Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'Monster's Ball' review: Babies having babies

I must really be a masochist. OK, here's a stream of consciousness (I apologize in advance):

Well, let's be honest: that wasn't a bad episode of The Vampire Diaries. But, then again, as I've been reiterating for this entire season, this season is just a reiteration of the show. Even Caroline is tired of having the same talk with Tyler about him leaving and having to do things elsewhere. Tyler should take the word "hi" out of his lexicon, because he's more prone to goodbyes, anyhow.
By the same token, Damon is still keeping Elena out of the loop — just like everyone usually does with Elena. And even Jeremy has resorted to not caring what Bonnie thinks, re: her own death. Though, at least in that case, I'm erring on Jeremy's side since Bonnie has been one notch above pathetic this season, hovering around everyone whilst telling them how great they are. But when it comes to Bonnie, not even her afterlife is much about her anymore (not that it ever was). Damon just wants to bring her back from the dead because it will satisfy Elena. Also, I love that Bonnie is dead and everyone's just like, "Let's go to a ball!"

But what's most telling is that the only things that felt fresh or even partly exciting in this episode were moments with characters that were just relatively recently introduced. Quetsiyah continued an interesting arc, for me personally. I just think that the actress is having a fun time in the role. Though, if it weren't for her, this would probably feel like a retread too. A lover scorned? Sounds familiar. This episode culminated for me when Quetsiyah, Silas, and Stefan were all in a room together.

Yes, there were scenes like Katherine's daughter being New Lady (sorry, I can't keep up with all these  people) that should have felt like a hard-hitting twist, but to which I just shrugged. And Katherine is my favorite character. When Damon decided to kill her, I cheered him on; it would mean that I could quit. But then her heart kept beating, and I thought that's sort of the reason Vampire Diaries is struggling a bit. They keep Bonnie and Tyler around even though they have nothing left to contribute. I'm not saying they're useless, I'm just saying that clearly the writers haven't found what they want to do with them yet. I mean, Tyler indefinitely stays out of the show. (Perhaps they have something really great lined up for him on The Originals, however.) Katherine's death would have been one of the major deaths in more than a season and a half. It was a moment where I was genuinely shocked at a plot twist for just a moment — and then she breathed again, and it felt trite.

Though, that moment does speak volumes about Damon and Elena. Elena obviously still wants Katherine dead, as all she really did was furrow her eyebrows once Damon shoved Katherine to her supposed death. I, for one, think that Damon will always have an insecurity when it comes to the romance his current girlfriend shared with her ex. The love of his life prior told him that it would always be Stefan, and last season, Damon had to deal with the fact that Elena might have only loved him because of the sire bond. He's just not sure whether she could ever love him more than she love(s/d) Stefan. There's a part of me that believes he wants to help Silas defeat Quetsiyah because she's the one who told him destiny is not on his side, that Stefan and Elena will find themselves back to each other. His determination to bring Bonnie back — while annoying that it's about Elena — is almost a quest in brownie points. He specifically tells Stefan that he's going to get Elena's best friend back, as if that's a tally in the Pro Column for Dating Damon. But something both brothers have in common, and it's a tally for the con column, is that they never feel the need to bring Elena into the process as collaborators. They frequently take it upon themselves to fix either her or her surroundings to claim those fixes as prizes to trade for her affections. Is Damon truly over Katherine or is he just set on the prize? Can he just not handle losing another Katherine to Stefan?

All those are interesting questions and insights I would love for the show to explore, but I'm not going to hold my breath. We'll see. That final scene was much more thought-provoking than the entire episode that felt like I've seen it before. It's just that, a couple of seasons ago, the show was tired of the original characters already, so it brought in the Originals. It was so fascinated with them, the entire show became about them, basically. Truth be told, coming from someone who wanted the show to focus on the original characters again, the Vampire Diaries's new normal might be just focusing on newcomers that contribute to the larger mythology, especially when everything with our core cast results in a regurgitation (Tyler leaving; Elena not in on the plans; Jeremy's romance with ghosts) or strange twists (Amnesia Stefan).

I'm just waiting for that moment in season five where I go, "Aha! That's what season five is about."

No comments:

Post a Comment