Saturday, December 13, 2014

Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 10: Christmas Through Your Eyes

Kai manages to kidnap Jo by stabbing someone (Jo may suck as a doctor since she apparently though this was caused by a car accident. Presumably a car with a knife) and following them to the hospital because despite the vampires everywhere, hospitals have zero security

Sheriff Liz drops in on Caroline so they can have their special tree-trimming thing in her improbably-huge-dorm-room (even Sheriff Liz snarks this) and she invites Stefan because clearly more relationship drama is necessary. To help move the whole Stefan/Caroline bonding along, Sheriff Liz suddenly feels faint.

Elena and Damon are technically looking for ways to free Bonnie but really Elena is staring at Damon’s uber sexiness. Alaric calls them to come see him – Damon suggests that maybe some precautions may, perhaps, have been useful with the serial killer loose but Alaric scoffs at the very idea. Damon’s plan is to kill Kai. They also add some more exposition – Kai can’t merge with Jo without her magic which is stored in a knife which Damon has hidden – and Kai can’t use a locator spell because he can’t do magic.

Elena joins Caroline at the hospital where they’ve taken Sheriff Liz and they talk about Damon and Elena’s relationship because it’s definitely the thing they should be talking about right now. After compelling a doctor, Elena learns that Sherriff Liz has cancer (vampire blood cure anyone?)

Stefan decides it’s his job to give Caroline the bad news. Apparently vampire blood doesn’t cure cancer – Stefan is sure if it did they’d have heard about it (why? Because there are a huge number of compassionate vampire blood donors out there?) and Liz is incurably ill. Caroline is sure his mother is cancer proof. Ok I’m being unfair this is a really deep, moving scene that if Liz had been given 10 minutes this season – or if they couldn’t just VAMPIRISE her – would be excellently done. And since I’m British and am exposed to British soaps there is absolutely no way shape or form you can get me in the emotions with a tragic Christmas episodes because we are the masters of making people sob piteously over the turkey.

Over to Tyler and his plan is to let Kai live – Luke and Liv aren’t big fans of letting him live since he did try to murder them when they were children, but Tyler thinks letting Kai merge with Jo and becoming a super-powerful serial killer will be an awesome way to spare Luke and Liv from the merging thing. This is why Tyler shouldn’t make plans. Luke points out a super-powerful witch on a killing spree is probably not a good thing, he also has a sense of fated duty towards the coven. But Liv is willing to throw that aside and unleash a serial killer for a normal life.

Unfortunately Liv seems to win the argument because they cast the finding spell for Kai and get him the knife full of Jo’s magic and join him in his evil ritual of sibling bonding (which sounds vaguely incestuous). Kai starts stabbing Jo which shocked Luke that his stabby brother likes stabbing things and nearly gets himself stabbed in the process – so he leaves. Jo points out she has to voluntarily retake her magic back and random stabbing won’t change that (but it could kill her first).

Jo begs Liv to let her go but Liv does point out that Jo trying to avoid the terrible fate of merging means that it falls on Liv and Luke instead, the whole “spare me from this terrible fate so you can have it instead” isn’t a big winner. Except, of course, Kai’s a serial killer. But Liv points out that Jo may win the merging (amusingly, while Liv is willing to consider that, absolutely no-one believes Luke would survive the merge with Liv) and points out how strong she is – which is when Kai comes back and steals Liv’s magic. He tortures Liv until Jo willingly takes back her magic.

Damon runs into Luke and Damon repeats back Luke’s own objections to him. Apparently having someone else mention them and making it there idea permits Luke to act. Or talk anyway

Interlude while Damon tries to be best buddies with Alaric again! He fails and then finds Kai and… pushes him over. Ye gods, we have seen vampire snap necks and rip out hearts over and over again but whenever a witch is the enemy they decide to lightly nudge them to the floor. Whyyyy?! This little push also launched Kai across to the anti-magic safe zone where he Damon can’t go (go find a rock and throw it, Damon.) Alaric arrives with a gun (thank you!) and shoots him in th-

-nope, Jo tells him not to because now she WANTS to sacrifice herself for her younger siblings and possibly create a super-powerful serial killer because this is Vampire Diaries and if she actually had a good idea they would kick her off the show. She just wants time for him to escape her to figure out how to win the merge.

Does anyone even know what happens when you merge your mind with a serial killer? Alas, Alaric doesn’t listen to Damon and doesn’t kill Kai. Alaric and Jo can now be all lovey dovey knowing they’ve stretched out the plot line for the rest of the season.

Liv goes to tell Luke and Tyler of this happy circumstance and Luke points out Kai is immensely stronger, a multiple murderer and has a huge beef against their whole coven.

Now Kai is locked up, Damon throws stuff at the tree he’s tied to – because now he remembers to throw things. And tell him about the Travellers who created the magical null which makes Kai realise he, the magic eater, is in a VERY BIG SPELL. Why, yes, keeping the big bad alive is going to turn round and bite you on the arse. Alarica arrives to argue with Damon over the throwing things and Damon asks why they’re sacrificing common sense for a girl Alaric likes (because it’s Vampire Diaries Damon, keep up) and Alaric snarls back how Damon is just upset for the sake of his own conscience. Either way what they’re not doing is watching Kai as he noms his way through the biggest spell ever.

Matt and Jeremy are still planning on hunting Enzo. They lure him into a trap and succeed because Enzo turns his back on the guy with a crossbow… because… reasons. Rather than just killing him (because that would be sensible) Matt decides Enzo has to suffer, which doesn’t impress Jeremy an awful lot. Matt rants on about all vampires being murderers that they’ve just ignored because they’re friendly but Jeremy’s not running with that – he can sympathise being a Hunter and having a supernatural urge to kill all things fanged but he’s not playing this us vs them game.

So Matt takes Enzo on a road trip to Mystic Falls. Y’know, if you want Enzo to die a horrible death from sunlight, rather than taking him on a road trip you could just take off the witch ring (which they buy in bulk off ebay).

Now lots of ominous weather and stuff as Kai noms on the tasty magic. Alaric and Damon both, I kid you not, realise that Kai is no longer chained up AND he is chanting and they just WATCH. AAAAAARGH!? That it’s Kai – I’m on your side now because no-one in this town deserves to live. None of them. Kai stands up, walks out AND THEY KEEP WATCHING HIM!

Magic eaten, when Matt opens his van, Enzo is still a very healthy vampire which isn’t healthy. Hilariously, Enzo snarks that they should have all learned to kill their enemies quickly yet he has not killed Matt so he can exposition about how much he hates Stefan (and did you catch the “because I have a crush on Caroline” hint there?)

Kai is now god and casually flings Alaric against a tree because he can. Damon does a classic vampire nudge before Kai disappears. It takes a while but between them Alaric and Damon slowly figure out that Kai eating the Traveller spell has also removed the anti-magic zone.

Damon calls Elena and they talk for more romance stuff.

On the Otherside, Bonnie has decided that it doesn’t matter if it’s the 10th May and she’s all alone, she is having Christmas, damn it. She has her best determined face on. This includes lots of holiday flashbacks.

Time for a sad closing montage – and Stefan has fixed his brother’s car.

And closing twist – Elena arrives at Damon’s house – and Damon can’t see or hear her. Because Kai has done it to kidnap her. Why? Why would Kai care about Elena? If you have to ask that question you have clearly skipped the last 6 seasons of Vampire Diaries. He also does the evil neck crick. That’s a weird TV trope, bad guys have stiff necks.

Kai is running around Mystic Falls where no vampires or witches can get him! CLEARLY NOTHING CAN STOP HIM! Because he has a knife and Mystic Falls… has no police force? Or Sheriff Liz? Or, hey, I’m pretty sure Alaric can smack his skinny arse around quite handily. Or Tyler. Or Matt. Or Jeremy. Or all of them together in a big serial killer beat down. But no, because he’s in the vampire-proof place, he is clearly unstoppable.

On a similar story element – I’m really tried of Vampire Diaries screwing with power levels and consistency to make their story work. The number of times vampires have lightly shoved witches so they get a little bruised on this show is ludicrous – especially when it comes to fighting EACH OTHER they’re very eager to snap necks (don’t anyone even TRY to sell me some kind of moral hesitation here because I will mock you cruelly), Holly, a 2 day old vampire, was capable of snapping Caroline’s neck. But let a witch begin their headache mojo? Suddenly little taps and delicate nudges are all a vampire can manage. And when Kai comes around? Witches who can bring a vampire to their knees with a nasty look suddenly can’t do anything to stop a man with no power grabbing them.

The priorities of people this season has been pretty laughable. I mean, all that’s happening with things like Bonnie stuck in the Otherside, numerous serial killers, random WOC tools dying after a couple of episodes, vampire hunters – who knows what else, but they ALWAYS have time for a party. Corn Maze. Friendsgiving. Christmas. It doesn’t matter what is happening in the world, PARTIES TAKE PRECEDENCE DAMN IT!

And not just parties, even for Vampire Diaries, this season has been overloaded with wall-to-wall straight romance. Elena/Damon. Elena/irrelevant-guy-whose-name-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-look-up, Tyler/Liv, Caroline/Stefan, Alaric/Jo, Jeremy/Sarah (briefly). Romance everywhere and none of it plot relevant but all of it taking up waaaaay too much space when there are actual THINGS HAPPENING.

The hilarious thing about Matt’s little hunting drama is that he’s right. Every last vampire on this show has murdered several times. But the broken morality of this show means not only do we forgive them, we forgive them anything. Murder, torture, mass death – all is forgiven. It makes it laughable that we even look at vampires like Enzo (or even witches like Kai) and decide that they’re the bad ones – because they’re not appreciably more evil than Damon or Stefan – or even Caroline or Elena. I would say this whole “he needs to suffer” thing is an attempt to put Matt on the same moral level but that’s too much for this show – it’s a convoluted way of keeping Enzo alive so he can escape/be rescued/be released when Matt is convinced a little murder is funsies.

I’ve also noticed Vampire Diaries is now doing the lampshade thing. Every now and then a character will say something like “we should kill our enemies in haste” or “your dorm room’s huge!” or even “what makes Stefan any better than Enzo” which makes me think one of the writers KNOWS. They’re fully self-aware of what they’ve created here and are now just going to revel in it

Marginalised people… oh. Well, the depiction of women per se isn’t awful – I mean, they’re all completely fools, obsessed with romance and without a thought in their head – but so is everyone else. They don’t seem to be sufficiently less competent than their incompetent male counterparts – though we have a lot of centring Elena and a whole lot of male protectiveness of just about everyone. In fact, women appear to be the motivations of most of the male characters who actually have motivations.

In terms of POC – we have Bonnie who has spent the entire season in an alternate dimension, occasionally worried about but rarely an actual major element of anyone’s lives. And she sacrifices herself for Damon who she, in general, doesn’t like all that much. She has spent so much time in the plot box she’s expanded it into a plot dimension. Other than her we have Holly and Sarah who showed up, were pretty much ignored by everyone and then were killed. Really, they appeared, they were ignored, they died – they do nothing, they are disposable, they’re appalling. And that’s about it – yes, Tyler is definitely played by a POC, but while Michael Trevino is definitely Latino, I don’t think we can really say that Tyler Lockwood is – especially since we’ve seen his parents.

And LGBT characters – Vampire Diaries is equally bad here and the addition of Luke has not changed that. He has been completely and utterly non-existent most of this season with no development, he appears when he is needed then disappears for episodes at a time (contrasting glaringly with his twin Liv), he also continues to be appallingly weak as a witch.

Should I close by saying something praiseworthy? Well, I’d like to but I really try to be honest on Fangs. I guess the acting quality has generally been pretty good (except for certain actors who appear to be almost as over this show as I am).