Ivy: Okay, I might have been captured by a psychotic, murderous, torture-porn loving butthole, but at least I can use my super vampire powers to escape!
Tripp Fell: Welcome to Mystic Falls!
Ivy: Goddamit. Dies.
Stefan Salvatore: Damon! My
long five-espisode lost lover brother! How are you here?
Damon Salvatore: Well, the producers backed up a dumptruck full of cash, and it turns out I really like being rich!
Caroline Forbes: Damon’s back!
Elena Gilbert: Oh my! Who could have foreseen his inevitable return, mere moments after I forced Alaric to remove my love for him!
Caroline Forbes: Literally everybody?
Stefan Salvatore: Hey, what about your best friend Bonnie?
Damon Salvatore: Who? What? Can’t talk have to sex now but it was great catching up with you!
Stefan Salvatore: Yeah, about that …
Elena Gilbert: No I don’t want you to restore my love for Damon! He’s a self-centered, murdering, psychotic douchecannon with a mullet and crazy eyes!
Alaric Saltzman: Elena, that’s … all true, actually. But you’ve forgotten the good parts!
Elena Gilbert: What good could possibly balance out the fact that he murdered my brother right in front of me?
Alaric Saltzman: Well, sometimes he self-centeredly murders our enemies because it also benefits him!
Elena Gilbert: … I have to go give a bunch of sick children my blood now.
Alaric Saltzman: Yeah, speaking of crazy trauma surgeons who can’t be compelled …
Sarah: Hi Jeremy! I have a premium account on Ancestry.com and I was hoping you could explain why every single Salvaore descendent except me seems to be cloned from the same two guys!
Jeremy Gilbert: Sorry, I have to go beat the shit out of Damon for some reason. Vampire-hunter roid rage FTW!
Enzo: Hi Matt! How about you help me escape?
Matt Donovan: Yeah, I’m thinking no. I mean, if Stefan turned you over to Tripp, you must be a bad guy!
Enzo: Really? You’re letting Stefan goddamn Salvatore dictate morality now? Stefan, who goes on a murder bender every couple of decades? Stefan, the world’s most accomplished serial killer? Stefan, who murdered his brother’s fake girlfriend and then spent the summer traveling the country with an abominable vampire/werewolf hybrid, causing chaos and despair at every dive bar and sorority house on the Eastern seaboard? Stefan, who slept with Elena without telling her the only reason he was interested was the fact that she was a magical clone of his first girlfriend? Stefan, who spent a token five minutes searching for his brother before running off, getting himself an Asian girlfriend, and settling down for some nice barroom masochism? That Stefan?
Matt Donovan: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, he’s got great hair and really broody eyebrows, so who am I to judge?
Enzo: Okay, if you don’t let me out of here I’m going to tell Tripp that Elena, Stefan, and Caroline are vampires, that Tyler is a not-werewolf, the Liv is a witch, that Alaric is an alcoholic, and that you’re best friends with every supernatural baddie that’s come across these borders.
Matt Donovan: So, do you want to leave now, or …
Matt Donovan: Hi guys! So I kind of need your help breaking Enzo out of Tripp’s trap!
Alaric Saltzman: How did Tripp even capture Enzo? He’s a powerful, skilled vampire, a nightmare made flesh, a terror in a tight, stripped tee!
Stefan Salvatore: Yeah, that was me. Sorry.
Caroline Forbes: Stefan! I am very angry at you for being mean to my not-boyfriend who also killed your lover!
Stefan Salvatore: I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get past that.
Damon Salvatore: Hi Elena! My penis and I would like to have a heartfelt conversation with you!
Elena Gilbert: Sorry, I have to go empty out some bedpans and make out with that guy that nobody likes! Later!
Elena Gilbert (on the phone): Stefan I’m worried that seeing Damon will make me remember when I was happy and that will make me not happy and being an adult is hard!
Stefan Salvatore (on the phone): Yeah, I know what you mean. I much prefer running away, assuming a new identity, and banging hot Asian chicks.
Elena Gilbert: Hi Dr. Jo! Do you like vervain in our coffee?
Dr. Jo: Subtlety is kinda lost on you, isn’t it?
Sarah: Hi Matt! What are you doing on Tripp Fell’s computer?
Matt Donovan: I am looking at porn and very certainly not researching vampires and plots to kill them!
Alaric Saltzman: Hi Damon! How’s it going!
Damon Salvatore: Well let’s see. I got stuck in a grunge band video for six months, got so stir crazy that Bonnie started looking like a valid relationship option, got doused in vervain, set on fire, and shot with an arrow by a not-witch baby murderer, clawed my way back to reality, discovered that my mansion is now surrounded by a magic field of vampires can go fuck themselves, learned that my brother skipped town, and found out that you compelled the love of my life into hating me. On the other hand your taste in bourbon is fantastic.
Alaric Saltzman: In my defense, free will is stupid and I’m not going to give Elena her memories back until she uses her free will to tell me to do so.
Caroline Forbes: So let me get this straight: you didn’t want Enzo to rat us out to the vampire hunting psychopath that’s elected himself Mystic Fall’s Vigilante in Chief, so you hunted him down, shot him with a stake cannon, and then turned him over to the vampire hunting psychopath that’s elected himself Mystic Fall’s Vigilante in Chief?
Stefan Salvatore: When you put it like that, it makes me sound kind of dumb!
Caroline Forbes: Also, Tripp Fell murdered your girlfriend again.
Stefan Salvatore: Thank god!
Stefan Salvatore: Hi Enzo, I’m here to … see that you’ve already escaped without me.
Dr. Jo: Hi Elena! Would you like to explain why all of these charts I had you work up say “RX: one mouthful of tasty tasty blood, drawn from my dainty wrist?”
Elena Gilbert: I’m a vampire!
Dr. Jo: Yeah, I figured that out. Also tell Alaric I’m down for a booty call.
Jeremy Gilbert: Hi Damon! I’m going to kill the shit out of you, but before I do, why didn’t Bonnie come back?
Damon Salvatore: If I told you she found her peace and went to heaven and was definitely not being perpetually reincarnated along with a psychotic kid-killer who has nothing better to do but torment her for all of eternity, would that make you feel better?
Jeremy Gilbert: Not really!
Sarah: Wow, Tripp Fell sure does have an extensive collection of records concerning rabid puma attacks and hostile squirrel incursions!
Matt Donovan: And Ivy’s phone. Which lists Stefan as “That jerkhole who didn’t tell me he was a vampire” and Caroline as “That vampire hussy who has nice dresses that fit me.”
Caroline Forbes (on the phone): Hi Matt! Any interesting developments?
Bonnie Bennett (on the phone): Hi Damon! I can’t come to the phone right now, because I made a terrible, terrible mistake that got me trapped in 1994! Leave me a message!
Damon Salvatore: Hi Bonnie! Miss you tons. Also probably gonna have to kill the Gilbert kid again. Anyway, I’m gonna go try to sex that girl who hates me. Later!
Tripp Fell: Hi Damon! I have a vervain dart gun!
Damon Salvatore: Hi Tripp! I have the supernatural speed and reflexes necessary to grab that dart right out of the air and throw it back in your face!
Thug One: If only you also had the supernatural hearing to notice us sneaking up behind you!
Thug Two: And shoot you in the back with our vervain dart guns!
Damon Salvatore: Fucking internal consistency.
Elena Gilbert: Of course! I finally agree to talk to Damon, and he stands me up. And did he leave me a note? Of course not! He just left his crushed cell phone, a pile of vervain needles, some broken furniture, and other signs of a struggle! How rude!
Alaric Saltzman: Um, Elena …?
Dr. Jo: Hi Alaric! I want to have stern words with you about our mutually supernatural natures!
Alaric Saltzman: Yeah, I’d love to, but I have to rush off to save my vampire best friend, who just came back from purgatory but was captured by a group of vigilantes led by the last heir of the town founders, who are right now dragging him back to an anti-magic border that will undo the spell that made him immortal, thus killing him in a far more complicated manner than just jamming a piece of wood through his heart. Wow, that’s convoluted.
Dr. Jo: Show’s been on for six seasons, man. You try keeping a story interesting and straight for six years.
Alaric Saltzman: Yeah, that’s all from like the past month.
Dr. Jo: Goddamn.
Enzo: Hi Damon! Stefan’s angry because I murdered his girlfriend! That’s why we’re gonna die!
Damon Salvatore: It is incredible how manny of my issues are caused by Stefan’s girlfriends.
Caroline Forbes: Okay! So we’ve blocked off all three of the roads that lead into Mystic Falls, and now all we have to do is wait for Tripp Fell to drive up and inevitably foil our plans, because we are terrible at everything!
Elena Gilbert: I think I want to love Damon again!
Caroline Forbes: Like I said, terrible at everything!
Alaric Saltzman: You know what? I’ve suddenly decided that being the most powerful character on this show is super lame!
Stefan Salvatore: Let’s see if we can make some terrible choices and fix that for you!
Tripp Fell: Hi guys! Looks like you’re having car troubles! Why don’t I come to a complete stop, so you can hear the screaming of the guys I have chained up in the back!
Alaric Saltzman: And why don’t I forget that I have super speed and super strength and let you overpower me and drag me across the border to Mystic Falls!
Damon Salvatore: Nope, that’s a bad plan.
Enzo: Supremely shitty, actually.
Stefan Salvatore: At least we’re all gonna die now!
Dr. Jo: No you’re not! You three can just walk across the border and become vampires again! But I’ll keep Alaric here for some reason! But it’s cool, he’s not gonna die, because I’m going to apply a band-aid to this fist sized hole where his heart used to be!
Alaric Saltzman: That’s great! But now that I’m not going to die from this wound, I won’t be a vampire anymore!
Elena Gilbert: That’s awesome! Except now who can make me remember my love for Damon?
Sarah: Actually, there are several solutions to this problem, including taking a brief trip across the border, like I did when you compelled me!
Elena Gilbert: …
Stefan Salvatore: …
Dr. Jo: …
Alaric Saltzman: …
Damon Salvatore: ….
Caroline Forbes: …Why don’t you shut your whore mouth, Sarah?
Matt Donovan: Also, your only living relatives are vampires, and kinda douchbags.
Jeremy Gilbert: God damn it! I’m trying to cancel Bonnie’s phone, but it’s set up to auto-bill my credit card!
Alaric Saltzman: Wow, not being able to vampire-heal sucks! But morphine is ~~~awesome!~~~
Dr. Jo: Who wants a sponge bath?
Damon Salvatore: Hi Stefan! You sure did fuck up today, didn’t you?
Stefan Salvatore: Whatever. I have to go remind Caroline she has no chance with me.
Caroline Forbes: Too late! Swipe left!
Damon Salvatore: Hi Elena! Ready to relive season four?
The Plot: Thickens.
There are a bunch of rules you have to follow when writing a teleplay. Most networks dictate a five- or six- act structure, to leave room for commercial breaks. Every story needs an inciting incident, a lock-in, a midpoint, a culmination, and an end. Even the format of the script is set in stone, because the conventions used mean a page of a script is roughly equal to a minute of screentime.
But there’s one big, unspoken rule that nobody should ever forget: you have to watch the show you’re writing for.
More than that, you have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters you’re writing for, and the universe they inhabit. Because your fans definitely do. If you show that Staci has a peanut allergy in Season One, and have her chowing down on Snickers bars in Season Five, people are going to get angry.
That’s even more true within a single season, or within a single episode, and that’s why there was so much backlash against The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get. The problems introduced at the end of the episode just don’t work within the mythology that’s been established.
The issue with Alaric and the Mystic Falls border is annoying partly because it never should have gotten to that point. Alaric
is was one of the most powerful characters on the show, orders of magnitude faster and stronger than the Salvatore brothers, who are orders of magnitude more formidable than any human. He’s also a trained fighter and vampire hunter. Someone with those capabilities should have disabled Tripp Fell in an instant, not latched onto his Van of Free Candy and Murder and gotten dragged a hundred feet.
His turning human was likewise frustrating. Are you really telling me Dr. Jo couldn’t drag him back across the border in time to save his unlife? Are you really telling me that she fixed a gaping chest wound by applying a couple of bandages and direct pressure?
The fact that he is human now, and can’t uncompell Elena, is also very easily solved:
That, in a nutshell, is why Twitter went berserk Thursday night. See also Magic A is Magic A.
All that being said, there were a few moments I really liked.
I’ve been thinking about Stefan’s characterization, and it’s really starting to grow on me. It seems out of character for him to light all of his relationships on fire and skip town, but I’ve realized that this is probably the norm for him, not the exception.
The man has lived his life alone for a hundred and sixty some-odd years, and realistically, he’s going to have to leave town every decade or so, lest people become suspicious about his strangely youthful features. His only immortal friend was Lexi, and they never spent any long-term time together. Damon drifted in and out of his life at random. And worst of all, every once in a while Stefan would flip his switch and murder everyone around him.
The man has no experience building a real life. We’ve seen him trying in the show’s five-and-change seasons, but we’re only a little more than halfway through one of his decade-long cycles. At the start of this season, Damon and Lexi were both dead, and Elena had broken his heart. He had nothing left in Mystic Falls, and to a man that starts a new life every few years, getting away and starting over again would not only seem normal, it would probably be pretty attractive, too.
Stefan doesn’t know how to deal with grief. He doesn’t know how to have a family. All he knows is how to move on, so that’s what he did.
Caroline doesn’t have the same experience as Stefan, so she’s shocked and angry. But Stefan has probably left behind friends just as close as Caroline more than a dozen times now. Caroline is still besties with the girl she went to elementary school with. Stefan is an immortal, and the only constant in his life is death, the fact that people go away. See also Mayfly-December Romance and Mayfly-December Friendship.
I am, however, glad Caroline is standing up for herself. She’s as evil as everyone else, but at least she’s not a doormat.
Damon calling Bonnie was honestly adorable, and I would still much rather see those two together than retread Elena’s Magic Vajayjay. I’m still pretty certain that this will happen at some point, but not until Damon utterly destroys the laughable competition of that guy whose name I can’t remember.
Damon’s love for Elena is also perfectly selfish. He tells Alaric “I don’t want her to be happy, I want her to be happy with me,” and later, that becomes “I want her to be miserable, just like me.” Perfectly in character, and also another piece of evidence that everyone on this show is evil, through and through.
“He’s probably jealous of my accent” was a great line. I also love how casually Damon accepted that Enzo murdered Stefan’s girlfriend. She didn’t even have a last name, so who cares?
Here’s the cover art for The Wild Hunt, the first Godless Saint novel. I am, needless to say, thrilled.
Click to bigger. This was done for me by a great guy named Phu Thieu, who you can find over at Fiverr. The Wild Hunt will be released in December.
I already have two Pop! vinyl figures on my shelves: Bane and C’Thulhu. If they keep making awesome things, my whole house is going to be overtaken, and people are going to stop taking me seriously.
They just released a Crow figure, because they want all of my money (ten dollars at a time).
You can buy it
for me here.
Tripp Fell (on the phone): Hi Stefan! You know how I promised to murder that guy who knows all of your secrets and has a passionate hatred for you? That’s absolutely not gonna come back to bite you in the ass at all!
Stefan Salvatore (on the phone): …I may have slightly miscalculated.
Ivy: Hi Stefan! I murdered your boss and drank all your blood bags and destroyed your house and now I’m dropping Buffy references and mourning my Etsy store and I’m gonna kill you a ton!
Stefan Salvatore: Neck snap!
Ivy: …Or I could just take a little nap.