An era is coming to an end! On the eve of the backdoor pilot for The Originals, the Mystic Falls teens (and creepily too-old-for-high-school Damon) head to prom to pay homage to a time of their lives (hopefully not the best) drawing to a close. But as they find themselves already grieving — both the actually dead and the dead-to-you friend in Elena — the high school rite of passage that is senior prom played out a little less than the Best Night Ever that Caroline hoped and dreamed for her pals. But hey isn’t that what prom is all about?
Willoughby, Pennsylvania: cream corn capital, beautiful place to die, and the site of the return of two of the most beloved characters on TVD. With doppelganger hijinks, hilarity, twists, tricks and ultimatums, American Gothic held me captive, like Katherine with a fork through her hand at the diner table. Except, you know, willingly captive.
Despite things taking a downturn for the brothers Salvatore (double fail, boys), Because the Night was wildly entertaining, and perhaps my favorite Lexi flashback ever? Quippy lines, twists aplenty, and fabulous hair — with a kickass soundtrack to boot. Bring on the night…
After the sob-fest of Stand By Me, the writers gave the characters — and us poor heartbroken fans — a break this week and had Elena and company try to have a little fun for once.
When we first met Elena Gilbert, she was grieving, but she was determined to go on living in the face of tragedy, in the face of loss. In Down the Rabbit Hole and Stand by Me, Elena Gilbert is once again tested: her faith that everything will somehow work out for the best is stretched thin to a breaking point, when the search for the cure ends in disappointment and the risks wagered result in incalculable loss.
As much as it’s always fun to leave Mystic Falls and take the TVD action out of town, if there was one skippable episode this season so far, Into the Wild was it for me. Still waiting for Silas to be magicked out of his tomb…but there still was lots to entertain and debate.
You won’t get any dancing in Mystic Falls. It’s illegal! Okay, fine, no more dances in Mystic Falls, at least under the new reign of Mayor Rudy. A great ’80s-themed episode, A View to a Kill played to all the strengths of this series: it was fun and funny, scary and violent (I was legitimately concerned about Jer’s arms), full of excellent reusable turns of phrases (e.g., revenge sex handbook, villain bonding time, dysfunctional bickering lunatics…), and yet able to pull a punch emotionally.
Now that was some diabolical fun. And kind of violent? I wonder sometimes if Vampire Diaries episodes and our reactions to them could be used as some sort of psychological test — because I do not know what it says about me, but it was a delight to watch things get a little more out of control than usual in Mystic Falls.
Ah, high school. A place of power dynamics between cruel teachers and unruly students, where tensions over alliances and over lost loves run high. And, of course, at Mystic Falls High, it’s an even more heightened reality than a regular high school — one where the stand-in teacher Rebekah can compel her would-be pupils into revealing whatever she wants them to. After School Special lived up to its name, but instead of dealing with teen pregnancy or the dangers of drugs (you’ll jump off the school roof!), it was a lesson in truth, lies, and the power of both to hurt.
It was a fair guess that The Vampire Diaries’ first foray into a holiday episode would be bloodier than your average Christmassy fare, but what a beautiful, poignant, and bloody episode that was. A highlight of the season so far for me (along with Memorial), O Come All Ye Faithful hit such a resonant tone of melancholic but hopeful, as it explored the existential loneliness that plagues immortals (and mortals alike) while emphasizing how key trust and family are in finding purpose and peace. From the soundtrack to that fake snow falling on the town square to that stunning slaughter scene: this is an exceptionally well put together hour of television, and what better gift for the TVD family than that?