A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×01 (Dear Elena, I refuse to get a tablet because my calligraphy rocks!)

TVD 7x01

If ever there was doubt a show like TVD could handle itself without the mainstay principle character, then let this premiere be the convincing factor that yes, it absolutely can. The seventh season of TVD begins with a portent of sorts and delivers on exceptional ruin as Lily and her family of vampire heretics run head to head against Damon, Stefan, and the gang for their right to claim Mystic Falls as their home. With each tip of the episode bringing us a glimpse into a strange future involving the Salvatore’s, one thing is certain; There were way too many diary entries in one episode. Really, that was a lot to deal with.

I’m actually impressed with the presentation and the fallout of this premiere. By skipping ahead 3 years we effectively have a new narrative that will keep us guessing as to the events that shape up. Is 3 years too much? Will time catch up during season 7? Or will this take literally 3 seasons to fully tell the story? My gut tells me we’ll resolve these three years rather quickly, which paints an interesting picture on how The Originals will chase this major plot device if they intend to at all.

Damon, Alaric, and Bonnie spend their days in Europe helping Alaric cope with Jo’s death while Caroline, Matt, and Stefan play status quo in Mystic Falls. Stefan continues to give Caroline space as Lily travels to New York in the hope of gaining Enzo’s help in the recovery of a stone she says is related to her family. Enzo kindly refuses. Meanwhile, the vampire heretic family, a miserable bunch of bored folk consisting of Valerie, Nora, Mary Louise, Beau, and Malcolm begin massacring the townspeople after Caroline and Stefan attempt to blow them up in their house. After Matt’s graduation with becoming a deputy, the family wreck bloody havoc until Lily forces them to stop. Stefan and Caroline barter a truce and give up the Salvatore home in exchange for no more killing. The town is abandoned through subterfuge as Damon, Alaric, and Bonnie return. Damon and Bonnie attack Malcolm and kill him leaving the family distraught and vengeful. Alaric is seen having the stone that Lily is looking for which he intends to use in some manner for a resurrection spell on Jo. He has been keeping her body on ice. And finally, in both the beginning and end of the episode, a flashforward reveals 3 years have past and an injured Stefan revives a bloodless Damon who quarrels over being awakened. They are then seen being hunted by a female who has a crossbow and has considerable advantage over the brothers.

The beginning was fantastic and really kept me interested not to mention Damon’s resurrection had a nice guitar riff in it. I liked this concept because it sets up something different on the show we’re not used to seeing. The only downside to this is knowing that Damon will eventually succumb to his heart’s desire and force himself into a coffin with no blood. I can’t recall how long it takes for a vampire to go torpor of that magnitude but it lends evidence that there will be a massive jump in storytelling at some point. Questions and theories will be painted across the sky on how events lead up to it with one of them likely being involved with Bonnie and Damon’s obsession with straddling the fence over her life. Damon is considerably toying with his frustration and Bonnie narrowly puts up with it for the sake of their friendship, but make no mistake, she’s not a pushover and the two still work nicely as a team. But since last season, the seeds have been in place for a possible Damon/Bonnie romance and if ever there was a time to play with that maelstrom of an idea, now’s the time.

Speaking of romances, it was good of the writers to not dilly-dally over Caroline and Stefan’s apprehensive state of flux as by the episode’s end Caroline relents and gives herself, essentially to Stefan. It’s a wiser move than most because we can now see how these two truly co-exist as a couple. This may not have been written in the cards in season 01, but I do believe there is enough chemistry to make this work. Caroline is a lot more reserved with Stefan, but she’s also growing as a character. No more party party party party party party, but rather a real approach to her situation as an adult. In a way by showing her in the opening scene after the title, she’s effectively taking over as the principle character next to the brothers, of course. I’m fine with that. Give characters growth and believable reasons to change, for the good or bad, and you’ve got my vote.

Enzo is…still a dick. Moving on.

Onto the vampire heretic family. I’m sorry, but you had me, then you lost me with them. The transition from Caroline’s narrative to Valerie was actually very well done and offered a kind of mirror-like quality to their shared stories of adjustment. It would have played nicely if Valerie was an opposing main character on the evil side who gets to go through her own trials and tribulations of evil adapting to the world…then we met the family; the generic, bitchy, (Originals rip-off) family. No, Valerie isn’t a main character of sorts, but rather the part of a whole mess of personalities that somehow adapted to present day with enough sense become suburban pests with too much power on their hands. Though, ffter watching Falling Skies, it is good to see Scarlett Byrne back in action as the vampire heretic, Nora. As a whole, they’re really nothing much to look at personality wise and one of them already had his heart ripped out which was a bit predictable after he was labeled as the brown-noser.

Emptying the town was the most risky move they’ve done on this show because it sets up a lot of different circumstances, though I wonder if the town will stay empty for long consider the stakes have already risen after the death of Malcolm. Will blood spill on both sides? I’m thinking yes, which leads us to the finale.

Someone is chasing Stefan and we know it’s a woman. Is it Valerie? I don’t think so, considering she used a cross-bow and unless she lost her witch-powers, this has to be an entirely different character. I was really hoping Stefan and Damon were in New Orleans, but that’s because I’ve been clamoring for a cross-over event since the sister show started a few seasons ago. Who knows, maybe we’ll still get that chance. I think doing episodes like this for this arc is a good idea, but don’t drag it the entire season.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The scenes in the future. It’s quick, intense, and you know absolutely nothing except that the Salvatore’s are alone and in trouble. It’s formulaic in some genre’s but TVD using it isn’t a bad thing. Just don’t use time travel…Felicity used time travel and we all know how that turned out. If you…watched Felicity that is.

CHARACTER MVP

Tough call. Everyone on the good team had their moments to shine and show their dramatic flair. The one who I think tipped the scale would be Caroline. She narrowly gets it because she was admittedly still in grief mode and made a conscious choice to be with Stefan because she’s trying to move on. Damon is still struggling with this even though he showed the kind of Damon-style remorse that only tends to last for an episode or two before he reverts into a jaded mess again. His epiphanies are only temporary, but Caroline I believe is a bit more permanent because she wants to heal. It’s debatable, but I think she gets it this time.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Alaric is most definitely obsessed, but really, why go around pretending to be drunk so he can punch fake mediums? It showed he was desperate for contact but in the end he didn’t find it. He just ended up back in the morgue nowhere closer except the stone that we don’t know what it does or why he has it and why Lily wants it too. It’s morbid but I’m not getting the impression Jo is meant to be risen. I’ve been wrong before, but that’s my initial thought on this matter.

So, the insinuation is that Mary Louise and Nora are a thing, if I read that right. There wasn’t any further development so I’m not sure if that was just to test the waters with the audience or not. Villains in relationships never last. Oh, who am I kidding, hero relationships don’t either. The problem is they essentially have the same personalities and are not easy to distinguish from each other than their looks. It’s only one episode though. Let’s give them enough air to breathe and work their vampiric magic.

Matt’s got his work cut out for him. I do not envy Matt.

Damon mentioned that Stefan is the reason why the woman is after them after something he did. He has a cross-shaped wound over his heart that “re-opened” suggesting a number of things. Most notably, does he still have his heart? Probably considering he was trying to stay out of harm’s way, but is he cursed or connected to this character? Again, we really know nothing and speculate on sheer crumbs of evidence.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Had the vampire heretic family been less cookie-cutter villain type, mainly the children, not necessarily Lily herself, this would have gotten a 9 easy. Outside of them, I thought this was one of the better premiere’s this show has ever done. It zeroed in on a crazy segment and promised all hell will likely break loose before those 3 years are up. All of the important characters had their moment to shine and Bonnie’s hairstyle is the best it’s been. Every mainstay character so far is doing a great job, except Enzo…he’s still a dick. Let season 7 reign, the era of Nolena. That’s no and Elena put together to spell…okay, I’m shutting up now. Thanks for reading!

No more words

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