Friday, October 8, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Kill or Be Killed" Review


The difference between good and evil, as portrayed by Nina Dobrev, comes down to a kiss. As Elena, she delivers sweet, gentle kisses to her boyfriend. As Katherine, the badass vampire, she attacks like an animal with her kiss. Katherine sure knows how to use her feminine wiles to her advantage. Any supernatural male falls head over heels for her and will, literally, kill and maim for the girl. The writers, intentionally or unintentionally, have sort of defined the show's take on good and evil. Elena's the quintessence of the noble heroine while Katherine is, simply, not. Katherine uses her sexuality as power.

The Vampire Diaries is a show full of strong and powerful female characters--but complicated characters with complicated relationships. The latest episode of this show, titled "Kill or Be Killed," brought Elena, Caroline and Liz to the forefront. Caroline and her mother, Liz, have had a rocky relationship since the series began. The relationship becomes more broken by episode's end, while Damon's foreshadowing two weeks ago about the Katherine-ness that resides in Elena comes to brief fruition when Caroline reveals she hasn't been honest with Elena.

Following last week's fun encounter with Damon, Mason makes a brief truce with Stefan; however, Mason quickly breaks the truce when he approaches Liz about the vampires residing in the town at the Park Opening Thing (every episode features a town event that brings the characters into one place). Mason wants the Salvatore brothers killed. Liz, a member of the Founder's Council and devoted to the elimination of vampires, listens to Mason. Together, they concoct a plan. Liz, through a little girl, gives Damon a glass of lemonade that actually consists of vervain. Damon and Stefan blame Mason for the vervain cup and corner him in the woods; however, Liz and two cops take the vampires out and brings them both to a basement on the Lockwood property to kill them.

Since Damon and Stefan are two of the most important characters on the show, they don't die. The kidnapping, or whatever you want to call it, leads to substantial plot development. Damon and Liz are friends, and the incident tests the friendship. Liz, a woman set in her beliefs and unwilling to see a vampire beyond their vampire nature, betrays the friendship through her actions. Damon, for all of his vices, is an extremely loyal friend unless a friend (Elena) rejects his advances, leading to the murder of her brother. I digress. Damon will not kill Liz because she is his friend. Liz asks to die too. This request happens after Liz discovers her own daughter is a vampire. Caroline hesitates to save the brothers because she doesn't want to further fracture an already fragile relationship but she sacrifices the relationship for Damon and Stefan. The other development involves Stefan and his realization that he needs human blood. The vervain and wood nearly killed him because he's weak without human blood. Stefan realizes he must build a tolerance to the blood, through small drops daily, if he has a chance of beating Katherine. The revelation leads to a brief discord in his relationship with Elena; however, she accepts it after Damon opens her eyes. And, hey, Elena began forgiving Damon.

As for the Katherine-ness that resides in Elena, there were moments during her conversation with Caroline when I wondered if it was Katherine. I look forward to the development of this potential darkness that exists in Elena. I look forward to more information about a doppelganger means in this TVD world.

On the werewolf front, Tyler gave Mason the moonstone at the end of the episode. Tyler nearly kills a girl accidentally. Some conflict exists in this character. He's torn between retaining his complete humanity or giving into the werewolf that exists in his genes.

"Kill or Be Killed" was a well-written episode--my favorite episode since episode two of the season. I always appreciate progress in the story and various plots. When TVD is written and executed like this episode, I'm a big fan of the show.

Other thoughts:

-Did Mason really think it was a good idea to deliver a spine-buster on concrete to his own friend who was obviously drunk, thus killing him? TVD, sometimes, takes the convenient path in their narratives like the town hosting some festival that brings each character together. The writers needed to reveal how Mason killed to get the curse and it felt sloppy.

-Caroline was awesome in the woods when Mason transformed into massive d-bag. He got his ass handed to him. I even applauded what happened on my screen.

-Michael Daneils wrote the episode. Jeff Woolnough directed it.

THE GREAT HALLOWEEN EPISODE/MOVIE RE-WATCH

The re-watch returns, friends and well-wishers.

Today's episode comes from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer--the sixth season, to be exact. The Whedonverse delivered terrific Halloween episodes and each episode will get the spotlight in The Foot. The sixth season's Halloween episode, titled "All The Way," is my least favorite of the Halloween episodes. But it's a good episode. I have four quick things to say about the episode before I link the screenplay and the actual episode (courtesy of YouTube).

1. "All The Way" is actually a coming-of-age story for Dawn. Halloween has a prominent place in the episode, with all of the costumes and trick-or-treaters. But there are no haunted frats or people becoming what they dressed as for Halloween. Dawn tells a lie in order to spend the night with her friend and two boys. The four act like teenagers on Halloween, destroying pumpkins and mailboxes. Dawn and the one boy, Justin, establish a connection. She has a first kiss with him. Unfortunately, he and his friend are vampires. The night ends with Dawn slaying her first vampire as well. After a season in which she was defined by one thing--she was the key--this episode establishes Dawn's identity as a teenager. She, like many others, can't figure out if someone she likes will stay nice or turn out to be a rotten person. With vampires, it's always the latter.

2. Anya has the best line of the episode (in an episode with some good ones). At the end of a successful day in retail, she teaches Dawn the dance of capitalist superiority.

3. The only party in the episode is an improptu engagement party for Xander and Anya. Costumes are worn because no one changed after dressing up for the Halloween sales at the Magic Box. The episode calls back to previous Halloween episodes and the rules established such as: creatures of the night don't go out on Halloween because they find it much too crass. I love this show.

4. This is one of the least depressing episodes in a season defined by how depressing it is. Steven S. DeKnight wrote the episode--one of my favorite screenwriters working today. A few years ago, I was able to correspond with him briefly on myspace.com. DeKnight is now the showrunner for Spartacus. I recommend reading the actual screenplay. Each time you read the word "schmuck bait," take a shot of vitamin D milk. It's a fun script to read. Buffy scripts usually are. The wit isn't limited to the dialogue. Great script.

Also, the kid who played Beans on Even Stevens has a cameo in this. If I ever bring back the great characters list, Beans from Even Stevens is definitely on the list.

HERE IS THE LINK for the screenplay: http://buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/106_scri.html

And "All The Way" in 4 Parts:









THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

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About The Foot

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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.