Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 8: Dead Man on Campus

Dr. Maxfield is experimenting on his captured Jesse vampire and feeding him “Augustine blood” (whatever that is). Interesting new development – Augustine blood makes vampires super strong! Either that or he’s just grossly underestimated the strength of an actual vampire and hi bonds are far too weak. Either way, the doc becomes snack food.

To college! Where Bonnie is lampshading how ridiculously huge their dorm room is and excitedly telling her mother all about being in college (and how, y’know, she spent all summer away somewhere even during her dad’s funeral – but let’s move speedily past that). Caroline and Elena arrive with supplies for Bonnie’s welcome party and wave the booze around while Bonnie calls it low key (I so would do the same). After the call ends, Caroline and Elena also fill in the exposition in case you missed last episode – Bonnie is the anchor to the other side, technically a ghost and no longer a witch any more.

They plan to have a massive party to celebrate absolutely everything (and because it has been WEEKS since they last had a big social scene) and quickly recap Bonnie on what’s been happening (though Bonnie has been ghostly stalking them out of sheer boredom and even her afterlife revolving around them) including a reference to the Augustine secret society (Founder’s Council #2)

Oh and they’re not just going to move to another college without a Founder’s Council #2 because… reasons.

Bonnie makes her excuses to go make out with Jeremy – even though Caroline and Elena see through the excuse and find it hilarious and laughable, Bonnie still isn’t massively comfortable parading a relationship with Elena’s baby brother in front of her. Nor does she particularly find Damon’s house ideal to meet either – so it’s in the park where an older woman in borderline hippie-clothes can stare at her like she’s just been poleaxed by a ballistic salmon – but Jeremy doesn’t see her. A ghost? Wouldn’t Jeremy see a ghost? Isn’t that his thing?

Bonnie heads off quickly, making excuses but the old woman follows her and says “I’m ready” and grabs Bonnie’s arm, disappearing. Bonnie collapses in pain – it’s another dead supernatural passing on to the Otherside through her.

Elena, meanwhile, calls Damon to drag him to the party and tries to get Aaron to come as well. Either because she’s extremely pushy and has no concept of when a guy is desperate for her to just leave him alone, or because she has so few friends that this party is going to more deserted than a Miley Cyrus dance school. Elena tells him he’s just pushing people away as he told her at the last party – except she compelled that out of him and then made him forget. Oopsie – quick compulsion including compelling him to come to her party. She also tells Damon to invite Stefan despite him remembering everything and hating them. Stefan isn’t up for a party because he’s having traumatic flashbacks and damaging the furnishings

Elsewhere at the bar, Katherine is getting drunk and Matt is cutting her off and watching the video of his last possession by Gregor (though Katherine says “Kristof” is the one who activated him). Katherine recognises the language Gregor speaks as Czech and offers to translate for more booze. She tells him about traveller spirit witches and he reveals that Nadia (Katherine’s daughter) was involved.

Katherine moves on to drink with Stefan (snarking that their stars are entwined because of the whole doppleganger thing) and even he notices she’s acting oddly (she complains about the aging problem – which is apparently causing health complaints without one little wrinkle). Stefan talks to her about his symptoms which she identifies as PTSD and offers to help him and asks for a favour. Stefan naturally assumes ulterior motive and she gets up to leave telling him that, after her 500 years of running from Klaus, losing her baby etc etc, she’s not exactly unfamiliar with living with PTSD. Stefan stops her – and Nadia arrives.

For some reasons Stefan asks which one is younger and they both say “I am”. How does this make sense? Nadia is Katherine’s daughter? Anyway Vampire diaries not making sense, news at 11:00 – on to the back room where they’re joined by Matt and the nifty Traveller dagger. Nadia calls Gregor forth and Katherine talks to him – we learn Gregor was also going to kill Katherine and was using Nadia to get close to her (Nadia has the shocked expression), though he doesn’t know why, he just follows orders. Katherine is only mildly surprised because she knows Travellers are devious – Nadia’s grandfather was one (this would be more of a shocking revelation if we knew the slightest thing about the Travellers. Or cared about Katherine. Or Nadia. Or Matt. Damn, there’s a whole lack of care going on in this storyline). She stabs Matt (yay! Begone oh pointless character!) with the nifty Traveller dagger which won’t kill him (boooo!) but will expel Gregor (awww, Gregor made Matt vaguely interesting). The knife is a super special knife that kills Passengers (the only thing that does), Nadia isn’t thrilled by this.

Back at college, Jesse calls Caroline asking for help – and she hurries over just in time to see Jesse snack on his room-mate, Aaron. Caroline’s a little surprised to see Jesse is now among the vampiric. Caroline and Elena arrive with bagged blood, introduce that they are vampires (and how awesome that is – well, in between the endless angst anyway) and get the story on what Dr. Maxfield did. Aaron isn’t dead but, rather than have Elena heal him, Caroline wants Jesse to do it – to show him that being a vampire has good points.

The party gets in full swing. Jesse is there watched by Caroline and Elena and Damon is questioning Dr. Maxfield elsewhere (apparently he’s not dead). Caroline points out Damon is going to kill him and Elena gets huffy and drags out how unhappy Caroline is that they’re together and Caroline responds with some excellent sense and home truths. She doesn’t mind Elena and Damon being together – but she does want Elena to acknowledge what Damon is and the man she is with (i.e. stop pretending Damon isn’t a serial killer with no conscience who kills and tortures people for funsies).

On to Damon who finds Maxfields big draw of nasty diseases he’s been testing on vampires and he has a fun game – he injects Maxfield with nasty looking viruses and if Maxfield answers his questions, he gets Damon’s delicious vampire blood and gets to live.

This goes on and Maxfield excuses his experimentation on Jesse as the “greater good” which I’d call Mengele level crap but Damon steps in and does it for me. (Of course, being called evil by the man injecting you with rabies lacks some impact).

Bonnie, at the party, sees the old woman who passed through her and talks to her. The old woman is relieved to be dead, her death was painful and now the pain has ended and she’s grateful for Bonnie being a friendly face (though she realises being the anchor isn’t much fun). When Jeremy touches her she returns to the land of the living. She and Jeremy go to “register for classes” again while Caroline and Jesse dance and he gets to revel in enhanced vampire senses and emotions

Back to Maxwell and the threat of ebola (ye gods what is this college that it has this stash of terrifying diseases lying around so insecure?!) convinces him to tell Damon he wants to create a “new kind of vampire” by making them less dangerous to humans by changing their food source. Human blood won’t sate Jesse – he craves vampire blood.

We learn just as Jesse kisses Caroline at the party and accidentally nicks her, he quickly leaves the party.

Aaron arrives at the party for jelly shots with Elena and they compare tragic pasts (dead parents – Elena wins with two sets of dead parents) and she learns Maxfield is his guardian. His parents died to a vampire attack – covered up as a bear attack, leaving Maxfield as the closest thing to family he has. Elena now wants Dr. Maxfield to live, because the Mengle-wannabe has a ward. Damon passes on the news about Jesse’s diet and Elena makes Damon promise not to kill Maxfield – who does not look healthy. Damon hangs up on Elena but he doesn’t trust Maxfield – if he lives he will just repeat what he’s done – but Elena wants it so he cuts his wrist to feed Maxfield blood.

Which is when Jesse arrives, furious with Maxfield (and “you feed on the monsters” doesn’t reassure him). He goes for Damon and Damon’s bloody wrist though Damon points out he’s a lot older than Jesse. It doesn’t matter – the Augustine blood makes Jesse immensely strong for his age. He bites Stefan and Elena arrives and stakes him before he kills Damon – just in time for Caroline to arrive and cradle him while he dies. Caroline blames Elena for Jesse’s death, for not giving him a chance (hmmm… ok maybe she could have pulled Jesse off Damon but he was actually trying to behead him).

And back to Mystic Falls when Stefan staggers out of the bar having another flashback. Katherine follows him and tries to talk him down when he grabs her and starts choking her. She has him recite the names of the people he’s killed in order, each name restoring him to reality, restoring his control until he steps back from the vision of him drowning. Stefan is happy, Nadia isn’t – Gregor is dead and she isn’t pleased with Katherine, though Katherine thinks she can do better; Nadia leaves in a rage.

Later, Stefan is pottering about in the bar and finds a note from Katherine to Nadia – a suicide note. She’s spent 500 years running from Klaus and now she has to run from the Travellers – and with her death approaching anyway. Katherine is on a high ledge on the clock tower. She jumps off – and Stefan catches her. She tells Stefan that she’s dying of speedy old age and he tells her “you’re Katherine Pierce, suck it up” which is kind of a sideways comment about her toughness.

Bonnie and Jeremy “register for classes” again (yes I am going to keep using that euphemism) which is sadly interrupted by dead Jesse. Jesse says he’s not ready, that he doesn’t want it – but he touches Bonnie anyway and moves on, setting Bonnie screaming; Jeremy learns the secret about the Anchor. She kisses him and tells him it’s worth it to be able to touch him (which, with him standing their all shirtless, is fairly understandable)

Back to Caroline and Elena clearing up after the party and Caroline apologises, realises she was a little out of line earlier. And yes she accepts that Jesse was dangerous – but when is Elena going to wake up and see how dangerous Damon is?

Speaking of, Damon is still playing with Maxfield, waiting for the time when he can compel him to forget everything and he finds a bag of blood with “12144” on it – he finds it curious because HE was “21051”. Damon was an Augustine vampire – decades ago. Damon has miniflashbacks, he though the Augustines who treated vampires like lab rats shut down 60 years ago. Damon now decides to kill Maxfield – but Damon makes it to the security switch filling the room with atomised vervain

He wakes up in a cell. A cell with his initials scratched in the wall, and the number “53”.

Bonnie isn’t a witch any more. I’m partly irritated by this because it depowers her a lot (though I can see why they’d want to because her powers were escalating to a point of making her awkward for a protagonist – just look at the knots the writers are getting themselves into on The Originals)but I’m also kind of happy because it means Bonnie can no longer serve. I have ranted about this long and often that bonnie only really uses her magic in the service of protecting and serving Elena and co – maybe the only way to stop her being their magical servant was to have her not have magic.

Though my prediction about her keeping her anchor problem secret? Depressingly accurate. And she does seem to be finding another way to serve as the Anchor, but comfort and reassurance to the dead seems a good deal less servant-like than being Elena’s witch on call

Can someone tell me again why they have to go to THIS college? Why they didn’t think “shit, vampire hunters – I’m going somewhere else”?

Jesse is dead. This is my shocked face. Did anyone actually expect him to live this season? Also there is a real history of minorities of all kinds being singled out for medical experimentation by unethical researchers – to use Jesse for this experimentation without even the briefest nod towards that context both plays into that without even acknowledging it.

Are we actually going to create a whole new past for Damon? Ok an ancient vampire has a lot of past - but none of this is mentioned? All the while he was questioning the doctor he never thought "hey this sounds a lot like..."

I am glad to see Caroline calling Elena out on Damon. Remember, Caroline was effectively enslaved and raped by Damon back in season 1, Damon was the one who turned her, Damon has repeatedly killed people for funsies (including Jeremy). While he may now be Elena One Twu Lub, if you step out of Elena's "I like this person so they are good" lens, Damon is a villain