Friday, February 4, 2011
The Vampire Diaries "Daddy Issues" Review
Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec usually deliver completely awesome episodes of The Vampire Diaries. "Daddy Issues" is no different--the duo knocked the episode out of the park Barry Bones-on-steroids style. The reason I began writing about the show weekly is because of episodes like this one, in which the narrative moves at a rapid pace. The first act alone had enough story for an entire episode between the confrontation between Caroline and Tyler regarding Mason's death, John Gilbert's return, Jules and her sadistic boyfriend etc. The rest of the episode planted more seeds for the Elijah/Elena/Klaus arc as well as the werewolves vs. vampires arc and it was really fun to watch.
Joss Whedon used to put Willow in danger as much as he could because he knew how much that would hurt the audience--to witness Willow in danger. Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec obviously understand that the fans adore Caroline and, thus, they put Caroline into situations where antagonists will hurt her and, in doing so, hurt the audience. Jules and her boyfriend, Brady, take Caroline hostage in order to guarantee safety for Tyler. While a hostage, Caroline was shot with wooden bullets (once in the head) and burned with vervain. The girl went through pure hell and the level of vitriol I felt for Jules and Brady couldn't have been higher. How dare they harm Caroline--she's so awesome.
The hostage plot furthered the overall werewolves vs. vampires arc. We learned that Brady loathes vampires (not too original since the show used that motivation LAST season with a few characters). Werewolves are a loyal pack and it seems that Brady's the exception when it comes to brutal werewolf violence. It feels like bull because Jules spent her previous scenes, in past episodes, antagonizing every vampire she met so she's as culpable as Brady when shit hits the fan. The duo are successful in their mission. They wanted the boy for their plan and they got the boy.
Unfortunately, for Jules and Brady, their plan's short-sighted. Stefan and Damon easily disposed of the other werewolves who were armed and ready to kill the brothers. Jules and Brady were unaware of Elena's deal with Elijah to keep her friends safe and alive. Luca's father, Papa Warlock, arrived as Brady and Jules prepared to put wooden bullets into the heads of Damon and Caroline. Papa Warlock used his magics on Jules and Brady and Elena's friends escaped without serious injuries (minus Caroline who suffered tremendous emotional pain during her torture).
Speaking of Elijah and the deal, John Gilbert arrived in town on behalf of Isobel to help Elena, Damon and Stefan in the fight against the Originals and Klaus. John no longer seeks to destroy every living vampire in Mystic Falls; however, he refuses to reveal the details of his plan. Nevertheless, John teaches Damon how to kill an Original and he tries to win the trust of Elena. After all, he's her biological father. The two have a great scene together in which John tries to win his daughter's trust. He admits that his brother and sister-in-law were her parents, the ones who raised her. Elena and John relate for the first time over the pain they experienced because of the accident. For the first time since the pilot maybe, Elena returns to that moment when she lost her parents and she and her father have a moment of understanding. It was quite nice. Also, the jury remains out on who to trust: Elijah's camp or John/Isobel/Katherine. Surprisingly, I'd trust Elijah over the other three.
"Daddy Issues" had quite a bit of action, friends and well-wishers, which makes critical analysis tough to write. The sides are drawn in the werewolves vs. vampires battle. Caroline rejected Tyler's friendship after he stood by and watched as Jules held a gun to her head. I wonder where Tyler's arc goes from here. Last year, he was as unremarkable a character as Matt. This year, he's one of the most interesting characters. I have a gut feeling that Tyler won't last with Jules for good, that he'll side with Caroline and his friends before the series ends.
Also, Stefan emerged as the best character in TVD tonight. Ian Somerhalder gets the accolades for his performance as Damon but Damon's a whiny, selfish character who can be difficult to tolerate. Stefan's the stable, benevolent figure who tries to help everyone experience some peace in their lives. Paul Wesley's improved greatly as an actor since his days as Tommy Callahan on Everwood.
Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec wrote the episode. Joshua Butler directed it. The episode had an awesome fight, great character moments and tons of set-up for the rest of season two.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK