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Julie Plec giveth, and Julie Plec taketh away.

I might be enjoying VD more as a bingewatch than I did watching every week.   Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees when there are so many cuts to black and so much going on and so many damn versions of Nina Dobrev everywhere.

But the show is doing some neat stuff as it casts about desperately for new stuff for its characters to do. It’s season 5, we’ve got to figure out some new things to look at,  so as Plec moves the characters around on a chessboard, how are we feeling about the things?

Bonnie’s Not Dead, She’s Just An Anchor
I mean, you really can write your own jokes here. But I will say that Kat Graham’s new haircut lightens up her whole face and really did make me feel like she had a new lease on life. Having said that – why?

I mean, I get why. Bonnie had been as powerful a witch as she could be, we’d seen her do every kind of spell, and “Have Bonnie do a spell” got too easy and boring.  That part is great. Also, communicating with her has given Jeremy something to do.

But why go through the whole exercise of killing her – the weepy funeral et al – when she was just going to come back to “life” a few episodes later? It’s frustrating to say the least, because it feels false, emotionally. Why wear us out with the weeping when we won’t be fresh for the next death? Speaking of…

Goodbye, Jesse
Cast a hot guy. Make him a vampire. Let Caroline have new and different interactions with a dude for the first time in five years. Then…kill the guy.

Yes, on some level this makes sense, especially since we need to know that Dr. Maxwell is a terrible guy. But I could have stood to watch more of supercharged vampire Jesse, especially since he never knew what was going on to begin with. It’s been a while since a newb needed to learn the rules, and it would be nice.

(Incidentally, you know who I don’t miss? April! Remember her? The April-come-lately of wide-eyed annoyance last year? Wow.) 

I know we have Dr. Max instead, and that he’s about to continue to make Damon’s life very, very miserable but I think Jesse went away a little too quickly, and also, I could have stood to see Caroline actually get a leg over with someone instead of mooning over Tyler. What? You know that’s what’s going to happen next. Can he please be de-ashed or some such, just for kicks?

Stefan as dick
Not Silas. Not an earlier version of Stefan in a ripper phase. Not compelled. Just real-life Stefan being kind of indifferent to being awful.

It’s AWESOME. Lord knows Paul Wesley is probably very ready to be “not broody” after four years but my God, he’s making it look like fun. Also, it’s nice for someone to have an “outside” perspective on these people and their endless sturm und drang over one another. They’ve tried to get out of the moony, sad Elena thing by having her throw parties and be a bit flirty, but really, anyone from the outside would look at them

So. Is this temporary or an actual sea change? I bet I’m not the only viewer who could handle it if he didn’t go back to being soft-spoken and sensitive?

Katherine Is A Mommy. (Oh, and Human. And Aging.)
Katherine Pierce has become more strident, more tacky – I daresay more Jersey  - than she’s ever been, and I still love watching her as much as ever, if not more. She can still disarm everyone even though they know better, and now maybe Stefan is making the sheep’s eyes at her, and there’s your gross expression for the morning.

Then there’s her daughter, which is a really hilarious premise, but one I think they could have had more fun with. Like, don’t the worst hellions in life get blessed with children just like themselves? I get that it could have been a different way to rebel but come on. This is Katherine’s daughter! Also, as always, can we point out that Nina Dobrev is second only to Tatiana Maslany in the number of characters she’s playing at once? It must be something about Canadian girls…

Oh, and Matt
So he no longer has a traveler…right? Is he going to get something else? It’s season 5, I think the boy can handle it. Especially since there’s no Tyler anymore, for now? I’ve never really understood his faithful human act, and since Caroline performs this role in vampire form we can’t hook the two of them up, because we’d die of boredom.   But really – can’t Matt have something? 

Okay. So as we go into our next stretch, have you noticed that Damon has not once set foot on the college campus? Sure, they talk on the phone. Sure, they meet up at the mansion. But the campus is not his zone. I mean the grass-covered happy quad, or the dorm room – the lab is another story, but it’s nowhere Elena goes.  It’s interesting, isn’t it? Particularly now that we’re about to find out about the Torture Years – I found it very precise, the way they’ve delineated between her space and his. Especially since those two aren’t bowling me over with coupledom.  Yep, I said it. Gottagobye!