Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street" Review

Flashbacks on The Vampire Diaries aren't a favorite of mine. They're fun for the production crew, but TVD had a habit of getting boggled down in the flashbacks and losing focus with the present story. The flashbacks always involve understanding what's happening in the present. The flashbacks to the Originals were always a bore and they rarely added to my understanding of the character. It's worthwhile for the writers to send the Salvatore brothers back in time because they're main characters, and there's literally years of untapped history between them. Damon's personality changes every week. The character he was in season one is completely different from his season four character. It's fun to see Lexi again and to see how the writers try to retcon their mistake of killing her. "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street" is appropriately titled because it marks the moment in time Stefan and Damon were at peace.

The sire bond brings the Salvatore brothers to New Orleans. Damon left a vampire he sired counting every brick of every building in New Orleans until he returned. The vampire sire bond's an urban legend in the TVD universe. Vampires don’t believe it exists. The thought of it existing between two vampires is jarring and met with a "No, but can't be, are you sure?" Damon's stunned by his power to sire. The sex from the previous night doesn't seem so good to Damon, who can't be sure if Elena loves him or is just acting out of being his sire. He's on board with the plan to travel to New Orleans in hopes of breaking the bond. Stefan's unaware of what happened the night before; he's acting out of concern for Elena's absolute free-will.

Memories of the brothers last stay in New Orleans are triggered by their return. In 1942, Stefan stopped in the city before he left for war in Europe to make penance for the murders he committed as the Ripper. He had Lexi and self-control. The brothers hadn't seen each other since Stefan became the Ripper in 1912. Their grudge falls away and a night of drinking commences. Lexi watches Damon carefully. Damon's plan to go to war with his brother is rejected by Lexi, who feels Damon's influence will hurt Stefan. The sire problem in 1942 has a name: Charlotte. She snaps a guy's neck because Damon told her to protect his drink at all costs and an innocent sailor spilled it. A witch named Val, whose expository lines should be remembered for when Bonnie taps into her dark side, offers Damon a way out, but he needs to sacrifice 12 human souls to break the bond. Val screws him; Damon sacrifices 12 people. Lexi forbids him for joining Stefan in Europe. Stefan thought his brother abandoned him that afternoon in New Orleans, but Damon acted out of heartfelt concern for him.

Brotherly concern's the chief motivator for Damon hiding the truth about him and Elena from Stefan. The brothers fight over Elena, blood, history, etc, but they're brothers. The Vampire Diaries tells multiple love stories, from teenage romance, to epic ones, and, of course, familial ones. I'm reminded of Dawson vs. Pacey during Damon-Stefan scenes. Dawson and Pacey reconciled in the penultimate episode of Dawson's Creek. Pacey said, "All we wanted was her. So much so that we destroyed our friendship... and in the end, all she ever wanted was for us to be friends again." I still think the perfect resolution to the triangle is Elena leaving the brothers to be Brothers again. Stefan doesn't learn about the night before when Damon and Elena had sex. Once Damon learns breaking the bond is impossible, he needs to choose to let her go again. Stefan doesn't care who Elena's with as long as he knows it's her choice. Damon's maturity is refreshing; he doesn't pout about it until he acts like an ass because Elena fights his choice to let her go and choose. Damon will unfortunately always be an ass when it counts.

The trip to New Orleans yields vital information about the dark arts. Witches don't refer to black magic as the dark arts or even black magic--it's known as expression. It's not practiced anymore, which means Bonnie will practice it whenever Shane tells her to. The girls hang out in the Salvatore mansion, drinking champagne, dancing to pop music, and enjoying a drama free night. Tensions rise whenever Caroline makes an insulting remark about Damon. In an act of defiance, Elena admits she slept with Damon. Their party, and fight, is interrupted by rebel hybrids challenging Tyler's role as Alpha Hybrid in the group. Caroline's taken and sort of tortured. Tyler saves the day by taking the pack back and earning Alpha status. Caroline and Elena's friendship is healed, though Elena's feelings for Damon haven't changed despite the sire bond. Tyler explained the bond as changing the way you act but not the way you feel which Elena takes as confirmation that her feelings are real. It still doesn't stop Damon from telling her to move on, reminding her that he sucks, and that she shouldn't be tethered to him. Elena feels love for him, though. The scene's not an emotional tour-de-force, because this is clearly not the end. Julie Plec goes for the gut when she can. I know many, many fans probably hated what happened. I'm indifferent.

I liked the small scale of The Vampire Diaries. It's refreshing to watch an episode that isn't so intense, albeit the Caroline kidnapping had intensity what with the Tyler threatening to a rip a woman's heart out. Jeremy didn't try to kill Elena and Shane didn't try to have sex with a minor, which are good things. The flashbacks were fun story-wise. TVD's New Orleans wasn't impressive, but I've watched Treme for three seasons; so, I'm spoiled. The emotional beats were simple with Damon, Stefan, and Elena. Next week's going to bring the insanity again.

Other Thoughts:

-There was a scene in the high school. The prom and graduation episodes will be so shoe-horned in. The writers couldn't give a bleep about the high school.

-I'm apathetic towards Shane's plan with the hybrids, and even more apathetic about the mystery of Haley's parents.

-The actress who portrayed Charlotte was vaguely familiar. Could anyone enlighten me as to what she acted in prior to this episode?

-Elena brought up Caroline's thing with Damon. The writers conveniently forgot to remind the audience that Damon compelled Caroline after a certain amount of time. She went for the wrong guy and when she realized her mistake he didn't let her go.

-Charlie Charbonneau & Jose Molina wrote the episode. I cannot remember the name of the director.

-Next week is the last episode until 2013.



Anonymous said...

charlotte - is maggie from "the nanny "

Anonymous said...

also californication, of course

About The Foot

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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.