Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "The New Deal" Review

Everything old is new again, or everything new is old again. The phrase works either way in regards to a "The New Deal," an episode about the old and the new. There were exciting set pieces, a badass fight between brothers, threats of violence by Klaus, and a gruesome death scene and two near-death scenes. "The New Deal" concerned itself with characters over plot and action though; it was about one's love for his or her own siblings and the sacrifices one makes to protect that sibling.

"The New Deal" began a few weeks after the events in "Homecoming." Through expository dialogue, we learned that Klaus disappeared, and that Damon reacted as well as he could have to Stefan destroying his opportunity to kill Klaus once and for all. Elena felt paranoid, cautious of even a seemingly innocent jogger. Bonnie kept having dreams about a dilapidated basement with four coffins, which she didn't understand. Jeremy hung out with Tyler in the forest, drinking cheap beer, and shooting the empty cans with a bow-and-arrow. Both were bitter about their recent break-ups. Jeremy stopped trying at his job and at school. The lack of effort resulted in a pink slip and an F in red ink on an American History paper. Alaric and Elena reacted immediately and were horrified to learn about his new BFF, the recently hybridized Tyler Lockwood. The set-up ended as a SUV tried to kill a compelled-by-Klaus Jeremy.

The scene with the car and Jeremy and Alaric successfully raised the tension and suspense. TVD's killed Jeremy off several times now, only to be saved by the magical ring on his finger. Still, though, I didn't know whether or not Jeremy would meet the Maker, because The Vampire Diaries is that kind of show. I didn't get swept up in the wonder though. Elena's immense concern for her brother interested me more. I liked how the A story became less about whether Klaus would save Jeremy than what Elena would do to save her brother's life, not just for the short term but the long term.

Elena's love for Jeremy's been one of her strongest traits as a character. Her love and concern for him was introduced in the "Pilot." The sisterly love and protectiveness she had for her brother motivated her and drove her in those early episodes when vampires were new and mysterious, and above all else, dangerous. Their parents recently passed; Jeremy spent too much time getting high and drunk, and Elena didn't want her brother to continue on a disastrous path, so she agreed to let Damon compel her brother to forget about his suffering (lest I forget the compulsion occurred following the tragic end of Vicky Donovan). Remember, friends and well-wishers: everything old is new again. Jeremy regressed in the weeks the show was away. A supernatural being tried to murder him AGAIN. Jeremy reacted this time, vowing to protect himself, unwilling to become a permanent target and a constant victim. Jeremy shot one of Klaus' hybrids in the back as he threatened Elena on her porch, grabbed a meat cleaver, and chopped the man's head off.

Elena watched the murder in horror, hands over mouth with the look of regurgitation. The teenagers of Mystic Falls have many things in common with the teenagers of Sunnydale. Both groups of teens were forced to grow up way too soon; forced to accept responsibility they were too young for. Elena didn't have the grim resolve of a Buffy Summers. Elena didn't want her sixteen year old brother to kill people to protect her, to be a target by her supernatural enemies, and so she asked Damon to talk to her brother for the second time. Damon compelled him to leave Mystic Falls, to stay with family friends in Denver where he'd meet new girls, drink beers and take an art class. Alaric told Damon to tell him to never think of Mystic Falls or return, and Elena nodded her consent with tears in her eyes. Elena already took Klaus to Rebekah to spare Jeremy's life, but she wanted a nice, safe life for her brother.

Klaus, meanwhile, is a man rarely blindsided by anyone. Stefan reminded Stefan of Klaus' tendency to think one step ahead of everyone else. Klaus, though, didn't anticipate the truth that Rebekah knew about the murder he committed centuries ago. The hybrid walks around Mystic Falls in his leather jacket, with a swagger that'd make Liam Gallagher envious, but family's his weakness. Klaus couldn't face Rebekah knowing that she knew about the first sin he committed against their mother. As she stirred, Klaus put the dagger into her stomach again. Klaus spent the rest of the episode threatening our heroes and heroines if Stefan didn't return the caskets to him. Nothing much to write about.

Stefan and Damon threw down over the chaos of what happened in "Homecoming." The truth didn't satisfy Damon; in fact, he felt more annoyed by Stefan's insistence on saving his life. The brothers fought. Damon impaled Stefan with a tree branch. The brothers then decided to work together to protect the coffins and plot against Klaus. Stefan's brotherly love and concern filled Damon with guilt, especially during intimate moments with Elena. I've written quite a bit already this season and last about the Salvatores. Elena will create problems between them, because of their mutual fondness for the girl, but they'll always love and protect one another, because love and family are most important things in The Vampire Diaries. Once again, everything old is new again, or everything new is old again: Damon kissed Elena on the mouth, and Elena kissed him back. Stay tuned, friends and well-wishers. Stay tuned.

Overall, "The New Deal" is a cracking return for the series. I laughed, I gasped, and I was moved by the Elena-Jeremy story. TVD is a damn good show.

Michael Narducci wrote the episode. John Behring 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.