Imagine your car struck something and breaks down on the highway in the middle of the night in the rain. As you wait for the tow truck to come you listen to the radio and a song comes on and it’s the song you and your ex picked out as an “our” song. You try to turn it off but the knob breaks and only manages to get louder because of your attempt to silence it. You exit the car and call a friend to talk to only, that friend is having a worse day than you because their favorite pet died because someone hit it with their car. Horrified you look at your bumper to see if fate handed you the most unluckiest day ever. You check and see you didn’t hit an animal at all. You sigh until you realize what’s rising up is a zombie, and it notices you with a hungry snarl. Watching tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries made me feel like that kind of night.
When it comes to sappy moments and enriched soundtracks meant to boost the thumping heart during moments of melancholy, “Prayer for the Dying” manages to slap you in the face and laugh at how ridiculous the concept was. Everything was unpleasantly wrong as Caroline struggles to save her mother while Damon uses Kai to kill one bird with one stone, from across the state. There were a few elements that helped push the plot along, but the characters completely underperformed and even managed to waste yet another honest death scene that could have had impact. This show completely fears death and it only manages to get worse with each season. Characters like Jeremy, Bonnie and Alaric, and now Liz have become part of the “Cheats death forever” club. Bonnie is still on the fence but her presence on the show means she’s going to stick around. Nothing felt right and I’m going to hopefully dissect the parts that were the most infuriating to put up with.
Number one and most prolific, Damon Salvatore. He was a pest again tonight, often having longer lines of dialogue than he should considering like Kai he just likes to hear himself talk. He weaseled his way into a date that Elena and he already had and when she figured it out, he acquiesced to her idea of how the date should go. That was harmless, but later he bluntly uses Kai to try and save Liz without even so much as consider the possiblity of what might transpire because of it. Alone it was typical Damon, but couple that with his hypocritical attitude fingering Caroline as the one to blame for Liz’s condition. His selfish condition to save whomever hits his heart strings regardless of the consequences on others makes him a rather villainous character regardless of motive. Being a complete self-absorbed vampire while having those one or two softly spoken lines of candid heart-felt honesty doesn’t take away his unorthodox behavior. He’s sidestepping and at this stage he shouldn’t be.
Next was Elena’s reaction. The entire segment where she complained that Liz almost died in her arms that lead to the completely uncomfortable moment with kissing Damon had my head spinning. The rise in music and the return to their embrace was the last thing on my mind. A heartfelt hug and some semblance of understanding and caring words would have been perfectly fine, but they jumped the gun and gave fans what they think they wanted which was those two macking once more for our viewing pleasure. They weren’t ready. This scene should have been reserved for Stefan and Caroline, because her frantic nature is to freak out and Stefan could have finally calmed her with a friendly kiss. That wasn’t to be and we’re stuck with more Damon eye wooing and Elena hogging the spotlight because someone else’s mother nearly died.
Not to keep hammering away, but they continually force feed us the inevitable coupling of Stefan and Caroline. Liz, now somehow revived by some unearthly means, tells Stefan to take care of Caroline and to be there for her. It’s nice I guess that she endorses he and Caroline getting together, but now Caroline overheard it and it’s all completely spelled out between the two of them. This is a horrible itch that needs to be scratched, and it doesn’t make any sense why it’s being prolonged like this.
Not killing Liz was a huge mistake. Caroline doesn’t get to have what she wants in both Stefan and her mother. Nobody wants their parent to pass away and she went through almost all five stages of grief before Liz had her heart attack. But growth comes differently for all characters and Caroline has used her vampire being to become fiercely independent, save for the impending heart ache of losing her parent. By showing us this bait and switch plot, we were fooled into believing that Caroline was about to go through something traumatic with Stefan as her only resource for solace and real sympathy. Now that’s not there. Sure, Liz warned us she doesn’t have forever, but unless there’s a freak occurrence to relive tonight’s events and actually go through with it, Caroline is in the free and clear to return to her balanced and perfect world. That’s a complete stunt in growth and wasn’t a valuable to abuse.
I think I’m completely fed up with Liv and Tyler as anything. He’s entirely too headstrong and worrisome to handle his situations with a cool head. He shares his feelings well enough, but he attacks his passion like a fist to a brick wall. With Liv entirely too distracted to take their relationship to logical levels, it’s turning into a pointless bonding session considering this show has to have a minimum amount of on screen relationships at all times.
What stood out were two things. The first was Luke owning up and challenging Kai for the merging. I wasn’t expecting that and it logically fit the parameters he described. I knew he wasn’t going to be strong enough, but he took the battle seriously and for that he’s redeemed himself for the majority of his unfulfilled scenes. The other was Liz’s dream in the house. In the saturated light, she calls to Caroline and says goodbye. At the window, Caroline stands and is revealed to be in a bloody vampiric state. Now this had a layer or two built in, but there wasn’t a solid pay off that at a glance can be easily understood. Was Liz in fact dying and saying goodbye in her own way as her fear of Caroline manifested once more? Or was this a portent of something more dark and disturbing we’ll be introduced later? I’m not sure. It was a fascinating moment that I wanted to see develop somehow.
I have to hand it to Luke. He was the only character who stuck to his guns and sacrificed himself believing he could handle Kai during the merging. Because of this he had an arc. He started out one way and ended up another. My only complaint there was he wasn’t interesting along the way until this final episode. While I don’t see him being missed he did put a valiant effort that saved his sister, at least for the time being.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I almost cringed when Damon wanted to use Kai to absorb the effect happening inside Liz. While the vampire curse was originally magic related, it’s been so far removed from practical application that to use Kai’s ability to absorb it out of Liz just doesn’t feel like it fits exactly the way it needs to. If that’s how it works, why couldn’t Kai just absorb a vampire’s ability to be a vampire when he wanted? Unless I’m missing something key here, this felt like a stretch to me.
Two episodes without Bonnie. I’m starting to think they really are intending to forget about her, unless she magically shows back up in reality without an in-depth explanation. Deus ex machina perhaps.
I honestly have no idea where this show could go if Kai was suddenly defeated. There are zero side plots going on that can carry the weight of the season should Kai’s efforts be dwindled to nothing.
Looking back, the weirdly mutated effect from the patient and his tumor situation doesn’t feel accurate with the rules of a vampire. The body is essentially dead. Why the tumors would grow and continue to cause pain doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a cool idea but it would have been a safer bet to turn the guy into a vampire and deal with the normal consequences of that rather than what we were introduced to.
Alaric was oddly absent on this episode considering the climax pitted her and Kai for the first merging that could have ended her life. Would have been a real bummer for him if Kai succeeded and he strolled back on the scene without having his moment to be with her before the event went down.
Will Kai exhibit traits from Luke now that he has his magic?
I was thoroughly unimpressed with tonight’s ensemble. 4 out of 10. What began as a filler episode quickly manuevered into the plot basis for the season and completely glossed over another heartfelt goodbye to a casually strong supporting character. With the wind deflated on this issue, I’m sad to say I won’t feel as bad when the day actually comes and Liz is taken away from Caroline. They blew their opportunity and now we’re stuck with more Stefan and Caroline “Will they/won’t they?” for another dozen or so episodes. Nobody rang true tonight and the unlikely hero was the one nobody should have cared about from the get go. This could be an anomaly of a bad episode, so hopefully we’ll see if it picks back up again next week.
No more words