TVD 5x8 review

Nov 24, 2013 14:09

This is such a great examination of Bonnie’s arc. Yes: the show is aware that her self-sacrifice (or if you prefer, her drive to take on the world and take whatever it can dish out), is not healthy for her, that is not fair, that it never seems to end, that on the rare occasion she does try to use magic to protect herself it turns against her, that she does not trust the people around her with her suffering or her joy. It’s dark and intense and yet the character was so alive, less guarded and more emotionally present than we’ve seen her be for a very long time, if ever. Her laughter was real, she let herself want Jeremy, she died and now she’s living. It’s not quite happiness, there’s an edge to her even in the lighter moments of the episode, but there’s something. Honestly, as readily as I empathize with Bonnie’s pain, the only thing I’m not really excited about wrt how her arc is shaping up is that I’m pretty sure it means Abby’s days are numbered.

I am seriously curious to see where Damon’s story goes from here. I don’t know where to go with how it’ll all fit into his character yet, but I’m excited to see it. No, wait, I can already be sure that I do love how hard the show is running with the “unsympathetic victim” thing it does so consistently. Because even if the Augustine society is only half self-defensive pursuit of knowledge and the other half sadism…DAMON is the reason human beings need defending. Not that the show is about to let the Augustine society off the hook, as Jesse was a perfectly nice person and even if he wasn’t he still wouldn’t deserve what he got.

I’ve talked once or twice about how TVD plays out as a look at life in the state of nature, where there are no reliable institutions or authorities, and I think that allowed for the very interesting look at social politics the show gives us. But the modern world is such that institutions do exist, and they are not always good. The Augustine society is dangerous, to supers and normals alike, and the secrecy around this meta-structure to their world makes everyone even more vulnerable when a clump of people/interests gets tight enough to form even a weak center of gravity.

I was a bit on tenterhooks as to how Katherine and Stefan’s interactions played out in the episode, because ugh, you all know how I feel about that, but I ended up really interested. I felt that it was relatively clear just how creepy it was for Katherine to insinuate herself yet again as Stefan’s ~savior from some other Big Scary who didn’t exploit him out of wuuuuuuuuuuv like she did, and because it was clear I could just revel in the creepiness. Stefan’s PTSD is hard to watch, even knowing consciously that it’s a good sign that he can have a major freak-out like this without dismembering the lacrosse team. Katherine’s reveal that she stays on top of it by thinking of the people she’s killed shows a lot about how she’s learned control is not about handling oneself, but marshaling one’s own inner chaos to exercise dominance over others, and Stefan’s ability to go along with that is deliciously unsettling.

I’ve seen a little bit of back-and-forth as to whether Katherine was really trying to die at the end of the episode there or whether she knew Stefan would save her. IMO it’s the same thrill-seeking we saw from Elena pre-vamping: she left the bread crumbs and thinks Stefan will save her, but the risk is part of the reward. Which makes sense, right, doppelgangers live on the edge anyway, more aware even than most people that they’re at the mercy of a world they can’t influence directly. As dangerous as the pattern is, I can’t blame or even really pathologize them for trying to get on top of it like this.

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tvd: bonnie bennett is a goddess, tvd, tvd: kat doesn't need a reason

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