Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Vampire Diaries, Season 4, Episode 21: She's Come Undone


The recapping of Vampire Diaries means most episodes now start with Elena falling to her knees wailing. I’m beginning to think this is some kind of warning label – not “this may contain sex and violence” but more “this show contains excessive angst, melodrama, terrible acting and epic self-centredness. Viewer’s discretion is advised.”

Alas, no discretion for me. And we start with Elena in high school but it’s all a fake hallucination (you can tell because there’s probably more POC in that crowd than has ever appeared in Vampire Diaries – the mole people have arrived!)  This is actually a dreamscape – Damon has been in her head creating dream worlds for her to try and provoke nostalgia.

Wait… what? Since when can he do that?

It doesn’t work so they continue to starve Elena and keep her in a small cupboard until she starts to care again. After a few days of cupboard time, Caroline arrives to talk to her for an earnest friend talk. Oi, no, bring on the thumb screws, please! Caroline is all earnest, Elena is all snarky though she has a point about how silly it is for vampires to get all excited about graduation. Caroline snaps Elena’s neck and adds her endorsement for the torture therapy.

Since we’re looking for emotional responses, wouldn’t parading the guys around naked be a useful tactic? No? Well we could hope.

Let’s drop in on some characters no-one cares about. Rebekah is getting drunk and being sulky because she doesn’t have her cure and her brothers have gone and Matt is there being the totally-not-going-to-be-love-interest-honest. He dislikes her and how she likes evil!Elena so they’re definitely falling in love. It’s a rule. He also wants to know why she hasn’t left town. He and me both.

Caroline is worried about Elena and calls Bonnie – who is actually doing school work for exams. Exams?! Yes they actually have exams! First I heard about it, I thought Mystic Falls just had a never ending run of parties! Bonnie isn’t ready to run around playing nice for Elena who tried to kill her. Instead she’s meeting with Katherine which makes so much sense, apparently she has an offer for Katherine and it’s all about Bonnie and doesn’t involve Elena at all. Yeah, why do I doubt it.

The Salvatores are playing torture Elena into goodness again, this time with sunlight and no shiny witch ring. More posturing, more snark. Outside Caroline and Matt are talking with her angsting about Elena all over him. And Rebekah has bought food for Matt since there’s only blood and booze in the Salvatore house. Behold the clumsy romance between pointless side characters develop. Also Matt is failing many of his classes – study date!

Back to Bonnie and Katherine – Bonnie wants Silas’s tombstone which she thinks Katherine took; she needs it to stop Silas. She’s been hiding from Silas until she’s able to deal with him

I’m glad SOMEONE cares about Silas trying to end the world. But this does mean she’s acting less for her own agenda and more nobly trying to save the world while everyone else is self-absorbed.

Back to Elena sunbathing and torture and it’s not working except Elena’s finding more mean things to say. Why, every other vampire has done it and it does (because she’s so special)? Stefan says she has nothing to come back to since she’s shredded all her relationships and Damon adds that Elena isn’t feeling fear (therefore emotion therefore humanity) because she knows Damon and Stefan won’t really cause her damage. So who do they need? Katherine, because Elena has every reason to hate her. Yay let’s draw more people into the Elena net.

Meanwhile in plotlines that actually matter- Klaus drops in to see Caroline - but it’s not Klaus, it’s Silas. And he’s very very annoyed with Bonnie hiding from him – he expresses his irritation by staking her.

This means she misses her study date with Matt so it’s down to Rebekah to teach him Italian. She was fluent in it – in the 12th century, pesky languages keep changing. I wish there were more of these indications that the originals were older than dirt, it would help counter the childishness of them. Rebekah also points out the only reason Matt is failing is because of Elena drama and bed friends. So very true – if it weren’t just more “leave her come to me”.  She offers to compel him good grades and a scholarship – he is reluctant but she pushes more with more lovely bonding which is when Katherine arrives, invited by Damon (we weren’t focused on Elena for 2 seconds). Matt is outraged at the idea of using Katherine and Damon tells him to shut up and let the grown ups take care of it.

Finally! The centuries year old vampires are not letting the teenagers set the agenda – they’re just obsessing over one of them

Matt runs to get Caroline to stop this – but Caroline is busy being playing with Silas who is playing an extremely good mind game with her and threatening her mother if she doesn’t find Bonnie – Caroline drives home after calling her mother with a warning. She gets home and very cleverly confirms that her mother is real by calling her phone.

That’s far too much on an important plot – back to Elena. Katherine is happy to torture Elena because she wants to know what she said to Elijah that made him not like her any more. And Elena calls Katherine a self-obsessed ego-maniac!

BWAHAHAH! OH DEAR GODS THE IRONY! Never ever in the history of mankind has there been such a perfect moment of the pot calling the kettle black.

Katherine is confident that Elena couldn’t last as a vampire without her fawning minions, (true) so deliberately doesn’t lock the door on her prison. And she escapes. Time to go searching for Elena, bringing Matt along as a nice chew-toy. He finds her and she goes all vampiry and he desperately talks to her about how he’s loved her forever (whyyy?) and how he’s such a pathetic little tool with no life of his own that he’s still hanging around with monsters out of some terrible devotion for her when she doesn’t give a damn. Oh, that might have been my self-insert. She bites him. Nom nom nom

At Caroline’s, Bonnie arrives. Caroline worries it’s not the real Bonnie – but Silas is already in the house and Caroline runs to check on her mother. Silas and Bonnie talk, Bonnie saying she’s gathering her strength and Silas doubting her – and threatening her friends. She promises to do the spell, bring down the veil and help Silas die; he calls the promise binding and warns her she better be waiting when he comes looking. Caroline feeds her mother blood to try and heal her – it doesn’t work, she’s dead

Back to Elena and Matt is all woozy, but alive when Stefan and Damon arrive. And Stefan is done – he tells Elena to turn her humanity back on or he’ll kill Matt. She tells him he’s bluffing – and Stefan snaps Matt’s neck. Why would you think he’s bluffing?! He used to break Jeremy’s neck on a biweekly basis for sheer funsies! I know Vampire Diaries has no consistency when it comes to characterisation but Damon kills people! It’s part of the reason you’re all evil callous monsters for having Damon and Stefan as friends and viable love interests!

Elena is shocked, tearful and horrified as Damon sarcastically recounts his life as she gasps in more and more horror. Until Damon shows her his hand – he’s wearing the resurrection ring (damn it! For the record, the kid who everyone loves? I don’t!) remember the one that turns you into a serial killer? Pesky side effects! Elena sobs in relief and joy – her humanity is back on. Of course now, being Elena, she has a guilt moment about the many people she killed. Oh gods we’re going to get WEEKS of angst now! Stefan grabs her and tells her to focus on one thing to focus her overwhelming emotions (apparently part of the process of turning humanity back on – uh-huh, because it couldn’t be natural guilt for her being a murderer, right?) She stops screaming but she is still a sad panda. Let the weeks of angst commence.

Far more moving and better acted and plain devastating is Caroline doing everything she can to resurrect her dead mother. Finally injecting vampire blood directly into her heart. Caroline has an incredible scene here and I was sure her mother was dead – when she sits up, she’s alive.

But why do I think vampire blood in the heart is going to have consequences?

Matt wakes up from the Ring of Reborn Serial Killer, with Rebekah watching who confirms Elena is back to her “dull sympathetic self”. She praises his courage and he says he had to since Elena saved his life when they went over the bridge – a reminder that it was Rebekah who forced them into the water in the first place. Rebekah is determined to make it up to him however he can

Katherine and Bonnie meet up again and Katherine has figured out that with the blood of Bonnie’s ancestor in the tombstone, bonnie could drop the veil whenever she wanted. But why? Bonnie keeps her reasons to herself but in exchange says Katherine will be free and never have to run from anyone again. Bonnie can talk to Katsya, her ancestor and make Katherine as immortal as Silas. Oh dear GODS NO!

Elena is moping with her two guys and she’s decided to blame everything on Katherine. She’s focused on one emotion to get through her angst – hating Katherine, wanting to kill Katherine.

So we have 2 men torturing Elena until she cares again. In fact, to be more specific, we have 2 love interests torturing Elena until she loves them again.

Y’know that doesn’t even need commentary. It’s self-evidently awful to anyone – or really really should be.

Worse piece of directing ever – cutting Elena’s “waah I’m so evil screaming” with Caroline’s powerful “my mother can’t be dead!” grief.  Elena’s waaangst was always going to be a hard sell, but putting it alongside Caroline’s powerful grief just emphasised it.

By the way folks, did you know that Silas wants to bring down the veil and let all the undead monsters come back to life – presumably including thousands of vampires, every enemy they’ve ever faced, hunters, monsters and who knows what else?
You do? Well the only other person who seems to know that is Bonnie. Who is either a) desperately fighting to stop this happening, completely alone and ignored by the others. Or b) launching her own plan of such epic foolishness that even Elena may blink. As an added bonus, her friends aren’t support for her, they’re a liability and way to attack her.

Instead we focused on Elena, Elena, Elena; how is this more important than Silas? And Matt and Rebekah? Ye gods never have I cared less about a storyline!