Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 2: Yellow Ledbetter

Time to tell Damon and Bonnie’s story (this can’t last – Elena isn’t here) so back to four months ago when the Other Side sucked them into whatever it sucked them into. They’re in some version of Mystic Falls and Damon is still vampirey (he did a fang check). The place is deserted (it could be worse. Elena could be there).

As they explore they find that they’re back in Mystic Falls in 1994 – well a deserted Mystic Falls in 1994. During an eclipse. Bonnie thinks it’s all done to some woo-woo her grandma did which Damon got caught up in. In theory magic could get them out – but Bonnie’s magic is still down

They discover the various things they had in 1994 – soft toys and booze – and Bonnie finds her grandmother’s grimoire with which bonnie hopes to re-teach herself withcraft (Damon isn’t supportive which Bonnie gives him grief for – but her reasoning makes no sense. She LEARNED about magic from the grimoire – which she now knows, hence her testing with a spell. Using an instruction book to fix her magic at this point would be like teaching someone how to write when they complain they don’t have a pen).

Added bonus – they keep repeating the same day over and over again. Because this trope clearly has not been used enough. C’mon guys, stop beating this horse, it’s an extra on the Walking Dead.

This goes on for 2 months – same breakfast, same crossword (wow they’re really bad at that crossword). They’re also getting on each other’s nerves – it’s not like they actually liked each other at the best of times.

But then – creepiness – someone unknown finishes the crossword.

Alas we can’t stay with them and have to deal with everyone else. Matt is angry at Jeremy for being mopey and having lots of sex, this time with visiting-snack-food, Sarah who Elena bit and Caroline compelled last week. Trip, the leader of Matt’s odd military neighbourhood watch who is definitely suspicious is also curious about Sarah. He checked out her car – apparently it’s stolen so Sarah is involved in nefarious activity and he wants Matt to tell him if she returns. Uh… or you could contact actual law enforcement.

And Elena is mopey. She talks to Jeremy about her planned memory erasure and he, at last, points out that she’s not thinking of erasing Bonnie (and her complete lack of grief). She says missing Damon makes her dangerous – nooooo… taking magical hallucinogens makes you dangerous Elena. Lack of decent grief counselling may make you dangerous. A supreme self-absorption definitely makes you dangerous. On that note, she now requires everyone in her entire life to edit history and continue play acting in front of her so she can pull off the memory trick, rather than, y’know, dealing with her grief like some kind of adult.

She puts her plan in action and goes to Alaric. Alas, unlike Klaus, Alaric can’t just say “forget Damon” and make it so – it takes a long montage of past events so we can focus on Elena (brief interval to call Caroline who isn’t 100% behind it simply because she’s focused on bringing Damon and Bonnie back).

Caroline, meanwhile, is super pissed that Stefan has been lying about hunting for solutions to bring Bonnie and Damon back because that means she’s now the only one who has actually been trying to fix Mystic Falls. Maybe no-one else sees a need to let this tiny speck of a town have magic back? Anyway she’s not alone, Enzo is also “investigating”. And by “investigating” I mean having sex with witches who then spill all kinds of info – he learns of the Gemini Coven in Seattle who can communicate with their ancestors which he then passes on to Caroline when she hunts him down.

(hey, Originals, isn’t communicating with the ancestors all that the New Orleans coven does?)

So off on a road trip

Over to Stefan in Georgia and Ivy stayed the night and is now making enough breakfast to feed a small regiment. Stefan manages to give her powerful “why are you still in my house?” vibes to try and repel the creeping relationship. He recovers by inviting Ivy to dinner – but when she arrives so does Caroline and Enzo. Awkward dinner follows with Enzo being especially disturbing and more tension because Caroline learns Stefan gave up 2 months ago – which means he didn’t actually spend all that much time looking for answers.

Caroline gets upset – and Enzo stabs Stefan so they fight while Caroline leads Sarah away. The fight is brief before Stefan breaks Enzo’s neck – which is just in time for him to hear Caroline tell Alaric when she thinks Elena fell in love with Damon (necessary for the angst montage) – while still with Stefan. Oh drama. Angst. Stefan pretending he doesn’t care. Which leads to Caroline and him arguing about him moving on and not hearing that Caroline needed him – she leaves in high temper

That insight helps Alaric deal with Elena’s montage and finally make her forget she loved Damon; which means she remembers Jeremy being killed by Damon and now loathes him.

Because Stefan made Caroline cry, Enzo kills Ivy. Oh Ivy, you could have been a character, instead you’re a disposable WOC. He also intends to ruin any element of Stefan’s life until he’s sure Stefan is being the proper dutiful brother looking for Damon.

Back to Jeremy – who deals with his grief for Bonnie by calling her voicemail (hey someone grieves for Bonnie! He has to grieve alone, naturally, because he may be the only one doing so) when Matt reveals Sarah’s stolen car. She confesses to stealing her skeevy boss’s car. She and Jeremy move into Damon’s house while Sarah contacts her dad who is supposed to live there.

And Matt calls Trip – why? There are police in this town? Trip reveals he grew up in Mystic Falls. He’s one of the Fell families – one of the Founding Families. He’s also dragging vans full of chained vampires into Mystic Falls to kill them

Why? Sunlight is sunlight everywhere. How common are Daylight Rings?!

Am I being harsh over Elena’s solution? No, because this show always centres her pain over everyone else’s – and this isn’t the first time she’s resorted to extreme measures rather than deal with emotional pain in a reasonable, adult manner (remember her turning off her humanity?). If she can’t deal with it then she needs help, not a magical short cut, not everyone re-arranging around Elena’s epic pain which somehow eclipses everyone else’s – she needs therapy. There is something fundamentally unhealthy and terrifyingly self-absorbed to deal with grief by not only editing your own memories, but requiring all of your friends to edit their history as well; more, this editing is required with implicit threat of violence. Elena isn’t assuming any kind of responsibility for the people she kills while grieving (last episode heavily implied she had murdered two people), instead there’s an inferential blame on others for Elena’s actions if they don’t co-operate with her mystical short cut.

Also, her going from loving Damon to hating him for killing Jeremy is terrible – because it underlines a problem we’ve had with Vampire Diaries since the beginning: if it’s someone you love doing evil, it doesn’t matter (look at her holding up sticking with Stefan even when he was a serial killer as proof of her love!)

Ok so Damon is stuck in the afterlife, I’m assuming he doesn’t need to eat? Otherwise they have a blood supply problem.

What is this episode? This is the second episode of the season and it was sooo slow. The Elena moping montage? Uneeded. Bonnie and Damon in groundhog day – ok, but that’s 6 words – you do not need the amount of time they had to convey 6 words! Caroline, Stefan and Enzo being miffed at each other instead turned into a painfully long dinner party out of which comes… no lead (actually squishing Enzo’s lead) and kind of throwing a little kindling onto Caroline/Stefan which has been burning away steadily simmering away for a while now (as has Enzo/Caroline).

Other than throwing in poor disposable Ivy’s infinitely unnecessary death, what did this achieve beyond piling on the misogyny and racism? Ivy doesn’t exist as a person here – she’s an extension of Stefan, something to take from Stefan to punish him. And, seriously – this poor girl is crying so I will murder this other girl? Really? Are Caroline’s tears that precious?

Or he’s going to enforce his opinion of proper brotherly loyalty by killing women in Stefan’s life? Why doesn’t he come out and say “bros before hos” and be done with it – the sexism couldn’t be less subtle.