Vampire Diaries Catchup Part 3: Episodes 14-17

Well this was a convoluted catchup, wasn’t it? I mean, I’m talking purely logistically.  Olympics and breaks and everything else, it was a long time coming.  

So maybe it’s for that reason that this run of episodes seems like it has really run out of steam. Even just writing that feels like a crime, since there were heads ripped off and Enzo and Katherine….

…But I don’t know. Something seems to feel a little bit like the brakes are on. Or we’ve just been here before. How many more times can we do this? Elena and Damon want to be together, but aren’t? Elena and Stefan could be together, but aren’t? We know already. Meanwhile, there are so many serums and antidotes and vials I feel like I’m watching a preview of Allegiant. Hey-o!

I understand that it’s part of the show, but part of the problem is that there’s no other parts to the show. Elena doesn’t want anything else. Everyone close to her is dead or undead and there’s nobody left to be worried about saving. Having Katherine as the spokesperson for all Elena’s darker sides and desires was a neat device, but as she got more and more moustache-twirling villain slash cardboard cutout evil cheerleader, there was less there to see. The show wants us to believe Elena’s becoming a more nuanced person, but if that’s true, then we have no more need for Katherine. 

I’ve pointed out that I’ve been burned by this show and its “deaths” before so I don’t hold my breath and the doppelganger thing is clearly something the show gets a lot of mileage and fun out of. Maybe it’s true that Katherine is dead, but I don’t for a minute believe that it’s the end of the doppelgangers.

Still, the bigger question here is what’s going on? What’s the end game? What’s Elena driving toward every week, other than hurdling over whatever obstacle appears in front of her because people show up in Mystic Falls? What does she want? She doesn’t whine about a normal life, which is nice, but she doesn’t particularly care about school and only marginally cares about the social aspects.   She doesn’t want anything except to continue being tortured in love. Right?

This goes double for all the other “young” people who spend their days I don’t know how. There was a marginal nod at this when Jeremy pointed out that he can’t exactly get an excuse note every time he’s being held hostage by one of their enemies, but it still doesn’t seem to feel right. What does Bonnie want? What does Tyler? What does Matt? All of their circumstances have changed, sure, but what do they actually want?

I don’t know. Maybe the final part of the season will answer some of these questions.   Even though I find the appearance of “The Travellers” mighty convenient, at least it’s a new way to convey information, and to split off our claustrophobic crew so they’re not all together all the time. It was starting to get ridiculous. I appreciate the infusion of new characters, I just wish the lighting was bright enough that I could actually see what they looked like, you know? I appreciate the whole maple sugaring aspect of midnight blood-drinking in preparation for this week’s ritual march through Bonnie’s midsection, but come on now!

There were some highlights from these episodes though, and that’s what keeps the series really strong. Even when things are tedious, they have an irreverence that keeps the grand old Buffy tradition alive, and I appreciate it.

First of all, in that motel room scene, the first time, when Katherine-in-Elena is seducing Stefan? What is that hot piece of piano-ish music? Should I know? Am I old?

Secondly, the more I watched the Katherine and Nadia scenario, all I could think was “Gilmore Girls from hell”. It was a really amusing setpiece to watch them try to navigate what that relationship was supposed to be, especially since neither had any experience with it.

In TV terms, if something is a bit off or awkward and you want to tell your audience that you know, so that they don’t think it’s a mistake, you “hang a lantern on it” or point it out before they do. One of those jokes that’s like “How come the dumb guy always figures out who the murderer is” or etc. To this end, they’re trying to point out that they know what we’re thinking when Jeremy says “They (Tyler and Matt) are part of the deal, take it or leave it”, but really what he’s saying is “If they don’t come with me, we have no real reason to keep them on payroll, so let’s try to give them something to do.

Finally, even though Lainey doesn’t watch the show, I wonder if they’re making a bid for her attention, because the following line of dialogue – whispered while Elena is pressed up against some lockers, for God’s sake – is right up her alley:

“I wanna rip your clothes off right here in the middle of this hall and throw you in one of these classrooms and kiss every square inch of your body while people who drive minivans listen and wish they were us.”

AND THEN THEY DO IT. Well, not really on account of Elena daydreaming. But honestly…

Oh no, one more thing. I’ve never been a Tyler fan ever, but he needs to shut up more than he’s ever needed to shut up. Elena may never do better than the brooding sass-mouth twins, but Caroline has SO MANY BETTER OPTIONS. ANY option rather than this whiny, bratty tool who doesn’t have anything going for him. Nobody else is going to grow up, but Caroline is going to find a way to have all the things she wants even if she never grows old. She deserves better.

And now, the march to the end. See you at the finale!