Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Vampire Diaries - "The Killer" Review

DISCLAIMER: Okay.  Back above water for a little while.  Going to see if I can catch up on some reviews.  Spun the wheel, and The Vampire Diaries came up.  I'm going to try to burn through as many of these as possible and try to catch up.  As of this moment, I have not seen any episode past "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes", so much of my musings and revelations will be in the present tense, and I may attempt predictions that have already been clearly disproven for those of you who are caught up.  Such is life.


Now then.  Allow me to review "The Killer" with a succession of coherent yet disjointed paragraphs.

First thing that struck me here was what felt like a typical retcon in tried and true Vampiries style.  Killing a hybrid is now apparently as easy as decapitation or removing of the heart.  Did i miss that memo?  Seriously, I may have, but I seem to recall these things being deemed unkillable a long while ago.  Wasn't that why Klaus was such a pain in the ass to get rid of before the whole bloodline revelation?  At least as far as his minions were concerned.  Wasn't that why we had to figure out long-winded work-arounds featuring desiccation and witchcraft and whatnot?  You'd think that the whole "go for the head" thing would've been exhausted by these people at some point before resorting to more desperate measures.

This new professor guy seems more primed and ready to fill the shoes of this season's big bad with every word out of his mouth.  I'll imagine they'll try to humanize him more with sympathetic motivations, and just when we think he might turn the corner, his most dastardly plan yet will shine through.

The reintroduction of the voice-over diary was a surprisingly awesome addition.  I had forgot I had missed it.  In fact, I'm not sure I would have had it been a weekly staple of the series, given its rocky beginnings.  The device would have most likely just turned into a trite, sophomoric crutch to highlight the high-school-esque drama that this series has struggled to deviate from, all with the purpose of providing quotable fodder for self-involved thirteen year old girls with Facebook profiles.  I have to say though, it worked well here, mostly since so much has happened since it was last used, and it's nice to see the show actually acknowledging an aspect of its premise so huge it's in the fucking title.  The whole "I haven't wanted to write it down" was a clever wink to the audience.  I mean, who has the time?  With the homework, the events, the the inter-dimensional battle between unstoppable immortals?

Line of the episode: "Classic shame spiral."

In his quest to be either irrelevent or a sitting duck, Matt chose the latter this week.  He, fake Anna, and Jeremy are kidnapped by Connor and it's up to an increasingly hostile and mistrusting Salvatore brother's to figure out the best way to remedy the situation.  Naturally, Damon wants to go in guns hot, and Stefan wants to take his time and properly assess the situation.  Arguments ensue, all while Stefan is being all duplicitous with Klaus in the hopes of retrieving a cure for Elena.

I kinda wish the humans in this series would just start having psychotic breaks with this whole compulsion thing.  I mean, imagine going through existence not knowing if your thoughts are your own or fabricated, or if youve lost big chunks of your life and emotions?  That kinda shit makes my skin crawl.

"The Killer" featured probably the most faced paced fun of any episode yet this season, and I liked how everyone in the group worked together, which I will stress again should be a driving theme of this show.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to make the most of it because, like in so many episodes, the cast is scattershot for most of the proceedings.

Loved Hayley's, "I don't do teen drama" line.  Very self aware and deprecating.  Good sign, though it looks like they've pulled the trigger on the estrangement of Tyler and Caroline.  And the world went, "mehhhh" and then psyche.  Cooler heads prevail and they plan a ruse.  That was a perfect way to illustrate the strengths of another relationship that should not be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Dean's death was especially brutal, and awesome.

So, I guess "something's going to happen to Jeremy" eventually, because they've delivered that foreshadowing with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.  And I guess that "thing" will be that he's turned into a Hunter compelled and hell-bent on the destruction of his sister and her ilk.  Nothing surprising there, but Jeremy's resistance to such a calling could make for some great character moments.  With Connor dead a tad before cue,  it's a matter of time before that shoe drops.

The bonnie stuff kind of fell flat for me this week, mostly because she once again had nothing to do but sulk in a corner.  I'm sure there's something to this whie hypnosis thing and the professor will reveal his grand plan soon and shell get to be thrust into the main storyline again but until that happens it was just boring.

The episodes highlight for me, as it tends to be, was the touching moment between the brothers, though I thought it interesting that the brothers only mentioned the cure as it pertains to Elena and not, you know, them...or everyone else for that matter.  Seemed pretty short sighted.  Why sit and argue like two old-fashioned patriarchs about what is "best" for your woman like she's some child instead of extrapolating what this could mean for everyone involved?  Maybe thats part of Brooding Vampire 101.  Lesson the first: you are not worth it, and always with the chivalry.  The creepier the better.

Unfortunately, much of the good that this episode had to offer was negated by Elena, and her especially perplexing reaction to her killing of Connor.  I get what they were going for with Elena's grief, and Nina Dobrev was fantastic, but honestly, Connors not exactly the kill to get weepy about.  He was determined to kill you, and did in fact stab you, but I guess in Elena's heightened world their is no room for rationalization, which I guess I can get behind and the show seems intent enough to clearly display it as her achilles heel.  However, it was executed extremely poorly, mostly due to the choice of having Connor be the excuse for the meltdown, which just didn't jibe.

She gets pissed at Damon for not protecting her brother, yet that's exactly what she did by killing Connor, which apparently was also soooo terrible.  The logic just doesn't fit.  Because of this, much of Elena's emotional vitriol came across as whiny histrionics than a genuine emotional imbalance, and it threatens to damage the character.  Get it together, woman.  You're not helping.  Kinda ruined what was other wise a great episode. 

Regardless, it would appear as if Elena is officially breaking, and that they will be manifesting the oft mentioned "humanity switch" by way of schizophrenia ala Angelus.  Meh.

Still, the shower scene toward the end formed a nice bookend to the diary scene, and I think the biggest reason why they both worked so effectively was that by episodes end, it almost felt like the entries and blood washing away were the last remnants of Elena being sucked out of the body her new self now inhabits.  The tragedy of the young, smart, beautiful and altruistic teen has run its course, and these last few pages are a way of letting go;  Of forever preserving her memory.  Her short but storied past now rests peacefully on the pages of history.

Now if only this "new" Elena would stop whining...


78% = *** = "Good"


-VMA

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