Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Vampire Diaries "Ordinary People" Review

The info dumps in Vampire Diaries are never boring or a chore to get through. Earlier this season, in episode three, the info dump was full of action and mayhem whereas "Ordinary People" achieved a more quiet tone, somber and mournful. There were stretches when the episode dragged but, as a whole, "Ordinary People" is a nice rebound from last week's underwhelming ghost adventure.

The theme of the episode was familial bonds. The original vampire family defied the laws of nature to remain a family until the end of time. Stefan and Damon haven't turned their backs on one another, despite their colorful history. Love bonds these vampires regardless of their behavior throughout the centuries. Rebekah told Elena over 1,000 years of back story. Through Rebekah's story, we learned about the origin of vampires. Vampires were created by the original witch, Rebekah's mother, to protect them all from the ravenous werewolves who stalked the forests during full moons. The story of the original vampire family is written in blood and betrayal, in pain and suffering, but also in love and devotion. They're complicated characters with complex emotions, and that's how it should be.

Rebekah and her siblings learned about the limits of vampiric life gradually. A walk in the sun resulted in burns, a touch of flower burned the hands, the tree of life became the tree of death, friendly neighbors held power to keep them out of their homes. Blood lust came from nowhere and then Rebekah was at someone's throat, feeding and becoming predatory--creatures damned in the eyes of God and men. Most importantly, emotions were heightened. Rebekah loves recklessly; Klaus cannot control his rage; Elijah was a moralist to the end. Mikael, their father, was a harsh and strict disciplinarian as a human, and more so as an immortal vampire.

Rebekah told Elena the long and involved history of her family because Elena wanted a good reason not to wake Mikael from his tomb. It didn't matter because Mikael's been up for some time now. When Elena heard about the savage murder of Rebekah's mother, she returned to the wall of symbols to figure out the actual story. The truth wasn't hard to decipher. Klaus harbored resentment for the original witch because of the hybrid curse. Thus, the revelation that he murdered his mother didn't surprise me; however, Rebekah's extreme grief moved me. In fact, the last five minutes of "Ordinary People" were quite moving. I digress. Klaus spun a web of lies and manipulation to keep Rebekah and Elijah with him. When they disappointed him, he kept them locked in coffins for an extended period of time. Klaus' sadistic side isn't anything new. His siblings’ devotion towards him is somewhat surprising. Blood lines are everything in TVD, though.

The Salvatore brothers experienced a rare chance to hang out and bond. Damon freed Stefan from Lexi's rehabilitation cell. The brothers bar-hopped and chatted. They played drinking games whilst Stefan waited for the catch. Damon had no catch. The vampire's just invested in his brother's redemption. Stefan lost his humanity because he decided to save Damon's life using Klaus' blood. Damon wants to return the favor. Despite the loss of humanity and the d-bag behavior, Stefan still loves his brother. Mikael crashed their party by threatening to rip Damon's heart out of his chest. Stefan needed to tell him where his bastard son's been hiding. The compulsion didn't allow Stefan to divulge such secrets, so he offered to lure him back to Mystic Falls. Satisified, Mikael removed his hand from Damon's chest.

Damon's sometimes slow when it comes to feeling things. He took great offense when Stefan mockingly complimented him on his humanity. By great offense, I mean he punched Stefan in the face and kicked him in the ribs for good measure. Stefan vowed to flee Mystic Falls when his humanity returned to him; that he'd use the kindness of the people who love him to abandon them--that's what pissed Damon off. Elena, though, knows Damon better than he knows himself. Damon's the brother while she's just the girlfriend. Stefan's love for Damon will be what saves him, and that's a nice thought.

"Ordinary People" is a fitting title. Nothing outrageous or insane occurred during the episode. Its focus was on the essence of the vampires, and their essence is tied to their humanity no matter how inhumane they can be. Ordinary people need love. Klaus became a monster when his parents rejected him. Stefan lost his ability to feel things, which makes him monster. Love is the greatest weapon of all (and, also, magic because magic explains everything in this show).

Next week's the mid-season finale, which means I need to find other shows to write about until January after next week's episode. Julie Plec and Caroline Dries wrote the script. Nick Wauters got the story credit. J. Miller Tobin directed.


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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.