Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Vampire Diaries "Christmas Through Your Eyes" Review

Magic. Blah. How does a character defeat magic in a genre show? I wrote about The Vampire Diaries’ reliance on magic in past reviews. Magic’s easy to write. Kai becomes the most dangerous witch villain in the series by sticking his hands into the earth and sucking the Travelers’ magic. It’s a cop-out as well as convenient, and Kai’s at the center of other convenient scenes. Genre television builds to the crescendo in May. Contrivance, therefore, becomes a necessary evil, routine even. Damon and Alaric nearly pulled off a plan in which they’d use a gun to shoot a magic-free Kai, who had crossed the border into Mystic Falls. Jo rushes out of the house, unwilling to let her brother die, because then her twin siblings would need to merge per the ancient customs of their Gemini coven. Alaric does not shoot. Damon throws his hands in the air. Later, in a meta moment, he bemoans the sacrifice of logic for the sake of doing what Alaric’s girlfriend wanted. If Damon had replaced ‘girl’ with ‘the season’ or ‘the story’, I would’ve swooned. Metafiction would have reared its deviously fun head into The CW demographic.

Thus, Kai lives to suck the magic forcefield into his body, becoming more of a tempest than a tempest, and immediately endangering Elena’s life. Jo disappeared after her plea to spare her brother from a gunshout wound to the head-to power up, as it were, for her magical fight with Kai. The merging seems unnecessary for the foreseeable future. The duties of the siblings for the coven are a load of bologna. One hopes, in the New Year, when the second act of the season begins, that Liv, like Luke, realizes the futility and superfluity of family obligations. A major part, or theme, of the series has been the death of parents, of grandparents, of family, and of becoming stronger through, because of, that loss; however, another major theme has been survival-doing what one must for oneself without regard for the others. The seemingly inevitable synthesis of the series may be vampire, human, brother, sister, girlfriend, boyfriend, learning to co-exist. Jeremy, that specimen, asks Matt why he won’t try to coexist with Enzo. Matt babbles nonsense. Jeremy’s correct. The only way for the violence to stop is to live in harmony, but that won’t happen until the series ends.

Stefan wonders why he and his friends have the ability to stop the most evil being but lack the power to stop cancer from growing and spreading in a person. The Joyce Summers turn for Sheriff Forbes happens quickly-like Joyce Summers in the fifth season of Buffy. “Christmas Through Your Eyes” has a scene that’s intercut between two opposing plans involving Kai. Tyler’s plan works before Damon’s. The scene’s all set-up. The Sheriff Forbes collapse has no set-up. It happened. It’s scary. It’s unstoppable. It’s real, lousy, crappy, depressing, sickness. One never feels more helpless than when a parent is dying from something medicine and doctors can’t stop. Sheriff Forbes’ sudden sickness happens on the fringe of the episode. Her sickness re-bonds Stefan and Caroline. It sets up TVD’s very own and very sad “The Body” episode in the New Year. Perhaps Enzo will deliver the equivalent of Anya’s “I don’t understand” monologue.

The cancer storyline runs parallel with the flashbacks to the Mystic Falls Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in the blessed year of 2009. It juxtaposes past and present. Caroline had her mother and father. Caroline and Elena had Bonnie. Stefan gave Mystic Falls in a snow globe to Caroline, a trite and cheap gift to her in 2009 that means more and which she places in her mother’s hand in 2014. Bonnie, all the way in magic land 1994, stages her own tree lighting ceremony. Bonnie and Jeremy work in unison. He stands by the tree, in Mystic Falls, and tells her that he misses her. Bonnie tells the tree that she misses everyone in Mystic Falls and then she burns the tree. Yet another recurring theme emerges during and after the parallels in the past and present, in Bonnie’s literal past/present situation, and all the coven craziness, which is that the characters, to truly triumph, will need to defeat the past. The Elena compulsion storyline during the early season seemed a trite way to complicate her romance, but it allowed for her and Damon to create a new path together free from the prison of the past.

Liv and Luke make a decision because of the past, the burdening past, that prison. Liv makes the worst decisions. Whenever faced with a choice, she chooses a less than wisely. Liv decides her life, and her brother’s life, are worth more than Jo’s, who saved their lives twenty years ago. Luke takes off. Liv doesn’t. Luke leaves with warning that she must remember Kai’s murders fall on them because his life was spared for theirs. Again there are burdens, guilt, responsibility, which must eventually burn away like Bonnie’s tree. Kai shifts focus to Elena. She hasn’t been in peril in awhile. Kai also acts as another foil to contented happiness for Damon and Elena. She travels to the Salvatore house, but Damon can’t see her. Kai cloaked her. Magic. Blah.

Other Thoughts:

-Matt Davis and Ian Somerhalder seemed to really enjoy the Alaric-Damon spat that culminated in Alairc calling Damon a “dick.” My favorite part of their little drama was Alaric’s disbelief about Damon acting selfishly. Damon admits to acting out of a desire for control. I wish Alaric would’ve listed the atrocities Damon committed. Maybe not. The reformation of Damon is a welcome change to the ‘I am a bad man’ Damon that’s been oft-repeated in the last two years.

-Enzo and Matt are unlikely partners in destroying Stefan’s life. Enzo envies Stefan because Caroline likes him. Enzo lists more reasons, but it’s because of Caroline. Blood feuds on The CW involve women 99% of the time. Matt’s murderous attempt on Enzo’s life failed because of Kai’s magic mojo with the Travelers’ bubble of magic.

-The Vampire Diaries will return January 22, 2015.

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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.