Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 9: The Simple Intimacy of Near Touch

Stefan and Damon are still on their massacring spree, well Stefan is. Damon’s along kind of reluctantly for the ride, when Sybil calls

She still wants this sire-killing bell. The bell has three parts: The bell, the tuning fork of ancient devilness we’ve seen before (currently held by Dorian) and an iron ball that Matt used to have which Damon stole at Sybil’s insistence. He’s been carrying it around for a while. Which is why she calls him and asks him to bring it back because no-one escapes Mystic Falls! You will be back! You’ll all be back!

Damon can’t tell her no because of the tinkering in his head though it’s not as strong as it was. Stefan is happy to go along just to get rid of annoying external influences on his brother which is totally killing his murder buzz

So, to Mystic Falls, where we’re having a Mystic Falls beauty pageant

Seriously, this town – how do they get anything done? It’s a non-stop array of parties and parades and pageants. It’s a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, you’d think people would get bored of the endless formal gatherings. No-one in this town wears jeans but they’ve all got 8 tuxes or 11 parties dresses.

Just about the whole gang can turn up to this teenaged beauty pageant – Caroline because she’s organising it (of course she is) and everyone else because absolutely no-one in this town bats an eye at all these adults gate crashing a celebration for teenaged beauty queens despite they’re not being related to any of them. Because creepiness like this is the least of Mystic Fall’s problems

Actually, aside, given how many of these events have ended in massacres, why does the town keep having these? In fact, after all the many many massacres and an event that forced them to evacuate the entire town for months, why is this town even still here?! At this point surely some authority somewhere has decided the best thing to do would be to carpet bomb the whole place and then salt the earth?

Anyway, Damon and Stefan join Sybil and Damon tells her no. She tries to get into his head only to be painfully ejected – Damon isn’t playing her game any more. She’s more than a little shocked by this but Stefan points out her mistake: bringing Damon back to Mystic Falls during the Pageant – the Pageant Elena won and was the first time Damon fell in love with her – was pretty much peak Elena. Sybil only buried Elena in his mind but, as every watcher of this show knows, Elena never, ever, ever goes away. Like herpes.

There begins a mini war as Stefan and Sybil try to flush the Elena from Damon, Sybil resorting to trying to get Damon to suppress the memories as they will invoke his humanity and cause The Guilts because of all the nasty things he’s done that everyone will forgive him for in 2 weeks. This is evidences by Caroline working with Damon reminding him how pure and special and wonderful the love between Damon and Elena is. Hey, remember when Damon bit Caroline, treated her like a toy, compelled her and I even think raped her under compulsion? All bygones! In this case Caroline is invested in Damon’s 8th time round the redemption train because she needs to believe Stefan will become back to her on his 6th time round.

This battle for Damon’s hearty/mind/soul ends when Sybil gives her ultimatum and Damon hits her round the head with the big iron ball. Oopsie. After some more shenanigans, Sybil ends up chained in a dungeon for Damon to do some torturing – which ends in a tense stalemate as they fight in Damon’s guilt ridden subconscious

But there’s another battle for good/evil/humanity/conveniently forgetting all the bodies. Caroline wants Stefan to find a way out of Cade’s deal and come back and marry her. She’s ready to stand with him and support him – all of which Stefan decides makes her evil and hellbound. I can kind of see the guilt of supporting evil passively but honestly this is like the third time this season Vampire Diaries has had an evil person say “you’re evil and going to hell because of shit I’m doing/making you do!” which is broken and more so when this show has such a terrible history for moral lessons, light speed redemption trains and gross forgiveness.

It seems Cade is right, Stefan is so loving his new ripperness and leaving bodies piling up all around him that he has no wish to go back to Caroline. He’s having fun. And his whole motive here was to try and get his brother on board with the fun – which hasn’t work. So Stefan ditches Damon (with a stake) and, when Caroline finally confronts him (over the body of a beauty pageant winner he’s just vampired) with an excellent line about the difference between “happiness” and “fun” (Caroline is definitely one of the better characters on this show) she gives him back his ring. And stakes him.

Which leaves her free to mentor the new tearful vampire

Meanwhile along the plot points, Dorian and Matt are gathering bell bits despite Sybil apparently sirening pretty much the entire police force. For some reason they’ve also decided to trust Selene because ye gods why?! Apparently, according to Selene, the bell can only be rung by someone of Matt’s bloodline

Yes, it’s taken 8 seasons but there is now a purpose to Matt.

And we have Bonnie and Enzo, back from Paris and a little aside from the action because they have their own conflict. Firstly, Enzo keeps pushing Bonnie out of the firing line, afraid for her. And for good reason – Bonnie is human, she has no witchy-woo and she isn’t a vampire: basically unless she has Matt’s bizarre plot armour, any conflict has a good chance of her neck being snapped or her blood drunk or other untoward things happening to her. He’s worried, desperately afraid of living alone without her now they’re so in love (honest)

Which, of course, brings up another point – Bonnie is human so after a few decades he is going to have to be without her. And Enzo has given her a nice present: a vial of his blood as a symbol of his eternal devotion. Oh and a convenient way for her to turn herself into a vampire if she needs to.

Bonnie is a little conflicted on this – which is something because, as she said, a year ago she would outright have rejected it. Having seen the struggles of Elena, Caroline, Damon and Stefan she wanted no part of being a vampire (their struggles – not the huge pile of bodies they regularly leave in their wake. This is Vampire Diaries after all). But now she loves Enzo and sees the good in vampires (and not the huge pile of bodies he’s left in his wake as well).

But, still, her life is tied to Elena’s and Elena will wake up when she dies and who knows what will happen if she turns into a vampire. For the sake of the precious Elena Herpes, Bonnie must remain human. She does suggest Enzo taking the cure so they can die together

I don’t know why fiction thinks dying together is so wonderful. And no-one ever considers that this also would open up the chance for, say, Enzo to die in a car accident 3 years from now? Nope, removing immortality guarantees you a nice old age of romantic arthritis and… honestly I’ve never known an Octogenarian proclaim how amazing being elderly is.