The Vampire Diaries "Monster's Ball" Review: Unbreak My Neck (PHOTO RECAP)
Don't tell me what makes good drama because I ALREADY KNOW what makes good drama. First of all, it takes emotions. Tons of emotions, the more the better. Secondly, good drama requires people. NOT animals. Animals are poison to drama. Unless it's maybe a cartoon animal or a real animal that speaks coherent English somehow, or maybe it's a gorilla that knows sign language. Or a fox that rides a dog around. All of these examples would probably be fine for a drama. But let's be real, they are just exceptions that prove the rule: Good drama requires PEOPLE and people-esque emotions. Also needed for good drama? An ancient dagger or amulet. It is almost impossible to have good drama without an ancient dagger or amulet (or another option would be one of those tiny jewel-encrusted handguns that ladies carry in their purses). Basically, good drama requires danger and those things I just mentioned are harmful to people, so you do the math. Another requirement for good drama would have to be, I don't know, a scene where a sentient exotic plant makes a phone call. That doesn't happen very often though, so maybe it's not even worth bringing up. Let's see, what else makes good drama? I feel like I had more. Hold on a second. Good drama, good drama... Hm. Guys, full disclosure: I am currently experiencing the worst candy headache I've ever had in my whole life. I haven't eaten anything resembling proper nutrition in about four days, only candy. All the candy. The room is spinning, my organs are treating my body like it's a bounce house, my tongue is blue as hell, and 911 operators are NOT sympathetic. But you didn't come here to read about how my Halloween went. I'm basically at death's doorstep at the moment, THAT'S how it went. Oof, this feels truly terrible.
OH. Right, I just remembered another thing about good drama. For my money the #1 best thing that can ever possibly happen in a drama: A BAD PERSON GOING GOOD. That has always been and always will be my favorite thing in a good drama. In fact I just had a tremendous idea: There should be a show called Breaking Good. It will be the best drama of all time, there will be so many people in it and they'll be experiencing tons of emotions, and yeah if we're being honest there MIGHT be a fox riding a dog around and an exotic plant might make a phone call as well. Those things are optional though, I can't tell Dick Wolf how to produce. But as long as a show has bad characters who suddenly turn good, I will be very happy.
This is all prelude to talking about Katherine. Katherine is my #1 favorite character on The Vampire Diaries currently, and a lot of that has to do with her journey from devious vampire to occasional deus ex machina to tragic outsider to, now, sympathetic human woman with a European daughter that loves three-ways. It is the BEST arc possible and it just makes me so happy. That kind of a similar arc is probably why Damon is the better Salvatore (AT THE MOMENT), because he came from a truly dark place and slowly reformed into a more thoughtful creature lately. I like that progression. Meanwhile Stefan's arc is just straight-up baffling. Lots of whiplashing between virtuous and awful. That's what's even more annoying about this current Amnesia Stefan phase: It won't even factor into his character in the long term. It's just a stopover until he recovers his memories, just an unpleasant waste of time. Oh well! Back to Katherine: She's the best. In my opinion when a bad person goes good, or does good things, it's this nice validation of the inherent goodness in people, and that is something that I just respond to on an emotional level, you know? Heck, this episode even had Silas aligning his goals with the rest of our heroes', so to my way of thinking that sort of counted too! That's right, I like Silas better than Stefan at the moment, deal w/it. BRB need to get my stomach pumped.
Okay let's talk about "Monster's Ball"!
The handsome college guy that kissed Caroline in the graveyard woke up on the blonde professor's table looking all starving and very vampirey, but the professor was starving him as an experiment or something.
Um, I don't want to start any rumors about what this professor is into, but at what point did he settle on a no-shirts policy for his test subjects? Not mad, just curious.
Yeah, so, I don't know what's going on here. He's studying vampire biology? Which is probably super interesting to HIM, but we the viewers are experts in this field so it was kind of boring. But then Professor Maxfield concluded with something about how this new vampire was definitely a "candidate". Mysterious! Hopefully it involves super soldiers who chill in a bunker underneath the library.
Oh boy. Look what was back: The diary voiceover! Just when we thought this super dumb device had burned up in a fire beside Jeremy's Xbox, it was BACK! American Horror Story wasn't the only show to introduce zombies this week. Anyway, via Elena's voiceover we got a full recap of everything that had happened in the past two episodes. Caroline and Tyler were f*ckin' and her shady blonde professor wears GREAT sweaters and also 100% of the characters are sad or confused about all the complicated mythology going on right now. Oh, and Elena was still all sad about Bonnie, which was ironic because Bonnie was currently creeping over her shoulder.
I guess the Bonnie thing had left Elena shaken, specifically the fact that she hadn't even noticed Bonnie had been dead for FOUR MONTHS. And you know what? Fair enough. That was pretty terrible of Elena. The fact that she felt guilty about it was actually a credit to her sense of decency. (No reason to get into this topic now, but I recently read a recap I wrote a long time ago and I used to really dislike Elena, but now I don't at all? In fact I think I legitimately like her now. She just seems more thoughtful and chill now. I don't know. I can't back this up with examples. Nevermind, forget I said anything.)
But yeah: Guilt. Elena had spent all those months of Bonnie's deadness boning Damon so much, so now whenever she laid eyes on him she was NOT interested in being nice to him. In this case he'd driven all the way to her college for a costume party and she was barely even civil toward him.
Dang, you know it's bad when she's leaving Damon's presence to "go to class." Yikes, red flag.
Meanwhile this was happening:
Just a couple of monsters mashin' on the floor. Which, again, look at this damn dorm room. Not one but TWO Persian rugs? This is insane. How much are student fees? Are these girls on financial aid?
So then Tyler and Caroline took a break from all their dozens of orgasms so that Caroline could lightly hassle Tyler for ignoring her phone calls for the entire summer. His response was super uppity: For the last time, he didn't have cell service up in the mountains where he was helping naked dudes roll around on the floor screaming. I think this means he was camping in wilderness 100% of the time? Like, no trips into town, no provision runs, no nothing. If we are to believe Tyler, he at no point came into contact with any method of checking in with Caroline. No phone, no internet, no postal service, no acquaintances who might pass on rumor or hearsay. In my opinion Tyler is either a liar or a bad person, because YOU CANNOT DO THAT to someone you love. Tyler made no effort to stay in touch with Caroline. Sorry guys, I've made up my mind. He doesn't deserve her. Meanwhile Caroline was trying to get him to enroll in college and he was just like "but look at my boner." That's how this conversation went basically. Tyler Lockwood you are trash.
Outside on the lawn some weirdo was mourning a friend even though the girl had been dead for, like, four days already? GET OVER IT. Haha just kidding, but look, it was that blonde hunk from the Melrose Place reboot!
Elena had noticed him seeming sad about Elena's dead roommate so she attempted to chat him up but he seemed very disinterested in talking to her and then stormed off after refusing to give his name. I like this guy. I know we've only just met him but is he going to be the Piz figure on this show? I hope so. Watch out, Salvatores. You guys might just get Piz'd!
So, at this point I just could not remember what Nadia wanted or how it related to what Silas wanted, or if they were on the same team still, or what. Is this a good place to mention that I am SO TIRED of the Silas stuff already? Boy was I wrong a few weeks back when I had the sense that the Silas stuff would be wrapped up soon. Nope, it's still going on! And so was this gypsy lady who'd kidnapped Katherine. So yeah, I could not remember what was happening between Nadia and Silas, but on the other hand, Katherine was in the background being AMAZING.
And after she ate all the chips she did a full-body flop off of the bed, crawled over to the mini-fridge and did this:
I cannot love Katherine more. And for real, did we have any idea that Nina Dobrev was so good at comedy? She had already proved she's one of the best actresses on television, but I wasn't quite expecting her to be this funny lately. Very into it. Katherine forever.
So this was interesting: Damon had an idea. A selfless one! At some point he realized that Silas was trying to become mortal (which would leave him just a regular ol' witch) and then die (which would send him to The Other Side). So that meant if they played their cards right, they could possibly maybe get Silas to trade lives with Bonnie. Or something? Look, I'm not clear on how that would work, especially since Silas intended to destroy The Other Side BEFORE becoming mortal, right? So if he destroyed The Other Side, where would that send all the souls currently residing there? Would they all be swept up to Heaven or whatever? And Bonnie too? Look, I didn't get it, but I appreciated that Damon was trying to cheer up Elena by resurrecting Bonnie. He didn't seem to actually be that concerned with Bonnie's well-being though. Also she did not seem to want to go through with this plan either, something about unforeseen consequences, which I guess she is the #1 expert in.
But then Jeremy totally did not listen to her! He told Damon that Bonnie was cool with it. If I was a betting man (I don't have money), I think this had something to do with the fact that Jeremy wanted Bonnie to be alive again because ghosts aren't fun to cuddle with. Too much ectoplasm and not enough busyfingers.
So yeah, that's all it took for Bonnie to change her mind. The promise of a shirtless hug from Jeremy: SOLD.
So then it came down to cutting a deal with an immortal wizard with a bad attitude and designs on self-destruction. But what would Silas possibly ask from Damon in return?
Haha, classic Silas. He wanted Damon to kill Stefan. But because the scene immediately cut to commercial and then didn't follow-up on this exchange, it was clear that it was probably just misdirection.
Meanwhile Katherine ate a hamburger while Nadia told her about the time Katherine murdered Nadia's mother.
Katherine didn't remember doing this but it made me laugh that she felt like it was definitely possible. Then Nadia got mad.
Then Katherine got crafty.
Then Nadia got stabbed in the chest with some old man's cane!
Haha, so good. Human or not, Katherine's STILL GOT IT, GUYS.
So because this was an episode that aired on Halloween, but the TVD timeline probably did not coincide with that particular holiday, we got this weird costume party that was supposed to FEEL Halloween-esque I guess. The characters all had to dress up as historical figures and attend a gala event on campus with all the professors or something, I don't know. But Caroline and Tyler went as Bonnie and Clyde, because I guess dressing up as famous murderers was a nice change of pace from being the non-famous murderers they already were. (Yeah, I said it. Check the facts.)
Amnesia Stefan showed up in a leather jacket and Caroline claimed he was supposed to be James Dean. Which was not only very lazy as a costume idea, but also shouldn't the jacket have been red? The red one was the more iconic James Dean look in my opinion. Anyway, Amnesia Stefan was still a tremendous piece of sh*t in this episode, and I'm not even willing to debate this. What a bummer this guy continues to be! Way too much 'tude considering he had no idea what was going on whatsoever.
To be honest, I think I'm mostly annoyed about Stefan's amnesia because it COULD HAVE been a really terrific storyline. I think the intention was that he'd experience with fresh eyes the madness that his life had become, but instead he seems super closed off and judgmental and outright condescending toward everybody. Just very unlikable and hard to identify with or root for. I do not like this guy. I should but I don't. I hope he gets back his memories soon, especially any memories that make him seem like a decent person.
So then Damon arrived and took a ringing cell phone out of the front of his underwear.
Just for the record Damon is NOT ready to upgrade to iOS7. And who can blame him, especially when the old iOS has this very handy feature where your text simultaneously sends and doesn't send. (It also made me laugh that he and Silas were texting each other at all, and that this was only their first text exchange. I was really hoping Silas would respond with "new phone who is this." But he didn't, I'm pretty sure.)
Elena had another run-in with this guy. She compelled him to answer whether he'd murdered her roommate or not, and he said he hadn't. Then he mentioned that his entire family and circle of friends had died and it was like he was a boy version of Elena!
I ship it.
So then Amnesia Stefan had a run-in with Katsia (I honestly refuse to learn TWO names for this woman), but he didn't remember her and she flirted with him anyway.
She had only crashed an out-of-town college costume party because I guess one of her old amulets was on display somewhere on the premises. At first I was like, "What are the chances?" But then I remembered that one dead professor that Bonnie was besties with had Silas' old gravestone, so it stands to reason maybe he'd collected a sh*tload of Katsia and Silas' possessions. I don't know, I'm just very very tired at this point. My hands look like frightened crabs and I'm pretty sure I just saw a grim reaper eating a sandwich in my kitchen.
So this was what Silas meant by Damon killing Stefan.
He just meant to temporarily murder him so that Silas could regain his mind-control powers!
I liked that Damon seemed very conflicted about this task. Fair enough. I truly dislike breaking any of my brothers' necks, so I could definitely relate.
Anyway, with Stefan lying dead in a crumpled heap, Silas went back and impersonated him to Katsia so that he could read her mind and find out where the anchor was for the spell that made the Other Side exist and holy sh*t is this plotline not interesting SORRRYYY gotta go.
But Silas' cover was almost blown when his head started falling apart. That was because Stefan had come alive again!
Luckily Damon was on neck-snapping duty still. Phew!
Meanwhile in a disgusting alley a very touching moment occurred. Nadia hadn't actually been brutally murdered in front of a ton of old people trying to eat their early bird specials, instead she dragged herself out by the trash cans and Katherine showed up to call her out for telling fibs.
Nadia was Katherine's daughter! I don't mean to be a braggart but I called this. I definitely called this. Sort of half-jokingly, sure, but when it comes to TVD, no joke is too extreme to be made into actual storylines. Still though, as much as I'd suspected this was the case, the reveal was VERY GOOD. Katherine accused Nadia of making up the story about murdering Nadia's mother. But then Nadia insisted that Katherine HAD indeed murdered her mother-- It was when Katherine committed suicide! (To exempt herself from Klaus' moonstone curse, an explanation rightly omitted from this story.) But the look on Katherine's face was pretty devastating. For one thing, as old as Katherine is, on this show she's usually just carried herself as a petulant teen. But this one revelation suddenly aged her; it reminded us of how ancient she really is (500 years old!), and how mature and experienced she must be. I don't know, I just thought this was really powerful, okay? Love this show.
Okay, like, I get it, this guy is probably going to be a villain or maybe just quickly murdered at some point, but I can't help it, I reallllly dig him. Look at this hat, first of all. (He's Dr. Jekyll, for the record, because mad science.) But also look at how he slow dances with his students:
Get it, Elena.
Whoops! See, they'd just had a very amiable conversation about forging death certificates but then he revealed that he knew she was a vampire and also he told her to drop out of college and go back to Mystic Falls. Dang, doc! To be fair, he also warned her that people were watching, so there's still a chance he's not necessarily a bad guy and was just worried about her, but still. Elena was very surprised by this turn of events.
So then Caroline and Tyler finally had it out. He told her he didn't want to go to college with her, he only wanted to get revenge on Klaus from now on. Caroline did NOT take it well.
Haha it made me laugh when Caroline proceeded to try and make a dramatic exit because it is 100% impossible to make a dignified exit when you're wearing a costume. Seriously, try it next time you're in a costume. Tell someone off and attempt to storm out. People will turn to your friend and be like "Uh, did you just get told off by The Grimace?"
Meanwhile at the neck-breaking station, Damon saw Stefan twitch and started to suspect that he was waking up again.
BOOM! Stefan turned the tables! He jumped up and snapped Damon's neck so good.
Meanwhile Katsia stole an amulet and started praying and figured out where her anchor was. Who cares. Then Silas came in and tried to read her mind but then got interrupted by Stefan being awake and stealing his mind control powers AND THEN to add insult to injury Stefan just moseyed in and blew his cover and punched Silas' face.
So then Katsia was ticked so she stabbed her hand into Silas' chest and fried his heart.
Whoops! Silas was now insta-desiccated! Which, ordinarily it would've been a pretty positive turn of events to see a villain get iced like this, but it really interfered with Damon's plan to resurrect Bonnie to cheer up Elena.
Oh, let's just get back to the new hunks okay?
The one younger guy is somehow related to the professor! Well, the professor is the legal guardian over the younger guy, so who knows. They are just the blonde hunk club over here and that is fine with me (maybe they have a spare bunk for Matt?). Do you think these two have ever ridden in a paddleboat together? Or played tennis while wearing matching headbands? I'm just going to take a minute and think about this and you should too.
Back in the motel room Katherine made tea for Nadia and they compared facts. It turned out Nadia believed Katherine had abandoned her, but Katherine had in fact tried to find her way back in the day. (1490s-ish)
This seemed to really touch Nadia in her heart, and both women just looked so moved. Honestly, what a strange dynamic this scene was, but it was all distilled down to two long-lost family members finding each other after HALF A MILLENNIUM. Compared to how epic the concept of this reunion was, the scene played out in a very understated and quietly devastating way. Very good. Very, very good.
Then Caroline and Tyler finally broke up.
I mean, what more do I need to say about this? Not only was Tyler a very terrible boyfriend toward her, look at what he made her do! I do NOT want to see Caroline sobbing. Jump in a tar pit, Tyler. She is so much better off it's insane. Sorry I'm not sadder about this breakup, but I'm not. I'm very happy for Caroline if anything.
Meanwhile at the Salvatore shanty, Damon invited Katherine over to see that her Silas-related worries were now over.
BUT THEN! It turned out Damon had set up a trap! What he really wanted was to revive Silas and also make him mortal using HER blood. But as we'd learned from Nadia, Katherine's blood is only a cure if ALL of it is drunk. Which would killer her, obvs.
So basically Damon attempted to murder Katherine in this episode! DO NOT, DAMON.
UH-OH! Suddenly Silas started sucking all of her blood out! THIS LOOKED BAD.
NO! NO! NO! NOT KATHERINE! NO WAY! THIS COULDN'T BE HAPPENING, RIGHT? KATHERINE COULDN'T JUST DIE IN A NON-FINALE EPISODE, RIGHT? I mean, this death wasn't sufficiently epic AT ALL. The camera work didn't even film it in a very interesting--
OH NO THIS looked epic right here. Swelling music and everything. Guys, I was so upset. I was ENRAGED. I was already weighing my options of whether I could continue watching a TVD with neither Originals nor Katherine. SHE CANNOT BE DEAD. NO.
Fortunately Katherine just don't stay dead.
WOWOWOW. So apparently she died but has some kind of immortality thing going on? Maybe the vampire cure did this? Or maybe she had special jewelry on? I DON'T KNOW. All I know is, this show took me for a ride and I'm either very mad about it or I'm thrilled to my core. What is the difference? What an amazing turn of events. It made me laugh when Katherine revived, saw Damon and Elena standing over her, and asked if she was in Hell. Basically! But now I'm very curious what this attempted murder will do to Katherine's burgeoning sense of humanity? Will she re-harden into an unrepentant sociopath? Will she get revenge on Damon for attempting to murder her for, of all things, the benefit of BONNIE? I have a lot of questions. THIS is a plotline I care about. I need to know more. I need it. I also need medical attention, I ate so many Skittles, guys.
I liked a lot of "Monster's Ball" especially the parts with Katherine and the mysterious hunk with no backstory yet. So tired of backstory lately. Just give me a clean slate in a tuxedo t-shirt. And more Katherine. Always more Katherine.
*vomits a rainbow*
... What is Professor Maxfield doing to that shirtless vampire?
... What is Professor Maxfield doing to that sad blond hunk?
... Would you seriously watch TVD if Katherine was killed off?
... Exactly how much candy can a person consume before it's considered a cry for help?
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