Friday, October 26, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "The Rager" Review

"The Rager" is a play on words, a code for a gathering of high school youth in an unsupervised environment wherein they drink, carouse, copulate, come close to copulation, and evaluate their night based on their memory of it. Elena is one pissed off vampire in "The Rager," though. Elena's rage hits a boiling point at The Rager. Vampire Elena is quite a different beast from human vampire. She's trying to retain what she was, and who she was, as a human but blood lust and instinct are beating her brain. She's losing control, and she doesn't like it. Stefan's the white knight she doesn't need but wants; Damon's the deep-fried Cap'n Crunch dish at the state fair who will show her how to enjoy a proper deep-fried Cap'n Crunch dish. It's unhealthy for her conscience, but she wants to kill and drink blood.

Elena's rage grows the more Rebekah treats her badly. Rebekah's a character who's largely inconsistent episode-to-episode. Maybe her inconsistency is her consistency. She may be 1000 years old but she's lived a thousand years with a teenage brain. Teenagers are stupid, prideful, and quick to hurt and attack the wound if they see blood. Rebekah's mad because her brother snapped her neck. Matt's angry with her for trying to kill him and Elena, which totally dampens the girl's mood. The Rebekah-Elena feud falls flat. The stuff Rebekah does to piss off Elena is just typical high school stuff. Yeah, the characters are high-schoolers, but it seemed too juvenile to cause Elena to almost stake an Original in front of everyone. Of course, Rebekah teases her with the blood of a classmate in the bathroom, which one could easily associate with a mean girl taunting a classmate who struggles with anorexia with a candy bar. Someone needs to piss Elena off so much she's basically one foot away from going over the edge. Rebekah serves that purpose.

Elena's true moment of vampire sadness and regret is when she nearly kills Matt as she drinks from his wrist. Stefan tried to distract her vampiric instincts with motorcycle rides through the Mystic Falls country, passionate sex in a bedroom, but his ideas weren't working. Stefan feels like he's losing Elena. He won't be able to join her unless he loses himself; the writers made it easy for Elena and Damon to have their inevitable 'thing.' Stefan's the neutered vampire. Damon's the Vampire--a vampire who represents the essence of their nature. He kills, he drinks, he doesn't regret it, because it's his nature to kill and feed just like it's a lion's to kill prey and consume it. Stefan believes the man cannot be consumed by the monster, so he's trying to save Elena from losing herself; but he was a young vampire once, and a killer, too, and Elena will need to indulge her darker impulses and those violent thoughts she can't shake from her mind. She's going to need to be vicious before she finds herself again, just like Caroline in Season 2.

Connor the Vampire Hunter continued his quest to find and kill vampires in Mystic Falls. Connor took werewolf venom from Tyler and enlisted Jeremy as his helper because Jeremy saw the tattoos (only vampire hunters or potential vampire hunters see the tattoo). Connor set himself up to be caught by Damon. Jeremy and Meredith conspired with Damon to get Connor cornered. Klaus joined the fun after taking exception with the man's attempt to kill one of his hybrids, of whom he has precious few. Connor's introduction last week was terrific, and I would've been happy with a story about one guy coming to Mystic Falls without any complicated mythology associated to him. Klaus mentioned Connor was 'one of the Five.' My excitement for the story then took a hit, and that hit took another hit when Connor didn't know what the hell Klaus meant, meaning Klaus has the goddamn upper-hand again and the beat goes on, as Macho Man Randy Savage once said. It's only episode three, though; maybe Klaus won't be the center of evil.

"The Rager," as a whole was pretty average. There were good scenes, but then there were irritating bad scenes. The strength of the episode was the Stefan and Elena, and Stefan's heart-to-heart with Caroline after he realized what he needs to do to keep Elena. Romantic intrigues aren't my forte anymore. Stefan's genuine attempts to help Elena keep her humanity were great to watch and well-acted by Wesley and Dobrev. Damon's later promise to Elena falls into the weaker part of the episode. Damon's a character in need or forward progress. He's been the same way for over two seasons: in love with Elena to the point of hurting anyone who threatens her, moping around like high school sophomore who was rejected by a girl he wanted to take to homecoming, needlessly drinking like a melodramatic caricature of a sad and tortured soul. The time has arrived for Damon and Elena to have a thing so Damon can move forward.

Other Thoughts:

-Elena's worst scene in the series is official: her keg stand to spite Rebekah. I wanted to forget about the scene the second it ended.

-Phoebe Tonkin's playing the role of the Other Woman in Tyler's life. Think of Buffy's "Wild At Heart"--that's essentially what Tonkin's Haley is. I watched (and wrote about) a full season of Tonkin's The Secret Circle. Tonkin was the best part of that show by far. She brought the same energy Faye had in TSC.

-Ragers are really any kind of party with beer and young folk, I.e they are not limited to high schoolers. TVD continued the tradition of elaborate parties thrown together by high schoolers who could hardly plan how to skip 4th period without being caught let alone a rager. Rebekah, the 1000 year old vampire, is more believable, I guess.

-Rebekah wants to change because Dream Matt told her to. She reacted to Dream Matt by pulling out his heart. Rebekah’s transformation begins with helping April figure out what happened when the house exploded.

-Shorter review for #403 because the episode aired 23 hours ago and I'm writing about Grimm in two hours.

-Bryan Young wrote the episode. I missed the director credit.


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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.