Well, it wouldn’t be the second half of a Supernatural season if the entire story hadn’t devolved into a big giant angst-fest. You know, more so than the show’s usual angst-fest. Sam is probably dying. Again. Castiel is being weird and evasive. Again. And once again, Dean is stuck in the middle, wondering why he doesn’t get nice things. Welcome to the homestretch, ya’ll!
More on my bitter tears later. Fresh off of a trippy adventure in his own personal “Mystery Spot” Castiel caught up with the Brothers Winchester when they invaded his turf in search of whatever was randomly killing demons in a small town. That “something” turned out to be Castiel himself, so I guess in actuality they all caught up to each other. How quaint!
From the jump, Dean and Sam suspected that there was something off with Castiel, which leaves Dean 2 for 2 with the knowing-his-family-members-are-lying-about-stuff record. Earlier, he spotted Sam’s bloody tissues in the trash bin back at the Batcave and between Sam’s supernatural black lung and the really great job the makeup people are doing making Jared Padalecki look like he’s perpetually fighting off the flu, it wasn’t hard to figure out that Sam isn’t as fine as he claims– but really, is he ever? Cas further elaborated on Moose’s condition by claiming that Sam was “damaged in ways he can’t heal” and implying that it was electromagnetic (!?) in nature.
Thanks for your insight, Cas. I guess. But brownie points to the Supernatural crew for making an effort to at least show a gradual progression toward…whatever we’re working toward. I’d rather have details dangled in the dialogue and Sam discretely hacking up a lung than the usual modus operandi of ignoring everything until it suddenly becomes relevant again. It makes me think that this story is being thought out and planned, as opposed to slapped together over hellatus. I like it. It makes up for the blah cases of the week that preceded this wangsty adventure and the general clusterfuck of the first half of the season. Amelia even kind of sort of made sense once Meg compared her to a unicorn during her and Sammich’s little heart-to-heart.
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Would you book another trip to New Orleans?
That is the question for fans of The Vampire Diaries after tonight’s shocking episode, which served as a backdoor pilot for The Originals spinoff, which centers on fan favorite Original siblings Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) stirring up trouble in The Big Easy, a supernatural empire that Klaus helped create back in the day.
And though Klaus heading back to New Orleans intent on destroying a coven of witches looking to destroy him, he got more than he bargained for when he ran into werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin)! Plus, we met (and swooned over) new characters that we’ll be spending a lot of time with should the CW pick up The Originals to series…
We better start with the hybrid baby because, WHAT? There’s been some discussion about why Hayley would play a role in the spin-off (well, other than The CW isn’t going to let Phoebe Tonkin slink away so easily), but now we know: She’s miraculously carrying Klaus’s child after their almost-forgotten one-night stand some episodes ago. The episode chalked up the pregnancy to a loophole in the system, which is clearly the quickest and pilot-iest way to answer “how?” without actually answering it. The mystery behind the pregnancy will likely drive The Originals, as will Klaus’s surely slow-moving journey of coming to terms with the baby’s existence.
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Last night’s episode of Doctor Who officially kickstarted the era of Clara the Companion, as the Doctor conduced an investigation into the origins of the Impossible Woman — who, you’ll recall, has already died twice in two time periods on two planets. Is she a cross-temporal clone? Is she a whole series of Oswin? Brand Androids, scattered across space and time by one of the Doctor’s enemies? Is she the nexus of all realities? The Doctor went straight to the source. Specifically, he traveled back to Summer 1981. A young man walked down the road on a windy day. A giant leaf blew right into his face. He stumbled, stepping in front of a car — and a woman pulled him out of the way. Their eyes met. They smiled. It was love at first sight. You laugh, but this is how all relationships start in Britain.
The Doctor sped quickly through their courtship. The man apparently saved the leaf, and gave it to the lady as a present. He gave her a speech which played with the infinite array of things that had to go right for the two of them to meet: “This exact leaf had to grow in that exact way,” he noted, describing it with no irony as “the most important leaf in human history.” (You have to imagine that we’ll return to that line, again and again, as the mystery of Clara deepens in future episodes.)
The two got married, gave birth to little Clara, lived a happy life?and then the mother died. (Her tombstone gave her birthday as September 11, 1960; she died in March 2005, which is coincidentally the same month that the revived Dr. Who started airing on the BBC? Coincidence? Probably.) The Doctor watched young Clara and her father at her mother’s grave. He whispered to himself: “She’s not possible.”
And yet, when he traveled back to the present, there was Clara waiting patiently to begin her adventure. The Doctor asked her what she wanted to see. The future! The past! Deep space! Shallow space! She had a simple request; “Something awesome.” The Doctor rose to the challenge, taking her to the Rings of Akhaten. He pointed out the niftiest piece of local architecture: The Pyramid, maintained by the Sun Singers of the Khet. Local religious types believed that life in the universe originated here in the Rings. Clara asked him if that was true. I loved how the Doctor managed to make his response sound joyful and rueful all at once: “It’s what they believe. It’s a nice story.”
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It appears that Kevin is plagued by Crowley. He hears him in his head and in his dreams. His dreams are full of torture Crowley dishes out and the pressure of getting the tablets translated is really getting to the young man. When Dean and Sam show up he is carrying around a big metal frying pan and is in a real foul mood. They learn that he hasn’t heard from Garth, but he has translated the next trial, which is to rescue a soul from hell and send it to heaven.
In order to figure out how one can sneak into hell the boys summon and capture a Crossroads Demon, who Dean is disappointed that it isn’t a hot chick, and questions him. Finally he gives in and tells them that there are some Reapers that are smuggling people into hell as well as heaven, for a price. Before the boys put the demon out of its misery they learn everything they need to know about getting into hell.
They approach a reaper, who is playing that part of a Taxi Driver, they propose their need to get into hell and when the Reaper tells them he is the same Reaper that took Bobby Singer to hell Dean is hell-bent on getting his soul and sending it to heaven. The boys have a small discussion when Dean wants to go with Sam and Sam has to remind Dean that he has to do the trials alone and he will get Bobby back. The Reaper tells Dean to return for Sam in 24 hours and then leads Sam into an alleyway and instructs him to take his hand. As he does Sam mutters how creepy it all is.
The alley starts to twist and move and Sam starts to get nervous, but all of a sudden they appear in a grey forest. Sam asks RJ if they were in hell and RJ tells him that they are in purgatory. Sam begins to get upset saying that he paid to get to hell and RJ tells him to calm down and gives him directions to the backdoor (a portal) to hell but tells him to be back in the same spot in exactly 24 hours. Meanwhile Dean returns to the location where Kevin is hiding out. Kevin emerges from the closet, convinced that Crowley is in his head, spouting that it is the safest place to be. Dean gives the boy a lecture about how he has to suck it up and just keep going, but Kevin isn’t convinced and scurries back to his room with Dean’s pie in tow.
Three of the things in The Vampire Diaries‘ arsenal that I love the most are evil Damon, flashbacks, and Lexi, so it was basically a given I was going to be in the bag for this one. It helps that although all of elements are delightful, the show doesn’t overuse them just because it can: It bides its time, knowing exactly when to pull out its bag of tricks to provide maximum story impact. Boy, was that impact pleasantly felt here.
The flashbacks in question are inspired by Damon and Elena’s impulsive trip to New York City. Damon tells Elena he’s doing it to help her have some fun and get out of Mystic Falls before she does something to expose herself, but he’s really there to track down his old pal Billy’s belongings and find out a clue to Katherine’s whereabouts (and therefore the cure). To my great delight, the trip inspires Damon to reminisce about his last sojourn in the big city in 1977, when he spent his time dining and cavorting at Billy’s underground punk club. That is, until Lexi showed up to attempt to get him to turn his emotions back on.
The combination of humanity-free Damon, ’77 punk aesthetic, and the always-pleasant Lexi make the flashbacks a ton of fun, especially when Damon tricks her into thinking he turned his emotions back on because he was falling for her. It’s an evil, cruel trick, especially in light of the fact Damon ended up killing Lexi back in season one.
The great thing about this revelation, though, is how Damon uses it to explain to Elena exactly how awful she’s going to feel about hurting the people she cares about once she decides to turn her emotions back on. Damon regretted hurting Lexi, and that regret turned into the sort of seething rot that ended with him killing her. Is this a retcon? Maybe, but it’s a retcon that really works.
This season of The Vampire Diaries is teaching me an interesting lesson: Sometimes there are arcs that you can appreciate from a storytelling perspective, but if they make you not like the central character of a show — the one everyone is fighting to save and you’ve always related to — you may not enjoy those arcs, however clever, as much as you thought you would as a viewer. It happened with Elena’s sire bond to Damon, which, when you think about it, is a great way to complicate that love triangle — Elena can leave Stefan for Damon, but it’s not entirely her own doing, so the Stelena fans can’t hate her.
The Delena fans get what they want, but they still have something to root for because the question remains whether she would ever have allowed herself to act on her feelings to that degree without the sire bond. I can see how poetic it is: Stefan used to let Elena make her own calls, while Damon always assumed he knew what was best for her. The rub: Knowing she was being manipulated took some of the enjoyment out of watching her have sex with Damon and made her seem weak.
The sire bond has grown on me because it both divided the Salvatore brothers and forced them to work together, and it gave Damon the power to have Elena turn off her humanity (which we know she definitely wouldn’t have done on her own). Those plot points have produced some of the season’s best moments. But now, the flipping of Elena’s switch comes with its own poetic twist: You want Elena to get her free will back and own being a vampire in a way that didn’t involve a cheesy motorcycle shot? You got it, but now she’ll do whatever she damn well pleases — and that includes trying to kill Caroline.
You can see what it’s all building to: Now Elena doesn’t care how bad Damon is, so he’ll have to decide if he does like her best this way. (I think not: He wants to know she really loves him, and “I don’t care how bad you are” is different from “I accept you for who you are.”) Moments like Elena letting Caroline fall during the cheerleading stunt and trying to stake Caroline in the woods are cool, but it’s tough to watch our Elena being a Mean Girl. Bottom line: No Humanity Elena may just want to have fun, but really, the stuff she’s doing is serious. I should be sitting right next to Caroline when Stefan says we have to remember this isn’t the real Elena and we can’t give up on her. (Or maybe I need to stop thinking about the old Elena entirely so I can enjoy the new one properly?)
After last week’s silly “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits” I hoped Supernatural would return to form tonight. I was a little leery, as “Remember the Titans” is not only another stand-alone episode, but one that involves gods. The show’s track record with gods is not good (see “Hammer of the Gods”). Sadly, the episode did end up a disappointment, though more for the damage to the season’s arc than the legend of the gods.
The portrayal of the Greek gods Zeus, Prometheus, and Artemis was handled adequately, drawing on the legend of Prometheus stealing fire for mankind and getting cursed by Zeus to die every day with an eagle eating his entrails. The conceit of his son inheriting the curse apparently by accident was a stretch, but one that I could roll with. The writers are allowed dramatic license to make the parallel to the Winchesters. However, it is that connection to the trials arc that failed for me.
Sam has been hiding-or thinks he’s been hiding-his tuberculosis or something with similar symptoms from Dean. But he’s scared. And watching the price Prometheus pays for saving mankind from darkness apparently opens his eyes to the likelihood he won’t survive the trials. He confesses his doubts to Dean, who prays for help to Castiel and it all should be very moving.
Sam, Dean and ArtemisBut I spent the episode just astonished at what was playing out. I could not believe Sam and Dean would bring Prometheus, his girlfriend and his son TO THE BUNKER. They were supposed to throw the key in and lock it away forever because the secrets inside are so dangerous in the wrong hands. Instead, they not only bring these people in, Dean then tells them all about the Men of Letters which is a-wait for it-secret society.
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Part of the fun of The Vampire Diaries is the fact that so much changes so quickly and that characters can be killed off left and right. But if you actually lived in this world, that wouldn’t be very fun, would it?
“Stand by Me” impressively tackled this, as Elena had to process the fact that Jeremy was dead and that as much as she hoped for it to be otherwise, he wasn’t coming back. It was a very well done episode, with some strong performances from Nina Dobrev and Zach Roerig, as Elena and Matt both had some rather raw, emotional moments dealing with the latest in a long line of deaths in Mystic Falls.
The scenes with Matt were surprisingly powerful. Once more, Matt’s status as the Last Human Standing on this show is notable and I find myself hoping he can actually make it to the end of the series without dying himself. The fact that some people have come back to life in this crazy world can’t be ignored, and isn’t ? but it also makes it all the sadder when Matt tells Elena, “I would tell you it’s okay to have hope, because sometimes that’s all that keeps me going.” They’ve seen enough things to give them hope, sure? but sometimes it won’t pay off. Man, look at The Vampire Diaries being all poignant!
Meanwhile, we’re getting more development on what looks to be a Dark Phoenix Willow Bonnie story, as Bonnie was the one person close to Jeremy who didn’t fully accept his death ? instead going along with Fake Shane’s plans to use Silas to resurrect every supernatural entity that ever died. I don’t know if I fully buy that Bonnie’s been pushed so far that she’d go along with that plan, but let’s see how far she’s willing to take it. Meanwhile, the reveal that Shane was not Shane but rather Silas himself explains how we hadn’t heard any casting news for a character as built up as Silas has been. Though given that Shane himself wasn’t all that intimidating, it’s gonna be a hard sell selling the same actor as the villain to end all villains.
FIRST, despite the unified front Sam and Dean managed to develop in the wake of the Men of Letters/Batcave stuff, it appears that we’re back to keeping secrets and flaunting our trust issues. Dean was still fiercely against Sam taking on the God trials required to close the gates of Hell, but a little headtrip through their worst memories-courtesy of this week’s evildoer, Spencer-somehow inspired him to back Sam’s plan?
Is that how this works? In what basically amounted to a revised version of his speech back in Season 5 when Sam decided jumping into Hell was a GREAT idea, Dean said he trusted Sam and would support whatever decision about the trials Sam made. Excellent. We’re all on the same page.
Then, LITERALLY TWO SECONDS LATER, Sam coughed up a wad of blood that was way too conveniently timed to NOT be somehow related to his neat glowing appendage trick from last week’s hellhound bubble bath. When Dean asked if he was okay, Sam pulled out his signature move: pairing an unconvincing “I’m fine” with the patented Sam Winchester Guilt Face. Oh no. HELL NO. I am not ready for this shit. I. AM. NOT. READY. FOR. THIS. SHIT.
Okay, okay, GOOD THINGS. They exist! They do! Wedged between James and Portia’s Bella/Edward romance-mind-meld-bondage-whatever and the admittedly semi-interesting world-building that explored the inner-workings of the witch community, there was that awesome confirmation that Dean’s trust issues aren’t so much about not trusting Sam as they’re about a general inability to trust ANYONE who isn’t Dean.
It’s episodes like this that make me really happy I watch The Vampire Diaries. This show doesn’t know the meaning of the term “slow down” and has the ability to twist and turn like no other ? delivering shocking moments out of nowhere.
And so it was for poor Jeremy, who had been growing so much this season (insert joke about his frequently displayed muscles), as he became a Vampire Hunter and evolved into a much more tough and different sort of character than the “endangered kid brother” of the past.
On one hand, that being the case, it does seem odd to just kill him in the middle of this story. But on the other hand, the entire idea of The Five (and in this very episode, Galen), means this show’s specific Hunter mythology can and will continue on.
Regardless, taking Jeremy out is brutal. Elena has now lost every single family member she’s had. Lest we forget, it was because of Jeremy she even let herself fully transition into a vampire, not wanting to leave him alone. Suffice to say, losing him should have a huge impact on Elena going forward… and it also certainly won’t be good times for Bonnie.
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