Friday, 30 September 2011

The Vampire Diaries Review: The End of The Affair

Previously on The Vampire Diaries: Stefan continued to be an idiot, Klaus was thwarted at every turn, Ric manned up, Damon and Elena acted like children, and Caroline and Daddy were reunited…

Oh dear, is Damon picking up the drinking where Ric has left off?
Ooooo baby! Katherine! “Lurking outside your window, pining away.”
“I’m homesick, what have I missed?”
“Well, Stefan’s still Klaus’ little prisoner, and Elena still thinks she can save him and no-one’s thought about you at all.” Damon, you’re so good at summing up. We should have you write the re-caps.

“Lot of blood, lot of partying, details are a blur.”
“Well that’s a crying shame – the details what makes it legend.”
Oh dear god I just got goosebumps with that line and white out. I love it. I love flashbacks, and I have a feeling I’m going to love the ripper days…
Klaus is telling the story? This just got a little weird.

Really? Eat her and then steal the flower from her hair as a button hole? Stefan you cad!
Oh god I love Stefan being suave and cool. LOVE IT. And the twenties are just so PERFECT for this.

“Careful Mr Salvatore – you’re still wearing your date, she’s lovely.”
I think I just blacked out from the sheer awesomeness of this girl, her attitude, and the steaminess between her and Stefan. I didn’t think I’d ever like Stefan with another girl (apart from maybe Caroline, but then again Caroline has chemistry with everyone) but I’m liking this one.

“You had your fun, your hybrids failed.” Uh, has Stefan not realized yet that it’s going to take more than one failure to make Klaus give up?

Does Elena just sleep all the time she’s not having bad plans and forcing everyone to go along with them?
HA. Actually just laughed out loud at Damon’s fabulous winning ways. You got to give him points for persistence.
“You know you were dreaming about me, explains the drool.”
“6am? Do you really have nothing better to do at 6am?” You even need to ask that question? If he can irritate you and snuggle all at the same time, you can bet Damon will be there.

“He’s in Chicago? How do you know?”
“It came to me in a dream. I was naked – you would have loved it.”
Is he just going to be full of it all episode? Because I love it. And you know, naturally he now starts helping her pack by going through her UNDERWEAR DRAWER. “Oh, put these in the yes pile!”

HE’S GASSING HIS DAUGHTER? I no longer even remotely like him. Not even a little bit.
Oh dear god, you have got to be kidding me. He is AWFUL. Why is he doing this to Caroline, she’s so lovely! “Blood controls you sweetheart – this is how I’m going to fix you.”

Elena’s started on the age jokes? Mature… And she’s seen Stefan at his darkest periods? I don’t even remotely believe her.

I love the flashbacks, they’re so smooth.
“So, a hybrid walks into a bar and says – ”
“Stop. Just because you’re invincible doesn’t make you funny.”

“Should you be – ”
“Old and dead? Now if I died, who’s gonna run this place?”
I like Chicago, everyone has sass!

“Well that would be the original witch – she’s very dead.” Well that’s not fair, everyone else who was an original appears to still be very much alive.

I LOVE IT. Let’s go over the points I love. Firstly, this whole 1920’s flash back thing. I loved the 1864 ones, but it’s nice to have something fresh, and this is brilliantly done.
Secondly, Gloria, who is full of sass and awesome. In fact most of the witches we’ve met have been full of sass, it’s just a shame they also seem to bow down before vampires. I want this explained at some point writer’s!
Thirdly, the fact that Stefan and Klaus have already met?!

Mommy Forbes!I has missed you so.
Daddy Forbes, really not so much. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with him.
“I’m conditioning you to associate your vampire urges with pain.” This guy is seriously sick.
“Daddy you can’t change who I am.”
“Yes I can.”

“Stefan’s second personality home.” He should have that engraved in a plaque over the door.
Stefan kept a list of names of all of his victims? Everyone is getting really twisted this episode.

Threesome much?!
OMG. She has Elena’s pendant? What the hell…
“So this is the famous Stefan Salvatore I’ve been hearing so much about. You’re right he does have funny hair.”

“Then go, you can leave without me, I’m not your girlfriend.”
“No, you’re my sister.”
I’ve been hoping for more originals like crazy, and more than that, hoping for a sister, because they are always going to be awesome. I mean look at Klaus and Elijah – anyone growing up with those two has to be awesome.
“Your sister? So I knew another original vampire?” I love the smirk on Klaus’s face after that. Yeah that’s right, we’ve been playing you for about 90 years…
The coffin tomb of awesome! OPEN ALL OF THEM I WANT ELIJAH BACK. And you know, all the others… I’m not known for my patience, gimme originals!

“I don’t recognise her.”
“Don’t tell her that, Rebecca’s temper is worse than mine.”
My love for this family of screw ups knows no bounds.

Klaus learnt things off Stefan?..
“And where’s the rest of your family?”
“Well let’s see – I killed most of them…”
Hold on, so Klaus gave his family a choice over whose side they wanted to be on? Klaus’s or?... And who else may have chosen Klaus’s side as well as Rebecca and Elijah? (BTW who the way picked these names? They don’t exactly have much old world charm…)

Oh my word, that whole scene is brilliance. Twisted – actually most of this episode seems twisted. But brilliant. This is the Ripper I wanted, the one who enjoys the torment and the blood and the mere mortals that are his toys. And I love Klaus’s fascination and love of what Stefan’s doing. It’s just so twistedly perfect, and everything I wanted from my ripper.

So Damon and Gloria go way back too? And she prefers Damon to Stefan on the basis that Stefan is on the wrong side of the tracks. Oh Damon baby I want more.

Lexi has a lot to answer for. I want to reach the point where we know and understand the dynamic between Stefan and Damon at the start of series one and what events led up to that, cos you just know it’s going to be good.

So I guess the big doppelganger secret ain’t gonna stay that way for much longer…
Oh you just had to hide in the secret closet next to the list of murdered peoples names that they wanted to see…

Smooth, real smooth. And a nice touching reunion.
Oh dear god my heart just stopped for a moment when I thought he was going to turf her over to Klaus.


“I had an hour to realize what a bad idea it was to leave you here alone, process it and move on.” How many people/walls/inanimate objects de we reckon he maimed during that hour?
However that moment where he asks if she’s ok and looks like he might hurt something or himself if she isn’t, is really cute.

So Stefan actually started Klaus on the way to being a monumental ass? I love the irony.

Oh god Caroline. I want to punch Daddy for being such an arse.
She looks so broken and it’s so not fair. I want Tyler to save her.
“Why are you trying to fix me?”
“So I don’t have to kill you.”
He’s so tender at the same time, it’s heart breaking and twisted and horrific and makes me want to cry like a small child.

AND TYLER. I love this so much right now.How come Tyler can break those and she can’t? Is it just cos she’s weak?

He is so making up for the letting her stay in the cage moment. I love him so much.

“You shouldn’t have to cover your tracks, unless you’re running from someone.” Dum dum duhhhhhh.

“She isn’t going anywhere until she’s got you checked into vampire rehab and on the mend – trust me, I’ve tried.”

“I see they’ve opened the doors to the riff raff now.”
“Oh honey, I’ve been called worse.” I want to see the Damon and Klaus road trip too…
And now we’ve broken out the little cocktail umbrellas. I predict dancing on the tables and body glitter in about five more shots.

Just because that trick worked last time doesn’t mean it’ll work again…
Although Stefan is technically doing it to try and protect her, he is being a bit of a douche about it at the same time.

Wait… Klaus is going to stake Damon with a little cocktail umbrella? I LOVE THIS SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.

“Forget Stefan, I’m so much more fun…”
I wasn’t sure whether I believed him or not, but I think Damon was actually willing to die for Elena to get Stefan back. That’s insane. He’s just so yummy.

“Not in my bar – you take it outside.” I love that immediate ‘hey it’s not cos it’s Damon, I just don’t want blood on the floor…’

“It’s done. That part of my life is done. I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to be with you. I just want you to go.”
Wow. Never thought he’d actually just crush her like that. Everyone’s being mean today!

I was peeved with Mommy Forbes last season, but this is amazing. Her sitting with her daughter nursing her with bags of blood is just such an incredible transition, and so sweet to watch. It’s jus such a nice contrast after the crap her dad has put her through.

And I love that Tyler is still there.
“Would now be a bad time to give you crap about sneaking out on me?” They are so cute it’s unreal.

I’m actually crying. This storyline is so good.

Wow, she actually loves Stefan, like enough to die.
Oh pants, so dagger doesn’t work on Klaus…
This is kind of creepy and cute all at the same time this remembering… Although this worries me – if Stefan really truly loved Rebecca all along… Then Elena?...

YES. I love that the necklace is needed! THIS IS AWESOME.
And the fact that Katherine found the necklace…

So all in all a pretty awesome episode. It had plenty of Ripper, plenty of road trip, a lot of heart break and a lot of people being incredibly twisted and evil. And I freaking loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens with Rebecca, who I was all set to hate and now adore. Can she win Stefan for real?...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Vampire Diaries Review: The Hybrid

Previously on The Vampire Diaries: Stefan was a self sacrificing bum, Klaus was epic and terrifying, Jeremy’s being haunted, Caroline and Mrs Lockwood had a littler altercation and Elena finally learnt the truth about her Ripper boyfriend’s rampage.

Damon is actually looking pretty bummed out about Andie – had he actually come to care for her over the last few weeks? Or is he just peeved that Stefan actually did a real bad thing?
“Busy day you know, dead fake girlfriend and all.” Seriously, someone get the hugs out for him.
“Happy birthday Elena! Stefan killed Andie! Cake?”

I love this whole idea that Elena gets a silent breather phone call and instantly knows it’s her long lost love. You have to worry about the nature of their phone calls in the past… And what really irritates me about Elena at the moment is that Stefan is out killing people and putting them back together like human jigsaw puzzles, and she just goes ‘he loves me, he needs me!’ Has she actually managed to process properly what he’s doing? Or does she still think that Damon is just over exaggerating?

And why after all that can she seemingly forgive Stefan for anything literally, yet Damon does one bad thing and he’s struck off the friend list for most of Season 2?... HMMMM MISS GILBERT?

“Stefan’s gone – and I don’t just mean geographically.” This is going to be a good Damon episode, you can just feel it.
“If he was gone he wouldn’t have called.” Somedays I just want to hit Elena over the head with something heavy.

This relationship between Ric and Elena is not borderline inappropriate at this stage… No, not at all.
(On a side note – hairy chest!)
“Because I’m not the kind of person who checks out.” Touché Gilbert, touché.

“I get that we’re stuck together, but if we could just stop the chit chat that’d be great.” I love how much Klaus is trying to get Stefan to enjoy it, and how Stefan really is just point blank refusing. I’ll do your dirty work, but I won’t have fun doing it…

How have they heard of Klaus already? Has there been a werewolf alert sent out already?

Mrs Lockwood you sneaky woman, I no longer trust you. Those syringes make you look sneaky and scary. Is that Vervain or wolfsbane in that coffee pot?...
That’d be Vervain then…
“She snuck out?” Whoops, revealed too much.
“Oh and Caroline, she’s not a prostitute.” Hey, maybe Tyler will do the right thing this time…


TOPLESS MATT. I like whoever is making everyone topless today. Throw in naked Damon and I’m a happy girl.

Uh, how have they managed to get Jeremy finding stuff off the internet and not used Bing? How is this possible?
I like that everything he’s printed out looks like he’s made it all neat and pretty. Hey maybe there are little hearts and Mrs Jeremy Donovan written over the back pages. (I heart this bromance so bad right now.)
I love this storyline, I love Matt. And his pouty distress. Yay! Ouija board time?

Tyler and Elena are bonding some more? This is the best series ever.
Hold on, Tyler can pinpoint exact spots where werewolves congregate to change? And on her phone? Does he have some sort of wolfdar we haven’t been told yet.

Elena – little hike? The guy is three quarters alcohol right now…
“What? You’re the one who told me I could handle things on my own now.” I love how she’s throwing everything back in his face from last week. Spunky Elena makes me happy.
At least Ric admits he shouldn’t be driving.

I adore Klaus in all his twisted glory. I love that he’s so cocky and sure of himself, that he has no problem force feeding people blood and killing the, but he’ll give them a hug and stroke their hair as well. He’s just so twistedly brilliant.
And I love that Stefan looks like he’s getting off on all of this despite feigning boredom and goodytwoshoesness.

Is Tyler actually playing pool by himself? He so sweet.
I’m so glad that Matt and Tyler are sort of managing to be civil together – even if they’re not ok yet. “Do you uh, is this like the kind of thing that you need another person for?”
Matt you’ve come such a long way.
Is this just national Vervain day?

Oh hey HRG/Bill. I like him already. “She’s a vampire Carol, we do what we have to.”

“You were a boy scout weren’t you?” Is that FLIRTING? I really love how weird this is between them.
“You came stocked didn’t you.”
“Well we aren’t exactly birdwatching.”
This is just weird – they’ve waited this long to discuss supplies? And Elena really thinks that they’re going to manage any of this without  a lot of killing supplies? She shouldn’t be this naïve after this long.

Oh for gods sake Ric, take the ring. She dragged you into this and at least this way you know you won’t die?
“I’d feel bad if I got you killed before happy hour.”
I love the complete lack of subtlety over Ric’s drinking problem. And the fact that he just grins about it.
Elena is stripping?...
I LOVE DAMON SO MUCH RIGHT NOW. Childlish, yet brilliant – just shove her in the lake. For a minute I thought Ric was being an idiot and caving to her ridiculous demands.

“There, good as new.” Uh, Klaus, might want to look in the dictionary and redefine the word ‘new’.
“You don’t arm yourself after war has been declared – you build your army so big that no-one ever dares to fight you.”
“That’s something you’ll learn once you shake that horribly depressive shift off your shoulder.”

Ray: *bleeds from his eyeballs*
Stefan: That shouldn’t be happening should it?
Klaus: Well obviously…
I love this pairing. Seriously season 3 has the best pairings at the moment for epic storylines.

I love how childish Damon and Elena are being. “Right now both of you are acting like idiots.”

I also love that Damon’s retaliation when Elena won’t get out of the water, is just to get into the water with her. That’s right Damon, play your audience – the girls can never resist you when you’re wet.
Seriously Elena, go back home and play with your crayons until your logic and good plans make a reappearance.

Also loving how the two of them are just so … there are no words to describe the cuteness and the electricity between them. So far the idea of them hasn’t gotten boring – I just really hope they don’t push it too far before making a move.

“Ok – ok. But we are out of here before the moon rises and I’m werewolf bait.”
“Ok I promise.”
“Unless you want to re-live that whole death bed kissy thing.”
“I said I promise.”
I love these two. There are no words.

Ray: Why don’t I feel better?
Klaus: …
Stefan: Some master race…
Klaus: Lose the attitude. Also that weird I told you so face you’re pulling. It creeps me out.
Ray: *runs away*
Klaus: Fetch!
Stefan: *eyebrows*
Klaus: *stern look*
Good plan Ray, very good plan.

Does Elena not get the whole ‘they all have really good hearing and will come for you from miles away’ thing?
“I could carry you – one quick whoosh…”
“Yeah knowing my luck, you’d drop me.”
“What are you guys, twelve?”
Hey Ric, what’s all this acting like an adult thing you’re doing today? It’s weird and looks kind of sexy on you.

Also, how the hell does Klaus not hear them?!?
And why does he look so cheerful at all the bleeding people? EYE BLEED!

“Let’s skip the part where we pretend we don’t know about the vampires in this town.”
FINALLY some HONESTY around here. That and I love these scenes between mommy Lockwood and Tyler, they are so few and far between but I love how these two play off each other.
“You cant be with her, she’s a monster.”
“You don’t know about me, do you?”
Uhho, are we about to initiate someone else into the covenant of the wolf?

Oh goody, our trio of explorers are about to be ripped to shreds! What larks!
That and Damon gets to kick ass and look cool.

Jeremy, personal items? Get out of her underwear box…
I’m so glad the writer’s decided to go down this route – whilst I’m not fussed on Vicki, I liked her arc and I’m curious to see where they take it now to complete that story.

Run! Run for the hills! Wait, we’re in the hills! Run, run for the car! Ok!

I love the zombified wolves – they look genuinely terrifying. Although I wish they lived longer. Although maybe not Ray, he looks too excited about the idea of chowing down on Damon.

I am however, loving Ric actually stepping up and being a responsible adult. How long has it been since his last drink?

How has Mommy Lockwood genuinely been kept in the dark over the wolf curse? Her disbelief and confusion and Tyler’s determination to show her what’s wrong with him is heart breaking. I love it, but it makes me want to hug them all.

Yay! Fight scene!
Yeah sure Stefan, everyone believes you… That seemed far too like brotherly bonding than bugger off and leave me alone.

I’m so glad that they didn’t string out the Ric abandoning Elena and Jeremy thing for too long. I get why he went off, but I’m glad that they have this talk and that Elena convinces him that they’re all lost and they need him. I like it when Ric’s trying to be all parental.

“Can you just give me a minute to appreciate that you’re not dead?”
“I’ll give you ten seconds. Nine, eight –hey Ric, you don’t know where I parked my car do you?” Manhandling, check. Snarky one liners, check, Elena being a grump, check. I love them acting like children around each other.

Apologies and beer – this is the best bromance ever. This is close to whiskey and talking about spunky girls with Damon and Ric.
Hey look Jeremy – underwear!
I am so glad that these two can talk about their missing memories around Vicki, I think it was something that needed to be addressed, and I like that the two of them can do it together.
This is brilliant, that she can see Matt but he can’t see her but he knows she’s there. Oooo don’t trust her? Argh who to believe!? I’m kind of thinking Anna on this one. She always came across as more trustworthy.

“They went rabid, some of them I killed, the others just bled out. But in the end they’re all dead. I did everything I was told, I should be able to turn them.”
This is terrifying. I know we’ve had hints of another bigger badder, but to actually see one? Worse than Klaus? Someone even he obeys? This is going to be fricking awesome.

“It appears you’re the only comrade I have left.” I actually feel sorry for Klaus, which is weird. Although I’m sad we didn’t get to see him fighting off all the rabid hybrids.

Ah Damon and you’re late night pj visits with Elena, I love them so.
“I was wrong.”
“Are you drunk?”
Can’t blame her for asking, there is a precedent.
“Is he ok?”
“No Elena, he’s not ok. He’s an insufferable martyr who needs his ass kicked.”

Ok I love this whole scene, it reminds me quite a bit of the scene in ‘Rose’ only this time Elena remembers and talks to him. I also love that Damon has a moral compass that won’t let him steal his brothers girl whilst he’s gone, but he has no problem waiting and doing it when Stefan gets back.
“Because when I drag my brother back from the edge and deliver him to you, I want you to remember the things you felt while he was gone.”
I also love Elena’s response to him. No matter how much she denies she likes him, she always looks disappointed in these moments where he almost kisses her and doesn’t.
I also think it’s progress that when Ric asks if she knows what she’s doing, that she finally admits that really, she has no idea.
Also, big thumbs up for the fact that Ric is upstairs which effectively means he’s moving in baby!

I’m so glad Mommy Lockwood finally knows. But I love that when she says she’ll take care of it, what she means is that she now realizes that the best woman her son is ever going to marry is a vampire who won’t be able to go in the church…

Oh Caroline baby! I’ve missed you all episode. And you look like you need a hug.
DADDY?! OH DEAR GOD THAT’S BRILLIANT. I am so glad that they’ve brought her Daddy in, and as a bad ass! Seriously, this is going to be a brilliant storyline!
And on that note…. Blackout.

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not." 

"Opens at Nightfall; Closes at Dawn." The Le Cirque des Rêves is a circus unlike any other, just as this magical debut novel is equally unique. At the centre of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love. Erin Morgenstern's literary fantasy has already drawn raves for its captivating evocativeness: "A world of almost unbearable beauty.... A love story on a grand scale: it creates, it destroys, it ultimately transcends." "A novel so magical that there is no escaping its spell... If you choose to read just one novel this year, this is it."

This book was absolutely incredible. In fact, unless something insane happens in the next few months, this book will end up being my book of the year. Just look at the other books I’ve read and see what it’s beaten out to get to that spot… That’ll give you an idea of just how awesome this book is.

First of all lets talk about the presentation, because that was a really pleasant surprise when I opened the package. First you’ve got this fabulous hardback book with that gorgeous dust jacket on. But not only that the hardback underneath is a beautiful red with embellishment,  the pages are black edged, and it even has a little red ribbon to mark your page in the book. Before I even started reading it, I was utterly smitten with it. I stroked it, I petted it, I introduced it to my family and friends, and then I started to read.

The prose is incredible. It’s this beautifully epic book that sprawls across time, place and characters and builds into this crescendo of imagination and magic.

And Morgenstern’s imagination? The things in this book, the tents upon tents in the circus filled with incredible ideas and concepts is mind blowing. I didn’t ever want this book to end, I just wanted to keep reading, to keep finding more and learning more and never emerge from this world again. It’s like the idea of the circus, of the effect it has on people, and this book creates the same effect.

The stories are brilliantly intertwined, with a running narrative of your own trip to the circus, Bailey’s past and the stories of Marco, Celia and the circus and everyone involved, all heading towards a breath taking culmination. And they are such elegant threads. You're not really sure where they're going or how they relate, and there are time jumps that sometimes throw you a bit when you're particularly immersed, but actually it's a simply stunning construction. Morgenstern knows precisely how to play her audience, and this book shows that. It's immense and quiet, and epic all at the same time, and it made me want to cry some parts were just so unbelievable.

I don’t really want to talk about the events in the book, because part of what I loved was not knowing what on earth was going to happen, and just relishing the journey and finding out page by page. So instead I just want to say how beautiful it was. The prose was exquisite, the characters incredible, and the imagination behind the construction and detail was absolutely stunning. I never wanted it to end, and having finished I just want to go back and re-read it. You know when it feels like something you've read has become part of you, so attached that it feels impossible to imagine yourself without it - when the story has touched you in ways that you haven't felt from a book in a while? This is how I feel about this book. I want to buy a kindle copy so I can have it with me wherever I go, and then my hardback copy to appreciate the sheer beauty in its construction.Because honestly, whoever designed the cover/entire spectacle of the book had read the book itself and understood the incredible things contained within the pages. The black fading into grey, the contrast between the black and the white - and the shock of red to mark your place in the circus when you leave it for a while.

Read this book. It’s stunning, incredibly constructed, and a brilliant story that will draw you in. I couldn’t actually find anything I didn’t like or would have liked to see more of – it was perfection as far as I’m concerned, and has shot straight up to become one of my top books of all time.

Let me leave you with two of many of my favourite moments in the book. First an act from the circus:

The woman wears a dress something akin to a bridal gown constructed for a ballerina, white and frothy and laced with black ribbons that flutter in the night air. Her legs are encased in striped stockings, her feet in tall black button-up boots. Her dark hair is piled in waves upon her head, adorned with sprays of white feathers. Her companion is a handsome man, somewhat taller than she, in an impeccably tailored black pinstriped suit. His shirt is a crisp white, his tie black and pristinely knotted. A black bowler hat sits upon his head. They stand entwined but not touching, their heads tilted toward each other. Lips frozen in the moment before (or after) the kiss. Though you watch them for some time they do not move. No stirring of fingertips or eyelashes. No indication that they are even breathing. “They cannot be real,” someone nearby remarks. 
Many patrons only glance at them before moving on, but the longer you watch, the more you can detect the subtlest of motions. The change in the curve of a hand as it hovers near an arm. The shifting angle of a perfectly balanced leg. Each of them always gravitating toward the other. Yet still they do not touch. 

And secondly a description of the clock that hangs at the gates of the circus:

But that is before it is wound. Before it begins to tick, the pendulum swinging steadily and evenly. Then, then it becomes something else. The changes are slow. First, the color changes in the face, shifts from white to grey, and then there are clouds that float across it, disappearing when they reach the opposite side. Meanwhile, bits of the body of the clock expand and contract, like pieces of a puzzle. As though the clock is falling apart, slowly and gracefully. All of this takes hours. 
The face of the clock becomes a darker grey, and then black, with twinkling stars where the numbers had been previously. The body of the clock, which has been methodically turning itself inside out and expanding, is now entirely subtle shades of white and grey. And it is not just pieces, it is figures and objects, perfectly carved flowers and planets and tiny books with actual paper pages that turn. There is a silver dragon that curls around part of the now visible clockwork, a tiny princess in a carved tower who paces in distress, awaiting an absent prince. Teapots that pour into teacups and minuscule curls of steam that rise from them as the seconds tick. Wrapped presents open. Small cats chase small dogs. An entire game of chess is played. At the center, where a cuckoo bird would live in a more traditional timepiece, is the juggler. Dressed in harlequin style with a grey mask, he juggles shiny silver balls that correspond to each hour. As the clock chimes, another ball joins the rest until at midnight he juggles twelve balls in a complex pattern. After midnight the clock begins once more to fold in upon itself. The face lightens and the clouds return. The number of juggled balls decreases until the juggler himself vanishes. 
By noon it is a clock again, and no longer a dream. 

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Vampire Diaries Review: The Birthday

So Season 3 has finally come to us, and boy are the writers upping their game! Apologies for the late review – it took me this long to reassemble my brain following the season premiere last week…

Previously on The Vampire Diaries: There was a whole lot of backstory, a whole lot of myths, legends and curses, most of which turned out to be a pile of lies to find the doppelganger. Katherine was feisty, Damon was snarky, and Stefan tried to out noble everyone within a ten mile radius. Bonnie was apparently the most important person in Mystic Falls, Elijah was most definitely the coolest, and Klaus had an ego to rival Damon’s. People died, people survived, and death bed smoochies are now included in the werewolf bite deluxe package…

I feel like this beginning has slipped in from True Blood – it’s more that vibe than Vampire Diaries. Although who knew that Klaus could do a pretty yummy southern accent?...
“I promise I’m not a serial killer, I just want to use your phone.” Aw sweetie, face it head on, admitting your problem is the first step on the road to recovery…

I love that he tries to see if he can get in without compelling first. It’s all about the challenge with this guy.
I have to admit even I jumped a bit when she opens the door and sees broody Stefan waiting to catch the left overs. “I love it when they run.”
I also love that Klaus takes no part in the bloodshed. He’s enjoying Stefan’s problem and seeing how far he can push him until he completely snaps, because until he’s smirking and swaggering and relishing the blood shed, I don’t think he’s snapped.

Cue screams – welcome back VD, we’ve missed you.

I love that this whole opening with Elena is so close to the opening we had in Season 1 when she was dealing with the death of her parents. These kids have been through so much. Why is no-one hugging them?!
(Although she’s managing the parenting Jeremy thing pretty well…)

Caroline! I missed you! And a party! Oh sweetie C’mere!!!!

Ric! Ha, I love that he’s not only crashing at the Gilbert’s, but he also can’t make the coffee machine work.

Oh god these two are so cute, Caroline and Tyler just light up like lightbulbs whenever they’re around each other. Drop the shopping and shirtless hug already!

I like the Ric/Elena dynamic they’ve got going on and how she’s immediately latched on to the idea that Ric is the nearest thing to an adult around her (Damon has the mentality of a teenage boy after all) and therefore the adult will move in, be a parent, and make everything be ok again. She probably should have given that memo to Ric at some point though…

Wow, Andie is still around? I’d almost forgotten her existence. And why are we trying to pretend that Damon and Andie have a meaningful relationship that isn’t based on her being his full working slave?... ‘Get your own champagne’ – really?

Although anything that gets Damon wandering around the house in nothing but soap suds is good.

I love the dynamic going on between Elena and Damon. I wasn’t sure how it would play out following that deathbed smush moment at the end of last season, but I like this antagonistic flirting. It makes me happy inside.

Damon has a cupboard full of maps and tip offs?! This guys needs a broom cupboard! And a typewriter! And a bottle of whiskey! And to never find pants again!

Hello Bonnie product placement cram in!
Um, when did Jeremy get buff?! Does waiting tables do that to you?...
Or maybe it’s the constant jumping over seeing your dead vampire girlfriends!

Oh Matt, someone else is in desperate need of shirtless hugs! Maybe Jeremy would oblige. I think they’d make a cute couple.

Oh dear god you have no idea how happy Tyler and Caroline are making me right now. The whole, people think we’re dating? That’s crazy! And insane! And why are you smiling like that?! I’m smiling because you’re smiling! Giggle, wink, nudge etc. I LOVE IT.

“I however, am something else. A different kind of monster.”
I love that Stefan’s compelled everyone in the bar, so it’s the horrific freakshow that no-one even bats an eye over. Shudders, but in a good way. I’m also so glad that Klaus is now a regular, because he is freaking awesome, and makes me swoon then cower in fright in a matter of seconds. The only thing that can possibly top this, is if they PULL THE DAGGER OUT and let my true love return. Yes Elijah baby I’m looking at you.

Damon and Ric are so cute together. Ric should so move in with him… I would pay good money to see a sitcom involving the two of them living together.

Oh good, blood, guts and carnage. And dead girls!
I love that Damon knows Stefan so well to know his kills, and I also love this explanation for his Ripper title.
“He feeds so much he blacks out, rips them apart. And then when he comes round he feels remorse. It’s the damndest thing – he puts the bodies back together again.”
Ew – yet at the same time, freaking awesome.

I LOVE THIS. The fact that Tyler is the voice of reason around here, and only because Caroline has been telling him things she shouldn’t have done.
“Just because I tell you things, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them.”

Hey! You’re horny, I’m horny, we have all this sexual tension together and you’re off to go have sex tonight! Caroline is so crying inside. And possibly visiting Ann Summers.

How does Ric do it? Walks across a room, accidentally finds the werewolf cellar of doom. If this guy fell over drunk he’d probably find gold…

Oh dear god, the torture on this show is inspired! I probably shouldn’t admit to being impressed by that! But chaining him to a dark board and throwing wolfsbane soaked darts at him?.... Stefan why are you wasting your brain in high school?!

Klaus, think this through. You ‘deal with’ Damon, you lose your hold on Stefan… And he seems so genuinely put out and hurt that Stefan isn’t having fun on his roadtrip of insanity!

“It’s your party you can cry if you want to!”

“I know I promised not to buy you anything…”
“You stole it?!”
It’s a logical leap…
And seriously, who does that?! Elena knows how Damon feels, she’s played on it before But asking him to put the necklace on her is such an obvious trick, it seems a little too… I don’t know… Mean?
Although I love their entrance together. Damon smug that he’s got the prettiest girl, and Elena enjoying being escorted in by easily the hottest guy in that house.

Oh Jeremy, why are you back on the drugs?... And why are you dragging Matt down with you?! Although seriously, the more I see of the two of them, the more I love them.

“You know I died right, and Bonnie used magic to bring me back to life?”
“Yeah, Elena told me.”
Great conversation opener… These two are going to go far…
(But if Jeremy and Matt don’t work out maybe he can try for Elena again!)

“I am every parent’s worst nightmare. I’m the chaperone teacher from hell.”
At least Ric knows and understands this.

Best entrance ever. Stefan sure does have a good imagination and flare for the dramatic as soon as he’s on the people stuff.
Although really, Andie should know better than to hang around in darkened empty studios these days. She’s dating a vampire, learn from this!
Stefan really has gone creepy ass. And all I can say is I want more.

Um, Tyler grinding and Caroline getting pissed (in both senses) – shirtless hug already guys!
“Great party!”
“Thanks! Now leave it.” Tyler, I think the phrase you’re looking  for is ‘cockblocked.’

Actual Conversations #1
“Hold the fort down will you.”
“What the fort full of my drunk history students?”
“Drink more, it’ll feel less weird.”

Seriously, favourite bromance ever. Unless Matt and Jeremy really get going.
I’d forgotten how loose Caroline’s tongue gets when she’s drunk. Although at least she’s not cotton coating everything for Elena and actually being honest with her. Hey, maybe Tyler’s rubbing off on her… (Yes, every pun intended.)
Damon, if you’re going to have a sneaky cupboard full of sneaky plans, at least close the door properly…

Actual Conversations #2
“Where are you?”
“By the punch bowl”
“Don’t lie to me – I saw your closet!”
“Oh wait, got to go break up beer pong!”

Lets just take a moment to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of the switched dynamic between the two of them. I love the parallel’s we’ve had with the pilot of season 1, and how things are being flipped on their heads. I love how the ‘Hello Brother’ seems slightly more awkward coming from Stefan – it’s like he’s trying, but he hasn’t yet hit the suave cool, completely relaxed attitude that Damon always seems to be in possession of. Stefan is still (despite his ripper ways) completely uptight and stressed about the whole thing. He’s trying to be bad ass and convince everyone he doesn’t care, but at the same time he’s mentally worrying about whether he’s being convincing enough. I really hope we get to see Stefan completely let rip and let go and just be the fun loving blood sucker we’ve heard tales of.
“I need you to let me go.”
“Now I’ve got a birthday girl at home who’s not going to let me do that.”

This is sheer brilliance. Stefan gets points for brilliance. And you can begin to see what he’d be like if he actually let go in that smirk – “oh come on, a little bit cool! Hey Andie, you can move now.”
This whole kill, just for the off pissing effect it will have on Damon, is brilliant. There is no blood lust here, just cool calculations of what will piss off Damon the most and make him stop following him,
As deaths go, Andie’s is pretty good though. Although I can’t say I’m sorry that she’s gone.

Actual Conversations #3
“Here trucky trucky truch!”
“What are you doing?”
“I can’t find my truck!”
“Probably a good sign that you shouldn’t be driving…”
I don’t think Jeremy is stoned enough. Although part of me does wonder what would happen if he just ran over the GhostAnna?

Did Caroline actually just choke slam a guy out of her way?... This girl gets way cooler than her already huge awesomeness when she’s drunk.
“Cos if I shouldn’t be dating, all you’ve got to do is say something.”
They are officially the cutest couple EVAH.
And I’m impressed that it took them that little amount of time to get it together and get it on.

“HEY! You missed the cake.” This whole interaction is brilliant. Caroline’s horny, I’m drunk and about to get it on with my hot werewolf shirtless friend, impacting with Damon’s shocked demeanour. I have to say, when he first walked in I was worried he might start killing people/rampaging as he is wont to do when things go tits up.
This almost scared me more. The quiet, detached walk through the dancing crowds to his room. I loved it.

And his night just isn’t getting any better. Can Elena not see? Does she not know him well enough to notice that he really isn’t his usual peppy self and something really awful might have just happened?
No, apparently not.

“You were an idiot. We both were.”
Finally he tells her, and she won’t accept it. “Stefan’s gone and he’s not coming back – not in your life time.” That whole speech is just perfect, and the sigh when he looks like he wants to take it back and comfort her, and then he doesn’t. This Damon seems a hell of a lot more restrained and mature for all his flirty comments.

Oh god, someone needs to take Matt in and adopt him. He’s stoned, drunk, lost his truck, going home to an empty house and has no money for ice-cream. And he still remains vaguely upbeat. He makes me want to cry and feed him soup.

I really hope there was some form of torture done involving pool balls and wolfsbane.
“Have you not been listening to a word I’ve been saying? I have great plans for you.”

Stefan looks so broken. I don’t believe his hard man act at all anymore.

Happy Birthday Elena! You’re 18, you can handle everything on your own!
I kind of wanted to slap Ric for this. I mean sure, he’s got a fairly good grasp on how screwed up he is, but he’s still wallowing and can’t see how much Elena and Jeremy could do with his help.

Oh dear god, why have we waited this long for Forward to happen?...
I never want it to stop. Ever.
Monster sex is the best.

Ahha! Well I’m impressed he managed to contain the destructive impulses as long as he did. I kind of wonder whether there’s still a party going on downstairs or whether he’s bodily chucked them all out yet?

I think Stefan might be breaking into little tiny pieces.
Kind of like my cute meter after seeing Jeremy’s birthday card for Elena.
I love that Elena gets a breather phone call and immediately assumes it’s Stefan. What does that say about their relationship?!
On a serious note, that phone call is heartbreaking. Stefan is completely destroying me with the crying and the silence and suddenly it makes him relatable and sympathetic, which he wasn’t when he was being all tortury. I’m impressed, they’ve made him a bad guy, and they’ve also made us care.

Mrs Lockwood!
Walk of shame Caroline….

So yeah, pretty stunning episode to come back on. Not so action packed as last season’s opener, but a very good episode full of the epic level of awesome we’ve come to expect.
I think this series could be the best yet if it carries on as it’s begun…
Your thoughts?