October 4, 2011

An Affair To Forget To Remember

The third season of The Vampire Diaries is flipping skirts all over town.  My Thursday night Twitter feed is a non-stop barrage of "best thing EVER" with not a single "meh" in the mix.  But I'm firmly in the "meh" camp and I keep rewatching thinking that maybe I'm missing something but watching again never makes me love it any more.  I still just feel like it's 3 very separate stories that aren't coming together into a cohesive show.  I like the pieces of the story but I'd like it a lot more if they came together into a complete picture rather than splintering the group into these separate and un-related factions.  But none of this is telling you want happened last week is it?  So let's get to that. 

After his dream of captaining a hybrid army into a battle against good and crazy is crushed, Klaus does what all good vampires do, he goes to find a witch so she can fix it.  This particular witch is in Chicago running a bar that used to be a speakeasy, because she has exactly enough swagger to pull that off.  Also because there has to be some impetus for Klaus to regale Stefan with stories from his past. 

It seems that in the '20s, Stefan spent some quality Ripping time in this very speakeasy.  There he met Rebekah, the lovely and charming sister of one Mr. Nicklaus Original.  Rebekah was smitten with Stefan the first time she smelled human blood on his breath (despite the fact he was sporting another in a long line of hideous, and in this case particularly unnecessary, flashback wigs) and who can blame her?  Nothing sets my loins a burnin' like the scent of a man's last meal wafting out from between his teeth.  Like her brother Elijah before her, Rebekah took Klaus's side in the family squabble that ended in death for everyone who chose differently.  Things we know about Rebekah so far: she likes pretty boys and she's not stupid. 

Over the course of what seems like a weekend, Rebekah and Stefan fall madly in like with each other and Rebekah introduces Stefan to her brother who was, during the roaring '20s in Chicago, going by the name Nick.  I wonder if Elijah ever switched it up and went by Eli.  That's the flashback I want to see. Anyway, Nick thinks Stefan is keen the way he's always killing people and making human men drink the blood of their loved ones out of old school champagne glasses and stuff.  Nick's like, "My real brother never wants to do creepy shit like that, you're FUN!" and the two become BFFs.  But there's always a mysterious someone hunting you down for mysterious reasons on this show so naturally the happiness of this threesome is short-lived. 

One night the speakeasy is raided by a mysterious someone after Nick and Rebekah for mysterious reasons (and this someone knows they're vamps because he's using wooden bullets in his tommy gun.  Of course he is) and Nick and Rebkah must head for the hills.  Stefan wants to come too and thinks that their trio would kick ass on a road trip but Nick doesn't think the time is right for him to get tied down so instead he compels Stefan to forget him and Rebekah.  That's when they scamper off into the night, accidentally leaving Rebekah's necklace on the floor of the club in the rubble...where Stefan picks it up AFTER he's been compelled to forget everything.  What necklace, you ask?  Oh, just that necklace that he kept for the better part of 90 years before giving it meaningfully to the woman he loves.  And why wouldn't he do that with a necklace he found on the floor of a club where he has no memory of anything special ever happening? 

While Klaus is busy telling Stefan this tale, Damon and Elena have come stumbling into town with not so much as the germ of a plan between them.  What these two lack in brains they more than make up for in the sheer force of will it takes to fail to recognize your own shortcomings at every possible turn. Bravo!  So they not-so-gingerly break into the apartment Stefan has apparently been paying rent on since Warren G. Harding was president which makes me wonder where the fuck he gets all his money.  Either he has the world's best stock portfolio, or there is a mattress somewhere stuffed very full of cash he pillaged, bootlegged, and pilfered his way into before he became a bunnytarian. 

Damon shows Elena around the digs a little - here's where Stefan kept his bow tie, here's where he slept, here's the wall he wrote the names of all his victims on - and then leaves her there to read up on Stefan's prohibition days in his diary and to come up with a plan, while he goes out to do some shopping on Michigan Avenue.  As you do.  

While she's alone, Klaus brings Stefan back to look at his scrapbook, er, death wall.  Elena hears them coming and has only seconds to hide so she hides in the moonshine closet where Stefan sees her and makes eyes at her and then pretends she's not there.  Stefan and Klaus leave.  When Damon returns, Elena tells him what happened and Damon comes up with the following plan: they'll go to the bar where he'll distract Klaus so she can talk to Stefan and convince him to come home. 

In reality that plan looks like this: Damon finds Klaus at the bar.  They snark at each other.  Klaus kicks his ass.  Gloria the bar witch tells them to keep it in their pants.  Meanwhile, outside, Elena asks Stefan to come home and Stefan says, "no, go away, I don't like you anymore.  You have cooties."

With Damon and Elena once again on their way back to Mystic Falls, Stefan and Klaus head over to the Warehouse of Dead Originals where Klaus un-kills Rebekah and uncompells Stefan and everyone catches up on old times.  Until Klaus asks Rebekah what she has that Gloria the bar witch needs to fix the hybrid army snafu and Rebekah is like, "oh, just my necklace that is missing because you killed me 90 years ago and didn't bother to notice my super important magic necklace was gone." 

Don't you love how everything on this show somehow finds a way to revolve around Elena?  Like, good fucking thing Stefan never gave that necklace that held no sentimental value to him, which he picked up off the floor for no reason at all, after losing a woman he didn't know he ever met, to Lexi as a birthday present because then the damn thing would be gone completely with no hope of retrieval. 

But that's really neither here nor there because what we really need to talk about it something I completely forgot to be bugged by at the end of last season, which is the "rule" that in order for the dagger and ash to kill an Original, it has to be used by a human.  Remember that rule?  And then remember how Klaus - not at all a human - used the dagger and ash to kill Elijah?  Well he totally did it to Rebekah and, I'm guessing, all his other family members too.  So...is this just another rule that Originals are immune to? Or was that rule made up to keep other vampires from getting thoughts in their heads? Or did someone on the writing staff just completely forget that that rule ever existed in the first place? 

The sub-plot to this whole Chicago ordeal is that Kathrine is also in Chicago, keeping tabs on Klaus and Stefan and she keeps calling Damon to sort of tell him things and sort of find out what he knows but mostly just so she has something to do.  As usual, it's clear she knows stuff but it's not at all clear which team she'll join in the service of bettering her own life. 

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline's dad is holding her hostage in another of the many, many, many dungeons in and around the town.  Masonry was a thriving enterprise in Mystic Falls in the 1860s.  Daddy Dearest takes off her SPF ring and then spends the day taunting her with a blood bag and then burning her with sunlight in an attempt to change her very nature.  He wants to "reprogram" and "recondition" her to not be what she is.  The entire escapade is revolting. 

Fortunately, one person in town has thought to miss Caroline while she's been gone for a couple of days.  So Tyler, having gotten the skinny on who has his woman from his vile mother (I assume), goes to talk to the Sheriff.  The two of them show up in the dungeon to rescue Caroline.  The Sheriff wins me over for good by letting her husband have it and by "it" I mean the business end of a gun.  Tyler breaks her out of her shackles, puts the ring back on her finger, and scoops her up out of there. 

Back at home in bed, her mom feeds her some blood and tries to make her feel better about how her dad tortured and could have killed her.  Then she and Tyler share a nice moment in the hall before he comes in and holds her while she cries about how her dad hates her.  You guys, I have just reduced this story to 3 paragraphs but I assure you, this is where all the emotional heft of the story was for me.  Candice Accola is the bees knees and I worship the ground she acts on. 

Next week: People will probably continue to interact only with a very limited number of other cast members and experience no crossover between stories.  Yippee.  My kingdom for a group number!


Rosei911 said...

Ok I have to agree that the first two episodes were”meh” (as you called it), except for specific scenes: like Stefan calling Elena at the end of episode one and Damon throwing Elena into the water in episode two, those episodes were kind of on the softer side of boring. I also felt like all the story lines are disjointed and I’m hoping that they will eventually mesh together (knowing VD writers, they probably will in and EPIC way) But episode three with the 20’s flashback was amazing! It was so nicely told (although I would have liked to have seen Damon in that era) I think they did a fabulous job with it.
If you remember back in the end of season one, Jeremy told Damon that compelling him may have taken the memory away but not the pain (he was sad and didn’t know why). Probably it’s the same thing with Stefan, when he took the necklace off the floor at the speakeasy he may have felt a connection to it and not known why.
I also realized the dagger/ash problem. But more so that how would Rebecca know it wouldn’t kill him, she couldn’t have known he was able to break the curse, she being unconscious and all for a couple of decades. I hope the writers clear that all up ASAP.

But, while TVD is awesome and all, the writers are human and are capable of making mistakes so I will enjoy it anyway even if there are a few holes, everyone is just way to pretty to care

Melissa said...

You're right about many things, Rosei911. One of those things is that even when TVD is "meh" it's still kind of awesome.

I also think that the writers will eventually weave all of these stories together and that it'll be epic when they finally do. My complaining now is merely becasue I've personally found these episodes good but not great. Frankly, I'm feeling about V3 much the same as I felt about FNL's 2nd season but just because it's not the same level of awesomeness I've come to expect, doesn't mean it isn't better than nearly everything else on TV.

I'll take a "meh" TVD over the best Ringer can bring any day of the week.

Rosei911 said...

Totally agree with you on that.I would take TVD on a bad week over any of the other so so shows on TV now.(Except for maybe Revenge, it's growing on me.)
I also want to know if Klaus knew back in the 20's that Katherine turned Stefan & Damon, and if any of that played a part in why he liked him or needed him. interesting....

I like your blog posts, bec/ its usually the same shows I watch and like.(but not always as I'm not a reality competition show fan.)

That's why I read your blog and reviews (along with Carina's on Zap2it and EW's recaps.) The others aren't as good or funny
So keep up the good work, Its always entertaining!:)