Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 3: Original Sin

Stefan is out and walking – but looking more zombie than vampire (except his hair, that’s a whole new kind of a horror monster).  He stumbles into a bar, deserted because of the hour and finds a barmaid – LUNCH TIME! Stefan, having rather more self control than he had in the past, bites and feeds from her but doesn’t kill her – telling her to run. He staggers outside into the rising sun and starts to burn…

And Elena wakes up. Awww, can we not with the dream sequences? The show is dramatic enough! Elena tells Damon about her dream and how she was almost with Stefan this time. Damon points out that while he’s not going to play jealous boyfriend about her having dreams of her ex, that doesn’t mean he wants to hear all the details. He asks for them anyway since it can’t be worse than his imagination

She tells him the dream – and Katherine walks in and confirms the address; she had the same dream.

Elena tries to get a good head of angst going, fiddling with Stefan’s daylight ring but Katherine arrives and they both snap and snarl at each other with poor Damon trying to keep the peace (and, yes, Katherine is coming with them because a) Silas wants her and b) Katherine cares about Stefan – and claims Elena does too).

Speaking of Silas – he still wants Katherine and so does Nadia – the Traveller who joined him last episode and killed her friend, but Silas doesn’t trust her. To prove herself he wants her to kill Matt and take his ring; just in case killing Gregor was a ruse and he’s still alive since he was possessing Matt with the immortality ring.

Nadia goes to Matt who is not particularly thrilled to see her but she assures him that she’s there to protect him from Silas. She calls on Gregor to come forth – and Matt’s eyes turn briefly black before he yells at Nadia in her Slavic language, for killing him. Yes that’s Gregor and yes she killed him to earn Silas’s trust – which is why they had him possess Matt with his nifty Gilbert invincibility ring. She promises him that she does love him and will find a way for him to keep Matt’s body – in the meantime he needs to call Elena and find Katherine.

Stefan wakes up and finds he’s not toasty from the Sun. A woman saved him – a woman who knows he’s a vampire doppleganger (with a conscience no less) and she rescued him from the quarry. Stefan is determined to hunt Silas – calling him a monster, but the woman tells him a story

In Ancient Greece, 2,000 years ago Silas and a woman – her fell in love. She was there. She and Silas were both very powerful Travellers (vaguely defined as “gifted people”) and they loved each other so much they decided to cheat death and be together forever. Stefan thinks he knows this story – the witch Qetsiyah cursed Silas and ruined his immortality plans. She adds some detail: Silas convinced Qetsiyah that he loved her but was really manipulating her to become an immortal. In revenge, Qetsiyah entombed him forever with the humanity cure (which Katherine took, hence her being human) so he could either rot forever or take the cure, die and join her on the Other Side. And the Other Side is a specially created limbo (created by her) for supernatural beings just so Qetsiyah could be sure Silas would be with her for eternity.

Stefan finds Qetsiyah’s actions not exactly the most stable out there.

Anyway, Silas’s plan is to destroy the Other Side so he can then take the cure, die and find peace. Stefan thinks the woman and Silas should just go off together and live happily ever after – but while she loved Silas, he didn’t love her. She is Qetsiyah (also, technically, Bonnie’s distant ancestor).


She’s also not thrilled about Stefan questioning the extremity of her actions; especially since that is Silas’s version of events (which, to be fair, is quite an ACCURATE version of events – he stabbed her in the back and in vengeance she DID create a whole new dimension of suffering in the afterlife). And why is Qetsiyah still alive? She came back for Stefan apparently. Oh honey, you have terrible taste in men!

Alas we cannot stay with Exposition Lady and have to rejoin the Damon, Elena, Katherine road trip – where Katherine is very very annoying and keeps trying to bait Elena and Damon with those psychic dreams. Is there a reason why they haven’t eaten Katherine yet?

Back to exposition lady – who has decided to change her name from Qetsiyah to Tessa since it sounds less ancient (and she can now get her name on a keychain) and she’s around because Bonnie lowered the veil and she came through since her hunters had failed.

She reiterates her story – how she and Silas were going to drink the immortality elixir on her wedding day but he left her at the altar and stole the elixir. (Stefan still thinks her response a little extreme and Tessa doesn’t really try to deny it – but he ripped her heart out and she was getting revenge for that). That revenge?  She tracked down Silas with the woman she chose over her, the woman he gave the immortality potion to. Amara, Tessa’s handmaiden – who looked EXACTLY like Elena. Silas and Amara, Stefan and Elena. The two dopplegangers.

Apparently drinking immortality elixirs defies the natural law that everything must die someday – so nature creates mortal copies of them to try and redress the balance. Hence the dopplegangers. She’s also making a new daylight ring for Stefan so he can help her bring down Silas.

The problem is that Silas is a lot more formidable now than he was then, even incapacitated, Silas has been able to feed on dribbles of blood over those 2,000 years. His mental powers are vastly greater than they once were. And Amara? Well Tessa gave her an immortality cure, slashed her throat and ripped out her heart. Then offered Silas the immortality cure. She terms this a second chance – Stefan questions that wording and Tessa has the awesome line “I’m a complicated person.”

Oookay then. From there she explains how she made the Other Side after entombing Silas so one day he would take the cure, die and hope to be reunited with Amara only to find himself trapped in a separate afterlife with Tessa. But Silas had to go and be STUBBORN (Stefan has an excellent “ooookay then powerful scary lady” throughout this).

Stefan realises Tessa probably isn’t making him a daylight ring to which she gloriously rants

“Have you not been listening to me?! I have trust issues. I’m controlling and paranoid and a little crazy and that’s working out just fine.”

She then uses her witchy power to burst Stefan’s brain and drop him to the floor

Back to the road trip – they find the bar, question poor Jo, the bar tender who Stefan bit who gives them some info about Stefan and Tessa and then pours Damon a shot of vervain. Nadia steps out with a gun. Elena leaps on her while Katherine runs – but Nadia seems to be at least as strong and fast as Elena – it seems Nadia is a vampire. A magic using vampire? Or something new?

Elena runs after Katherine and they both have a little snarky bonding in which Katherine thanks Elena for not killing her when she first transformed her. Reunion between the dopllegangers is called when Nadia swoops in and breaks Elena’s neck.

Meanwhile Damon tracks down Stefan and finds him tied to a chair with twigs in a circle of plants. Stefan tells Damon about Qetsiyah back – Damon gets the name wrong and she appears behind him pointing out this is why she wants to change her name. Tessa’s plan is to use a spell on Stefan to curse Silas and weaken his mental powers – Damon warns her the cure is gone (much to Stefan’s surprise) but she expected him to bring Katherine. She sent the dreams. No matter she can make a start on the curse anyway.

Nadia drags Katherine to her car – and finds Silas waiting for her, when she’s not ready to hand Katherine over. Silas uses his powers to make Nadia let Katherine go, to take her gun, aim it at her heart and pull… oops curse kicks in. Silas drops to his knees in pain as Tessa finishes her curse on Stefan. Nadia and Katherine run while Tessa finishes her spell and both Silas and Stefan lie, unconscious, with blood pouring from their eyes.

Damon unties Stefan to take him home and learns Tessa has been watching them – and she wonderfully sums up their life as “like a soap opera, but boring and with no volume control.” With every line I love her more and more. But what made her really bitter was watching centuries of Stefan dopplegangers meet Elena dopplegangers and fall in love. Centuries of Silas and Amara falling in love over and over. Yeah that’s gotta hurt and Damon as well – hearing that destiny keeps pushing Elena and Stefan together. Which means she think Damon and her are the same – both of them are just the conflicts that make Elena and Stefan’s true love story interesting. Wow, did it just get meta in here?

She suggests that he leave Stefan with her, keeping Stefan away from Elena – she will keep Stefan safe since she needs him alive to keep Silas cursed. Damon responds with trying to strangle her. Oh Damon, constantly trying to kill people who are so much more vastly powerful than you. It doesn’t work out. To rub salt in the wounds, Elena arrives and runs right past Damon laying on the floor and goes to Stefan, tearfully trying to get him to wake up.

Silas calls Nadia to make it clear even without his mental powers he will make her suffer if he doesn’t get Katherine, warns her is his ex is back among the living and even worse than him and confirms, in case anyone isn’t paying attention, that Katherine, Katherine’s blood, is the new cure for immortality.

Matt wakes up, laid on the floor in his broken doorway, when he gets a call from Elena – who tells him he called her earlier, though he doesn’t remember it. Nor does he get his own muddy footprints leading outside, or the knife in his pocket.

Back at the Salvatore house, Elena puts Stefan’s daylight ring back on his finger and Damon tells her what Tessa said about the dopplegangers. Despite this, both Elena and Damon make it clear they’re not letting the universe, fate or Silas’s 2,000 year old ex-girlfriend dictate their love or their lives

Then Stefan wakes up and TWIST doesn’t recognise Elena or Damon. Amnesia seems to be a side effect.

Katherine/Elena scenes once looked pretty good. Then I started watching Orphan Black. I’m just saying.

I have to praise the writers here. Yes, I am praising the writers of Vampire Diaries, no I am not drunk. Well, not much. Last season took the established cannon of dopplegangers, witches, hunters, vampires, Originals, Silas and all that and kind of made a massive, confusing, unexplained and bizarre mess of it.

And all of those shattered, messy pieces have now come together to make a coherent whole. The Vampire Diaries now has a canon that actually makes sense.

I kind of love Qetsiyah. It was sneakily growing but when she said “I’m a complicated person,” that was it, I was Team!Qetsiyah all the way. She has this wonderful combination of KNOWING that she’s completely outrageous, grossly disproportionate and deeply wrong – and at the same time really not caring because she’s going to do her thing, what she wants to be done and she’s hardly going to even bother to pretend it’s fair or right. She’s not just another example of a woman scorned or even the dangerously mentally ill person – because she’s so gloriously self-aware. I also love how she ALLLLMOST breaks the 4th wall.

And we have a storyline I’m actually interested in! And it doesn’t centre on Elena (Katherine, but not Elena) and we’ve managed to reduce the 80 gazillion storylines to one really tight one

And Qetsiyah is still kind of awesome