually providing the location of fellow werewolves to Klaus, as Stefan assists (often doing all the work while Klaus questions and mocks the victim). But Klaus’ blood does not transform Ray into a hybrid so his heart must be plucked out. The bar scenes are brief and serve as an example of Klaus’ easy ability to torment others with no qualms whatsoever. Werewolf, vampire, or humans, they are all meaningless to Klaus. All Klaus cares about is starting his own superior race. Stefan, unfortunately, must serve as his running mate, despite desires to be elsewhere. When Stefan, though, is the ripper, he’s a nasty piece of work.




Alaric is dealing with the loss of Jenna and a current existence lacking real definition. His present course is cloudy, and crashing on Elena's couch in the house where his love once resided is too much. So another has left Elena. Klaus has taken a lot from her. Alaric is a derelict vessel in need of a direction.







Oh, and once again Bonnie is away from the show, off to visit her father’s side of the family. It frees the show from having to give Bonnie a third season story for that interim. Caroline, on the other hand, appears to be interlocked in a complex story with Tyler and his vampire-hating mother.

Stefan telling Damon to leave well enough alone, a compelling switcheroo from what we have seen previously. Stefan making Damon miserable has its irony.

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