A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×09 (Grief, it’s what’s for dinner)

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SUMMARY

Sybil orders Damon to return to Mystic Falls and give her the striker (ball) while Stefan begins to realize that Elena is still deeply embedded in Damon’s mind and makes plans to rectify that. Meanwhile, Matt searches for the bell at Seline’s house as Dorian distracts Seline with the tuning fork at the grill. At the Founder’s celebration, Sybil and Stefan work together to distract Damon while Caroline struggles to keep Stefan from murdering the guests. Bonnie and Enzo return to aid Caroline while also dealing with struggles of their own regarding Enzo’s subtle request to turn Bonnie into a vampire so they could be together forever. Stefan makes a young woman into a vampire stating that vampirism is his key to making any innocent being become evil for Cade. Damon subdues Sybil after several mental obstructions and later attempts to make her suffer but instead, Sybil relinquishes all of Damon’s guilt within his humanity to overtake him. Matt recovers the bell as Dorian brings Seline to him regarding the necessity of a Donavon bloodline to activate the bell properly.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Sometimes there are flashes and a remembrance of what came before, and then there’s flat-out ripping off their own plots from season’s past. It makes sense from a storyline’s perspective in helping Damon understand his dilemma, but we can only come full circle so many times before the writing becomes oddly redundant in its own capacity. If nothing else, the audience is getting beat in the head by its own striker to make us remember how much Elena meant to Damon for the sake of this season’s dragging calamity. Fear has never been the best of weaknesses for Damon, but since Elena herself can’t be present, his constant angst and anxiety over ending up in hell is vastly becoming a trademark right under his beguiling looks and never-changing stare-offs. When it’s endearing, his situations write themselves rather artistically, but the struggle has become too internalized for us to really understand what his problem is. His humanity is being guarded by Sybil’s literal mind games and so far the toughest moments to watch are how he deals with the opposition when he himself can’t decide what he truly wants to do. He’s in the grayest area of his life, neither good nor evil, just a walking philosophical nightmare that can’t wake up, and it’s about time he did.

 

THE GOOD

I want to put this out on top but it was very logically sound that Bonnie and Enzo had this inevitable conversation about her becoming a vampire. It makes sense and every vampire who has loved a human goes through this drama because love and passion are endlessly and chaotically bound to the mortal coil. What stands out is that Enzo isn’t going to force her or make a situation happen that binds her fate, he’s willing to deal with the mortal confines just as Bonnie conjures an idea about the somewhat forgotten cure, a device in this TV formula that hasn’t been spoken of since the days of Damon’s struggle with taking it or not. Bonnie remembers it and now she’s thinking of putting it to a more proper use. That has loads of potential to muck things up between a these pair of relationships and I’m actually more interested in that turnout than the bell-plot at hand.

 

Regardless with out we back-peddled into another Founder’s dance-off scenario, Stefan is still holding his own as the resident villain for the moment. He should absolutely be unpredictable even to his own brother who’s busy dealing with his own internal mess. Stefan turning innocents into vampires is, on paper a good idea but at the same time it doesn’t in a way remove the choice of killing from their hands most definitely if any new vampire turns their switch off. What would really set him apart from other megalomaniacs of the past is if he went and started turning entire cities creating a vampire epidemic, but this story is very centralized and isn’t going to be dealing with a world-wide apocalypse. But still, he’s thinking in the right direction.

 

THE BAD

Any excuse to get the cast in some suits and dresses because next to the standard Mystic Fall’s annual “whatever-we-want-to-celebrate” angle surely makes for some elegant-fuel for the predictable fire. This episode showed that Caroline does care about tradition and is now the center for continuing those traditions that she cared about. I’m not certain we needed a main character going through this mode in constant reminder of showing us why the town is so great and how she’s essentially a control-freak of her own creation. She’s has some odd responsibility quirks and in a way it’s possibly a scenario she cooked up to deal with the grief of letting go of the twins. There small fixes in my opinion because she’s not dealing with that grief and the other grief of losing Stefan. She hasn’t truly broken down since the loss of her mother and by not doing so, she’s re-treading on familiar plots that we’ve already seen because she needs to relive those good times, or some semblance of it. In conclusion, this show somehow tries to make it about her, and it shouldn’t.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Bonnie started warming up to the idea of becoming a vampire. It was unexpectedly a delightful moment that I think needed to happen to help cement the legacy of their relationship. She lamented on how her perception of her vampire friends went through many struggles while dealing with the vampire tendencies that come with the package. In the end, she turns the idea around on Enzo, much the way Elena and Damon went through this, and while the parallels are there, Enzo is less like Damon in that he isn’t likely to waste too much time thinking about it her proposal.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Damon is sitting front and center this time around. He’s making efforts even if he doesn’t really understand the reasons behind them, and for the most part is doing well enough not joining in on Stefan’s journey back into ripper territory. He’ll be force to make more drastic decisions, but for now he’s baby-stepping in the right path. Now he has to deal with all that guilt circling back into his psyche.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Now we’re aware that the Donovan bloodline seems to be the only ones capable of utilizing the true purpose of the bell. So the Donovan’s can only kill the sirens. That seems plausible, but does that mean that Sybil is aware of this? If so, why didn’t she just kill them to begin with instead of looking for the pieces? We might be missing some other key pieces of information here.

 

Would it be in character for Stefan to hold onto the ring that Caroline returned to him? Wouldn’t he just drop it or throw it away immediately after Caroline walked out on him? He’s not subdued by inkling’s of humanity pressed within objects like Damon is. I can’t see him holding onto it on purpose if not to use against her in a later time.

 

It was an interesting take on how Caroline helped the new girl deal with becoming a vampire. She really encouraged the brighter side of it while in the past most new vampires deal with the negative side and struggle with the drinking blood aspect to seal the deal.  Caroline is simply glossing over that detail and concentrating on more practical things that come with living forever. It was a change from most instances, however I don’t expect the new vampire to last long in this final season. I give it one more episode.

 

In all fairness to the ripper personality, Stefan should be in berserker mode from here on out. He gave in, that means he’s killing anything and everything, he shouldn’t be back to safe and calm-evil Stefan. Every time there’s a group of people, he should be feeding like he did in the previous episode. Now safety precautions, no segments where he’s normal-ish and can control it. He should be lashing out at least once in every episode from here on out.

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Enzo and Bonnie made the episode more uplifting than it deserved to be. It gave the aura of a repeater where too many elements from a previous episode make its way back into the new one and somehow giving us more nostalgia than necessary. We know Elena and Damon were going to destined for each other from that dance, their eyes gave it away long ago. If Damon’s sort-of humanity state can’t grasp that concept fully by now, it’s time he moved on per Stefan’s message. We’re leading into a perceived final showdown between Seline and Sybil which should hopefully wrap up in time for Cade’s even bigger showdown to come. Mostly mildly entertaining with a few touching moments and future plot guaranteed to involve the vampire cure. Will Enzo consider it, or will Bonnie be fated to become immortal like all her friends. We’ll see. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×08 (If I went insane every time I heard the definition of insanity on a TV show…)

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SUMMARY

After killing a self-help group, Stefan challenges Damon by attempting to corrupt a young doctor into killing Damon by compelling a false story about him killing her parents years ago. Meanwhile, Matt and his father discover at the armory that their Maxwell ancestor created a bell capable destroying the sirens but was split apart shortly before the Founders created Mystic Falls. One part of it was the tuning fork which Alaric possesses while he’s under witness protection. Sybil forces Caroline to locate another piece of the bell by threatening the lives of several high school students. Together they find that Seline already has the piece as Matt and his father save the students. Stefan’s plan to corrupt the doctor succeeds which later convinces Damon to throw away Elena’s necklace and end the doctor’s life even though she resembled Elena. Later the next day, Damon returns to the field and recovers the necklace while Stefan returns to ripper form and murders a hall full of people at a hospital. Damon finds him in feeding wildly and in a savage mode.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The final journey of the Salvatores begins with Stefan’s return to ripper status, once more consumed by the vampire fury to kill and feed. It’s up to Damon now to diminish the effect or possibly to share in his brother’s fate all while an ancient weapon may hold the key to stopping the sirens once and for all. I’m less enthused about the scavenger hunt toward this relic and want to stay focused on Stefan’s fall into darkness again. What’s humorous is Stefan’s inhumanity actually tried to stave off the urge to be truly evil which goes to show how many variant evil layers vampires can have on a show like this.

 

What really stood out is the brothers and their pursuit to dignify their existence with some aspect of human worth. They are each falling further toward a darkness that by their own definition isn’t salvageable yet the women and friends in their lives differ to believe so. If I had one guess I’d say Elena is the key to saving both of their souls, however if the necklace has no effect on Stefan, what good will the real Elena have?

 

THE GOOD

Stefan is playing a dangerous game because his method in weeding out evil people is the value of corrupting innocence as opposed to hunting those who have already succumbed to their fate. This allows his ripper form to weigh more on the murders he’s performing because even with his humanity turned off, he was trying to maintain some semblance of order in obeying Cade. Ripper-Stefan needs to dangle that necessity and prove that no one human or otherwise is above the act of evil if given the proper motivation. Damon relents while still finding ways to save himself some moments of peace. Whomever loses this struggle first could be the one brother that loses their life for all time and that is what’s continually driving this show into its last hurrah, not finding a bell.

 

THE BAD

Sybil’s entire attitude and method in controlling Caroline made this tough to watch. She’s still all over the map in both motivation and capability. Somehow her abilities are getting stronger as is her obsession with the bell that is the siren killer as far as we know. At this point in the show, Cade should be the main on-screen villain delivering his evil speeches and performing mad acts rather than Sybil who remains a gifted brat if we’ve ever seen one. And as clever as she may be, Caroline should seen through her threat to kill the twins. Not the best writing thus far.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon speaks to the inmate and then finds the necklace. Damon is fantastic when he’s in a calm reflective state of mind, something not often seen with his humanity off. It’s interesting that we’re still acknowledging his humanity is off given how he’s acted as of late. True inhumane Damon wouldn’t try and stop the doctor from killing him. That necklace has already started the ember of humanity in him, he just hasn’t truly accepted it aside from saying it makes him feel better. Keyword here, feel.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Stefan is back to true form as he plays the devil on the shoulder. Classic villains have the ability to be both menacing and patient, and so far he’s delivering on both with the exception of the final moment, which I hoped would be saved until a later episode. We’re not entirely sure if Stefan’s ripper personality will actually conflict with Cade’s plan, but Damon understands what will happen if he doesn’t stop his brother. Finding an Elena look-a-like and actually convincing her to play out the role he gave was truly sinister and worked in every way if not for a quick one-shot which for the time given was done well enough.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Speaking of Elena look-a-like’s, this is the second time since last season they brought on an actress who had her traits. It’s amazing how many actresses actually look like Nina that if need be they could find a “real” doppelganger to bring her back for the final episode(s). I wouldn’t put it past them.

 

Now we know what that heirloom ball is and I’m glad it didn’t’ just wither and disappear. We have an official MacGuffin, something to chase down, it took long enough to discover its use. But considering what it can do, shouldn’t it be more tied to stopping Cade and not just the sirens? I feel we should already be moving past the issue with Sybil and Seline.

 

If anyone is discovering lost roots it’s Matt. Now he’s realizing just how important his bloodline is as to the origin of Mystic Falls. In retrospect, this also does tie back into the town which is also a cool concept as we’ve spent so many seasons within its boundaries. I think it’s time for another flashback episode.

 

One aspect I never understood with supernatural entities on this show is the lack of empathy for human strangers that die on it. Caroline is all “tra la la” she knows Stefan is out killing people who likely don’t deserve it. Enzo and Bonnie are vacationing off in another country even though the threat of death is looming on people they’ll never cross paths. It’s only when it hits home that they take action. I guess vampires are evil for a reason whether they have their humanity or not. It has the potential to desensitize its viewers to the absurdity of vampire-violence so that when main characters shrug at the deaths of strangers, so do we.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

7 out of 10. TVD’s return is promising brotherly conflict in the form of ripper Stefan versus inhumane Damon, a build up that hopefully gives us the proper finale as the main villain grows closer to immortal godhood. I don’t think the sirens should be central to a scavenger hunt plot, but our other supporting characters need something to do while the Salvatores ransack neighboring cities. Everyone is split for the moment which is never really a good sign. The team works better when they’re closer together. Stefan and Damon performed admirably mixing in thoughts and trails of Elena dip into their consciousness and give us further clues into her eventual return. The brothers are doing great, everyone else is lagging. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×07 (Carry on my wayward vampires)

tvd-8x07

 

SUMMARY

As Stefan prepares a Christmas gathering at the Salvatore house for his last day, Damon and Sybil arrive surprising both Alaric and Matt over his newfound immortality. Damon later kills Stefan to set up a meeting with Cade in the veil. Cade shows him a flashback detailing a meeting with Seline where she felt his anguish over killing as the ripper and helped remove his memories of an event in 1917. This prompted Cade to take interest in Stefan who agrees to become the ripper again for Cade but for only a year. During the gathering, Caroline deduces where Sybil hid the tuning fork and sends Bonnie with Enzo to retrieve it. They travel to a home where Seline offers the fork in exchange for her path to redemption starting with removing an imprint on the Gemini twins that bound them to her. Alaric agrees to the exchange as Matt uncovers a confession from his father about abandoning his family. Damon later leaves with Sybil with a gift from Caroline that Sybil opens. It’s Elena’s necklace which prompts Damon to rip Sybil’s heart out instead of kissing her. Stefan wakes and has one last moment with Caroline before he leaves and meets up with Damon as they drive out of Mystic Falls together. Stefan turns off his humanity and smiles in silence.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Christmas is always a saturated theme on TVD and their final season is no different. This time, it’s more personal than eventful as Caroline struggles through the eventual loss of Stefan. Some moments really do stand out more than others, and even though Seline was hardly a sympathetic character in recent memory, tonight’s winter finale actually made me feel somewhat sorry for her. Where we end is truly where we begin with Stefan once more releasing the ripper personality that made him so famous. We haven’t seen him in the present since season 3 and I’m sure we’ll be in for a bloody treat. The flashback was a nice touch to give us backstory we didn’t know we needed for Cade to take such an interest in our vampire brothers. This next arc will be a furious one for the ages.

 

THE GOOD

Our buildup to Stefan’s return to ripper status was done really well. I’ve always been a fan of TVD flashbacks and here we got to see Seline’s influence with Stefan, a reoccurring theme as Valerie playing a vital role last season in the past. Cade has been around since the beginning and it was important to set that up and not just treat him as a villain who just had omniscience. He studied Stefan and was drawn toward that kind of darkness and I’m certain Stefan won’t fail to deliver on that evil character he built all those seasons ago.

 

It was a moment for Damon to finally push out of Sybil’s advances by way of heart removal. I honestly don’t know if Damon’s humanity switch is still turned off or if he’s just being, well Damon. It’s been hard to tell as of late. What we’re getting our both brothers without their humanity at the same time. You can’t really get more sinister and wicked than that kind of pairing and Stefan ran with Klaus for a time. In any case, lot’s to look forward to and I’m perfectly fine with how we got to that road.

 

THE BAD

It’s minor, but Damon didn’t really follow with his threat of killing someone at the Salvatore household. True he ripped out Sybil’s heart, but we know that’s not forever based on her deal. It seemed it was going to be Matt’s father, but his only deeds in the evil variety was more abandonment than vicious which proved to me more hurtful to Matt than anyone. We didn’t end up with another seasonal death of a meaningful character and though I wouldn’t really want one of those during a Christmas themed episode, they sort of tried to con us into thinking that was going to happen by Damon. Cheap move, but we’ll move on.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

That moment Damon ripped Sybil’s heart out. We needed some residue of a moment that kept Damon on our side. Elena and fragments of Elena’s existence are all that’s left that can truly do that. And since Stefan is once more in ripper mode, Damon is the closest we have to the “good” brother and that will have to play out accordingly as we bring the Salvatore’s back to the realm of humanity. Plus Sybil should know better, Damon isn’t for her.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Stefan’s trying to control the situation by allowing himself to become his alter ego. Sometimes when principle characters think they can outwit, outlast, or handle the darkness better than other evil characters they’ll sacrifice themselves in the hope that they’ll be pulled from the brink. Stefan is such a character, but he what he doesn’t understand is how truly devious his ripper personality is. Damon will be surprised and do that thing with his eyes, when they go wide in disbelief. Still, Stefan convinced the devil to make a deal, one that probably will backfire. That’s what heroes do.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I think I’m still predicting Sybil needs that’s sphere that Damon found from earlier. It’s the only thing that was at that garage that was in Matt’s father’s possession. I still have no idea what it was for and clearly Sybil has some plan of her own, she just needs some heart to pull it off.

 

One thing I can imagine ripper doing is anything but what Cade wants him to do. Maybe Stefan’s plan with the year contract is that by that time Cade will be so sick of Ripper’s defiant attitude that he’ll simple squelch on his deal. Who knows. Ripper isn’t subservient, even Klaus had issues to a degree.

 

I’m also glad they didn’t rush the wedding, it would have been super awkward but probably contain the same exact scenes. I wouldn’t have minded so much if Stefan and Caroline eloped, but he only really had seven minutes to be happy as it was.

 

I imagine if one moment could settle our dispute over which brother truly deserves Elena, we need to have her appear at that critical moment when both brothers are at their worst and see which one turns their humanity on first when they see her. I know Stefan’s time with Elena has passed, but then why bring up their first meeting in tonight’s episode. It feels like a hint that he’s still not really over her and that deep down she could bring him back just as well as Damon. Just a guess really.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. The Christmas spirit didn’t overtake the main theme of this episode which slightly hinged on redemption and the path one must take to achieve it. Stefan and Seline had similar pasts in doing acts they regret and both want to be free from that pain. Stefan will do what he has to to save both his brother and himself and from here on out, the devil will be in the details on who makes it out of this unscathed. The gang will no doubt monitor and wait for the brothers to surface before they go trying to save them, but I think a solo episode of the brothers on their own would suit this season just fine. An adventure of corruption and vampirc-tendancies. Stefan won’t just bend a knee to Cade, but he will be interested in the approach of finding good people and turning them evil. That’s what vampire compulsion does realistically. Good themes and a decent turn out without over-saturating the holiday spirit. And props to Damon for not giving up on Elena completely. There’s still someone in there that loves her. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×08 (Red, White, and Nephilim)

sn-12x08

 

SUMMARY

After briefly inhabiting an archbishop, Lucifer enters President Jefferson Rooney and impregnates a woman, Kelly on his staff. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean with the help of Crowley, Castiel, and Rowena attempt to track down and subdue Lucifer in his new vessel. Along the way they come across Mr. Ketch who assists them with an escape from the secret service and offers them a weapon capable of expelling an angel from a human body. When Kelly is taken by Crowley and explained the situation, she helps the brothers trap Lucifer at a local hotel. Sam utilizes Ketch’s weapon and Rowena helps with her magic to dispel Lucifer and send his essence away. Afterward, the secret service arrives and arrest the Winchesters as Castiel takes Kelly from the hotel. She later ditches Castiel wanting to continue her pregnancy with Lucifer’s child.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Quite an unexpected predicament we have here as the Winchesters are up the worst creek since their days being hunted by the real FBI. Lucifer’s chapter may be closed for now, but the lore of his spawn has just begun bringing possibly another age-old apocalypse that the Winchesters may not know how to handle. This tale seemed more fit as a two-hour special but a lot was crammed into a single episode with a fitting cliffhanger to round out the winter season with thankfully no Christmas themed shenanigans. Our real twist came with Mr. Ketch as he rather helped the team rather than put them at odds. It was a fascinating development, one that I fully support for the time being.

 

THE GOOD

The inclusion of creating the child of the devil has a large amount of background tales to weave and utilize, so it’ll be interesting to see how Supernatural reigns in their version of Rosemary’s baby. Even though I’d never think this Lucifer would be so naïve that the thought didn’t occur to him until after he actually had human sex is slightly baffling, but then again, this Lucifer is in a way very adolescent in his behavior as late. He needed direction and this was a very logical direction to go.

 

Mr. Ketch is slowly turning into a likeable character. True he’s cleaned up some awkward messes that if Dean were to find out he’d probably beat him senseless, but as it stands, he’s generally favorable in his efforts to assist the American branch of the men of letters. He could still be working in his own undercover way, but suffice it to say, I like the attitude and simplicity of his workmanship. I hope he doesn’t pull too many convenient devices out of his suitcases to coincidentally help save the day, that’d be weird.

 

THE BAD

It was really more about the lack of time to fully flesh out this dramatic tale. When Lucifer conversed with Rooney about essentially what he needed him for, I expected more development with this concept as Lucifer burrowed his path into DC and made some heinous changes and ruckus. One example barely came about when he off-handedly mentioned pardoning Manson. There just seemed moments that were meant to happen further, but budget was probably super-tight by this point in the season. Rooney wasn’t a bad Lucifer, he just wasn’t bringing the kind of pizzazz that normally comes with the devil’s personality and needed more time to flesh out the routine.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Rowena thanked Crowley for exploding her fiancé. It was a cute moment that the two shared having reconciled somewhat over a hated past. At first you expect her to be disgusted by the blood on her face, but her warm and tearful thanks was all the light-hearted change of pace we needed.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Convenience Ketch is his name. If it wasn’t for him, the Winchesters would still be suffering a capture and no plan to take down Lucifer. I still think he’s hiding a bit of information but he’s certainly reliable and a charming fellow for the moment. Props for Dean spotting the easily recognizable grenade launcher, something he’s been keen on using as he certainly has one.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Regarding Kelly and her plot in the future, I imagine this will include a sped up pregnancy and a child that will probably grow as fast as Amara did. After twelve seasons, the child of Lucifer has many potential threads to take and I want them to be more unique than any tale of this magnitude has come before. On most occasions, the child tends to be an evil son, but a daughter could also be a possibility to start.

 

What really happened to Lucifer? Clearly he wasn’t sent back to hell even though Rowena’s spell suggests otherwise. That seemed entirely too easy and no one really confirmed that was exactly what happened. His essence escaping down a vent could mean anything.

 

I kept thinking when Dean mentioned the Scooby gang that it would automatically be followed up by a Buffy reference, but there was an actually Scooby gang before they went their own way with it and 90’s references are far and few between these days.

 

If anything seems obvious, Mr. Ketch will once again have to bail Sam and Dean out of their hairy situation. Or it could go a different approach and send the brothers to DC but I have a feeling things still change course once the British Men of Letters make their presence known.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Not the capitol swan-song for Lucifer, but his lineage now has a guaranteed rising on the way as his child will soon become the next nephilim scare. We won’t know if it will usher in strange forces to mess with the Winchesters, but rest assured, a lot of supernatural forces may be after it. It would make sense and Sam and Dean would need an army like the men of letters to help protect Kelly. This is turning into a well crafted precursor to the maelstrom that’s to come after the winter break. Let’s hope Mr. Ketch becomes a series regular if he’s in fact a good character and not masquerading as a cold-hearted assassin of evil. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×06 (If the sports fantasy leagues were written by dramatists in love with vampires)

tvd-8x06

 

SUMMARY

Sybil and Damon catch up with Seline who has taken the Gemini twins from Alaric and Caroline. Twice they are almost caught leaving Damon to force the sirens to summon Cade who Seline intends to trade the twins for her and Sybils freedom. Meanwhile, Sybil reconnects into Enzo’s mind, torturing him until Stefan enters his consciousness and finds Sybil. She lures him to a motel where the summoning is taking place. Caroline and Alaric search frantically and argue over what’s best for the twins while Enzo recovers and remains with Bonnie. Sybil controls locals at the motel to attack Stefan forcing him to kill one and become a prime replacement for herself as Cade’s servant. Stefan agrees as long as the twins are freed. Afterward, Sybil informs Seline that she convinced Cade to keep her powers while Seline does not benefit from the deal. Stefan tells Caroline that he sold his soul to Cade and has only one day left to spend with Caroline before submitting. Alaric and Matt later track down Damon and injure him as he proclaims cryptically what will happen to him under Stefan’s deal. Uncaring, Alaric stabs Damon in the heart with a stake convinced the twins will always be in danger so long Damon is alive. Damon begins to desocate.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Tonight’s episode floated around a lot of character frustrations and lash-outs culminating to the apparent death of Damon Salvatore who of course is anything but. His fear over going to hell was likely alleviated as his death will be erased based on some new immortality that Cade provided over Stefan’s servitude. We don’t know nearly enough to make any exact guesses, but chances are Damon will rise up and continue on his merry way while Stefan marries Caroline and promptly leaves. Sometimes those pesky promos say too much. Nothing truly stands out as Cade still has yet to prove he’s worthy of being this season’s big bad. Enzo and Bonnie’s unquestionable love bordered on co-dependence making their embrace a bit over-the-top and there will never be any sympathy cards for the sirens who have been reduced to a pair of scared and vengeful ladies who should be powerful villains but can’t quite seal the title. Not overtly impressed but Stefan helped balance out most of this snooze-fest.

 

THE GOOD

The show is still making this about Damon and Stefan primarily which is what they need to do. By putting Stefan in a position to assume a dark role, he can effectively use that change to fight evil from the inside because he’s proven to be slightly more capable at that feat than his brother who continues to choke-hold his fear over being sent to hell. He’s putting a lot before his own needs and in doing so earns credibility and sympathy toward whatever endgame he faces at the end of this saga. As for Damon, his luck and faith in his brother should pay off long enough for him to get his act together as well.

 

THE BAD

Sybil didn’t care that Seline is trying to do her right after so long. The damage has been done. What really fails here is Seline herself. Sybil has embraced her wicked nature and at least she’s relishing in it, but Seline isn’t standing on solid ground with whether or not we’re supposed to root for her just because she’s trying to do her sister right. In the end, she’s still sacrificing the twins and for Alaric there’s no coming back from that. The sirens don’t want to be in Cade’s service and quite frankly I don’t think that’s the right story to tell. Cade needs acolytes, most big bosses do and for them to try and be dodgey and escape their role is a subplot that didn’t need to be happen. With their combined might and Cade’s influence, this really could stand to be a powerhouse that would break the foundation of Mystic Falls and probably that dimension. But now there’s no real direction and we’re left with too many mysteries on who made what deal for who how many times and what specifics and addendums were made to screw over the most amount of people possible. Make sense vampire writers!

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Stefan fought those men and was forced to kill one as Damon watched. It’s their struggle in physical form played out by the brothers who make this show what it is. Stefan taking any human life puts him in dangerous waters and Damon knows this. How they continue to conflict with their natures is re-occurring but often necessary to solidify their paths are monsters with souls. They each want to exist with love in their hearts but so many dark things get in the way and now it’s Stefan’s turn to fight that darkness.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m still on board with Stefan’s performance tonight. He made the biggest impact by accepting the deal and made enough room to be with Caroline for a small amount of time. He’s likely content with saving his brother and marrying Caroline and becoming whatever Cade wants him to be and as long as he’s killing evil, in a way it’s the perfect role for him because he’ll genuinely find the bad as opposed to Damon who as of late was too random about the duty.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m hoping Stefan won’t be forced to turn his humanity off again, having both brothers in that state at the same time would be brutal and probably a bit unfair to everyone else. Maybe that’ll be why they’ll need to bring Elena back for that last hurrah.

 

It’s interesting Cade keeps up with the fashions of the 21st century when he’s never really experienced it. I wonder he’s seeing through Seline or if he just sees the dead as they arrive and decide he should be upgrading his look.

 

I would debate if this wedding actually happens to the end. Two vampires tying the knot is no easy task just as having any wedding on TVD is disastrous at best. Caroline will want is as perfect as possible, at the Salvatore house. We’ll see what happens.

 

That spherical ball Damon found never played into any scene did it? It’s been a few weeks and I don’t quite recall if it pointed to a specific person, place or thing. Maybe it was the devil’s shotput.

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Part of TVD’s method is to introduce early villains who are not really villains but victims of worse villains that get introduced later. In this case the sirens are in the same boat. They may be driven toward malicious tendencies but both Seline and Sybil want their freedom from Cade and probably a semblance of a normal life which diminishes their status as real villains on this show. It’s always the bait and switch technique with this group and I was looking forward to a trifecta, a group that was genuinely evil and willing to destroy towns and cities to wreck old school vengeance. We don’t even really know if Cade is an evil force himself, just very misunderstood. Tonight’s episode swam around and made a few characters buckle under pressure, it should seem heartbreaking that Alaric was willing to kill Damon since they used to be best friends, but Alaric doesn’t see his friend, he sees an empty shell that was willing to put his family in danger. There were plenty of pieces to be placed but hopefully by this mid-season finale the real game begins. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×07 (What, no love for the Viper Room?)

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SUMMARY

After Lucifer regains stability in his vessel of Vince by reclaiming a fossilized feather from his angelic form, he reunites Vince’s old band and sets his sites in LA. Sam, Dean, Crowley, and Castiel venture to the west coast and track him down to a low profile show where Lucifer murders the band with intentions to manipulate and harm the crowd. Crowley and Castiel attempt to stop him but fail leaving the Winchesters to force the crowd away and deal with the devil themselves. Lucifer wails about God leaving once again and that he’s aimlessly causing death with no real purpose. After his vessel deteriorates beyond repair, Lucifer’s soul escapes with plans to go bigger than before. Sam laments that they are fighting a losing battle and that Lucifer will be more destructive than ever.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

As hard rock pretends to label a comeback, the woes of Satan pressure our heroes into stopping him in the city of angels where “distraction addicts” is the term of the evening. This is the first step in getting Sam and Dean out of their typical comfort zone of wilderness and quiet neighborhoods before the men of letters drop their arc on them. In the meantime, a whiney Lucifer has vanished once more in the ether with promises of deathly return. While it was a catchy and nostalgic throwback, the message was obnoxiously loud over how the current trends and labels of popularity define and destroy the idea of celebrity. Lucifer was the microphone of un-garbled truth, too late to the show and no audience to perform to. I think there was room to add more empathy but as it stands, the episode didn’t overstay its welcome and turned out to be a fascinating piece about the pursuit of reclaiming lost form.

 

THE GOOD

Springfield’s portrayal was much more comfortable and sharply detailed as he donned the sinister devil one last time. This is a character that’s savoring the smallest form of worship even though it’s to a false identity. He baby-stepping his way back to an Armageddon that fits today’s standards instead of relying on the old biblical constructs. His next incarnation could be a season finale that topples the original back in season 5, but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

 

The Landscape of LA was excruciatingly spot-on. There’s always a sliver of decadence and deals of mischievous activity when creating and controlling iconic has-beens and new talent to the roster. Record labels and hidden performances are strategic in gaining buzz and talk regardless of the how and why. In situations like these, Sam and Dean represent that old era quietly eye-rolling at the absurdity level the internet provides and as such follow their mantra even to the beaches of the west coast itself. It’s good they finally got out there again to experience it.

 

THE BAD

The nitpicks are far and few between but mostly center on a worn Castiel who doesn’t seem enthused as of late and a lack-luster finale to an otherwise great buildup between old foes. Lucifer maintained a dramatic win-streak over Crowley and Castiel, but when it’s all telekinetic throws and guitar beat-downs, I’m left feeling somewhat deflated over how chaotic their fight could have truly been. It was oddly lopsided in a way that didn’t feel entirely accurate given Castiel and Crowley’s experience after facing the devil multiple times. In any case, it was the only underwhelming portion of the show.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Lucifer’s speech at the end. It had presence and truth even if it was Lucifer’s own version of events. There’s still pain and anguish left by God’s repeat performance and he’s no longer around to make things right. It also means that there’s nothing Sam and Dean can do to contend with that kind of frustration and betrayal which means the devil is more dangerous than just megalomaniacal. His attacks will more personal in nature, at least that’s the running theory. Good showing by Springfield.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Springfield sold the tickets tonight. I don’t think he surpassed Pellegrino but he’s definitely neck and neck with Castiel’s version of the devil. The heart of his anguish was what sealed his top spot tonight over God’s departure once more. Good scenes all around.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

It’s not normally customary to add “Reunion Tour” on the banner that sits behind the stage, that’s usually reserved for the shirts and programs and various internet sites cashing in on the concept. Once the crowd is there, it’s not as important to paint it at the venue, the crowd knows.

 

Dean’s specific disgust with hair-metal is interesting and deserves more analytical feedback. He stated quite clearly “rock is dead” as probably a metaphor for Lucifer’s demise as Vince but he also seems to be shedding a part of himself he may not feel is relevant anymore. Instead of pushing a tape of AC/DC or Scorpions over Sam’s ipod of Ladyheart, he simply endures it. It’s an odd look at someone who tends to revel in the music of Def Leppard and likened tunes of that era. He was never into Poison or Twisted Sister?

 

The feather was a nice touch to return Lucifer to a stable being. I’d be interested to see if there were similar artifacts personal to the devil that could help him regain power again, like how there were relics of god to tackle against the darkness last season. I also wonder who his next form will be and whether that form may change gender or not. Or a puppy, Lucifer could be a talking puppy next.

 

I’m a little surprised by Sam’s outlook at the end of the episode. He more than anyone knows the effects the devil can cause, Castiel as well, but he seemed to take the epilogue of the fight and internalize it into a moment of despair, ritually unlike his normal attitude about pushing forward and being the moral compass. It was a bit new to hear and likely inserted because the brothers normally have to be on opposite sides of belief over the main arc of the season. One brother thinks one way while the other is unquestionably different. Dean is never the usually the one to admit defeat so it goes to Sam and this time it just seemed too dismal when they’ve lost much more from lesser evils in the world.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. The path to re-popularity played its course as Lucifer tried to secure new devotion from an old name. He understands how the world works now and intends to use that to destroy it from the inside. His method and reasoning is chaotic but the Winchesters realize how maniacal their foe is getting and we’re barely near the halfway point. This tale will retire for probably a decent portion of season 12 before he makes another comeback. The LA setting was a nice switch though it would take a couple days of normal driving to cross-country that far from HQ, at least realistically. One shouldn’t be in a sitting posture that like for too many years, could develop into some back issues later. Great performance by Springfield and a good plot for Lucifer to gain some credibility as a character who’s in real pain and doesn’t know how to handle it. We’ll never see the old Lucifer again, but maybe this one can unleash a different kind of fear from our heroes like we haven’t seen before. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×05 (Fish hold the power of resurrecting the devil, who knew?)

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SUMMARY

Matt Brings Tyler’s body back to Mystic Falls and gathers Stefan and the others to bury him while Bonnie restores Enzo’s humanity by trapping him in their cabin and lighting it on fire with both inside. Not wanting to see her die, Enzo saves her and she in turn saves him. Sybil escapes the armory after Alaric’s other intern leaves after getting a call from the police who found Georgie’s body burned. After Damon interrupts Tyler’s funeral and threatens to turn Matt into a vampire, Stefan enacts a plan to subdue and trap him for his own good. They meet at a carnival but Damon refuses to be helped forcing Stefan and Caroline to tranquilize him. At night, Matt goes through Tyler’s belongings including a letter that explains his task with finding the sirens including Seline who he has sketches of. Later, after paying their respects to Tyler, the group embrace some fun at the carnival while Sybil finds Damon and releases him having his complete loyalty. After Caroline shows Matt some pictures of the Gemini twins, Matt recognizes Seline in a picture and tells the group. Caroline and Alaric rush home to find the twins gone and a picture drawn by one of them that shows Seline and Cade side by side with the twins.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

With Seline’s initial plan realized and Sybil free with Damon by her side, Stefan, Caroline, and Alaric will have their hands full with two evil sirens who at first glance want different things. There was an appropriate strangeness in dealing with Tyler’s death while Bonnie brought Enzo from the brink in record time. There were at least a few moments when the episode drew in some dark possibilities only to hang back and keep the status quo including narrowly making Matt a vampire, but 24 hours have yet to fully pass, so there’s still a chance, but we won’t find out for a few weeks yet. Like Damon, I too held the 1,000 yard stare of WTF in certain places of tonight’s tale as it criss-crossed its random way into a small mini finale where the twins are missing and the devil’s manager may have been raised from the depths of a dark dimension. I think Enzo and Bonnie need that wedding more than Stefan and Caroline, but then we’d be getting ahead of ourselves.

 

THE GOOD

Existential crisis aside, Damon is on the verge of his best breaking point yet. I normally get tired very quickly of his dark and funky mood when he breaks his ties on being good, but his honesty as of late has that sense of genuine fear that makes him entirely too dangerous for his own good. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to stave off the threat of being consumed by hell itself. It’s really just a world without bourbon or any alcohol, because he can certainly survive without Elena which he’s been proving for the past season and a half. In any case, what’s important to note here is whatever he’s facing, he has to fight it alone. There isn’t anything more Stefan can do for him and that hammer has been hitting the nail quite frequently as of late. If this storyline is building correctly, Damon and to a less extent, Stefan is being groomed to take out Cade which psychologically is exactly what Damon needs to do to break his endless cycle of melancholy defeatism. We’ll see how that goes in the coming season.

Tyler’s sendoff shouldn’t work, because he hasn’t impacted the main story as of late, but in the end it was more a tool for Stefan to use to breathe some normality back into the friends who surround him. He took a dark moment and fed some light into it, quite literally even and moments like that are especially heart-warming because of the sentiment that moments need to be cherished. It’s ironic that a vampire would be so concerned with moments because immortality means never running out of them, but for Stefan it runs deeper because he wants there to be truly good moments where everyone else is alive too. He doesn’t want to be alone or anyone for that matter. In a way, he’s learned more or less one of his final lessons. Which also means either he or Caroline is going to die near or at the end of this show. The more main a character understands themselves the more dangerous they are to being extinguished by those who will never figure it out.

 

THE BAD

I applaud Bonnie’s quick thinking and ability to tap into Enzo’s fear and exploit it to bring his humanity back, but to me, this ran entirely too quickly and probably needed at least half an episode and letter clutter around them to truly hit home. While I’m not sure why Enzo didn’t try harming Bonnie the second she freed him, her stubborn plan didn’t have enough time to breathe and replenish that 3 years of love we never really got to see except in a few fancy flashbacks. I don’t disbelieve their love for each other now that he’s back, I just wanted more struggle to make that pay off worth it.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Cheesiest moment in this whole show, but when Stefan turned on the carnival lights and then they proceeded to play on the bumper cars. This could be the last real moment they share before everything completely fades into chaos and other characters we don’t want to die end up dying. Stefan’s message was honest and true and for the moment, they were pleasantly fulfilled even if it didn’t last.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Even if I think the practical method was too quick to take in, Bonnie should get it for the sheer fact that she was willing to die to prove her point to Enzo. From here on out I expect they’ll be joined at the hip and rightly so. They are indebted to each other and truth be told, they’re the only convincing relationship left on this show that makes the craziest sense and I’m still trying to understand it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I half expected Bonnie to turn to Enzo after his comment about his respect for Tyler and say “When did you two share a scene again?” because I certainly can’t remember when those two ever crossed paths.

 

Did Seline need the Gemini twins specifically to help raise Cade back to reality or is it because sirens can’t control witches and she needed witches who would willingly help her? Not really a continuity error, just raises some questions as we haven’t had any other witch contact since the sirens showed up.

 

This does spark a bit of debate on whether Matt should be turned into a vampire or not. Right now, I’m saying no. He’s lasted this long without any real traumatic changes aside from being loosely possessed by the gypsy storyline not too long ago and going through a few deaths here and there. He’s still human and should finish the show that way. His confidence and integrity is necessary to keep intact and we don’t need a new vampire figuring out the ways of the supernatural this late in the overall storyline. Keep him normal please.

 

Damon asked for Stefan’s help, but they veered off what he specifically was going to ask for. They went into the humanity switch and Damon’s restless approach to giving up but not what Damon was going to ask him. Then had a tussle before Caroline took him out. I’m wondering if Damon was just luring Stefan into another trap or maybe Damon knows more about Cade that he wanted to ask him to help defeat the devil. Who knows, maybe Damon is still flying blind here, but I don’t think that conversation went the way it was supposed to because Stefan flew right back into the “I can help you” line that ultimately went nowhere.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The prep work is being finalized for Cade’s return but we still don’t know who has the endgame and what it actually is. Tonight’s episode saw the fundamental passing of an alumni character and the return of Enzo’s humanity and the good vampires need all the help they can get. This storyline dealt with a lot in a very short time including a very minor mystery on who build the tunnel system that guided Alaric from the armory to Mystic Falls. Little questions like that were cast aside to make room for Damon’s rampant laments over his fear of being swallowed by hell should he perish and his decision making has been anything but sense-worthy. Stefan’s ending sentiment to his friends did save this episode a lot of grief by not taking itself too seriously but I do question whether it’s the last time we’ll see them be so casual and carefree. Cade still doesn’t strike me as the end all be all villain, but I’m certain more surprises will be coming later on. Decent but disorganized and hurried, TVD sets the stage for its most powerful character to wreck havoc on the Earth plane. If Sybil and Seline aren’t on the same side, then what are they truly up to? We’ll know soon enough. See you soon, thanks for reading.

 

 

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