PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Vampire Diaries” – The Season 8 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Vampire Diaries” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Vampire Diaries,” a supernatural teen drama focused on a young woman, Elena Gilbert, who becomes entangled with two brothers who are vampires–-one a soulful, conflicted type who wants to repress his vampire urges to be more human; the other a sarcastic, ne’er-do-well who embraces the nature of his nocturnal condition, except for when his love for Elena interferes. In addition, these two vampire brothers were sired by Elena’s doppelganger, a vampire for the centuries named Katherine Pierce (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/vampire_diaries_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 8 premiere aired on Friday, October 21, 2016, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Why: Two reasons: vampires and Ian Somerhalder, formerly of Lost and Smallville fame. CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves non-sparkly vampire television, and Ian Somerhalder is too beautiful a man not to find an excuse to watch.  My fellow panelists found the show due to the vampires as well, and at least thirty-three percent of them stayed for Ian…

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

In 2016, our Vampire Diaries panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons five, six, and the first half of season seven.  We also covered, in great detail, the second half of the seventh season in a second episode.  To hear our thoughts, or to catch yourself up, listen to the embedded links below:

Seasons 5-7A

Season 7B

Halfway into what has been announced to be this long-running vampire fiction program’s eighth season, our less small but continuously robust panel–Jen, Kelsey, and Allie–reconvened to discuss the dysfunctional but smoldering brothers Salvatore and the rest of the motley crew hailing from fictional Mystic Falls as The Vampire Diaries winds down toward its series finale.  Feast your ears and/or your fangs on this new episode, in which we cover major plot points from the first half of season eight, as the audience is introduced to the monster from the Vault: a siren sister with a stronghold on Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and buddy Enzo (Michael Malarkey).  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or sire bond is frequently tested in TVD’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about, particularly as we speculate upon the show’s near and final future.  Give us a listen with your vampire super-hearing, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the eighth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we will introduce an all new podcast panel, as we catch CPU! up on the dystopian post-apocalyptic science fiction drama, also from the CW, entitled The 100, for a longer-than-usual and highly passionate episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Matt return?  Will Tyler?  Will Jeremy?  Will Elena?

ANSWER: (see below)

Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) returns.  He steers clear of Mystic Falls for a short while, as he sought out his dad, who had left him, his mom, and Vicki when Matt was younger.  Matt protects his dad with vervain, but Damon looks for Matt’s dad as he hunts for an artifact that Matt’s dad possesses as a member of one of the Mystic Falls founding families, which forces Matt to become involved in the goings-on of Mystic Falls once more.

Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) confronts Damon while Mr. Salvatore is on the road during his siren-induced vampire binger.  Damon responds to Tyler’s hesitant confrontation by snapping his neck and killing Tyler during his two second guest spot. So…RIP Tyler.  Matt is particularly distraught after learning of the death of his best friend and vows vengeance against Damon after this event.

Jeremy Gilbert has not yet returned – he’s hanging out on the “Chicago” franchise, over on another network, apparently. Will he yet return?  There’s always hope.

Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) WILL return.  It was announced in January that Nina Dobrev would return to film the series finale, and Dobrev herself Instagram-ed a picture of her script.  I’m assuming this means that Elena will awaken from her magical coma.  I assume this also means that Bonnie (Kat Graham) might die, since Elena’s life and consciousness is inversely related to Bonnie’s ability to survive.

2) Is Season 8 the show’s last, considering that Ian Somerhalder has told the press that he can’t see doing more than eight seasons of the show (and the podcast panel can’t see the show surviving without Somerhalder/Damon)?

ANSWER: The show’s producers and the network have all confirmed that season 8 will be the final season of The Vampire Diaries.

3) What is in the Vault?  What has possessed Damon and Enzo?

ANSWER: One member of a pair of deadly sirens, i.e. the mystical beings first introduced in Homer’s Odyssey that magically sing and lure men, usually aboard ships at sea, to their demise.  The particular siren in question sports the moniker Sybil and takes a special interest in Damon and Enzo by singing her way into their enraptured brains and forcing them to murder people, as she is required to eat flesh to maintain immortality, youth, and beauty while harvesting the damned souls of these poor sods for a larger, darker power.  Damon and Enzo react differently to her particular form of sway: Damon elects to turn off his emotion switch, despite entering a safe space in his brain on which he focuses upon Elena.  When Sybil discovers this, she performs psychic surgery and replaces memories of Elena with similar memories featuring Sybil instead, ensuring Damon’s enduring fealty to her (at least for awhile). Enzo, on the other hand, is so devoted to Bonnie, he combats the siren’s cry for a time, at least until Damon and Sybil conspire to trick Enzo into turning off his own emotion switch, leaving Bonnie to decide that she must risk burning herself alive to entice Enzo back to humane vampirism in order to preserve their love. Listen to the podcast for details.

4)  Why was Reina a red herring for Elena/Katherine?  Cheap shot, writers!

ANSWER: We’ve decided, on the panel, that Damon has a type.  Sybil looks remarkably like Elena as well…

5) Will Alaric return?  Will his children return?  Will they be evil Children of the Corn, half siphon/half vampire children?

ANSWER: Alaric (Matt Davis) returns as does his children, so that he and Caroline (Candice King) can co-parent the girls.  One of the siren sisters, Seline, tries to offer up the twins to be the keeper of the sirens’ immortal Faustian deal, but Stefan (Paul Wesley) intervenes and prevents that deal from going down, so the twins remain innocent (but definitely siphons) as ever.

6) Are Damon and Enzo collecting bodies in sacrifice or in ritual to the thing from the Vault?  Is there a purpose to the warehouse of suspended but highly dead bodies?  Is the Vault thing controlling them, or are they acting of their own free will but in service of the thing in the Vault?

ANSWER: The siren’s cry tends to obfuscate free will and spellbound enslavement. Arguably, as Damon and Enzo show us, the siren’s cry is strong, but enough strength and will to resist can break the spell for some time, as it did with Enzo, in lieu of his love for Bonnie.  Damon could have done the same, if he didn’t feel beholden to a comatose Elena and a sense of guilt for his sins; he believes his service to Sybil is penance for his misdeeds as a vampire, so he opts to flip his emotion switch to withstand the poor judgment and murder sprees in which Sybil has him engage.  The warehouse scene merely serves as a grisly end button to season seven, but the bodies are a sacrifice to Sybil’s siren-infused flesh-eating appetite.

7) Are Damon, Stefan, and/or Enzo connected to the Vault thing somehow?  Or, is Bonnie connected to it?

ANSWER: There appears to be no connection, per se, between any of our beloved characters and Sybil, except insofar as Damon and Enzo are under her spell, and Bonnie’s family provided the sealant magic for the Armory Vault that hitherto contained her.  Still, Sybil, Seline, and their boss Cade, possibly The Vampire Diaries’ analog for the Devil, repeatedly draw stark parallels between the brothers Salvatore and the Siren Sisters, showing that there is a blurring of what is good and evil among them, particularly as it relates to who is the good sibling and who is the evil one.  Listen to the podcast for details.

8) Is the Vault thing something akin to the First Evil or the First Supernatural Something, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural?

ANSWER: The sirens are not the First, nor are they the Darkness (as Supernatural depicts).  Cade created the Sirens.  We know that Cade was a psychic, martyred for being different by suffering stoning and burning at the hands of his fellow villagers.  Their negative energy created a so-called “hell.”  What this “hell” is or how Cade became psychic we don’t know.  We also don’t know who came first: Cade or the Originals, i.e. the family Mikaelson as the first vampires, or the Mikaelson matriarch Esther and her family of magical witches.  The history, to the members of the podcast panel, is unclear.

9) Are Caroline and Stefan really in it and together for the long haul?

ANSWER: Well, Stefan pops the question, in a rather anticlimactic way, and Caroline answers yes.  Trouble is, as of the season finale, Stefan, to save the twins and Damon, makes a deal with Cade: he and Damon will take the place of the Siren Sisters, harvesting souls for him.  In the meantime, Stefan is required by Cade to flip his emotion switch and to become Ripper Stefan, a side of soulful Stefan that intrigues Cade.  Cade promises that Stefan can return to Caroline one year after living under these conditions – but the dark figure bets that Stefan will not want to stop being the Ripper, since Ripper Stefan seems to relish his evilness even more than an emotionless Damon.  The last moments of the mid-season finale show Stefan and Damon driving away to do Cade’s bidding, the cold dark eyes of Ripper Stefan becoming apparent as Stefan’s emotion switch visibly flips.  Will Stefan make it back to Caroline?  Do we care? These are the questions that follow us into the show’s final half season.

New Questions

1) What is the artifact that Matt’s dad had, and what does it do?  Who has it now?  Do we still care about it?

2) Will Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) return to The Vampire Diaries to see it off as one of the original cast members?

3) So, Elena will return.  How?  Kylie predicts that, in order to save Damon, Bonnie will sacrifice herself, so that Elena might awaken from her coma and draw Damon away from the darkness of his emotional void once more.  Kelsey predicts that Enzo and Bonnie might snuff themselves together, in a fantastic Thelma and Louise or, perhaps, Romeo and Juliet type fashion.  Kylie further predicts that Stefan might not survive the series – he may decide to remain the Ripper, and the other Mystic Falls residents, Caroline included, may be forced to stake him; or, the writers will cop out, and Stefan and Caroline will reunite for their happily ever after.  What will happen?  How will it all end?

4) Will the twins be factors in saving the brothers Salvatore from themselves or Alaric/Caroline/anyone else from Stefan and Damon?

5) Damon ripped out Sybil’s heart on his way out of town with Stefan in the mid-season finale, but we know that Sybil can heal due to her magical deal to keep her immortality, which she made with Cade in exchange for selling out Stefan and Damon.  Will we still see Sybil, and how will she factor into the overall end?  Where did Seline go?  Are we done with the Siren Sisters?

6) Who or what is Cade – really?  Who came first: him, the Originals, or the Witches?  Will we see a mutual crossover with The Originals, the spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, this half season?  If so, can it be the whole cast and not merely an exchange of one character, like Klaus and Stefan, as happened last season?

7) What will Damon and Stefan do as Cade’s new soul harvesters?  How will their brotherly bond be affected?  Ripper Stefan is kind of a dick, but Damon also has his emotion switch off.  We’ve never seen both brothers with their emotion switch off at the same time except during flashbacks of their initial days as vampires.  How will this manifest, and what will they do?

8) What will the Mystic Falls Scooby Gang, particularly Caroline, do to try to save the brothers from themselves?

9) Why was Cade not introduced sooner, if he’s truly the “devil?”

10) What is “hell” truly?  How did the pre-devil version of Cade become psychic?

PARTING SHOTS

The Vampire Diaries definitely has its best years behind it; the panel believes that though the show has lost much of its initial magic, not unlike Bonnie herself, the first half of season eight made a valiant effort to recapture some of that former glory in time to send the series off with a bang (and a few fangs!).  Most if not all of the panelists are ready for The Vampire Diaries to be done but are simultaneously excited by the second half of season eight and what the final half season will bring to end this epic story of two vampire brothers and the women that came between them, which is what, ultimately, TVD was all about in the end.  We think that the talented writing team will offer up a satisfying conclusion, which ought to include Damon and Elena back together, Bonnie resting and at peace (that poor girl), and everyone else in a place that makes sense.  If anyone can do it, Julie Plec and company should be able to do it!  We also hope the wrap party following these eight interesting seasons is as epic as the series itself.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Vampire Diaries returned from mid-season 8 hiatus on January 13, 2017. The Vampire Diaries podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth season and overall series finale of TVD, which will likely air in or around May 2017, with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes. The first of these episodes will review the show’s final half season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.  Of course, the announcement that this will be the show’s final season was made as of early fall 2016. As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional TVD coverage.  Until then!

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · February 9

    Reblogged this on Reel Musings.

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