Vampire Diaries gets freaky, and it’s not just the ghost
Well, we definitely got to see Bonnie center stage last night – it is just too bad it involved a terrifying seance and possession scene and that her most powerful screen time was when she was possessed by her freaky ancestor Emily. Even though I had a pretty good idea how the seance was going to end once Bonnie got locked inside that bathroom, I was still totally on the edge of my seat when the lights when out and the doors slammed shut. And it was at least as scary to realize that Damon was trying to unleash 27 starving, imprisoned vampires on the unsuspecting town. I have to say, I was genuinely scared shitless at the thought of them emerging, blood-crazed, out of the ruins of that church. Even though I would be terrified to see her undead again in those dark woods, I have to admit, I kind of wished that Katherine would come back. Maybe even more so now that there is at least one other vampire in town – if carefully drawing attention to the name Alaric Saltzman isn’t a “I’m a vampire clue” than neither is fixating on pulsing human veins or getting stalled at the threshold of a door. And what about Logan – did he somehow get turned? Is he some other variation of the creepy undead? Or was he never dead to begin with? With the potential of another male vampire terror haunting the poor people of Mystic Falls, I was pretty psyched to imagine a bitchy, blood thirsty Katherine evening the gender scales. Though the thought of Damon reunited with Katherine is pretty terrifying too (aside: were you sort of moved by his confession that he was never compelled by Katherine, but accepted her and what was happening to him each step of the way? It was the first time we got a glimpse of his motivation for returning and his frustration and competition with Stefan. It was also an interesting thought experiment on the whole “how much does one’s human character shape the sort of vampire one becomes” debate. Stefan seemed genuinely hoodwinked by Katherine and therefore able, much later, to throw off her influence and choose another path. Damon insists that he was never taken in, but willing followed the life Katherine set out for him, perhaps explaining why he is more her kind of vampire now).
But back to Bonnie. I have loved watching her come into her own over the past few episodes and I hope this is just the beginning. I do worry a little that about the vampire/witch hierarchy. I was a little disappointed to learn that Emily “the handmaid” (uh, euphemism?) was beholden to Katherine’s crystal to get that complicated bit of magic done. Though she proved herself, even from the grave, a formidable opponent to Damon. To what degree are witches capable of taking on evil vampires? Can we hope that as Bonnie develops her powers she might play an integral role in whatever supernatural showdowns seem inevitable in a show like this? I really hope that now that she knows about the other orders of supernatural creatures that surround her she will get even more serious about owning her kick-ass powers and that we can see her become a leader to rival the Salvatore brothers.
One last thought: I really like the playful way they are making fun of Stefan’s broody character and letting him try out other roles. Here’s hoping there’s more where that comes from.
Can’t wait to hear what you thought!
Yes – oh my goodness I was terrified last night! I realize it’s a show for teenagers and that it’s on the CW…but that séance and bathroom scene and even Bonnie’s somewhat poorly acted possession scared the pants off me! I guess I’m ok with vamps and witches, but ghosts are just a step too far. You know how I feel about zombies – I’m just praying that those 27 undead who will inevitably stumble out of the tomb in the next few weeks don’t pick up on a zombie aesthetic, or I will be screwed for nightmares for months!
Yes, I was totally moved by Damon’s confession. All along we’ve had this sense that he has some sadistic of at least selfish reason for coming home and, in a sense, that’s still the case: raising 27 vampires from the dead with no concern for the welfare of the town is certainly selfish. But that he would do so not for his own power-grab or even an uncomplicated vengeance, but in order to restore to life the woman he loves is a much sweeter motivation than I had anticipated. But it wasn’t just his profession that he was never compelled by Katherine but gave himself willingly that got me (although, yes, it did). It was also the form and reason for revenge that was driving him that made his character so much more complex and interesting and likeable to me. When Stefan shouted to Damon, “This isn’t about love. It’s about revenge,” for Damon to respond that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, we got a glimpse into how hurt he was, not by Catherine or even Stefan, but by the mindless mob of a townspeople gone mad that sought to kill Catherine in the first place.
And so the reference to Bonnie’s ancestor Emily as the euphemistic ‘handmaiden’ instead of more accurate ‘slave’ got focused for me by Damon’s desire to hold the current townspeople accountable for their ancestors’ sins. While Stefan has an uncomplicated view of innocence – for him the current townspeople are innocent victims of Damon’s violence – Damon can see that the sins of the fathers really do still reside in the lives of the sons, and that his kills are casualties of war. It’s a sobering reminder to white America that the sins of the slave trade, Jim Crow law and a legacy of institutional racism still beat at the heart of this country in un-repented ways and thus those sins still threaten to surface in ways that are dangerous to all Americans, regardless of race. Indeed, with the title of this episode being ‘History Repeating’ I had to wonder if such racial issues were one of the undertones they were going for.
But perhaps I’m reading much too much into a much more playful storyline! It’s true that after a few weeks in a row of the Vampire Diaries killing off any women that rise to power, I got very nervous as Bonnie stepped into her own. After that beautiful scene last week with her floating feathers for her friend, I didn’t want to lose my favourite character just because she got badass! But this was another thing that intrigued me about Damon last night – it wasn’t magic that bound him to protect Emily’s ancestors and refrain from killing Bonnie. It was his promise, his word. And so Damon too follows a moral code. It’s just that his moral code was one we didn’t understand.
Yes, it certainly seems that Logan has been turned, especially as he too got stuck at the door requesting an invitation in. Poor Aunt Jenna – will she get caught in between two scary vamps? Hmm, well perhaps I shouldn’t pity her just yet. Seriously, though, what’s the problem with braces and an A-cup, Jenna? Jeez. And what’s up with Matt and Caroline? I loved the whole sneaking in through the bedroom window thing – so reminiscent of Dawson’s Creek and Saved by the Bell memories that I loved that little island of innocence shared by Matt and Caroline in the midst of too much magic for any normal teen to handle.
Oh Kathryn, I’m with you – can’t wait for Catherine to appear!