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?
How fleeting happiness is in Mystic Falls. In an episode that frustrated me on first watch but resonated on the second (more on that in a bit), the ties that bind brothers, friends, lovers, and allies. With the question of the sire bond at the forefront, We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street pushed characters into taking a position, making judgments, and deciding what was, for them, the right course of action.
The writers of TVD often go for gold, hoping to stick the landing with a bold choice, mythology twist, or shippers-gird-thyself hookup — and My Brother’s Keeper followed in that proud tradition. Before I’m tempted to stretch my terrible gymnastics puns any further, let me just say: how fun was it to see Gabby Douglas in Mystic Falls being harassed by Caroline? Love that the show invited her to be a part of the shenanigans as the crown was passed to a new Miss Mystic Falls. And with this marker of a year gone by since Caroline won, Stefan dipped into ripperdom, Damon and Elena danced, and Jeremy searched for answers about the world of monsters, we can see how circumstances and characters have changed — and what will always remain constant.