This episode is brought to you by unrequited love, the fast acting, never fail, key to maintaining a 100% frequency in annoying personalities. Tonight’s episode “Welcome to Paradise” keys in on several transparent friendship and pseudo-relationship problems for our resident supernatural Mystic Falls residents, sans Mystic Falls. The turbulence shown here was a way to move along a new vampire hunting plot with a King-esque storyline looming in the background. While not an impressive chapter in the season, it managed to stay luke-warm with the exception of the last minute.
With Elena returned to a super peppy state of mind, I found her compulsion and oblivious nature a rather saddened trait. It might as well be Elena doing her scenes with a cactus tied to her leg, painful to watch but eerie nonetheless. Until Elena returns to her more depressed ways, she can’t move the storyline much as a main protagonist. I’m not sure why I’m worried about that concept because Elena hasn’t been that moving force in quite some time. Everyone is now tip-toeing around her including a very emotionally charged Caroline, who finally admitted she “had” feelings for Stefan, but was shunned by broody McBrood brood. And since Elena and Caroline aren’t that worried about Sara knowing she was attacked by Vampire Elena, I’m not worried. Fans live vicariously through the characters making us heightened to their woes and since they’d rather sit around in a dorm and talk about missing Bonnie and feelings for Stefan, there’s not much worry here.
What did move forward in an awkward way was the introduction of Kai, a “human?” who is as much stuck in the 90’s empty Mystic Falls as Bonnie and Damon are. Just when things were getting interesting, Kai delivers a very yawn-ful debut as a slightly clever watcher who manipulates Bonnie into reacting her witch powers by nearly killing Damon. Since Kai confirmed what Bonnie already deduced about magic being the key to leaving that world, there’s nothing more than a third party hitching a ride. I’m not very interested in this person’s story, but I’ll roll my eyes with it and see where it goes. I give Bonnie credit for calling Damon out on his hopeless attitude. Damon can be very standoffish and tends to require strong women to put their foot down on his careless way of life. He can see the error of his ways, it just sometimes takes an aisle full of vervane-flavored bourbon to get the job done.
In terms of character arcs I just don’t get who I’m supposed to root for between Enzo and Stefan. Enzo is still a cheap Damon has even less of a reason to do anything good and saving Stefan from a vampire hunter doesn’t excuse his reasoning that Stefan gets to suffer greatly because he stopped looking for Damon. There’s not a lot of sense in his motivation right now so with Trip on the verge of slaying Enzo in his own vicious way, I can only say…meh, he had it coming. But, we all know Enzo is a mainstayer, and somehow his death will be thwarted, but likely not Stefan who handed Trip the man personally to him.
There’s also the perplexing segment where Caroline all but threw herself to Stefan, who walked away not admitting to any of her reasons why he should stay. I do honestly feel bad for her because this is the joining that’s been destined to happen since last season. This is one of those cases where I want her to be happy, but Stefan shouldn’t be with anyone right now. Luckily, Stefan understands this and doesn’t pursue it out of silent anger and the fact he just lost a girl he was decidedly interested in. Give him at least a darn week to grieve, then ask again later.
That brings up to another “toxic” pairing in Liv and Tyler. We shall call them…Liv Tyler. Okay, I’ll stop. Tyler maintains angry face during Liv’s bashful confession that she’s falling for him. And in the most amateurish attempt imaginable, Tyler, with angry face, tries to zero in on some kind of mean-mannered kiss, only for Liv to squirm away, graceless and irked over the whole encounter. On screen, Tyler has done nothing to gain Liv’s attention in a way that makes sense. If she has feelings for him, they’re completely residing on the side of physical attraction, and possibly the need to have a guy in her life she can fix, because Tyler is currently in high-maintenance mode. Their delivery and conversations needs a lot of work, but it can succeed if the writers put them in better situations to play off one another. Right now, they’re a trainwreck.
Tonight’s episode had very little direction. Three deep and the basic outline of the plot is a founding father, late to the party is busy killing vampires with his crew while Bonnie and Damon seek to understand where they are and how they can get back home. It’s not an apocalypse, which is typically the way to go when seasons nearly end on one, but this start to season 06 seems very flawed right now. Caroline feels more the star of the show and that’s only because she’s trying to drive some semblance of character cohesion and at least wants to try and bring down the spell surrounding mystic falls. At the moment, she’s fighting her battles alone.
The last scene. Stefan got a taste of payback and Trip’s polite and cheerful demeanor is turning into a psychotic highlight. He’s still human and will likely suffer a human-villain’s fate, but for now he’s embellishing in his role and I support it. Is there a reason why Trip is so bent on torturing vampires as they die instead of just killing them? It’s worth finding out as I suspect deaths in the family to be a stimulator in this case. Stefan leaves Enzo to Trip and is probably going to skip town once and for all, until he gets dragged back in, by Caroline.
Most everyone were on equal ground tonight. I’m giving it to Caroline by a nose. While Elena gave the audience a bit of bikini eye-candy, and Bonnie stood up to Damon’s whiney attitude, I think Caroline showed a bit more depth and had the most interaction with the ensemble cast. In a way, she’s been turning into a potential “heart” of the show and is trying to take care of everyone it seems. She won’t re-break the news to Elena that she was compelled, but she can clearly see she’s upset by the cop-out, even though she was always anti-damon. Caroline admitted her feelings which means it’s just a matter of time before she reels Stefan in. And it will have to be her, because Stefan is too stubborn to accept what’s in front of him. He knows it’s there, he’s just reluctant.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I try not to think about vampire logistics, but why would Stefan feel the need to compel himself a raise? By that count, he should never have to worry about money ever, so how does that serve to benefit him? I suppose it’s a matter of principle, but it felt cheap.
Kai can’t be completely human. There’s no way Damon, as a vampire would not somehow sense/smell/see his presence for the entire four months like that, especially if Kai mentioned all the times he watched them arguing. It may not matter, but that also felt slightly lazy in the telling.
Sara doesn’t fit very well into the mold of this plot right now. She’s very obviously hiding something, but I’m not sure what or why. Is she tied to Trip and the vampire hunters or is she a part of her own agenda? Caroline and Elena are going to regret not chasing her down sooner.
Where will Stefan actually go? Caroline drilled home that he missed Mystic Falls and the friendships he made. Stefan didn’t deny it, but where will he go if he’s done with everyone? Maybe he should stop by New Orleans for a bit, say hi to old friends.
Bonnie is going to be so upset when she finds out how many women Jeremy has slept with while she was gone.
I don’t feel this episode deserves the kind treatment. I give it a 4 out of 10. How these characters act and react are principle to driving this show. Almost everyone played at being annoyed and frustrated with at least two other characters and very little of that was resolved. A lot of scenes were either dealt with the wrong way or didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. How many times are we going to have to put up with someone ripping on Jeremy for his floozy and careless attitude? He’s got that stumbled no response down to a T but it’s getting old fast. The end was a great scene because I want Enzo to be eliminated from the series, but Caroline, for some reason doesn’t want him gone. I’m guessing because he’s the only one who actually wants to put things back the way they were. They’re goals are similar but not at all the same. Not a lot felt right in this episode and will need to get some issues sorted out to bounce back from it. No real worries, the season just started. Plenty of weeks left in the season.
No more words