Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 13: Into the Wild

Get some happy music ready and top up your drinks, because it’s time for another episode of Vampire Diaries. You might want to open a window to let all the angst out.

We start a year ago – with Professor Shane running through the woods. Boo Vampire Diaries, all these people running through woods and none of them get killed and eaten. He is being followed by someone with long black hair and white face paint but doesn’t seem overly concerned about the matter and is more happy that he finds a mine. It has graffiti on the wall (or possibily ancient significant writing. Makes you think that in 2,000 years some archaeologist is going to ooh and aah over “bazza iz a tosser” sprayed on some subway tunnels) and a big, ominous hole.

Cut to the present and the whole gang has gone on a boat trip – an island 200 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia where the cure is hidden. And the immortal, Silas. (Isn’t it amazing how all these ancient immortal beings from Eurasia somehow wind up in the US?)

Elena and Rebekah still hate each other. The fact Rebekah now has a reason to loathe Elena for killing her brother would mean something if she hadn’t already hated Elena for so many petty reasons. Also, can someone remind me why she isn’t killing Elena? Especially with Klaus not being overly fussed with the whole hybrid thing any more? Damon dodges questions about whether he’ll take the cure or not.

Bonnie takes photos of Jeremy’s tattoos and tells the story they show: Silas approached a witch for a spell to make him immortal – but she then learned he meant to share that with another woman, not her. She became Rather Miffed and killed the other woman and imprisoned him in a cave for all eternity. This is Important Information and not in any way an excuse for Bonnie to rub her hands all over Jeremy’s rather impressive torso. Honest. Now witchy exposition requires you to flex a bit more, Jer… no? Awww… Shane interrupts with a much less fun exposition – Ketsya, the woman scorned, created the immortality cure and buried it with Silas in the hope he’d use it, kill himself and join her in the afterlife (y’know I can’t imagine why anyone would want an afterlife of eternal angst and bickering. It’d be like being locked in a small room with a television that played the Vampire Diaries on permanent loop). When he didn’t her descendants created the hunters to go find him, cure him and kill him.

Brief Klaus and Tyler interlude in which we have a vague discussion on whether curing an Original means that their entire line is cured or just them (and if just them, can you kill them without killing their line) ending with Klaus taunting Tyler about his dead mother.

Back to the island hike where Rebekah still hates Elena. And there’s legends of a well nearby that lets you see the lost souls of dead loved ones by bleeding into it – Shane tested the well to see his dead wife and son. Thinking he heard his dead wife whisper, he lowered himself into the well, fell and saw his wife, Caitlin. Damon sums up this story as “don’t eat the poisonous flowers.”

There’s also traps around the well – and a man tries to shoot Jeremy with a bow and arrow, but is stopped by someone else throwing an axe into his back.

Shane leads them to a camp (where college kids once camped before they were all drained of blood. Seriously, does every inch of this island have a creepy urban legend attached) and Damon doesn’t understand why they’re stopping just because it’s dark. And we have another Damon, Elena “I’ll till love you after I’m cured” moment.

Time for another Klaus interlude and now Caroline has come to join the party. Klaus tries to play good guy to her, bigging up the nice things he’s done, Caroline has a litany of the evil he’s done in response (shame no-one has one of those litanies for Damon and Stefan) and Klaus uses the furnishings to stab Caroline in the stomach and drag her into his little prison and bite her.

Back at the camp and Rebekah is afraid of ghosts and she and Stefan talk about the cure and being normal. Honestly, how many heart to heart talks about things that have already been long established do we need to have? And Bonnie is concerned that there’s no spell in Jeremy’s tattoos. Shane reassures her that she can use Expression which doesn’t need spells but Bonnie doesn’t trust him. So to build that trust he tells her about his wife being a witch (which he never told her before) who tried to use Expression to bring their son back from the dead and was overwhelmed and died because of it.

Why he thought this would build Bonnie’s trust and confidence is rather bemusing but I think the point is that she needs his help if she doesn’t want to die (personally the message I get is “hell no, I’m out of here!”) . This is apparently Shane’s proviso against being killed – force Bonnie to use magic which may kill her which they need Shane to control. I have to say, it’s lacking and does get himself a prime place on everyone’s shit list. During the night, Jeremy is taken by one of the shadowy figures.

Klaus interlude again, Caroline is panicking because Klaus bit her – and hybrid bites (well werewolf bites) kill vampires unless they can be cured with Klaus’s blood. Klaus makes Tyler beg, repeatedly – but ultimately refuses to help.

The camp wakes to find Jeremy missing and go off searching except for Bonnie, Jeremy and Shane – and Damon confronts Shane for the truth. Shane tells Damon about his dead wife telling him all about Silas and his ability to bring back the dead when Shane fell down the well of souls. All he needed was the spell off the Hunter’s mark and empower a descendent of Ketsya to perform it. Yes, Bonnie is a descendent. Are all witches in the world related? How many witches have been relatives of Bonnie now?!

Oh and the spell needs 3 massacres  - but they’ll be resurrected, honest – to bring Silas back because the amount of power needed to be channelled is unnatural. By using the wish to see dead loved ones again, Shane manipulated people into performing the massacres for him – like the Pastor who blew up the farmhouse.  Damon then does that maths and realises they’ve had 2 massacres – the Pastor’s farmhouse fireworks and the Hybrid Holiday Massacre – there’s one more to come. And they’re all isolated in the middle of nowhere. Damon spies some rope and pulls 8 levels of menace out of somewhere – see, see, this show can give us some great acting.

Bonnie performs a finding spell to find Jeremy – and follows a trail of flame heading off into the forest (only you can stop forest fires!)  And Rebekah and Elena still hate each other, yet Rebekah still saves Elena’s life from a trap – WHYYY?!

Klaus interlude! Caroline and Tyler are all gooshy together. And he leaves Caroline with Klaus saying if he’s going to kill Caroline, he will have to watch the consequences.

Back to Damon torturing Shane and Shane trying to use his emotions to fight back. It doesn’t work so well, and his safeguard doesn’t help him either because, as Damon says, “he doesn’t give a crap about Bonnie Bennet”. But before he can kill Shane, Elena intervenes. Damn it Elena. Hey where’s that sire bond when you need it. Elena releases Shane and leaves – and Shane has a nasty grin on his face. Oh Elena, never one to make a good decision, are you?

Time for Elena to go to Damon and do they discuss the third massacre? Which is, y’know, sort of relevant? No, of course not! Never mind mass death, it’s never bothered them before – it’s time for more relationship angst! And Damon doesn’t want Elena to be cured because she’ll leave him and Elena says her feelings are real and Damon wonders about a vampire/human relationship and waaaaaah this is so much worse than a THIRD MASSACRE from the man who is even now, untied and roaming free to plan and prepare it. Elena wants Damon to become human with her but Damon says he doesn’t want to be human. Finally! A vampire who doesn’t have a curious, desperate desire to grow old and die!

Time for some plot? NO, it’s time for more relationship angst with Rebekah and Stefan. Oh gods help me. This time Rebekah objecting to being cast as the bad guy bullying poor Elena when Elena has been involved in killing 2 of her brothers.

Plot, please plot! Aha, Elena discovers that Bonnie and Massacre Happy Shane have both disappeared. Hey maybe she should find Damon and they can earnestly talk about it while lamenting over their relationship? Stefan and Rebekah arrive and they find that the tombstone is also gone. Shockingly, leaving the mass-murdering and plotting Shane alone in the camp with the precious items is a Bad Idea.

Time for a Klaus interlude, we’re getting far too close to actual shit happening and we can’t have that. So angst angst, dying, angst angst, Klaus you’re still human, moan groan, you’re still capable of love, angsty face angsty face, you can still be saved because of that, dying Caroline, Klaus saves her life. I am surprised. Truly. This is my surprised face. It is very surprised indeed.

Back to the camp, Rebekah hates Elena. Rebekah is worried that Stefan and Elena are betraying her, Stefan has another “waaah I’m a vampire” moment. Elena demands they have a truce because they’re the only 3 left and she gives Rebekah the White Stake as a peace offering.

To Shane and the minion who brings Jeremy to him in chains. Shane thanks him for saving Jeremy from the other islander but he denies it was him. And Bonnie arrives, confused by the path behind her disappearing, thanks to Mas’ak the minion, a witch. Shane tells her it’s to stop her finding a way back. Oh look, Evil Shane is Evil.

Damon wandering in the woods is attacked by a hunter – one of the five – who snaps his neck.

I’m going to poke the Vampire Diaries extremely fragile canon here

So we have immortal Silas and the very pissed off Ketsya. She wants him to off himself so she can spend an eternity bickering with him, he decides that’s not a whole lot of fun. Ketsya’s descendants, who really know how to hold a grudge, decide they’re not putting up with this shit so create 5 hunters to find Silas, use the cure and kill him. Ok, I can get that. But the way to find the cure is to create a map on their bodies? Did the descendants not know? And if they didn’t know, how could they create a map that lead to Silas? Why not create 5 super beings and say “he’s over there, make with the stabbing!” And where does vampire killing fit into this? They’re going to create 5 super beings who will pass on their powers to hunt down and kill the guy who pissed off granny and they decide to throw in vampire slaying for, what, shits and giggles? Because they just watched a Buffy marathon and thought it’d be cool?

Then we have the well. They complete the hunters mark (which involves killing vampires because funsies!) to find the location. Except Shane already knows it. No it’s to find the spell, except Bonnie says there is no spell. So they need it… why? And the grave stone? This is going to take some patching up.

And why did they even get this far to cast magic that requires THREE MASSACRES?! Seriously, is the moral compass of these characters so completely broken? And don’t even get me started on the whole all witches are related to Bonnie thing because this is getting beyond a joke.

Vampire Diaries can also cut the endless earnest conversations that add nothing to the plot except to let everyone practice their earnest-heart-to-heart faces (your grandmother was right, Stefan’s face did, indeed, freeze like that. Or so it seems).  This episode was a buttock numbing 42 minutes long and 90% of that was spent in endless conversation, most of which trod the same emotional ground we’ve trod so many times before they’re building a 6 lane motorway over it to handle the traffic.

And can someone please explain to me why “we can grow old together” is preferable to “we can live together forever young for all eternity”? Anyone? Why is growing old and dying so damn desirable to these teenagers?!

Best moment: Damon threatening Shane. That was truly excellent acting.

Oh and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest the that the mysterious figures with long black hair, face paint, bow and arrow and the thrown small axe is Vampire Diaries’ not-even-remotely-subtle way of including Native American characters. It’s so overwhelming, they’re just a bunch of feathers and a tepee away from a full set of stereotypes.