A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×01 (Any more meta and this universe will implode)

tvd-8x01

 

SUMMARY

For the last few months, Damon and Enzo have been bringing the bodies of “evil” humans to the entity that controls them for feeding. Damon turned off his humanity while Enzo struggles to maintain his. After leaving clues for Bonnie and Stefan to track, they find an abandoned slaughterhouse with Damon and Enzo inside but are threatened to leave. Meanwhile, Alaric and his interns discover a hidden tunnel within the armory that leads to a crypt of artifacts that have been perfectly preserved. At night, Virginia who escaped a mental facility attacks Caroline’s nanny but is subsequently stopped by Caroline herself. Virginia then dies after attempting to tell Caroline what is waiting for them and Alaric’s children. After Bonnie and Stefan leave the slaughterhouse, Bonnie discovers the clues that Enzo left for her point to the identity of the entity, a Siren. After feeding on another evil human, the siren emerges in the form of a human for Enzo and Damon to see.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

So begins the final act of CW’s cherished vampire brothers and the world they inhabit. The 8th season begins to unravel the next villain and at least teases the concept that the devil himself may be the final boss of this show. Damon once more plunges into self-loathing and inhumane acceptance but not before supplanting a world of guilt onto his brother who isn’t sure he can save his brother this time. Oddly enough, Enzo is the fixed point that’s helping thread the plot along which in my view gives him a bit of a clean slate this season, so let’s hope he doesn’t waste it. The idea of the siren is interesting because it has no real ties to vampire lore and can be made to fit any form that puts it far above the darkened landscape of vampires, werewolves, and witches. But where there’s one siren, there’s bound to be others. So far, so good.

 

THE GOOD

I think it’s fascinating that I assumed all the bodies Enzo and Damon killed were just innocent victims, but by keeping them at least “sinful”, it somewhat lightens the dark load that these two have been carrying since being controlled by the Siren. Damon is being A-typical with his attitude jumping to the quickest solution which is to flip his switch to deal with the consequences of his actions. He also has no current love to look out for and with Elena still in under her sleeping beauty spell, he has all but given up on reuniting with her. This is the best kind of Damon we’re going to get because it allows him to flourish in his own isolated hell, something he hasn’t truly graduated from since his love for Elena became apparent. Enzo on the other hand is doing the best he can with what he has available to him and if he can keep this up, he may in fact redeem past seasons of sheer non-sense he put us through.

 

Bonnie and Stefan remained fixed on their path to save both troubled vampires but were also there for each other in a few instances where each lost enough hope to question their ability to both find and save them. If this show remains consistent in its message then this season will be that of hope in their darkest hour. Stefan needs to be an anchor for Damon regardless of the guilt that’s consuming him and hitting rock bottom at least twice will likely happen before things get back to normal. If I were a betting man I’d say this situation with Damon should last at least through the winter season before he becomes “normal” again.

 

THE BAD

No students hitting on the teachers please. I’m a huge fan of Allison Scagliotti, and her character, Georgie is already a fan favorite for me on this show mainly because of where she came from on Warehouse 13, but I don’t think it was necessary to put her in a position to hit on Alaric just to showcase that he’s in “daddy” mode and only seeks to be isolated with his kids, we actually got that message earlier through Caroline’s exposition. If it was done earlier then maybe it would have worked, but we get it, he’s not seeking lady friends including the nanny, Seline, who is way too eager in her role and probably should have been left dead but instead revived by Caroline. I suppose getting a newnanny every few episodes would seem like a gimmick.

 

While keeping with the mystery of the Siren’s identity, I don’t find the reason why the spell would go so far as to kill Virginia to keep from exposing her. Knowing the entity is a Siren only suggests that there are ways to defeat her and are written in ancient scripts are even located in a hidden crypt in an armory. And in this case it’s preventing anyone from knowing because if you don’t know then you won’t figure out how to stop her. Right now it just seems a little out of the way and only serves to keep us in the dark instead of being practical.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When the Siren emerged. The build up to her reveal I think was actually done rather well and the flashbacks of Enzo’s story may seem entirely coincidental but at least it keeps with a theme and tries to merge both a mythical piece of lore and some kind moments between star-crossed lovers who are trying to find each other. The Siren should be exquisitely powerful and furthermore, be just a Lieutenant for the real threat on the way, because knowing this show, they’re going to go full Armageddon this season, and they’ll have to do outweight whatever The Originals has planned for his bow out this next season.

 

CHARACTER MVP

While Enzo has been doing a crisp job at trying to fight against the Siren’s control and his clues to Bonnie were heartfelt and meaningful, I have to give it to Stefan for the one moment he showcased emotions outside a furrowed brow and a 1,000 yard stare. In the car with Bonnie, he explains how even though he’s heard Damon guilt him before that this time it was different and then his face just exhibits that sheer amount of anguish he’s feeling and for the first time in the long time, I actually believed it. Normally Stefan is a cardboard cut out with words that come out every so often, but here I have to extend him the courtesy and say he did a fine job of quivering and tearing up that really sold the pain he’s feeling over the potential loss of his brother, great job.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’ve played guitar for over 15 years and no amount of soft strumming on an acoustic will just bust a G string like that unless it was strung too tight. It’s more about the metaphor and the sorrow she’s feeling, but that was just not an accurate portrayal of guitar playing. Yes, I know she’s a bad player, so bad she busts strings, but she was barely strumming it.

 

At first I thought the idea of an optical illusion leading Alaric and his interns through the cave was a novel concept, it didn’t actually lead them out of the cave, just into another room. So the mystery remains, how did Damon, Enzo, and the Siren in fact escape?

 

The first scene with the couple in the car ranting about superhero films and teen dystopian movies really made me cringe. I want to believe that this was put in place because with the CW owning it’s share of DC superheroes that they need to poke fun at the MCU every now and again, and I just won’t touch dystopian franchise comments, I’ve written enough of them to feel obligated to support such things until I see my own on the big screen.

 

Do the Gemini twins have any special powers that can subdue or destroy the siren? And if so, is that the reason why Virginia was trying to find them? I think it’ll be relevant to keep the twins in the plot because they were born of extraordinary circumstances and should be utilized in a consistent way so that their powers can manifest and help save the day when needed. For now it’s a mystery as we know nothing about the siren’s strengths and weaknesses.

Fifty shades…Damon…really?

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Not a particularly strong start, but the premiere managed to find its bearings and finish with a stable plot and a new supporting cast that could work if maintained appropriately. Damon and Enzo have different struggles and people wanting to help them, Allison is a great addition to the cast, Caroline and Alaric are parting ways that makes sense and allows her and Stefan to take their relationship logically to the next stage and Siren’s entrance gave us a clear indication that all villains in this show will always be in their late 20’s and be provocative because everyone’s a model on this show. Stefan’s acting improved a bit and Elena has not been forgotten, but the question remains, will she appear in the final episode, or is she truly gone from this show? We will hopefully find out this final season. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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