Saturday, February 14, 2015

Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 14: Stay

Oooh a flashback to when Liz was more actively sheriff and kind of awesome. I’m definitely up for an episode all about Liz… except this flashback was then about Elena’s parents dying so I suspect the exposition of Liz is going to fall into the big gravity well that is Elena.

Yes, in the present while packing up her things she is drawn to pull out the Gilbert file of Jeremy and Elena’s parents’ death again

Or maybe it’ll be about Jeremy – because we see Damon compel some actual qualifications for Jeremy out of his teacher and Alaric and Matt drinking with Jeremy to say goodbye (hilariously, Vampire Diaries pretends for a second that Alaric might, might, possibly object to underage drinking. Like every kid on this show hasn’t been hitting the hard liquor since they were 14. Not that I blame them given the storylines and Elena’s constant presence). The going away party is interrupted because the eternally obsessed and unnecessary Enzo has arranged for Sarah Salvatore to drop in and be escorted around by the equally unnecessary Matt.

Damon and Elena don’t even try to pretend they didn’t compel Jeremy’s graduation out of his teacher (and Damon is delightfuly snarky about Jeremy’s complete lack of any academic achievement. He also makes a joke about killing Jeremy. Again. Which I have to admit is funny and I have to almost appreciate Vampire Diaries completely mocking their own morality. Someone on the writing team knows EXACTLY what awful material they’re working with).

Elena and Jeremy try to have a sibling bonding moment. They don’t sell it to me – they’ve been largely separate for far too long. The happy smiling and eating chips could, possibly, have redeemed it but Elena has a pity party in the middle, completely ruining the whole moment.

Alas, Elena is called off and Enzo makes an appearance to menace Jeremy and force Matt to co-operate further in his inane plan. Enzo has Mat lure Sarah to a spooky deserted tunnel – then runs Matt over in a hit and run. Enzo then arrives to save Matt with his vampire blood – in front of Sarah.

Caroline and Stefan are moving all of Liz’s stuff to an isolated cabin so she can die in peace surrounded by lots of stuff she loves (and, apparently, the Gilbert parent case because everything must revolve around Elena somehow). They flirt some and Caroline has the idea that Stefan is only there because Liz asked him to be because she is just that bad at reading signals. They also break out the booze as they continue to bond over Stefan comforting Caroline over her mother’s impending death and they finally kiss.

On to Damon and Liz who manage to put more feeling and emotion in a few short words than most of the cast pull off with epic melt downs. Liz doesn’t want to leave her job with so many open cases and unfinished business. Damon helps, awesomely opening files and announcing “this one was me” over and over again.

These tiny side issues aside we turn to the REALLY IMPORTANT CASE Elena’s parents’ ACCIDENTAL death. Because ELENA! Damon swears earnestly that he wasn’t involved (because all the other murders are totally ok, but being involved in killing Elena’s family – except Jeremy – would just be devastating). Ah but there’s a reason for this – Liz has been sitting on a taped phone call from Miranda, Elena’s mother, for the last SIX SEASONS in which Miranda says she needs to talk to Liz urgently. This being Mystic Falls they reach for the booze and make more snarky comments about Damon’s many many many murders.

They call Elena in so they can further investigate the deaths and after consulting Jeremy they realise that all the spooky elements of the deaths were easily explained. The Gilbert parents died in an accident – case closed; which rather deflates Liz. She leaves the file behind – with her badge.

With Liz and Enzo, Jeremy decides he needs to stay in a mistaken belief that he can actually help in some way (yes, he’s an hunter, but when was the last time the show remembered that?) Alaric and Elena throw back it’s best he leaves town before something murders him (again).

Alaric takes him to… the bus stop, not the airport. No, Jeremy isn’t going to art school, he’s becoming a roving hunter. At least before he leaves he belatedly remembers Bonnie.

Damon tucks Liz up in bed and she cries over the accident in a perfect cathartic moment (though I still have to snark about “good person” thing when we consider the murders she overlooked/covered up) and the uniqueness of her being an ordinary person in Mystic Falls, dying an ordinary death. As he pours her a drink (after promising to write her eulogy) she collapses and is taken to hospital.

Caroline arrives and cries because she didn’t have time to say goodbye. She continues to be angry with herself for not being with her while Stefan comforts her and teaches her how to enter Liz’s memories – a power vampires had many seasons before which has been forgotten since then. As she shares happy memories, Liz dies.

Should I be amused that every criticism levelled at Jeremy’s school record applies to Elena (and Caroline) as well – only several times over? Only she got into college and there’s no suggestion of supernatural shenanigans. How valuable are grades in Celebrating the Founders, Throwing Parties and Mary Sueness?

I repeat, someone on the writing team KNOWS how broken The Vampire Diaries morality is and positively revels in lampshading it. And it’s hilarious. Damon merrily recounting his many murders while Liz looks on with her “oh you silly scamp” face is wonderfully ridiculous.

I don’t buy Jeremy’s roving hunter idea – because it stretches even The Vampire Diaries morality too far. He’s going to hunt evil monsters? Enzo, Damon, Stefan all have death counts that put them on that list! The chances of him finding something more evil (and capable of killing) out there than at home is dubious. And what about the whole hypocrisy of it? Going out to be a roving vampire hunter while some of your best friends and family are murdering vampires? Are we even going to try and untwist this?

But, in all honesty, I’m kind of glad he’s gone. That’s not a snark at the actor who was quite decent and grew into the role, but because the show clearly has no idea what to do with him (or Matt, or Enzo, or Alaric) and his character was becoming less and less relevant in a show that was already cluttered

I mentioned it before but I’m not happy about Caroline and Stefan kissing. Yes it has been on the cards for a long time but this is the worst possible timing. Caroline is emotional, vulnerable, grieving, insecure and generally in the worst place in her life. All in all, it’s the worst time to enter a romantic relationship or to think she’s making rational emotional decisions. I just really don’t like the idea of a relationship starting when someone is at their lowest, desperate and most vulnerable moments

Now Liz is dead and I think she almost got the send off she deserved. Almost. I think Enzo’s silly scheme unnecessarily polluted the who setting, but otherwise it was perfect with a lot of emotional, powerful scenes and some truly excellent character interactions.

A couple of episodes ago, Vampire Diaries mentioned what good friends Damon and Liz were and I snarked because we’ve never seen it. Well, this episode shows us just how perfect, amazing and awesome that friendship would have been if we’d got to see it. If these scenes between Damon and Liz are indicative of what we could have had then I feel terribly cheated.

Last episode it was all about bringing Bonnie back… we’ve forgotten now? Is this a new thing? Every year on Bonnie’s birthday they’ll make a token attempt to reach her then skip to next year?