A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×04 (This almost became a case of Weekend at Bernies III)

TVD 7x04

SUMMARY

Damon frantically attempts to salvage his trade for Elena by using Alaric and Bonnie to resurrect Oscar while Caroline and Stefan shadow Mary Louise and Nora when they threaten to kill at the college until Oscar is found. And Enzo discovers new details regarding Lily’s past love and aligns with Valerie because of it. Not quite the corn maze of captivating quality of last season, but at least we know why Damon has stuck to bourbon all this time.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This episode was a bit of a juggle with a lot to say regarding relationships and the acts one goes through to maintain a hold on their significant other. One could argue co-dependency was a key theme in this week’s storyline, but that’s more an objective approach to it. Love is finding solutions to the brick walls we face in relationships, and most of the components in that ideal factor into our heroes and villains of Mystic Falls. While such a theme remained consistent with the usual plot-type devices we’ve seen many times before, there was a certain lack of realism from my perspective which undersold the real problems our characters are facing. While attempts were made to show their feelings, it was very off-balance compared to their usual mechanisms of just telling us how they feel about each other.

RECAP

Damon discovers Oscar is dead and with Stefan’s help convince Nora and Mary Louise that he simply ran away. The heretics grow impatient and begin killing the students at the college until Oscar is found. Damon convinces Bonnie and Alaric to use the stone to bring Oscar back while Stefan and Caroline use a Halloween dance to distract the heretics from killing. It works and signs begin to show that Nora and Mary Louise are having relationship issues that carry into the party itself. Oscar is eventually successfully raised from the dead but he grows ravenous with hunger and escapes from Damon to Mystic Falls where he massacres a tour bus full of people. At the dance, the heretics get into a relationship argument and Stefan uses that to his advantage to capture Mary Louise and offer her back to Nora in exchange for dissolving the vervane spell on Caroline. The plan essentially works and the heretics leave after proof has been made that Damon has Oscar back in his possession. Damon finds Oscar as Lily arrives and incapacitates him. Lily agrees to release Elena back to him. Meanwhile, Valerie tells Enzo who Julian was and represents which causes Enzo to help keep him away so he can remain the only person to pursue Lily. Damon relinquishes Elena to Tyler who takes her coffin away to an undisclosed location. Back at the morgue, Bonnie and Alaric successfully resurrect Jo. And 3 years into the future, Alaric has two daughters and is surprised when Damon returns and warns him that his family is in danger.

THE GOOD

Stefan is doing his best to convince Caroline that there are no leftover feelings for Valerie, something Caroline has had difficulty believing because of her own insecurities on the matter. Luckily, he puts them to rest and the two finally share their long-awaited moment in bed together. For the two, it’s essential progress and for the most part feels like a believable relationship can still grow between them. Though I’m uncertain as to why they’re putting off Valerie and Stefan meeting each other again, but I suspect it’s to draw out a possible scenario that Stefan doesn’t realize and that he’s somehow still affected by her. It could be a number of things, but Stefan and Caroline are fine for now.

Damon admitting that he doesn’t know who he is without Elena. It’s a start. In the past all he has to do is remember what he was like before Elena but that Damon was very evil most of the time. Now he needs to learn more about his identity and how he fits into this supernatural world. This leaves opportunities for him, which makes it harder to remember that he still ends up in a coffin next to Elena for reasons we don’t know yet. Maybe he gave up on searching for that identity, or maybe he grew fed up over something involving Stefan and the others. Right now we don’t know, but the intrigue of his self-discovery is still there and for now that’s good development for him as an individual.

THE BAD

Nora and Mary Louise’s awkward squabble. Their relationship, so far has yet to find its mark on the show. Until now, it was hard understanding they were even in a relationship until it had to be pointed out several times. Their on-screen kiss tonight still didn’t convince me, and rather resembled a poor attempt at acting in general. They both have dominant traits and would be hard to tell them apart save for Nora more adept to the present culture and Mary Louise stuck not getting any of the references. Yes, they’re fighting for each other which is the only thing making them tolerable because right now they’re teetering on being the blandest couple ever on this series and I really didn’t like Tyler and what’s her name. See, I already forgot. To save this, I think they need to start having different opinions and seeing where what happens when compromise is brought up. That will hopefully get them out of their two-dimensional evil funk.

As much as I liked Oscar’s performance last week, he should have stayed dead. There will be some lasting effects that carry over into all resurrections I’m suspecting, and more people will die because of it. I know he was a means to an end for Damon getting Elena back, but unless he returns to that kind of personality he showcased last week, I don’t think he’ll be much help on this season.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Not much really stood out as there were more comedic insertions than normal, but I did like how Damon and Stefan hid Oscar so the heretic sisters wouldn’t find him. Brilliant thinking considering the Halloween decorations. Plus that guy’s reaction at the end.

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving it to Damon only because of his small growth at the end of the episode. It still felt forced because he essentially had to be told what his issue was even though he gets told a lot and he ignores most people, but his mother actually convinces him for once and he then attempts to use distance as a means to keep Elena safe and begin his trek moving forward without her. Not much of an arc in this case, but it’s something.

ENDING THOUGHTS

So, did Oscar just grow a new undead heart? And furthermore, when a vampire/witch gets brought back, is he still undead because of being a vampire previously? That was slightly confusing. I thought for sure that the rock had to be pinned on him permanently to maintain life, but I guess not.

This future segment was the weakest of the ones they’ve shown thus far. It’s nice that Alaric has appeared to settle down, but because we don’t know for sure if Jo’s the mother, we can’t just speculate and need to guess on every character’s change. I think that’s okay to use a few times, but not every single character we come across. And is Damon wearing the same shirt as he did 3 years ago in tonight’s episode? Or does he just like grey?

There’s no way a Halloween themed college dance party would make everyone wear only angel or devil costumes. That’s lazy costume work and a poor attempt at rekindling the annual dance party/get together/extravaganza.

Notable moment on the scene where Mary Louise and Stefan briefly share their woes about Nora and Caroline. I thought it was funny that Stefan suggested a therapist to Mary Louise and she dismisses it but proceeds to complain about Nora anyway. And what does Stefan do? He then goes into the tirade about Caroline’s insecurities. I swear Mary Louise had that look on her face like “Why the hell are we talking about your problems now? I’m the one who needs to vent here.”

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Tonight, TVD focused on many facets of how relationships go through different struggles of understanding, longing, and how easily communication can break down. These are good themes to tackle but tonight, it overflowed and there wasn’t enough sentiment on the right characters. Everyone’s issues were rushed and not very well drawn out especially Damon’s realization that he can’t cling to Elena like he’s doing. Mary Louise and Nora were more at the center of attention than anything and they would have co-won the MVP if they were a little more convincing as a couple and not as a pair of brats who kill if they don’t get their way. After seven seasons, I think the party scene has more than run its course and shouldn’t be used to escalate anymore character relationship plot points. These vampires have been adulting for quite some time and there are much more effective ways to tell their relationship stories that don’t involve dancing with the food supply. Not a great episode tonight, but a very average one that had to incorporate a holiday theme. The birthday, thanksgiving, and xmas episodes are still pending, but I’m certain two out of those three will make an appearance. Thanks for reading.

No more words

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