Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "I'd Leave My Happy Home for You" Review

Now that’s a crazy episode of The Vampire Diaries. Bonnie had glass in her neck that quickly drained blood from her body while Elena, human for seconds, faces a pissed off Lily who’d love to rip her neck off. For a minute I thought the writers would kill off Elena two episodes before the finale. Julie Plec challenged fans to predict how Elena leaves the series. Killing off the heroine of the series before the season finale would’ve been a pleasant surprise. I imagined the final two episodes devoted to the brothers Salvatore and their complex relationship with Mom. Elena escaped through a vent. Damon and Stefan knocked their mother out with a shot of vervain to the neck, placed her in the Salvatore detox dungeon, and hoped for the best.

Lily promised her Stefan “devastation” once she found a way to bring her friends to her from the 1903 prison world. Alas, the hoped for best did not come to fruition. Lily’s a broken, sad, and insane vampire. Stefan and Lily shared a few scene monumental scenes together that were about their lost mother-son bond, Stefan’s quiet desperation to pull her back from brutal ripper murders, Lily’s disconnectedness from life, and Stefan’s attempts to remind her that she needn’t murder or maim, because of him and Damon. The latter happened after Stefan lied to her. Lily could tell. He can’t look her in the eye when he lies. The second time he looked her in the eye as she held a stake of wood inches from her heart. The scene would end in one of two ways. Lily, after telling Stefan she forgot how beautiful his eyes are, stakes herself, turns to stone, as Stefan gasps and furrows the brow; or she attacks her former pride and joy and bundle of love, her sweet Stefan. I liked the quiet depiction of Stefan’s arc in “I’d Leave My Happy Home For You.” He didn’t lie to her during their chat in the Mystic Grille, but he lied to himself-that is, he didn’t believe what he said. In his desperate moment, though, as he watched her hold a stake to her chest, he let it out. I thought it was touching.

Secondary to the troubles with his mother was Damon’s consideration of taking the cure so that he could live the rest of his days with Elena, which Damon kept from Stefan. Enzo informed Stefan, because Enzo’s the washerwoman who knows everything about all and will one day turn into a willow. The brothers barely chatted. Damon took Elena into memories she forgot. They ate fries atop the Mystic Falls clock tower. I wanted Elena and Stefan to talk about her choice. They hardly share scenes anymore. Elena took the cure without any drama. It differed from the heavy drama of the season four cure that took the gang to damned Nova Scotia for the first time. Stefan ignored that Elena took it and only felt concern for his brother leaving his happy home for Elena, the girl he also loved. TV writers habitually choose to ignore parts of characters’ pasts in service of other plots. Pacey dated Joey’s best friend and roommate during season five, one season after one of the great teenage TV romances in teenage melodrama history, with nary a mention or reference to the relationship that led Pacey to sailing the seas after their breakup (which he caused by losing his bleeping mind at the Capeside High senior prom). Plec, Dries, and the other writers for The Vampire Diaries won’t acknowledge the intense and far superior romance of Stefan’s and Elena’s because they don’t want it to impinge or devalue or decrease Elena’s and Damon’s own intense relationship, as if people may only have one intense love in their life, as if exclusivity and convenient amnesia makes one better than the other. Of course, Stefan called Damon about waiting to take the cure until after Lily’s murder spree ceased. I guess he felt concern for Elena’s life; however, Damon comes to her after Lily’s locked away so that she can tell him about the memories that returned to her of him and her.

Alaric seemingly compelled me to forget their relationship, Damon’s and Elena’s, for I did not recall the scene about the cure in season four where Damon walked away damning humanity like a character in a William Gass story. Bonnie stated her opinion that Elena feared being human with Damon because her feelings may change. Jo challenged the idea that going supernatural could change a person so much. Jo, the poor character, does not know she’s a fictional character in a fictional world in which going supernatural will change a person so much because it’s a way to transition a character from an epic romance to another epic romance without incurring the backlash of vocal internet fandom folk. The memories returned to Elena, good and bad, and she still loved Damon. It’s not about her not loving Damon anymore; it’s about her love for Damon. He loves life as a vampire. The episode title hints at the final two episodes. People say “I’d” when they can’t do whatever it is they would. “I’d go with you, if you’d like” or “I’d have bought a pint of ice cream if the store re-stocked the ice cream shelf.” Damon would, but he won’t. Something terrible will happen.

Lily’s psychotic vampire-witch friends from the 1903 prison world walk in from their cold, snowy morning walk around Nova Scotia for a Kai prepared breakfast. Kai’s neck looked covered with punctures from vampire teeth, but that crazy witch knows how to return to Mystic Falls. It involves either porridge or gruel.

The teaser of the episode was among the cleverer of in the series. Alaric sat in his classroom, grading papers in the dark, unaware that Constance Garnett suffered from increasingly bad eyesight from her dedicated work of translating great works of Russian literature by candlelight, and he heard a noise. Damon kidnapped him from the classroom and took him to a bachelor party. Bonnie and Elena hired a male stripper to get Jo’s party started. It was a great, great teaser that played on something terrible always happening to Alaric whenever he’s happy. The looming threat of the witch-vampires and Kai’s return makes Matt’s warning to Alaric seem foreshadowy. Matt’s a drunken mess, picking fights with Tyler, and telling Alaric that he’s a bastard for choosing to bring a child into a world with vampires, witches, and werewolves. So, Alaric, the wise old soul he is, promised Jo, after learning from her about the twins, that they’ll raise their children somewhere far away where her family won’t find them, where they’ll be safe, and I know that something terrible will happen before that happens.

“I’d Leave My Happy Home for You” had near-deaths, palpable dread, and plenty foreboding, and also a promise from Lily to devastate Mystic Falls. Though the series will return for a seventh season, it had a finale vibe. The writers, not every season, build stories to great emotional crescendos. I’m indifferent about the devastation the witch-vamps will cause in Mystic Falls. There’s a lot of great personal character stories being told as the sixth season closes. I hope for the best finale of TVD since the Elena’s death in season three in two weeks. Fingers crossed.

Other Thoughts:

-Nina Dobrev and Kat Graham dancing with the police officer dancer was an unexpected highlight of the episode.

-Tyler’s the least essential character on The CW.

-Jo mentioned Liv, but not by name.

-Enzo and Damon shared a scene after a long period apart. Damon razzed him about not telling him his own mother turned him in 1903. The writers didn’t know that then, Damon.

-Brett Matthews & Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote the episode. Jesse Marn directed.

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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.