Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 11: Woke the Monster

Due to the entire cast having the collective intelligence of a particularly stupid slime mold, Kai is now super-powerful. Let us hope he slaughters a considerable amount of the population and increases the collective intelligence of humanity.

Of course, one of the first things super-Kai did was kidnap Elena because everyone’s life must revolve around Elena. Kai babbles a while about how his gushing fonts of magic (not a euphemism) are worrisomely hard to control and may make the merge thing with Jo go all wrong and he needs to learn control using Elena because Elena is the centre of everything. It is known. He also likes cloaking corpses which I admit is a pretty hilarious prank (yes I’m laughing at a brutal murder; don’t try to moral outrage me, this is the Vampire Diaries, absolutely nothing Kai does even approaches Damon or Stefan or Enzo’s body counts).

Stefan wakes up to find that his house has been pretty much colonised. On the plus side, this means half-naked Jeremy in the morning, on the minus side it means Jo and Liv wrecking the place practicing magic. Anyway this is all happening because Damon has the guilt weasels (shit, Damon opens up his house when he feels guilty? That man is going to have to buy a housing estate!). This whole plan is for Liv to train Jo – who hasn’t used magic in decades – to be competent enough to defeat Kai

Damon is camped in Sheriff Liz’s hospital room making happy talk (she has been diagnosed with magical cure proof cancer). Caroline is, naturally, fussing and Liz is refusing vampire blood treatment. Damon agrees with Stefan that if vampire blood worked, they’d have heard of it

Taking Liz home there’s lots of pretty well done angst and emotion form Caroline about Liz and Stefan facing human mortality in a form other than randomly dead broken necked people. Stefan agrees to give Caroline a lift to a super-skilled oncologist and then ditches her so he can finally remember to care about his long lost niece Sarah Nelson (who was once Salvatore). And Enzo has joined him because Enzo literally has absolutely nothing else to do in his entire life other than obsess over Stefan. This also completely invalidates any point in Monique, fake-Sarah, dying.

While Stefan goes to join Caroline, Enzo stays at the gallery to creepily obsess over Sarah.

Caroline sees her expert and compels her to be completely honest… which means the truth she gets back is utterly brutal. She even violates a dying Black man’s privacy for more info. After checking he has no next of kin, she uses vampire blood on him (which Damon had earlier termed “experimental”)

It seems to work – the guy gets out of bed and seems fine. Stefan declares this “too easy”, what, unlike every other time vampire blood is used to heal?

Kai’s magic practice involves lots of Elena torture. And incompetence which actually shatters his chains. Thankfully for Kai, every vampire has signed a contract not to use their super-speed to snap a witch’s neck before they even see the vampire move and Elena just runs away. Slowly. He also destroyed her daylight ring. She does manage to phone Damon for help before wasting lots of time trying to get Kai all emotional.

Damon rides to the rescue dragging Liv along to cloak him only Luke appears and makes Liv and him disappear because with everything else going on Elena is not on their priority list (of course, I think this show would like us to think Luke cowardly and selfish for not lining up to die for Elena despite him existing only to provide magic services) so Damon calls Alaric for reserve witch – Jo the amateur. Jeremy suggests shooting Kai with a crossbow but everyone decides this is a bad idea because… oh who needs reasons it’s Vampire Diaries.

So they go with Jo doing the cloaking. They rescue Elena – but of course she can’t go out in daylight and Jo is having trouble maintaining the invisibility spell (let us remember that invisibility spells are the Gemini Coven’s Thing) and is now having a nosebleed. This does not bode well

Thankfully the school has tunnels. Of course the school has tunnels. Every school needs random tunnels. Which they don’t reach because Jo faints and Kai finds them. You had one job Jo. Of course while you were invisible Damon could have brutally murdered Kai but didn’t because… because…

Damon sends Jo to escape then ends up stabbing Elena because of Kai’s illusions. The vampires nicely disabled, Kai grabs Jo and Jeremy shoots Kai with a crossbow

FINALLY! Thank you. Ye gods who would have thought JEREMY would be the sensible one. Ok, he did only shoot Kai in the shoulder though – but Alaric follows up with a stab to the neck (don’t get excited, I think it was drugs). Stefan and Elena have a moment (interrupted by Alaric).

Turns out Luke summoned Liv because their dad has summoned them both and he’s extremely pissed. Luke also adds that they’re not Elena’s witch-monkeys (which would help if he had ever actually been anything but) and that the risk of Kai becoming coven leader is terrifyingly awful. But Liv suddenly says Luke is the more powerful one – so the whole twin merge is super-threatening to her. Liv goes and tells Tyler this who is also shocked and horrified and reconsiders the whole plan. Drama and pouting. But it’s ok, because Luke has now called daddy dearest and cancelled the merging if there’s a chance he won’t be the one who dies

Alas, we now have to join Matt who isn’t dead. He’s found the body Kai left behind has called in Liz and started whining about how dangerous supernatural beings are (is he going on a witch hunt as well?)

And no, Kai isn’t dead, they drug him and take him prisoner because that’s such a good idea. In between Elena moments, Damon tries to make Alaric see reality and that Jo vs Kai looks as risky as a Vampire Diaries writer vs a coherent plot line.

Stefan and Caroline have a Moment as well. Before Caroline and Liz have a far more powerful, beautiful moment in which Caroline convinces Liz to accept her blood – even as we see the patient Caroline healed relapse and die horribly.

So let’s poke some of these bad ideas

Vampire blood doesn’t cure cancer? Says who? I mean I suppose you could argue that vampire blood would just regenerate tumours or something – but their argument is that they’ve just never heard of vampires curing cancer. Uh-huh, because all the vampires we’ve met are just positively eager to cure various diseases with their blood, right? Caroline is talking a lot of sense here

Training Jo to fight Kai – ok, either Kai has the magic of doom, in which case Jo dies. Or Kai uses his anti-magic thing in which case Jo can’t use any magic and just dies regardless of how well trained she is. Or (and, admittedly this is very hard because no damn witch has ever managed it) she just doesn’t let him grab her and just makes his head explode (minimum skill involved).

Practicing your unpredictable magic on a vampire means if your unpredictable magic goes out of control you end up in a cat and mouse game… with a vampire. This is not a good idea. Or it wouldn’t be if Elena were vaguely competent (she just LAYS ON THE FLOOR while he flails around moving furniture around trying to break her neck).

As to Stefan – this is less foolish and more bizarre and kind of tasteless. In the last 6 seasons he really hasn’t given a damn about stalking Sara Nelson, his lost niece – but when he offers to go with Caroline to offer support while she desperately looks for some hope in the face of her mother’s cancer he decides to ditch her to check on neglected distant relatives? What the hell, Stefan?!

On Luke being the more powerful twin – did Vampire Diaries just erase its entire own canon? Luke has only ever failed magically – time and again. He was kidnapped by humans, remember? Normal, non-magical, dull humans beat him. I call shenanigans. Not once have they tried to show Luke as active, powerful or capable – he’s always been a rather inept tool to be used by others, regarded with contempt and generally relegated to the plot box. They have never shown his strength. But now they flip the story, TALK up his strength NOT to make him active and capable – but for Liv’s angst, development and motivations? And can we unpack this? Luke is happy to go through with the merge because he thinks LIV will win (and he will sacrifice himself) while Liv is terrified to go through with it because she thinks LUKE will win (and she doesn’t want to lose). Not only are Liv and Tyler all only worried about Liv dying, but Luke himself only considers fighting his family wishes if there’s a chance HE may live!

And yes, I mentioned that the dying cancer patient was a Black man more than the doctor being a Black woman because it’s relevant in a season where Bonnie has spent the entire season in an alternate dimension and many of the other POC on the show (Holly and Monique) have died simply to prove a point.

Elena is the least capable vampire ever. Joined by Jo the most useless of witches. Together they are Damsels, thankfully the menfolk are here (ugh)