Friday, March 4, 2016

The Vampire Diaries "I Would For You" Review

The Vampire Diaries would benefit from shorted seasons, right? 10 or 13 episodes? “I Would For You” and the preceding fourteen episodes weren’t needed for a three year flash forward. A great look for the post-Elena series would’ve been throwing the viewer into the flash forward narrative. Damon and Stefan always had a complicated relationship. The Lily plot, the hell plot, the Elena death fakeout, and the Rayna Cruz marking acted as reminders that the brothers have a complicated relationship. Damon’s the dark, uncontrollable one, and Stefan’s not. Elena was the only person to tame the wild beast of Damon’s nature. Damon chose a coffin over life without Elena? That’s par for the Damon course. Matt chose humans over vampires? That’s two or three seasons in the making. The other argument for continuing a twenty two episode production schedule would be the three part structure of the season. The writers can write three mini-seasons within a season. They can explore the brothers’ Mommy issues, new characters derivative of The Originals, personal hells, etc. The flash forwards hooked me. I would’ve preferred not slogging through fifteen episodes to get there—only to get there and find the narrative entirely the same.

The episode title does not refer to Damon. He wouldn’t sacrifice his life for anyone (except, of course, when he does, after three years chilling in a coffin). Stefan sacrificed himself for Damon, which created a ripple effect that made him sacrifice his happiness to keep Caroline and the babies safe. Matt sacrificed his sense of security for years because his friend Elena liked some of the vampires. Damon killed his sister, but he let it slide. His future dead girlfriend, Matt’s future dead girlfriend that is, wondered why he protected not quite good vampires. So, Matt chose to be selfish and kicked Stefan out, and all the vampires, of Mystic Falls. Bonnie, too, gave herself for Damon over and over. What did Damon do? He left her letter because he couldn’t endure a face-to-face goodbye.

Damon’s maybe the most annoying character on television presently. He whines. His letter to his friends was the worst. A life without Elena isn’t a life for him. The character’s petulant, whiny, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, narcissistic, and solipsistic. The TVD writers in interviews will gush about Damon Salvatore, complex character. Damon possesses shallow complexity. His complexity is a mirage, or his complexity compares to a body water one thinks has bottomless depths but when one walks into it one finds one may walk the surface. Last week’s episode portrayed a Damon momentarily possessed with self-awareness. His fatal flaw—and tragic-ish characters need a fatal flaw, I guess—is making the wrong decision. His momentary moment of clarity led him to a stupid, selfish decision that hurt the only people left willing to die for him. Instead of working to become a better person, a person worth the sacrifice, he chose a coffin. Yes, such a decision has more drama than a Damon-improves-his-personality storyline, but nearly seven seasons into a show characters cannot continue doing the same thing over and over for seven years without the viewer going a little insane.

Rayna Cruz was cooler as a badass shooting at the vampires from the shadows. Now she has a decent backstory reminiscent of ANGEL’s Holtz, but she has tortured epic love connection, all but confirmed by her silence after Damon asked her about a lover. Bonnie learned from the Armory, which includes Enzo, that killing her a final time kills all marked vampires she hadn’t killed. I still root for her. The Salvatore brothers grated in “I Would For You.” Stefan moped and felt sorry for himself because Caroline found pure happiness mothering in Dallas, her first experience of happiness since her mother died, and, though depicted as a sacrifice, he leaves Caroline for Valerie. Damon moped. He acted like psychopath from an 80s slasher movie. Rayna’s heart softened in her time locked away in The Armory. Magic exists to switch the markings.

This roundabout season has explored the relationship of Damon and Stefan, more so in this recent run of episodes. When will Stefan let Damon go? When will Damon stop being a shitbag? Never, and never.

Other Thoughts:

-I always liked the brotherhood of Damon and Stefan. I’ve written about why over the years. Writers, move past his repetitive bullshit next season about why they’re bad for each other. They’re worse off without each other.

-Rayna shot Julian’s remaining vampire posse dead, including the vampire that looked sort of like her who I once thought was Rayna in the most elaborate convoluted use of magic on the show yet. I was a fool.

-Stefan reminded me of Spike in the “Pangs” scene wherein he looks forlornly into the shack of vampires feasting on a victim’s blood while he stands hungry, alone, and neutered outside as he stood outside Alaric’s Dallas house.

-This post has been brought to you by the letter Z.

-Kat Graham rocked Bonnie’s goodbye to Damon. “I Would For You” had a few cringe-inducing lines of dialogue. I dug, though, the simplicity of “This hurts me.”

-Matt and his lady friend whose name I forgot confronted a vampire in my least favorite scene of the series because of the stupid dialogue. “You’re a clown.” “No, you’re lunch!”

-Damon called Rayna ‘Crayna’. Seven hells. Did no one do a final dialogue pass? That was the best professionals had?

-The next new episode airs April 1, April Fool’s Day.

-Brian Young wrote the episode. Michael Karasick 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.