Rough Waters Ahead

Ahoy loyal readers, and anyone else who’s happened to stumble upon this particular blog entry. I have news to report regarding the future of this blog!

 

The story starts roughly a week ago when my life exploded. Usually when my life explodes it means something like the day before I need to store my earthly possessions so I can fly to the East Coast for my college graduation, my incumbent roommate calls me at 11PM to tell me that I don’t have a place to call home when I come back.

 

That was a thrilling 48 hours, but I digress.

 

In this instance, my life managed to explode in equal but opposite reactions within a three day period. Regular readers will note that I did not manage to make my regular posts last week, and this story will explain why…to some (perhaps unsatisfying) extent.

 

First, I got sick. I strongly suspect this was a consequence of attending Wonder Con considering the timing and the fact that conventions are an excellent place to trade and collect germs and viruses. In any event I got sick. It was just a little bit at first, but then the stage two rockets deployed and I was afflicted with a veritable force of nature. At certain points this thing had me only a notch or two above bed rest. It was strong and relentless, but inconsistent.

 

Strictly speaking, use of the past tense here is inappropriate, but the worst of it has PROBABLY passed, considering that I spent almost the entirety of last week recuperating and hydrating like a fish-man. Aside from these facts and my current ability to function like a normal human being (in reasonably brief intervals) I don’t really have the luxury of continuing my self-indulgent recovery. That’s where the second explosion comes in.

 

You see one of the slight exceptions to a week spent lethargically watching You Tube videos and medicating at regular intervals was a job interview for a real-person TV-related job. I’ve had a few of these in the past, so I didn’t have my hopes up, even though I was being recommended by a friend of mine because…well none of those job opportunities panned out.

 

I’ll save you the trouble of my usual rambling to say that I got the job. It starts today. Well, it started like five hours ago. This is what lunch hours are for right?

 

Anyway, I hope you guys can forgive me for focusing on trying to recover in time for the start of this job and not making my regular updates last week. Unfortunately it also means I will have less time to work on my updates throughout the week, at least as long as this freelance-style gig lasts.

 

I’m going to do my best to make things work, but the size, shape and even appearance of my entries will quite possibly be changing for a while.  Please, again, bear with me. I intend to keep bringing you top quality terrible-media entertainment, but I’m going to have to get creative to fit it all into my schedule.

 

At some point I’ll try to fill you guys in on some of the exciting new details of my relationship with Television, but for now it’s time to weigh anchor and swab some poopdecks or something. That’s pirate-talk for “lunch break’s over ye bilge rats!”

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What’s In a Screen Name?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m fascinated with words that I am a writer, or whether it’s because I’m a writer because I’m fascinated with words, but both are definitely true for me. After mentioning my name in my last post, and searching for something to write about today over the course of a weekend where my brain was nearly non-functional, I decided to veer off-topic to explain the origins of the screen name attached to this blog, as well as most of my web-based ventures. Truthfully the story’s not quite as interesting as I’d like, but I do think it will tell you a little about me and hopefully that’s interesting enough.

 

And if Kiera Knightly is one of them...well, let's just say it's a pirate's life for me.

Clearly there are many benefits to a life of piracy...

Like most good things, this tale starts with a simple, seemingly random statement: I like pirates.

 

Since I presumably already have your attention I’m going to take this chance to clarify something. Pirates are often thought of or remembered for their infamous acts of villainy and selfishness. However, like many historical and cultural tropes, pirates have more than one significance as a symbol. For example; knights are known as valiant, heroic figures upholding virtue and chivalry, yet they also committed vile acts in the name of a righteous cause during the crusades.

 

So when I create a pirate persona (admittedly a flimsy one, but the cause for concern remains) on the internet, I don’t want people to have the wrong impression of what I stand for. Sure pirates were murderers, rapists and thieves, but they could also be cunning rogues fighting or defending against corruption or even just overly ambitious fortune hunters with a morally ambiguous compass. A lot of people like the image of pirates as awesomely cutthroat villains living by a code of honor among thieves, emptying their pockets of gold to fill their bellies with rum. While I do enjoy these depictions in stories, I have a very particular take on what makes pirates great.

 

Still, these monsters are nothing compared to some of the weird stuff the Japanese have thought up and marketed in various animes over the years.

The very fact that actual maps of the time depicted seas monsters among the oceanic paths that captains might sail is a testament to the sense of wonder that still prevailed.

For one, I must admit, I simply like the pirate aesthetic. This includes not only a world full of crews traveling wherever the winds and their captain dictate as a rag-tag, makeshift family but also the sense of adventure that accompanies the idea of a world that’s not yet fully explored. Who knows what awaits the crew the next time they weigh anchor? Naval combat, flamboyantly dressed rogues and a lifestyle where anyone could become rich if they dare brave the ocean and the perils native to any unknown shores…it’s a very entertaining, albeit certainly romanticized concept for me.

 

But then comes the main reason I like pirates. When I think of pirates, I feel like there are two major branches of defining characteristics (with definite room for overlap) that define their image. The first is one I’ve already discussed briefly; the rum-soaked and ruthless pirates who will do anything for treasure and revenge. The second is the one I identify with, however, sailors seeking to strike out on their own and live a life free of the expectations and grind of society. I’m talking about the adventurers, one who may not even expect to become fabulously wealthy, famous or powerful, just people who don’t quite fit in with society and go to live on the sea where the only rules are their own. People seeking real freedom, freedom to simply live life however they want.

 

Pirates of the Spanish Main - Sample Contents of a Pack

Set sail for cardboard island, so we may plunder its vast wealth of plastic doubloons!

There’s one other, much more specific aspect of pirates that I really enjoy, and that does legitimately factor in to my lengthy, circuitous story, and that thing is the constructible strategy game that was once their namesake, before they slightly rebranded the game.

 

If you’ve never played or heard of Pirates of the Spanish Main (later known as Pirates of the Cursed Seas), then I’m sorry to say you’re missing out. This game was the best, and if you happen to live near a Target or Wal-Mart that isn’t in reasonable commuting distance to where I live, you stand a pretty good shot of being able to pick some up in hefty quantities for cheap.

 

Basically it was a tabletop game of naval combat strategy, exploration and treasure hording. The pieces come in game packs similar to booster packs for other card games, but you punch out the plastic pieces and get to build really awesome looking tiny boat models with which you also play the game. It’s pretty amazing and you should seriously check it out if you can.

 

Pirates of the Spanish Main Online - Sample Screenshot

In addition to providing a consistent, cheap supply of the notorious "blue screen of death", Sony's pirates online came fully loaded with a library of generic piratey phrases like "ramming speed" and an arsenal of naval combat sound effects.

Back during the game’s heyday I was big into the game, despite having few people to play with, luckily the game grew popular enough to launch an online client for playing the game, and though it was buggy beyond reason and frequently crashed my computer, few things have made me as happy as Sony’s Pirates Online. Between strategy discussions, rules questions and bug reports, I had a presence on at least three major PotSM-based forums at that time.

 

Of course to access such things you need to have an account and an online handle. Early on I ported over a generic screen name I used in high school and for one of my earliest e-mail accounts, but it just didn’t feel right. I had pirate fever (cabin fever if you prefer, or are a big Henson/Muppet Treasure Island fan) and I wanted something that represented my love of both the pirates and the game.

 

One day while browsing the forums I came across a discussion of actual, historical pirates of note, and actually misread someone’s comment regarding Vasco Da Gama as referring to Vasco Da Gamer. At first I felt silly, but then I felt AWESOME! Not only did this name encompass my love of pirates and gaming, but also incorporated a witty pseudo-pun. It was everything I could hope for from a screen name.

 

Sure it may not be the most exciting story in the world, but I do think it gives me an excuse to answer an unasked question, as well as to talk about pirates on a day when I can’t wrap my head around very much of anything productive.

 

Feel free to share stories about the origins of your own screen names in the comments below.

 

 

For the latest news about the Cove and my various personal projects, be sure to follow me on Twitter @VascoDaGamer (of course)

NBC’s Awake: A World Without Words

My brain works in completely nonsensical ways. I’m not sure if other people find this to be true of themselves, though I suspect they do, but I can say with certainty that my brain is sometimes completely indecipherable.

 

I mention this because the introduction to this topic that first came to my mind doesn’t actually make a lot of sense unless you take that fact into account.

 

This story starts about a week ago, when I had been catching up on games one of my favorite Let’s Players had posted since the last time I checked his channel. Clearly it had been too long, since he had the time to finish almost two whole games. As I finished catching up on one, I turned to the other, Silent Hill 3, to fill some of my free time at night.

 

Why would they even BUILD an amusement park in Silent Hill, anyway? The population is like 90% shambling, inhuman monstrosities!

The happiest place on Earth this ain't.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the Silent Hill series, allow me to summarize it briefly…it’s messed up. Having watched this same commentator’s videos for the previous two installments in the franchise I had some idea of what I should expect: characters with mental instability, a nightmarish glimpse into a parallel world full of grotesque mutants and some deeply traumatizing plot twists. Believe it or not, Silent Hill’s not exactly a comedy.

 

I don’t have anything against the horror genre, per se, but it’s never really been one of my favorites. I actually don’t believe that I scare very easily (though I do sometimes respond to “jump scares”, which I loathe for their dramatic laziness if nothing else) and often find myself fairly detached while watching horror movies. That said, when a scary movie does get to me, my neurochemical response is, somewhat curiously, to become incredibly stressed out. This sometimes leads to the same sort of irrational fear response that I know other people have after watching scary movies, but is just as likely to just sort of irritate me.

 

Whether I end up scared or irate, I definitely wouldn’t put the horror genre at the top of my favorites list. However, since I am generally detached watching things of the horror genre, I had no problem watching Silent Hill 1 or 2, and I had interest in watching the third installment, because I like this guy’s work.

 

Here’s where things stop making sense.

 

Maybe two weeks ago, I saw some random segment on a daytime news show (Today, maybe?) about how technology has messed with our natural sleep cycles by introducing all of this extra ambient lighting that makes it harder for our brains to shut off when we try to go to sleep. I don’t usually put a lot of stock in daytime news, because a lot of the discoveries they discuss are fads or sheer nonsense, but this made enough logical sense to me that I stored the information for later.

 

Now back to when I was preparing to watch Silent Hill; I stopped myself before loading up the videos and had an idea.

 

“I know, Kyle,” I said, addressing myself by first name, and verbally for some slightly deranged reason, “You can use this opportunity to kill two birds with one experimental stone.”

 

“Go on, my own subconscious,” I responded, “though one of us should make a note that ‘experimental stone’ would make an interesting subtitle for a young adult adventure novel”.

 

“Well, you already had some interest in trying out this shutting off the lights before bed thing, and now you’re about to watch the You Tube equivalent of a scary movie. Why not shut off all the lights in your room and put on some headphones to feel as fully immersed as possible into that fictional world of nightmares so you will be as uncomfortable as possible watching it?”

 

“Literally no part of that idea makes sense…it MUST be brilliant, let’s do it!”

 

As if a mere mortal could kill anyone from Lidsville!

"I sure hope nothing scares me so badly I can never sleep again. Better watch a woman murder a horde of hideous, bloody monsters in a world of living nightmares...that isn't Lidsville."

So each night, at least an hour before bed I watch Let’s Play Silent Hill 3 alone, in the dark, with some headphones on and it is definitely creepier than it would otherwise be. Every unsettlingly silent corridor, every moaning zombie mutant every rusted, creaky door has its dramatic effect amplified under those conditions. It really does feel like it’s the way the game was meant to be experienced.

 

For reference though, even though my apartment feels really creepy right before I go to bed, I have been sleeping much better this past week. Go figure!

 

So why am I telling you this weird, unnecessarily thorough story about my recent, peculiar sleeping habits? Well for one, I thought it would be a fun and quirky story for my blog. Secondly there’s a TV that premiered recently that deals with both sleeping and setting a great, atmospheric stage in unconventional ways. In case you haven’t seen the ads for it, I’m talking about the new NBC drama Awake.

 

Awake tells the story of Michel Britten, a detective whose wife and son are killed an a car also knocks him unconscious. The strange thing, though, is that his wife (Hannah) and son (Rex) aren’t dead at the same time. You see Michael is living in two worlds. One day he lives in a world where Hannah survived the car crash, and works cases at his job as usual. When he goes to bed, though, he immediately wakes up in a world where Rex survived the crash, but his wife didn’t, and spends his time solving a completely different set of detective cases.

 

In a lot of ways, the trickiest thing about this show is that our hero doesn’t know which world is real. This has a lot of implications, though chiefly psychological (which they’ve handled in some ways I find interesting so far) and visual.

 

Psychologically, Michael resists dealing with the loss of either of his loved ones, since his circumstances have made it so he doesn’t have to deal with it. Not only does this keep him distanced from Hannah and Rex, as they each struggle to deal with the loss of the other, but it’s a potentially dangerous coping mechanism in a number of ways. For one, as one of his two job-appointed psychiatrists mentions in the first episode, if his brain is creating a world without enough detail to seems real while it should be at rest, it could eventually have serious medical ramifications. On top of that, if this whole situation is really just some sort of complex delirium, then playing into it will certainly generate psychological stress down the road.

 

Not only does the cast feel a little weighted towards the Blue, Rex world, but so does the action. I wonder what that means...

This picture very cleverly presents the cast of the show, divided into their respective "worlds" with our protagonist in the middle.

Further muddling the detective’s perception of which world is real, small details continue to seep through from one world to the other, especially regarding his police work. For example, when a physical detail like hair color of the perpetrator comes across from some testimony in one world, it often corresponds to the case and perpetrator of his case in the other world. Sometimes these details are a little less direct, and tougher to connect between the worlds, but there’s been enough bleed through to  really confuse the issue.

 

Probably my favorite aspect of the show are the psychiatrists. In order to resume work at his job in each world, Michael was assigned a psychiatrist to make sure he’s mentally fit for duty. One takes on a generally positive view of Michael’s perception of the two worlds, and his continued insistence that his cases can be solved by information from the other world, while the second psychiatrist finds both of these ideas very bleak and concerning, and constantly tries to convince him to make a change. Not only does this device allow us to see two different psychiatric views of the situation, but it also allows the two to debate through Michael which world is real. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, it’s fresh and interesting.

 

Luckily for Michael Britten, though, his wife and son don't shout at him through static, demanding colored pages in the creepiest way possible.

It actually reminds me a little of Myst, and how each brother was trapped in a colored dimensional prison and could only be save with pages of the appropriate color.

Visually this concept runs a serious risk: confusing the two worlds. Typically when a story addresses a character visiting multiple worlds it’s either another planet or like a magical world, a different culture, or at the very least a “real” world and some “other” world. In these cases, one world has some clear, usually visual distinctions setting it apart from the other. On Awake, though, one of the key points of interest is that as far as we know, these two worlds are equally valid, and both represent an extension of his life after the car crash in equally “real” worlds.

 

So what did they do to keep them straight? Well for one, there’s an almost completely different cast of characters between the two worlds: different partners, different families, different psychiatrists, etc. Of course more characters can generate more confusion, especially if you can’t remember which world that character belongs to. But to handle that, the crew of Awake devised and ingeniously simple way to visually distinguish the worlds without compromising either’s potential as “real”: color-coded lighting.

 

If you’re not familiar with lighting for film and television, which I suspect you’re not, you may not realize that most lighting has some inherent color to it. Two of the most common types are blue lighting (a quality which daylight naturally has) where as tungsten lighting (that is, ordinary light bulbs and such) has a reddish-orange color to it. These colors, and more, are often used by lighting designers both within the industry and outside of it, to generate mood, represent a location, etc. Here, the red lighting is simply a tinge to everything in the world where Michael’s wife is alive and the blue lighting denotes scenes in the world where his son is alive.

 

As I said before, to anyone in the industry, this seems like a pretty simple trick, but that’s the beauty to it. There are so many overly complicated ways to try and get the same point across, but with this you can simply glance at a scene and know which world and which characters you can expect to deal with. An idea this high concept could have fallen apart at the seams if you couldn’t tell one world from the other, let alone dream from reality, so I’m glad they’ve made such simple work of creating two whole worlds for this series.

 

I’ve talked about tone in the past, and how it represents the personality of your show from a writer’s perspective. Usually I find myself unable to see things from any other perspective, but sometimes something transcends basic set/lighting design to really catch my attention. We shouldn’t take visual design for granted, though, because it can provide a show with just as much of an identity as its characters and dialogue. Heck, without it, those characters wouldn’t have a compelling world within our suspension of disbelief to recite that dialogue.

 

So many little details go into every episode of every TV show we watch, and we usually don't pay them any mind.

Even if you're only vaguely familiar with the specifics of the various Star Treks, you take one look at this and you can probably tell what we're looking at.

Think about how different a feel Star Trek the Next Generation has from Star Trek the Original Series, even though they’re set in the same world and have similar premises, there are all sorts of facets that signify one or the other, and very clearly set them apart from other shows. These are extreme examples too, but I hope that together with the much more subtle Awake, you can see my point.

 

Next time you’re watching your favorite show, take a moment to soak in the little details about lighting, sets or even costumes, and appreciate things that set that show apart, which you and many others take for granted every week. Maybe it will even deepen your appreciation for the show.

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 8

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

While talking to Stefan about his heightened bloodlust, Damon actually raises some good points that are food for thought. I would expect him to just try and convince Stefan to be an old-fashioned hunter-killer human-feeding vampire, but instead he proposes going to a blood bank. It’s almost a victimless crime, and certainly doesn’t require Stefan to hunt or kill. Instead of taking Damon’s rare good idea, he says he has his reasons for not doing so and returns to self-imposed brooding as he tries to resume normal life…unlife? Afterlife? Eventually I’m going to figure out a term for this.

 

Clearly he let himself in, since nobody would invite that guy into their home, so he's almost certainly not a vampire.

"Hi, I’m uncle John. I have a face which says 'I love babies, can I eat yours?'”

So sketchy Uncle John has come to town to keep Aunt Jenna from selling Elena’s father’s old office (something we barely established was happening in a D plot from like two episodes ago). After about 60 seconds it’s pretty clear that no one in the whole world likes Uncle John, I wonder why.

 

I really don’t understand the Jeremy/Tyler dynamic. Tyler approaches Jeremy and tries to be friendly, which strike me as odd because Jeremy did that a few episodes ago and Tyler shot him down, since Vicki’s the only thing they had in common. Now she’s STILL the only thing they have in common but Tyler’s taking a break from being the least friendly guy on a show full of vampires? I don’t understand.

 

Uncle John shows up at the first meeting of the Founder’s Council that I’ve really seen, and actually addresses the conspicuous vampire activities generated by the Home for Wayward Vampires. Maybe his job is to point out obvious logical inconsistencies…if so, it’s no wonder that no one in town likes him; sci-fi and fantasy shows hate having their plot holes pointed out.

 

Stefan tells Damon what I’m thinking, “I really liked you a whole lot better when you hated everybody”, as the brothers enter the founders’ kickoff party. Still not sure what it is they’re supposed to be “kicking off”, though.

 

In fairness, I'm not really sure why you hire a DJ to play classical music. This outcome was largely inevitable.

"For the Love of God, no more Black Eyed Peas!"

Shortly thereafter, Elena arrives and finds Stefan drunk. First he can’t control his instincts to not get rough with her, now he’s turning to alcohol. Seems like they’re telling us that blood is an addiction that leads to abusive behavior. At first she’s upset, but then Stefan tries to turn it into a positive. He says when drunk he’s much more willing to dance, and even compels the DJ to put on a contemporary song to dance to. Drunk Stefan is suspiciously like Damon, and Elena is alarmingly okay with this paradigm shift. Stefan better watch out now that Damon’s trying to move on from Katherine!

 

While dancing, Elena bumps into a rude jerk on the dance floor. Stefan grabs the guy and compels him to apologize…wow, you can use vampire powers to coerce civility? I’ve never been more interested in being a vampire than I am right now. Of course drunk/detoxing Stefan isn’t satisfied with the apology and very nearly assaults the guy…yet somehow Elena isn’t really alarmed. She’s definitely concerned, yes, but she continues to rationalize all of his strange actions as being a temporary side effect of human blood.

 

Uncle John knows a fair amount about vampires: he knows the truth behind the vampire tomb and he also seems to know both that Damon is linked to the tomb incident and that he is a vampire. Obviously he doesn’t take any action to try and kill Damon…if only he’d had the Saltzman Stake-o-Matic (now just ten low payments of $14.95 plus shipping and handling), then Mystic Falls would be one step closer to solving its undead infestation problem, instead of John having a broken neck in a heap below the balcony.

 

Kelly (Matt and Vicki’s Mom) starts making out with her dead daughter’s ex-boyfriend (Tyler), which proves two things: First, Kelly is the exact same person as Julie Cooper and Secondly, Matt seems to have some weird sixth sense for when his Mom is awkwardly making out with somebody he knows, as he stumbles onto the scene almost immediately and gets in a fistfight with Tyler.

 

After the fight, Stefan senses Kelly’s open head wound and finds himself very hungry. He starts touching her open wound while she’s just sitting there staring at him. She gets upset but not as upset as she should be, it’s super creepy. He then tastes her blood from his fingers and falls off the wagon.

 

"You sure? The contours of your neck feel very familiar to my snapping hands."

"Hey,didn’t I kill you?" "No, I’m pretty sure I would remember that."

I think Damon’s losing his touch. First he killed Saltzman, who turned out find and is still ambiguously indestructible, now Uncle John saunters back into the party like he just took a power nap. Guess it’s not a coincidence, Damon looks closer and realizes that John has the same ring as Saltzman. Saltzman, who got his from Elena’s mother, who allegedly got it off of Elena’s adopted father while she was a patient. Makes you think Damon should stop trying to piss off everyone connected to the Gilberts, huh?

 

That guy Stefan compelled to apologize picks a fight, and Stefan almost eats him. You wouldn’t like him when he’s hungry.

 

During the party Elena makes a poor word choice while talking to Jeremy and suggests his theory about foul play regarding Vicki’s death might be true. He goes home and locates Elena’s vampire diary and discovers that she knows about vampires and was an accessory to the cover-up of her murder. Elena, this is what you get for calling the show The Vampire Diaries instead of the Totally Plausible Vampire Cover-Up Story.

 

John seems to know everything, not just about Damon being a vampire, but also his past with Katherine, Saltzman’s part in everything and he even claims that he sent Isobel to Damon when she wanted to be turned. It seems like everyone who comes to town knows a suspicious amount about the characters of Mystic Falls, is there like a primer in the town tourism center or is everyone just reading spoilers online?

 

When Stefan returns home, Damon starts to tell him about the problem posed by John, but stops himself when he realizes he has a chance to tempt his brother into being evil. He leaves an unfinished glass of human blood to not only turn his brother to the dark side, but also further alluding to symbolic relationship between vampiric blood drinking and alcoholism.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

Since the council was already aware of vanishing blood bank supply, it’s not exactly a shock to know that they’re already on to Stefan. Not entirely sure who to blame here. From the sounds of it, Stefan covered his tracks well, and only because John has knowledge of how vampires operate did they detect the theft. On the other hand, hooking your brother on human blood when the town’s on high vampire alert seems to implicate Damon.

 

It’s a bit of a tangent, but I wonder why John doesn’t outright tell the council about the possibility of daywalking vampires? It’s one of their bigger weaknesses as a group of aspiring hunters. Maybe they would finally be suspicious enough to force people to ingest vervain as a rite of entry, you know, a really obvious way to make sure they aren’t being infiltrated by vampires?

 

I love how Damon, one of the most obvious sociopaths I’ve ever seen, is often the only person on this show with any common sense. Anna comes over and apologizes on behalf of the vampires that kidnapped and tortured his brother, but sort of defends it by saying those vampires were misbehaving. Damon’s response is to point out that a group of vampires who’ve been trapped and starved for over a century aren’t likely to play by anybody’s rules but their own.

 

I don’t think I follow this “Miss Mystic Falls” concept. For one, it sounds more like and ABC Family plotline than a CW one…the fact that I can make this distinction is probably how I am occasionally mistaken for a gay man. Secondly, it seems like the contest coincides with Founder’s day which presents two sources of confusion.

 

Firstly, I’m still watching season one, how have we already come all the way back around to founder’s day? I don’t even remember summer happening on the show. Secondly, Elena refuses to drop this pageant she’s not really interested in because her mom signed her up for it. Her mom was dead by the time the last founder’s day came around, and I believe it had been at least a few months since her death at that point. What kind of pageant is this that coincides with an annual event but doesn’t happen each year, and requires a signup like 18 months or more in advance?

Considering that all this blood came from a hospital and not a blood bank, I’d be surprised if the had enough blood for a single transfusion.

"I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough! *hiccup*"

 

With the tipoff from Anna, Damon attempts to confront Stefan about stealing blood. He first tries to establish Stefan’s taste for human blood by arguing that Stefan is usually depressed, but now he’s not. Is drinking human blood something you do when depressed, like an alcoholic? You have to admit, it makes sense for vampires to be abusive in their relationships if drinking blood is supposed to represent alcoholism.

 

From the sounds of things, Uncle John is on Isobel’s vampiric payroll (definitely not a company you want to fudge your time card for), and he’s trying to track down one of Jonathan Gilbert’s illogical steam punk inventions that fell into the hands of a vampire from the tomb, Anna’s mother Pearl. John tries to blackmail Damon into finding the macguffin, but Damon reminds John that he’s both a vampire and a sociopath, and if the council learns he’s a vampire, he will just kill them all. I approve.

 

Bonnie is the WORST. She’s finally back in town, but all she’s done since returning is act quiet and depressed. Elena finally confronts her about it and she explains her issue: she’s upset her grandmother died in vain since the vampires escaped from the tomb, and now she blames the Salvatores for it…

 

Excuse me!? I’m quite certain you were the one who insisted your grandmother try to temporarily release the seal and you even coerced her into doing the spell. Plus it was your own lack of talent as a witch that forced her to overexert herself to compensate for your…Bonnie-ness! You are the singular source responsible for any and all consequences of your own terrible idea, you witch!

 

Jeremy just can not stop lending out dangerous information about Jonathan Gilbert’s journal! First he lends it to Alaric without a second thought, then he tells Anna where it is so she can steal it and now he’s telling untrustworthy Uncle John about its existence. On the one hand he’s going to eventually get everyone killed, but on the other hand his idiocy makes him a huge asset to vampires, so he’ll probably die last.

 

Not sure how to feel about the addiction plotline. I mean, Sci-Fi and Fantasy have a history of disguising serious issues to address them, especially in television on shows like Star Trek, and I much prefer this to the brief subplot where Jeremy was a drug addict. Still, I really prefer when Damon and Stefan are begrudgingly working together, and I really don’t find the internal struggle thing very exciting…probably because a basic understanding of television dictates that Stefan will go back to normal soon enough.

 

"But hey, even if I die, I know some delicious teenage girls you could feed on!"

"Thank you sir, may I please have another? Oh...oh no wait, I'm bleeding out. A shame, that."

Damon sneaks into the dressing room for the pageant and tells Elena about Stefan’s new diet (I’m sure that’s totally why he came there). Stefan walks in and freaks out when he discovers that Elena knows his secret, which causes him to accidentally kidnap Amber, another contestant in the pageant. Unfortunately for Stefan, the cops generally frown on even accidental kidnapping, and I would know…er from secondhand information.

 

Amber, the girl Stefan kidnapped from the party totally exemplifies the willing victim of an abusive relationship. As she’s gushing blood from her bite wound “it’s okay, it doesn’t hurt that much, just not so hard next time”. Even Stefan is kind of freaked out by how calm she is, but that’s what you get for compelling your victims. The ability to compel equates to a level of charm that convinces someone to rationalize away all the relationship red flags, you know, like Elena is doing naturally.

 

Bonnie does the first truly useful thing of her witching career and psychically beams dial-up noise into Stefan’s head when he’s hunting Amber. It puts him back to normal just in time for him to freak out about everyone seeing him covered in some innocent girl’s blood. Seriously, though, where did she learn to do that? I know Bonnie left town for a while, but mind punching a vampire seems like a pretty high-level skill, and she’s….well, she’s Bonnie.

 

"Hey, maybe it will decode secret messages from Van Hellsing!"

“What is this thing? Looks like you got it out of a box of Cheerios.” “No, it is a plot device, it will almost certainly be essential for something by the end of this season.”

Pearl gives Jonathan’s device to Damon as an apology for nearly getting a bunch of people killed by wayward vampires, including Stefan who (as a result of the vampires escaping the tomb) now hungers for human blood and is jeopardizing all of the vampires in town. Oh, and she doesn’t know what the device does either. I guess it’s the thought that counts, so at least it’s slightly better than a Hallmark card.

 

Elena goes to see Stefan. She tells him that she knows his actions aren’t him, they’re her fault for giving him the blood (coughrationalizingcough) and he tries to convince her that he is truly a monster and the blood just makes it more obvious. He finally agrees to accept her help, so she injects him with a syringe full of vervain and locks him in the Salvatore’s dungeon.

 

In review, Damon is thinking through the consequences of his actions and helped Elena at the Miss Mystic pageant to spare her feelings, Stefan is feeding on living humans and functioning almost solely on pure instinct and Anna and Pearl have mellowed out dramatically and are asking nicely for Damon’s trust. I’m pretty sure it’s opposite day.

Wonder Crash

Ooof.

 

I just got back from Anaheim last night, where I spent the weekend experiencing all of the excitement and joy that Wonder Con could cram into the convention center, while still accommodating the young female cheerleaders and volleyball players that had many of my friends and I concerned that some creeper nerd would cause an unfortunate incident. Other than that unfortunate coordinating decision and a few conflicting events of interest I would have to say my experience at Wonder Con this year was utterly amazing.

 

I had the chance to attend multiple panels discussing writing for television, as well as panels for Once Upon a Time (a show I’ve already discussed here, though will probably discuss again soon because that show is…sure something), Community (oddly enough, another show I’ve already written about), Adventure Time and even a brief panel about the upcoming film Prometheus, which will probably outdo sliced bread in terms of greatness. I also had the chance to meet and briefly talk to Kris Straub, a webcomic artist whose work I greatly admire, especially in his sci-fi webcomic, Starslip.

 

What does all of this mean for the Cove? Well ideally I will manage to incorporate some of my experiences into an interesting post in the near future, but more importantly it means I am in desperate need of some time to readjust to normal life. Worry not, I’m not talking something crazy like a month or even a week, I’m just saying I’m certainly not coherent enough to post something of my ordinary length or quality today. I am, however, already working on a post for Wednesday, so hopefully everything will be back on schedule by then.

 

I thank you for your patience as I attempt to become a “normal” human being again, and reward your patience with this doodle I made of my favorite Cardfight!! Vanguard unit, Silent Tom, when I stole my brother’s tablet computer over Christmas vacation:

 

See? I can totally draw well enough to make a webcomic some day!

 

…shut up. I’m still going to try.

 

 

Remember you can always get the latest news about Cove of Solitude and my You Tube channel by following me on Twitter @VascoDaGamer

Lidsville – Part 2: Show Me The Way to Go Home

The following are the only known recorded history to survive Lidsville. No one knows their origin, but intelligent individuals know not to ask.

 

(An entry from Mark’s Journal)

 

Day 9

 

Today Colonel Poom came charging into town screaming at the top of his lungs about some ancient map he discovered while cleaning his house. He claims the map was retrieved from the “newbie newbie tribe” and that the map allegedly leads to a golden ladder in the sky. I’m pretty sure that if such a ladder exists, we’d probably be able to see it from anywhere in Lidsville, and the rest of his story makes even less sense, but after spending over a week in this horrible place, I’ll take any opportunity I can to get out of here.

 

I managed to convince Poom to take us to the location on the map, but he insisted that we gather supplies in his unnecessarily obtuse safari idioms. Weenie wanted us to leave right away, claiming that gathering supplies would “take too long, because we’re in a hurry”. Screw you, Weenie, not all of us can survive on literally nothing for hundreds of years, and I certainly don’t plan on dying in this living nightmare.

 

We followed Poom for a while, until I was worried he had gotten us lost. He took out the map to verify out route, but as he did he said the Newbie Newbie tribe was notoriously unreliable and that the map might be complete balderdash.

 

Gee, thanks. Thanks for leading us through the desert via the most circuitous path possible to lead us all on a wild goose chase!

 

No. No, I can’t be negative. As dumb as it is, this map just has to be authentic…it’s just go to! I don’t want to think about the alternative…

 

Leave it to a hat person to completely fail at the one role he was born to perform: not only had Poom gotten us lost, but he completely failed to notice that we were being followed and even surrounded by Hoodoo’s bad hats! I warned them that I learned karate at summer camp, hoping that these monsters who didn’t believe in Earth with find my strange words threatening.

 

Of course, then I remembered that despite their hideous features all hat people have a common weakness: general incompetence.

 

Though for all we know this is some strange, uncomfortable ritual for raising one's spirits after a disappointment in hat culture.

The degree of incompetence with which Hoodoo's minions are described seems to transcend talent and reach all the way to gift.

I stomped on each of the Bad Hats’ feet, giving us enough time to escape. Plenty of time, in fact. I glanced over my shoulder as we ran and saw that they had managed to collapse into a giant heap of hats that was so pathetic it had to be deliberate.

 

As I said, they have a common weakness.

 

We continued on our path and…I swear I heard the strangest thing. At one point I’m sure Colonel Poom muttered to himself something about a tax never being around when you need one. Sure it’s a common enough joke…on Earth! The only vehicles I’ve seen in this dreadful place are the Hatamaran and that unsettling motorcycle. Why would a hat person know what a taxi was? They don’t believe in a world outside Lidsville.

 

I must be imagining things. All the stress from Hoodoo.

 

Right, it wasn’t too long before Hoodoo himself began to chase us in the Hatamaran. We took cover in a nearby forest and lost him. I almost wish we hadn’t, for this was no ordinary forest, it was the most horrid forest imaginable. It was…the hair forest!

 

The trees of the hair forest have creepy, lifeless faces carved in their trunks, like horrible, hostile masks. Making matters even more nauseating, they don’t have leaves or palms or any ordinary type of foliage, they’re crowned with long, flowing human hair.

 

This place will never cease to terrify me.

 

Despite Poom’s warnings, we had managed to navigate much of the forest without incident, but as soon as I’d finally grown complacent and almost comfortable in that evil place, the trees revealed one last horrifying secret: they could move.

 

I feel like fire or hedge clippers would have been at least as effective.

For poor Mark's sake I'm glad that the hair spray kept the hair trees at bay, but they seem to grab people with their branches, not their hair. I wonder why they're so susceptible to the hair spray.

The trees grabbed me and Poom, leaving only Weenie to save us…it goes without saying the situation seemed essentially hopeless. Miraculously, though, Weenie’s moronic idea of fending off the trees with hair spray inexplicably worked! We escape the forest as quick as we could, and continued to the spot marked on the Newbie Newbie map.

 

Poom led us to the top of a mountain, from which we should be able to see the golden ladder. As I tried to spot it, though, Weenie tried to get my attention with another inane tangent.

 

“Look Master, you can almost see Downtown Lidsville from here!”

 

I humored him, knowing that we would not drop the issue if I didn’t I turned my telescope towards the town.

 

“You sure can, I can even see the hat people.”

 

It's incredible that in the time it took Mark and the others to return to Lidsville, that Big Daddy Hoodoo had caused no damage at all.

A curious account indeed! How does one manage not to see a Godzilla-sized creature rampaging through the town, yet make out its buildings and inhabitants perfectly?

Then another strange thing happened. You know how when you read something and the letters are scrambled your brain can sometimes read the word it’s supposed to be because your brain WANTS the letters to spell a word? Well I think my brain WANTED to see all the hat people crushed, because I managed to completely ignore a 50 foot tall Hoodoo rampaging through the city (a sight my brain probably didn’t want to acknowledge).

 

“Hey what’s going on?” I asked rhetorically as I finally began processing the scene, “It looks like a giant’s chasing ‘em!”

 

Weenie seemed even more intent on getting to Earth than I did, but I could clearly see that there was no ladder, and as horrible as living with the hat people was, it still had to be better than tossing my hat in the ring with Hoodoo’s gang…damn it!

 

It’s strange though, this hulking Hoodoo double had ample time to destroy the town and the hats in it before we arrived, but he only managed to destroy one statue. It even made a very deliberate show of not killing Weenie when it had the chance. I wonder why that was…

 

Anyway I snatched Chief Sitting Duck’s bow and arrow, knowing that he was likely to miss a giant 4 times the size of any building in town and punctured the beast…or should I say balloon?

 

It turned out that the giant Hoodoo had simply been a large balloon all along, even though it was incredibly articulate, and had an appearance completely unlike a balloon in every way. I’m not sure why a giant balloon monster even seemed like a good idea, in theory it may not have had the mass to crush anything, attempting to do so could have been enough to puncture and destroy it.

 

Note to self: do not overestimate Hoodoo.

 

One also wonders why a wizard couldn't simply control such a golem with his magical powers.

Curious, I see no reason why Hoodoo would have to operate his contraption in his underwear, perhaps he's just a pervert.

My self destructive instincts, which are definitely heightened by this backdrop of terror, kicked in as Hoodoo revealed himself from inside the deflated balloon. On some level I surely hoped the powerful, evil wizard would destroy me, because I taunted him for being in his underwear and lead the whole town in spiteful laughter.

 

(Un)fortunately, he merely ran off back to his hat home.

 

The hats expressed condolences at my failure to escape. I tried to put on a brave face as I choked back some tears and said maybe I’d have better luck next time I try. I hope I’m not just kidding myself.

 

 

(Included in our limited archives is a relevant excerpt From Raunchy Rabbit’s Mission Report)

 

Mission Report

 

Author: Raunchy Rabbit

 

Mission: Operation Dirty Pool/Big Daddy Hoodoo

 

Mission Outline: Operation Dirty Pool was another of the boss’ clever names for just getting the bad hats to catch someone.

 

Big Daddy Hoodoo was the boss’ plan to go to Downtown Lidsville and to crush all the hat people for not paying their taxes.

 

Notes:  I might as well get this over with, Hoodoo’s been very insistent that I make a note of his schemes ever since that Mark brat showed up. He wants to “archive his awesome achievements” and “monitor his minor mishaps”. I’ve been working for this blowhard for as long as I can remember, so I know him well enough to know he won’t ever read these…even if he does I’ll have to read them for him.

 

Still, I don’t like to argue with an evil wizard.

 

Here is Hoodoo's magical "zapper" in action, allowing him to launch destructive magic from his fingertips. It could probably destroy a human, but the gradual abuse from their master has made Hoodoo's minions resiliant.

It seems even Hoodoo's minions aren't safe from his wrath. Is there truly no safe place in all of Lidsville!?

Of course if Hoodoo had to work by himself, he’d be even less good at his job. He can’t even figure out when Mark is trying to leave with his genie without my help. And what do I get for my service? A zap to my sorry cotton tail!

 

And the first thing he does once he knows Mark’s escaping is to try and get someone else to catch him: the bad hats. He calls them on the stupid Hot Hatline, which he NEVER remembers that he told me to heat to an irresponsible temperature for the sake of a bad joke.

 

He declares that there is a “meanie alert” and that Mr. Big should use “Operation Dirty Pool”. Of course none of that means anything, the boss just likes to hear himself talk, but the bad hats have been around for a while themselves and know that they should pretty much always try to catch someone leaving the safety of Downtown Lidsville.

 

Since the bad hats couldn’t catch him last time, I don’t know why Hoodoo thought they could now. He was wrong though, and decided to go zap Mark for himself. His chase lead Mark into the hair forest so Hoodoo, like a lazy bum, just assumes he’s dead and starts planning revenge against the “good hats”.

 

He shouts that there will be haberdashery homicide and plans to crush the hats since it’s “the worst thing you can do to a hat”. At least it makes more sense than the time he wanted to destroy them with the weather bureau…

 

Sadly his big ego was deflated just like the balloon he modeled after himself. Maybe he should make his giant crushing machine out something more durable than rubber and hot air next time, but hot air is his specialty.

 

 

Memorable Quotes: Yes, Hoodoo loves to revel in his terrible puns and jokes, and asks me to write down some exchanges with each mission.

 

Mr. Big: We can’t stop! If we let them punks get away, Hoodoo’s going to rub us out!

Hoodoo: Shall I start rubbing?

Mr. Big: Hoodoo!

Hoodoo: You were expecting perhaps Mary Poppins?

 

(…whoever “Mary Poppins” is, he’s probably better than Hoodoo.)

 

Hoodoo: What is the worst thing you can do to a hat? CRUSH IT!

 

Hoodoo (controlling Big Daddy): Hi there! Big Daddy Hoodoo’s the name and stomping is my game!

 

Hoodoo: I want my mommy, I want my mommy Hoodoo!

 

(Heh heh, that last one was just for me.)

 

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 7

This will be of the utmost importance, considering we expressly prohibit any vampires from leaving the home.

Here, at the Wayward Home for Vampires' Fashion Center, we will style your hair and clothes to be more appealing to the tastes of our target demographic...I mean, to blend in with society.

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Welcome to the Home for Wayward Resurrected Vampires! Here we will update your wardrobe, explain the concept of television and let you feed on our hypnotically Stockholm syndromed hostess as you attempt to acclimate to life (unlife? Undead terminology is very confusing) after being magically sealed in a tomb for roughly 150 years.

 

Matt has wasted no time in having a father-daughter conversation with his deadbeat mother. There’s a really creepy sentence for you. He asks her to tone down her party lifestyle and get a job, causing her to complain that he’s being too judge-y. Moments later Caroline arrives and Kelly leaves the room with a scoff and a super passive aggressive brush off. Starting to understand why Viki was so screwed up…

 

Matt suggests that he and Caroline have a movie night, which she objects to because his Mom clearly and openly hates her for no reason. Caroline’s idea of compromise is to ask Matt’s ex-girlfriend and her now vampire boyfriend to movie night and make it into a double date, ripe with wacky misunderstanding potential. Did I mention she extends this invitation without Matt’s consent? I’m pretty sure Caroline wants this to explode in her face for some reason.

 

"I'd totally press charges if vampires had a judicial system!"

"Gah what the heck!? I was just waiting for you to say 'please'! This is terribly rude!"

As much as I love Damon, I never get tired of seeing people put him in his place. Anna and her mom arrive as unwanted guests in his home Apparently Anna managed to find out that Damon’s on the inside with the founder’s council, and the mother daughter team wants to use him to defeat whatever vampire hunting force remains and reclaim Mystic Falls. True to form, Damon is too smart to get tangled in this ridiculous plan, but he’s not too smart to have his eyes gouged out by a much more powerful vampire.

 

Ah, now I feel better. See, Stefan’s spent most of this episode being so irritatingly charming that it was actually starting to bother me. Then he goes and infers that he was making plans for Elena to be his girlfriend while he was still just stalking her and tops that off with a double date story about Hugh Heffner and some twins. Now I’m annoyed by Elena not being bothered by any of that weirdness.

 

I feel conflicted by this setup: we’ve got Matt’s Mom, Kelly, planning on letting loose at a bar with a sulking Damon and a reluctant Aunt Jenna. On the one hand this sounds entertaining and I’m interested to see what come of it. On the other hand it sort of just feels like we blindly threw darts at a wall of names to assemble this group together. Maybe I should give dart-writing a chance, for all I know it could be a great, untapped source of creativity!

 

Clearly Caroline hadn’t actually thought this double date through. She tells Elena the point was for her to show Matt she had moved on, Elena thought she and Matt were supposed to become friends again. Maybe next time, before we invite our boyfriend’s ex along on a double date, we’ll consider any outcome other than an extremely unlikely one that involves said ex’s cooperation without telling them what they’re meant to be doing.

 

Oh…that’s bad. I hadn’t actually considered the side effect of the tomb vampires mistaking Elena for Katherine, which should have been fairly obvious. I’m not sure exactly what the vampires might do as a result of this misunderstanding, but I’d venture a guess that it won’t be wacky. Guess I’ll have to save my canned laughter for the double date plotline.

 

I think Elena needs to reprioritize. At first she was very reluctant to go on this double date because it would be too much fun and she’s a brooding teenager. Now one of her best friends is mad at her about the double date AND there’s at least one unknown vampire running about unchecked and she’s like “no, we need to have fun RIGHT NOW!” Is she sure she’s adopted? I’m started to see a resemblance between her and Jeremy’s carelessness.

 

Well that was pretty anti-climactic. Team booze hounds sort of just got drunk…then Kelly and Damon started flirting really hard until Jenna finally left. I am disappointed by your dartboard scenario!

 

Cutting yourself then having a vampire drink your blood is like the goth-emoest thing that anyone has ever thought of.

"I knew you were a vampire!" “Technically this proves nothing, I could just have a REALLY unsettling fetish”

Oh boy, remember that time I referenced Jeremy’s carelessness? Deliberately cutting yourself and inviting your Vampire crush Anna to feed on your blood counts. It counts super, SUPER hard.

 

Oh great, Damon had the same idea to bring Matt’s Mom back to Salvatore manor, so Matt and Caroline see their respective mother and ex-boyfriend hot and heavy in the hallway. I finally have my wacky misunderstanding worthy of a sitcom laugh track!

 

Nothing like a good old-fashioned vampire brawl to get brothers to set aside their differences! I remember the good old days when my brother and I would wander the spooky woods with stakes and torches, looking for trouble. I wonder if that has anything to do with my psychological issues.

 

Oh boy, remember that time I referenced Jeremy’s carelessness? Figuring out that vampires exist, then that your “missing” (read: dead) girlfriend was a vampire then trying to get your new love interest to turn you into the walking undead counts. It counts pretty hard.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

So this episode picks up immediately after the last one ended, and yet its suddenly thunder storming for dramatic effect. I thought that type of thing only happened in melodramas and cartoons.

 

Jeremy and Anna are still hanging out, and she claims that running water also does not effect vampires as Dracula would have you believe. She’s still refusing to turn Jeremy, and for good reason…well, for lack of good reason actually. Jeremy has no clue why he wants to be a vampire, that makes two of us.

 

Pearl tells that disgruntled vampire Frederick that they shouldn’t fight for revenge, and that they should use patience and cunning to take back the town of Mystic Falls. Personally I feel like Vampires, who are essentially immortal, are probably the most likely creatures to hold grudges.

 

Here’s a question, now we’ve probably got at least 20 vampires running around town, and most of them don’t have a problem feeding on humans. They can’t all be feeding off of Miss Gibbons, the lady who owns the Wayward Vampire Home, cause she’d be very dead. How are all the vampires feeding without the town noticing more “animal attacks”?

 

And Stefan fangirls everywhere have incredibly conflicting emotions about tortured fanservice Stefan.

“We didn’t HAVE to take your shirt off, but since we’re here and your abs are here, we figured: might as well.”

I guess Vampires like hoods…Stefan goes out to hunt for some food and gets ambushed by three vampires in hoods and staked in the chest. They drag him back to the Home for Wayward Vampires where Damon discovers that a living person lives there and won’t let him in. This gives the vampire jerk squad plenty of time to start torturing Stefan. More importantly it gives them an excuse to take his shirt off. Hello ladies.

 

I’m not sure how I feel about trying to ask Saltzman for help rescuing Stefan. I mean, logically he’s a good choice: seasoned vampire hunter, potentially unkillable…however, he does have a slight problem with vampires, specifically Damon for turning his wife. I’m surprised they even managed to get a serious audience with him, but Damon says Pearl knows where he can find his wife, so he agrees…though I’m not really sure what he would do with that information at this point.

 

Oh good, Anna has presented us with an easy system for classifying the justifications of turned vampires. A vampire turns someone because of:

A)   The need for a henchman

B)   Some twisted revenge scheme.

C)   Boredom (to which she gives the footnote “That never turns out well”

D)   True love, which the vampire doing the turning wants to last for eternity

She did of course forget to mention “a need for using the carpool lane” as a reason to turn someone, but otherwise a solidly comprehensive list.

 

I understand why Elena is constantly trying to force herself into a position to help on these dangerous missions, especially with Stefan being held captive, but I have to side with everyone telling her no…and wonder how she hasn’t picked up on this after so many no’s. Damon is a super-powered socipathic killing machine, Saltzman, again, is as close to a pro vampire hunter as we’ve seen whereas she…she is a teenage girl. It’s not a perfect metaphor, but commissioner Gordon doesn’t call for Batman, Robin and Alfred the butler, Gotham need people with actual crime fighting skills!

 

Glad to see the Stake-o-Matic in full force once again. Speaking of Batman, with just a few more anti-vampire gadgets , Saltzman could totally go full-on undead vigilante.

 

So Caroline got stranded on a mud road in the middle of the Nowhere Woods because of the rainstorm. She’s actually having a pretty good day; instead of being attacked by vampires she just found a dead one. Viki, to be precise. Incidentally, her boyfriend (Viki’s brother) is not having an especially good day.

 

I'm sure Stefan feeding on Elena will eventually lead to a new conclusion for my abusive relationship vampire theory, for which I am excited.

"I've never seen you drink blood, so this finally confirms you're a vampire and not just a superhero." “Technically this proves nothing, I could just have a REALLY unsettling fetish.”

Ugh, finally! Half of this episode has been telegraphing the scene where Elena saves Stefan’s life by offering him her blood!

 

I’m going to be honest, this house Vampire House storyline is not my favorite. It doesn’t really focus on any of the main characters and the vampires’ plan lacks a direction or focus to give it any gravity. Also, when Damon’s not in charge he doesn’t get to act like a deranged game show host, which is perhaps the best part of the show.

 

Just when it seems like all hope is lost for the buddy slayer team of Saltzman and Salvatore, who are slowly being surrounded by a slew of angry vampires from the wayward home, Pearl shows up and everyone just sort of disperses on slightly bitter terms. Blast this infernal episode and its refusal to be interesting!

 

"Aw man, and I just cleaned in here! This is why we can't have nice things!"

"Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!"

And even further adding to my general apathy towards this episode, most of this last act just seems to be a montage of people reacting to Viki’s death, which happened kind of a while ago. Is it in character and completely logical for these people to have this reaction? Absolutely. Is it interesting to watch? No, not at all. I  can only hope this is setting up for something relevant, probably something to do with Jeremy becoming a vampire.

 

Nope, I was mistaken, this has lead to the exact opposite of that outcome, which Jeremy proves by confessing to Anna that Viki was his reason for wanting to turn vampire in the first place. So all of this uninteresting stuff happened so that more interesting things could NOT happen. This is some crack storytelling.

 

At least our final shot of the episode shows morbid promise! Looks like Stefan has a taste for human blood again, which he can’t control. Who’s looking forward to a very special episode about addiction…to human blood? I know I am, if only to have an episode of Vampire Diaries focus around one of its main characters again.