Friday, September 24, 2010

Vampire Diaries: Episode 3

First things first, I’m so glad it was a hot day in Mystic Falls this week.  We got tank tops galore and lightly glistening biceps to spare.  As long as The CW stays decidedly tweeny that’s the best we’re gonna get so we might as well enjoy.  This weeks episode went right into the big Lockwood family secret, which honestly gets more ridiculous the longer they drag it out.  We all know what the curse is so what’s the holdup? We did, at least, finally get confirmation this week when Uncle Mason, in all his glistening glory, went to the abandoned Lockwood family property in the woods followed closely by Tyler (you would think his bionic wolf ears would’ve heard his nephew behind him), who decides he wants to have a pool party in the watering hole.  Tyler knows something is up, but still isn’t sure exactly what.  Then later we get a nice sweaty shirtless scene of Uncle Wolfie in the abandoned basement of the property restraining himself in preparation for his transformation.
It was sort of cute and refreshing how even the vamps didn’t know about werewolves.  Since 1864 Damon (or Stefan apparently) has never encountered one.  Whatever.  It was good to see Alaric (or ‘Ric’ as they now insist on calling him) back in the fold.  I still think with a name like that he is some other kind of supernatural being, or someone with a dark family history.  I don’t care what they say, that name belongs to a warlock or an oracle.  Ric (I’ll just do it too), took Damon and Elena on a road trip to dig up some of Isobel’s research to find out what she might know about the lycanthropes and Katherine.  There they learned that vampires turned out to be werewolves’ prey of choice and a werewolf bite could kill them.  Uh oh!  And after a back and forth of "are we/aren’t we friends" between Damon and Elena, he gave her a book they found containing info about Katherine’s past.  They haven’t yet revealed what’s in the book, but we do know that Katherine is Russian and her surname is Petrova.  This made her cooler and sexier to me for some reason.

(you're welcome=)

Stefan stayed behind to take care of Caroline and help her through her vamp transition.  This involved them enlisting a reluctant Bonnie to put an invincibility spell on another ring for Caroline.  Of course, Bonnie had to go on her moral high horse again,“ I don’t wanna make it easier for her to hurt people. Blah, blah, blah” Just be a witch already.  I had a feeling she would be called on to do this at some point, but I’m with Caroline. Where was the magical witchiness?? If the friggin thing can make you virtually unkillable you’d think she would at least need to make a potion to dip it in or something.  On Buffy, Willow’s eyes would’ve at least gone black and on True Blood a chicken would’ve been sacrificed. Very disappointed.

Anyway, once Caroline was able to go out into the light she got a bunch of vamp coaching from Stefan on how to cope with her knew life (or death).  Her heightened insecurities caused her to go all jealous girlfriend on, the adorably confused, Matt when some girl was chatting him up at the watering hole.  Their intimate make-up/make-out session in the woods was interrupted by a wolfed-out Uncle Mason trying to attack Caroline.  When Tyler was trying to mack on the same skanky girl that was flirting with Matt in the basement of the property, Uncle Mason fled to his SUV in the woods (that I’m sure he thought would be equally as effective as the chains and restraints in the basement).  Tyler and Stefan both stepped in to help Caroline, Tyler being the one to actually get the wolf to flee, simply by asking it to.  Soon after, Tyler and Matt were both seemingly glamoured to forget the whole ordeal (and that unfortunate moment where Caroline fed on Matt in the heat of passion. Oops!).   
Although Tyler obviously remembered his interaction with the wolf because when the naked Uncle Mason (Damn you CW Network for not being TV-14!!) returned to his SUV looking for his pants they finally confirmed that Tyler knows the family secret.  Now Uncle Mason has some serious explaining to do and I hope he starts with why Tyler doesn’t change at the full moon.  My guess is he has to turn 18 for the family curse to set in.  But seriously, can Tyler just go Teen Wolf already? 
The scene in the woods with the super-swift wolf out to get Stefan and Caroline’s vampy blood was intense and heart-pounding, and I’m not afraid to admit that I was screaming at the television.  I’m convinced Caroline isn’t going to make it to the end of the season, so every time she’s in danger, in my head I’m thinking, “Here it comes!”  Alas, she and Stefan survived unscathed, at least physically.  Caroline was emotionally scared by feeding on Matt and then after she made another jealous girlfriend scene at The Max (or The Peach Pit or The Bronze wherever they hang out), he unceremoniously dumped her and she felt even worse.  Now, I’m sure she’s angry and vulnerable and in the perfect position for Katherine to take advantage of her.  And at the end of the episode the bitch was back!

As soon as I saw the fierce Farrah hair at the foot of Caroline’s bed I squealed with delight!! (Never mind how she got inside the house in the first place.)  I can’t wait to see what her next move is and what the first meeting between she and Elena will be like.  I’m sure they will tease out the details of Katherine’s ultimate diabolical plan throughout the season (I don’t buy the, ‘I came back for Stefan’ crap for a second), but I’m hoping for a nice chunk to chew on next week. 
Other things that I hope to be filled in on soon are: The budding romance with Ric and Elena’s aunt.  He kissed her at the end of this episode so I’m curious to see how it develops.  Will she finally find out what’s really going on in Mystic Falls, or does she already know more than she’s letting on? My guess is the latter.  Also, Lizzie, Caroline’s mom has been M.I.A. what’s up with that? And where was Jeremy? Can't wait until next week!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Vampire Diaries

So okay, after the cliffhanger that ended the first season of the increasingly impressive Vampire Diaries, I had been waiting anxiously all summer to find out what havoc Katherine was going to wreak in Mystic Falls this season.  From the flashbacks in the first season we had already gotten a glimpse of Elena’s doppelganger ancestor as a bewitching vamp with a penchant for toying with the hearts of men and she proved she could be vicious as well with her finger chopping present day intro in the finale.  In last week’s season opener she didn’t disappoint.  She came into town with a bang going from the finger chopping to flirty and manipulative impersonations of Elena and finally smothering and killing Caroline, who was saved (and cursed) by having Damon’s blood in her veins and setting her on the fast track to vamp city.  

I was sad to see that this week (and from the looks of things next week) Katherine won’t be back yet. And I’m sure Nina Dobrev, who plays the dual roles of Elena and Katherine was disappointed too, since she seemed to sink her teeth (sorry) into the role.  In this week’s episode Caroline, half wigged-out/ half realizing what was happening to her, drank human blood in the hospital and her transformation was complete.  The problem is now she has to figure out how to tell her childhood buddy turned boyfriend, the ever adorable, Matt (below). 

She barely dodged the sun during his daytime visit to the hospital, and at the end of the episode he told her he loved her for the first time still not knowing what she’s become.  She also has to deal with Damon wanting to kill her to keep her from exposing them and basically ruining everything.  For now Stephan and Elena have convinced him that it is out of the question, but Damon has never been one to give up so easily so if I were Caroline I’d keep my guard up.  And honestly as a viewer and a TV storyline connoisseur (in my head) I have the feeling that she may not make it to the end of this season. 

As for Damon, he seems to be keeping his feelings about Katherine coming back for Stephan and not him in check for now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will eventually implode.  At the moment, he is occupying himself with figuring out the Lockwood’s family secret, which anybody with eyes can see is that they’re werewolves.  Tyler Lockwood, for all his hotness, seems to be just as clueless as Damon even though he’s the one with the curse.  I’m sure they will explain how he hasn’t realized this (and it had better be good), but I will be glad when they get past it and he can unleash the wolf (and his shirt again!).
 Sexy uncle Mason Lockwood (below) returned to Mystic Falls, following the death of his brother the mayor, and unleashed a bit of werewolf whoop-ass (sans the fangs and hairiness) on an unsuspecting guy that Damon compelled to pick a fight with Tyler.  I was hoping that Uncle Mason would take this opportunity to finally tell Tyler the family secret, but he tried to explain it away like it was nothing.  Sorry, but my uncle can’t jump 10 feet in the air and his eyes don’t turn yellow in the moonlight either.  Luckily, to his credit, Tyler didn’t believe him.  And he quickly hid the family moonstone (as if that doesn’t scream werewolf!!) that his uncle was suspiciously snooping around for.  Looking at the clip from next week it looks like the werewolf will be unleashed and at least Elena and the Salvatore brothers will realize what it is.  I have a feeling that Tyler will remain in the dark for another week though.

Bonnie, who with Elena got to run the school carnival while Caroline was incapacitated at the hospital, also gets the thankless role of being the person that realizes vampires are usually pretty bad people.  She reminded everybody (again) what a powerful and angry witch she is by setting Damon on fire in an attempt to kill him once she found out Caroline’s fate.  A few people have mentioned to me that they’ve noticed a flirtatious hint of sexual tension between Bonnie and Damon.  This would be intriguing, but I’m not so sure.  I have a feeling that either Damon (or Uncle Mason) will soon be “comforting” the newly widowed Mrs. Lockwood.  I also hope to see Katherine make good on her subtle threat to seduce Matt in the guise of Elena.
  Bonnie had briefly got the attention of a guy working at the carnival only to find out hours later that he was Caroline’s first victim.  This was after he was pummeled by the Lockwoods. (Yep, same dude). Poor guy.  And speaking of poor guys, Jeremy, Elena’s emo younger brother, seems to be desperately searching for a purpose.  Two of his girlfriends have now been killed, he’s attempted suicide and had his neck snapped by Damon.  Thanks to his father’s invincibility ring he’s still alive, but I can’t blame the guy for not being excited about it.  He tried to kill Damon, but had a change of heart and seemed to be as lost as ever at the episode’s end.  Next week I’m looking forward to a half-naked wolf uncle and some answers to my many, many questions.  How will Matt take it when he finds out Caroline is a vampire? Will uncle werewolf be a friend or foe to the Salvatore brothers? Will Jeremy get a girlfriend that lives long enough to finish high school? And where the hell is Alaric?  I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned.

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 VMAs

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards reminded me of why, prior to last year, I had all but abandoned this awards show and MTV in general. Not necessarily because of the often lamented fact that they never show videos anymore, or that the “programming” that they air in place of said videos makes me feel intelligent and superior at best and actually makes me dumber at worse. No, I’m basically just not a fan of most popular artists that are in (relatively) heavy rotation on the channel (or the radio for that matter) since the turn of the century.  Once Britney, N'Sync and Eminem took dominance over the station and were soon joined by Alicia Keys, Pink, Christina and Limp Bizkit I had virtually lost interest in popular music as I had once new it.  

Not to mention in the last five years I have come to the conclusion that music videos themselves have become a virtually outmoded art form.  I had stopped watching them and basically felt that everyone I spoke to on a regular basis had done the same.  Also, the decline in industry budgets has put a huge damper on the quality level of videos and whatever middling level of artistry some of the current acts today can muster. That said, the reason I had a renewed interest in the show last year was not only the MJ tribute featuring none other than Janet herself (surely mending her relationship with the network after that Nipplegate untidiness), and the appearance of one Lady Gaga, who singlehandedly seems to be trying to bring the art form back to relevance.  And the 2009 show itself was great. It was nice to see Janet and Madonna be apart of the MJ tribute (they even quietly bonded by both inexplicably wearing Bop-its).  Gaga didn’t disappoint with her performance art/melodrama Paparazzi and Beyonce, always a consummate performer, reminded us why the most parodied and played out song of the year, still belongs to her in the end.  

As for this year, with a record 13 nominations (and ultimately 8 wins) Gaga was again a big part of the draw for me.  You would think that the most nominated artist of the night would be a shoo-in to perform, but alas, Gaga remained a (stunning) red carpet spectacle, yet didn't get to grace the stage.  This set the tone for a night of diminishing returns.  

Russel Brand was sorely missed as his irreverent, sober, but still the life-of-the-party, antics were replaced with the acerbic to the point of being shrill and bitchy (not in a good way) comedic stylings of Chelsea Handler.  She had a couple of funny moments like her auto-tuned meet and greet with Jason Derulo in a skit with the Best New Artist nominees, but for the most part came across as mean-spirited and unfunny.  She won some points for FINALLY doing something with her hair, but I hope they don't ask her back next year.

The performances were mostly forgettable which is unfortunate because there was potential for much more.  The WAY over-hyped Taylor Swift/Kanye West incident that should've ended last year was unsuccessfully milked by both performers although Swift gets points for making good use of the awesome set in the opening of her number.  I'm not sure what was going on with Kanye and the ballet dancers.

I'm not sure if anyone over 21 is ready for Nicki Minaj.  I feel like the younger generation is more open to her Tourette's noises, stink faces and outfits that range between dirty south stripper and robot Garbage Pail Kid.  That said, I like her and I liked her new single Check It Out with Will-I-am (looking like a black Gumby).Will.I.Am and Nicki Minaj on the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.  Usher seemed to be phoning it in for some reason, trotting out the same tired lasers he's used in umpteen videos and that plexiglass wall thing that I've seen him use to better effect on other award shows.  Maybe he wanted to allow his protege Justin Bieber to shine, which he did in a performance that wasn't necessarily innovative, but fun and well executed.  
The performance of the night for me though was Florence and the Machine.  She used the set well and owned the stage and belted out Dog Days Are Over like nobody's business! Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine on the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. I have been told of her awesomeness by friends for months now, but until I saw her live I had not really felt compelled to check her out.  And now I'd recommend that anyone reading this does the same...

As for the fashion, of course, it was all over the place, and once again Lady Gaga could be counted on to wear something everyone would be talking about the next day.  Yes I'm referring to the meat outfit that she explained on an Ellen appearance

However, my favorite of her gowns was the black leather ball gown. Other standouts were Rihanna channeling Madonna circa 1984. (Loved the dress, but the jury is still out on the Ronald McDonald hair). And I wanted to steal Jared Leto's gray leather jacket he wore when his band 30 Seconds to Mars accepted their award. 30 Seconds To Mars on the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Overall, I guess I'm not looking forward to next year, but 365 days is plenty of time for something unexpected and wonderful to happen so who knows.  There might be something worth watching for (the return of Amy Winehouse, for example, would be nice), but I won't hold my breath.  

Oh and finally for anyone who was wondering. Yes, Cher really can turn back time.   Work Bitch!