Friday, October 28, 2011

The Vampire Diaries "Ghost World" Review

Well, I'm glad the ghost storyline concluded. Sometimes a story arc doesn't work out. The ghost arc definitely did not work out. I'm not sure if the writers needed an entire episode to conclude the arc either because the creative juices weren't flowing for whatever reason. Old characters returned to wreak havoc on the lives of the living or the undead. The living watched the ghosts act in confusion. And then the ghosts disappeared but the necklace remained in tact, and Alaric found a history lesson about the original vampires.

We learned that Bonnie's resurrection spell altered the balance of nature. The revelation wasn't surprising because I assumed that in May when Vicki and Anna haunted Jeremy for the first time. According to Bonnie's grandmother, the resurrection spell opened a door for spirits from the other side to infiltrate the physical world in order to finish unfinished business. The theme of the episode was letting go of the past, of one's own ghosts, whether figurative or metaphorical. Elena told Stefan that he'd lose her if he couldn't find his humanity because she won't continue loving a ghost. Elena went into big sister mode when Jeremy wanted to hold onto Anna. Jeremy's big sister explained how it's unfair for Jeremy to love a ghost when he's just beginning his life. The message of the episode, as conveyed through those two stories, was someone cannot grow if they hold onto the past.

Of course, I thought about the writers’ room and the conversation that occurred during the breaking process of "Ghost World." On one hand, it's great fun to bring back old characters. Lexi was one of the great one-episode-and-done characters in the show. Mason Lockwood died a sad, painful death at the hands of Damon. Anna needed to find her mother somehow. The random villains from season one weren't an essential component of the episode; I suppose Williamson and Plec had a soft spot in their respective hearts for those disposable vamps intent on murdering the family members of the founding families. Anyway, I thought about how the season was temporarily stunted by this complete focus on the ghosts of Mystic Falls. In the same way the characters would've been hampered by the past, the series was hampered by its one episode in the past. The Vampire Diaries lives and breathes on narrative momentum. "Ghost World" lost that momentum. I guess I'm just a spoiled fan of TVD, expecting each episode to be excellent.

I don't have much to write about the various plot threads of "Ghost World." Usually I'm all too eager to write about the dramatic happenings between Stefan, Elena and Damon; however, the Stefan-Elena story felt stale and recycled. The addition of Lexi didn't add much. Elena wanted Stefan to remember his essential self, which meant she thought about Lexi. Lexi, of course, acted as Stefan's sponsor. The two vampires were best friends for many, many years, and she had an ability to pull Stefan from the darkness. Ghost Lexi provided a crash course in Ripper Detox for Elena. The detox involved some weird vampire mojo and a decent dose of physical pain. Stefan cursed the two most important women in his life and swore he loathed the time he spent with both. Elena couldn't stand the process and vowed to destroy the necklace; of course, the necklace symbolized Stefan's hope that good could prevail. How lovely then that the necklace survived the spell. Stefan can resist the darkness just as the necklace resisted flames and magic.

Jeremy-Anna transformed into a weird love triangle. I thought the storyline had more potential than CW love triangle. For example, Anna and her mother found one another just before they returned to the other side. Couldn't her story involve Jeremy and Bonnie helping her find her mother? Who the hell cares about Bonnie and Jeremy in the first place? Do the writers? They've barely shared the same scene since their coupling. Meanwhile, Ghost Mason gave Damon a lesson in redemption. On the other side, spirits exist in isolation, watching over the people they left behind, feeling nothing but regret for the past. Mason accepted his fate, and he just wanted to help people who needed it (including Damon). Their time together inspired Damon to truly apologize to Alaric for the attempted murder incident. Damon seems bound for a redemptive season.

Overall, "Ghost World" was a disappointment. The stories weren't worth the time allotted them. It was sort of a transitional episode. I'm ready to return to the wild world of original vampires.

Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote the episode. David Jackson directed it.

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.