Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "Because" Review

The Vampire Diaries’ writers have a few cheap tricks they use to move plot forward. The cheapest trick is magic; the second cheapest trick is the vampires’ ability to transport memories from one head to another head in the ‘make the switch turn on’ expedited manner. The writers had fun with switch-off Caroline, the dead bodies, the sexy times with Stefan, the bad, bad, things she did, and Damon had the best dark humor of the series as he dropped the various criminal reports of Caroline’s body dump in Whitmore, but it needed to stop, and so it stopped.

Stefan played the villain for awhile, but Caroline sniffed his humanity out after he declined taking advantage of her humanity-free sexual advances. The plan, which he relayed to his friends, and which the writers relayed to the viewers in flashbacks, involved draining Caroline of blood, starving her, pushing memories onto her, and hoping she’d switch her humanity on. The key was a letter written by her mother and mailed to Caroline after her death. Caroline asked Stefan to burn it. Stefan, playing the part, burned it. Later, Caroline begged Stefan to let her see the letter in the memory he gave her, not knowing that it was gone, like her mother. She can’t see the letter, and she can’t see her mother. That’s why she needed to turn her humanity on-to deal and to recover.

The Stefan/Caroline story was the best of “Because.” Paul Wesley’s excellent whenever he plays compassionate, empathetic, understanding, honed in Stefan, and I thought he and Candice Accola gave the best performance of the season in the memory scene. Caroline reacted like an addict to the intervention scene, but vampire stuff has an addict undertheme. She attacked, mauled, and nearly killed Stefan. The best shot of “Because” was when Caroline’s humanity clicked back. She removed the dagger from Stefan’s heart as Stefan’s skin began to harden. Caroline then freaked. The next melodramatic part of the story unfolded after Caroline experienced rock-bottom and she decided she couldn’t see Stefan anymore after what they did. Stefan nodded. She didn’t say it, but she walked away from him. Stefan told Jo and Alaric that she wouldn’t want to see him.

Elena and Damon imagined a future which Elena realized Damon did not dream of sharing with her, because any future involved her as human, growing old, and Damon, cure in a box, knew could not involve him. Elena congratulated Alaric on his happiness. She relieved Jo and Alaric of their Caroline duty and referred to herself as Jo’s replacement. For Elena Jo represents a future with a husband, kids, a practice, a normal life. The cure, which Lily uses as leverage against Damon because she wants the ascendant, finds Elena in a ring box. Lily, knowing her son would like to live forever with Elena, doesn’t destroy the cure (but she destroys the box before she destroys the body of a driver). Caroline puked in her mouth-figuratively so-when she heard Damon and Elena imagine their future. It is, dramatically, a little stale.

Damon/Elena drama, Lily’s desire for her psychotic family in the 1903 hell, Enzo’s random deep connection with Lily, and Bonnie’s…okay, so not Bonnie’s anything, but the previous three seem like streaks of mud running down a white board. No one knows what the hell to do with Enzo. He stalked Sarah for awhile, he tortured Matt Donovan for awhile, and now he’s devoted to Lily, an insane vampire who fears feeling and reacts to feeling by removing heads from bodies. Bonnie hid the ascendant from her. Okay, well, she stole the ascendant. Damon wanted it, and Bonnie used truth to remind him why he didn’t want the ascendant.

The final moving piece of the Damon and Elena drama, which spun like a top from last episode through this episode, was Damon’s vow to Elena to take the cure with her. It dramatically ended the episode. The episode had a lot of convenient starts or convenient starts-whatever you, my dear reader, prefer. Starts of conflict, that is-Caroline’s unwinding for her humanity-free violence, her separation from Stefan, and her acceptance of her mother’s death; Elena and Damon shall drone on about the cure, should they really split it; and those damn witch-vampires will make an appearance from 1903 along with a pissed-off-and-no-longer-teddy-bear-like-Kai.

Apt title the writers chose for the episode. “Because.” Things happen because it’s episode 19 of a 23 episode monster season.

Other Thoughts:

-Matt continues to recover from the stab wound. The look he gives to the mirror is one of weary resignation tinged with irritation. I look forward to his next scene with contrite Caroline.

-Stefan snapped at Alaric about being familiar with the process of returning from switch-off mode. Oh, how I hope no other vampire turns off the switch in season seven.

-Candice Accola was so good in “Because.” Her anguish in the dream scene when she couldn’t enter the door to her home and visit with her mother and learn what she wrote in the letter was intense. I know that dream wherein you can’t get close enough to a dead parent.


-Geoffrey Wing-Shotz directed it. Ah, I missed the credited writer.

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.