Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Vampire Diaries "The Descent" Review

Photo Credit: The CW/cwtv.com

Before I write about the newest episode of The Vampire Diaries, I'd like to inform the masses that the first five episodes of Terriers one and only season are available to watch on Hulu. I guarantee that you won't regret the time you invest in Terriers. Moving onto the vampire show now...

Ever since the show introduced Rose, I wondered what the purpose of the character would be. I assume L.J. Smith included the character in the book series as well and the character served the same purpose. Would she be a tertiary character, I wondered, or would she be a pivotal figure in the Klaus arc or merely the Jen Lindley to Damon's Pacey Witter (For non-Dawson's Creek folks, Pacey and Jen briefly hooked up during a time when Pacey fought his feelings for Joey who Dawson claimed as soul mate. Now Dawson and Joey didn't date at all during this period but Dawson had the sensibilities of a nobleman from Europe who believe women were "his"). Essentially, Rose was only a plot device for the personal arc of Damon and for the larger werewolf arc that is finally picking up speed.

Though merely a plot device, the death of Rose offered a moving scene about humanity, death and letting go even if the death caused yet another regression from, perhaps, the most overrated character on television. After being bitten by Jules, Damon tried to find a cure for Rose but that search failed quickly. Without a cure insight, and death an inevitability, Rose tried to cope with what laid before her. Most of her unlife consisted of running from a mysterious and frightening vampire. She lived for 506 years and spent most of it in a constant state of fear. As she waited to die, she wondered why she was so afraid for such a long time. She began to regret those wasted years on the run as well as those years with Trevor who she didn't get involved with for reasons she couldn't remember while running. In her final moments, she existed in a dream in which she hoped to see her family, friends and her best friend Trevor. She enjoyed the brief moment of fresh air, sunshine and she missed being human so much then she died.

Near the end of the episode, Damon lays on the street and awaits an innocent person to murder. He does so because he explains that he's experiencing a crisis of existential proportions causes an interesting interpretation of Rose's dream before death. Usually, The CW won't have shows that deal with heavy philosophical thoughts like existentialism. Damon reduces his existential crisis to mere self-pity when he explains that he wants Elena and wants to be human and he can't have either. But the dream and the initial existential crisis makes one ponder the life, or unlife, of a vampire cursed to walk the earth for an eternity. Damon's state of mind occurs after the death of a woman-vampire who lived for over 500 years and barely found any joy in those 500 years, and he wonders if the same fate awaits him if Elena eludes him as well as authentic humanity that would eliminate his animalistic behavior, brought on by his reliance on human blood to thrive. It's a compelling shift for the character of Damon.

Rose also talked about choice and free-will. Damon tells the innocent girl he eventually murders about how he has a choice to let her live or to let her die. Such a choice with inform his identity and place in Elena's life. Since Damon's without hope and on the verge of nihilism, he makes a rather poor decision and shatters the growth he showed during Rose's suffering. But the choice might benefit himself and the people he cares about when Jules and her werewolf friends gather in Mystic Falls for some fun.

Speaking of Jules, she is a great villain. By the end of the teaser, I couldn't stand her. It's fantastic. She's the opposite of the Lockwood men, who want to control their werewolf turns. Jules has no interest in chaining herself up for any interest in not harming innocent people. Furthermore, she's not afraid of vampires and she has a toughness that reminds me of a Faith. She told Tyler that Caroline shared responsibility in the death of his uncle. Jules might yet save the werewolf arc.

Meanwhile, Caroline found herself in the middle of two men. Tyler developed feelings after the werewolf thing and Matt continues to love his ex-girlfriend, and she's interested in both men equally it seems. I doubt Tyler will feel the same attraction or love for her when he pieces together exactly why she helped Tyler during his first transformation--she felt guilt about Mason. The love triangle itself is rather bland but the impending Caroline-as-vampire vs. Tyler-as-werewolf holds intrigue.

The Klaus arc didn't progress too much, though good ol' Uncle John returned after Stefan tried to reach Isobel. Good times. Also, the Elena/Rose scenes were well-done. They felt like a horror film. Marcos Siega did a great job directing the episode. "The Descent" was a good episode for TVD to return with. I enjoyed it.

Sarah Fain & Elizabeth Craft wrote "The Descent." Marcos Siega, as I mentioned already, directed it.

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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.