Friday, April 1, 2016

The Vampire Diaries "Days of Future Past" Review

The brothers Salvatore seemed destined to do it forever. Unlike Batman and The Joker, I don't want to see it forever. (I don't really care to see Batman and The Joker forever. Give me Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens.) 

The Salvatore brothers love each other. They don’t always need each other, though. Stefan does, but Damon doesn’t. Damon chose a long nap over remaining with his fugitive brother because he thought Stefan would live easier without him. And he did. Valerie told Damon about the ease and happiness of his brother’s life over the three years Damon slept in a coffin. Without Damon, Stefan could enjoy peace; however, Stefan longed for his brother’s company. Valerie knew about the transfer spell, but she didn’t want to break Stefan’s contentment, so she didn’t. Damon selflessly offered to take Stefan’s scar mark, but Rayna reminded him what having the scar meant for him and Elena. Whereas Stefan prioritized his brother above Caroline and Valerie, Damon prioritized Elena over his brother. The last thing Stefan heard from his brother was reluctance to stay true to his word. Valerie urged Damon to take the scar—for once to do something selfless for his brother—by telling him how life without him was for Stefan. Damon asked for the transfer spell to finally change the brothers narrative.

Season 7’s been about the brothers Salvatore, most especially in the second act of the season, and “Days of Future Past” finally reached the synthesis of the brothers’ arc. Each synthesis begins a new thesis. Damon finally did something for his brother; however, Rayna sent Stefan into the stone, which stopped the transfer spell in progress. Shortly after, she marked Nora. Nora and Mary Louise, spending their last days together, chose to die together, and they broke Rayna’s sword on their way out. New thesis. Damon knelt over Stefan’s body and swore he’d save him.

“Days of Future Past” introduced the slight structure to the change. Flashbacks replaced flash forwards. The Vampire Diaries had a LOST vibe as the narrative darted between Stefan’s past and his present. Valerie and Stefan traveled the world, carefree, with Rayna imprisoned by The Armory. The flashbacks showed Stefan’s carefree world without Damon, but it showed the pain he felt without him. Valerie made a choice not to tell him about the way out of the scar. Stefan wouldn’t trade his life for his brother’s. His present day life contrasted his free life of his past. Without Damon, he could stay in one place for weeks. With him, he’s on the road outrunning Rayna, separated from Valerie. Stefan, though, chose to wake Damon after his scar re-opened. Despite his brother letting him down over and over, he’s the person he wants when his life’s in danger. That’s the truest love. Perhaps what motivated Damon to agree to the transfer was Valerie reminding him that Stefan’s the one he should choose, always.

The brothers Salvatore storyline this season has endlessly spun. This episode seems to move the brothers past the point of them disappointing each other. ‘Seems’ is the watchword, because the writers haven’t met a storyline this season they haven’t liked to drag on. For a moment I thought the flashbacks would fill the majority of the episode—with the present day narrative continuing the short flash forward scenes. “Days of the Future Past” advanced storylines, resolved mysteries, and storylines. One might’ve gasped.

The Armory, a tenth rate Initiative knock off with a complete absence of narrative intrigue, wanted Enzo for releasing Rayna. He didn’t. Matt did. Matt blamed Stefan for Penny’s death. Stefan appeared aware of Matt’s motivations, but reluctant to share the details with Rayna. Matt standing in front of Penny’s tomb seemed designed as a revelation, but the audience knew he lost Penny. Perhaps we didn’t know about Stefan’s involvement. The other plot advancement involved Enzo and his forever interchangeable motivations. Now in love with Bonnie, he wants to stop Alex from using Rayna’s blood as poison against Bonnie. Why the Armory would isn’t clear (unless it is and I forgot).

The Armory seems set up to be the villains of the end of season seven. The last shot of Rayna is of her angry and shouting at the burning car that Nora and Mary Louise exploded. The middle of the episode further developed Rayna’s mystical side. Her mark lets her follow those she marked wherever they go, like Santa Claus. The Armory may be a plot device for May sweeps Elana/Bonnie drama. The blood poison doesn’t have an antidote. Maybe Damon, having made peace with Stefan, has to choose between his best friend and his one and only true love, or it’ll act as a way to further Damon’s change of heart, e.g. he’ll choose Bonnie, because he owes her for abandoning him. More likely, it’ll be both for The Armory.

So, the timeline’s caught up. The flashbacks will fill in the missing pieces that’ll bridge what was and what is. The story finally advanced its tiresome brother storyline. So, going forward, maybe the writers concentrated more on ‘days of future’ than ‘days of past’ because the past is a graveyard.

Other Thoughts:

-Mary Louise recited the Sir Walter Raleigh poem Nora used to recite every day in the prison world. Nora became a decent character. I liked her friendship with Bonnie. Mary Louise’s love for Nora was her redeeming quality, but her decision to side with Julien was pretty lame. These two join a long list of easily forgotten ancillary characters. They join the other lesbian characters killed off a TV show quickly. That has been a hot issue of late.

-Valerie cured the werewolf toxin. Ian directed the episode. The writers try to lighten the load for an actor directing. For half the episode, Ian was on the floor or staggering around one set.


-Melinda Hsu Taylor wrote the episode. Ian Somerhalder directed.

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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.