Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Vampire Diaries "The Devil Inside" Review

What the hell was that? “The Devil Inside” resets season five for the second time in twelve episodes, resetting for the first time in the season premiere. Katherine is Elena, Damon is Devil Damon again, Tyler’s back adding nothing to the story, the Whitmore plot has been sucked dry, and a directionless season loses more direction it didn’t have to lose. How did that happen? More and more The Vampire Diaries’ fifth season reminds me of Dawson’s Creek’s fifth season: directionless and broken up into three distinct ‘acts.’ Season five of TVD has Damon’s reversion to his season one self; season five of Dawson’s Creek reverted to the initial Dawson/Jen pairing of season one. The college setting seemed to lose the writers’ handle on a story they had little hand on anyway, in Dawson’s Creek, and that same uncertainty surrounds season five of the vampire show. The Vampire Diaries is essentially a cooler, hipper and more fun Dawson’s Creek and has always been thus. I’m convinced season five of Dawson’s Creek was put together during drunken sessions of writing ideas on index cards and pulling those ideas out of a hat each time an actor bitched about something he or she didn’t like. I make that rather ridiculous claim about Dawson’s Creek because of the unsettled creative staff that went on after Kevin Williamson left. I don’t think TVD’s writers shoot paintball guns at a wall to make decisions about characters and story based on frequency of paint color from the guns. I think the writers have tried something different in season five to go along with what’s happening for the characters: change of partners, change of schools, change of lifestyles, etc.

Criticisms about fan service during last week’s 100th episode could be found on the internet. Fan service is sort of an issue during the whole fifth season but it’s also not. Caroline Dries, Julie Plec, and the other TVD writers treat Damon/Elena shippers the same way WWE treats Daniel Bryan fans. Both sets of fans want their favorites to reach the peak of a story. For Damon and Elena fans, the peak is a stable, happy relationship; for Daniel Bryan fans, the peak is a long title run, to be pushed as the top face in the company, to be as beloved by those who book a show as he’s beloved by those who watch every show devotedly. “The Devil Inside” separates Damon from Elena. Of course, Damon’s separated from the idea of Elena. Katherine uses Damon’s worst qualities to break up with him when permanently Elena. The break-up scene concentrates on Damon’s devil inside. Katherine rejects him for what he rejected in himself when he initially ended his relationship with Elena. The sting of hearing Elena’s ‘It’s over” instead of his own causes regression and the murder for which he’ll suffer consequences for once Elena finds her way back.

I assumed the brothers would figure out Katherine’s plan before the first act break, but the longer no one figured it out I knew Katherine would stick around until #515 or #516. TVD season five is broken up into parts, acts, and act two follows Katherine play-acting while she watches everyone fall apart around her. Katherine’s terrific. Nina Dobrev plays more freely as Katherine than as Elena. I assume the end-game is true death for Katherine (true death reminds me too much of True Blood and I cringe to type it). Elena won’t miss much personally, besides Damon time and college classes. I don’t see the purpose of more Katherine except for “it’s fun to have more Katherine.” I don’t disagree. Maybe TVD doesn’t need ‘purpose,’ for each and every decision to matter. Katherine’s presence will matter for the characters: she’s destroyed Damon’s life within 90 seconds of seeing him, she destroyed Tyler’s, made Caroline’s more unpleasant, and plans to ensnare. Perhaps I need to relax and roll with what’s going on. The last two insanely convoluted seasons should remind me to appreciate a more direct and simple approach to the season. The early season Whitmore plot dragged and retconned characters. Shifts in behavior make sense within the context of Katherine’s existing.

Destructive plans for an antagonist usually succeed, actually. Klaus had wonderful results whenever he plotted. Silas and Tessa did what they wanted for a stretch, everyone else be damned. Nadia and Katherine enjoyed similar success. Feelings of surprise owe more to one’s conditioning from years and years of television conventions wherein the heroes stop the villains. The exception to that rule is when it happens midseason, because heroes won’t save the girl or the world then. Katherine play-acted through Matt’s party, compelled Matt to tell her about Elena’s life, drew Tyler’s attention to Caroline’s Klaus confession, and decided to win Stefan’s heart because “he’s the love of [her] life.” Katherine will create a beautiful chaos, beautiful because of Nina Dobrev’s beauty, and chaotic because it’s already chaotic.

Meanwhile, Tyler drinks himself into a miserable stupor following Caroline’s admission of engaging in sexual intercourse with Klaus. I stopped watching The Originals in November, during a particularly dull episode that followed Tyler’s revenge episode. Tyler’s revenge episode was one of the worst revenge episodes I’ve seen. I dislike a lot about The Originals, especially its plodding style and snail-like pacing, and I dislike Tyler quite a bit. Anyway, I missed Klaus crushing Tyler in New Orleans and didn’t connect that Tyler feels more wrecked by Caroline’s choice because of what happened in New Orleans. Klaus’ murder of family members important to people Caroline cares most about matters more than failure in New Orleans; however, Stefan punches Tyler in the face for calling Caroline out. Stefan’s a gentleman and must’ve acted because Tyler behaved ungentlemanly towards Caroline. Tyler’s confession to Matt about what happened in New Orleans gave a new reading to last week’s scene for me—that Klaus acted in spite of Tyler rather than for affection towards Caroline.

“The Devil Inside” resets characters, situations, and stories. Damon murders Aaron because Elena doesn’t want him to, which is still not the worst thing he’s done to her. Enzo’s now a fashionably dressed enabler, forgiving of Damon’s past actions against him as long as Damon joins him in monstrous violence. I’m least interested in that, though the flare in Ian Somerhalder’s eyes suggests he’s into the material. Matt and Tyler may travel the open American road for awhile in lieu of the writers creating any engaging arc for either. Elena’s gone ‘forever’, but really only temporarily. The season’s going nowhere, but there might be bits of fun, or it ends with Stefan meeting the director who fired him in the season premiere. Oh, sorry, wrong show.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Arrow "Tremors" Review

The truth sometimes sets one free, but truth often creates more problems than it solves. “Tremors” is a significantly truthful episode. The Bronze Tiger doesn’t delude himself when working for a bad man. He admits he’s working for the payout and doesn’t concern himself with what he’s helping to destroy. Oliver can’t help Roy without telling him the truth. Roy will continue to nearly murder guys unless Oliver makes a drastic move. Slade wants to blow up Ivo’s freighter, motivated by the pain of losing Shado, and Oliver concocts a lie about what Shado wanted for him because of her love for him. Oliver, in the present day, admits, to Diggle and to Felicity, that he should’ve told the truth. As Laurel continues to spiral down a Lifetime movie drain, Oliver calls on her sister to come and show her what truth is. So, yeah, the truth tremors throughout the episode. See what I did there? No, I’m not impressed either.

Contemplative Oliver is my favorite side of the character to watch. Badass Oliver, Vengeful Oliver, Tortured Oliver, Doubtful Oliver, and et al, are all worthwhile sides of the character. Each aspect yields substantial material for the Stephen Amell for the viewing audience. I really like contemplative Oliver, though. Contemplative Oliver brings out the character’s good nature the most and combines it with Oliver’s original mission for justice (but without the murder and revenge). Contemplation leads to weakness for Oliver, which he’s reminded of after he ends the threat posed by those who wanted the earthquake machine. Felicity and Diggle remind him of the issues of revealing his identity to people, especially an unhinged Roy. Oliver repressed such weakness last season. As often as I invoked Hamlet to compare with Oliver, Hamlet never acted without regard like season one Oliver. Season one Oliver borrowed his sense of revenge from the prince of Denmark, but not his contemplation. “Words, words, words,” do nothing for Hamlet. Words, Oliver has learned, matter, especially word and action.

Roy fails to control his strength. Each test of his he destroys. Oliver can’t connect with Roy. The mirakuru works against Roy. Tedious tests and exercises aggravate him, increasing his volatility and violence. The Bronze Tiger, tasked with taking the earthquake machine from the Merlyn basement, gets away with the machine because Oliver needs to stop Roy from killing a man. Oliver’s fight for Roy’s soul makes Roy’s arc worthwhile. Roy’s a good character, but this arc matters more for the past than for the present. The Thea element of it in “Tremors” seems like a footnote. Oliver’s helping Roy because of what happened with Slade on the island. Their interactions reveal two wildly different purposes, though. Roy concerns himself with the safety of Thea and Moira. Oliver doesn’t. Oliver possesses an ability to separate his two lives. Thea and Moira are part of a world he-as-Arrow needs to protect and save, but he cannot protect and save with attachments influencing his decision. Roy’s not off base to lash out at Oliver for trying to tell him what he needs to do for Thea. In a way, Roy’s right; however, Oliver started to help him for Thea’s sake, and Roy’s influenced by a serum.

The scene in which Oliver takes off the hood for the sake of motivating Roy, of convincing Roy he knows what it means to save family, to use his love for Thea to save the city is tremendous. The island flashbacks work to emphasize the meaning of Oliver’s approach to Roy. On the island, Oliver found Slade as Slade was about to strike the freighter. Slade points a gun at him; he’s frantic and within a muscle movement of ending Oliver’s life. Sara told Oliver that love is the strongest emotion in the world. Oliver uses Slade’s love for Shado to help him feel loved. Slade calms down and agrees to listen to Oliver. Oliver’s on-island plan is to take the freighter from Ivo and use it to escape the island. Roy sees and hears the truth from Oliver without a lie thrown in. Roy wouldn’t have listened unless he saw someone who connected with Thea. Love saves the world in “Tremors.” Roy and Oliver bond after the city is saved. Seeing Oliver’s face neutralizes the bad stuff working in Roy’s system, since The Hood saved his life. Oliver makes it clear he won’t abandon him. One wrong has been made right for Oliver without bloodshed and fighting.

Other matters of truth are scattered throughout the episode. There’s Walter’s idea for Moira to run against Sebastian Blood for mayor of the city. Such a pursuit will confront Moira with what people think of her (though she learned all that during the trial, and Walter’s little speech about the support she has is convenient considering Malcolm’s the only reason avoided a guilty verdict and the death sentence). Moira decides to run with the caveat that her OB/GYN never reveal the identity of Thea’s father. Laurel’s life and career spirals away from her, leaving her as a drunken mess, with no hope until her sister appears over her as if conjured from drunken delirium. Laurel won’t listen to her father or to Oliver. She’s a CW character and thus unnecessarily cruel to Thea in bringing up Thea’s party girl past. Laurel’s at the bottom, physically and emotionally, which is the truth she need accept. The shot of her on the bottom, looking up into a blur, is very on the nose about what it conveys; so, too, is the entire episode on the nose about its theme.

“Tremors” is mostly a set-piece episode for February sweeps. Though The CW executives claim to think not about ratings and other traditional measurements for success, instead choosing to rely on new social media platforms, quite a few hooks are dropped into the body of water of the series. The hooks include Oliver’s admission of shooting Slade’s eye with an arrow, the return of Sara to Starling City, Oliver’s intention to take the freighter, what Roy learns, Moira’s mayoral candidacy, the return to the Merlyns. “Tremors” insists one watch next week, almost promising viewers the next run of episodes will satisfy all that’s set up. Certain scenes were tremendous, but the whole of the episode lacked something. The fight scenes were tremendous, but the sense of ‘just wait til what happens next week’ seemed paramount.

Other Thoughts:

-I don’t know anything about the suicide squad. I assume the squad is a big deal.

-Marc Guggenheim & Drew Z. Greenberg wrote the episode. Guy Bee directed it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How I Met Your Mother "How Your Mother Met Me" Review

“How Your Mother Met Me” was the least grating How I Met Your Mother episode in four years. I think the reason for that is the absence of every character fans love. Ted passes through The Mother’s life, Barney’s reduced to a one joke note, Lily’s there to hug Barney, and Robin and Marshall don’t appear. Well, every character appears, but in minor parts. None speak. How I Met Your Mother’s 200th episode is like LOST’s “The Other 48 Days,” ANGEL’s “Birthday,” and Buffy’s “Superstar.” In the latter two episodes, an alternate world is portrayed, but audience perspective shifts from Angel and Buffy, respectively, to other characters. “Birthday” follows Cordelia, and “Superstar” follows Jonathan. “The Other 48 Days” focuses on the survivors of the tail section of Oceanic Flight 815. I’m sure other episodes in television history compare to tonight’s HIMYM. Besides “Superstar,” the other two episodes bring a character (or characters to a critical place). In LOST, that episode brought together the fuselage survivors with the tail section, and Ana Lucia’s gun with Shannon’s belly; in ANGEL, Cordelia committed to her life’s calling.

Ted’s future wife’s previous eight years led to her fateful weekend in Farhampton where she’ll meet Ted at a train station. Eight years is a rather long period to cover in a 21-minute episode. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas opted to show the broadest beats of her life, all involving tragedy in love. How I Met Your Mother is American’s longest running bad romantic comedy, of course, and each character’s fate—but I really mean happiness in using ‘fate’--is determined by whether he or she is loved. The Mother’s defined through the love she lost and the love she rejected. The first act brings to mind David Foster Wallace’s famous sentence in The Pale King, later used as the title of D.T. Max’s DFW biography, “Every love story is a ghost story.” (I think David Foster Wallace was brought to that line through a James Joyce story considered a ghost story by Joyce, but that’s neither here nor there).

Ted’s story and his wife’s story is a ghost-love story. Ted chased the ghosts of his relationship with Robin. The Mother attached herself to a ghost—her deceased boyfriend, Max, whom she considered the apex of her love life. The story of Ted Mosby over the last nine years revolved around his attempts to move past Robin. Victoria couldn’t date him because of his attachment to the woman he met on a rooftop. The Mother couldn’t marry Louis because of an attachment to her ghost. The symbolic burst of wind confirmed to her that Louis wasn’t the man to marry. Louis was a random character to bridge the gap between Max and Ted. Louis committed the cardinal sin of saying, “That’s funny” instead of laughing when The Mother used an English muffin to sing her song. The sudden gust of wind pushes The Mother out of her relationship and to the Farhampton Inn, to a balcony across from Ted’s room, where she sings to him for the first time.

The Mother shares Ted’s knack for overly long narrative answers in response to a simple question. Ted’s “shellfish” joke sent her into a fit of laughter. She learned why Rachel Bilson’s character broke up with Ted and didn’t understand how someone could love her without knowing her. The Mother believes in only “The One.” Rachel Bilson’s character tells her there’s “The Next One.” Ted also believes in “The One.” The Mother’s charming ukulele was Max’s 21st birthday gift to her. The ukulele is symbolic of the life she could’ve had and a reminder of the great love she lost for Max could not give the gift to her on account of his being dead. Her ukulele rendition of “L’vie en Rose” is the first time Ted hears her. The ukulele transforms from a symbol of tragic love lost to love reborn and soon renewed.

Bays and Thomas litter the script with events of cosmic importance. Scenes from past seasons connect with The Mother’s path: the yellow umbrella, and other such stuff. The Mother was already a relatable and pleasant character. Bays and Thomas haven’t fell into the trap of creating a set of perfect traits for Ted instead of a character. I’d like to watch her story more than the rest of the wedding story. “How Your Mother Met Me” ends with a montage of the gang on the night before the wedding. Sadness abounds, except for Ted, who listens to his future wife’s song. The montage reminded me whatever enjoyment I found in tonight’s episode will disappear seconds into next week’s episode.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grimm "The Wild Hunt" Review

Urgency separates the episodes of Grimm that air before a long break and the ones that air during a run of new Grimm episodes. The final act tipped me off to the fact that Grimm won’t air a new episode for awhile. I thought it odd that Nick and Hank barely investigated the Wesen scalping men in uniform. I thought it especially odd how engaged I was in the Vienna material. Urgency may not be the correct word to use. Progression might be better. Grimm seems stuck in place for much longer than it moves forward in its various plots and character arcs. “The Wild Hunt” had progress—significant things happened in each story that actively moved the story and its characters forward.

David Greenwalt, who co-wrote the episode with Jim Kouf, wrote ANGEL’s second season episode, “Happy Anniversary,” which involves a man who wants to stop time so that his girlfriend won’t break-up with him. The man nearly ends the world, because ending the world is a threat in many a Joss show, but Angel and Lorne save the day. Angel and Lorne fight off demons to get to the guy, demons that want the world to end because it fulfills a prophecy. Once Angel and Lorne unfreeze the time the man froze, they sit together, drink coffee, and talk. Lorne delivers one of my favorite lines ever written in books, TV, the movies, video games and music.  Gene, the man, explains he wants the wheel of time to stop to avoid stuff. Lorne tells him, “It just don’t work, Gene-y. It’s like a song. Now, I can hold a note for a long time. Actually I can hold a note forever; but eventually that’s just noise. It’s the changes we’re listening for—the note coming after, and the one after that. That’s what make its music.” The same idea applies to television storytelling. So, it’s a bit funny David Greenwalt wrote Lorne’s line and currently runs Grimm, when so little will happen for weeks. Slow movement in a show isn’t an unforgivable crime. Writing that a show lacks urgency doesn’t always mean it lacks pacing and plotting. For me a lack of urgency means whatever’s happening within the world doesn’t matter. If fictional characters don’t care within the world we transport ourselves to each week, audiences won’t care. People turned en masse on Under The Dome for “urgency” issues.

One scene in “The Wild Hunt” represents the problem of what I wrote about in the above paragraph. The never-ending Verrat storyline continues at its glacially slow pace. Juliette decided to e-mail Nick’s mother. Nick doesn’t expect a response, but Nick’s mother responds. The response involves references to the Resistance and the Verrat. Nick’s mother writes vaguely about where she is, what she’s doing, and Nick tries to explain what’s happening to Juliette. Nick’s explanation is useless since he himself does not quite understand the details of the Resistance and the Verrat. Prince Vicktor name-dropped the grimm a month ago, and Nick is the one feared most and he’s a vital part of the battle, but he’s clueless. Nick knows the coins should not fall into the possession of the royals, but beyond that is a shrug of the shoulders for he and Juliette. All they can do is wait for more word from a woman on the constant move in southeastern Europe just as the viewer can wait for the writers to make the story more sensible and easier to invest in.

The wild hunt of the title is for a Wesen that scalps men in uniform. Nick and Hank hear the debriefing from Renard about the case, follow leads once the guy arrives in Portland, and then fail to catch him. The suspect doesn’t arrive in Portland until halfway into the episode. Nick and Hank can’t move to find the guy aggressively, I assume (since neither move aggressively to find the guy). The type of Wesen Nick learns scalps men in a warrior ritual. This specific Wesen knits the scalps together to create a warrior cloak. The Wesen of the week comes from Mexico so the Wesen mythology seems rooted in a Native American culture, though the diversity studies in me balks at writing much about its roots in post-colonial criticism. Each man in uniform murdered by the scalp Wesen is deemed ‘unworthy’ by the murderer. Hank points out that Nick’s probably the target. No man is as fine a warrior as the grimm. Sure enough, the Wesen looks at a newspaper clipping of Nick to confirm Hank’s suspicion that Nick is the target.

Elsewhere, Monroe proposed to Rosalee. Their scenes were the sweetest. Monroe used a clock to propose. Following the proposal and the abundant happy feelings, the foreboding visit from the parents loomed. Monroe opted not to tell his parents certain facts about his betrothed. Details about Rosalee’s past have been prominent the past few episodes to create more of a sense of her as a person. She still has a fragility and vulnerability about herself. The promos teased the meeting between Monroe’s parents and Rosalee as titantic; however, as I predicted, the meeting doesn’t happen until the last act. Rosalee receives rejection from the parents, she feels betrayed by Monroe, and bolts out of the house. Nick shows up at the worst time to consult with Monroe on the wild hunt case. Monroe’s parents fly into a murderous rage that seems uncontainable. The scene cuts to black and these words, “Oh, fuck.” That was pretty great.

Other Thoughts:

-Grimm won’t return until February 28, so we will wait for the resolution to the wild hunt story. Will Rosalee return to Monroe? Will Nick’s mother send another e-mail that leaves Nick bewildered?

-The Vienna scenes were good. Adalind will give birth next episode or the episode after or maybe the writers forget about her until May. Alexis Denisof returned as Vicktor. Much of the scene was concentrated on Vicktor’s anger towards the Resistance. I don’t care about the material, but Denisof was really good as the enraged Prince.

-Rob Bailey directed.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Vampire Diaries "500 Years of Solitude" Review

If I drank alcohol, I’d toast to 100 episodes for The Vampire Diaries. 100 episodes is a tremendous accomplishment for any show (except for According to Jim). I remember a few notable 100th episodes for shows I love. Immediately, the terrible 100th episode of Dawson’s Creek comes to mind. Kevin Williamson also created Dawson’s Creek but left three years before number one hundred aired. Dawson’s Creek took the gang to a beach for a MTV party, and Dawson remembered he loves Joey. Buffy saved the world again in Buffy’s 100th episode and died. ANGEL bid farewell to Cordelia in its 100th episode, “You’re Welcome.” Dawson’s Creek catered to fan want. Joss Whedon and his writers stayed true to the narrative while honoring what the show is and was. “You’re Welcome” is one of my all-time favorite episodes of television, along with “The Gift.” Dawson’s 100th episode? No.

“500 Years of Solitude” caters to fan want. Every notable character, dead or alive, appears in the episode. The Originals return from New Orleans for one week. Tyler returns to Mystic Falls in time for Caroline to regret her scandalous sex with Klaus. Julie Plec and Caroline Dries didn’t bring fans’ favorite characters back because of the 100th episode celebration. No character behaved like Dawson’s film buddy, Oliver, by asking for the complete history of Dawson/Joey, allowing the writers to take it easy and rely on flashbacks. Katherine unites every character through the hell and torture she put everyone through. The best scene of season five was the gang hanging out in the Salvatore living room, taking shots after each horrible Katherine memory. Stefan kills the party by acknowledging the good parts of Katherine, and then Nadia really kills the party by sort of killing Matt in an effort to save her mother’s life.

Katherine’s on her deathbed for the entirety of the episode until the twist after she cons Elena with sentimentality. Damon wants to watch her die and torture her until death. Klaus returned to Mystic Falls to also take pleasure in watching Katherine die. All other characters, except for Nadia, toast to themselves because they’ll no longer have their lives ruined by Katherine. While Katherine drifts between consciousness and unconsciousness, Damon enters her head to help her suffer. Katherine’s memory takes her to the worst times in her life—1490 and 1492 in Bulgaria when her father took Nadia from her and when Klaus slaughtered her family. A happy memory creeps in when she remembers traveling with Emily Bennett in Virginia and looking upon Stefan for the first time. Besides that, Damon enables her inner torment. Phantom Jenna stabs Katherine. Phantom John Gilbert slices Katherine’s fingers off. Elijah rushes into comfort her, but he’s a phantom, planted in her mind by the great Prospero Damon Salvatore. Murderous, sadistic glee lights his eyes up. Katherine whimpers, coughs and cries. Nadia snaps Damon’s neck and teaches her mom the traveler’s spell, which Katherine denies. Katherine chooses death.

Katherine doesn’t choose death. She plays her games. She manipulates to survive. Katherine hates Elena and wants to take her life. Throughout “500 Years of Solitude,” Stefan offers an alternative reading of her life. He casts Katherine as a reluctant villain, a victim deserving of pity, forgiveness and peace. Stefan’s the epiphany Prospero experiences in the later stages of The Tempest. Elena forgives Katherine as Katherine clings to life, not Katherine but for herself so that she won’t lose the ability to forgive, to feel enough to forgive. Elena’s humanity bit her in the ass, of course, as always. Vulnerability became opportunity for Katherine. Katherine pulled Elena in and took her body. Before Katherine’s deceptive move, Stefan brought her peace. Overwrought modern pop-rock droned as Stefan removed the bad parts of Katherine’s slaughtered family memory and placed her baby. Katherine moved towards the enveloping white light and, uh, that didn’t stick.

Julie Plec and Caroline Dries wrote the A story really well, covering the wide-ranging emotions, hitting every wildly different beat. Katherine’s been the best character of season five. Nina Dobrev completely separated Katherine from Elena. I would’ve missed Katherine if indeed the writers killed the character off. Nina Dobrev can’t play two characters in every episode for the entire season. Production can’t keep that up too long-term. Plec said to do so is ‘taxing’ on everybody. Putting Katherine in Elena’s body solves that problem. What follows should be like “Who Are You?” in Buffy (for two scenes, maybe, because these characters catch on quick to nefarious plans).

The other parts of the episode are like looking through old photographs and charting how much one grew and changed through the years up to the very present moment one is using to look through photographs. I’m thinking of these scenes in particular: Caroline learning about Jeremy’s intimate relationship with Bonnie; Caroline’s scandalous sex with Klaus in the woods; Stefan’s softness for Katherine; Matt’s face when he sees Rebekah rescued him from another tomb (this time an actual tomb). The many memories shared by the gang of Katherine was like a quick montage, drawing smiles and gasps, and ‘Oh, do you remember?” Vicki stood totally cool on The Other Side, talking with Bonnie and Jeremy, despite her last romance alive involving Jeremy. Maybe those three talked it out while Wes tortured Damon and Elena. Alaric showed up to announce he’ll keep an eye on everyone—that was pretty great. Alaric’s the one character I wish the writers didn’t kill off. Cult wasn’t worth leaving for, Matt Davis.

Caroline’s hook-up with Klaus in the woods involved the same problems of the Damon-Elena coupling. Klaus never bothered to do good like Damon. Damon made an effort to redeem for Elena. Klaus sought power, control and domination. He drew an illustration for Caroline once and delivered a speech to her that was designed to manipulate fans into creating a ship that must’ve set sail from the writers’ room. Their connection moved to a physical connection when it mattered most—Tyler’s back and conflict drives drama.

“500 Years of Solitude” is the best episode of the season. It celebrated what fans love most about the series. Despite recent missteps and a general sense of no direction, The Vampirie Diaries has been great fun to watch over the last five years. Plec and Dries told an awesome Katherine story and utilized every character worth a darn.

Other Thoughts:

-Paul Wesley continued his excellent work this season. His highlight in this episode was his last with Katherine in her head. He told Damon she pulled him from a dark place. The brothers shared a drink together under the stars. Stefan told Damon to go back to Elena. Damon doesn’t want blame when the universe revolts.

-One of the characters should’ve commented on Jeremy’s transformation from scrawny-ish kid in season one to body-builder in season five. His shoulders could cover the width of the United States.

-Biana Lawson hasn’t aged since the “What’s My Line?” two-parter in 1998.

-Caroline Dries & Julie Plec wrote the episode. Chris Grismer directed it.

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.