The Vampire Diaries Catchup Part 4

I’m asking you.  

If Stefan is dead for real (not a chance) and if, as was reported by producer Caroline Dries, there are “at least three” other deaths coming, and if Markos’ whole plan unravels because the blood of the doppelganger might not be effective if said doppelganger is, you know, dead …

…does anyone hear?

There’s something about this season. Everyone feels older, yes. Elena is much less of a Mary Sue, totally. The gang even needs each other more than they ever have and they actually take care of each other in a way that’s taken a long time to get to.  (Well. Elena doesn’t take care of Jeremy, but he’s very obviously irrelevant to her life and death.)   

But the show is not the same show it used to be – maybe growing up was the fatal flaw. Somehow the insouciant comments are just not as cute coming from the mouths of people who wrest tears from us regularly and want us to feel both ways.  Bonnie still keeps secrets and still nobody knows how she feels inside. Jeremy and Matt and Tyler/Julian still don’t have a scene between them. It’s like a vortex that has sucked all the interesting off the screen. I don’t know what it is, because Matt can be compelling in scenes with others, on occasion, but usually I’m just wishing for an infusion of Caroline.

I love spending time with Stefan and Elena, world-wearier and appreciative of each other but never again in love the way they were when they were kids. Because yes, Stefan was also a kid. I like that they have that thing between them where they understand but don’t ever need to revisit the place they were. Even if they’re soul mates. Even if they can rely on each other. But – it’s that tidy. Even before episode 18, I didn’t wonder what would have happened, because they didn’t wonder. Soul mates, whatever, blah. The flashes forward (and I’m sorry, but were Stefan and Elena commenting on how sexy it was that her daughter was biting their son? That was weird, right?) were all for the same purpose – to make Damon feel insecure.

I’m so tired of Damon feeling insecure. 

Why should Elena want this dude? First of all, let’s just stop with the “oh, Damon’s not so good looking”. What now? He’s not everyone’s type, but he’s empirically attractive. No? Still, he’s bitter. Cripplingly so. And the events of this year, and Katherine, have just put him through the wringer in a way that makes him seem…old, kind of. Like the fight’s gone out of him. Can’t it be that Damon would benefit from trying to lure someone back to him instead of being self defeated all the time? The Dobrev-Somerhalder chemistry is off the charts, the parts of him that make her feel like a real person are great. So can’t we do something to make him a vibrant character again?

Also – the guest actors. You know, I know they’ve gone through half the people in town. I bet it’s a rite of passage to get TVD on your resume before the age of 30.   But, maybe because they’ve cycled through so many actors, they’re not very good, sometimes. There were two line readings in the last episode that were so faux-casual affected I almost screamed. This show actually deserves more. Markos wasn’t good either and I would have welcomed him being great. He was doing a weird Adam Driver impression (also maybe Michael Trevino all of a sudden sorry but you know it’s true).

So okay, now what? What do you have for us tonight, show? I need to feel really fundamentally refreshed because I don’t care about the Other Side and I am burnt out on Bonnie and Enzo and Stefan dying and undying.  

I don’t want to be burnt out though! The show has hung on to too many dudes, like the Matts and Jeremys of the world, and probably should have added more people to the Scooby gang a long time ago. For all the plots that feel similar – like the big bad every year that seems just like a retread of Klaus – there are things that are done in a way that’s lovely and soft and sweet. The night Kennedy was elected  and the death of Maggie is one of the more gorgeous and poignant scenes this show has done.  This is when the show is in the best shape – when it’s pointing out how vampires live all among us. Vampire Diaries: Mad Men would be really great – why can’t we get more of it? Why can’t we see a city? An office? Show me a place where Damon has to struggle to drink his morning bourbon. I know this show loves its characters enough to be able to do it. Come on. Caroline with an evil boss? Right?

And those creepy travelers, those nose and earbleeding travelers, and the ability of the show to make me care about the marriage of Maria and Julian, who I never met and who we barely ever see, is super skilled. There’s a lot of care in even the smallest people. There’s a lot of evidence that even the most transient characters get respect and backstory. And the way they make me care when I swear I don’t want to is evident of a lot of skill and pride and the reason I can’t quite quit this.

I just need something else – something new. And I can’t get emotional about losing Stefan when we all know that’s going to be undone either at 8:01 or 8:51. Even if he met with Bonnie. Even though they want me to believe he’s actually dead.