Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "I'm Thinking of You All the While" Review

And in the end Elena’s in a magic coma until Bonnie Bennett dies. 

Kai, that card. 

The writers couldn’t kill Elena off, because she’ll need to return for the series finale—whenever that may be. Next season? How will the show continue without its lead? I don’t know what the majority opinion is among the fanbase. I sort of write my reviews in isolation and never interact with other fans of The Vampire Diaries. One comment from a fan on a Hitfix article predicted disaster for the series next season. I think The Vampire Diaries will be somewhat more interesting and revitalized in season seven. It’s a creative challenge to write a story after the main character leaves the story. All that is in season seven. I’m not writing a season seven premiere review, am I? I’m writing a review for the season six finale of The Vampire Diaries—“I’m Thinking of You All The While.”

The first nine minutes of the finale was among the darker nine minutes I’ve seen in a network TV finale. Kai, recently returned from the 1903 prison world, murdered his sister and her unborn twins. Alaric cradled his dead wife in his arms. Afterwards, Kai jammed a piece of broken glass in his neck. The Coven died with him. His parting words to his family are about proving to his family that he is an irredeemable piece of garbage. Tyler helped Liv die without added suffering, which triggered his curse. Minutes later he ripped into Kai’s throat. A werewolf bite seemingly spells the end for a vampire. Kai, I should not fail to mention, drank Lily’s blood before his grand act of brutal mass revenge and returned as a witch-vampire. The werewolf bite is not the end for witch-vampires—yet another convenient magic rule in The Vampire Diaries—because Kai siphoned the wound shut using vampire healing as well as his infinite power resource.

Kai’s a damn worthwhile villain, though. The magic’s too much. It makes things too easy for him; however, the convoluted spell he did that linked Bonnie and Elena worked wonders for the story of Damon, Bonnie, and Elena. I don’t recall Damon wanting to kill any other character more than Bonnie Bennett. Maybe Jeremy. Damon killed Jeremy in the season two premiere. Elena told Stefan that night, “I hate him. I know he’s your brother, but I hate him.” Damon committed other bad, bad acts leading to and during his courting of Elena. The challenge of bringing Elena together with Damon was their past. The vampire transformation changed Elena’s character and brought her closer to her dark side, but that happened because of the sire bond. Their relationship stopped and started. One would think it better for the two to get together in the finale. Anticipation for a romance may exceed the depicted romance.

Damon and Elena struck me as a little forced. Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder played the hell out of it over the years, but their characters together never fit like Elena and Stefan, which was the zenith of romantic pairings in this crazy story. Elena’s memories returned after she took the cure--memories of Damon’s horrible, violent behavior that initially kept human Elena from Damon. It didn’t, though. The test became about Damon when he wanted to take the cure and live out his life with her.

Kai, that card, gave Damon the best chance to prove his love for Elena. Two seasons ago, three seasons ago, and definitely five seasons ago, Damon would’ve murdered Bonnie the very next second a Big Bad told him he couldn’t have Elena until Bonnie died. If Damon let Bonnie die, Elena wouldn’t forgive him. The early part of the season developed the Bonnie and Damon bond, trapped together in 1994, making breakfast, and shopping for more breakfast items in an empty store. Kai, angry at Kai for betraying him, links Damon’s love with Damon’s new platonic female bestie (no one replaces Alaric). Seasons of Damon treating Bonnie badly leaves doubt in the viewer’s minds about what he’ll do when Kai gives him a dying Bonnie. They shared a look before Damon left the wedding hall. Seconds later, Damon surprised Kai from behind and ripped his head off. Saving Bonnie means he loves his friend and he loves his girlfriend, i.e. he’ll wait however long he must for Elena to wake while Bonnie lives her life.

The last two acts of the season revolve around the characters’ farewell to Elena. The farewells are saccharine, referential, nostalgic, and saturated in Nina’s real-life departure from the series. For example, Elena asked Bonnie to float feathers for a final time, which Bonnie did in their first scene together; Damon and Elena repeated their dance from “Miss Mystic Falls”; Stefan and Elena went to the place where she told him why she didn’t want to be a vampire. Elena encouraged Matt to go for the badge; she urged Tyler to leave and find comfort in himself; and she promised Alaric would find strength in the future.

Of course, the best and most near perfect scene of the episode happened without Elena. She overwhelmed the scene. Caroline talked to Stefan about what it meant for him to watch Elena in a permanent sleep. They’re soulmates. Stefan agreed that they are soulmates. I wonder if the scene challenged Caroline Dries and Julie Plec the most. They couldn’t cheapen Stefan’s and Elena’s history, they needed to move Stefan towards Caroline by him stating he had moved on from Elena. Maybe it was the easiest scene they ever wrote in the series. I’ve written for years about the fraternal love of Stefan and Damon dwarfing their respective love for Elena. Stefan, in a wonderfully written monologue, told Caroline that Elena loved Damon—no one had loved Damon. Not his mother. Not his father. Not Katherine. Elena’s love for Damon allowed Stefan to love his brother again. His love for his brother meant more to him than the meaningful love he shared with her. Elena helped them find each other and love each other. That’s beautiful, my friends and my well-wishers. I would’ve liked Stefan confiding in Elena about the gift she gave him during their memory trip. Alas. Still a damn fine scene.

Season six improved upon a lackluster fifth season. TVD would benefit from a reduced episode order. Enzo bounced from useless story to useless story. Another character turned the switch off because there was time to kill. Kai was the best written and developed villain since Klaus. I know The CW ordered another full 22 episode order for TVD in 2015-2016. The story already jumped forward in time. Mystic Falls resembled Hill Valley. Matt drove through deserted streets. Damon stood on the clock tower, dressed like a goth scene kid. Ugh. That can’t be good.

Other Thoughts:

-Lily found her friends in the last act. Lily and Enzo bonded over feelings of abandonment and wholeness. Enzo, who would definitely join a doomsday cult, seems keen to fit within Lily’s crazy family. Presumably, Lily and her family contributed to Mystic Falls’ Hill Valley-esque post-apocalyptic squalor.

-I’d be remiss if I ignored Stefan/Caroline. Would I really? Stefan’s ready for Caroline when she’s ready. They had a moment lifted from a hack romantic comedy. Stefan told her he made of list of reasons why he can love her—a day after Caroline told him why she couldn’t love him.

-Michael Trevino won’t return for season seven. I think the other actors will return. McQueen, who is even more all chest, won’t return for season seven.

-I really wanted Jodi Lyn O’Keefe to return for season seven. I loved her fifteen years ago in mediocre teen comedies. Her death was among the top five most twisted in TVD. I rank ahead of her death Stefan’s brutal beheadings, Caroline massacring 12 innocents, one of Klaus’ atrocious murders, and I can’t think of another.

-I’ll miss Nina Dobrev. I began watching the series in summer 2010 for several reasons. I read great reviews of season one. I dismissed it as Twilight-lite. The second reason is Kevin Williamson. His meta-horror movie, Scream 2, blew my 11-year-old mind away. Scream, which I watched after Scream 2, also scrambled my brain in a good way. I began writing screenplays at age 11 and 12 because of Kevin Williamson. The third reason is Nina Dobrev, who is so pretty. I will watch TV shows for pretty girls. I watched Life Unexpected for Britt Robertson. I watched and reviewed The Secret Circle for her as well. Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley played one of the greatest fictional romances in a teenage melodrama since Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson in season 4 of Dawson’s Creek, and Gregory Smith and Emily Vancamp in season three of Everwood. I look forward to seeing her return to the series for its finale episode.

-That was season six of The Vampire Diaries, folks. I will write about season seven in the fall, which will mark my sixth season reviewing the series.

-Caroline Dries & Julie Plec wrote “I’m Thinking of You All the While”. Chris Grismer 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.