Friday, February 3, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Bringing Out the Dead

Last week ended with a bang, Elijah was back, but this week's episode was remarkably sober, somber and sad from beginning to end.  While I often speculate about where the writers are going with the story, I am delighted that I am not always right and even more so when they completely catch me off guard.  Tonight's episode, the tone, the pacing, the delivery and the overall story, was remarkable for its intensity, passion and most of all, for it's devotion to family and what family means. 

Reunited

Klaus was not that happy to see Elijah last week and Elijah was less than thrilled with Klaus.  He understood immediately that it wasn't Klaus who undaggered him.  It wasn't long before these two were hammering down on each other.  It was entertaining that Klaus grabbed a dagger out of brother Kol and Elijah said, "Go ahead, but then you'll have to deal with Kol."

Based on Klaus' reaction, Elijah's morality is easier for him to manipulate.  So he put the dagger back in his other brother. A move that may have ended his alliance with Elijah before it even began. Klaus pulls the brother card, he wants to reunite their family but he needs Elijah's help to destroy Stefan Salvatore.

Okay, pardon me a moment, but if sticking the dagger back in Kol didn't tell Elijah that Klaus was definitely three grapes shy of a fruit bowl, then this statement should have.  Why the hell does he need Elijah's help? In all of this, I don't believe Stefan has ever been a real threat to Klaus.  Why Klaus has persisted in the charade, I haven't understood either. 

Loving Daddy

Every character on this show has had daddy issues.  From Michael and Klaus to the Salvatore brothers and father Giuseppe to Elena and John to Tyler and the Mayor.  Earlier this season, we watched Bill Forbes chain his daughter up, take away her ring and expose her to sunlight, his goal?  Discipline her to not react to blood, to control her hungers.  It was hellish for the girl.  

Even after Tyler and her mother saved her, Bill couldn't tell her it would ever be all right. Because vampires were wrong, they were an abomination.  The damage was enormous to the young woman, but Caroline persevered (she really has become one of the strongest women on this show).  When Tyler called Bill to ask for his help in breaking the sire bond, Bill came.  
He nearly died in his efforts to help the boy his daughter loves and Meredith used Damon's highjacked blood to save him.  So when Caroline walked into that storage room at the hospital and found Bill, throat slit and a knife buried in his heart, she nearly broke down.  But the worse was yet to come.

Bill woke up, in transition, a state he did not want to be in.

Sadly, I'd seen Bill dead in the preview and I worried that this would be his fate.  But I also knew from the moment his eyes popped open that Bill Forbes wouldn't feed. He'd make the hard choice, the choice that was right for him, and he'd die.  Because he was already dead. 

Candice Accola, Jack Coleman and Marguerite MacIntyre played every nuance of the story, from Caroline breaking down in tears and begging her father not to leave her to Liz's painful, but quiet acceptance that the father of her child was choosing death because that was what he believed in.  What he believed was the right choice.

The human choice.

It was a powerful and moving underscoring theme for the episode.  Amidst the politics, the family drama and the desperation played out in every other storyline, this one resonated in all of them. 

Of particular note was Elena's presence at Caroline's side, her comfort, her friendship and her sharing of Caroline's grief.  How terribly sad was it when Caroline asked Elena what it was like, to lose her father?  Of course, Elena would know.  The worst was realizing all the things he wouldn't be there to share with her again.  

Some pains you never get over.   I was glad that Matt showed up.  Matt's a supporting character for the most part and the one most often left behind by his supernatural friends.  But Matt has always been the best friend, the considerate guy and the strong shoulder.  He was there for both Caroline and Elena in this episode. 

My only real objection to the loss of Bill Forbes is that I think he had knowledge that they will need.  How he trained himself to resist compulsion, why he did it and how it could have helped them all.  But maybe we will find out from his partner Steven.  (Nice little touch there considering Jack Coleman played Steven Carrington years ago on Dynasty who was also homosexual.)

The Originals

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted Damon to have left Elijah a note, it was rather amusing to see him show that same note to Damon when they met for a tete a tete in the grassy field.  While we weren't privy to most of their conversation, what I have always loved about Elijah is the quiet, absolute certainty with which he approaches any conversation or negotiation.  He is honorable (with that one exception) and he's willing to listen. 

He and Damon came to an accord, because it was up to Damon to make Stefan show up for the sit down.  Stefan wasn't interested in playing, he's still sulking over the idea that Elena kissed Damon.  Suck it up sissy pants, Damon's right, if you hadn't chosen to play the dick route, that kiss probably wouldn't have happened.  

For now, the brothers need to buy their witches some time to open that coffin.  (Sidenote: Totally called it on where they would hide the coffin, too.  The one place the vamps can't go).  

I am not going to go into detail about the dinner between Elijah, Klaus, Stefan and Damon, but I will hit some high points.  For one thing, the tension is unimaginably thick and so was the hint of pomp and circumstance.  I loved it when Elijah suggested they play along, it just made things easier.

The dinner included the following moments (both squee worthy and worth keeping track of):

  • Elijah inquired after the lovely Elena, pissing Stefan off and earning an amusing summary from Klaus about the state of the Damon/Elena/Stefan triangle
  • Stefan tried to get a dig in about Klaus killing his mother (too late, Elijah already knew)
  • Damon slapping down rebellious Stefan with the reminder that he killed their father, so maybe he could save the judgment for dessert
  • The conversational introduction of Tatya, the original Petrova and the woman who captured the hearts of Klaus, Elijah and quite a few more apparently
  • The teases of what happened to Tatya - including the fact that it was her blood in the wine the Originals drank
  • The violence escalating between Klaus and Elijah over her and their final decision when she wouldn't choose  (Yes, Damon, it does all come down to the love of a woman)
  • Did their mother kill Tatya or did she just use her blood?  That's unclear, particularly because the brothers still fought over her after they were turned, which suggests she lived
  • Did they kill her when she wouldn't choose between them?
  • Loved the mention that she'd already given another man a child thus ensuring the Petrova line
  • Klaus outlined his plan for Elena, which didn't include either Salvatore brother, because they would either turn her or kill her in their conflict
  • Klaus wants to marry her off and let her have lots of babies to insure a future doppelganger


Okay, hold the phone.  The doppleganger was supposed to be tied to the hybrid curse, a fail safe to break it should they ever have the opportunity.  The curse is broken, thus there should be no more dopplegangers.  Methinks there is something else a foot here.

Also note, I suggested recently the only way to kill Klaus would be to strip his immortality, to 'unbind' him from his mother's spell.  Since it was Petrova blood involved in all those curses, one has to wonder if the key to destroying Klaus is in Elena's blood (damn that's some crowded DNA), but I digress.



Damon took a walk (needing some air) halfway through the evening and Elijah followed him.  After they reconvened, Klaus was done with games.  He dragged Stefan over and shoved his hand in the fire and ordered Damon to bring the coffin or he was going to torch his brother.  Elijah was supposed to go with him. 

Unfortunately for Klaus, Elijah no longer has any interest in Klaus' false promises.  Damon offers him a covered silver tray for dessert and it contains two daggers.

Ut oh, Klaus.  Guess who's awake?

First to strike Klaus is Finn, the brother who has been in his coffin for 900 years (what on earth did he do?) and next up is Kol (the youngest brother).   But don't turn away too quickly, there's Rebecca and she gives him a stab in the gut.

The family's all here.

Elijah tells Damon and Stefan they are free to go, this is a family matter.  So the boys leave.  Elijah takes great pleasure in informing the seething, frustrated and teary-eyed Klaus that their family will be together, just not with him.  They're leaving.  Rebecca smiles and says before she leaves she's going to kill his doppelganger witch to make sure that he was alone, always and forever.

Klaus screams that he will hunt them down, he will chase them to the ends of the earth to which Elijah says, then you will become that which you hated...our father.

Defiantly Klaus announces that he is the hybrid, he can't be killed.  He has nothing to fear from them. To which Elijah replies, you will, once we have that coffin.  

Which is just the moment when the door opens and Elijah whirls around.  Klaus looks like he's about to vomit and the others are just stunned.  Esther enters, dressed in the same gown she wore a 1,000 years before. 

She walks past her other children to face Klaus who can barely look at her, it's all he can do to even stand there and a tear runs down his face.  His mother demands that he look at her and asks him if he knows why she is there.  He whispers, "to kill me?"

And she floors them all when she says, to forgive you.  Niklaus is her son and she wants them all to be a family again.

Raise your hand if you see this is going to be a wild and dangerous ride?

The Salvatores

It's rather odd when Damon, Stefan and Elena are the supporting characters in the piece, but tonight, in many ways, they were.  With the death of the coroner and the attack on Bill Forbes.  Elena asks Stefan if he had anything to do with killing the coroner.  Stefan can't understand why Elena would ask him that question, did she ask Damon if he's killed anyone lately?

I really wish she'd said, "No, but then he hasn't been a psycho nutjob lately, but what do I know?"

After leaving Casa Isobel, Damon and Stefan head for the Lockwood underground, on their way, they talk and Elena comes up.  Stefan says, "I love her, Damon."  To which Damon says, "So do I."

Yes, they both love her and while Damon has long accepted Stefan's feelings, Stefan is now in the part of Damon, on the outside looking in.  I understood why Damon clicked off the call from Elena right then, even though she needed to tell him about what happened to Rick.  Of course, the boys found the casket open and the Bennett witches unconcious. 

But more on the coffin escape in a minute, we need to pause to talk about the fourth storyline playing out in the episode.

Death Comes on Swift Wings

Liz is investigating the death of Bryan Walters, Meredith's ex who died with a stake through his heart shortly after arguing with Meredith.  Bill Forbes was attacked and killed at the hospital by someone from behind after arguing with Meredith.  (By the way, it was funny when she was asking Caroline if she could talk Bill out of reporting her to the medical board).  Anyway,  Alaric has a bad feeling about it, because all the weapons belong to he or Elena.  Elena's finger prints were even on the stake.

But he has weapons caches all over town, at the lake house, in Damon's trunk, at the school and the weapons are coming from different places.  He plans to confront Meredith and dreads finding out his latest girlfriend has a 'secret'.   After a long day at Caroline's, Matt and Elena go back to her place, but the power is out.

Sidenote: In a town with witches, werewolves, hybrids vampires, ghosts and originals, you come home to the power out, you don't go inside.  You go home to the power out and you find blood on the floor, you get the hell out of there.  I'm just saying. 

They find a bloody and gut wounded Alaric on the floor upstairs (after climbing up there from the looks of all the bloody handprints).  Alaric tells Elena to kill him.  She's a supernatural being after all, the ring will save him then.  And damned if she doesn't do it.  

Matt comforts her when she can't get ahold of Damon and Elena frets because she can't lose anymore family.  Liz tells her Meredith has an alibi for Rick's attack, but that's three members of the Founder's Council attacked, two dead and one gravely wounded.  Alaric wakes up, but we don't get any answers out of him in this one.

My theory:  the attacker is Rick.  Rick stabbed himself, probably because he realized it.  He's the only one with means and access if not motive.  Why do I think it's Rick?  
  • He was possessed by Klaus and we don't know that didn't leave an imprint on him. 
  • He's been drinking himself into a stupor since Jenna died, getting blind and blackout drunk
  • The ring struggled to work for him earlier, whether it was over the hybrid or the fact that some part of Rick is supernatural, who knows
The other theory is Rick keeps dying and coming back, is he bringing anything back with him?  He's died at least five times on the show that we've seen -- three this season:  Damon snapped his neck, car hit him and now with Elena thrusting the knife into him.  

Initially I wondered if Meredith accidentally turned someone and they are seeking revenge.  Or maybe Meredith is a bit supernatural herself and bringing something out in Rick.  But I am pretty sure Rick is involved somehow and that we won't know until the very end of the season.  

Family Ties

Season one offered an episode called family ties and we've always known that family was at the core of this series, the family and community connections there in Mystic Falls.  This episode really highlighted those connections from the mother who abandoned Bonnie and the need of the two to work together to unbind the coffin to the original's family issues to Damon and Stefan to Elena worried about losing Rick (the last shred of family she has) to Caroline having to say goodbye to her father.  

On a show where death happens every week, they have not allowed their characters or their fans to grow to used to it nor to dismiss it as a common occurrence.  Death has meaning and power,  in tonight's episode, they gave it dignity too.  Love is complicated, painful and filled with what if's.  

Well done, cast, crew and writers. Well done.

And next week, they're having a ball.   I wonder what Mama Original is going to say when she sees Elena if she had such a problem with Tatya.


What did you think?


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