Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vampire Diaries--Is This the Season Elena Gets Real?

(this is a post about Elena, with a picture of Stefan)

Last night after I finally got a chance to watch The Vampire Diaries, I had no desire to write a recap. The episode was pretty much an exercise in getting from point A to point B--Elena had to turn and they had to make that happen in a way that would preserve the show's basic ideas about Elena--pure, deeply compassionate, goddess on earth, wanting to be human at all costs, etc. In fact, I didn't mind the episode until I popped online and started reading reactions to it and was immediately reminded of all the ways the show can annoy me. Basically the more I turn off my brain while watching The Vampire Diaries, the better.

Then I started thinking about how the show has this problem with Elena and their depiction of her and how now that she's a vampire they should really change that up. You cannot have a selfless vampire, okay. It goes against everything vampire stories are about. The whole point of vampires is that they feed on human life to exist, they steal from humans in order to have their eternal life. It's unnatural to live forever and they can only achieve it by taking the life force of others. This is why I vastly prefer vampire stories that have an edge of evil, in which vampires do not hold themselves accountable to human morality. If they did, they would kill themselves. I mean really if Stefan and Damon REALLY cared about how much destruction they've caused they'd end their lives because they are both liable to go out of control at any moment and they are already unnaturally living past when they should have died. It's why last season's objectives were so ridiculous, because ridding the world of vampires should be viewed as a GOOD thing. So the show had set up this super unnatural situation where Elena is incredibly compassionate and selfless and pure and good, and yet she wanted to keep alive some of the most mass murdering murderers of all time.

And...before you start rolling your eyes at me, I get that this is a vampire show and a silly one on the CW and the vampires so obviously CAN'T die or else it couldn't be called The Vampire Diaries, etc. I have no problem with that reality, the bigger problem is the stories the show chooses to tell, like having the big threat be to the survival of vampires and not allowing for some genuine internal character conflict for Elena. I really wanted Elena to actually think about it, to imagine a world without vampires and to be tempted. I wanted it to make sense, and I wanted to be convinced of reasons why maybe keeping them alive was a good overall choice and not just a selfish choice being masked as a loving and compassionate one.

And now this season, it looks like the humans will be the bad guys, which...well I don't know if I'll be rooting for the vamps!

Even in Elena's transition, Elena and Stefan enact this huge charade about keeping her human. Which is, you know, fine if it hadn't involved so much cost to Bonnie. But the show even contrives a situation where Elena doesn't have to make a kill herself to transition. But it doesn't matter, you know, his blood is still on her hands because it was spilled for her. And that's the thing about vampires, even if they don't feed on living humans, they steal blood bags to survive. Their survival places a heavy cost on society and so yes, Elena "gets to live" but her living is a drain on others now. She no longer gets to be pure and selfless...she's just like the rest of them, taking what she wants, believing she has a right to live on. I mean the show obviously has some concept of this when it comes to witches and magic as was evidenced in Bonnie's story line. Bonnie tried to break natural law and there were consequences. There's a cost to magic, and there's a cost to being a vampire.

I'm hoping that Elena has fun with being a vampire, that she likes it, that she's eager to explore her new world. I don't want her to be evil or anything, I just want her to be real. I want her to have blood urges she can't control, and want to do stupid fun reckless things she couldn't as a human. I want her to devise plans that work to fight their new human enemies (lol oh this show) and to maybe sometimes listen to other people's plans as well. I just want this show to go back to being fun. The burden of Elena as goddess on earth saps the energy out of every scene she's in. I want the show to make me love Elena the way the characters on the show apparently do.

That's really all I have to say about the premiere! I mean predictably I liked Caroline and Tyler's half a second. Klaus is the worst. The show is unkind to Rebekah. Everyone should be thrilled Stefan saved Matt, tbh, because Elena had vampire blood in her system! So if Stefan had saved Elena, Matt would just be dead. Things worked out! Elena gets to live! Matt gets to live and now he knows that even if Elena doesn't love him romantically, she does love him. They got away from the evil humans just interested in survival. Life is good in Mystic Falls.

How are you guys feeling about the show?


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