Posts tagged ‘Bonnie Bennett’

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.

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Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 6

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Remember that time I asked why it is that becoming a vampire makes you inherently creepy? That was not a rhetorical question. Seems our friends Anna and Ben, that bartender (who strikes me as a vampire redshirt), haven’t just kidnapped Elena, but also Bonnie. In case you were unclear, serial kidnapping is definitely creepy.

 

If anti-virus software was this effective against invasions I might actually buy a PC again!

"Argh, this is the worst brain freeze I've ever experienced!" "Don't test me, or I'll show you my magical wet willie too!"

Holy crap! Bonnie’s grandmother just like gut-punched Damon with just her mind. “I’m not Bonnie” she says, and she’s not kidding. Bonnie’s response to Damon asking for witch help would probably have been to go willingly with Damon into an obvious trap or something.

 

Wow, maybe I should take that back! She just turned a glass of ordinary motel water into fire using just her mind and magic, to attack and escape from her vampire captor/ex-boyfriend. And she would have gotten away with it too, had she not let her best friend get taken hostage on the way out. Two steps forward, one step back. Plus, in fairness, it was MOTEL water, so it was probably pretty close to flammable to start with.

 

Once Stefan inevitably rescues the girls, they regroup at the casa del whatever the Spanish word for “witches” is. There they hatch a pretty terrible plan…actually no, what they do is resurrect the same terrible plan Stefan already pretended to have (helping Damon free Katherine, but kill the other vampires sealed with her). This time, though, they have an experienced witch agreeing to help. So really all they’ve managed to do is make their bad plan worse.

 

I feel like Stefan should at least already have his flamethrower ready, honestly!

"What could go wrong? We're just going to open the door to a magical prison containing 27 hungry, angry vampires." "Everything about that is wrong!"

Damon’s certainly a tough one to read. At first he was a full-blown sociopath, then he was just the irresponsible brother for a while and now he’s mellowed to the point that he’s practically a gentleman. I mean, I can’t remember the last time he compelled someone selfishly, not even when he took Elena to Georgia without her vervain. She even takes it off again to try and prove to him that she and Stefan really want to help him, and he just takes her at her word.

 

Jeremy finally opens up to his vampire stalker-ess (is there a female form of the word stalker?), and she responds by revealing that she’s leaving town suddenly for no plausibly defined reason. Well, unless you count her undead mother being resurrected by witches in an underground tomb. Then her thug boyfriend knocks him unconscious so he can meet the parent. You could have just asked!

 

You know, in a way, the Vampire Diaries take on teens and alcohol is refreshing. They just acknowledge that it exists. Now personally, I’m against alcohol period, so trust me when I say I’m not being biased about this point. But so many shows make such a big spectacle out of teen drinking one way or another. It’s kind of nice to see a show treat the issue in a way that seems more realistic. It’s around, no one’s surprised to see it at a party…it just adds to the totally realistic vampire slice of life story.

 

I notice the witches are wearing precautionary vervain necklaces, which gives me an excuse to make an aside here. If I live in a world full of vampires, I don’t think a thin metal chain would make me feel safe from their influence. They do have super strength, after all. For my money, I’d want it live woven into my clothes or something. That seems like a pretty good barrier.

 

Convoluted? Yes. Badass? Also yes.

"Oh my god it burns! We’re in a freaking forest, wouldn’t it have been easier just to stake me!?"

Generally I have to say I prefer Damon’s style as a character, but I can’t deny that Stefan has some pretty amazing moments himself. For example, clotheslining a vampire and then setting him on fire with a makeshift flamethrower.

 

I probably shouldn’t have sold Bonnie’s grandmother so short, after all she’s not Bonnie, just as she pointed out earlier. She didn’t even need a plan to compensate for Stefan’s bad idea, apparently the seal keeping the vampires in the tomb was unrelated to the door they opened using the witch ritual. This means all the vampires inside are still stuck inside, new ones can just enter.

 

When Stefan goes inside to try and save Elena from a whole slew of vampires – actually “slew” seems like a very fitting plural noun for vampires – Bonnie threatens to try and take the seal down herself to save him, if her grandma won’t help. I say let her try, she’s more likely to spontaneously turn into a newt than successfully pull off that spell.

 

Unsurprisingly, that whole “living corpse” thing they’ve been alluding to for a while now is pretty gross.

 

Damon discovers that Katherine isn’t in the tomb after all, and is rightfully pretty pissed. When Elena comes to fetch the boys while the witches are still keeping the seal at bay, he seems to think she’s Katherine for a split second. Which raises an unsettling thought. Assuming Elena is really related to Katherine, then if Damon dated Katherine and Stefan dated Elena, then they’d have all the creepiness of brothers dating identical twins AND brothers dating a mother and daughter. That’s some kinky stuff.

 

Aw, sad Damon’s no fun :(. He interrogates Anna and her mother, only to discover they knew the whole time that Katherine’s been loose. She’s known where to find Damon and didn’t care. Even vampires can’t escape the abusive vampire relationship cycle.

 

So let’s review Bonnie’s track record for the episode. She managed to get herself kidnapped by a guy she pretty much knew was a vampire, but then she cast a pretty cool spell. Of course her own incompetence undid the usefulness of said spell, but she got rescued anyway. With her grandmother’s help she managed to open the door to that tomb using an old ritual, enacting a trap that should have sealed all the vampires they know away forever. Bonnie persuaded her grandmother to assist her in breaking the seal to the tomb to save one vampire (Stefan) while releasing three potentially dangerous vampires, as well as permanently leaving the door open to the rest of those living corpse vampires in the tomb. Oh yeah, and the spell that broke free all of those man-eating vampires? It killed her totally awesome grandmother.

 

Bonnie sucks!

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

We’re back to business as usual, with our newly escaped vampire friend feeding on a human hiker in broad daylight. I actually really like the blocking here, where the camera focuses on the vampire’s hand as he kills that guy so we can see his lapus lazuli ring. Since we found out that Emily the witch enchanted those rings, it makes sense that the vampires from Mystic Falls back in the day would all be daywalkers. All the more reason not to let them escape the tomb for any reason, Bonnie!

 

Utilizing a laughably implausible series of deductions, Aunt Jenna has tracked down a high school yearbook photo of the woman who could well be Elena’s birthmother. You can tell they’re related because of their shared dark features and brooding expressions.

 

Does it really come as a shock that I watched The O.C. considering that I'm watching the entirety of Vampire Diaries?

"Hey, Melinda Clarke, I loved you as Julie Cooper on the O.C.!" "Thanks! Wish I could say the same about your work defiling my son and couch."

Oh good, a completely unmotivated scene’s worth of fan service between Caroline and Matt. And here I was worrying that I wasn’t going to see Caroline without a shirt on today. That sounds like sarcasm, but she’s cute so if she wants to take her shirt off I’ll allow it. Unfortunately even that won’t cause her or Matt to contribute anything worthwhile to the plot. It will, however, provide an awkward context for Matt’s loosely established mother to mysteriously come back to town. Oops.

 

All things considered, once they revealed that Alaric’s wife and Elena’s mother had the same first name, it seemed pretty much impossible for that to be a coincidence. When Aunt Jenna and Alaric hook up, there’s going to be a weird quasai-incestuous web to untangle.

 

Hey, good for Isobel! She’s the one person who managed to figure out that those “animal attacks” were the laziest cover-up in history. Also sort of explains why she got eaten by a vampire. Be careful what you wish for?

 

At least vervain is more versatile and less conspicuous than Kryptonite.

"Would you like one lump of vervain with your tea or two?"

Vervain is sort of starting to have that same disproportionate availability problem that Kryptonite has in the Superman world. I’m pretty sure they said it was pretty hard to come by, at least in Virginia, and now every Tom, Dick and Harry’s serving vervain tea with crumpets.

 

Seriously? This is our B-Story du jour? The founders are having a charity bachelor auction? That sounds more like a Desperate Housewives plot or something. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, Vampire Diaries, but I suspect someone(s) in the writers room was drunk.

 

I find this auction system confusing. They seem to be suggesting that you buy raffle tickets which then represent the cash value you spent on them, which you can use to bid on bachelors. Wouldn’t is be easier to just…have an auction?

 

With some help from the Sheriff, Damon pieces together that this Isobel woman everyone’s clamoring about is Alaric’s dead wife who he sort of ate. Of course, being Damon, he finds the most tasteless and humiliating way to confirm this fact for Alaric. I imagine Damon doesn’t know about his Saltzman Stake-o-Matic, cause I sure don’t want to mess with that and I’m not even a vampire.

 

Okay, so now I finally understand this date auction…as much as I’m going to. Looks like it is in fact a date raffle, with the winners of dates being chosen randomly, through a raffle system. This is awkward in so many ways. For one, you probably don’t raise as much money for charity this way and secondly people donating to the charity could get stuck on a super-awkward blind date.

 

No wonder the IMF only ever has a handful of people on staff!

I’ve heard of a message self-destructing after five seconds, but a messenger? That seems needlessly wasteful.

Pro tip, Isobel, when you don’t want to be found, but the only person looking for you already thinks you’re dead, sending a messenger to tell them you don’t want to be found is only going to make them want to look for you. You might as well tell me NOT to push a giant red button!

 

Alaric confronts Damon with a stake and learns that Isobel wasn’t killed, she was turned. He is then quickly killed by Damon and left for dead as his craziness renews his quest to find Katherine. “Quickly” here meaning both shortly thereafter and for a short amount of time, as a flashback vaguely explains that Alaric’s family heirloom ring isn’t lapus lazuli, but some sort of undeath ring. I wish my Cheerios had one of those in it!

 

Again, Isobel, when you send a self-destructing messenger to tell people that you’re alive, dumb things can happen. Like Elena stealing said messenger’s phone and using it to call you. This is why you can’t have nice things.

 

That one vampire who escaped discovers a halfway home for receased (re-undead?) vampires, run by Anna and her mother, Pearl. Whatever happens as a result of this is also Bonnie’s fault.

Dear Vampire Diaries: Volume 3

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Well, if Vicki was going to go after someone to eat as a vampire, I feel like Tyler’s a good choice. Our weird Jason Voorhees-esque motif about abusive relationships and vampires continues as she retaliates by trying to eat him. Vampires never die or age just like abusive relationships never end or change. That almost sounds like a delightful vampire poem.

 

I hadn’t noticed that the high school mascot was the timber wolves…just…wow.

 

It’s kind of refreshing that Elena actually reacts to the idea of keeping secrets about everyone to protect vampires.

 

If Vicki is any indication, side effects of being dead include supernatural agility, heightened senses, a taste for human blood and an insufferable amount of complaining.

 

I can’t decide if it’s cleverness or laziness that’s driven the witch to dress like a witch and the new vampire to dress like a vampire for Halloween.

 

This is why vampires can't have nice things.

"Stefan, aren't you the reformed vampire who believes that people can change? Why'd you kill my brother's girlfriend?" "I slipped...and grabbed a sharp piece of wood to break my fall...and then stumbled into her chest."

It’s a good thing the school has a trash can full of wooden planks with which to fend off and possibly kill attacking vampires…why does it have that? Does this school have a vampire slaying elective? It would be practical.

 

Gonna be honest, Stefan, I know she was a bloodthirsty vampire at risk of attacking your friends, but staking her to death might have been a bit much. He without sin and all that.

 

These witch plots continue to be terribly woven into the story. The scenes are routinely about a minute long and just full of exposition with little or no motivation.

 

Damon: “You’re confusing me with someone with remorse. None of this matters to me.”

I think that sums things up quite nicely.

 

This is a really emasculating moment for Stefan. Elena wants her brother to forget about the time he saw he vampire girlfriend get staked, but because Stefan doesn’t eat people, they have to rely on his brother who he hates to save his love interest’s brother from Post Vampiric Stress Syndrome.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Looks like it’s Stefen’s 162nd birthday which has brought a generically attractive blonde vampire girl to town to celebrate. She, Lexi, says that only the Salvatore s have the magical Lapis Lazuli daylight survival rings. He suggests that they won’t work for anyone else. The plot thickens.

 

Again, I’m glad Elena’s a real person. We already knew she was predisposed to being emo so all this death, lies and vampirism SHOULD annoy the crap out of her, which it does.

 

Haha, well it looks like Lexi feeds on humans because she proves stronger than Damon. It’s fun to see him get bullied.

 

Leave it to a teenager (and the most annoying character on the show) to complain about a powerful magical amulet not looking pretty enough.

 

I guess if it got to that point he'd just compel whoever was left to buy his crappy story. Wouldn't be too hard.

"Hey Damon, the town census says we're the only people still living in town. Where's everybody else?" "Um...they all had to leave town...suddenly."

You know the whole “mysteriously left town on short notice” thing can work in small doses, but it has already happened to Vicki, Logan and Stefan’s “uncle”. I feel like someone’s going to have to start picking up on this soon.

 

“Bonnie, what’s going on?” Really Elena? In the pilot she wouldn’t shut up about her witch heritage and you just found out vampires exist. Just stop trying to be skeptical.

 

Ah, so Lexi doesn’t just feed on humans like Damon, she feeds on donated human blood. Probably not donated TO her, but when dealing with vampires you’re probably going to hit on something morally reprehensible eventually.

 

The Caroline/Damon relationship is definitely the core of my thesis, at least at this stage of the show. “Why are you being like this?” she asks him, “I’m so good to you!” “You’re shallow and useless,” he replies.

 

Lexi’s actually being genuinely helpful with the Stefan/Elena relationship…not really sure why. I definitely had the impression she was into him, though I could have just been reading into how protective she was of him.

 

Damon’s got some serious game, between working closely with the council and even providing them a weapon (vervain) to throw off suspicion, to not just killing some people and trying to put Lexi on the spot, but leaving a hypnotized witness. I think that staking Lexi may have been a bit much, though, even if Stefan and Elena hadn’t been watching. Also, since the bullets weren’t slowing Lexi down, I have to say shame on the sheriff for hunting vampires without appropriate tools.

 

Two vampires down in as many episodes. We’re going to start running out soon at this rate, unless we keep introducing new ones.

 

Pro tip, Matt, when you drop off the sheriff’s daughter at her house and the sheriff knows the girl is completely wasted, it’s probably not smart to sleep in her bed, funny business or no. Trigger happy sheriff’s probably going to think you’re taking advantage of her daughter.

 

Seriously though, this is really messed up and I feel like Stefan should stop trying to be reasonable with Damon after this.

"Ugh, is-is that a stake in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" "Oooh, sorry, I should probably be more careful where I leave that thing"

Damon, I wouldn’t be so smug about solving the vampire suspicion problem, since you caused it in the first place and then killed Stefan’s friend.

 

Considering that we established that Damon’s powers are better than Stefan, I think that Stefan administering a stake to Damon’s gut was way too easy.

 

What’s up with this town’s graveyard? There’s a mausoleum and like 5 tombstones, that accounts for like the amount of people of have died in town since the show started. Actually, I don’t think it even covers that.

 

 

Dear Vampire Diary,

 

Hey! Not only are we in school, but there’s a teacher other than Mr. Tanner. The school board must have finally caved in the actually-staffing-the-school negotiations.

 

I had my name legally changed from "Shady Murderman" because I couldn't get hired as a teacher.

"Hello, my name is Alaric Saltzman, and I will probably kill you or someone you care about before I'm written out of this series."

Oh wow, and another teacher within just a few minutes. This guy even gets a highly fictitious sounding name: Alaric Saltzman. I have to assume with a name like Alaric that he has something to do with vampires. Uh oh, he’s the history teacher! Is history like the Vampire Diaries equivalent of the Defense Against the Dark Arts class from Harry Potter?

 

“Sorry I killed your best friend, here’s some coffee” doesn’t quite seem like an adequate apology. Still, it shows at least the vaguest hint of effort from Damon, which is new.

 

What’s that? A suspicious family heirloom ring with a blue tint to it? It was pretty strongly insinuated in the last episode that the Salvatore brothers were the only ones with magic daylight protecting decoder rings, but maybe this will come as news to everyone.

 

When did Damon suddenly figure out like every detail of Bonnie’s life? Granted, she hasn’t shown us a lot of depth so far, but not that long ago he didn’t even know she was a witch (shocking, I know), now he knows that her dead witch ancestor is haunting her through the crystal. My guess is that she needs to change her privacy settings on Facebook.

 

Dun dun DUH! The amulet that Bonnie threw away in a field in the middle of nowhere reappeared unexpectedly in her purse! If she can’t deal with this level of unexplained phenomena she’s not going to be a very good witch.

 

“I consider you to be my best friend, even though we barely ever speak and I’ve been holding a grudge against you because you won’t return something I don’t even want.” Looks like Caroline and Damon have something in common, an inability to apologize appropriately.

 

They'll only learn the error of their ways when the spirits invite a bunch of their friends, get drunk and trash the place.

"Inviting relentless spirits into our lives is fun! While we're at it, let's invite some more Vampires into my house!"

Seriously? A séance? Hasn’t Bonnie spent this entire episode complaining about a ghost haunting her? Why would we agree to invite in a spirit? You deserve whatever you get from this.

 

Damon says Stefan is an expert on starving vampires. That does raise the question, why did Stefan know about that whole living corpse thing to threaten Damon with it before?

 

Oh good! Bonnie’s become possessed by the ghost of Emily! Maybe she’ll contribute to the story in some way!

 

You would think that being a vampire himself, Stefan would be prepared for things like super-sensory eavesdropping when he gets important information via phone call.

 

I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the burning tree. Even Bonnie’s ancestors have a pyromania problem. I have to say, I’m a little bummed that Emily’s contribution while possessing Bonnie was to destroy the thing that was possibly going to make Bonnie useful.

 

So is “having a wounded human drink my blood” the go-to solution for all vampire problems?

 

Well they caught me by surprise here. I would not have guessed that Damon was the one with genuine feelings for Katherine. Of course I hadn’t guessed that she was an evil vampire or that she was probably alive and tramped somewhere with a bunch of angry vampires, so maybe I’m  not the best one to ask.

 

Interesting, so vampire blood is pretty much just super medicine as long as you don’t die?

 

Oh no! Stefan’s leaving. He probably shouldn’t go until he’s made sure that Damon’s also leaving. You know, cause he eats people indiscriminately?

 

So Elena tells Bonnie about the vampires during a musical montage, which she responds to by crying. I like to think he reactions was something like, “There were two sexy vampires in town and you didn’t tell me? You’re a terrible friend, you know how much I loved Twilight!”

 

Oh. Logan’s back. And he ALSO seems to be a vampire. Kind of a lot of vampire happening in this town all of a sudden. Maybe they really are planning on continuing to kill vampires with relatively reckless abandon. Logan’s return does at least explain why they’ve continued to use footage from him during the “previously on the Vampire Diaries” segments.

 

 

What Are The Vampire Diaries?

I for one think the title card should be printed on a book with vampire fangs. Seems logical to me, even if a little on the nose.

The Standard Vampire Diaries title card, sometimes depicted with dripping blood.

Vampire Diaries is a CW Teen Drama, which like the WB teen dramas which existed before its merger with UPN created the CW, is characterized by teens whose social problems are treated like life or death situations (though depending on the show, sometimes they are), and frequently feature excessive angst and/or brooding about the teenage condition.

 

The TV series, however is based on a trilogy of “young adult vampire horror” novels, written by L.J. Smith and published over a decade before Twilight. The series proved popular enough for fan demand to spark the writing of a fourth novel, and later two additional trilogies (though the most recent is being written by a ghost writer instead of the original author). Despite this popularity and being around before Twilight really exploded the vampire romance genre, I doubt this series would have been adapted for television had Twilight not opened the floodgates for popular culture.

 

Now I’m no fan of the Twilight series, and my reactions to vampires in fiction are often lukewarm, but I am a student of all kind of television, which means I try to give shows a fair chance even if they seem sub par or downright unwatchable at first glance. My first experience with this show was during what some of my friends with similar industry aspirations call a “Pilot Party”. At the start of the fall TV season we’ll get together to watch the premiere episodes of various shows, good or bad and discuss them. We watched Vampire Diaries’ pilot and I was on board with the general consensus; it was better than expected but probably not something I would watch.

I wonder if a vampire could compel your mind through a photo. It would explain my recent taste for human blood.

This is what the cover to the season 1 DVD set looks like. I've had sexy male vampire staring at me for a few weeks asking "why aren't you watching us?"

 

Flash forward to late last year, when I was hanging out with a friend of mine, Amy. When just the two of us are hanging out, we will often watch shows that most of our friends don’t or won’t watch, because she has slightly different taste than most, and as I often say, I’ll watch almost anything. On this particular night, I watched a current episode of Vampire Diaries, and Amy was eager to see what my reaction would be. I had to admit I enjoyed it more than I expected. It still had some problems typical of teen dramas, but I’ve watched at least my fair share of those in the past and enjoyed them despite such issues. This set the wheels in motion.

 

Flash forward again to when Amy acquired the first two seasons of Vampire Diaries on DVD. She loaned the first season to me and told me to watch the whole thing. Well I’ve been gently nudging my friends to give me suggestions or what I like to think of as Challenges of shows suitable for this blog to write about. A challenger approaches: The Vampire Diaries!

 

Enough about me, let’s get into the basics of the show. Let’s start with the supernatural namesake, vampires. As a well-established monster, vampires have reached a point where authors often tweak the rules of vampires powers and weaknesses. The Vampire Diaries follows this trend, but certainly not so egregiously as “Vampires sparkle in the sunlight”. Have I mentioned I don’t like Twilight?

 

Vampire Powers (or Vampowers if you like portmanteaus):

 

-Immortality: Vampires don’t age and will live forever unless someone uses one of their weaknesses to kill them.

-Healing Factor: Vampires aren’t completely indestructible, and can be cut or otherwise hurt, but their natural healing abilities quickly kick in and prevent lasting damage.

-Super Strength: While I don’t actually recall the vampires of the series using their strength for anything especially noteworthy so far, there have been multiple arguments ending with someone being tossed with obviously superhuman strength.

-Super Speed: This one’s pretty straightforward. Vampires are fast! It makes getting from place to place in a small town like Mystic Falls without a car pretty convenient.

Say, since vampires have reflections in this world, I bet they could compel themselves to quit smoking.

Damon Salvatore compels you to watch The Vampire Diaries. And also keep reading my blog.

-Mind Compulsion: This one’s the real kicker, and this show rarely pulls any punches with it, which I appreciate. Vampires can control other people’s minds plus they can erase or create false memories in them. I assume there’s some limit to this power, or else the two central vampires of this show would have compelled their issues away years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Vampire Weaknesses (or Vampeaknesses if you just like mashing words together):

 

-Wooden Stake: Taking one to the heart will kill a vampire, this holds true as vampire 101.

-Sunlight: Does burn vampires, though if the exposure is not sustained it seems that the healing factor can undo the damage to some degree.

-Invitation: A vampire cannot enter a house without being invited, though once invited they are free to come and go.

-Vervain: Admittedly I’m not a vampire scholar, so I don’t know if this was made up for the show, or established yet obscure. Vervain is an herb of some kind that weakens vampires, to an extreme degree if it’s ingested. If worn or kept in close proximity, vervain also provides some degree of protection for humans, at least to counteract their ability to compel minds.

 

There may be more weaknesses that eventually develop or haven’t been discussed, but those cover the main bases.

 

The Premise:

 

The show revolves around two brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore, who were turned into vampires about 150 years ago. They take sibling rivalry to a new level as a woman they fought over even before they were turned is still driving hostilities between them. The pair seemed to be affluent members of society when they were young, but eventually left the town where they lived, Mystic Falls, for reasons not entirely clear to me just yet (though I suspect it was due to a rise in the rates of vampire hunters in town).

 

Things start off as Stefan returns to Mystic Falls, being compelled to meet a girl named Elena Gilbert, the spitting image (and possible descendant) of his and Damon’s old flame, Katherine. Damon quickly shows up and takes just about every opportunity he can to spite Stefan and make him miserable. Things continue largely from there with Stefan merely trying to live a quasai-normal life, Damon being a sociopath and the rest of the town trying to cope with “mysterious animal attacks” and other such vampire fallout.

 

Also not pictured is Matt, who is like Schrodinger's main character. So far the box is empty.

Not pictured is Aunt Jenna, who looks way too young to be anyone's legal guardian.

Characters:

 

There are many, but the show focuses largely around three and a half of them, who I will discuss here.

 

Stefan Salvatore: The “good” vampire who doesn’t feed on humans, but instead feeds on the blood of animals. As a result his vampire abilities are relatively weak, especially his ability to compel humans. Stefan is sensitive, caring and introspective, which combined with his lonely life as a vampire obviously leads him to brood with some regularity. Stefan is remorseful about things he has done in the past due to his vampirism, but has largely changed his ways. He still worries that he is a danger to others because of his relationship to his brother, Damon.

 

Damon Salvatore: The evil vampire brother, no quotes for that one, Damon’s a full on sociopath. He makes it clear that humans are at best pawns in his mind games and at worst nothing more than food. Whatever the details are regarding his love triangle with Stefan and Katherine (a girl the boys knew way back before they were vampires) are they seem to have had a severe impact on Damon’s mental stability. He has no qualms feeding on people or using people to hurt Stefan…or really doing anything that might hurt Stefan. He’s very smart and feeding on humans makes him strong as well, this guy’s seriously dangerous.

 

Elena Gilbert: She is the object of vampire affections in this story. As things kick off Elena and her brother, Jeremy, are being raised by their aunt after their parents died in a car accident. The pair of them are both handling things in a pretty emo fashion, but at least she’s not taking copious drugs and picking fights with guys at school. She is however complaining to her (vampire) diary that she’s totally emotionally stunted. Well, she was until Stefan came along. She feels like she can open up and relate to Stefan. Things are complicated of course by the fact that he is a vampire, and she quickly grows tired of all the secret keeping and moral peril.

 

Bonnie Bennett: This is the half-character of importance I mentioned before. Bonnie is somehow the best friend of every teenage girl in Mystic Falls, despite rarely interacting with them in a typical best friend fashion. It turns out that Bonnie’s a witch. Don’t mistake that for a spoiler, her first conversation brings up the possibility that she’s a witch and almost every single scene or exchange of dialogue with her in it somehow pertains to the fact that she’s a witch. This bothers me mostly because the fact that she is a witch has yet to impact the story in any meaningful way, but she just keeps bringing it up and talking about it incessantly. I strongly suspect that it is a rule of witches in this continuity that if you are a witch and you don’t talk about the fact that you’re a witch once every fifteen minutes you will spontaneously combust. If that IS the case, I hope Damon finds an excuse to muzzle her.

 

Bonnie seems nice enough, maybe I will hate her less if/when she finally gets an actual storyline.

Alright already, Bonnie, I get it, you're a witch! Did you have to ruin my pillow to prove the point?

 

I think that does it for my primer on this wacky world of Vampires (or Wampires if you have a Russian accent or a deep appreciation for alliteration). I figure examining a supernatural romantic teen drama is a good way for me to spend the week of Valentine’s Day. After that, you may continue to see some periodical and unconventional updates on the subject.

 

All you happy relationship people enjoy tomorrow. Me? I’ll be celebrating Vampentine’s Day.