The Vampire Diaries – Episode 2-6 Review

I think I should move to Mystic Falls.  Sure, they’re ridden with supernatural killers, but man, do they know how to party!  Carnivals, Balls, costume parties….a week doesn’t seem to go by if they’re not having or planning some sort of gala.

So I finally got around to watching the first 15 minutes of this past week’s episode (hence why this is so late), and while the opening scene could have come off as hokey (with the switching of scenes while having the same actress portraying two characters doing the same thing with two different guys), I quite liked it.  And, again, while the clinched use of symbolism could have been a miss, I think it worked.  You had Elena looking innocent in her straight hair and white clothing, tenderly showing her affection for Stefan.  Meanwhile, you had Katherine, with wavy hair and wearing black, doing the same – in a far more aggressive manner – with Mason.

I’m going to do something different and begin with the revelation made at the end of the episode, where Katherine has been posing as Elena and was able to convince her to forego the usual tricks that were unknowingly protecting her – and, in turn, she used Jenna to get information – was quite interesting.  To tell you the truth, I actually thought they might kill her off, although I’m glad they didn’t.  There is always a temptation to “fill characters in” in these shows that deal with the supernatural.  Take Smallville, for example.  When the show began, only the Kents knew Clark’s secret.  But by the halfway seventh or eighth season or so, Pete, Chloe, Lana, Oliver, Lionel, Tess, and pretty much everybody other than Lois knew about it.  Hell, even Jimmy and Lex discovered Clark’s secret by the end of their run.  Ditto for Vampire Diaries.  Originally nobody knew about Stefan and Damon.  Now Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, Rick, and Jeremy are all in the know.  And Tyler is at the cusp of finding out, I suspect.

This is not a criticism, by any means.  To tell you the truth, I think Smallville worked a lot better once they freed themselves of the burden of creating these situations where Clark’s secret would be kept intact.  Nonetheless, a lot of these shows need that blissfully ignorant character in order to keep the various situations relatable to its audience.  And in this show, Jenna tends to fill that role.  Additionally, since they’re clueless about what’s going on around them, they develop an aura of innocence, making attacks such as these all the more tragic.  So I’m glad she “got lucky” and survived her self inflicted stab wound.  Besides, even though she’s not utilized all that often, I actually kinda like Jenna.  Again, she’s the one person Elena can interact with and sound like a genuine teenage girl.

However, we did get a somewhat surprising death nonetheless (another reason why I thought Jenna might bite the dust – the show has a tendency to kill off significant side characters with no warning or remorse), as Damon literally pulled out Mason’s heart, killing him instantly (which gave way to Stefan’s brilliantly nonchalant, “I see you used your usual restraint”).  I guess in hindsight Mason has pretty much served his purpose at this point, and now the attention can be shifted over to Katherine’s plot with Tyler and Matt.  Plus, we now have the fun of trying to figure out why Katherine so desperately needs a vampire.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really like Caroline all that much, but yet somehow, someway, she’s becoming the highlight of many of the episodes.  I thought the scenes with her and her mother were genuinely touching, especially when her mother told her “this isn’t what I wanted for you.”  I’ve been critical of the fact that Elena hasn’t really reacted to the fact that her best friend is now a vampire, so it was really refreshing to see somebody recognize the sad realization that this young girl is, like, actually dead.  And Caroline tearfully compelling her mother, forcing her to forget the time they spent together, genuinely bonding for the first time because she knew she would never be able to trust Damon and Stefan, was one of the most selfless things we’ve seen the character do.

Of course, yes, Bonnie HAS reacted to Caroline’s transformation, but to be honest I don’t find her blind response much better than Elena’s inaction.  Bonnie doesn’t seem to care about the fact that this girl she once cared very deeply for is now the walking dead.  Instead, she just unilaterally hates vampires, so now she’s got issues with Caroline as well.  I mean, who cares about the fact that she’s some innocent victim in this – a pawn in a game that’s been played for a hundred years.  Caroline’s a vampire now, so she’s bad in Bonnie’s eyes.  I wish they went a little deeper.

Oh, what’s happening next week in Mystic Falls?  That’s right – a costume party!

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