1) One of the things I think the show's done a really good job building up over the years is the idea that no one is better than anyone else, as far as supernatural races go. If anyone's the best, it's humans; vampires miss being human, witches are always trying to protect us. But as a trade-off, we're basically made out of wet paper and are vulnerable to everything: vampires, witches turning us into serial killers, werewolves, you name it.

Vampires are physically the most powerful, with the most abilities, but they're unnatural and everything wants them dead or destroyed. Werewolves are natural, the same way witches are, but they will legit kill humans they run across and they don't particularly feel bad about it, and they're slowly dying out. Witches are natural; witches are the gatekeepers of the supernatural world. They also have no problem making decisions for everyone else re: whether or not vampires should exist (here's a hint: THEY ALREADY DO) and treat humans, at best, like chess pieces. God knows we've heard enough that hybrids should not exist, but they have all the strengths of both vampires and werewolves and not a shitload of weaknesses. Now you have hunters, specifically The Five--specifically Connor. I'm sure he has perfectly valid reasons for hating vampires, but in the time we've seen him he's gravely wounded a teenage girl to use as vampire bait, and taken people hostage. I repeat: OUR HERO HAS TAKEN HOSTAGES.

Vampires might be awful, but Caroline Forbes is fucking amazing; werewolves will straight up kill you, but Mason Lockwood did a pretty good job maintaining a regular life. Witches are all-powerful, but Sheila Bennett held down a teaching position and didn't try to play god; and right now, there's no one in Mystic Falls as great as Matt Donovan, regular human guy.

I don't know. I like that the show goes to great lengths to show us that no one's really better than anyone else. Humans might be the weakest of the bunch, but everyone keeps clutching us to their bosoms, you know>

2) It's horrifying to realize, but: other than Caroline, Damon is the best adjusted vampire on this show. I just--I feel like that explains so much.

3) Professor Shane = DICKFACE. Seriously, that--I'm not going to like anyone going after Our Heroes, but you basically tossed a crazy military guy with no compunctions about committing murder into a small town whose water supply is all booze, and you expect there not to be bodies? And you're going to use Bonnie for something? DICKFACE.

4) Elena's actually writing in her diary! That's great, because otherwise we'd have to start calling it The Vampire Living History, and that's a little too wordy.

5) The back of the Grill looked sparse. Seriously. That--I have shelves like that! In my pantry! You are a place of business, jeez.

6) "This is classic shame spiral." THANK YOU. Only been using that phrase for 4 seasons now.

7) "You kids need to get some vervain." Yeah, that only works if you don't HORRIBLY MURDER THEM, ASSHOLE.

8) Oh, man, you know who I feel terrible for? April. She's clearly not just cannon fodder, the way most teenagers on this show are; she almost died her first week out, and now she's a hostage. Welcome to the X-Men, kid. Hope you survive the experience.

9) Oh, small-town Virginia and your sudden propensity for faulty gas lines! That's like the rash of mountain lion attacks in Beacon Hills, California. Or, you know, that giant lizard that killed all their deputies. Work on your stories, is what I'm saying.

10) No, for real, Stefan, who died and put you in charge? (Elena, probably.)

11) BONNIE NO WHY DO YOU TRUST THAT GUY. I mean yeah, he's hot, but he's a stranger! Nothing good has ever come of trusting a stranger on this show! That's how people (literally) get their hearts ripped out and parts of the hospital destroyed! I get that you want to find your way back to magic, but for real, he is sketchy as fuck and you do not know him.

12) DO NOT DRINK THE ROOFIE TEA WHAT ARE YOU DOING BONNIE BENNETT.

13) Seriously. The second Shane was all "so when did you take off your earring", I would have clocked him in the head with his pot of tea and fucking bolted. BONNIE YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH VAMPIRES NOT REMEMBERING THINGS IS BAD.

14) Alaric Saltzman: still helping from beyond the grave. I don't know what's sadder, still having his apartment or still having all his stuff in the apartment. I think both. (Five bucks says Damon's the one paying rent, or whammying the owner into thinking he's paying rent.)

15) "...right alongside seven stakes, some kind of weird MacGyver crossbow, and the last remaining vervain in Mystic Falls." That's my Mr. Saltzman.

16) Wow, Connor making a werewolf venom dirty bomb is not at all awful and horrible! Say, like, VAMPIRES EXISTING. You're not any better, buddy, don't let yourself think otherwise.

17) And then Stefan, in a move that's either amazing or dickish but (being Salvatores) probably has elements of both, stabs Damon with vervain to knock him out and pockets his ring so he can't follow. Y'all have the weirdest sense of commitment to family, I swear.

18) Aaaaaaaaand now we're doing the twin switch, but with personalities: Stefan's making decisions for Elena, for her own good, while Damon's irritated she's making her own decisions but urging her to be smart about them. This season is gonna end with Delena boning, isn't it? I don't--I'm sorry, I'm still on Team I Choose Me on this one.

19) "Sorry, I don't do teen drama."

Which. Okay. That. Hooooo boy, this is a problem.

It's not even teen drama, really; I don't know how old Haley is, but Caroline is basically in her fifties, at this point, because Mystic Falls is a goddamned war zone, and that ages you. And considering that Tyler never told Caroline about Haley whatsoever--and I don't mean fucking her, okay, I mean "breaking the sire bond was rough, and I made some friends to help me through it, and ALSO one of them was a girl"--and Haley is walking around in a cute little sundress and has apparently been staying with Tyler for a few days without Caroline knowing, that. It is hinky, Lockwood, 's all I'm saying. (Also, there's the whole "werewolves hate vampires on sight" thing, which I suspect has something to do with it.)

I can't blame Caroline for being sort of sketched out and confused. I can blame Tyler for not straight up saying anything, because--dude, you live in Mystic Falls, secrets come back to bite you in the ass literally every 15 minutes. I'm totally calling Haley becoming a problem that needs to be Handled, but I'd rather she not be. We'll see.

20) Dear Mystic Grill owners: You guys live in Mystic Falls. I would rip that bricked-over wine cellar open ASAP, just in case, you know, ghouls become a thing. Or pumas! Something! Seriously, you basically live on a Hellmouth: the more exits you have, the better.

21) So Connor's friend became a vampire, and...he killed her. Still not loving him, you guys.

22) "Vampires kill humans. Hunters kill vampires." Which leads to the logical follow-up question, though you could really say anything kills hunters, because they're basically just humans with badass ghost tattoos.

23) Stefan gets out Matt and April. Thank God, because we owe a death a year and Matt is looking way too good for it. NOT PUDDING POP, PLEC.

24) And then, of course, Jeremy gets grievously wounded, because: The Vampire Diaries. I totally get him being horrified about being compelled for the fourteenth time, though.

25) I'm not going to lie: one of my favorite things about this show is the way Salvatores say "brother" the way other people would say "fuck you, asshole".

26) Oh, Damon's hand around Stefan's heart! It was about time for your yearly death threat, wasn't it? Good times.

27) "You missed."

I--okay, again, this could just be me, but I don't honestly think Elena should be freaking out about this. The first person Caroline killed was that really hot carnie that Bonnie was flirting with--remember? A billion years ago? She killed him because she was hungry, and scared, and didn't know any better. No one had told her what she was, yet.

This isn't that. This is Elena, down in the dark with a man who threatened her friends and her brother--her brother, the only family she has left--and who was going to kill her, and Stefan, and Damon and Tyler and Caroline. Everyone she loves, almost everyone she has left. He'd have done it because of what they were, not who they are. He didn't care that Caroline is the reigning Miss Mystic Falls, or that Tyler didn't have a choice about being a hybrid, or that Stefan and Damon are here because they made a poor romantic choice in 1864. He'd have done it because they're vampires, and not for any other reason.

This is life in a war zone, Elena. People die. You can feel bad about it, that it was necessary, but don't feel guilty. Burying him was a good thing, but don't mourn him. Don't mourn yourself.

28) Aaaaaaand again, Bonnie got hypnotized into forgetting SEVEN HOURS HAD PASSED, and she thinks it's GREAT? BONNIE NO. BAD BENNETT. A strange dude is teaching you how to handle your own power, and you're losing time, and AAAAAAAAAAAGH.

(That said, I will legit forget all these complaints if they end in Bonnie--Dark Phoenix or otherwise--using said newfound power to kill Professor Shane for thinking he could control her. This show could do with a little more "men being punished for thinking they could harness the sheer awesomeness of ladies", quite frankly.)

29) "You told me to kill him. So I did." OH MY GOD NO YOU DIDN'T. You didn't kill Connor because Damon told you to, okay? If I tell you to eat a lasagna and you do, and it messes with your stomach, is that my fault? NO, because you are a goddamned legal adult who can make her own choices, Elena. You can be mad at Damon for encouraging a general air of "violence is not always bad", but for killing this one specific dude? No. You did that. You were not talked into it by the goddamned Batman. Damon's great at talking people into shit, but mostly through compulsion.

30) Okay! Tyler! So just tell Caroline you're working with Haley to free other hybrids and stop letting her think you banged her in the Appalachians somewhere! And maybe tell Haley to take it down a notch, because banging or no, she would like there to be some. Banging, I mean.

31) Oh, man, April's confused little face about "we were in the Grill, but it's closed, and then we went to Tyler's house and I talked to Caroline and now I don't remember stuff" is horrifying. Necessary, but horrifying. Nice touch with the vervain bracelet, Littlest Gilbert.

32) Aaaaaaaaaaaaand of course Jeremy Gilbert: one of the Five. (I will say that McQueen is rocking fake ghost tats, for real.)

33) Damon saying he'll take Elena either way he can get her? Unsurprising. Damon saying "if we do this, I'm doing it for you" to Stefan? UGH SALVATORES HOW DO YOU EVEN. Best brothers on TV, by far.

34) And now, (possibly) committing murder is giving Elena shame nosebleeds and bloody hallucinations! This won't end poorly at all.

NEXT WEEK: There are apparently consequences to killing a hunter! (Tell that to Alaric Saltzman I'M NEVER GONNA BE OVER IT, OKAY.) Hallucinations! Jeremy Gilbert, Secret Vampire Hunter! KATHERINE MOTHERFUCKING PIERCE! "We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes, next Thursday, 8 PM EST.
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