Friday, October 25, 2013

The Vampire Diaries Recap: Bye Bye Bonnie

Amnesiac-Stefan is reading his old vampire diaries and he is not impressed. "I am two journals deep and I have absolutely no memory of who the hell I am."

Stefan determines that he is the "fun brother" and Damon is the "safe brother" (ha! how far we've come from season one) which Damon decides to disprove by crashing the stolen car they're driving. "I got it. You're the fun brother."
Elena: Please tell me I wasn't out of my mind leaving Damon in charge of Vampire Amnesia 101.
Caroline: What did he say exactly?
Elena: One text. 'So far, so good.' Which in Damon-speak...
Caroline: ...means that they've probably devoured a troop of girl scouts by now. 
Caroline has been studying up on her chem, biochem, applied microbio,  molecular bio and Gray's Anatomy (the real one and the television show) trying to impress Dr. Maxfield so she can figure out why he covered up their roommate's murder-by-vampire. Also she's got a hunky study-partner in Jesse. I really thought this guy Jesse would be dead by now. (I'm not used to a black character getting this much screen time on TVD and not being a witch, so of course I'm suspicious of what his real story is... he must be supernatural in some way. Or he's going to get eaten soon.)

The Mystic Falls gang are getting ready for "Remembrance Day"  which is just yet another one of Mystic Falls' bizarre old timey holidays. This one involves ringing a bell for the dead and, as Damon puts it, is "a really kick-ass excuse to get hammered". Damon explains to Stefan that there are two kinds of vampires in the world, "those that can handle moderation"... and Stefan. Stefan thinks that without all the fucked up memories and guilt (of killing his father, turning his brother, etc.) maybe he won't have the vampire "Ripper" problem that he used to have. Damon is skeptical. Elena shows up and finds out that Damon hasn't told Stefan anything about her yet, because 200 years is a lot of time to cover. (Of course, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with what Qetsiyah told Damon about Elena and Damon being destined to be together, because they are the doppelgangers of Amara and Silas.)

Cut to a gratuitous scene of shirtless Jeremy working out... Bonnie says she likes to watch him workout because she doesn't have Netflix on the other side. Ewww. Jeremy wants Bonnie to tell everyone that she's dead, so he can stop lying to all their friends. Matt is freaking out because he woke up covered in mud with a weird dagger. (We know that he blacked out thanks to the "Traveler" Gregor taking up a time-share in his brain.) He wants Jeremy to ask Bonnie for help and is annoyed that she never answers his emails. Sorry, she doesn't get email on the other side either. Elena also wants Bonnie's help to fix Stefan's brain but she's not responding to her and Damon's calls either.

This episode does a really good job of showing how much they all relied on Bonnie's help for so long. They took so much advantage of her witchy powers that it actually killed her (and her grandmother and every other witch in the Bennett bloodline) and even after death they're all annoyed that she's not at their magic beck-and-call.

Stefan decides to embrace being a vampire, so he goes to feed on a cute waitress. He tells her "It's not like I want to rip your head off, but I keep being told that if I have one taste, I wont be able to stop... and although the thought of killing you scares the hell out of me, this feeling of hunger that I have inside of me is just so much more powerful." Yikes, Amnesia-Stefan is even creepier than Silas-Stefan. (Who we don't see for the entire episode btw.) Damon shows up just in time to stop him... "today I'm the safe brother."

Damon decides that until they decide if the "Ripper gene is biological" they need to minimize human contact for Stefan (way too much temptation), so they bring him to the family crypt to hide out. Stefan wants to know how many of the family members he killed - just their father, Damon killed their cousin Zach and their mom died of natural causes, good for her.
Stefan: I certainly hope your family history was happier than mine.
Elena: Well let's see, in the last three years I lost my adopted parents, my birth parents, my aunt, our guardian Alaric and my brother Jeremy died... although he came back to life, so there's that
Stefan: Wait... Jeremy that lives in our house?
Elena: Yeah after I had a breakdown and burned my house to the ground.
Stefan wonders how it's possible that he doesn't remember Elena... she's smart, pretty, funny, strong. *Moment*. Almost immediately giving up the idea of keeping Stefan away from temptation in the family crypt, Elena brings Stefan to the place where they first met (the high school hallway) trying to recreate it, so it might spark something. Of course, that doesn't work. Sorry Elena, Mystic Falls High School isn't that special. She brings him outside and teaches him how to vampire-jump onto the roof. Stefan deducts that they used to date. "I may have amnesia but I'm not an idiot. I'm a 164-year-old vampire who went back to high school... so I'm guess that had something to do with you."
Stefan: And obviously we're not together anymore, so I have a feeling me ripping people's heads off might have been a little bit of a turn-off?
Elena: Actually no, you were themost compassionate person I'd ever met. You hated the idea of hurting anyone. The guilt would overwhelm you. You were always in control.
Stefan: So I bored you to death. 
Ha! He certainly bored me to death (I've been on Team Damon since day one). They have another *moment* and she gives him the 'it's not you, it's me" line and explains that becoming a vampire changed her.

Meanwhile, Caroline has brought Jesse home for Rememberance Day, so they are studying in the graveyard (okay...) She says she's finally had it with M.I.A. Tyler, so Jesse kisses her. Her reaction is less than thrilled though, so maybe she's not as over Tyler as she claims. He apologizes and they go back to studying.

Jeremy texts Damon and asks him to come meet him, alone. "I know where Bonnie is. Get over here and I'll explain." Bonnie is begs Jeremy not to tell Damon that she is dead, but he has to.
Jeremy: I've been lying to everyone for months and I can't keep lying knowing that everyone's waiting for her to swoop in and save the day.
Damon: I don't speak crazy person Jer, you're going to have to translate that for me.
Jeremy: Think about it Damon. I was dead. I wasn't supposed to come back.
Damon: Yes, exactly. The beauty of Bonnie magic... which is what we need right now.

He explains that magic finds a balance. he's not supposed to be there... and you can't just bring somebody back from the dead without there being a price to pay. She didn't even show up to her dad's funeral and no one has spoken to her all summer, use your brain, of course she's dead. But Bonnie doesn't want Jeremy to tell him and Damon doesn't want to hear it. Wow, for the first time ever Bonnie and Damon agree on something?
Damon: You say it and everything in Elena's life goes to crap. Do you understand me? Everything changes.
Bonnie: Do not say it Jeremy.
Damon: Don't.
Jeremy: Bonnie's dead.
Damon: Dammit Jeremy!You realize what you just did. Why would you say that!?
Jeremy: I'm sorry. People need to know.
Damon looks super pissed, but he goes to Jeremy and hugs him. Awww.

Elena takes Stefan to the bridge where she had her two car accidents (the first one, where her parents died but he saved her without her knowledge; the second one, where she died and became a vampire).

Elena continues the walk down memory lane with Stefan and they have a moment. Well, several moments. They're about to kiss, when she says "I'm with Damon."

"You're with my brother? And neither of you thought that was something that I should know?" Elena tries to explain, but Stefan says, "And just like that, the hunger returns." So Elena is the only thing keeping him decent? Come on. She turns around and he's gone.

Matt wakes up in the dark again, this time with his hand bleeding. He has "lost time" again. Luckily he set up some spy cameras to document what he does when he's "out". He watches a video of himself answering the phone and then his eyes turn black... it's Gregor time! He speaks in Czech and hangs up the phone. Then Gregory-Matt picks up the dagger and walks over to the camera...

"Hello... Matt Donovan. I am the passenger inside you. I know you have many questions, but all you need to know is that one day my friends will come looking for this blade. Protect it at all costs..." He cuts his own hand, er, Matt's hand. "...or this will be your througt". Poor Matt, guy just can't catch a break.

Elena calls Damon, but before he can tell her the bad news about Bonnie, she tells him that she can't find Stefan. Maybe that fieldtrip down memory lane wasn't a good idea, dumbass. She's freaking because he's hungry and there's an entire graveyard full of people there tonight. Caroline finds Stefan in the graveyward and he recognizes her from her photos. "You're much hotter in person".
Caroline: Are you okay?
Stefan: Well, if by 'okay' you mean heavily spiraling into Ripper oblivian, then yes, I'm dandy.

Jesse shows up with cups of beer and Stefan tells him "I can sense from here that you have a papercut on the palm of your left hand and I want to rip your entire arm off." She glamours him to go away and hide and she'll find him later. She tells Stefan, "I know that you are hungry, but you don't 'do people', okay? ... It just doesn't end well." He asks her for blood bags and she tells him to come with her to the car for them, but when she turns around he's gone. When are these dumb girls going to learn to stop turning their backs on Stefan!? Jesse calls her to tell her he's in a crypt in the cemetary but has no idea why, when Stefan comes up from behind and bites him on the neck.

I knew Jesse had been around too long... he was bound to become food sooner or later. Stefan bites him and says "that wasn't so bad was it? I did it. I stopped." Jesse has no idea what the hell is going on, but Stefan decides to treat him to a crazy vampire monologue anyway. He explains that he's a ripper, "I literally can't stop feeding until I rip someone's head off, but look at us, we're working it out." He says he knows he should elt him out because he's allegedly good and compassionate and "lies with this burning hunger inside of me that allows me to stay in control... but what do I have to show for it?" He has no memories because his brain was friend, his brother stole his girlfriend and his girlfriend let him steal her. "So you tell me, what's the point of being good?" and he bites him again.Caroline shows up just in time and stops him from killing Jesse.

"You may not remember, but I do. You're better than this. You are not this person." He says he has to leave. Meanwhile Jesse is bleeding out on the ground. She makes him drink her blood to heal him and apologizes again and again. Then we can assume she glamours him and sends him home. 

Jeremy goes to Matt's house and Matt wants to talk about what happened with the video, but Jeremy needs to tell him about Bonnie first. It's not clear if Matt ever explains to anyone what's going on with the dude in his head, but I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to get his friends in on this.

Damon and Elena find Stefan back at casa de Salvatore. He's burning his journals. He doesn't want to be that person anymore, he doesn't want to live in that house, takes his brother's advice, hear how he supported Elena... he's had it with this Stefan that he doesn't remember ."Don't worry, I'm not gonna go on a Ripper binge". Caroline has promised to call him every hour to make sure he's okay. "And I actually do trust her." Ouch.
Damon: I think we just got dumped.
Elena: We need Bonnie. Why didn't she call us back? It's so unlike her. He can't stay like this.
Damon: Elena, Bonnie can't help us.
Elena: Did you talk to her? What did she say? There's gotta be something that she can do. She'll figure it out... she always does.
Damon: Bonnie's dead, Elena.
Elena: What?
Damon: She's dead. I'm sorry.
*sad face*

Caroline goes to check on Stefan the next day in the Salvatore family crypt. "I'm feeling better, which in my world means I haven't committed a homicide since I last saw you." He's been doing a lot of thinking. Caroline says she leanred that their friend Bonnie is dead. She wishes that she could trade places with Stefan because it wouldn't hurt so much without all her damn memories. She's never going to see Bonnie again, she has no idea where Tyler, and she was so used to them being there all the time she doesn't know what to do now.
Caroline: I'm suposed to just learn to move on without them? How do I do that when all I have is this sadness and this anger?
Stefan: And me. You have me. Look you were there for me last night. Sounds like you're always there for me. So let me be there for you, okay?

He takes her hand. Could this be the start of something? That's one romantic pairing they never tried! And they have just about run out of combinations... unless Jeremy and Matt start dating, this might be the only option left.

Elena has nothing to wear to because she burned down her house with all her funeral clothes in it. You'd think in a town like Mystic Falls, they would all own nothing but funeral clothes. (And what did she wear to the funeral for Bonnie's dad?) She's breaking down. She says she's supposed to be strong but she's can't be.  Bonnie gave up her life so she could have he brother back and she didn't even know about it. She can't believe she's gone.

The whole gang (or what's left of the gang - Jeremy, Damon, Elena, Caroline, and Matt) go into the woods to secretly pay their respects to Bonnie. Bonnie tells Jeremy, "It's okay, they need this. I need this."

Bonnie tells Jeremy what to say and we have to deal with a the tedium of an episode of The Ghost Whisperer where we have to hear every line twice (once as Bonnie says it and once as Jeremy repeats it). Luckily, they don't do it that way for the whole conversation. Bonnie/Jeremy tells everyone that she is dead, but not going anywhere. Even though they couldn't see her, she's been there the whole time. She watched them have the summer of their lives, saw them happy. She tells Elena that she can have a normal life. She doesn't have to stay in Mystic Falls to be there for everyone. She has to go back to college, and "live it up" and everything will find their way on their own. She tells Matt she would've answered his 300 emails if she could have and she misses him. She tells Caroline, "I know that college isn't everything you expected... and that you feel like something's missing... but... Tyler?" Tyler is missing no more! He shows up and Caroline cries and runs into his arms.
Bonnie: This is good. This is all I wanted. I'll be okay. We'll all be okay.

Back on campus, Jesse is with Dr. Maxfield. He says "your vitals are normal." Jesse tells him that Caroline took him to a party in Mystic Falls and then the rest is a big blank, he must have been drunk.

"What's causing your memory loss didn't come in a red cup. It appears you have vampire blood in your system Jesse. Which means you were either injured to the point of needing to be healed or someone wants to turn you into a vampire." He guesses that it was the former and he was compelled to forget.

"The good news about having vampire blood in your system is that's step one to creating a new vampire. This is step two." He stabs him with a needle and injects air into his vein. Jesse dies... but we know he will wake up next episode, confused and hungry for blood. Well that was an unexpected twist!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Once Upon A Time... There Were Lots of White People?

We recently wrote about Once Upon A Time's first LGBT character, Mulan, and realized that Mulan is also one of the few minority characters on the show. So we thought about it and we had trouble naming more than a handful of characters of color from Storybrooke or anywhere else in the OUAT-universe.

So many of the characters on the show are vastly different from those we remember from our childhood story books, for example Red Riding Hood is the wolf and Rumplestiltskin is both Belle's "Beast" and Captain Hook's (metaphorical) crocodile. For this reason it would have been possible to blind cast a lot of these characters instead of matching them to their mostly white Disney counterparts. However, a brief glance at the cast of Once Upon A Time looks a lot more like Disney than we even realized.

The following characters are the only minorities/people of color on the show (and a lot of them are already dead)...

Mulan, based on the Chinese legend "Hua Mulan" (which was the basis for the 1998 Disney film Mulan) is portrayed by Jamie Chung, who is Korean-American. Status: Alive.

Giancarlo Esposito, who is half black and half Italian, appears on the show as Sidney Glass (in Storybrooke) and the Magic Mirror (in the Enchanted Forest). Before he was cursed to become the Magic Mirror, he was the Genie of Agrabah. Status:  Assumed to be living, but locked in Regina's basement.

Sir Lancelot (based on the character from the legend of King Arthur) is portrayed by Sinqua Walls, who is African-American. What's kind of cool about this character is that, supposedly, the casting call described him as African American. This means that they didn't just blind-cast, they were specifically looking for a person of color to play a character that is traditionally portrayed as white.

Unfortunately what's not cool about this character is that he has (so far) only appeared in one episode. At the end of the episode, we learn that Lancelot was killed long ago and he was really Cora using magic to appear as Lancelot. (So they finally introduce a black character and not only does he die in his first episode, but for half of the episode he's actually a white woman!)  Status: Dead.

The Fairy Godmother, based on the character from "Cinderella" appears in one episode of the show and is played by Catherine Lough Haggquist. She is only present for a short amount of time before Rumplestiltskin kills her and takes her wand. Status: Dead.

Billy (the Storybrooke counterpart of Gus the mouse from "Cinderella") is played by Jarod Joseph and only appears in one episode in which he is killed by Cora.  Status: Dead.

The dwarf Bashful appears in a handful of episodes, but is a very minor character. (The only dwarf who really gets a lot of screentime or dialogue is Grumpy.) He is portrayed by Mig Macario who is of Filipino descent.  Status: Living.

Tamara, portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green, is Neal's fiance who was on a secret mission to destroy magic. Or at least she thought, until she was killed in Neverland. Status: Dead.

"The Dragon" (portrayed by Chinese-American Tzi Ma) is a magical healer in Hong Kong that appears in one episode before being killed by Tamara. Status: Dead.

The actress that plays Regina Mills - Lana Parrilla - is Latina (of Sicilian and Puerto Rican descent) but her character is not Latina and the actress presents as white.  Regina is arguably one of the most powerful characters on the show, both in Storybrooke and in the Enchanted Forest, but her ethnicity is never mentioned or even alluded to. Status: Alive, but hated by all.

Regina's father, the Valet (Prince Henry), was played by Tony Perez, but again, he presents as white and there is no indication as to whether the character is meant to be Latino/Hispanic. Status: Dead.

*Note: According to, there is also a "Lost boy" played by Alex Barima, who appears to be black but as of yet hasn't had any lines or much screentime. We won't hold our breath.*

Compare those few characters to the myriad of white characters and it's evident that Once Upon A Time may have a race problem. It's not clear whether this was an intentional choice or just TV's typical lack of diversity caused by a lack of diversity in writers/producers (e.g., creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis are both white). But whatever the reason, it's really unfortunate that the writers were given the opportunity to completely re-envision the fairy tales of our childhoods, yet didn't go so far as to add some diversity to the characters.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Vampire Diaries Recap: Original Sin

The episode opens up with another round of I Dream of Stefan. In the dream, Stefan stumbles into a bar in the middle of nowhere and starts to eat the bartender. Then he tells her to "RUN!" He steps outside and the sun is just starting to rise... he's not wearing his daylight ring so he starts to burn up.

Then Elena startles awake in bed next to Damon. "I know I said it didn't bother me that you have some psychic connection to your ex boyfriend but I don't need a play-by-play." But then he asks her to tell him anyway because "I'm sure whatever's in my imagination is 10 times worse than what's going on in your subconscious". She describes the bar and then Katherine walks in without knocking (um, boundaries!) and says "Route 29. Joe's bar. I think I had the exact same dream."

There are nine bars down Route 29, none named "Joe's" and even though Damon declares that the idea is crazy, he says he's open minded and they will go look for him. Katherine calls shot-gun "I get carsick in the backseat. Another charming human side effect you stuck me with." Katherine has to come (even though she really doesn't want to go spend more time with America's most boring self-righteous vampire) because Silas wants her bad and so that makes her valuable to them.

Yay! Damon and the Dobrev doppelgangers are going on a road trip! (Really, can be please have a Damon doppelganger?!)

Meanwhile, Silas-Stefan tells Nadia he wants Matt dead and he wants to know for sure that she's not going to betray him. Elsewhere, real Stefan wakes up in a cabin somewhere with Janina Gavankar (this makes Vampire Diaries her third vampire-themed series after stints as Luna on True Blood and before that, Leigh on The Gates). "A vampire doppelganger who's burdened by a conscience. Now I've seen everything."

Turns out she is the person who saved him from burning outside the bar and also the one who found him in the quarry. She tells him she knew Silas way back when he was a "simple man in love with a simple girl". Silas was her one true love and she's alive because "love bends the rules of possible."They were the two most powerful members of a group of gift people called Travelers and Silas said he wanted to find a way for their love to last forever so they would never be parted, even by death.

Stefan says he knows the story: "Some witch named Qetsiyah or whatever came by and screwed him over." Wrong. She is Qetsiyah! Silas convinced her that he loved her so she would make the immortality spell for him. When she realized that he was just using her, she dumped him in a tomb with a cure, hoping he would take it and die because she had created a supernatural limbo to trap his soul ("like any other sane, rational, well-adjusted woman would do" says Stefan).

Now Silas wants to destroy that limbo so he can take the cure, become mortal, die, and finally find peace. But she is She is Qetsiyah - "Clearly you've heard the man's version of the story". She was dead for 2,000 years but she came back for Stefan.

Meanwhile on the doppelganger roadtrip Katherine is using the fact that she and Elena are both dreaming about Stefan to stir up shit between Elena and Damon.

Nadia approaches Matt at the Grille and tells him she's going to keep him safe. "You need to trust me." Then she takes him by the face and says in Czech "Come Forth". Matt's eyes go black and he switches personalities to her fellow Traveler Gregor who she killed last week. She said she had to kill him because Silas was going to anyway and it was the only way to salvage the deal. But she put him inside Matt - the person with the invincibility ring - so he could still live and will try to make it permanent. But first he has to call his friend Elena and find out where Katherine is.

Stefan is having trouble believing Qetsiyah, who wants to change her name to Tessa (which is less old-timey sounding). When Bonnie lowered the veil, Qetsiyah-Tessa saw it as an opportunity to come back since her Hunters weren't doing their job (killing Silas).

She tells Stefan the story of how she had made two batches of Immortality potion for her and Silas to take at their wedding. But Silas stole both potions and left her at the altar. He took the potion and gave her share to his actual true love, her handmaiden Amara (Nina Dobrev!) I guess she is the original of all the Elena-Katherine doppelgangers.

Silas was the first version of Stefan and Amara was the first version of Elena. When they took the immortality potions they violated the laws of nature so nature found a balance by creating mortal shadow selves (doppelgangers). All caused by the ripple effect of Silas and Amara's sin.

Tessa is making Stefan a new daylight ring and then she's going to need his help to bring down Silas once and for all.

Damon and the doppelgangers (great band name) find the bar and they go inside. The bartender tells them about what happened with Stefan - he bit her, ran outside, caught on fire, and got taken away by a woman in Cam Peterson's truck (who lives about 10 miles down the road). Then she pours Damon a drink spiked with vervain. Nadia shows up and asks which one of them is Katherine Pierce. Elena tells Katherine to run and attacks Nadia, but she gets away.

Stefan asks Tessa what happened to Amara. She tells him how she met with Silas after he left her at the altar and said she created a second gift for him (the cure for immortality). He says that is not possible and she said "I know it works, I just used it on someone else immortal", Amara, who she then killed and ripped out her heart. She gave Silas the choice to take the cure and live a long, mortal life with her or stay Immortal and suffer."I'm a complicated person but Silas remains a simple man."

She created the other side as a supernatural barrier between Silas and the peaceful afterlife he craved. Then she dropped him in the tomb with the cure thinking eventually he'd take it so he could die and be with Amara. So far that plan hasn't worked out. "I have trust issues. I'm controlling and paranoid and a little crazy and that's working out just fine."

Elena finds Katherine in the woods and Katherine wants to know why she didn't kill her when she had the chance (after she shoved the cure down her throat). Elena says she values her humanity and she hopes Katherine can find whatever shred of humanity she has left. Katherine thinks it's because being human would be punishment worse than death for her. "No, that was just a happy accident". Katherine says thank you, glad to know that you care "even if you are a condescending bitch." Unfortunately, this little heart-to-heart allowed Nadia to sneak up on them and break Elena's neck (she's a vampire, don't worry, she'll be okay) and take Katerine.

Meanwhile Damon finds Stefan and Tessa/Qetsiyah in the cabin. Damon is tied to a chair by vines that cannot be broken until she gets what she wants. She says she is going to link Stefan to Silas in order to neutralize his mental powers. Once he's weakened she will force him to take the cure, but Damon says the cure is gone. "Katherine you mean, I'm aware of her condition." She says Katherine was supposed to be with Damon, meaning she planned the whole thing. The dreams Elena and Katherine have been having - Qetsiyah planted those! Without Silas' mental powers, he is "an immortal nobody" and they can defeat him.

Silas has tracked Nadia by GPS ("even better than a locator spell") to find her with Katherine. He uses mind control to get Nadia to pull out her gun and aim it at her own heart. Meanwhile Qetsiyah is chanting. Before Nadia can pull the trigger, Silas falls to the ground in pain. The spell worked and he is losing his powers of mind-control. She's frying Silas' brain (and may have fried Stefan's too, he doesn't look so good). Qetsiyah says he will wake "eventually".

Qetsiyah describes Damon and Elena's life as "like watching a soap opera, except boring and with no volume control". She tells Damon the only thing worse than being on the other side and watching Silas resist the cure, was having to watch Stefan and Elena find each other, conquer all, fall in love, etc. century after century. Stefan wasn't Silas' first shadow and destiny has been trying to get the doppelgangers together forever. The universe is working against Damon. Qetsiyah and Damon are the same - obstacles standing between two fates, the conflict between true love. "As long as Stefan's in the way you will never be with Elena."

Silas says that he and Qetsiyah have something in common - neither of them will stop til they let what they want - and they both want the same thing, the cure. The reason both Silas and Qetisyah want Katherine is because she is the cure now. The cure is running through her veins - in her blood.

Poor Matt wakes up in the dark, on the floor, all confused. Elena calls and tells him that they found Stefan but lost Katherine. She asks "are you okay? You sounded weird on the phone earlier." He doesn't remember talking on the phone with her today, but apparently he asked where they were headed and she told him. He lies and says he does remember and notices blood footprints and a knife in his pocket. Hm... what did Gregor do?

Back at casa de Salvatore, Stefan is still knocked out. Elena puts his daylight ring back on him and asks Damon waht Qetsiyah said to him. He says she told him that they don't stand a chance...
Elena: "And what does she know about us?"

Damon: "She told me a very interesting story about the history of doppelgangers and how they're fated to fall in love with each other. Basically the universe programmed you to fall in love with Stefan, not me, which means ... we're a lost cause no matter what we do. I'm paraphrasing."

Elena: "The universe?"

Damon: "Her words, not mine."

Elena: "So she's crazy."

Damon: "Maybe. Maybe she's not."

Elena: "Look, I know I spent the last couple days focusing on trying to find Stefan. But that has nothing to do with how I feel about you. And I'm not gonna let Silas' 2,000-year-old ex-girlfriend screw things up for us."

Damon: "You think I am? No one tells me how I live my life, no one tells me who I love. Especially not some vindictive prehistoric witch. And definitely not the universe. I'm not gonna let someone else's idea of destiny stop me from loving your or being with you or building a future with you because you are my life."

She kisses him, just as Stefan wakes up.

Damon: "Welcome back brother."

Elena: "Stefan, we missed you."

Stefan: "Uh, I'm sorry. I have no idea who you people are."

Dun... dun... dun...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Once Upon A Time's First Gay Character?

After a season of subtle hints and foreshadowing... Once Upon A Time may have finally introduced their first LGBT character!

The character of Mulan, played by Jamie Chung, is a warrior based on the character from the Chinese legend Hua Mulan (as well as the Disney movie). When Mulan appeared in earlier episodes of the show, there were hints that she may have a thing for her traveling companion Prince Phillip. However, after she helped Phillip rescue his love, Aurora, the writers started to hint that Phillip may not be the object of Mulan's affection after all...

(Check out 7 Reasons Why Aurora and Mulan are in Love from wetpaint if you want a reminder of all those little hints.)

Finally, in tonight's episode "Quite a Common Fairy", Mulan is invited to join Robin Hood's band of merry men (as the first official female member). Mulan tells him that she is honored, but "there's someone I need to talk to before it's too late." "A loved one?" he asks. She replies "we shall see."

Then we see Mulan pay a visit to Aurora, who asks if she should get Phillip. "No that's not necessary, it's you I wanted to talk to," she tells her but before she can say what she has come there to say, Aurora reveals that she and Phillip are expecting a baby. You can see the pain in Mulan's eyes...
Mulan: "That's excellent news."
Aurora: "It's like a dream come true. Now please, please tell me your news!"
Mulan: "I'm joining Robin Hood's band."

Heartbreaking, but also groundbreaking. Is Mulan the first lesbian (or at least bisexual?) character on the show? It's sad that there's an LGBT character but she isn't able to be with the woman she loves... but it's a start at least. Mulan also happens to be one of the few remaining minority characters on the show and she's a badass, strong woman to boot. Good for you Once Upon A Time. Now let's get Mulan a girlfriend!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Vampire Diaries: True Lies

The second episode of the new season 5 of The Vampire Diaries opens up with boring exposition from Bonnie, as she tells the viewers Jeremy about how Silas-Stefan killed her dad and mind-controlled the town last week. Then she guilt-trips Jeremy about being dead, "What are you gonna do? Hug me? You can't. You can't touch me and I can't touch you because I'm dead." (Dude, it's not his fault you're dead and he's not. You made the choice to use magic to bring him back to life, don't make him feel extra shitty about it.) Bonnie tells Jeremy that Silas wants Katherine and everyone in town is going to be on the lookout for her thanks to his mind-control but that whatever he wants with her "you can't let him have it". This dude's powerful enough to mind-control an entire town at once, but Jeremy is supposed to be able do anything to stop Silas from finding Katherine? Okay.

Elsewhere, Katherine is having a rough time and another bad hair day. Someone stops on the street to see if she needs help but then realizes "you look just like Elena Gilbert". (I love Katherine's response "I'm much prettier".) They fight and Katherine punches her and knocks her out. Katherine is about to get away when Matt shows up with a gun pointed at her.

Then the scene cuts to a really dumb dream of Stefan and Elena at a lakeside picnic. Then Elena starts to cough up water as we are reminded that Stefan is actually deep underwater in the lake, drowning and re-drowning over and over again.

Back at college, there's a little memorial to Megan (Elena and Caroline's dead roommate). Caroline expresses exactly what we're all thinking "college students are so dramatic. She was on campus for like one day. She couldn't have made that many friends." They are still trying to figure out what Megan's deal was... why she has vervaine-laced water and a photo of Elena's dad on her phone. Megan's death has officially been ruled a suicide and there is no mention of the "gaping vampire bites on her neck" in the medical report. Elena has switched their class schedule so they can take a microbiology class with Dr. Maxfield because he's the guy who signed off on Megan's cause of death. They're going to get to the bottom of things!

Back in Mystic Falls Damon is trying to convince the sheriff to dredge the quarry and search for Stefan's body because "if I'm gonna take over my doppelganger's life, why wouldn't I dump him where it's big and deep and no one would find him". Jeremy calls Damon to tell him that Matt found Katherine and he tells him to hold onto her and keep her away from Silas. Katherine laments how she's been here before, she's the leverage, she's the one who everybody wants. Oh poor poor Katerina.

Tyler is still M.I.A. (come on CW, bring back Michael Trevino!) so Jesse (the cute guy from the frat party) flirts with Caroline in microbiology class and says he hopes she will be at that evening's bonfire. Professor Maxfield is kind of a dick. He shames them for being freshman trying to take his class and makes them go down the hall to Bio 101. Elena recounts the story to Damon on the phone when Silas-Stefan appears. Before Damon can warn her that it's not really Stefan, Silas-Stefan uses his mind-control to make Elena hang up the phone. He continues the charade of being Stefan and tells Elena that Jeremy got expelled, got in a fight with Damon and ran away... He takes her phone and asks her for information on where Jeremy might be going. Someone has said they spotted him by Route 9 so she suggests an old campsite they used to go to as kids.

Back on Route 9, Jeremy and Matt stop for gas and let Katherine go to the bathroom. She's sick so she also asks for aspirin and cold medicine too. (Poor Katherine is really not enjoying being human.) The gas station attendant spots her and Matt has to beat him up to stop him.

Damon shows up at the dorms and walks in on Caroline in a towel. "Damon! Knock!" "Caroline! No one cares!" He tells her what's really going on with Stefan and Silas-Stefan. They need to find Elena! Damon finds Silas-Stefan, but he won't tell Damon what he did with Elena because it will "ruin the fun". Uh oh. Caroline scolds Damon for not telling the truth in the first place. "Gee thanks Caroline. Your hindsight is invaluable in this situation."

Jesse sees Elena at the bonfire and she asks him about "Professor Dickfield". They go to get more firewood together and he tells her that there's a rumor that he's part of a secret society on campus. They supposedly meet a few times a week at Whitmore house "but you didn't hear that from me". Then Damon comes in and knocks him out.

Back at the campsite Katherine is still bitching about being human: "I've survived childbirth, the death of my entire family, and 500 years of running from an immortal hybrid. You can understand why I'm a little upset that I'm on the verge of being defeated by a sinus infection!" Silas-Stefan shows up and tries to use mind-control to tell Matt "you can't talk, you can't scream" but Matt says "yeah, actually I can... Jeremy RUN!" Silas-Stefan asks the same question we're all asking "how come I can't get inside your head?" He grabs him by the face and sees what Nadia and her friend did to him last episode. "Somebody's already in there. Why are you watching me Traveler?" Silas-Stefan snaps Matt's neck and he falls to the ground.

Luckily he was wearing the Gilbert ring. He wakes up and sees Jeremy and Katherine run by but they can't hear or see him. Bonnie is there to explain that he's on 'the other side'. ("Freaky isn't it?") The Gilbert ring brought him there when he died, temporarily. To go back he has to reconnect with his body. "Each time you die you wake up farther and farther from it. You wander the other side until you find it." And now he knows that Bonnie is dead.

Elena brings Damon back to her dorm and starts to strip his clothes off. He's trying to resist when she forces the bottled vervaine-water down his throat and he starts to cough and get sick. Then she ties him to the chair. "Silas got into your head, didn't he?" Apparently, he told her to get him alone, weaken him and then kill him. She tries to resist it... even going to far as to stab herself in the leg. The problem is that her anger at Damon is the trigger and she can't help but be angry at him because he's been lying to her.

Caroline takes care of Jess and and apologizes that Damon "went agro" on him. They have a little moment when she admits that she has a boyfriend and they talk about how relationships change when you go away to college (he had a similar issue with an ex who cheated on him while he was away at school). We see romance in their future, since we know Tyler isn't coming back.

Jeremy wants to go back and look for Matt, but Katherine tells him that the reason she survived for so long was that she never looked back. He tells her that's why people treat her like an object and not a person. Meanwhile Bonnie and Matt are still having a romantic Other Side stroll looking for his body. He tells her "you don't have to pretend like it's okay" and that he's so sorry about her dad dying - and her dying - and hugs her. Are these the beginnings of a Matt-Bonnie semi-romance? Why not, they're pretty much running out of pairings that haven't already been done.

Jeremy goes back for Matt and Stefan-Silas finds him. "If my best friend died, I'd at least pretend to cry, which leads me to believe that he's not really dead". Silas-Stefan can't read or control Jeremy's mind either because he's a hunter ("Plus I work out") so they fight over Matt's dead body. He's about to kill Jeremy when Katherine shows up and shoots Silas-Stefan.

Damon is still trying to talk Elena down from her rage so she can resist the compulsion to kill him. She turns on the gas and tries to light a match while Damon tries to talk her down from it. He tries to help by making her think about Stefan and describe the feelings she's been having lately. Elena tells him she can sense Stefan - he's scared, he's lonely, he's in a lot of pain and "we have to find him" - and then realizes that the rage is gone. Just then Caroline walks in, sees the crazy scene and says "I think we need to set some ground rules for when boyfriends come to visit".

Matt finally finds his body (Jeremy and Katherine had moved it and were waiting with him to wake up)."So if this happens every time I die with the Gilbert ring, the second I go back I'm just going to forget about all of this?" He tells her that she and Jeremy can't keep her death a secret anymore." He tells her she'll never be able to deal with her father's death if she doesn't deal with her own and then goes back into his body. "What the hell happened?"

Bonnie appears to Jeremy and admits that she's not okay. He tells her that he's there for her, no matter what she needs.

Stefan-Silas goes to the gas station to drink some blood and finds Nadia and her "Traveler" friend. He says they want him back in his tomb, sealed away for eternity. "That's what the Travelers have always wanted," says Nadia, as she stabs her partner "luckily for you I've never really considered myself one." She tells Silas t look inside her mind and see that she has her own agenda. "Yes, I see that you do."

Elena is heading back to Mystic Falls to look for Damon (and Bonnie) while Caroline stays on campus. As she's about to leave, Professor Maxfield says to her "I didn't think Elena Gilbert would give up so easily." He apologizes for being a hardass earlier and explains that he knew of her dad. "He's a legend around here. Brilliant. I've studied all his research." She asks if her dad forged death certificates too and he tells her to come by his office tomorrow to chat, but she mentions that she's got other important things on her plate. He says "let me know when that plate clears."

Damon: "For the record, I am secure enough in our relationship that your having psychic dreams about your ex boyfriend does not bother me... but it still sucks."

Elena: "I love you. We're going to save Stefan and... I'm still going to love you."

They kiss and just then Sheriff Forbes calls Damon "We found something." There was nothing in the quarry but a few miles away they found a safe. They hadn't opened it yet because they figured if Stefan was locked in there for three months he's going to be hungry. They unlock it and find not Stefan, but a dead and bloody!

 "You're right, he was hungry," says Damon. "I bet he still is."

Dun... dun... dunnnnn....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Once Upon a Time: Fucked Up Family Tree

I was watching Once Upon a Time with Lil' Lilith the other day and we realized how complicated all of the relationships are between the different worlds. I mean, Emma Swan is the same age as her parents. Her son's adoptive mother (Regina) is also her step-grandmother and her son's father is the son of Rumpelstiltskin, who kinda had a thing with Regina's mom!

Don't even get us started on trying to figure out the real ages of all the characters. That would be near impossible, seeing as the timeline is all kinds of confusing. Emma is the same age as her parents, because time didn't move in Storybrooke... but yet somehow Henry aged 10 years while living there. Neal and Emma appear to be about the same age, even though based on Rumplestiltskin's timeline, he should be older than Regina, who was married to Emma's grandfather. And then August got to hit the do-over switch and go back to being a child again. The whole thing is super hard to understand. and it's a lot to remember...

So we made a handy little family tree/six degrees of separation for all the familial bonds and relationships, that you can use as a guide next time you're watching.

 (Click to enlarge the image.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Vampire Diaries: The College Years

This post contains spoilers. But they're Vampire Diaries spoilers, so no one really cares.

Not every television show can survive the transition from high school to college, but since the kids from the Vampire Diaries didn't spend much time in school in the first place it's not a huge issue. Quick recap from last season: Bonnie is dead but no one knows except for Jeremy, who is back from the dead. Katherine, having been force-fed "the cure" is human again. The Elena-Salvatore-Brothers love triangle is going strong ... Elena and Damon are in love, Stefan has left town all bitter, only to discover that Silas is alive - and looks just like Stefan. So poor Stefan has been banished to the bottom of a lake or something. Sucks man.

In the season five premiere, everyone has some 'adjusting' to do. Elena and Caroline are off to college. For some reason they're living in the dorms, because they want the normal college experience. What is with vampires trying to be normal? Get over it. You're vampires. Damon has to adjust to being in a semi-long-distance relationship with his girlfriend (yep) Elena. Jeremy has to adjust to being alive again - high school can be rough when people have already attended your memorial services - while Bonnie is adjusting to being dead (and hiding it from everyone, thanks to Jeremy). Katherine is adjusting to being human again, and not loving it. Stefan is adjusting to living the rest of his undead life at the bottom of a lake and Silas is adjusting to being alive, for real, in a Stefan-look-alike body. Matt is adjusting to being back from a sexy threesome-filled tour of Europe with Rebekah and having to work at that damn Grill again. Oh and Elena has 'a weird feeling' that something bad is going to happen. Must be Thursday.

There's a lot wrong with TVD: The College Years. The thing about shows like this, is that I can easily suspend my disbelief to accept the premise that there are vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, doppelgangers, hunters, immortals and whatever other being they whip up for season 5... but it's harder for me to believe that Caroline and Elena glamored their way into college but didn't think to fix it with Res Life so they wouldn't have a third roommate.

Their roommate Megan is played by Hayley Kiyoko, one of only a few rare Asian characters ever to grace the screen of TVD (which means she'll probably be dead soon). Caroline and Elena are suspicious about their roommate when they discover that she keeps vervain-spiked water in the fridge. Hm. Caroline wants to kidnap her but Elena says they should just act normal. In an attempt to act normal, the girls go to a frat party that they were invited to by some cute black college guy. I mention that he's black because that usually means he will be dead by the end of the episode...  They can't get in because they aren't 'invited' in by the owner. (Now this is why vampires don't go off to college.)

 Um... we'll just wait out here...

While outside the party, they get a call from Megan who s inside and scared. Someone is chasing her. Then she's thrown from a window right in front of them with a vampire-bitten neck. The Asian character doesn't even make it a whole episode (but the black guy lives, for now. Nice bait-and-switch TVD.) The death is ruled a suicide, even though it's obviously not, because that's how it works on this show. Caroline steals Megan's phone and they find a photo of her with Elena's dad.... the Scooby gang has to get to bottom of this one!

Back in Mystic Falls, Matt says goodbye to Rebekah. She has to leave town because she has to star in the Originals spin-off immediately following TVD. Apparently, after their sexy threesome in Europe, some chick Nadia stole their shit - including the 'Gilbert ring' that can bring him back to life. (How exactly does a person get one over on an Original vampires?) Later Nadia appears in town and gives Matt back the ring. "It wasn't mine to take." As soon as she puts iton him, some dude shows up to grab him, do some weird chanting and then Matt's eyes turn black. Can't wait to find out what the hell that means.

Silas-Stefan is going around town being a d-bag and drinking lots of blood. Katherine has been hanging out at the casa de Salvatore (since she's vulnerable now that she's slow, weak, and having a bad hair day). Silas wants Katherine so she splits town, almost killing Jeremy in the process. Silas discovers that he can glamour a shit ton of people at the same time and decides to make an impression by killing Bonnie's dad, because apparently there can't be more than two black characters living at the end of any given episode and that guy from the frat party got to live another day. Silas then asks everyone to find Katherine (the woman who looks 'just like Elena Gilbert') for him. I wonder if Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley get paid extra for playing dual roles. I think we should start a petition for the show to create a Damon-doppelganger. Because the world needs more Somerhalder! (And because we know he's still recovering from the news that he won't be the next Christian Grey.)

Throughout the entire episode we get to hear from Stefan only through artistically-lit hallucinations. Gotta say, Silas-Stefan is more interesting than Stefan-Stefan. He's unkillable, immortal and psychic... and has excellent hair. Speaking of awesome hair... Michael Trevino must be having some contract disputes with TVD because we wait all episode for Tyler to show up and instead he only appears via voicemail. Dude can't go to college because this werewolf pack in Tennessee needs him. He says, "I know it's lame to do this over the phone"... yeah, it is TVD. It is.

Race Fail Death Tally: 2. One Asian woman, one black man.