Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "Mommie Dearest" Review

Mothers and fathers. Ivan Turgenev wrote Fathers and Sons and published it in 1862. The novel little resembles the theme of mothers and fathers in The Vampire Diaries. “Best Served Cold” had several father-centric scenes. Stefan imagined raising his child differently from how Giuseppe raised him and Damon. Julian acts as a mirror of their biological father. Lily loved and loves Julian how Damon and Stefan perceived she loved Giuseppe; however, a child’ perspective, more often than not, is incomplete. It’s impressionistic, complete with misreadings and inaccuracies.

Damon and Stefan remembered a painful upbringing dominated by an abusive father and a mother who chose to look the other way during the abusive moments. Lily explained that her sons did not know her experiences of the same moments. The storytelling occurs during a round of torturing her—the end goal being her agreement to help her sons kill Julian. Stefan and Damon share painful memories of both her lovers. Stefan revealed what Julian did to Valerie and his child while Damon reminded Lily about Giuseppe forcing him to eat his pet turkey, Sammy, during Thanksgiving dinner. Lily reacted to the stories with the expected icy, steely expression she always has on every occasion.

“Mommie Dearest” was a strong episode for Lily and Annie Wersching, particularly the latter half. Playing a rigid one-note character is difficult for actors. There’s a reason folks consider Don John an unplayable character. He’s taciturn and one-dimensional, so unlike the massive Falstaff or the diabolical Richard III or the existential despairer Hamlet. Lily’s a tough character for the fans because of her focus on the family and Julian. For the writers, she seems to inspire inconsistency. I think they want to write a complex character that cannot fit in ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ She’s sort of morally grey, except when she’s directly responsible for the sleeping beauty spell—but she doesn’t want her family to murder people. She used Elena only for the sake of Oscar. Something didn’t click for the character. I didn’t think it was the acting. It was the characterization. The culminating scene of her story in this episode, which brought together the scenes with her sons and the memories they trigged, when she realized Julian was Giuseppe repeated clicked for me. Following a broken family trying to repair and reconcile 150 years after is something better than what preceded “Mommie Dearest.” Of course, Lily could be Miss Stabby three years from now (and I’ll quietly regret writing this entire paragraph).

One significant plot point occurred during the A story: Damon stabbing Julian in the heart with a knife he thought mystical enough to kill him. Lily and Julian were linked to protect him. If he died, she died. Damon didn’t care, because he thought Lily didn’t care when his father abused him. Stefan learned that Lily cared but that she kept quiet to stay near her boys after her husband threatened to take them away to a faraway place and never return (punishment for her “duplicity”). Damon didn’t care that his mother would’ve died if the mystical knife worked. It lacked the phoenix stone, which the brothers were not aware was needed to power up the weapon. Slowly, the vague happenings three years from now become less vague.

Three years from now, Damon told Alaric he’d avoid a trap or that he’d trap the one trying to trap him. Well, Damon fell for the trap. He found an empty news stage. Someone shot him with dart tranquilizers. The villain wants to draw Stefan out. Lily or Valerie seem to be the likely culprits, but a massive twist could occur in which we find out Matt’s pregnant via supernatural means with Nora’s child.

Matt, after last week’s intrigue with the room full of compelled attractive CW extras, was the lone one interested in it. Caroline helped, but her baby drama distracted her. Valerie, now best friends with Caroline, followed her. Bonnie abandoned Matt to spend time with Enzo as well as a drunk and despondent Alaric. So, Matt reached out to Tyler and Jeremy for help. Both responded. Perhaps, the two will make an appearance during the run-up to the midseason finale next month.

The entire “Lily dies with Julian” came about because Enzo decided to duel with Julian. Bonnie helped him find the sword/knife. The duel harkens to the 19th century. Two masterful Russian artists, Pushkin and Lermontov, died fighting duels. In a curious twist of fate, or instance of fate, if you prefer, Lermontov died similarly to how his character died in A Hero of Our Time. I digress. The duel worked for character reasons. It emphasized Julian’s villainy, Enzo’s adoration of Lily, and, later, the aforementioned disregard Damon has for his mother’s life. Bonnie wished Enzo and Julian would both die, saying it’d be a win-win, unaware of the dramatic irony, for in three years she evidently can’t live without him—unless a twist is coming involving the stone and vampire souls inhabiting foreign bodies.

Stefan and Damon really need reconciliation with their mother as well as affirmation that someone loves them instead of each other and one or two girls. Stefan mourned the loss of his child because he wanted to meet the child and because it represented a chance to give someone what he lacked as a boy. Damon remains the abused boy that lashes out because he struggles to deal and to cope. Could the endgame of The Vampire Diaries be about these characters healing from their terrible experiences? Alaric got his babies.

Other Thoughts:

-Kat Graham looked gorgeous in this episode.

-Maybe Jeremy’s adventures in Santa Fe will tie into the story with the compelled people. I don’t know.

-It’s difficult to maintain suspense about Caroline’s pregnancy when the audience knows Alaric has twin girls in three years.

-Valerie told Caroline the secret about what happened to her baby 150 years ago. She’ll be the maid of honor when Caroline and Alaric marry. I hope that’s not an episode.

-Chad Fiveash & Justin Stotreaux wrote the episode. Tony Solomons 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.