Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, episode 12: Prayer for the Dying

Caroline is by the cancer patient she cured/killed. Yes, the man, despite collapsing last episode and leaving a trail of blood behind, has managed to find and stagger to Caroline’s house in the middle of the night. He conveniently collapses AFTER she opens the door to him. This guy must have staggered miles and now he falls unconscious?

Anyway, Caroline drags him inside and calls Stefan because we need more tension between them apparently, and Stefan rightfully guesses that their guest, Colin, is a vampire. He died after Caroline gave him her blood.

Over to Elena (who has a new daylight ring, seriously witches mass produce these things) and Damon who happily recap that they still need the rather magically inept Jo to get good at the witchcraft and that they have a comatose serial killer Kai in the bedroom who they haven’t killed for reasons. The plot line is looming dangerously so it’s time to sidetrack into Damon and Elena flirting and relationship angst (Elena considers it cheating for Damon to copy past dates which he knows Elena loved). But they are rekindling their relationship

Over to Elena at the hospital where Jo fails to heal a plant (with magic – her doctor’s surgery hasn’t expanded to triffids) and Stefan drags in the not-very well vampire Colin. For completely random reasons, vampire blood speeds up cancer, hence Colin’s sudden-if-not-unexpected death. This makes Colin a medical confusion since he is a stage 10 cancer patient (an impossibility), terminally ill beyond all concepts of terminal illness and also an immortal vampire. Pretty much the definition of a fate worse than death

Which is when Caroline and Liz show up to tell everyone that this is actually going to happen to Liz as well, someone they all care about, rather than randomly disposable POC #86845.

Elena decides to blame all this on Stefan because she thinks it was super unreasonable to believe that the super-healy vampire blood had super-healed someone who was apparently super-healed like everyone else who has ever drunk it ever.

Jo comes up with a possible solution of giving Liz a complete transfusion of human blood to get the vampire blood out of her. Damon snarks and she has no patience for that. Aww, but Damon snark is about the only thing that keeps me going on this show.

Damon tells us that he and Liz are great friends (he needs to tell us because the show has done a pretty bad job of showing us) which I think is supposed to be used to soften his next actions: he kills Colin (is anyone shocked? Though he was begging to die due to that whole fate worse than death thing) and then rubs Caroline’s nose in the fact she just killed her mother. Classy.

Elena delivers the news to Liz and Liz brings out the a-list acting, with lots of restrained emotion with added sadness that she knows Caroline will never forgive herself.

Stefan finds Caroline actually planning her mother’s funeral… because organising events and parties is what Caroline does. Stefan brings out a pep talk and past experience to encourage Caroline to go back to her mother.

Side plot line time! Tyler and Liv are in bed together, when someone knocks at the door. It’s her dad. Awkward. He’s there to take Luke and Liv to dinner – because it’s their birthday. Tyler, of course, is all pouty because Liv didn’t tell him about the impending birthday which also heralds the whole twin melding and death thing. The plan is for Luke and Liv to convince daddy that Jo is super awesome and can totally take down Kai (hey, has anyone even considered what would happen to Jo if she did merge with a magic sucking oddity like Kai? No? Just me?) They do manage to convince Tyler that he shouldn’t be their spokesperson to daddy because… my gods why would anyone even think that was a potential answer?

So time to convince daddy – who reveals that the entire coven will actually DIE if a merged heir doesn’t appear. Whoa, you’ve been keeping that secret haven’t you? (Am I the only one who wanted Damon to appear, yell “why didn’t you say so?” and kill daddy Gemini?) Daddy Gemini also says the whole “drop dead” thing is inaccurate – you actually absorb traits from the other (which means my concern about serial killing abomination Kai really needs revisiting). Liv and Luke have both decided that Luke will win which is why they can’t go ahead (yes, same as last episode).

Damon also has a plan – it involves knocking out Tyler and using the threat of Kai waking up to force Daddy Gemini to make Liv and Luke to merge. And he wakes up Kai. Because this is Vampire Diaries and no-one ever makes good decisions. Thankfully, Kai has no magic any more (something, I have to say, Damon couldn’t possibly have known before waking the uber powered serial killer up).

The plan is to use Kai to suck the magic out of Liz and save the day. Except that magic is vampirisim. If Kai could suck magic out of vampires wouldn’t he have done it already? Jo is also unthrilled by this plan. Hilariously, Damon explains the plan to Jo while Elena guards Kai.

Haven’t we already seen what happens when Elena is left alone with Kai? She kind of crumples to the floor and whimpers ineffectually.

Kai’s price is that he wants to merge – that very night. Kai does remove the magic from Liz – and then she has a heart attack because of reasons – and gives Kai enough magic to do the Gemini vanishing trick while Elena is distracted. Why no-one predicted this would be bizarre on any show where the cast had a collective intelligence greater than a slime mould.

Because he vanished, he gets to break Damon’s neck rather than have Damon explain to Jo that there’ll be no merging because he’s already forced a merge of Liv and Luke.

Speaking of, Daddy Gemini tries to force a twin merge on his kids – but Tyler intervenes and knocks evil daddy unconscious. Luke runs off

Time for Jo and Kai to do their own merge – with Jo finding confidence – or at least hatred, to stand up to her brother. They begin the ritual – and Luke appears and knocks Jo unconscious with magic (what, NOW he finds some skills?) His plan is to merge with Kai – sure they’re not twins but they are brothers and, because of Kai’s magical prison, they are the same age. Luke throws around some more magic which would have been really handy at some other points in the past

They cast the mergy spell (Jo tries to intervene – but unlike Tyler and Luke, her message is just to cower on the floor and gasp “Luke, no” which is rather less effective. C’mon this is the woman who faced off against a knife wielding serial killer to save her younger siblings and she can’t throw a rock or push someone?)

The ritual ends and Luke and Kai collapses. Jo says “no” again – because she’s effective like that – and finally gets to her feet (well, sort of).

Meanwhile, Damon and Elena get a doctor to try and resuscitate Liz. We have an image of Liz saying goodbye to Caroline – and the doctor says there’s nothing he can do. Liz dies as Caroline runs into the room. We have another dream sequence/image of Liz saying goodbye to Caroline and it’s all really beautiful and meaning full – and dream Caroline has blood stained fangs. And Liz wakes up. She’s not dead. Defibrillators < crying vampire daughters and scary hallucinations.

Vampire Diaries that was a really beautiful death scene you just ruined. Though I approve, because Liz deserved a better send off than this. Elena leaves, followed by Damon, because this whole moving grief scene is not about her and she needs some distance from Caroline so she can be the centre of the angst. (Honestly, I kind of hate that we followed Elena out to focus on her pain rather than staying with Caroline and Liz). She then kisses Damon, of course she does; dying parents of good friends really turns her on.

Finally we go back to Caroline and Liz – and Liz stopping Caroline from blaming herself from the near death of her mother. They also touch on the fact that Liz is making death arrangements – putting the house in Caroline’s name – and why Caroline isn’t ready for that (though neither discuss the importance of disclosing home ownership when vampires-who-need-inviting-in are roaming around). Liz also makes Stefan promise he’ll look after Caroline when she’s gone. Caroline overhears and grieves

Damon finally remembers the whole released serial killer thing and catches up to Jo and the two unconscious brothers. They have to wait to see who wakes up as part of the ritual of the merge. Luke gasps

As does his father with Tyler and Liv. Daddy is not happy. He tells Liv they have to leave because Luke is gone – Kai won. Liv tearfully refuses to go with her dad, choosing to stay with Tyler despite her dad’s doubts that he can keep Liv safe.

Luke is dead, staring into space –and Kai stands up.

Ok, I’m going to just run with the idea that vampire blood accelerates cancer, just as I’m going to let it pass that Colin can stagger around, terminally ill and barely able to walk, yet still make it to Caroline’s door. But for a couple of weeks we’ve heard “vampire blood doesn’t cure cancer, if it did we would have heard about it,” well, with such a reliable vampire grapevine you’d think they’d have heard that vampire blood causes vampires-with-permanent-cancer.

Of course, any brief hope that Colin would survive and be more than a test subject is dashed. Note again how his suffering is presented – because he’s a non-character, a tool, his pain, suffering and death are all irrelevant to the cast except as an indication of the terrible fate that awaits Liz. It’s pretty much a perfect example of how the deaths of minority characters are used as tools or plot devices for other characters, rather than their own story arc. Let us also remember that Bonnie has completely disappeared

I have to admit a little double-take at Caroline organising the funeral - but organising parties and events is what she does. She’s good at it. It was a surprisingly subtle way of presenting her fleeing from an impossible situation

Which is another issue – while I’m glad that the plot is finally limping forward after weeks of distraction, I also think Liz (and some really great acting and emotion there) deserves more focus for such a long standing character and not have Kai whackily marauding all over her emotional dying scene.

Y’know, daddy Gemini talking about the merge means their already-dubious plan is looking way way way more worrisome.

Now, let’s get to the other big death. Vampire Diaries just killed off it’s only current gay character (this is the second gay death - after the already grossly homophobic death of the only other named gay character on the show). There is so much about Luke’s death that is enraging and insulting. This character has never been even slightly developed in all the time he’s been here. He’s never had a storyline, he’s never had a love interest (which makes him almost unique on this show!), he’s only ever served as a tool for his sister and Elena. He’s constantly been depicted as weak (again, I have to mention the scene where normal human football players manage to kidnap him) and cowardly and generally pointless – until the last few episodes when they TOLD us he was strong for the sake of Liv’s angst. And it was Liv’s angst. The objection to the twins merging has always been “Liv might not win” like the alternative would be totally acceptable. Not one person, not even Luke himself, has expressed a crumb of concern about LUKE being the one who might not survive. In fact, Luke is positively EAGER to sacrifice himself for the good of all his straight relatives and only considered delaying things when he realised he wouldn’t be the one to die for them. And now, he went out and found a way to do just that – to die for the sake of his straight sisters.

I actually don’t want there to be any kind of grieving or dramatic sadness over Luke’s death in the next few episodes because it will only be more insulting to imply that any character in this show was invested in Luke’s life with a last ditch attempt to make his death meaningful.