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30 April 2016 @ 10:10 am
7.20 - 'Kill 'Em All' (The Vampire Diaries)  
I know! So shocking! My write-up for the new episode is up in less than 24 hours! Wow!

Killer ending. Too bad that quite a bit of the episode was more of the 'sleeping through life' kinda things, you know? *sigh* It's not that the writing or the direction was off, really. And I'm not putting this one on my usual whipping boys, writers Chad Fiveash and James Stoteraux. I blame it completely on the execution and thought behind the episode and some severe lack of chemistry between two actors. Let's talk about that first.

Wow. Paul Wesley and Zach Roerig really suck together. Can we never, ever, like EVAR have these two be alone in scenes together for a whole episode ever, ever, ever?! Pretty please. No chemistry. None. Zip. Zero. So bad. The idea that Matt's hyper-paranoid hatred for vampires had his reflexes in a shoot-first mode made perfect sense. It was tragic and beautiful. Well, it should have been tragic and beautiful… but the two actors together? My goodness, so wooden, so anti-feeling. They just had nothing between them. It was like two magnets repulsing each other. Complete and utter anti-chemistry. There was no connection, no believability. I felt nothing and everyone knows that I love, deeply love, both of these characters. I should have been eating this up. Instead I just wanted it over.

I don't believe it's because the story was told in flashback. I thought that the Stefan and Valerie story was well-done even if I didn't feel anything for it. I liked Enzo and Bonnie's and actually do feel for them. But this, it just didn't work and I really believe it's because the actors just don't work together. Again, the idea behind it is wonderful and completely fits Stefan, fits Matt, fits the character of Penny we know—the little of it. All of the pieces fit, the writing fit… I just—I don't know. It felt like Paul Wesley and Zach Roerig were acting in two different scenes. I didn't connect with either one at all because they weren't connecting at all.

{Shakes it off} I'm just glad it's over. And I can talk about what I loved about their scenes… because, yes, I'm me and I can always find the silver lining in even things I don't like in Vampire Diaries-land. :D I love that Matt, of everyone else, has never worn the rose-colored Stefan shades. He's always seen Stefan Salvatore as he truly is. So when Stefan plays the perfect, suffering martyr, Matt's all 'whatevs, dude. You weren't supposed to be there, but you didn't care what I wanted. You didn't care what Caroline wanted. No, you only care what *you* wanted and people got hurt because of it.'

Now to be fair, it's not really Stefan's fault that Penny is dead. But Matt does have a point. Stefan did do what *he* wanted regardless that it was against the direct wishes of people he purported to care about, a person he claimed to love. And because of that circumstances arose that *did* lead to Penny's demise. That is a fact. And that's Stefan—he be selfish. And Matt's never been blind to that.

I ♥ Matt, not so much Penny, though. Sorry, Matty-blue-blue. (He was so cute trying to find the perfect way to propose, though.) I'm glad she's gone. I didn't like her. She was annoying. You deserve better. {small voice}Rebekah gives her regards.{/small voice}

     

You know who also deserved better? Viewers. Viewers deserved better than having to watch an episode that spent like about half of it repeating what the previous episode did. For reals. I thought the last episode was cool with all the killing of Rayna's Hellstone vampires… but, erm, that *was* cool, you know, in the last episode. I figured when we got the final scene with Damon that it meant we would see it spread out or some new plan made. (Cuz, we know this group and plans! Hah!) I certainly didn't expect another episode that was basically filled with… the exact same batch of scenes just with, oh, different characters having slightly different conversations—with the exception of Stefan and Matt. And we know how *that* turned out!

I mean, instead of Damon, Enzo and Bonnie killing vampires, while bemoaning Bonnie's fate and ragging about Damon, we got Damon and Enzo killing vampires while bemoaning Bonnie's fate and ragging about Damon. Ooh, exciting. Not. Instead of Alaric and Stefan killing vampires and ragging about what an asshole Stefan was to Caroline, we got Alaric and Caroline killing vampires and ragging about what an asshole Stefan was to Caroline. Ooh, exciting. Not.

And remember this praise I offered up about the last week's episode:

And can I just say I love that we got the reiteration from Damon to Enzo the same that he'd say to Stefan from seasons ago that he may be hated for doing the "bad" things, but he'll save lives in doing so. Yes, yes, I'm sure there are people out there clutching their pearls because he said that about Elena to Stefan and he's saying it to Enzo about Bonnie now (triangle alert!), but that wasn't the point. It wasn't about being in love. It wasn't about a triangle, or getting the girl, or proving oneself better.
Way to just, you know, repeat the same damn bloody thing, show! I mean, WOW! He just did that. He already proved that. He. Just. Freaking. Did. It. We didn't need him to do it again. And then repeat a variation on the same damn speech when he just said it. Dear sweet baby Jesus.

I take it back. I am blaming some of this on the writers, Fiveash and Stoteraux. They could have taken the idea behind this episode and not have repeated so very much of the previous episode. I am disappoint, show. I am very disappoint. (Please don't bring these two back next season. They've produced one great episode, just one. The rest have been decent to, well, this.)

Since there was so much on repeat, I don't have much more to add. But I did want to talk about Alaric, and Alaric and Caroline. Was I wrong? Is there an Alaric-shaped light at the end of the tunnel? See the thing is that ever since he came back from the dead he's been trying to be "normal." He's been staying away from the whole supernatural business as much as possible, right? But remember when he went on his little run with Enzo—ah, compare Matt Davis/Michael Malarkey to Wesley/Roerig… it's like night and day—and he couldn't help but admit how much fun he was having? And now we have Caroline calling him out on the fact that he was having fun.

Damon kept trying to get him to admit he was having fun too when he was working with him a few episodes ago. And, now that I think about it, I was so stuck on my 'LEAVE DAMON ALONE!' pity party when Ric told Damon that he didn't want to go back to like it was that I missed out on the fact that Ric *did* stop, he did pause, he did turn back and give Damon the information on Bonnie. It was him relenting. It wasn't much, but it was something.

So maybe… maybe, Caroline will be the one to bring the real Ric back. And on that note… {gulp} I can't believe I'm saying this, but I really, really liked that final scene between Ric and Caroline. I liked the honesty from Ric. I liked the honesty from Caroline. Well, as much as she was willing to give because you know she believes she's being honest cuz girl is totes lying to herself right now about Stefan. I loved, loved, LOVED what she basically said to Ric about the fact that they are fooling themselves about living normal lives. And isn't that what it comes down to when it comes to Ric for these last couple of seasons? He's been fooling himself ever since he came back from the dead? Trying to be normal, first with Jo, and now with Caroline and the girls.

So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe.

OK, not so much miscellaneous as it all revolves around Damon, so let's call it Damon minutiae!

- Awww! Matt still is Damon's minion! He still clearly does what Damon tells him to do even when he don't wanna. Good boy, Matty, good boy.

- When Damon was telling Enzo that he has to think of the needs of the person he loves and not his own… aww, he was clearly thinking of Elena. Double aww!

- Seriously, how can anyone not see that Damon and Bonnie are nothing but besties?

- Bwah! I laughed so hard and loved it so hard when Damon was all 'No, I do not accept your forgiveness!' to Bonnie because he knew what it meant. And another aww! that Bonnie couldn't die without forgiving Damon. See? Besties! So adorable.

- Of course, Damon made a deal with Alex. Of course, he did.

- But Alex is so not gone for good. Nor is that "thing" going to stay in there.

Which brings us to that ending… great ending. Much, much better than the rest of the episode. It was a surprise ending that made absolutely perfect sense once it happened. As Bonnie lie there dying, and Damon walked Rayna and the Shaman to the fire, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew *something* was coming. I just didn't knew what—and when it happened. Dayum. Good one. How the hell are they going to get out of this one? And… of course. Also, back to my last bullet point, will Bonnie go and unleash the Armory "thing" to aid what is her quest now?

*sigh* I will miss Rayna. I enjoyed her snark and interplay with Damon and Matt. And I really did like her explanation to Bonnie about why she wanted to give her life up, but it was also so sad, because it made it clear that she hadn't ever fully lived. We saw her life before she went on her quest. She was on guard constantly, she was living in the woods, in danger. She hadn't experienced non-familial love, the simple joys and pleasures of life. It was really sad. She was a great character, but like most great characters on The Vampires Diaries, they come, they are awesome, they die. Some too soon. {OSCAR! SLATER! LUCY!}

We've got two episodes left. I am expecting them to be awesome as the majority of this season (and, well, this series) has been. This episode is very, very much an exception to the rule, and it's not like there wasn't a lot to enjoy in it still (duh, Damon!). It was just having the black hole of chemistry that was the b-story of Stefan/Matt paired with so much retread in the A-story. *sigh* Well, we've had better. Although to be fair, other than last season's “I'd Leave My Happy Home For You,” episode 20's have never been particular favorites of mine, so there is that. On the other hand, 21 and 22's have generally owned my soul. Yay! Still, you know what I always say: A subpar Vampire Diaries episode is generally better than most TV EVAR! So there. I love my show, I love my show, I love my show! Wheee!!!
 
 
 
tj2013tj2013 on April 30th, 2016 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hey, you already posted! Good job!

I was so annoyed with Alex - I mean, really? You go in there just like this? You believe it's your sister? She was so stupid. And the thing in the vault kinda seems like the emotion-switch, only for humans. I hope there's more to it.

The lecture Damon gave Enzo was great. And it would be cool to see more good Enzo-Damon stuff.

About Ric - yeah, a glimpse of the old Ric was to be seen. And I got a kick out of the armory guys calling him "Professor Salzman". Haven't heard that in a while...

The chemistry between Wesley and Roerig was ok in the earlier seasons, I think. I blame it more on the writing. The little glimpes of Matt and Penny weren't really enough to make me care about them (I just said: aha, but I still don't care), I can see where Matt's grief came from, I can see why he blames Stefan, and yes, Stefan was trying to to the right thing again (with dire consequences. Sounds familiar), but I just didn't feel the pain, the urgency, the despair that should have been right there.

Bonnie and Damon are friends. Period. No romantic vibe at all. I wonder if Bonnie being a witch and her friendship with Damon might help overcome the huntress-thing. Anyway, they will find the loophole. Poor Bonnie, she already stepped in and became the anchor, and now she has to be the huntress.

On to the last two episodes. Wow. Can't believe ANOTHER season has nearly gone by. What a show.
Arabian: Damon04arabian on April 30th, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
Hey, you already posted! Good job!

I know, right? I am awesome!

I was so annoyed with Alex - I mean, really? You go in there just like this? You believe it's your sister? She was so stupid.

So stupid!

And the thing in the vault kinda seems like the emotion-switch, only for humans. I hope there's more to it.

Well, a humanity-switch for humans is kinda a MUCH bigger deal than for vampires. Vampires can cover up their misdeeds a lot easier than can humans. If humans have no empathy and can go on some kind of horrific killing spree, well, it makes the news big time. Vampires do it, like I said, they can cover it up easily enough.

The lecture Damon gave Enzo was great.

Yeah, it was great... the first time he gave it to Stefan in season 02. And the variation of it he gave to Enzo in the last episode. This time... yawn! Been there, done that, looked into Ian's pretty eyes and glazed over the dialogue cuz I already heard it.

And it would be cool to see more good Enzo-Damon stuff.

Agreed, especially if it was actually some NEW stuff!

About Ric - yeah, a glimpse of the old Ric was to be seen. And I got a kick out of the armory guys calling him "Professor Salzman". Haven't heard that in a while...

Ditto, ditto, ditto!

The chemistry between Wesley and Roerig was ok in the earlier seasons, I think.

I think we can say that because they were either with Nina Dobrev, Candice King and/or Ian Somerhalder to offset their lack of chemistry or it was only one or two scenes, not a whole freaking episode worth.

I blame it more on the writing.

The writing was OK because it was strong in other scenes. I can't see it having dropped of *just* in their scenes. I didn't have a problem with the writing in the other scenes, just the fact that it was so similar to the last episode in content.

The little glimpes of Matt and Penny weren't really enough to make me care about them (I just said: aha, but I still don't care)

See, it's not even that. Because we have had a couple of other episodes with Penny and Matt. Remember we only had ONE episode with Stefan and Rebekah. ONE episode with Elijah and Katherine (really--"Klaus") and yet, those love stories were beautiful and root-worthy, especially Stefan and Rebekah. Hell, Matt and Rebekah's one scene outside with his Letterman jack in "Dangerous Liaisons" and then the truck scene in "Heart of Darkness" (two scenes) were enough to make me fall head over heels for them. The bottom line is that Zach Roerig and Ana Nogueira just don't have the chemistry, and I don't think that the actress worked.

I can see where Matt's grief came from, I can see why he blames Stefan, and yes, Stefan was trying to to the right thing again (with dire consequences. Sounds familiar), but I just didn't feel the pain, the urgency, the despair that should have been right there.

Yes, to all of this.

Bonnie and Damon are friends. Period. No romantic vibe at all.

Yup.

I wonder if Bonnie being a witch and her friendship with Damon might help overcome the huntress-thing.

AND Caroline and Enzo!

I'm hoping. It helped with Jeremy. Remember they already know a technique. :D Ooh, maybe they'll bring Steven McQueen back for a guest spot or two!

Anyway, they will find the loophole. Poor Bonnie, she already stepped in and became the anchor, and now she has to be the huntress.

Poor Bonnie indeed!

On to the last two episodes. Wow. Can't believe ANOTHER season has nearly gone by. What a show.

I know, right!
Bogwitch: TVD - Damon 1977 Bloodbogwitch on April 30th, 2016 03:34 pm (UTC)
>>A subpar Vampire Diaries episode is generally better than most TV EVAR!
Obvs.

I knew this was wasn't going to be for me as it was obvious we would get the flashbacks for Matt. I was expecting something a little more exciting though. I was drying my hair during the Stefan/Matt scenes, so I was a bit puzzled about exactly how Penny died, but I was none the wiser when I went back and checked later. So Matt shot her then? Oh. Hahahahaha! Zzzz.

I was thinking what the hell is Stefan doing visiting Liz's grave as if they were close and then it turned out he was only there to corner Caroline. Maybe there is a use for Matt after all if he is the only who can see Stefan's true colours. :)

>>It was a surprise ending that made absolutely perfect sense once it happened
Alas, as with the sister being dead, I did see this coming too. A lot of this ep was rather predicable. Where did the shockingly clever twists go?

I will miss Rayna too. I have to add {WILL!} to the awesome list.
Arabian: Damon16arabian on April 30th, 2016 04:34 pm (UTC)
Maybe there is a use for Matt after all if he is the only who can see Stefan's true colours. :)

Yes, Matt is the only one who has ALWAYS been the one to see Stefan's true colors. Remember back in the season 3 finale. He was the one who was all rolling his eyes about how Stefan 'respecting Elena's decisions' which was basically Stefan's way of letting Elena die because she would still like him. Matt was challenging that notion hard. He's never had time for Stefan's martyred act.

Where did the shockingly clever twists go?

To be fair, we kinda stopped having those in season 03 or so. We really did. And to be honest, I'm find living without those as long as we continue to get consistently great writing, acting, directing and awesome character development. This episode was an outlier.

I will miss Rayna too. I have to add {WILL!} to the awesome list.

Since I had to think about who that was, I can't add him to mine, sorry. But I did remember him after a few seconds, so I can add him to my great! list.

(BTW: I'm so going to make a variation on your icon someday. Whenever I get around to making episode icons again.)
Mattghidorah15 on April 30th, 2016 06:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, not much to say about this one. I like your note of hope that the real Alaric can come back, once he stops being in denial about how much he enjoys his supernatural life. It's the difference between being Dr. Jones, professor of archaeology, and being Indiana Jones, adventurer archaeologist. We all know the latter is the truer, more interesting self.

And Caroline is definitely lying to herself, pretending she doesn't love Stefan anymore, much like Bonnie was pretending she didn't care about Damon anymore. With any luck, despite Rayna and the Shaman having screwed them over, their efforts to help Bonnie overcome her Huntress brainwashing will start to heal the deep wounds.

So, Matt Donovan accidentally killed Penny? Fitting end for that annoying, wooden character. And yes, him calling Stefan out point-blank on his selfish nature is welcome and familiar. (Now if only they'd bring Rebekah back to this show, since clearly The Originals is too bent on cruelty and pointless angst.)

As for the unseen Thing in the Armory's vault? Well, let's hope its true form is far scarier than Silas proved to be.
Arabian: Rebekah02arabian on April 30th, 2016 08:49 pm (UTC)
I like your note of hope that the real Alaric can come back, once he stops being in denial about how much he enjoys his supernatural life. It's the difference between being Dr. Jones, professor of archaeology, and being Indiana Jones, adventurer archaeologist. We all know the latter is the truer, more interesting self.

Yes, exactly. Now I don't know that I believe this was planned. I think they wanted this love great tragic love story for Ric, where he tried the normal life and had he and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe had chemistry, had JLK's Jo worked really well as a character--that story would have worked beautifully and set him up this season trying to recapture "normal Alaric that worked with Jo" before the real "Indiana Alaric" came busting through. Alas, Jo/Alaric didn't work. Jo didn't work. But I can now see (if I'm right) what the plan of season 06 and season 07 is. (And if we see more seeds of this in the next episode, you so know I'm expounding on this idea in that post.)

And Caroline is definitely lying to herself, pretending she doesn't love Stefan anymore, much like Bonnie was pretending she didn't care about Damon anymore.

Oh, totes!

With any luck, despite Rayna and the Shaman having screwed them over, their efforts to help Bonnie overcome her Huntress brainwashing will start to heal the deep wounds.

Well, as I mentioned to someone else, there are two big differences between Bonnie and Rayna. The first is her deep love for three vampires: Damon, Caroline and Enzo. And secondly, the gang has already been down this road and they know how to combat it. Jeremy, the hunter had to fight the urge to kill his sister, the vampire, and they found a way around that? So.... I wonder if we'll see a return of Steven R. McQueen at some point because of this latest twist. (I'm so adding this to my post! *I did, plus a wee bit more to that section.)

So, Matt Donovan accidentally killed Penny? Fitting end for that annoying, wooden character.

Right?

And yes, him calling Stefan out point-blank on his selfish nature is welcome and familiar.

I love my boo, but I also love how my other boo sees him for who he is.

(Now if only they'd bring Rebekah back to this show, since clearly The Originals is too bent on cruelty and pointless angst.)

So true, and they've never EVER written Rebekah right. Ugh!

As for the unseen Thing in the Armory's vault? Well, let's hope its true form is far scarier than Silas proved to be.

What you mean halo-haired Paul Wesley smirking didn't do it for you?
Mattghidorah15 on May 2nd, 2016 10:50 pm (UTC)
What, you mean halo-haired Paul Wesley smirking didn't do it for you?

Heheheh, nah, I prefer my villains to have more devious voices, appearances, and mannerisms than that.
Arabian: Katherine02arabian on May 2nd, 2016 11:01 pm (UTC)
And we've had some very, very good ones to compare to.
(Anonymous) on March 9th, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC)
RE: 7x20
"It felt like Paul Wesley and Zach Roerig were acting in two different scenes. I didn't connect with either one at all because they weren't connecting at all." - Yes, that's how it felt to me too. Well said.

"I love that Matt, of everyone else, has never worn the rose-colored Stefan shades." - That is really quite spectacular. And very interesting.

"Now to be fair, it's not really Stefan's fault that Penny is dead. But Matt does have a point. Stefan did do what *he* wanted regardless that it was against the direct wishes of people he purported to care about, a person he claimed to love." - For some reason I really liked the paradox of that particular situation not being Stefan's fault and yet Matt blaming him for it, because I thought there was some brilliant logic underneath it all related to Stefan very often causing something bad to happen without meaning to do it. That, and I thought Matt's line "whose life are you going to ruin next?" line was cool ;) If only because Stefan was honestly like ????? about it lol

"And that's Stefan—he be selfish. And Matt's never been blind to that." - From the point of view of someone caught up all the way to 8x15 I'd say that everyone's made great progress in the area and selfishness is a thing of the past now.

"But remember when he went on his little run with Enzo—ah, compare Matt Davis/Michael Malarkey to Wesley/Roerig… it's like night and day—and he couldn't help but admit how much fun he was having?" - This reminds me that, sadly, we'll never get that Damon/Alaric/Enzo road trip that I always wanted *sniff, sniff*

"And isn't that what it comes down to when it comes to Ric for these last couple of seasons? He's been fooling himself ever since he came back from the dead? Trying to be normal, first with Jo, and now with Caroline and the girls." - Exactly!

So this can possibly be my last comment before the finale *insert laughter, tears, arms flailing* lol I'll be going offline starting tomorrow until I watch the finale to avoid being spoiled. But I will get back to reading your amazing write-ups as soon as I can :)

Hopefully next time we talk we'll all be living in a better world in which Damon & Elena got married and are now living happily ever after ♥
Arabian: Matt02arabian on May 2nd, 2017 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: 7x20
"It felt like Paul Wesley and Zach Roerig were acting in two different scenes. I didn't connect with either one at all because they weren't connecting at all." - Yes, that's how it felt to me too. Well said.

Just so, so bad were those two together. I am still shocked by their lack of chemistry especially since I don't remember these two being that bad together in season 01. Of course, they only had a few scenes here and there together (mostly in 1.16--in the top 10 of their worst episodes, although "worst" doesn't really apply to TVD in my opinion). I wonder if it was less obvious then because we just didn't know the characters well enough or because the relationships of the characters hadn't been established strongly enough yet. Hmm.

"I love that Matt, of everyone else, has never worn the rose-colored Stefan shades." - That is really quite spectacular. And very interesting.

Awesome-sauce is what it is. :D

For some reason I really liked the paradox of that particular situation not being Stefan's fault and yet Matt blaming him for it, because I thought there was some brilliant logic underneath it all related to Stefan very often causing something bad to happen without meaning to do it.

Yup, that's probably why I was so frustrated with how meh Paul and Zach were together because the Matt/Stefan stuff actually was really strong. Ah well. Maybe a rewatch will strengthen it. Also, I was having some real-life stuff going on and that may have been affecting my viewpoint, so... shrugs.

This reminds me that, sadly, we'll never get that Damon/Alaric/Enzo road trip that I always wanted *sniff, sniff*

Me too. Or, heck, just hanging out and bonding. Ah, all three had such great chemistry. *sigh* Another wasted opportunity. *double sigh*