Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "The Killer" Review

Oh well, Connor is dead. The initially awesome vampire hunter turned slightly less awesome when it was revealed he was working for a college professor with a low moral compass didn't stand a chance after Jeremy got shot in Mystic Grille. Four seasons into the show and Julie Plec and her writers continue to lull the audience in, make them comfortable, and then kill off the villain who seems to be The Villain. Season 2 had nearly 356 Big Bads (more like 3 actually). I fell for each Big Bad every single time. When the Big Bad was killed off, I reacted with a "WOAH! THIS SHOW IS AMAZING" every single time. Two years later, I'm a TVD veteran. The teaser of "The Killer" basically obliterated my interest in Connor as a season-long vampire hunter. The later conversations with Jeremy in Mystic Grille piqued my interest in Jeremy as a bad-ass vampire hunter taking revenge on the vamps that messed with his memories and kept secrets.

Connor was useful for his tattoos, but he's mystically connected to a brotherhood of five. He was a disposable character. Immediately after his death (well not immediately but go with me here) Jeremy looked at his wrist and saw tattoos. The cure is still the driving force of the season. The task of finding it is a bit harder with the human map dead, but Jeremy's going to get the map sooner than later. Jeremy's been among the most inconsistent characters in the season. Along with Bonnie and Matt, Jeremy wanders on the fringe of plots, brought in when a human Elena loves needs to be in peril and saved by the vampires who love her. Jeremy's treatment by the vampires of the show is similar to the writers’ treatment of the character. He's treated like shit and thrown into the worst plots. If Jeremy's seen too much, or he's been through too much and the emotional trauma will threaten to derail his well-being and mental health, he's compelled to forget.
Similarly, the writers use compulsion to ease out of storylines with difficult consequences.

Jeremy's going to matter as a character for the first time in the series. Steven R. McQueen has an opportunity to flex his acting muscles and be more than a scowl and broad chest. The foreshadowing for Jeremy's big arc is on-the-nose. Connor didn't understand why Jeremy helped the vampires lead him to the hospital trap. Jeremy wasn't a hostage to Connor in the Mystic Grill; he was a student. Connor made explosives and insisted Jeremy pay attention to the process. Years ago, when Connor was a young vampire hunter, a vamp he was after turned his best gal pal into a bloodsucking fiend. Young and inexperienced Connor believed his friend's claim that she would control her new self; however, she went off like a gun. Vampires are like a loaded gun; they're going to go off and kill folk inevitably. Jeremy's expression is thoughtfully concentrated, thinking of Elena. Connor's friend and Jeremy's sister are similar in their claims to resist killing. Connor had to put his friend down. Jeremy thought about the possible day Elena will lose it and having to do something about that.

The compulsion is the catalyst for Jeremy, though. TVD needed to address the constant compulsion of him. After awhile, like everything in life, the compulsion crutch became stale. Jeremy combats compulsion by giving April his vervain bracelet, explaining to Matt his weariness of secrets. It's a good start for a hopefully significantly substantial Jeremy arc, which is even more promising now that Elena is a killer.
Thursday, the band, released a wonderful album in 2001. Track 8 of the album is "I Am The Killer." The lyrics fit Elena rather well. Geoff Rickley sings about nightmares, being a killer and unable to hide from the killer identity. Elena's desperate to hold onto her humanity. Jeremy's her bridge, the only one tying her to her former life, which is why she's desperate to save his life after Connor takes him as a hostage. Jeremy's influence on her is convenient for the episode, though she's been concerned about her brother in the past. Her concern for him, though, is only what an episode requires. Elena was high on blood the night before and dry-humping with Damon in a frat house, but now she thinks about the Jeremy of it all. Damon explains away her behavior as a shame spiral, typical in new vampires but no less annoying with time and worse than a hangover.

Elena kills Connor because of Jeremy being held hostage. The plan to save the hostages is complicated by Stefan's secrecy about the cure, and Damon and Elena's desire to stop Connor with death. Miscommunication has consequences. Elena absolutely freaks upon killing Connor. She frantically digs a grave to throw the body into. Damon's blamed because he told her to kill him at any cost. Stefan's to blame because he didn't tell the truth about his dealings with Klaus. There's a terrific shot of Elena holding the shovel, dressed in a typical teenage girl outfit, dried blood under her mouth, and tears on her face, absolutely frantic. The brothers won't tell her she killed a great chance to find a cure that'd bring back her humanity; that'd kill her more than living with killing a human being. Damon's reaction to her frantic shoveling is telling, too. All he wanted for her was to embrace The Edge, but he won't touch her and a look of shame seems present in his eyes as she stands with her shovel.

Stefan won't touch her either. The brothers leave her be. One of the strongest scenes in the episode was Stefan's insistence in Elena's trust in him to do the right thing. Elena can't simply trust him with Klaus. Stefan was the ripper in the recent past. Stefan admits he can't love the vampire she'll become, which is why he's motivated to find the cure. Damon agrees to help his brother's fairy tale have a happy ending, probably out of guilt for the night before where relations bordered on biblical with him and his bro's girl. The triangle is complicated.

Elena's going to go insane now. Stuff happens to vamps that kill a hunter. Indeed, Thursday's "I Am The Killer" could be Elena's theme. The last scene of the episode is a hallucination of blood everywhere and KILLER written in blood on a mirror. Elena is the killer.

Other Thoughts:

-Tyler and Haley want to free the hybrids from Klaus' control. They never copulated in the mountains. Caroline breathed a sigh of relief. Phoebe Tonkin is still a delight on screen. I love everything about her screen presence. She's playing Haley similarly to Faye--flipping her hair, wisecracking, and generally being awesome.

-Klaus found the sword in Italy.

-The B story involving Shane and Bonnie was a bore. Bonnie was able to use magic again. Shane's plan involves her.

-Michael Narducci wrote the episode. Chris Grismer 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.