Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Vampire Diaries "Cold as Ice" Review

Several weeks passed since Lily’s death. Damon and Stefan traveled to the other side of the country in search of Julian. While searching, Stefan urged his brother to feel something about Lily’s death. “You’re in denial.” Damon, with a scowl, denies the denial. During the beautiful burial scene for Lily, beautiful for the cinematography (the white snow against the night illuminated by the light from the torches was the prettiest this show looked in awhile), Damon offered a simple eulogy for his mother in which he stated his mother was terrible in her life and un-life.

The only thing that’d transform Damon in the time between now and three years from now would be a descent to hell where he confronted his atrocities on a loop, and the only thing that’d send him to that specialized specific hell is Julian’s sword with the phoenix stone fixed in the end of it. Julian, like many villains before him, talks more about stabbing Damon than he doing it. Multiple times he chose to soliloquize instead of stab. Only when Julian’s facing off against the brothers does he act. He struck quickly. Nora took care of Stefan at the very, very end of the episode, with Caroline watching, to further set up what happens three years from now.

Damon’s first words to Lily three years from now, as he sat strapped to the chair in the Dallas newsroom, gained poignancy. A reflective and mournful Damon living his life in the physical world did not prompt it; a tortured hell transformed him. Either way, he gained perspective. The phoenix stone is a tricky plot device. Perhaps Stefan’s soul returned to Damon’s body, or vice versa; however, Stefan’s with Valerie in the flash-forwards and Damon’s…Damon. Presumably, Bonnie, after botching her first try at restoring souls, got better at it in the time that’ll pass, narratively, between “Cold as Ice” and the January 29th episode.

Stefan expressed terrible regret for not letting go of his need for vengeance against Julian minutes before Nora magically emerged from nothing (cloaked) to stab him. Damon advising anyone to let go should be as notable as a kangaroo helpfully advising tourists to be mindful of the goods and services tax when purchasing mementoes. Nora was briefly written as an actual character before she devolved to her former plot device identity. She retaliated because Stefan and Valerie used Mary Louise as bait. Nora, earlier in the evening, thanked Bonnie for helping her transition from dependent Heretic into independent Heretic. She spent her day giving toys to tots. She resisted returning to Mary Louise, but Heretics can’t become buds with the Mystic Falls crew. Anyway, Stefan’s regrets, his sadness about losing his mother and Damon weeks apart, was the second best scene of the episode.

The episode ended before Caroline reacted. “Cold as Ice” showed a Caroline craving human flesh hardcore. Every vampire instinct has been enhanced by the magical pregnancy. Her and Alaric talked about what to do for magic twins. Can Caroline feed on blood? Will the blood hurt the babies? I wanted Alaric to respond, “No. Blood is life. Spike talks all about it in “Lover’s Walk.” In ANGEL, Darla carried a baby though she was a vampire and dead. The wonderful twist to her magical pregnancy is that she didn’t give it life; he gave her life; so, rather than returning her vampire life wherein she’d gradually forget the love her son filled her with, she staked herself to give him life. Vampire pregnancy storylines shouldn’t happen after ANGEL absolutely nailed it over a decade ago.

Caroline visited her mother’s grave. She laid a wreath on the grave, and then she opened her heart about her anxieties, and she reiterated that she misses her. The scene’s the best in the episode. The falling snow, the low light, gave it a mournful and contemplative quality. Carolin is, essentially, alone. Stefan’s consumed with Julian. Alaric’s Alaric. Sometimes, the person people need in their life is their parent(s). One feels the loss more sharply during the holidays.

Whether intentional or not, the coldest scenes in the episode—meaning the ones outside in graveyards—were the warmest. The quiet scenes where the characters “sit with” what they feel and experience how they feel it happen rarely. TVD’s ‘go, go, go!’ all the time. This episode, for example, involved a plan gone horribly awry, a bar full of dead Santa cosplayers, another plan gone horribly awry, a potential friendship gone horribly awry, etc. Of course, any long-time viewer knows TVD’s primarily about plans gone horribly awry until the plan goes RIGHT when it counts the MOST (but there will be a tragic catch if it’s a season finale).

The narrative still won’t jump ahead three years after the holiday hiatus. Nope. The Julian nonsense takes precedence. But I’m a veteran viewer of The Vampire Diaries. I’ve written, God help me, over a hundred reviews of the show. The mysterious Huntress will be introduced in late February or early March—perhaps late April or early May. I remember Klaus was introduced late in season two. Matt Davis played Klaus-as-possessing Alaric.

Of course, I think the flash-forwards will greatly improve the so far moribund seventh season. I now doubt that the three years from now conceit will greatly improve the show. The various hooks about it primarily consist of new romantic pairings. “Cold as Ice” introduced Stefan and Valerie as a thing in three years, footnoted by Stefan’s devotion to saving Caroline and Damon from the fearsome “her.” The hook is “People you did not expect to hook up hooked up.” I can wait for that.

A father pushed his son out of a tower once. When he returned later in the scene, in a stunning reveal that set up a great musical gag, his father reminded his son that he pushed him out of the tower. The son replied, “I got better.” Damon and Stefan are dead, but they will get better.

Other Thoughts:

-No Matt and his newfound anti-vampire Initiative group this episode. Enzo remains in the dark. I suppose “in the dark” has a double meaning.

-Ian Somerhalder cracked me up throughout the episode. I laughed at the little things: his facial expressions as they prepared to fight Julian and the walk down Sunbury’s main street with Stefan come immediately to my mind.

-The Vampire Diaries won’t return until Friday, January 29, 2016. That’s a long break from the show. Will I remember anything about the past nine episodes? Bookmark this blog to find out.

-Brian Young wrote the episode. Geoffrey Wing Shotz 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.