A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×02 (When Matt crosses over a tenth time, he gets a free drink at the Mystic Grill)

TVD 7x02

SUMMARY

Family politics can be a tricky business to write and write well. However, when everyone is technically a villain, there’s little room for sympathy, even when you play the acoustic like a sad cowboy just trying to get with your old best friend’s mother. Tonight’s episode of the Vampire Diaries plays at in-fighting from both sides of the Salvatore line while Alaric continues with the subterfuge of resurrecting his wife. The Salvatore home is brought under a title dispute that involves Bonnie needing to kill Matt to relinquish ownership, and in the future, Caroline is attacked by an unknown assailant while reciting hateful remarks over one Stefan. All in all, it was a normal day in and away from Mystic Falls.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

One thing I say I’ll like as a whole about this series is the nature of unpredictability. Each plot per episode can get a little formulaic as most shows do and you can really spot the tells when the main characters act a certain way, but when it comes to season long arcs or even half season arcs, TVD can keep you guessing till the moment passes. Having said that, tonight was a little above average with a few moments that could use some fine tuning. Not an air tight premise, but mostly solid all around. Damon’s fragmented attitude was enough to push even Stefan into near violence with him. The biggest issue though is the alignment of the three sisters, Valerie, Nora, and Mary-Louise. Their game of “who’s the more evil of the three” isn’t one I’m that interested in seeing and in all fairness to Lily and her need for familial ties, one of them needs to abscond from the group.

RECAP

After Stefan finds out about Caroline’s kidnapping, he sends Damon to make right with Lily but finds out that their house is now under a new human’s ownership, keeping uninvited vamps out. They discover it’s Matt and Bonnie devises a plan to temporarily kill Matt to vanish the deed’s hold. Meanwhile, Alaric shows Bonnie the phoenix stone and hopes she can uncover its secret of resurrection. Bonnie encounters a horrible vision and tells him to destroy it. Alaric, attempts but ultimately refrains and visits the mortuary to test the stone out. He places it on a dead body and it begins to react with life. Alaric removes it and realizes it works. After Bonnie kills and resuscitates Matt, Stefan and Damon attempt to break Caroline out during the funeral of Malcolm where Lily has Elena’s coffin stolen by the siblings. Enzo uses a human maid to compel new ownership of the house and Stefan is removed from it leaving Caroline once more in Lily’s grasp. Later, Damon tells Stefan that Lily wants him far removed from Mystic Falls or he’ll never see Elena again. Damon uses this opportunity to find the sixth sibling, who has been sent elsewhere. At the Salvatore house, Nora gives Caroline an old journal of Stefan’s that recounts his meeting Valerie and essentially falling in love. And finally, 3 years in the future, Caroline is working as a floor director/manager at a tv news station and is someone’s fiance. When her aid mentions Stefan, she grows upset just as he is killed and she is shot by a stake just below the heart.

THE GOOD

Getting Elena’s body completely out of frame this soon is the best bet right now. There could be too many scenarios that revolve around saving her by some inexplicable means which we’ll know always end up in failure because of our knowledge of the future and a lack of contract in Nina’s name. Plus it gives Damon something to fight for which forcibly gives him the aura of fighting for love because if he’s not fighting for love he’s sure as hell gonna whine about it. We may know that eventually Damon gets Elena and her coffin back, but the how is still under wraps, assuming his trade plan isn’t the first success, and they never are.

Bonnie is showing more signs of life than ever with her plans and her accountability toward the actions she undertakes. Parting her from Jeremy was the best thing and it continues to pay in dividends. While some may play around with pairing Damon and Bonnie up, I think it’s best if she’s remains fiercely single to make room for independent growth. She’s fighting for her friends and so far doing a decent job at it. She won’t quit and she’ll make hard calls. All I have to say is poor Matt.

At first I didn’t like this concept, but using an old journal of Stefan’s against Caroline is actually a clever surgical strike. If Caroline were head over heels in love with Stefan, something like this probably wouldn’t faze her, but as it stands, their feelings are still new and reading something like this is bound to raise questions about what went on and how far it went. Maybe we’ll even get some flashbacks, this show could use a few.

THE BAD

Enzo going after Lily, romantically. Her surprised look with the small dimple of a grin at the end didn’t help this situation because as conflicted as they may be, Enzo is still a colossal prick and he gets no points for trying to do right by Lily. The strangeness is that she wanted him a part of the family but secretly may be ok with Enzo’s desire of her. This kind of drama can get really freaky especially when Damon finds out. Stefan will probably just shrug it off, but I always get the feeling that Damon will be resentful of it. My thoughts on it.

The sisters are all over the map in their alignment. They’re essentially loyal to each other yet they’ll play these games that will probably escalate into a war between them. That’s the end result of this and it’s the one path that feels very easy to understand. Is Valerie really the most evil of the three? Why does that even matter? They’ve all shown to be heartless psychopaths, and using Caroline as some sort of victim in their political tirade doesn’t feel like the optimal approach here. I think they should have held back with Valerie’s true nature until later, but that’s over and done with.

That horrible opening. Found footage and its cringe-worthy dialogue does not belong on this show. Had they made a Ghostfacers reference I’d have gave it a pass, but instead they went with Blair Witch and that dated reference makes this whole segment a bad start to the episode.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I’m really enjoying these future-tense scenes. They’re chalk full of mysterious twists and they’re able to tell these short stories really well. It may have been obvious that Caroline’s fiance wasn’t Stefan, but the fact that she’s so far removed from the Salvatore’s and Mystic Falls is very interesting. Is she seeing a human? Is it Matt? Probably not, but still. That’s the point, they’re good bumpers and so far I like the seasonal formula of them.

CHARACTER MVP

Bonnie gets it this week. She’s made a few interesting decisions, but again it goes back to her accountability and owning what she’s done. Her confession to Matt after nearly letting him die and her overall concern with what’s going on. She’s experiencing these crazy flashes of torture and knows something bad is coming. I’m looking for her to possibly take the lead on some hairy situations coming up.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Never tie a vampire to a wooden chair even if you use vervane in whatever capacity. Steel chairs that don’t break will do just fine.

All Alaric had to do was place the stone on the body to resurrect it. That is incredibly convenient, silly, and makes me wonder if he’s going to use duct tape to keep it on Jo.

Okay, so Stefan gets pulled from the back out the window and Caroline gets pulled from the back down the stairs in the opposite direction. Wouldn’t the path of least resistance work in this case? Shouldn’t Caroline have flown out the same window as Stefan? Or is it really based on the direction they’re pointed because it pulls from the back every time? Strange rules.

As it turns out, Lily’s comment about Elena being cloaked right next to Damon or a million miles away is essentially the same spot, relatively speaking. The planet Earth is roughly 25,000 miles around, which means if Elena was a million miles away and we’re not talking about space miles, she would spin around the world 40 times and pretty much end up back in Mystic Falls. Geography checks out.

Poor Matt. He went through a few death stints like this back when he was a medium for the other side back in season 5 I believe. Hasn’t the guy died enough already? We don’t want to have him end up psychotic like Alaric did, right?

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The anchored future scenes show good promise even though I still feel the time gap is a little wide. The heretic vampire family still has a ways to go before I think they’ve become capable and worthy villains. I absolutely don’t like Enzo hitting on Lily at all, and Bonnie continues to evolve impressively. Caroline’s capture and how it’s been handled could have been worse, but I get the situation and the need to put here there to help sow the seeds of dissention among the triplets sister-gang. The Valerie and Stefan connection was a little left-field but I’ll buy it for now provided we get some good flashbacks to tell this story. All in all, it’s holding steady as far as vampire dramas go. Let’s see what whacky adventure Damon rolls out with next. Thanks for reading!

No more words

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