Monday, September 19, 2011

The Vampire Diaries Season 3: Not Much To Care About

So after all that anticipation, the season 3 premiere of The Vampire Diaries was kind of disappointing. It wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't what we needed after the horrible, jumbled mess that was True Blood this time around. It will certainly be enough to fill our vampire fix for now, but we have to admit we were hoping for more.

The episode opened up with Klaus trying to smooth talk his way into a woman's house because his car broke down/his cell phone died/he's so charming. Yeah, she doesn't fall for it (or his fake accent) so he compells her to let him in. Once inside we find another young piece of food woman and learn that Klaus is looking for some dude named Ray Sutton who only comes home once a month. Obviously this is foreshadowing that he's a werewolf. Stefan shows up and Klaus orders him to kill both girls - and he does.

Sticking to their recurring theme of race FAIL, the episode opened up with the death of yet another woman of color even before the title even showed. Maybe the writers think that because they killed a white chick at the same time, that this counts as diversity or something, but we're really starting to get tired of this shit. We can't even make a joke "how long do you think they'll be able to wait before they kill off another black person?" without getting the answer (about 3 minutes) right away.

The only living black character at the moment is Bonnie and she wasn't even in this episode, except for a few short conversations with Jeremy via cell phone video chat. What's up with that, by the way? Was Kat Graham on location filming another amazing music video or did the other characters just not need her to do any magic chores for them yet?

Anyway, after the title sequence we see Elena waking up Jeremy because he's late for work at the Grill. We learn that Alaric has been staying with Elena and Jeremy - sleeping on the couch - as some kind of pseudo parent substitute now that all of Elena's various parental figures are dead. Caroline calls to let Elena know about a lead (another "animal attack" in Tennessee) that might help her find Stefan. She goes to tell Stefan, who greets her all sexy and naked after having just exited a bubble bath with Andie. Damon dismisses her lead, but then goes and pursues it on his own because he doesn't want Klaus to find out she's still alive. Why not? Her being alive doesn't un-break the curse, so what's the big deal? Are they just afraid that Klaus is going to kill her again for fun or is this more foreshadowing?

Back at the Grill, Jeremy chats with Bonnie via the phone and switches sections with Matt because he doesn't want to wait on Caroline and Tyler. Basically that scene was just to let us know that a) Caroline and Tyler aren't dating even though everyone thinks they are, because they pretty much are, except that they aren't and b) Matt is apparently still on the show even though there's no reason for him to be. We await his imminent death later in the season.

Klaus and Stefan meet up with Ray at the bar - where they have compelled everyone in it to ignore any scary vampire violence they may subject him to, which apparently includes "Truth or Wolfsbane" which involves using him as a human werewolf dartboard with darts dipped in wolfsbane. We learn of Klaus's evil plan he wants to create more werewolf/vampire hybrids (so he can have a hybrid posse apparently), so he needs to find more werewolves. He wants Ray to give up the whereabouts of his pack. (And no joke, I honestly typed wereabouts by accident and almost left it, because it really would've been quite fitting, but I just couldn't do that.)

Hey Ray, can we turn your werewolf pack into hybrids? K,  thanks.

Damon takes Alaric to investigate Elena's lead (without telling Elena, to protect her - both literally, from Klaus and figuratively, from knowing the truth about Stefan's newly murderous ways). They find the two dead chicks from the opening scene - who Stefan has nicely put back together like puzzle-pieces. Damon informs us that this is the signature move of Stefan, aka "The Ripper". He rips his victims apart and then when he's done, he feels bad so she puts them back together again. Stay classy Stefan! Damon and Alaric discover Ray's werewolf chamber or whatever and then burn the place down. I'm not sure why they did this... part of it is to hide what happened to these women (to avoid suspicion of vampires and to protect Stefan I assume) but it also tips Klaus off that Damon is on to them.

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline and Tyler are preparing the Salvatore house for Elena's 18th birthday party, which Elena doesn't even want to go to at all. (It feels like the party is just another contrived plot device. I know 18 is a big deal birthday and they're trying to cheer Elena up, but who would really force their best friend to go to a birthday party after all Elena has gone through in the past two seasons? Let's recap: Her adoptive parents are dead, her Uncle Daddy is dead, her vampire mommy is dead, her mom-like aunt is dead and her vampire boyfriend is missing, possibly dead and/or on a murderous rampage. Pass that girl a beer!) Caroline and Tyler discuss how horny they both are (lovely) because of their supernatural overdrive or whatever, yet still refuse to admit that they like each other. Instead Tyler says he is bringing "Slutty Sophie" as a date to the party and Caroline wishes him luck on getting lucky.

Klaus believes that Damon is on to them, but Stefan convinces him to let him handle his brother, who is apparently playing chaperone at Elena's party. It was pretty nice of him to allow them to throw the party there - no idea why he'd decide to be that nice, it seems so out of his nature - but I guess there's nothing he won't do for the teenaged girlfriend of his younger brother woman his loves. Whatever the reason, it definitely comes off creepy that there are two old dudes (Damon and Alaric) hanging around a high school party, especially when one of them is a teacher at the high school. How has Alaric not gotten fired by now?

Neither of them care about all the underage drinking going on at this party.

Jeremy talks to Matt about his smoking marijuana again because he needs to relax because he's been "seeing things", such as his dead vampire girlfriends Vicki and Anna. Of course, he leaves out the part about the dead girlfriends, one of whom is Matt's dead sister. Um, maybe you should talk to your magical witch girlfriend instead of turning to weed? Just a thought. I could see how a regular, ignorant teenager might think he was just stressed out but this is Mystic Falls, you're the descendant of a famous vampire hunter... you know a ton of vampires and you're dating a witch. Don't you think maybe just maybe this is a supernatural issue and not a psychological one? Basically, he talks to Matt because there's nothing else for Matt to do in this show at the moment other than give Caroline snotty looks. Matt is officially the "Alcide" of The Vampire Diaries, only less hot. (At least Alcide used to take off his shirt once in a while.)

Damon mentions that Andie is on her way to the party after doing the 10 PM news, but when we but to her she mentions that she's the last one at the station. Really? No one is left editing or mixing or whatever? They let her just lock up for the night? Sure. Someone is shining a spotlight in her eyes and of course, we know it has to be Stefan even before they show his silhouette. Luckily Stefan has the most identifiable haircut on this show.

Back at the party, Matt acts all bitchy to Caroline who in turn acts all bitchy to Tyler's date "Slutty Sophie", including compelling her to leave the party. Then Caroline and Elena act bitchy to each other because Elena's stressing over her missing vampire boyfriend while Caroline is all get over it/move on/let's have birthday cake.
Elena finds Damon's tracker wall (which includes maps, newspaper clippings and hilarious post-it notes that say things like "Klaus?" and "neck wounds"). However, Elena can't bitch him out just yet for keeping her in the dark because he's gone to the station to pick up Andie. Really? He didn't even want to get out of the bathtub this morning to get more champagne, but he's going to drive (er, run at vampire speed) to the station to pick up his compelled-girlfriend?
Of course, when he gets there he finds Stefan who has compelled Andie not to move while she stands up on the rafters. Damon tells him this is "Not cool" (no really, he fucking said "Not cool, brother" as if Stefan had borrowed one of his toys without asking). Stefan tells Damon to leave him alone, but Damon reminds him that Elena won't exactly let him do that. So to send a message, he tells Andie to move and she falls to her death. Dick move Stefan. Isn't this the same brother that you turned evil in order to save... now you're going to use that evil to kill his girlfriend? Yes, I know that Stefan is trying to protect both Damon and Elena (and everyone else in town) from Klaus... but Damon's right, that was not cool.

Back to the party! (By the way, who the hell are all these party guests? Does Elena even know these people? I think Bonnie and Caroline are her only actual friends and Bonnie didn't even make it to her BFF's 18th birthday.) Jeremy and Matt are both stoned, which makes Matt annoying and stupid and makes Jeremy... well, it doesn't change Jeremy at all. He's still seeing flashes of dead girlfriends but at least he's smart enough not to drive.

Tyler and Caroline have a fight and he basically tells her that the only reason he's hooking up with chicks like "Slutty Sophie" is because she turned him down. If she doesn't want him to date other people, all she has to do is say so... so she kisses him and they leave the party. Score!

Damon comes home and Elena confronts him. She's pissed that he's been making her feel like an idiot the whole time that he was actually following up on her leads and tracking Klaus's victims. He finally tells her, he's not tracking Klaus's victims - it's Stefan's victims - but he doesn't mention that his girlfriend has now joined that list. He tells Elena that Stefan isn't coming back, at least not in her lifetime, because he's flipped the switch and gone full ripper. Then Damon trashes Stefan's bedroom because he's upset.

Oh look it's Matt. Let's come up with something for him to do. Jeremy and Matt eat ice cream because they're so stoned and drunk. Matt asks Jeremy why he said "Vicki" in the car and he confesses that he's been seeing her. Despite the fact that Matt now knows about werewolves and vampires, he still doesn't consider the fact that maybe there are ghosts too. He basically blows it off. In hindsight, maybe Jeremy should find someone else to confide in... a vampire, his witch girlfriend, his doppelganger sister... no he chooses the only non-supernatural person in their little circle of friends. Please. Just kill Matt already. Or turn him into a vampire. Or a zombie. Or something. It worked for Caroline - she went from the most annoying character on the show to possibly one of the best in only a few episodes after being turned.

Speaking of Caroline - she and Tyler go to the Lockwood house to get it on and they literally throw each other around in bed. Ah, supernatural strength... it sure does come in handy.

Stefan returns to the bar to watch Klaus make Ray the werewolf drink his blood. Then he snaps his neck. When he wakes back up he will be a vampire-werewolf hybrid, just like Klaus. Next he's going to move on to the rest of Ray's pack. Klaus is pleased that Stefan came back to him, proving (maybe) that he really is loyal and isn't faking just because he's forced to be with him.

Elena goes home to find Alaric. He says he's leaving because he's a bad role model and since she's 18 now she doesn't really need a drunk, mopey teacher sleeping on her couch anymore. How bad a role model can the guy be? Her Uncle Daddy was John Gilbert, her boyfriend is Stefan the Ripper and now the only "adult" she has around is Damon! Come on, Alaric is looking pretty good right about now.

Elena gets a call from an unknown number on her cell phone and she takes forever to answer it. When she does there is no one there, but yet she instinctively knows that it's Stefan. (And of course, it is Stefan... but it would've been pretty funny if it was someone else.) She tells him "you'll be okay" and "I love you - hold on to that, never let that go." Oh you always know just what to say Elena Gilbert! We can see in Stefan's face that he really is struggling to hold on.  For a minute there we thought they were going to end the episode on that downer moment, but then we cut back to Caroline, tip-toeing out of Tyler's bedroom.

The Vampire Diaries tried to redeem itself and its boring season premiere, in the very last scene.... Caroline is caught by Mrs. Lockwood. (Come on Caroline, you couldn't use your vampire speed for the walk of shame?) Instead of giving her the expected "safe sex" lecture, she shoots her with vervain darts! Finally! Some suspense we actually care about!

Overall, it was a mostly predictable unexciting season premiere. I spent more time laughing at the ridiculous of the plot than feeling worried/excited about what might happen next. It's hard to care that much about Stefan when he's off being so douchey with Klaus... it kind of makes you hope to see Elena and Damon get together once and for all, but we know that won't happen anytime soon.

Spoilers for next week's episode "The Hybrid":

With his new werewolf/vampire hybrid minion, Ray, Klaus has a plan to get even more power. But things don't go exactly as he plans (of course not). Elena has a new plan to find Stefan, which Damon and Alaric reluctantly go along with it... although it leads Damon into some trouble Jeremy turns to Matt - the least useful character on this show - for help with his ghosts-of-girlfriends-past problem. Snore... oh sorry, we fell asleep there for a minute. Tyler has a confrontation with his mom, unaware that she shot Caroline the night before with vervain darts. Here's where we would normally say "we can't wait!" but well, we kind of can wait. But we won't. We'll watch it, this Thursday at 8. Or at least by Saturday on DVR. Maybe. If we have time.

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