The Vampire Diaries: Mother, May I?

Mama Original's spell in action.

This week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries was all about Mama Original’s spell to kill her children – in other words, this show has turned into a comedy (just kidding!).  I’m not sure how clear I am on how the spell works, so I’m going to try to break it down.  Last week, at the ball, Mama Original infused her children’s champagne with Elena’s doppelganger blood, linking their lives together – if one of them was killed, they would all die.

Mama Original with Finn (AKA "creepy lurky guy") in the background.

With her favorite vampire son Finn at her side, Esther got Bonnie and Abby to join her at the house of 100 dead witches and drew a circle with a pentagram inside of it, surrounded by candles.  Her intention was to tap into Bonnie and Abby’s ancestral line of Bennett witches and use their power to augment her own along with the power of the full moon to complete her spell.  However, she was thwarted by Elijah who had confronted Elena about lying to him about his mother’s intentions and kidnapped her in order to get Stefan and Damon to help him stop Esther’s spell.  Elijah seemed particularly pissed when Elena told him she wishes there was something that she could do – I mean, he did stomp a hole in the ground and drag her down into it with him.  Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries – Ball Gowns and Dance Partners

Ah yes. The ever present "Family Tree made with blood"

You know what The Vampire Diaries does so well?  Relationships.  Every single relationship on this show feels well thought out and developed and true.  And every time a new relationship is formed, it feels earned.  Take last night’s episode for example.  We got to see some new relationships move forward and see the bonds of some old relationships tighten.

Awkward! (Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley)

Stefan – Elena – Damon:The writers have done an excellent job of setting up this love triangle.  I don’t know who to root for!  On the one hand, Stefan is Elena’s first love; that means something and she seems so determined to get him back.  On the other hand, Elena has helped Damon change into a better man and clearly cares about her role in his life and doesn’t want to let him go either.  Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries – Mama Original returns and so many tears

Welcome Back, Elijah! (Daniel Gillies)

Remember a few weeks ago when I was complaining about how fast The Vampire Diaries was moving through plot and wished the show would take a deep breath and pause for a moment?  Well, last night, I got what I wished for.  All of our favorite characters seemed to hunker down for the night, but for some reason, it didn’t feel like the action actually paused at all.  It felt like each story was given a little breathing room to hit the audience with a little more impact, but that calmer pace did nothing to compromise the action.  On top of that lovely pace, the actors were really bringing the most to their characters – I am particularly impressed with the way Paul Wesley has been communicating all of Stefan’s conflicting feelings and how Candice Accola has made Caroline so fantastically human despite her vampire powers.  In other words, The Vampire Diaries crew hit it out of the park, again.

Hey, if the CW is going to give us gratuitous shots of Paul Wesley shirtless, why shouldn't I embrace them?

This episode basically breaks down into two parts – Klaus and Elijah vs. Stefan and Damon which includes Bonnie and her mother, Abby, attempting to open the 5th coffin and the mystery of who killed the medical examiner which involves Caroline, Elena, Matt and Alaric.  As much as I love this show, I do find fault in the lack of integration of its story lines.  Somehow it always feels like it is split into different stories that don’t include all of the characters.  I really want to see these plots start to dove-tail into each other so that all of our Mystic Falls heroes are working together toward the same goal like they were at the end of the first season. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: Giant Info Dump

Oh, Joseph Morgan. Never stop being you.

Is anyone else feeling like this winter season of The Vampire Diaries is getting off to a slow start?  I have written recaps on the past three episodes, but feel like they have been more information dump than entertaining story.  It’s like the writers are trying to get us caught up on all of the new Mystic Falls rules and regulations and introduce us to a whole new slate of characters all at once.  This show has never been one to lay things out slowly or methodically, but lately, I’m feeling as if it has become more clunky exposition than flowing narrative.  I hate to criticize because I think The Vampire Diaries is so great, but I’m just not clicking with it right now.  Despite that, there have been a few interesting developments since the show returned that I would like to discuss if you don’t mind.

Bonnie (Kat Graham, who was awesome this week) dreams about her mother.

1. Here’s a little recap of the basic goings on around town: Stefan has all of Klaus’ family coffins and is using them as leverage to get Klaus out of town (he successfully got rid of the hybrids last week).  There is one extra coffin that no one can figure out how to open.  The coffins were being hidden in the house of 100 dead witches (which is my favorite place in Mystic Falls) until last night when Klaus got all of them, except the mystery box, back (I’m guessing that the locked coffin holds his mother).  Bonnie went to find her mother to help her unlock the coffin and Klaus used their reunion as a way to get his family back.  Meanwhile, Tyler is trying to break his sire-bond to Klaus with the help of Caroline’s father, in order to be able to be with Caroline and Alaric has befriended Dr. Meredith Fell who has been using vampire blood to help her patients cheat death.  Oh, and Elena got Damon to compel Jeremy so he would go to Denver in order to be safe and she and Damon kissed. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: “ba boom”

Joseph Morgan kind of rocked this episode.

Last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries was like a heist caper.  Stefan, Damon, Elena and Mikael plotted to kill Klaus and executed that plot to perfection, except that they didn’t account for Katherine and her impulsive ways.  Here is a step by step account of what they did.

1. Elena stabbed Mikael with the dagger (Elena has to do it because if a vampire stabs an original vampire they die) so they would have proof that he was dead to show Klaus and so they could get around Klaus’ compulsion of Stefan.  They also got Rebekah to plead with Klaus to come back as an even greater incentive. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: The Ripping 20′s

A long time ago. . . we used to be friends (Paul Wesley & Joseph Morgan)

Last night I had some drinks with friends and one of them told me about how embarrassed she was that she got teary eyed during The Vampire Diaries season premiere.  I assured her there was nothing to be embarrassed about – The Vampire Diaries is a good show with writing that gets the viewer so invested that they tear up from time to time.  It’s ok to admit that you are involved in the story!  When am I going to get to stop defending this show?  I know it is on the CW, it has teenagers in it, it’s about vampires (one of whom can be a bit angst-y), it’s on the CW, but none of that discounts the fact that it is pretty well written, has some great performances in it and keeps its viewers hooked with its rich mythology and unrelenting pace.  There are many more “prestigious” shows that could learn a thing or two from The Vampire Diaries.  There’s nothing to be embarrassed about J.S.  I promise.

Oh Damon, you dastardly devil, you. (Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev)

The Vampire Diaries has done something that no other show in my recent memory has been able to do: kept the tension and suspense high all while moving the story forward.  The first season barreled along at a breakneck pace which I thought for sure couldn’t be sustained, but then the second season sustained it.  And now, three episodes into the third season, the writers are still on a roll, even when traditional knowledge says they should be at a standstill (flashback episodes are notorious momentum killers).  It’s just undeniable that behind the teenagers and soap opera clichés, lies a very good show with smart writers who clearly don’t want to let their audience down.  Last night’s episode, while not a perfect example of all that The Vampire Diaries is capable of (see below re: lack of plot integration), was a great example of how to work in loads of exposition without dialing down the suspense or emotion.

How awesome is Candice Accola as Caroline? SO awesome.

First things first.  Despite the fact that Caroline is my favorite character on this show, she’s still sort of sidelined by the writers.  I refuse to do her the same disservice, so let’s get to her torturous night right away.  Daddy dearest still has her locked in that dungeon (formerly owned by their vampire savvy ancestors) where he takes off her sun-walking ring, pumps vervain into the room via the ventilation system and taunts her with a bag of blood while opening a gate that lets the light in (those Forbes ancestors really knew how to make a guest feel at home, didn’t they?).  What a dick.  She begs him to let her go and tells him that she can handle the urges.  He says he’s conditioning her to associate vampirism with pain so that she’ll be able to repress her vampire instincts so that he doesn’t have to kill her.  That’s totally effed up.  Ugh.  I hate Caroline’s dad.

Swoon (Accola with Michael Trevino)

At this point the sun has gone down so she can’t be tortured anymore.  He leaves, only to find Caroline’s mother standing there with a gun in her hands and Tyler as back up.  Tyler swoops into the torture chamber, unchains Caroline, puts her ring back on her finger (foreshadowing? . . . probably not), picks her up and walks her out of there and it is so awesome.  It all happens really quickly, but feels so heavy and painful for everyone involved.  You can tell that Bill loves his daughter and doesn’t want to have to kill her, but he’s been conditioned by his family that all vampires are monsters.  Luckily, Caroline has her mom on her side and Tyler to keep her warm and comforted (“would now be a bad time to give you crap about sneaking out on me?”) because she sure doesn’t have anyone else like her, ahem, best friend Elena.  (Ok writers.  Can you please please please integrate Caroline and Elena’s storylines.  They are supposed to be friends right?  LET THEM BE FRIENDS!)

(I want to make the rest of this short and sweet, but I just can’t.  There’s too much going on.)

That's a lot of dead people in Stefan's Chicago secret closet.

Katherine (our favorite evil vampire Elena-doppelganger) popped up out of the blue to get an update on things in Mystic Falls and get Damon and Elena back on Stefan’s trail.  He and Klaus are in Chicago to figure out why Klaus can’t create any new hybrids (hint: it’s because the non-vampire doppelganger is still alive).  Elena and Damon take a wee road trip (“Ooh, put these in the yes pile!” Damon about a pair of lacy underwear while trying to get Elena to pack) and end up at Stefan’s old Chicago apartment (which he apparently still pays for because it doesn’t look to have been inhabited in quite a while).  Damon is still trying to open Elena’s eyes to just how evil and dangerous Stefan is and shows her a secret door that opens to a list of names of all of the people he killed – and that list is LONG.  But in Elena’s eyes, that’s the past.  Damon also gave her Stefan’s journal from when he was in Chicago and she conveniently skipped over all of his blackouts from killing so many people and focussed on how Lexie (his best friend whom Damon killed season 1) taught him to care again.

The 1920's flashbacks were totally fun. I loved all of the flapper dresses and men in tuxedos.

Let’s get the flashbacks out of the way up front: Way back in the 1920′s, Stefan (handsome as ever in a tux) palled around with Klaus (then going by the name Nick) and his sister Rebecca.  Klaus was totally into Stefan and his sadistic ways of torturing his victims (he made one of them drink his own wife’s blood) and Rebecca was totally into Stefan.  However, somehow, the cops found out about them and shot up their favorite speakeasy with wooden bullets.  Klaus got freaked out, told his sister they had to leave, and compelled Stefan to forget all about them until he said otherwise.  When Rebecca found out that Stefan wasn’t following them in their escape, she chose to stay behind instead of going with her brother.  So, being a big old baby who can’t handle the fact that his sister picked her boyfriend over him, Klaus put a dagger in her heart (one of those nifty daggers with that special ash that petrifies originals, but doesn’t kill them kill them) and left her in a coffin until he the next time he needs her.

Klaus goes to his old witch friend Gloria for help in finding out why he can't make any more wolf-pires.

Well, now the time has come.  Stefan and Klaus go to that same speakeasy in the present day.  It’s run by Glory, a witch who’s been around since the 20′s (and doesn’t look too bad) and can apparently help Klaus figure out what went wrong with the spell to break the curse so that he can create his wolf-pire army.  She says the only way to understand what went wrong with the spell is to contact the witch who created it who just so happens to be dead but she says that Rebecca can help her.  After taking the dagger out of his sister and compelling a security guard to let her eat him, Klaus takes Stefan on his next “trip down memory lane” tour stop: his old apartment (where Damon has left Elena).  When she hears Klaus and Stefan coming, she hides in the dead man’s list closet which is of course the first place that Klaus wants to show Stefan as evidence of his brutality and the reason Klaus wants him around.  Klaus opens the door but doesn’t look inside (what I don’t get is why Klaus can’t smell her or hear her heartbeat.  She should have been pretty easy to suss out in her state of panic).  When Stefan goes to the closet , he sees Elena and they have one of their amazing moments of eye contact (seriously.  Those two say more with one second of eye contact than most characters say in three minutes of dialogue).  For a second it seems like he’s going to tell Klaus that she’s there, but he keeps her hidden and gets Klaus to leave with some scotch (“Let’s find someone to pair it with”).

I wish we had seen where Damon was while Stefan was ripping his way through Chicago.

Back at the bar, waiting for Rebecca to wake up and have her security guard breakfast, Stefan asks Klaus why, if they were such good friends, he only knows him as a “hybrid dick who sacrificed my girlfriend on an altar” and Klaus tells him about the compulsion.  Damon catches Stefan’s eye after the flashback and he steals away.  Stefan tells Damon that he has to get Elena away from Chicago because she’s the reason that Klaus can’t turn any hybrids and he’s about to figure that out.  But instead of leaving right away, Damon gives Elena a chance to talk Stefan into coming home and takes a seat next to Klaus to ask for his brother back.  Elena tries to hug Stefan into coming home and when that doesn’t work, she tries to stab him in the back with vervain, but he stops her and tells her again to leave him alone (getting pretty damn mean in the process).  Klaus has Damon by the throat and is poking him with the sharp end of a drink umbrella (awesome weapon).  Damon continues to try to sacrifice himself for his brother, but Klaus just doesn’t have the same bond with Damon that he has with Stefan.  Klaus is just about to stake Damon when Glory stops him and he tells Damon that by the time he’s done, Stefan won’t want to go home.  Elena tries to convince Stefan that she can help him the way that Lexie did and he tells her that she has to give up, that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore (the weight of all those dead bodies are hanging over his head) and walks away.

Thank God we met Rebecca through flashbacks first. This is not a good look.

Sick of waiting for his sister, Klaus goes back to collect Rebecca and finds her out of her coffin, but not without a dagger.  She stabs him but the daggers don’t hurt him anymore (which she knew).  He tells her that he brought her a peace offering, Stefan, and he compels Stefan to remember her and his feelings for her.  I’m not sure if the memories are a play yet.  But it does get Stefan to remember his bond with Klaus and Rebecca and could cause many complications down the road if he’s asked to put his love for Rebecca above his love for Elena.  Klaus tells Rebecca that he needs her to contact the original witch and she reaches for her necklace (now around Elena’s neck), apparently the key to that particular inter-dimensional call, and freaks that it’s missing.

Katherine (Dobrev) made for a very fine flapper, indeed.

Damon calls Katherine and tells her that Stefan was where she said he would be.  Then she flashes back to the night that the speakeasy got raided and she saw Stefan pick up Rebecca’s necklace (because she’s a total stalker).  AND THEN MY TV CUTS OUT!  (only for like 10 seconds, but still, I could have missed something important.  I didn’t, but I could have!)  It comes back to Katherine watching Stefan tell someone (I’m assuming he’s a cop and also the guy that Klaus is running from) that he’s never seen Rebecca or Klaus before.

Stefan in a tuxedo. Never a bad thing.

How do you feel about where The Vampire Diaries is headed this season?  My guess is that the cop from the 20′s is the guy that Klaus and Rebecca were running from and that he is going to come back into play in the coming weeks which is a relief.  I was starting to get worried about the fact that Klaus was so immortal.  At least if he’s running from someone that must mean that there is someone out there who holds a power of some sort over him and since Klaus isn’t really afraid of anything, I’m going to assume that our cop friend holds the power to kill him.  I LOVE the Tyler/Caroline relationship (though I still want to see them integrated into the show as a whole) and actually missed Jeremy and Matt and the dead vampire ex-girlfriends (The D-Vegs?) so I’m looking forward to Bonnie’s return from the land of “off-screen relatives” next week.  Finally, I’m super excited that Katherine is back in the mix.  She always adds a little spice to the Mystic Falls happenings.

Quick Take: The Vampire Diaries & The Secret Circle

Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Stephan (Paul Wesley) "persuade" Ray (7th Heaven's David Gallagher) to lead them to his werewolf pack.

The Vampire Diaries: I had a whole recap ready to go and then, just like that, it was gone.  BOO!  However, I feel it’s important to share some thoughts about The Vampire Diaries’first episode of the third season.  I thought it was fantastic.  It had lots of gore (and we found out the Stephan’s secret – when he starts feeding he gets so ravenous that he blacks out and rips the bodies to shreds, but afterwards he feels guilty so he puts them back together and sits them on couches), lust (Caroline and Tyler are super hot together), ghosts (Vicki and Anna are surprising Jeremy around every corner), and the building of a werewolf/vampire hybrid army (how great was the dart sticking out of werewolf Ray Sutton’s head?).  The chemistry between Elena and Damon is still off the charts as they spent the summer searching for Stephan.  But while Elena thought the trail of bodies throughout the south belonged to Klaus, Damon made it clear to her (after Stephan had shown up and killed Damon’s “girlfriend”) that those deaths were caused by Stephan.  Elena was devastated by all of Stephan’s destruction, but when he called her on her birthday to assuage some of his guilt and connect to his family, she reassured him that she loved him and it will all be ok.

Even after the whole summer, Caroline (Candice Accola) is still totally my favorite. (Here with Michael Trevino)

I think the best part of the night was definitely the Caroline/Tyler relationship.  They have amazing chemistry and the idea of a Romeo and Juliet style romance works really well in this context (werewolf/vampire trumps human/vampire here).  Also, apparently Mrs. Lockwood has taken some lessons in badassery over the summer.  When Caroline was sneaking out of the house after finally “giving in to her attraction” to Tyler, Mrs. Lockwood proved she was a vampire and before Caroline could react she had her shot through with vervain.  Oooh.  Caroline’s gonna be pissed.  Mrs. Lockwood has just gone after the wrong vampire!

Ok, the floating water drops was pretty hokey, but I'm hopeful we'll see more magic of the kind that Gale Harold used at the beginning. (Britt Robertson & Thomas Dekker)

The Secret Circle: Let’s give it up to the writers/director for that amazing opening scene.  As Cassie (daughter of a single mom) changed a mysterious flat tire (it clearly wasn’t caused by an accident) a man, played by Gale Harold, stood outside of her house and spilled some water on the ground which corresponded to the kitchen sink spewing water.  And then he started to light matches.  First one at a time, while Cassie’s mother frantically tried to turn out the stove burners, and then all at once as the house caught on fire.  It was a great way to show magic without making it seem hokey (as it can when spells are said out loud).  I loved the direct correlation between the water spilling on the ground and spewing out of the sink and the matches being lit while the house burst into flames.  LOVED it!  So now Cassie is an orphan and she moves to a small town with big secrets to live with her grandmother.  Right away creepy things start happening – drapes that she closed are suddenly open, mean girls are unlocking her locker with just a glance, her car mysteriously catches on fire and locks her in – but Cassie doesn’t know she’s a witch yet so she cannot defend herself against all of the magic going on around her.

I find the lack of diversity in this cast to be pretty unsettling and unnecessary. Would it really have been so hard to make one of these characters a different ethnicity? (Dekker, Shelly Hennig, Robertson, Louis Hunter, Phoebe Tonkin, & Jessica Parker Kennedy)

Eventually, a group of 5 teenagers – seemingly led by Diana, but really ruled by Faye’s impulsive need to use her witchy powers – brings Cassie into the fold by telling her that both her parents were witches and now that all six of them are together they have enough power to . . . I’m not quite sure what they intend to do.  Reluctant at first, Cassie eventually realizes that she is the most powerful of them all and stops a huge rain storm that Faye started with all of her newfound secret circle power.  Though the kids are hiding their witchy powers from their parents, their parents (Gale and Natasha Henstridge) are not only aware that they know they are witches, they are actively encouraging them from behind a curtain of secrecy.  It’s all so very shrouded in mystery.  Look, the pilot was good as pilots go.  It had that great opening scene, set up some interesting relationship dynamics (clearly Gale is not a huge fan of Adam’s dad/Cassie’s mother’s should-have-been), informed the audience what some of the rules are and introduced us to the important characters.  But, it’s all a little to “I have a secret” for my taste.  I hate when characters basically say “I have a secret, but I can’t tell you what it is” as a way of setting up a mystery.  At least the show didn’t drag out Cassie’s realization of her power.  That would have been annoying.

The Vampire Diaries Season Finale!

The last time Elena and Stefan are together.

The Vampire Diaries has such stellar episodes throughout the season that my expectations were high for this second season finale.  I can’t say I was disappointed, but I also can’t say that I was completely blown away by the events last night.  To be honest, it felt like just another episode rather than a super special season finale episode and even though I’ll be anxiously waiting next season’s premiere, it’s only because I love the show so much.  Not because there is a huge cliffhanger that has left me with something to ponder all summer (ie: Felicity’s choice between Ben or Noel or Veronica Mars‘ “who’s at the door?!?!” season enders).  And that has me feeling a little less than elated about last night’s episode.

Whoever was in charge of Ian Somerhalder's sweat went a little overboard (with Nina Dobrev)

Three big things happened last night: #1 – Klaus killed Elijah (OF COURSE), #2 – The Sheriff shot Jeremy and Bonnie got the 100 dead witches to bring him back to life (did NOT expect that), #3 – Stefan went over to the dark side and made a deal with Klaus to go back to his human killing days in exchange for a bottle of his blood to save Damon from the werewolf bite.  But here’s the thing, at least 3 big/surprising things happen in EVERY episode of The Vampire Diaries.  And while I’m definitely going to be on the edge of my seat all summer to find out where the story is going to go next, it will just feel like a longer than usual break between new episdoes.  This did not feel like a conclusion to a season.  It felt like a continuation.  I’m not really saying that’s a bad thing, I just expect so much from this show that it was sort of a let down to not be clamoring to know what happens next immediately after the episode ended. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries Packs a Punch

The stage is set for Klaus' ritual.

I just spent the whole morning writing about last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, but I think I’m going to scrap it and try something different.  Here’s what you need to know about the episode: Klaus did his ritual, he was ruthless and it was awesome; John returned to Mystic Falls to help protect Elena and ended up giving his life to her through a spell in order to stop her from becoming a vampire after the ritual; Bonnie, Damon, Stefan and Elijah all arrived at some point to either stop Klaus or kill him but none of that happened; Matt and Caroline broke up and then Tyler and Caroline snuggled up.  At the end of the episode the body count totaled 4: Jules, Jenna, Greta and John.  The whole episode was intense and fantasically paced.  From the time Bonnie arrived in the clearing for the ritual, my heart was absolutely pounding.  The Vampire Diaries has crammed more action, more intrigue, more romance and more deception into one episode than most shows include in their entire series’ run.  It’s really incredible to me.  But I also feel like we’re headed for a major burnout and that’s what has me concerned.

Damon (Ian Somerhalder, r) shows Stefan (Paul Wesley, l) his werewolf bite

The reason I scrapped my original recap post is because it just got REALLY REALLY long.  I don’t mean to make my recaps so long, but there’s so much to talk about and so many moments to point out and it sort of makes me hate the writers just a little bit for not letting the stories breathe a little more.   I worry that because they pack so much in each episode/season, they’re going to run out of places for the characters to go and start having to resurrect people we thought were dead and that just feels lazy. So, writers of The Vampire Diaries, you’ve killed a bazillion characters this season.  Let’s keep ‘em dead.  I also feel like we’re getting short shrift on some story lines that have a lot of potential and could be really interesting, such as: Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: All the pieces fall into place

Will this be Elena and Stefan's last day as a human/vampire couple? (eh, probably not)

Our Home Team (Elena, Stefan, Damon, et al) had some pretty big things to take care of after Alaric arrived to deliver the news that Klaus would be performing the ritual that night.  The ramp up to Klaus’ ritual has been perfectly set up in my opinion.  From Klaus getting all of his little puzzle pieces in place (the moonstone, a vampire and werewolf to sacrifice and the doppleganger/Elena) to the ways in which Damon has been trying to thwart the plan at all turns, The Vampire Diaries has been slowly building up to what promises to be a massive confrontation.   Continue reading