Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "Do Not Go Gentle" Review

Being a victim is one of the most prominent themes in The Vampire Diaries. Each of the main characters are victims in some way. "Do Not Go Gentle" alludes to the Dylan Thomas poem in which the poet urges his father to fight against death, to pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age (The Dead, Thomas, or rather The Voice to responsible blogger with an English degree, urges this person to not be a victim. Victimhood is the dominant theme of the episode is what I'm getting at, and Alaric is at the center of the action. I thought of Gabriel's thoughts in "The Dead" as he sat in the tomb waiting to die, with a tear streaming down his cheek, wishing he could live some more. But the contemplative and melancholic tone wouldn't last. After all, this episode #20. A Big Bad in season three has been as rare a thing as a two goal Philadelphia Union effort. Alaric's the only character left to wreak havoc on Mystic Falls; and, boy, that is a sentence that wouldn't make a lick of sense in September.

"Do Not Go Gentle" is a chaotic episode. Julie Plec revealed that she kept everything TVD in her head, never committing the show bible to the computer. Plec might've been joking; maybe she wanted to horrify the Nerdist Writers Panel; but she's still a newer showrunner--I probably would be arrogant enough to think I didn't need a physical bible--and that confession gave some insight into the inner-workings of the show. It's nearly impossible to stick to a masterplan throughout a season no matter how well the show runner can plot and arc. The vitriol against LOST for 'making it up as they go along' is an instance of a bunch of morons on the internet groupthinking and never letting it die for SIX years. No, LOST making it up as they went along wasn't a detriment; it's just part of the process. Any TV show can make it up as they go along. This creative process isn't used against the show until a show goes off the rails. If HEROES maintained the quality of its initial 14 episodes, no one would've given a shit about Kring's process. In another interview, Plec revealed that the Original storyline came from her and Williamson's desire to keep Elijah around. The process is the process.

Season 3 of The Vampire Diaries produced a string of great-to-amazing episodes in the initial weeks of the season. I daringly compared it to masterpiece seasons such as the third season of Buffy. Tonight's episode taught me a lesson about jumping to conclusions though. Of course, I'm always hesitant to jump to conclusions or needlessly speculate because I don't know the whole story of the season. I just know what's come to before. For example, the Alaric serial killer reveal wasn't expected, seemed out of nowhere, and reckless retcon; but if I waited until "Do Not Go Gentle" to hear about the origins of Evil Alaric than my criticisms would be rendered null and void. Alaric went to other side each time he died and Esther planted the darkest seeds in him so that he could be transformed into a super hunter of vampires. It works. It's clean. Still, I can't shake my feelings that everything is a mess now.

Perhaps this is exactly the sense one should have of the series because everything is a mess for the characters. Alaric is being controlled by a super bitch that created the entire vampire race and now wants to destroy them. Elena, Damon and Stefan have no idea who will die if Klaus is killed because the death of an Original results in the death of his entire line. Amidst all of the madness Elena still needs to make a choice between the Salvatore brothers. Much of this episode, though, seemed like a retread of what we've seen before. Klaus threatened people to get what he wants. Bonnie reluctantly used magic. Elena was in danger. Rebekah got screwed again. Esther was in control of everything and everyone. The gang dressed as 1920s civilians was nice, but everything else felt like 'been there and done that.'

The Alaric storyline is different. The idea of a super vampire destined to kill every other vampire is a cool idea. The old Alaric won't die a villain. The old Alaric received his heroic moment, which was an acceptance of death to keep the people he loves safe. He's still a victim though as he was brainwashed on the other side, manipulated into doing Esther's dirty work. Elena and Jeremy will always be victims. Elena lamented the loss of another guardian, another parental figure, and wondered who would take care of her. Stefan assured her that he would. The show's very effective when they focus on this side of the Gilberts. It was moving when Elena broke down into Stefan's arms. Elena's and Jeremy's tragedies can only strengthen their resolve and will; specifically, for Elena, it can only make her into more of a heroine.

Bonnie's been on the outskirts of the group for most of the season. The writers never seem able to grasp this character. Bonnie's not even a character anymore as much as she's just a plot device. Esther visited her in a dream and told her that her sisters needed Bonnie to finish her work. Bonnie completed Alaric's transformation (and he took a decent bite out of her so not sure if she's near death). The girl found a little happiness with Jamie though; but, still, Bonnie's responsible for indestructible vampire Alaric. I am interested in why all of the witches want the vampires wiped out (and if it's been explained and I've forgotten then my bad).

Two episodes remain. The chaos will continue. I didn't really like "Do Not Go Gentle" because of its chaotic and messy quality. But I worried about how season two would wrap up last season because of a strange plot choice in one episode. I just need to sit back, relax, and not think so much. But, of course, I have other thoughts:

Other Thoughts:

-Damon's last conversation with Alaric was bittersweet. Meredith as Damon's conscience sucked though. Alaric doesn't seem long for this world. I quite honestly forgot about Meredith. I hope she's not a recurring character after this episode.

-Caroline danced with Klaus. Klaus told her he'd show her the world whenever she felt the desire to let him show it to her, no matter how many years pass. Tyler remains jealous. Klaus doesn't know that Tyler broke his sire bond. So Tyler should be an important player in the final two episodes.

-Klaus plans to leave Mystic Falls again. He also thinks the final white oak stake is destroyed, but Vampire Alaric possesses it. It should be bad times for SOME vampires in the final two episodes.

-Michael Narducci wrote the episode. Joshua Butler directed it.


No comments:

About The Foot

My photo
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.