Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Vampire Diaries "The Dinner Party" Review

The rant I promised last week won't happen. In fact, I ate most of my words from the few sentences of last week's review. I declared that the filler episodes arrived after a few plot heavy episodes. I declared that the Stefan flashbacks would essentially be Angel's back story. Oh how I wrong I was. "The Dinner Party" confronted the Elijah/Originals arc with great intensity. Also, the only similar thing between Stefan and Angel is their used-to-kill-people-for-fun back story (but even TVD were apologists for Stefan, insisting that he killed for his own survival and I don't buy that). "The Dinner Party" is yet another example of how entertaining and awesome the show can be on a weekly basis when it ignores the various love triangles between characters; however, the theme of love drives the show and each of its characters.

Stefan and Lexi's relationship is the complete opposite of Angel and Darla. When the blond-haired Darla entered his life, she influenced over a century of horrific violence and pain for Angel until gypsies cursed him with a soul. When the blond-haired Lexi entered Stefan's life, he had inflicted pain and suffering on innocent people because he was consumed with his vampirism. Lexi wanted to show Stefan how different things could be, how good vampires could be with love in their lives. Oh yes...love--he most powerful four letter word in the English language. I couldn't help but flashback to the final episodes of LOST when love became such a powerful theme in the show. TVD has similar ideas about the saving power of love. Certainly, Stefan's life changed when he met Lexi and he allowed himself to love others again. Once upon a time, he walked along a battlefield feeling nothing for the fallen soldiers. In "Brave New World," Caroline struggled with the intensity of her emotions in her new life as a vampire. In TVD, vampires simply feel more than human beings. Without words, during Lexi and Stefan's final scene, she conveys the message that he'll feel love more than he ever has in his life now. Such love drives him to protect Elena's life. Damon, meanwhile, never properly dealt with the guilt and anger he felt. Lexi warned Damon that he couldn't escape such feelings. Maybe he killed Lexi last season because she was right (maybe the episode actually explained why he killed Lexi...I wouldn't know because I haven't seen most of the first half of season one). Love is the most important emotion for each of the characters. Damon's a loose cannon because he lacks love and Stefan's as selfless as he is because of love.

Aside from love, the number one question the episode asked was, 'can an Original vampire be killed?' The answer is yes and no. Following Elena's confession that she plans to die to protect her friends, the Salvatore brothers quickly developed a plan to kill Elijah using the weapon John Gilbert gave to Damon. Gilbert's the least trustworthy person in the small town of Mystic Falls but Damon decided to use the weapon without researching it. Luckily, Elena read in her ancestor's journal about how the weapon would kill any demon who wields it. Soon, the episode morphed into its own type of J. Walter Weatherman situation in which Elijah never actually died because the dagger must remain in the heart of the Original. For the murder attempt to succeed on the third try, Elena stabs herself in the gut then she stabs Elijah with the special dagger. Following her brave act, Elena demands to be in the loop more if they want her to fight for her life. Elena should've stated how she always fights for her own safety as well as friends but she didn't because then Stefan's story about Lexi wouldn't matter as much as it did.

The temporary death of Elijah (it's temporary because any one who pulls the dagger from his heart brings the rock-and-quarter throwing vampire back to life) releases Katherine from the cave. While Jules and Elijah were decent antagonists, Katherine's the greatest antagonist of them all. Vampires are obsessed with her. Everyone else hates her. Unfortunately, as fun as she is, the character usually causes the return of love triangle angst amongst Damon, Elena and Stefan; however, more layers of Katherine have yet been pealed so the final seven episodes of the season should be fun.

Meanwhile, Jeremy failed to keep the sparks between he and Bonnie lit. Luca's father burst into the Gilbert household and removed Bonnie's powers after what she did to Luca. Alaric continued to lie to Jenna about his supernatural activities. John got his ring back though after promising Alaric to ease Jenna's mind about Isobel and whatnot.

It's impressive how quickly the writers go through story. Equally impressive is how much story they have left to tell in the second season alone. Elijah died after imparting some useful knowledge to Damon. There are certain historical landmarks that Elijah wanted to see. Chances are these landmarks became major settings during the finale.

Overall, "The Dinner Party" was great even with the lack of Caroline. Andrew Chambliss wrote the episode. Marcos Siega directed it.

Other thoughts:

-Why would Damon trust John Gilbert with anything? Last season, Damon unsuccessfuly tried to murder Gilbert. This season, Gilbert obviously wouldn't help Damon out of the goodness of his heart. It was fun to see TVD get sort of sitcom-ish when Stefan raced towards his phone after discovering new information about the magic dagger.

-I considered writing about "The Dinner Party" with dash points (since I don't use bullet points) because much of the episode revolved around action and scheming. Sure the plan to murder Elijah came from the characters care for Elena (that theme of love) but much of the episode was devoted to characters being badasses. Also, is Andrew Chambliss the Steven S. DeKnight of TVD? The man usually writes action-packed scripts. DeKnight, for anyone uninformed, was the king of the fight scene in the writers room for ANGEL.

-Elena and Stefan didn't have a dull weekend. First, Brady and Tyler tried to kidnap the girl and kill Stefan. The next night, Elijah tried to kidnap Elena and kill Stefan.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

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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.