Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Vampire Diaries "Gone Girl" Review

Nadia and Katherine sort of drove the last couple episodes. Their relationship, their backstory, their honesty and transparency with each other, were what grounded the two characters. Nadia wasn’t a great character when introduced and never moved beyond what she was created for: to, sort of, humanize her mother. Katherine was her most relatable and human after her brief time as a human before she hijacked Elena’s body. Theirs was a story of misfortunate, bad and lousy luck, tinged by tragedy. Whenever two people miss their chance with each other in life, in any kind of relationship, it is a tragedy. Nadia’s actions throughout the season were motivated by her goal to find her mother. It included betraying two men she loved and involving others in danger. Nadia only received the love she searched for in the moments before her death. Katherine refused to ask Klaus for his blood because of the risk he’d see through the fa├žade. Katherine’s self-preservation, heroically cast in the 100th episode, was her tragic flaw, costing her her only daughter, her only tie to life once everyone figured out she hijacked Elena’s body. A life of escapes, manipulations, and survival, gave her nothing at life’s end. She died as she lived: alone.

Damon watched Katherine’s final moments in silence, stolidly, watchful and observant, only offering, eventually, a kindly ‘go to hell’ to the woman who ruined him. With death comes change and growth. Damon looked beyond himself to see what he hated most was in him. He was no different from Katherine in his acts of violence, his breaks from his life and his responsibilities when his feelings were hurt. Somewhere between brutally murdering Wes and seeing Katherine off, he realized he’d die alone like Katherine if continued to act out. I never looked at Damon and Katherine as parallel characters. Perhaps that’s because I’m a lazy viewer, unaware of what’s happening in front of my eyes without someone telling me that an ape is scraping the bars of his cage. Damon’s penchant for physical violence parallels Katherine’s penchant for emotional violence. Both disrupt lives, leave blood and tears behind, and care not for consequences. Wes told Damon the ripper virus acts a mirror. Damon behaved no differently with that inside him than he would have without it. Wes’ serum allowed Damon to deflect blame, to associate his problems with something outside himself. Wes was incorrect. Katherine’s his mirror.

“Gone Girl” begins as one thing and ends as another thing. It is an episode split in two. The first half of the episode concerns the plan to corner Katherine and kill her. Caroline and Bonnie try to lure Katherine to a fake surprise party and to a day spa. The ladies fail. Katherine learns she’s been made when Damon invites her over less than 24 hours after trying to kill her when he thought she was Elena. The episode shifts briefly to a quasi-strategy game in which both sides try to manipulate the other. Katherine moves her dying daughter to an old, abandoned, broken down, and crumbled church to protect her from those who would use Nadia against her. Stefan, Bonnie, Jeremy, the new witch girl, locate Nadia and use her against Katherine. Halfway through “Gone Girl” Stefan and everyone else corner her in the Salvatore living room. Katherine confronts her fate and her daughter’s fate.

The first half of the episode is typical TVD fare: planning, bad execution, a brutal murder by Damon. The second half slows down. The writing and acting become thoughtful rather than reactive. TVD executes slow, thoughtful bits very effectively and movingly, and Nadia’s was very well written and delicately acted. I liked that the action of the episode, i.e. the planning and maneuvering, halted for Katherine’s moment of momentary redemption with her daughter. The only redemption Katherine can experience is momentary. In that moment, which can last a lifetime within very quick seconds of time, Katherine gave her daughter a perfect day. Their perfect day was a peaceful summer evening in a cabin tucked away in forest. It lasts only a moment. Nadia dies—she’s the cost of Katherine’s choices, her stranglehold on survival. Nadia passes, and Katherine turns to face all who want her dead. After a failed escape, she has her moment with every character that serves to sum up her interactions with each and to remind me that she’s the reason Tyler became a werewolf. The scene condensed her interactions with the characters throughout the 100th episode into a scene of finality.

Katherine’s last act mirrors her last act in the 100th episode. She can’t hijack Elena’s body, but she will infect her with the ripper virus to prevent her from having Stefan. Katherine dies and is dragged to whatever hell exists in TVD. Meanwhile, Elena wakes, with a needle in her jacket, Katherine’s message to the brothers. I’m more invested in the ripper storyline without Wes because Wes seemed like a crutch for the writers. He was a non-threatening professor that was able to complicate matters for our band of heroes. He essentially acted the same as magic, though. He came out from wherever the writers stored him to create chaos. I like that he won’t provide the answer to what cures the ripper virus. I like that Damon’s brash actions have fatal consequences for him and Elena. It’s not too different from Klaus causing destruction, storywise. It is way more interesting to watch when there are no villains to kill, no one to turn to for the cure; when regular vampires are the most dangerous to vampires.

Season five’s rounding into form.

Other Thoughts:

-I haven’t read much internet reaction the episode. From what I read, fans have expressed their unhappiness about Katherine’s ultimate fate of being dragged into hell. Don’t worry, everyone; each of your favorite characters will end up in hell.

-Caroline told Tyler to get over what she did with Klaus. She compared Tyler biting Nadia to her sleeping with the guy that killed Tyler’s mother and wrecked him in New Orleans. Tyler also would like things to work out. I would like for the writers to drop their relationship.

-Liv made eyes at Bonnie’s man, Jeremy. Liv already transformed from timid potential witch to overconfident witch who will certainly become a problem before the end of the season.

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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.