A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×08 (It’s more like bringing a toothpick to a flamethrower fight)

TVD 7x08

 

SUMMARY

With a forward plan in motion, Stefan, Lily, Damon, and Valerie attempt to convince the heretic family of Julian’s devious nature while Mary-Louise and Nora celebrate their anniversary as a couple. Matt takes steps to ensure that Enzo is no longer a threat to his town, and Caroline comes to grips over finding out she’s pregnant with Jo’s twins. As the Salvatore’s converge on Julian, Lily is forced to make a choice between saving one of her daughters or one of her sons.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Sappy and lackadaisical come to mind after watching tonight’s episode of TVD. There was an attempt to reel in the heretic family as a functioning family that cares as much if not more than the Salvatore brothers do on their best days. It’s not a stretch considering Damon’s abstract and heartless behavior as of late, but the fact remains, it’s not very consistent with flip-flopping the heretic family as cold, vicious, and evil one moment and then radiant with happy, compassionate personalities the next. Damon’s anger toward Lily is making him purposefully rotten which has some payoff but in the present doesn’t help his case with Stefan who genuinely wants to forgive Lily. It was a very disconnected point in the heretic arc that didn’t help by having a major character death on the show. Assuming it sticks.

 

RECAP

In order to convince Mary-Louise, Nora, and Beau to help take down Julian, Valerie intends to tell them what happened to her when she lost her baby. Damon remains indifferent if Lily survives Julian’s death or not. Meanwhile Julian throws Mary-Louise and Nora an anniversary party with all the captured humans compelled to enjoy it as food and company. Mary-Louise later proposes to Nora who is ecstatic and says. They are then confronted by Valerie who gathers her siblings and with Lily tells them what happened to her. Caroline writes in Elena’s diary about her pregnancy and eventually tells Stefan who supports her. After Enzo fails to convince Lily to run away with him, he returns to the Mystic Grill where Matt confronts him and then captures him with a group of unknown allies. At the party, the family agree to help Valerie but after Julian is captured, Mary-Louise has second thoughts and stops Valerie and Damon. After Julian is free he forces Lily to kill either Valerie or Damon. She instead stakes herself believing it will kill herself and Julian but doesn’t know that Julian already had Mary-Louise remove the binding spell. Julian flees as the family comforts Lily as she slowly dies with splinters in her heart. In her last moment, Damon professes that she made her bed and to lie in it. This angers Stefan who wanted Damon to forgive her. In the future, Damon wakes tied up in the TV studio with werewolf toxin in his system. He sees Lily and apologizes to her over what happened but the woman laughs as we see Damon is hallucinating. This unknown woman then knocks him out.

 

THE GOOD

Lily’s self sacrifice may have been telegraphed but having her make such a profound choice was essential to her arc and solidified that she really did believe in Valerie and her sons and wanted to be free of Julian. I honestly thought she was faking it, but it turns out she wasn’t. Out of all the heretics, Lily was the only one who remained the most believably consistent in her personality and convictions and truly wanted to make things right. Her noble end, though over-dramatic in its delivery, was the only real touching and cathartic moment of the episode.

 

Matt capturing Enzo was a long time coming. Even in the face of performing mildly positive acts with the incentive of love, Enzo isn’t a very convincing protagonist and is entirely too selfish of his own feelings to understand what Lily is facing. He can’t support her so in his damon-esque moment of vampiric tantrums, he’s taken out by Matt and a group of humans who don’t seem to like vampires too much. I’m fine with this development. Why Enzo is being kept alive isn’t known, but I imagine Matt has a good reason.

 

THE BAD

Pretty much everything else. Mary-Louise and Nora’s proposal and party was entirely beyond campy and overdone. Are we to believe that the couple never bothered to “marry” themselves within those 133-ish years of being together. Whether in limbo or not, that shouldn’t matter to exalted characters such as themselves. I doubt they’re beholden to the American matrimony system, and I really doubt they were ashamed of their love for each other. Their dynamic is based on positive notions, but the characters are still misguided and fundamentally flawed. This much serene happiness doesn’t fit with their egos.

 

Damon shouldn’t hold this kind of grudge for Lily for this long. It’s self-serving and won’t bring back Elena and he should be evolved enough to understand that concept considering all the other strides he’s broken through to elevate his character status on the show as the lovable anti-hero. If it wasn’t for Damon’s apology in the future, I’d think the show was trying to maintain some status quo with keeping Damon a relentless dick for at least half the season or more. Damon’s growth spurts have no traction when he reverts back to this kind of pettiness. Sometimes I’m surprised Stefan hasn’t staked him for real, only sometimes.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Matt captured Enzo. It was a little unexpected but easily a welcome sight to see the vampire get a bit of what’s owed. Matt hasn’t forgotten what Enzo put him through and I don’t blame him. What’s the extent of this capture going to entail? I’ve no idea, but it won’t be a straight kill, because somewhere in all this, Bonnie and Enzo still hook-up. So we have that looming over our heads for the rest of the season. Oh bother.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Lily deserves credit for turning herself around in this episode. Most of my points for choosing here are mentioned earlier, but to reiterate, she’s trying to make up for what she’s done and even though in the past her words of not loving her sons any more always struck a chord with me, it’s good to know she can change that perspective and do in her mind what’s right and not be controlled by Julian, who is just as a confusing character and Damon once was and usually still is.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Let us not forget that at some point, Damon puts himself in a coffin with the intention of staying in slumber until Elena awakens. Will his mother’s death be the grief needed to start that process? Or are other dark tragedies in store for him? It seems too early for that unless the future is something that will be wrapped up in storyline by the mid season.

 

Not that Caroline needed alone time to deal with her pregnancy situation, but I would have thought she’d be spending some more time with Alaric, or at least he be the one hounding her to make sure the babies are alright. He has to be questioning how those twins are being sustained in her womb considering her undead nature.

 

Even though we don’t know the full details with why Beau can’t talk, couldn’t he push air through his mouth and whisper? Or write something? His looks and mannerisms are fine, but there has to be other ways a mute can communicate other than stern expressions.

 

Now that future-Damon is exposed to werewolf toxin, does this mean he’ll need blood some a certain hybrid original to survive? This out to be interesting if that’s the case.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. Lily’s death is unfortunate given the circumstances and Stefan’s newfound relationship with her, but Damon’s poor choice of attitude and that horrendous make-shift party made this episode very difficult to watch with any real enjoyment. The pacing and exhibition was relatively on point for this show’s routine, but I also find it odd when other mainstay characters are mysteriously absent such as Bonnie and Alaric who are still important enough to at least give them some off-screen explanation. This has been my least favorite episode of the season thus far, but Enzo’s capture seems to have some promise, though I can’t imagine why keeping him alive is important. Julian will likely have his own fallout to deal with in keeping the heretic family together as Mary-Louise is the only one on his side at the moment. Her relationship with Nora or lack thereof is a non-issue to me right now and won’t matter if they mend their broken engagement or not. The future is still interesting, but teetering on too many short vignettes to continue being as relevant as the present. We need more scenes to entice us with what’s going to happen to our resident vampires. One more episode next week may help with that before the big winter break. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×07 (Are vampires never actually dead-dead anymore?)

TVD 7x07

 

SUMMARY

Mystical vampire pregnancy scares run rampant as Caroline and Alaric attempt to verify if Caroline is indeed pregnant with the Gemini twins. Damon and Stefan lure and capture Lily and try to suade her into turning from Julian which brings up an old memory when Damon’s father burned him as a child. Meanwhile, Bonnie and Enzo track down Oscar’s car and discover an ancient weapon inside. Matt discovers more humans compelled at the Mystic Grill, and Enzo confronts Julian which unintentionally puts Lily in harms way. In the future, Damon and Alaric arrive at the TV station where Caroline is seemingly being held, but Damon is knocked out by tranquilizer darts as he enters the empty studio.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It’s always amusing when Damon is impressed by Stefan’s cunning and planning yet sometimes I think he forgets that his little brother used to be a ripper. Memories of stranger seasons aside, the foundations were apparently put in place that finally rejoins Lily and her sons as we come to find out that she once attempted to leave the abuse of Damon and Stefan’s father but was threatened if she tried. As skeptical as I’ve become, I’m not going to completely believe she’s turned from Julian, because that kind of alignment switching seemed to easy. A few reveals came out, most notably that Caroline and Lily now both know about what happened between Julian and Valerie way back when. Sympathy is being passed around including a candid moment between Enzo and Bonnie that still hints at their eventual coupling which I still don’t understand. Aside from that, the episode had many traits going for it, and whenever there’s a sword fight that’s anywhere near half-way decent, I applaud the show for bringing it to focus. The show, as usual this season, played certain pairings that were stronger because of it and helped keep the pace and character development active and interesting.

 

RECAP

In the future, Damon and Alaric race to the TV station knowing whoever captured Caroline is setting up a trap for Stefan. Damon goes inside and sees Caroline missing from the newsroom. He is then taken out by our unknown female assailant. In the present, Caroline takes a pregnancy test which comes up negative. Stefan invites Lily over to once more draw a truce and tells her what happened to Valerie. She refuses to believe Julian did what Valerie said leaving Stefan to follow through on his plan to capture Lily and tie her up in vervane rope. Meanwhile Bonnie and Enzo find Oscar’s car in a junkyard and discover a cross-shaped blade which Enzo deduces is made to kill Julian and goes to confront him. Matt calls Caroline for help after he discovers humans in a trance inside the Mystic Grill. Caroline calls Valerie for help and she arrives to take mystically lift the compulsion spell. Beau intervenes but the three escape after saving the humans. While trying to convince Lily of Julian’s evilness, Damon recounts when he was 12 and his father burned him at Thanksgiving dinner for admitting to stealing money which Lily was the culprit of in an attempt to buy train tickets for the three of them to leave. His father hits and threatens Lily if she tries to leave. Meanwhile, Enzo challenges Julian and the two duel with sabers. Enzo reveals the sword and attempts to kill him. Julian gets the upper hand, but Damon arrives and stabs him which also hurts Lily as they are linked in a spell. Bonnie discovers through research that the blade has no magical properties unless joined with the phoenix stone. Lily rejoins with Julian but later comes to the realization that Julian is a monster and goes back to Stefan with plans to betray him. Bonnies shares in Enzo’s woes after he regretfully give up on reaching out to Lily. Valerie finds Caroline at the hospital and uses her power to uncloak the twins inside of Caroline showing she really is pregnant.

 

THE GOOD

I’ll start with something I never thought I’d say. I liked Enzo in this episode. It’s a far cry from saying he’s a valuable character on this show, but his segment with fighting against Julian was actually worth watching. The rock music helped a little, but the overall sense of two “gentlemen” fighting for a lady’s honor was oddly appropriate for this part of the plot. The more Enzo doesn’t do something cruel, the easier it is to tolerate his existence. I still don’t vote for his coupling with Bonnie, but if it gets him off of this Lily kick and doing things that aren’t cruel or evil, then I’m on board.

 

I’m not sure how tying up Lily was going to get her on their side, but it brought out a frustrating memory that Damon apparently held in over the years regarding his father’s treatment and Lily’s seemingly negligent behavior. It culminated with his acceptance that if Julian died, so did Lily. He carries the biggest pensive face when he knows what he’s done is dastardly and he just doesn’t care. This could be a start to the path where he finally forgives her, but then again, Lily could be setting up the brothers per Julian’s plan. I’m not sure. It’s easy to buy into someone saying they’ve seen the bad in someone they’ve ignored for so long, but then again, if Lily does betray the Salvatores, there won’t be any turning back.

 

Caroline does a fun job with denying her pregnancy. This is one of those classic storylines where a favored character becomes pregnant and hilarity somewhat ensues. We know she’s pregnant, the signs are pointing false, but at the end of the day, I think she’ll be warm to the idea, which of course puts her surrogate status as a questionable outcome between her and Stefan.

 

THE BAD

The humans being compelled and stash in different areas of town. We know the heretic group is behind it, but not the full story. The breadcrumbs in this subplot are too weak for me to have any interest and Beau is such a background character now, I keep forgetting he’s still on the show. This needs to lead somewhere other than the vampire witches needing their own stash of humans to feed off of during the winter season. My guess is that they are being primed for a bit of soul swapping once Julian has the phoenix stone and intends to put all those vampire souls into those bodies. This of course means the bodies will need to become vampires as well, but I doubt that’s going to be a difficult goal to attain.

 

It’s a minor point, but what was the point of even throwing in a Thanksgiving reference both in the present and the past? How did linking those two time periods within one holiday make any relevant sense other than just showcasing that TVD hasn’t forgotten about that time of the year when families get together and give thanks by eating lots of Turkey? It felt very half-assed and would have been better suited to just be left out. Usually during Thanksgiving, there’s a plot to bring not just a few people together, but everyone because family is what you make of it and the Salvatore brothers have a family outside of Lily. Although Elena’s coffin in the background of this great gathering would have been strange.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I liked the sword fight. And by the looks of them I’d say those were 19th century French officer sabres they fought with. They were two characters stuck in old school ego, and quite honestly their accents and love for Lily made this a fun fight to watch. It didn’t feel tired or fake. I liked the outcome too.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I think Caroline should have it tonight. She’s transitioning out of her valley girl-style mentality. No longer the college party girl who needs to have fun all the time, she’s getting a new makeover which involves a becoming a surrogate mother. She’s handling the situation well considering the awkward nature of an undead vampire housing a pair of twins. It’s happened before (*cough cough Darla*) but it’s by no means a reoccuring theme that all vampire shows use. She’s being a real sport about it and I imagine she’ll help bring them to term and go through all sorts of pregnant cliché’s like the eating and moodiness. Who would have thought it would happen to her?

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I don’t like cheap plugs on a show, in this case I mean Matt leaving to meet up with Tyler and Jeremy. This will be an off screen reunion and Matt will return with some form of a plan to help Matt’s situation in Mystic Falls. I can’t imagine what that is, but maybe it involves enchanted stakes. But not the white-oak kind, because those don’t exist any longer.

 

This is also why it’s frustrating having a spin-off show disassociate itself with the parental counterpart. Why couldn’t Stefan appeal to Elijah or Klaus with stopping by (a few thousand miles) and just compelling Lily to turn against Julian? For that matter just have one of the Originals just kill Julian outright? I’m sure that will be a cake-walk.

 

I also don’t think Damon could just slam on the breaks at 80mph and come to a screeching halt at the TV station without actually going through its walls. Physics people!

 

I couldn’t tell, but I’m guessing those are fraternal twins inside Caroline. I’m really guessing, I have no evidence supporting that theory. Oh wait, we have an episode when they were three years old. Does anyone remember if they were identical?

 

Is the sword what extracts vampire souls and puts them in the pheonix stone? That seems to make the most sense, and if so, how does this connect to Stefan having that mark on his chest?

Vampires usually don’t have heartbeats. They don’t breathe, their blood doesn’t really pump, their organs are husks and they need to feed to sustain themselves. Vampire immortality has changed over the years to accommodate for them looking perfectly normal and having perfectly normal bodies that just heal fast and don’t age. It’s just pointless to say they’re dead when their hearts beat. Does that make sense?

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Surprisingly good. No one scene truly stood out as monumental, but everything ebbed and flowed in a way that kept he pace strong and the characters well balanced with those they shared scenes with. Damon and Stefan are always great together. I don’t know why but Bonnie and Enzo aren’t horrible even if I don’t agree with where they’re going. She’s being annoyed but playful and considering what she’s been through, that alone is charming for her. Alaric and Caroline will be interesting to see that dynamic blossom into, who knows what? I’m not concerned with how Stefan will take it, I get the sense he’ll be very distracted with the coming plot that will likely end his and Caroline’s relationship. The twins alone won’t be a good enough reason in my opinion. Good sword fight and nice use of a flashback even though that father is a terrible actor. We’re taking a short break next week but we’ll have one more episode before the winter comes. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×06 (Wait, so a human can’t hold a vampire soul but a vampire can hold two human souls? Someone check this on wiki)

TVD 7x06

SUMMARY

Fatherhood, motherhood, and parental reflection curl up by the fire and explode it as the Salvatore brothers embark on separate paths to take down Julian, the newly resuscitated vampire of over 400 years. Lily attempts to make peace by throwing an extravagant dinner for all to attend while Alaric discovers that the vampire soul inside of Jo is unintentionally destroying her mortal body. Bonnie and Matt return to high school and find a horrific secret and Valerie helps Alaric locate his unborn children who are still alive and inside a very unexpected womb.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I am surprised, not by the sudden twist at the end of the episode but by everyone’s well-balanced acting and interactions. Not a single character was wasted in their scenes and that includes Enzo, who for once toned down his personality and made himself a presentable, albeit, mildly jealous suitor. Outside of a few minor nitpicks and one large logistical swerve involving a certain soap-opera-style reveal, tonight’s episode was warmly sullen yet sweetly sentimental in its delivery of how emotional vampires deal with the trauma of what could have been.

RECAP

In the future, Alaric and Damon witness a wounded Caroline appear on a news broadcast calling out to Stefan. It’s revealed that Caroline is Alaric’s fiancé. In the present, Stefan dreams of having a son, Jacob back in the 1800’s but loses him. After waking, he and Damon argue over how Julian will die with Damon wanting to wait until Lily is comfortable having Julian back. Lily meanwhile invites everyone to a party save for Valerie who she still blames for almost losing Julian. During the day, Alaric finds Jo who begins to show signs of degradation which is later confirmed by Valerie who tells them that a vampire soul can’t be sustained in a mortal body. At night, Damon, Stefan, Bonnie, Matt, and Enzo attend the party which is full of compelled humans. Julian is introduced and is seen later asking Beau to locate something Oscar had with him before he died. Bonnie plays along with Enzo to appear as a date to make Lily Jealous as Matt and Stefan knock Damon out to prevent him from saving Julian. Stefan attacks Julian but fails to kill him as Lily thinks she’s being attacked personally. Julian beats on both Damon and Stefan nearly succumbing to the insanity brought on with being in the phoenix stone for so long. Meanwhile, Jo is dying and can’t be healed by vampire blood which leaves Alaric heartbroken again when Jo dies in front of him. Valerie discovers on Alaric’s wedding video that the Gemini coven attempted to save the unborn children through a spell. After the party, Matt and Bonnie track a human to the high school who sits in a classroom full of other humans all compelled to remain. And finally, Valerie performs a spell to find Alaric’s unborn children and reveals they are inside of Caroline.

THE GOOD

The theme of parental longing and protection was very well balanced tonight. Everything from Stefan and Damon’s reflections on becoming fathers, to Alaric’s belief his children are still alive to Lily convincing Julian to spare her real sons from Julian’s wrath helped give most everyone a look into how being a parent or the thought of being a parent affects both sides. Even Julian attempts to bond like a father to Beau and Mary Louise after his return. This helped connect all the characters save for Bonnie and Enzo, but that’s a different subject. The most was seen from Stefan who tried to keep Valerie’s secret from Damon but still told him and didn’t receive the kind of treatment he usually gets from Damon. Instead, they share a common dream that they wanted to be parents at some point with Stefan feeling it’s his only regret.

Surrogate mothers are not unheard of. It’s been done in lots of different ways and pregnant vampires is hardly a unique concept, but I have to laugh at the absurdity of this shark-jumping moment. It’s not too fantastic to wrap our heads around, but in the end I applaud this effort because it really came out of nowhere. The one character who had the least say in children, parental woes or dreams and she’s the one who unexpectedly bares the burden of delivering Alaric’s kids. If ever there was friction needed between Stefan an Caroline, this would do it. How those babies are surviving inside of Caroline are beyond me, but mystical pregnancies have a way of defying the natural order of creating life.

THE BAD

The humans in the high school that Matt and Bonnie found were a complete miss for me. It will lead into another subplot that ties into one or more of the heretic vampires doing this, but at this stage it’s anyone’s guess as to who is responsible. Right now, this isn’t a concern of mine and I’ll likely forget about this scene until it’s brought up again in the next episode. It had the least impact and involved the only two characters that weren’t a part of the main theme of this episode.

While I completely like the flashfowards and the twist over twist scenes they keep showing, they’re too short and the story being told is moving very slowly. I was almost starting to believe that the entire cast was stuck inside of some crazy phoenix stone limbo that nobody is aware of and it’s not really three years into the future, but that’s just wishful thinking. I think it’s time we start moving thing in the future along so we can get to the heart of how what’s going on and who is after Stefan and why.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The ending. Surprise pregnancies can have an interesting impact and Caroline’s face sold the confusion perfectly. The one person least likely to every be with child and now she’s carrying Alaric’s twins. I’m on board because it’s completely over the top and now both Stefan and Alaric are going to be having interesting conversations with Damon’s jokes seeing end in sight.

CHARACTER MVP

Bit of a tough call, but I think I’m going to say both Alaric and Jo’s vampire soul, Florence get the dual honor tonight. I didn’t think they’d kill Jo off again so suddenly, but they shared enough moments that made the situation feel sympathetic and putting Alaric through this twice was awful, but you have to feel for the guy and what he’s going through. He was about to accept a different soul in Jo’s body just to hear her voice and he still lost that chance. That’s no easy thing to endure, and Jo was also played the role with the kind of care and sadness that was good to see because not all vampires are evil and not all vampires trapped in a phoenix stone prison are evil either. Kudos to both players for doing their best here.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Alright, I’m going to give Enzo and Bonnie the benefit of the doubt here. Bonnie should not be attracted to Enzo, there’s no reason, it’s not there, but for some reason when she helped Enzo with his tie, they shared a moment and I didn’t roll my eyes. So I’ll play along, if it will get Enzo out of his egotistical whine-box.

At this rate, there may be enough evidence to suggest that Stefan takes or absorbs Julian’s heart-scar by some mystical means and there’s a strong chance the woman is Lily herself, trying to track him down, but that still doesn’t seem right. We don’t know what Julian is looking for but it likely plays a role in how the future is set.

Damon and Stefan’s heartfelt moment near the end should also get a mention here. It’s not often the brothers are this reflective on their lives let alone at the same time and to each other. Stefan will never be a part of Elena’s life again like the old days but it’s good to see that his existence is still very relevant and that his aspirations are outside of her and Damon’s love-debacle.

I ponder if Valerie is making an honest switch with being good now. She’s sympathetic toward Alaric’s situation because she understand what losing unborn children feels like, but after this, will she continue to lure Stefan away? With Caroline in a very strange position, Valerie has the perfect opportunity to make her move. But at the same time, there’s no telling what her endgame is especially if she just wants to be away from Julian and they haven’t met up again since his revival. Why not just tell Lily what Julian did to her? Stefan already told Damon, so that secret isn’t very well kept at this point.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. A dynamic theme that applied to many of the characters help ground the show in both sympathy and reflection. When major characters begin having babies, it’s a sign that maybe there’s not much more interesting stories to tell, but I don’t think that’s the case here. It may be strange, but I don’t think we’ve truly scratched the surface with how strange Caroline’s pregnancy will get. She not having prophetic children, but they are tied to a witch bloodline and that could get a witch plot bubbling back to the surface. Everyone played their part with the exception of one subplot that didn’t feel very well placed, but with the future looking slightly more clearer, we’ll be time skipping ahead in no time. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×05 (He will now be known as Julian Ceasar)

TVD 7x05

SUMMARY

The wicked wheel turns and burns as Lily stops at nothing to resurrect her old vampire love, Julian while Valerie, Damon, and Stefan attempt to find him first. On the way, the brothers learn that Oscar and Jo are not who they appear to be which puts both Alaric and Bonnie in dangerous waters. Stefan discovers the secret that Valerie has kept for the last two hundred years and in the future, Bonnie is dealing with some post-traumatic stress and is also in love with a very unlikely character.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

From start to finish, this was a very well crafted episode. Points for the soul swapping reveal which brought to light Oscar’s strange personality and Jo’s memories not catching up after her resurrection. Stefan’s warmth and compassion toward Valerie plays a larger role here than meets the eye because this will set the tone for how he and Caroline will react toward each other from here on out. Where I think the table flies through the window of sense is when the future reveals Enzo and Bonnie as some strange loving couple. I question everything at this point including her despair and choice of vampire boyfriends, but the plot hasn’t betrayed me yet, so I’ll deal with this drastic change for now. Alaric made a sensible choice to embrace this new Jo and I’ll get into another event that is similar in nature to this one later on. The most understandable element right now is getting to know how humanizing the heretic family is even if they’re demeanor shows nothing but evil intents. Damon always gets a free pass because he’s the top anti-hero of this show, lest we forget he was a full blown villain for almost the entire first season. Interesting things are shaping up. Let’s get started.

RECAP

In the future, Bonnie is in a group therapy session and laments about choices she’s made and is in tears. She leaves to find Enzo and the two lovingly embrace. In the present, Stefan and Damon track down Valerie who is trying to find Julian. Together they made for an awkward trio as Damon baits the two of them over their past relationship. Meanwhile, Bonnie seeks out Oscar to try and understand how her resurrection spell worked as Alaric attempts to comfort a newly risen Jo. Valerie informs the brothers that the phoenix stone holds various vampire souls and both Oscar and Jo have different souls than their bodies. Oscar attacks Bonnie with hunger and demands the stone because he won’t go back. Enzo is forced to kill Oscar and keeps the stone. At a locked warehouse, the brothers and Valerie find Julian and attempt to burn him but Lily and the family arrive and take Julian back. Before the incident, Valerie reveals to Stefan that she was pregnant and that Julian beat her forcing her to lose the baby. Bonnie tells Alaric that Jo is not the real Jo but he doesn’t quite believe her. Jo had run away not understanding what’s happened to her. Alaric comes to believe Bonnie but chooses to help this new Jo regardless. Later, Lily takes the stone from Enzo and the family infuse Julian with his soul again and are reunited. And Damon swears revenge on Lily after finding out that Lily was responsible for giving Kai the idea to put Elena in a comatose spell.

THE GOOD

While I’m not very sympathetic to any of the heretic family except Valerie, I recognize the effort being put here. We understand this show deals in extremes in both good and evil tendencies. People like Damon can be forgiven for a grip of evil deeds while this heretic family is generally more annoying then diabolical. At the same time, Lily is trying to maintain some sense of order and when you see her and Julian embrace with some emotional joy, there’s a small moment where you forget that Julian is a bastard and Lily is emotionally compromised. While I still don’t understand why any of the heretic siblings are on Lily’s side with bringing Julian back for the sake of her happiness it’ll be interesting to see where this goes, because right now this present Julian could have layers like Valerie and Lily. Although I suspect he’ll be some kind of crazy evil which will arguably justify Damon’s revenge considering it’s his driving force right now.

The trials of Stefan’s courtship with Caroline is now officially in murky waters now that he knows what happened to Valerie. He empathizes with her which can and likely will lead to conflicting emotions. Usually Stefan makes the right moral call because he has a pretty good compass in his head, but this time, there’s an older heart at play which has to be the start on how he and Caroline eventually break up. It doesn’t have to get much more complicated than this because the sub-plot works as a drama of one guy having feelings for two girls. Maybe he doesn’t for Valerie now, but what they experienced has a way of coming back because that’s how humans cope. They revert sometimes and maybe it will be an honest lie, maybe it won’t be, but with such a new relationship with Caroline, it stands to reason, Stefan isn’t treating it like he did with Elena. It’s not perfect, and we’ll see why relatively soon.

THE BAD

Enzo isn’t working through this Salvatore mess. There isn’t much in the way of redeeming qualities because his actions are purely and unquestionably selfish. Now we have to put up with this eventual course that puts him in Bonnie’s sights and that just spells eye rolling disaster. What major writing flaw is when Enzo presents Lily with a choice to pick him over the stone and Julian. What baffled me is that they play at this short possibility like she’ll maybe go for the 1% chance and choose him, when she’s waited this long to reunite with Julian. And he actually thought for a minor moment she would pick him. I don’t think he was delusional, I think he really thought she’d do it. What’s more odd is that Enzo just let the resurrection happen without any interference when he seemed pretty bent on helping Valerie put an end to Julian, but I guess he didn’t want to have to put up with Lily’s rage if he was directly involved in Julian’s second demise. Still, he’s not winning any medals for these acts and I’m not even going to speculate how Bonnie falls for him because nothing short of magical nightmares will get her to swoon for that lazy acting vampire.

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Alaric decided to stay with “not” Jo and help her readjust to life in the present tense. This parallels with another couple who went through the same ordeal on another show. And yes, I’m going there once again as I have in the past. This mirrors a major plot-point in the show Angel. Back in season 5 of Angel, Wesley finally gets together with Winifred and then she is taken over by an ancient demon, killing her and turning her into the demon reborn, Illyria. Wesley, though much pain and guilt decides to help Illyria adjust because like Alaric is treating the situation, she looks like the woman he loved and he can’t help but stay attached at the physical appearance because to let go again would be too painful. Alaric won’t let go again, he can’t and I don’t blame him. Whatever vampire soul is inside of Jo isn’t evil or craving blood because Jo’s not a vampire. While we don’t know if the soul in Jo is even female, I’m guessing it doesn’t matter because Alaric has what looks like Jo back in his life. It’s enough for him and I’m certain the consequences will be forthcoming soon. Does this mean “not” Jo is the mother of his children. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

CHARACTER MVP

I’m on Valerie’s side this week. She’s very much a victim of both Julian and Lily’s lifestyle which put her in the same boat even after she gave up on life. Her feelings toward Stefan are still very apparent and it was visibly difficult for her to tell him what happened to their child. I don’t think she’s looking for pity, but I do believe she needed him to know so she could heal after so many years. She knows she won’t get Stefan back and for once, she’s not thinking in evil ways. Will it stick? I don’t know, but so far, if she turns from Lily, there’s a chance she can be redeemed as a character.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Julian has the same scar on his chest that Stefan is later seen having in the future. If it’s a stake wound then that means Stefan will eventually be staked and saved somehow. Or maybe it’s not Stefan at all in the future but with a different vampire soul. It’s still a guessing game this early in the season.

Does Jo’s vampire soul remember what happened to her? Did Oscar’s vampire soul either? It seems they have selective memory but they didn’t reveal their original names which I thought was odd. So in that sense, why does Julian get to remember who he is? He hasn’t been shown to be any special kind of powerful vampire and I doubt he’ll have any witch powers moving forward.

Poor Beau. Most witch abilities are prefaced with verbal incantations, making him a rather weak part of the family. That should be offset with him having stronger abilities when it comes to telekinesis and anything where hands get waved around for effect. Just a thought. Granted he did make a few dozen coffins explode, so there’s that.

With all of these small flashfowards I wonder if we’re going to get a single episode that takes place entirely in the future that settles this storyline. I’m not convinced it’s a lasting future. Someone is going to change time in this season. Someone is going to see how bad things got and just go back and change it in the current present, mark my words.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. This season is attempting to create a dynamic where the bad guys/girls have layers just like our heroes and anti-heroes. They love and lose just as much and will go at great lengths to preserve their familial ties. Tonight’s episode continues to showcase this and may bring Valerie onto a new level of sympathetic. Lily is representing blind loyalty which, at the moment isn’t self-destructive, but we don’t truly know what Julian is capable of and until we see how she’ll react to his wrath we don’t know for sure how subservient she really is. Bonnie is doing great things too, but now she’s in love with future Enzo which to me, makes no earthly sense. I’m not on board with that reveal and whatever storyline they concoct to make this a reality, I don’t think it will be very convincing. The dynamic between Caroline, Valerie, and Stefan is getting good and it’s interesting to see the reverse when this show has primarily been about Damon, Stefan, and Elena for so many seasons. This still has the makings of their near best season. Keep the story strong, I say. Thanks for reading!

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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.

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×03 (Ugh! They had to kill the one cool guy of the bunch)

TVD 7x03

SUMMARY

The Salvatores divide and conquer to reunite with the women they love all while Alaric confesses to Bonnie his secret with keeping Jo on ice. Stefan and Valerie’s history is revealed as well as Lily’s plan to find Julian, a man with a sordid history. Oscar, the sixth sibling makes his debut and departure in a flash and Lily has a change of heart regarding Caroline’s imprisonment. All this and a few visions still scraping across Bonnie’s mind regarding the phoenix stone along with another portent from the future involving a call from Stefan to Tyler regarding his scar reopening.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This episode was superb. Completely caught me off guard with how well everyone performed tonight including Oscar who nailed his scenes and died in the effort which was the only stupid call this show made tonight. Having said that, near everything worked in favor of telling an awesome story and making me care about characters I really wasn’t sure on. Also, no Nora or Mary Louise, or Enzo this week, so that’s a plus as well. Everything was tightly woven with little fall out save for one or two logistical issues but they’re minor in the grand scheme of this plot line. Let’s get started.

RECAP

3 years from now, Stefan pours gasoline on his car and a few belongings while telling Tyler on the phone that his scar is open and to warn Caroline. He keeps his journal and burns the rest. In the present, Damon, Alaric, and Bonnie prepare to find Oscar while Stefan plans to sway Lily into believing he and Damon are no longer speaking. Valerie confesses to Caroline about her relationship with Stefan back in the 19th century when they were both still human. Their romantic encounter is short lived as Julian, a man who swayed Lily’s heart forces Valerie to take to the sea with the group going so far as to beat her and kill the child inside her that would have been Stefan’s. Caroline and Stefan are not privy to the last bit but after Stefan shares a few normal moments with Lily, she allows Caroline to leave the house. Meanwhile, Damon and the others find Oscar enjoying his perceived vacation and agrees to help take away Bonnie’s visions. It tips their hand about the phoenix stone and Oscar steals it from Alaric. They eventually capture Oscar and Damon tells Lily to trade him for Elena. Alaric shows Bonnie Jo’s body in the morgue with plans to use the phoenix stone on her and Valerie discovers Oscar through a locator spell. He tells her that he found Julian months ago and intends to trade his freedom for his location. Unwilling to encounter Julian again, Valerie kills Oscar.

THE GOOD

There was a lot of good here starting with the story and elements of the flashback. At first this flashback felt very generic and by the book with Stefan losing his virginity to Valerie within a day of meeting her. When Valerie later explains that she intended to return to Stefan but was stopped by Julian and losing the baby was actually pretty heartbreaking. Then the curse of becoming a vampire because she had actually committed suicide but had Lily’s blood from healing her injuries earlier. That’s all some twisted flashback storytelling, with enough context to make me understand just how scarred Valerie really is. She had a free pass with all of that until she went and killed Oscar.

Hands down, thought Oscar was brilliant. His personality quirk from serious to goofy in zero seconds was spot on great. He had motivation, charisma, and knew how to play serious and funny with a balance I hadn’t seen on this show in nearly forever. They condensed a lot for him to portray but what really sold his performance were the serious moments especially how he told Damon that he didn’t use compulsion to make him leave and just convinced him man to man. The way they’re inserting the heretic family into the past with the brothers is actually well done and doesn’t feel very forced. Well done on those segments.

The future segments are still extremely short, but the presentation, the music-style and the breadcrumbs of information are still enough to make me really wonder what this is all about. It’s still strange that we’ll have to sift through an entire season to get anywhere near this condensed plot, but with so much more to go I don’t see this engaging arc slowing down. They’re on a roll here and I hope it can keep going.

THE BAD

They killed Oscar. That’s nearly it. He was leagues above Enzo and Enzo has been forced fed to us for too many episodes, the real Damon doppelganger that I just can’t stand. I suppose it’s possible she didn’t kill him considering her unconventional method to I think kill his heart through his stomach, but I get it. I just don’t have to like it.

Kind of a minor nitpick, but Damon clearly states to Lily that he’ll trade Oscar for Elena but never mentions Caroline. Now, I suppose maybe he got a call from Stefan off screen regarding Caroline’s freedom, but somehow I doubt it. Essentially it’s though his one-track mind forgot about the blonde in the Stefan’s room reading Stefan’s journal wondering if she should be jealous of Stefan’s first girlfriend.

Again, I’m not complaining too hard about this, but when they don’t include certain characters in an episode but their presence is still somewhat apparent, why wouldn’t they just have an actual scene? Case and point, Lily yells out to Nora to remove the barrier spell. Then, I suppose Nora just…does it. Considering the bratty nature of both Nora and Mary Louise, I’d have expect some kind of resistance to this regardless of their loyalty to their “mother.” Or at the very least some kind of ominous scene regarding Mary Louise and or Nora threatening Caroline further. Just seems like an odd way to put them in the episode without actually putting them in the episode.

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Valerie presumably tells Stefan what happened to her in the past. That was utterly brilliant. I completely fell that conversation believing he was actually listening to her. I haven’t been duped like that since The 6th Sense, and it goes to show that Valerie really is three dimensional and is hiding terrible pain and longing for Stefan, something he won’t probably find out until later this season. This unofficial love triangle is something Stefan needs because his relationship with Caroline just isn’t sparking as much as the writers probably think it should.

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving Oscar the Oscar tonight. He did a lot with the short time he had and though I expected him to be really snarky and boorish, he was anything but those things. I’m glad he and Damon were able to reminisce for a that short moment about that time in the civil war. And his witch abilities were super clutch when it mattered. Way to go single-episode dead guy!

ENDING THOUGHTS

This goes without saying but if I’m to gather the pieces correctly, is Julian a vampire or a witch? If he’s a vampire, what’s he doing out in the daylight? Does everyone have a daylight ring in every time period? And where is he? I’m guessing desecated or in torpor somewhere or else Oscar just spied on him and then left of his own accord.

While I don’t know for certain if an autopsy was performed on Jo, I am most certainly sure that whether that happened or not, they wouldn’t just let her wedding ring stay on that deceased finger.

Stefan and Caroline can wear sweaters and hug. There are ways around vervane-flavored skin, they just need to think about side coffin-box.

Regardless with how convincing Alaric can be about missing Jo and wanting her back, I’m not convinced that Bonnie would just go for this, not after saying the word “necromancy”. I know they were both dead, but the power of love should not falter Bonnie’s judgment that this is a bad idea to the Nth degree.

Not to mention, when/if Jo comes back, she’ll have to essentially wear that stone on her neck to stay alive otherwise she’ll keep dying every time it gets knocked off in a scuffle. Maybe there’s more to it to resurrect her than that, but if not, this will be hell for her character.

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Almost a genuinely perfect episode under the banner of TVD. Heroes and villains are both sympathetic and it was the right balance for the right characters interacting. Personally speaking, none of the characters I loathe and despise made it to tonight’s episode and the future tense story telling is still making me guess as to what’s going to happen next. Congrats on the consistency, this is turning into a great season so far. Look forward to the next. Thanks for reading!

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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!

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