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Oh yes, you did read that correctly. No, I'm not sure about myself either. This gets less and less readable as it goes on and has really no point; beware. This is a thing that I jotted down angrily, and probably is very petty.

Two brothers: one of them wants to take you apart. Two brothers: one
of them wants to put you back together. It's time to choose sides now.
The stitches or the devouring mouth? You want an alibi? You don't get
an alibi, you get two brothers.

For better or worse, this was the construct we got, starting from season one. Elena was the protagonist/Good Doppelganger; Stefan the Love of her Life/Good Brother; Damon the unabashedly evil antagonist/Bad Brother; Katherine the unabashedly evil protagonist, take 2/Bad Doppelganger. Stefan/Elena and Damon/Katherine were the main pairings. All was right in the world.

Then we got a different story, one of a love triangle. Damon gets ~saved by Elena's good opinion, and they kiss...

...except nope, and with that came the shattering of every grand narrative the show was pushing, and everything went to hell.

Damon loves Katherine loves Stefan. Stefan and Damon are brothers first, it turns out. Elena cannot save Damon, so they were never supposed to happen, but they do anyway; she whispers "thank you" to him over Stefan's shoulder and gives him a piece (and therein lies the abomination.) Katherine is not the Big Bad, but simply a survivor. Katherine and Elena are not polar opposites who share a face, but different, all-too-alike people. Stefan is a Ripper and drives Elena off a bridge. It was Damon's choice to turn, to be with Katherine, to kiss her blood-covered mouth.

Nothing is as it seems.

When we got to see a new side of a character, it was inevitably through the reveal of a new aspect of one of these four pairings. Each of them meant something unique to another. We have all gone through the stages of mourning the flaws in this setup; crying, then laughing, invariably; but this setup was integral to the show. There could never be an OTP-pairing, there could never be a Grand Story (you want a better story? who wouldn't?).

Everyone was terrible, back then. And the four of them- they only made each other worse.


I think that this season ditched the square/triangle/strange amorphous blob hereafter referred to as The Love Mess. I don't know about "ditched" in the sense that there were still running threads of it plot-wise, but the characters did not get to have the same set up that we'd seen before.

The Love Mess was integral to the characters. I think one of my favorite things about it was- despite the whole 3x21 nonsense- so much of it was actually ABOUT ELENA. Haters gon' hate, but the idea that the female protagonist's love interests basically EXIST as extensions of her psyche is pretty cool. It's no coincidence that Elena literally wasn't even present during part of the fifth season and the writing barely changed. The story was no longer a story about terrible people and the things they do to survive.

Rather, season five was a season of badly plotted arcs, a season of random character 'development' that came out of nowhere (yes, I'm looking at Damon's Whitmore experiences); a season that didn't know where to take the characters, and in the process lost the core thing that interested me about all of them. I was all for human!Katherine, and hypothetically all for Damon going on murder sprees while still with Elena. I'm totally here for trauma arcs, for Damon and Elena breaking up because they're terrible for one another, for Stefan moving on, even.  I'm here for shatterings of romantic delusions and twisted fairy tales.

But that's not the way this season was framed in any way. Simultaneously boring and intellectually sapping, as I tried desperately to make a coherent arc out of any character's actions and failed more and more, the season ditched the Love Mess and its very own premise as well as any semblance of a coherent PLOT arc to tie it altogether (and when I start complaining about the lack of plot consistency, you know it's bad #what is plot).

Once upon a time, there would have been nothing better than the Love Mess falling apart. Surely no one would think any of the characters as being better off with each other around. Except- who cares? Their relationships were fucking interesting and they meant something. What does the show mean now, I ask you?

I genuinely can't make sense of any of the characters and ships I once loved; the exception being Bonnie, who actually brought tears to my eyes with her "Will it hurt?" in the finale and who has been routinely and utterly shat upon by the writers this season. (And LOL if you feel the need to argue with me about that.) I wanted to see Elena get dark and Damon to worship her unconditionally (because bro, that is what he does did don't mind me forever bitter) and I wanted to see trauma and terrible people (can you say "this is a fucking show about serial killers" four more times).

This was supposed to be coherent. LOL nope.  All you guys get is bitterness and rambling. Because I WANTED so much for this season. And got none of it.

Once upon a time there was a show about serial killing vampire brothers who loved two doppelgangers. There was a show about twisted circus mirrors and abuse. There was a show about characters who told themselves stories and became determined to live them, no matter the cost. Once upon a time there was a girl with identity issues who fell in love with two brothers and met a girl who shared her face who was Evil, and along the way became a lot more Evil than she first tried to tell herself she was.

Once upon a time I loved a vampire show, and it gave me the middle finger. RIP TVD. I am utilizing an appropriately dramatic style to bid farewell to you.


May. 17th, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
Things in narratives simply need to have a purpose. Even if this purpose is to point out the idiocy of conceptualizing the world as purposeful.

There is only one angle that makes this season make sense, and this angle is market analysis. This season's main purpose was to sell the dvds, and I think it'll do exactly that.
May. 17th, 2014 07:19 am (UTC)
This season's main purpose was to sell the dvds, and I think it'll do exactly that.

If I weren't already dead inside, this would have killed me.

~l'art pour l'art~
May. 17th, 2014 07:24 am (UTC)
Yo, I have no beef with art selling. I take this opportunity to tell you that Shakespeare sold LIKE WHOA :P. But it's difficult to make good stories which will also sell. TVD failed.
May. 17th, 2014 07:43 am (UTC)
I take this opportunity to tell you that Shakespeare sold LIKE WHOA


I mean, obviously I don't buy into the idea of "high art" vs. "popular art" because- well- WHAT YOU JUST SAID. Shakespeare makes fools of us all tbh.

I think where I draw the line is prioritizing selling ABOVE art? Like, obviously the Vmars movie has a lot of fan-love in it; from the getting-together of the preferred couple to the little references and cameos sprinkled in to the snarky one liners. But that categorically DOES NOT MEAN Rob Thomas wasn't thinking about the actual characters and storyline when he wrote it.

Mehhhhh. I'm trolling with the pretentious art movement slogans, but still, I can't help but remember the fact that they ran quite a successful show for four seasons without losing everything. :( Why do you become a writer if not to tell stories? Man, I say I get it, but on a gut level I do not.

TVD... lost me with 5x01 if I'm being honest. Damon and Elena being cute for more than a minute? Lost forever. College shenanigans? Bahaha. It was the first time when I sat down after the episode and realized I couldn't make sense of who the characters were at all. It literally felt like a different show.


Edited at 2014-05-17 07:43 am (UTC)