Saturday, May 17, 2014

Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 22: Home

Stefan’s dead, everyone is sad and his ghost is concerned since it’s in the Other Side which is all freaky and falling apart – he’s saved from the void by Lexi. Remember Lexi? She’s the earnest vampire who appears whenever Stefan needs to wean off his killing people addiction. Even in death she’s saving him. They wander around being all friendly, discussing Stefan and Caroline’s obvious chemistry and looking for Alaric because if there’s going to be some resurrecting, they might as well grab everyone

Stefan decides to lose his ever loving shit at Bonnie for not being able to pull off a miracle and save everyone. He even resorts to threats which is more than a little ridiculous given that a) the Anchor dying would probably screw over the Other Side and b) Bonnie has never cared about herself since season 1. But Enzo shows up while Damon is doing the big grief recitation (when Damon decided they needed to save people from the Other Side that apparently means “everyone who died, ever”) to let them know he’s found a Traveller if they have witches to cast the spell.

Speaking of, Liv and Luke are running out of town because of the whole attempted murder thing. And, for reasons unknown, when they see Elena in the road (the vampire they just tried to murder) they don’t just RUN HER OVER and drive for the horizon yelling “oh shit the vampires wanna eat me!” but they break. Of course they do. Luke and Liv point out that bringing Stefan back will mean 2 living dopplegangers which will mean witch magic goes away which means all dead vampires – including Stefan. Silly witches, using logic on The Vampire Diaries. Elena decides no they’re just going to kill the Travellers so it’s totally ok (despite them having failed to do so for so long) and Caroline break’s Luke’s neck to give Liv incentive (of course, their coven is going to kill them anyway).

Markos and Sherriff Liz have some exposition – the Travellers are moving the town sign to the radius of the anti-witch-magic spell. They had intended to cover the entire world, instead they got a tiny patch of Virginia. That’s right, the Travellers have changed their curse from “doomed to wander the world without forming a community” to “exiled to rural Virginia.” I will leave you to decide whether they’ve stepped up or not.

To prove how awesome their little town is, Markos throws Julian/Tyler over the boundary – the null zone kicks in and he dies – because a person who is de-vampired is a corpse.

Enzo and Bonnie snark over how ridiculously long the resurrection list is growing.

Amusingly, Jeremy plots the perimeter of the spell on a map by using his Hunter urge. Since he’s driven to kill vampires, he plotted the map based on how much he hated Damon. Damon wonderfully snarks everyone and everything as he lays out his mass murder plan. After all the “bring back the dead” spell requires a mass slaughter of Travellers. This being The Vampire Diaries absolutely no-one blinks at the moral quandary of this.

Jeremy checks with Bonnie on the plan, everyone gets to go through Bonnie and live again. He asks the obvious question “what about Bonnie?” she says she stops being the Anchor and just hand waves his concerns – I smell more Bonnie self-sacrifice. And doesn’t this mean the Other side still dies? Just that a select few chosen are saved? Anyway, Enzo has a Traveller to give up the spell – Silas! And he wants to come back as well. Seriously it’s going to be standing room only soon. Quite how Silas knows a spell to come back from the Other Side when said Other Side didn’t even exist when he was wandering around all witchy is something we’re not going to question.

While Matt and Jeremy enter the many tunnels under the bar ready to blow it up and a load of Travellers in an act of mass murder, Matt wonders if the spell may still remain – then Mystic Falls would be a place without death and mayhem and vampires. As the only human on the cast he’s quite fond of that idea. Upstairs, Liz tries to leave and Markos forces her to stay.

Damon and Elena meet for some angst. Someone has to trigger the bomb and Damon decides that had best be him – he triggers the explosion, he dies, he joins the ever lengthening queue of people to be resurrected and come back. No problem. Elena is not a fan of this plan.

The oblivion shows up on the other side, Bonnie saves Enzo from it – and waves goodbye to Silas since they got the spell from him and she’s not unleashing a mass murderer into the world. Grams shows up to see Bonnie to tell her how proud she is of Bonnie’s growth and nobility – because, as expected, Bonnie is going to sacrifice herself. All these people coming back through will kill her and even if they didn’t the Other Side will still collapse and she will die. But Grams isn’t coming back – she’s found peace ensuring that Bonnie will find peace – which is cryptic and vaguely reassuring

Liv begins casting her spell. Jeremy and Matt rupture the gas main. And Sherriff Liz pistol-whips Markos into the floor. Damn, vampires can’t bring him down but Liz can!

Damon prepares his suicide mission – and is joined by Elena who thinks Bonnie won’t mind carrying yet another damn resurrected soul so long as she gets to make a dramatic romantic moment with Damon. They drive a car into town, slowly succumbing to their transformation wounds – and crash into the bar, igniting the gas and slaughtering a gazillion Travellers.

They go through Bonnie and all the many other dead – now it’s back from the Other Side to Bonnie. Alaric drops in to tell Elena to go to Bonnie while he looks for Damon. Everyone’s gathering up

Luke goes through first, refusing to wait, because he’s worried about Liv who is dying from the spell. He goes to her but she won’t stop. Enzo goes through, Tyler (who left his hybridness behind), Elena (she wants to wait for Damon, but Bonnie grabs her, I like to imagine thinking “I don’t have time for your drama, damn it!”. Bonnie begins coughing up blood and Stefan comes through. Markos makes a grab for Bonnie but Lexi tackles him and tosses him into the oblivion sky. But she refuses to go through Bonnie – every person passing through her hurts her, risks killing Bonnie. Lexi won’t do it – not for Bonnie (of course not) but for Stefan and Damon. This moment of self-sacrifice brings Lexi peace and she moves on – not got by the oblivion.

Alaric and Damon arrives, Alaric touches Bonnie. But Luke has had enough of his sister killing herself and starts his own counter chant and silences the spell. Damon reaches Bonnie – but he doesn’t cross over

Elena runs to check on the witch twins – but they’re long gone. Bonnie tells Elena it’s too late – Damon is gone. Lots of grief scenes.

And Bonnie calls Jeremy to confess she lied – she can’t stop being the Anchor, she’s going to go with the Other Side. Jeremy runs to her – but the Other Side collapses in white light, with Damon and Bonnie in it.

While the whole episode was epic, I’m left with a distinct feeling of dissatisfaction, rather than tragedy and emotional impact I suspect I am supposed to feel. Some of this I could understand –maybe. But Bonnie and Damon being lost? Hell no. It’s too much, too dramatic and far too damn risky. It’s possible Vampire Diaries is planning an epic shakeup but I doubt it. I lay odds that Season 6 will begin with an epic retcon. Which means I’m just not all that shaken by this episode. They won, the sacrifices won’t last – oh some will (Grams is likely a gonner and Lexi was dragged up from the distant past expressly to be thoroughly killed again) but Bonnie and Damon? I doubt it. One of them, maybe, not both – especially not Damon. Unless it’s a dramatic cost cutting plan to remove the highest paid actor.

As for the season… I think it was too long and it didn’t have a storyline to cover it’s length. So we had some fairly big ones – Silas & the Dopplegangers and then the Travellers – but even they were pretty shot – and lots of mini ones. The Augustines, the Ripper vampires, Katherine’s shenanigans with Nadia, Damon and Elena’s ETERNAL ANGST, Bonnie the Anchor. Lots of little plots that never really developed into a really meaty storyline but were always there are little distractions. It reached a point where I had to sit and think and even go through my old recaps to actually remember what the plot of the season was – because the old storylines feel so long ago as to be a different season and not much was very coherent. I feel the shortness didn’t help in dramatic tension either – the threat of the Travellers and the enormity of their plan was just sprung quickly without the build up it needed to be seen as a threat. Especially since the Travellers haven’t been that great a threat beforehand.

As for issues this season – well, yesterday we added another post on race issues in the Vampire Diaries because it was long overdue. Bonnie’s eternal self-sacrifice this season was pretty nauseating.

Luke adds to the few gay characters we’ve had on Vampire Diaries and, unlike the others, he didn’t make me cringe… but he didn’t make me anything. He was an extra – and really depowered. For the brief time he was on screen he was kidnapped twice and killed and used as leverage against his sister once. In 7 episodes where he only briefly appeared that’s a rather stunning amount of victimhood. He was kidnapped by teenaged humans. He was kidnapped by a ghost. For a long time I even doubted he was a witch because we were getting zero power from him; this witch was feeble even when compared to Matt. I guess it’s a step up from conversion-therapy-can’t-live-with-himself-dad and the raped-mind-controlled-straight-cowboy.