Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "Live Through This" Review

So, dead is dead, but not really. The phoenix stone trapped vampire souls. Bonnie and Alaric didn’t know they sent vampire souls into the bodies of Oscar and Jo. Jo is not Jo, because Jo’s soul went somewhere none of the characters could reach by magic. Alaric found Not Jo staring at her reflection in the mirror. Not Jo suffered a fatal stab wound to the heart. She doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, or anything else about her life, and Alaric offered to help her. I assume Alaric acted out of loyalty to the body, not the soul that returned.

Oscar, meanwhile, didn’t stand a chance once Valerie revealed the truth about the stone. He died when Valerie killed him, and whoever returned thanks to Oscar’s body is gone. Lily ably used the stone to return Julian’s soul to his rightful body, which Valerie hates, and which Stefan now hates after he learned Julian’s violence towards Valerie killed Stefan’s baby, and, of course, Damon wans to destroy Lily’s happiness after learning she gave Kai the idea to do the sleeping beauty spell.

The flash forward showed Bonnie at a meeting where she opened up about her pain regarding one mistake she made that cost her someone she loved. A solitary tear trickled down her cheek. Afterwards, she met Enzo in the hallway. They promptly kissed. Present day Bonnie and Enzo spent most of the episode together. Dramatic irony. Bonnie complained to Caroline about not getting laid, and Enzo’s terrified that Julian will reduce him, Enzo, to the platonic friend. There’s an exchange about Bonnie not meeting any handsome Europeans while in Europe. It’s quite overt. How about saving the flash forwards until the end of the episode? If the writers/editor waits then the viewer may sigh wistfully and say to his or her TV, “Ah yes…yes…of course…those writers!” Their scenes revolve around seeding their romantic union in the future. Enzo got the stone. Bonnie didn’t care.  Enzo tried to dissuade Lily from bringing back Julian, but she did, because she needed a character more terrible than she.

Lily succeeded aligning Julian’s soul with his body. A lot of drama happened prior to the resurrection. Caroline let Stefan travel with Stefan to question Valerie. Caroline’s choice did not work out. By the end, Stefan’s devoted to taking revenge on Julian for what happened to the baby and for what he did to Valerie. The contrived conflict between Caroline and Stefan is rooted in a contrived retcon soaked in contrivance. Drink a shot of almond milk whenever you read ‘contrive’ in a sentence.’ Caroline’s always been a character with insecurities, but she’s self-assured. Yeah, she is that in “Live Through This” but her worst fears came true. I understand why it’s written as it’s written. I don’t like it, but I understand it. Stefan swore he felt nothing, but now Valerie’s truth bombs changed how he felt. The riskiest thing the writers could do for this show is commit to writing its characters independent of romantic angst.

But they won’t. Romantic angst and entanglements drove the action in the episode. Valerie’s banished from the heretics. As I mentioned already, Valerie let slip the tidbit about Lily’s idea about the coma to Damon. Damon vowed to Bonnie he’d rip Julian’s head off in front of Lily. He’d let her experience her happy reunion before he ruined it. Nora and Mary Louise returned to one-dimensionality. The mute heretic re-appeared and added nothing to the scenes in which he appeared. Julian woke up sans the scar. It seems his resurrection begins the megaton of shit that falls on the characters in time.

#603 introduced major character backstory that remained hidden until “Live Through This.” In other words, #603 was the info dump, and #605 is the start of the collateral damage of the stuff learned in #603. Throw in intrigue about the future. There’s an episode. I liked it while watching it; however, writing and thinking about it reduces it some, as if it doesn’t hold together. The story beats it hits were inevitable. Predictably in a story doesn’t equate to a weakness in the story, though—not always—but these beats were recycled. The writers have told these stories before with different characters and different stakes.

What’s interesting about that?

Other Thoughts:

-I can wait to see how Enzo and Bonnie became a couple. The flash forwards stand out because it’s the opposite of the present day action. It’s unfamiliar, different, and intriguing, whereas everything present day is a drag. Julie Plec (turn away from your screens now if you don’t wish to read about something next week) told various outlets about a great twist in episode six. Season seven needs a gosh darn twist. I’d love for the show to move ahead three years next week instead of watching the gang try and fail to kill Julian until The CW breaks for Thanksgiving.

-Did only a day pass between “I Carry Your Hear With Me” and “Live Through This”?

-Valerie stole Matt’s SUV. Matt didn’t appear.

-Damon asked Bonnie to break the news about Jo to Alaric. Damon wanted to be spared from breaking his best friend’s heart. Three years from this episode Alaric got everything he wanted. Presumably, him and Not Jo find happiness.

-Stefan broke a promised romantic dinner promise with Caroline to console Valerie. Oh joy.

-The shoddy exposition continued with Caroline and Bonnie for the second week. “You mean the girl who made it so Stefan couldn’t touch you?” I poorly paraphrased Bonnie’s dialogue.

-I missed the credited writer and director of “Live Through This.”

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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.