Vampire Diaries Episode 15: A Few Good Men
The first season of Vampire Diaries has already had several schizophrenic fits and starts. It doesn’t bode well for its renewal when the second half of the season produced only two new episodes, and then another break until last night.
Blame it on the Olympics? Blame it on March Madness? I’m not quite sure what the problem is with the scheduling for Diaries, but it’s helping to lose my already waning interest when they can’t air three new episodes in a row.
What’s great about this show? Damon Salvatore. The evil vampire is the only actor with any captivating screen presence – played with malevolent glee by Ian Somerhalder. Most folks will probably remember him as Boone from “Lost” (before he met his untimely end) or Paul Denton from ” The Rules of Attraction.”
The rest of the plot unfolds something along these lines: 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (played by the dark-haired and smokey voiced Nina Dobrev) is introduced to the audience only four months after the death of both her parents in an auto accident. She and her bumbling, stoner brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) are now living with their frazzled Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning). Their friends and family all encourage them to get over their grief, and even their teachers give them a hard time about it. Huh. Maybe that’s the drawback of living in a small town?
Elena has the misfortune of looking like the dead lover/vampire whom the brothers quarreled over a century before. Pretty twisted, and already piled with loads of plot and side characters (her best friend, Bonnie, is a witch). It’s based on a Young Adult book series of the same name written in the early 90s, which has been slightly modified and revamped (hah!) to fit with the current decade. Also the books are being republished. Check the wiki here.
What kills me with this show is the pacing, the often-times pointless drama and the weak characterizations. While it does quite often ride head and shoulders above “Twilight” in terms of having…ya know…an actual PLOT, it’s populated with a male and female lead that are sinfully boring. Not the actors mind you, they are giving their full skill to creating people with personalities, but when the characters are such Puritans…it’s hard to generate much appeal.
Stefan and Elena rarely make tough moral decisions, and are mostly around to clean up in the wake of the evil vampires which are constantly streaming through the town. Poor Stefan has to play the role of the serious, brooding vamp with his out-of-control eyebrows, and he does so pitch perfectly. But that archetype has been done to death in pop culture.
And no one makes broody eyebrows better than Angel.
Which leads to my earlier statement – how deliciously sinful the presence of Damon becomes. He reminds me more than a little bit of Spike (another Buffy alum). Without him, there would be no forward progression of plot (again – Spike’s scheming tacked on at least three seasons to Buffy’s shelf life). But the writers can’t seem to decide if they want audience sympathy or complete revulsion, and Damon’s character often seems like a split personality – wavering between completely evil in one scene, to something resembling compassion and reason in the next. Consistency is sorely needed.
It doesn’t help that so much of the show is without humor. BTVS worked because of it’s light-hearted nature and comedic timing, whereas Vampire Diaries is a touch too clunky and angsty.
Now that we’re all up to speed…
Episode 15: A Few Good Men
*Spoilers – if you haven’t watched the episode*
The title relates to the Eligible Bachelor Auction happening in the sleepy town of Mystic Falls, but it could also be a play on the Salvatore brothers, who are the few good(?) men vying for the affection of Elena. Whatever the case – the auction itself is of little to no interest, it’s really just a scheme to get our characters to interact with each other around the central drive of this week’s episode: Elena’s lineage.
It turns out she’s adopted (which is ultimately less cool than if her dead parents really had some Vamp blood). AND her baby mama is the ex-wife of the shady new History Teacher, Alaric Saltzman, who is gunning to take down Damon for her death. So, Damon killed Elena’s blood mother. How will he ever get in her pants now?
For some reason only Stefan and Alaric get to know all the details about the adoptive mother Isobel – and Stefan runs around trying to piece everything together (and keep Elena and Damon in the dark) long after the audience already knows and has moved on.
This is further proof that the pacing of the entire series is off. The show thrives on its continuing plot-lines, but seems to forget some of the major events that happen from one episode to the next. Like what about Bonnie’s dead Grams (played by the super awesome Jasmine Guy)? Pretty sure that happened last episode, but we see hide nor hair of Bonnie, dead Grams, or any sort of grieving.
Characters not grieving over the loss of loved ones is absolutely irritating, and I’ve given up watching other television shows for similar antics (Heroes).
There’s no mention of her appearing in next week’s episode either, or even a sentence about Bonnie dealing with her sudden loss.
Also – the attempt to unearth ex-lover-dead-vampire-Katherine from her tomb (hello, she wasn’t there) actually set a horde of hungry vampires loose on the town. Or maybe it was just one…or two. Yeah, I think it was two. We only see TWO in this episode anyways. And why is he allowed to wander around in broad daylight, unharmed by the rays of the sun? I dunno. A magic ring, maybe.
What we discover in this episode: Elena’s blood-mother is a vampire-obsessed woman, who becomes a full-fledged vampire turned by Stefan. Totally hot, so in a way he’s like Elena’s evil Step-Daddy. If only Isobel didn’t want Elena dead. Maybe? It’s hard to tell.
ALSO – Alaric has The One Ring of Power (except for the other rings, of course), which brings him back from the dead after Damon stabs him with his own stake. Staked! Apparently these magic rings are super easy to come by and you can pick one up from any local Wal-Mart.
At least we’ll be getting consistent NEW episodes now until all 22 are aired – which means the season finale will air on May 13th (and then only one month until True Blood).
Trailer for Episode 16: There Goes The Neighborhood