Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "The Five" Review

Well, well, well, it's The Vampire Diaries annual expository flashback episode. The villain's been introduced. The mystery of the villain's roots has been cultivated through scenes of vague premonition. ("You're one of The Five;" "Only Jeremy can see the tattoo.") The expository flashback is all well and good. Information is learned. Horrible costumes and hair are present. Klaus yells and makes threats. Rebekah's stabbed in the front by two men she loves, her brother and the vampire hunter Alexander, who doubles as her lover. The tattoo is a map leading to a 'treasure.' The treasure is a cure to vampirism, which causes Stefan to imagine a traditional life with Elena wherein they marry, have children, and grow old together. As with anything in this show, though, the cure's probably too good to be true. After all, we all remember what happened when the gang finally got their hands on the cure-all white oak tree stake.

The flashbacks were typical TVD flashbacks, no different from ones in seasons one, two and three in style, tone, atmosphere, wardrobe, or exposition. The action took place in the 1110s in Europe. Rebekah was the emotional anchor of the episode, as her sad luck of getting betrayed followed her to present day. The Five came to be in fire, with a witch performing the spell connecting the brotherhood. There probably wasn't another option other than fire and magic, especially since Bonnie's going to be involved in the storyline in a significant way, just like her former beau Jeremy Gilbert. The Originals dinner with Alexander didn't really shade the character. Alexander's a generic CW model type actor with a bad wig. The Five killed vampires for awhile until they stopped and disappeared for 900 years. Elijah and Klaus got close to him to learn the secrets of the brotherhood bound by fire and magic to wipe them and their kind out of existence. Alexander's about as dull as a vampire hunter can be; he's like a meathead high school football player who's told to hit and so he hits. Alexander possesses Connor's intuitive skills, sniffing out Rebekah and staking her mid-kiss (though how hard is it to realize it's a vampire?), but he's brutally murdered hours later by an angry Klaus. Rebekah's the lone Original with an idea of the brotherhood's master plan.

Rebekah's the emotional anchor of the vampire hunter story. The audience is supposed to hurt along with her. She's actively trying to reform and be kinder to others. Matt got a new truck from her. April's been befriended by her. She's incredibly sweet with Stefan after dinner with Klaus, calmly telling him why she can't help him even if she wants to; her brother's too much a creep to help. Alexander drew her in with a kiss, and wow I feel like I've written these sentences in a season three review. Rebekah lets the truth about the brotherhood's treasure slip in a story told to Stefan. Klaus stabs his sister with a stake so she won't disrupt his plans for the cure. Stefan stands conflicted but in the same way someone stands outside with a friend who forgot his or her ID card and can't get into the bar but wants to go in and won't think about the friend once the beer's flowing. Stefan wants the cure for Elena before she turns off her humanity and loses her essential self.

Elena lets Damon take her near the edge in their little story in "The Five." They, and Bonnie, go to a frat party at a nearby college where Damon teaches her the art of feeding without killing. Stefan's technique hurts Elena more than helps. Something in Elena's lineage rejects every blood source but the vein. Damon instructs her how to be a vampire like him, bite and feed without remorse. Elena's humanity blocks her blood-lust. An innocent blonde girl is spared because of her little sister. Damon's speech about everyone being something to someone else isn't exactly rousing. His point is vampires shouldn't know their victims, so don't think about who they are, just think about what they got. Vampires are near the edge always. Self-control is paramount, but it's a discipline that must be practiced. When a vamp goes over the edge, their clothes get bloody. Elena goes over the edge after feeding from a dickhead frat boy who ruffies girls' drinks. She and Damon dance incredibly close, tons of sexual energy between them, feeding and falling into one another. Bonnie's disappointed glare brings Elena back; Damon defends his nature and won't apologize for what happened with Elena. She's a different person now, a vampire, and vampires prey and feed and enjoy it.

Elena's going to go over the edge sometime. No way will she be cured before she loses her humanity for a span of episodes. Relationships and identities are challenged and changed in The Vampire Diaries. The Damon and Elena romance is going to happen because it needs to. Stefan's going to watch it happen because he needs it. It'll be good for the growth of all the characters. Maybe Damon will be less self-destructive. Maybe Stefan will perceive a life independent of Elena and still be whole. Elena as a killer is an arc I'm not eager to watch since sweet Elena is great, but she'll grow and change and perhaps become more dynamic, a Dostoevskian-esque female for a YA/CW audience (eh probably not).

Witchipedia professor is responsible for sending Connor to Mystic Falls. The professor is close with witches, specifically Bonnie's family. His duplicity isn't a surprise. The teaser telegraphed a present day union between hunters and witches. It's a testament to the intrigue of the plot that I wanted the scene to continue when the end credits popped up. Connor won't be a vampire hunter the quality of Holtz from ANGEL; he's the most baffled badass vampire hunter and doesn't know a gosh darn thing about his history. The dude just kicks ass. Jeremy seems fated to join the vampire hunters before season's end, maybe before year's end.

Overall, though, the only new ground the episode treads was Elena's feeding frenzy at the frat. Stefan and Klaus worked together again. Rebekah got screwed again. Matt and Jeremy were absolutely irrelevant. Damon was pouty because of the girl he can't have. TVD's doing some cool stuff, but it's time to change a thing or two.

Other Thoughts:

-Nina Dobrev can rock a costume. The Jack the Ripper idea was inspired. I wonder which writer gets credit for it. My guess is Jose Molina.

-No Caroline or Tyler or Haley. I'm dreading their triangle drama already. Entertainment Weekly ran a story about Caroline's choice of boyfriend. Will it be Klaus or Tyler? "She will have to make a choice." I wonder why I, a 25 year old male, watch and write about TVD weekly when 'who's with who' is fodder for message boards, twitter, and huge magazines. The show's damn good sometimes, though.

-The college class the trio visit must be in mid-semester. Senior year started for Mystic Falls last season. College is mid-semester. The professor's lecture about witches is suited for the first day of class. Shows should stop writing college class scenes. They never work.

-The trendy pop songs that play during early scenes are distracting and unnecessary.


-Brett Matthews & Rebecca Sonneshine wrote the episode. Joshua Butler 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.