Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 8: We Have History Together

Damon and Stefan are now working for Cade, which means finding truly bad terrible people and killing them so their souls go to hell. And having a lot of evil fun while doing so

Their definitions of really terrible, evil people is very… lapse though. Compelling someone to admit they’d rather 6 people die so they can live? I mean, sure, it’s not the sign of moral rectitude, but “not a saint” or “not a martyr” seems like a super low bar for evil here. And, of course, it doesn’t bode well for the people they’re killing

Also perturbing Damon is Stefan’s feeding on human blood from the vein. Stefan has a terrible history of ripper-ness where he just goes completely off the rails and massacres people over and over. Stefan’s confident he can test his self control, Damon not so much.

Stefan is definitely having fun and he decides to focus on a doctor. A wonderful kind woman, who is definitely not evil – and he promptly arranges an incredibly elaborate scheme to tempt her to evil: basically to convince her that Damon is the man who killed her parents, put him in her care and then continually prod and poke her to kill him. Not good? Certainly. Worst of the worst? Maybe I just have a low opinion of humanity but I think Stefan’s pushing people into murder this strongly isn’t quite killing the worst of the worst: Damon’s certainly uncomfortable with it. Looks like Cade was right about how much fun Stefan would have as his Ripper.

Of course, the doctor has been chosen for a reason, she resembles Elena, her history is reminiscent of Elena – and she’s all designed to poke Damon’s humanity. He’s been walking around with Elena’s necklace and Stefan is convinced his conscience is poking through: his humanity switch it inching to “on.” To prove otherwise Damon throws away the necklace and kills the doctor

But afterwards goes looking for the necklace still.

I think it says everything about this show that we can totally skip over the killing of a young doctor dedicated so much to helping others, but finding a necklace is the emotional path-to-redemption moment

Oh, and Stefan succumbs to ripperdom and slaughters a hospital: this is like his 9th massacre and I’m sure we’ll forgive him this one as well.

Over to Caroline who is happily recapping everything for us and now working as a journalist (apparently; not bad for someone who never ever attended school). And she has a job to go report on Mystic Fall high school preparation for Founders day

AAAAAARGH, the horrible flashbacks to early seasons where all these characters ever did was prepare for one founders’ celebration or another?! And my gods how little news can a town have where a story about a high school preparing for a parade makes the paper? C’mon this is a town where every supernatural thing in the world regularly massacres people and this is the news they have?

Turns out it’s all a ploy and the town isn’t that boring – though Caroline is very much that foolish for falling for it. The history teacher is Sybil, the Siren

Because every supernatural thing is obsessed with this flyspec town in the middle of nowhere

She has used her siren powers to control the whole class – and can even shut off their minds with a thought (that’s new – and a very convenient plot twist power) to stop Caroline just snapping her neck (as I said, convoluted and convenient). She wants Caroline’s help to find a bell that was thrown into a river and is happy to burn all the kids to death if she doesn’t co-operate. And if Caroline doesn’t do what the hostage taker says and Sybil kills people those deaths will be Caroline’s fault and totally on her hell tally

I wish I could say this is just a lie on her part – but, really, with this show’s morality who knows?

So what’s with this bell that as thrown in the river during a Founder’s Day parade (hah)!? For that we have to turn to he-who-should-be-dead:


Yes he’s still around. How a show with this many casualties and this many actors leaving it has managed to cling onto someone so pointless for so long amazes me. Matt is, yes, still around and drops in to see Dorian (Alaric’s new student who is now looking after the Armoury and putting his life at risk for reasons we’re told rather than shown. We could spend time developing this-soon-to-be-snack-food but instead we have Matt. And his dad). While there he meets, yes, his dad and all the daddy issues come out to play.

And, y’know I’m slightly annoyed at the whole recitation of his family history – because he had a point about how their family were as much founders as any others but because they had money they were reduced and mocked. I can understand Daddy Matt throwing the bell in the river (a siren nuking bell since it magnifies the tuning fork of doom) because it’s something his family made for the town that had never acknowledged them. This is a good storyline and a good analysis of class and needed to have been included in the useless Matt’s story from the beginning. This is one thing the books actually did better than the tv series (here ends the only praise I will ever ever ever give those horrendously awful books) – Matt was the poor one who stood out starkly next to the clearly affluent Elena but this was all pretty glossed over on the TV show, touched on in passing. Similarly Matt’s daddy issues (or the fact that everyone’s parents have been pretty much gone since they were 15) has barely been brushed on. So this suddenly appearing? Well, nice it’s been addressed but a bit late

And most of it feels like some kind of weird justification for Daddy Matt for why he hasn’t been around – which makes it all feel less like an exploration and more like a really dubious excuse.

They do do some research about the bell of anti-sirenness and they know where it now is – which they tell Caroline so she and Sybil can go bell hunting while Matt and Daddy Matt can untie all the kids from the stakes before they’re burned by another mind controlled kid with a torch. Personally I’d have taken away the torch first, but then you wouldn’t have the tense ending.

When Sybil goes for the bell she finds her even eviller sister Selene has got their first and left a snarky note. Rather than being eaten by a vampire, Sybil suggests she may still have a connection to Caroline’s kids and be able to do the remote brain death thing. She probably can’t but is she going to take a risk

She also pokes Caroline’s love of Stefan – because Caroline is so sure Stefan will come back from whatever ripper rampage he’s on (again) and she will forgive him for all the deaths (again). But Sybil (speaking my mind) asks what will happen the next time Stefan falls off the wagon… especially if Caroline wants a life with him and her little kids?