Friday, May 6, 2011

"The Sun Also Rises" : The Sacrifice, The Aftermath, The Redemption

In this week's episode of the The Vampire Diaries, The Sun Also Rises, the stakes are high, and the outcome heartbreaking. It was the full moon so that meant it was time for Klaus's ritual that promised to release him from the curse keeping him from becoming a vampire/werewolf hybrid. Since the ritual had been built up the entire season it really needed to pack a punch, and I'm happy to say it more than lived up to expectations. 

Surrounded by three rings of fire, Jules, Jenna and Elena.......his own personal harem of Goddesses (GOD THAT'S DISGUSTING) wait their death in Klaus' own temple-of-doom Le grand.

Here the action never ceased, the shockers kept coming and the death toll rose, which was sad to watch in a sense, but befitting of an episode devoted to Klaus and the sacrifice ritual. Even the non-stop changes to the supernatural rule book are sold by terrific storytelling and complex characters one can really invest one's self in, even when you least expect to. Without further delay, let's break down the major events of "The Sun Also Rises," analyze the fallout, and talk about why this dark chapter of TVD was one of its (if not the) best so far.

Jules may have caused trouble in the past with her attacks on the Salvatore brothers, it was still terrible to watch Klaus casually kill her as the first part of his deadly ceremony. But that was nothing compared to tragic loss of Aunt Jenna. Elena was forced to watch her die, trying to help Jenna as best she could by encouraging her to turn off her emotions so that it wouldn't hurt so much. 
Sara Canning will be missed; her final scenes with Elena, showing Jenna's terror and yet also her newfound vampire strength were moving. It was especially sad to see her go right after Jenna finally learned about vampires and was able to participate in the main storyline. Nina Dobrev turned in a touching performance also as Elena had to watch her aunt die and then attend the funeral of yet another parental figure.

Damon was brought to the emotional brink when he learned that Stefan had gone to offer himself in exchange for Jenna. No matter that Damon had the same idea; he was horrified that he might lose his brother to Klaus. In the same way, Stefan, still reeling from the death of Jenna, was devastated to learn that Damon had been bitten by a werewolf. Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder have great chemistry as brothers, we have often seen it when they bicker, but it is also evident when they are concerned about each other.

Keeping the brother topic going, Klaus's last-minute revelation to his brother Elijah that the rest of their family's bodies were safe, and that they could be recovered was what caused Elijah to betray Elena and Stefan by rescuing Klaus. The sequence of events was well-done, giving Elijah a decent excuse for his duplicity and also setting up the Originals as a major topic for next season. 
Looking back, Elijah's story about Klaus killing their siblings and parents, and his assertion to Stefan that it was the reason he would have no trouble finishing Klaus, was a clever setup. It gave us the backstory needed to make Elijah's betrayal believable. On a different note, I'm happy that it is more than likely we will be seeing both actors,Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan, again next season.

Bonnie this week also got to finally show what the power of 100 witches can do, and it sure was badass seeing her command the elements in this manner, particularly as Klaus was so surprised to see her alive. Damon taking out Great so swiftly was also pretty smooth and ended what Jenna had attempted to do. I hope that next season utilises Bonnie and her witch power, especially as witches are the overseers of all things supernatural and that Klaus has broken this order by completing the ritual.

Speaking of werewolves, poor Matt can't quite figure out what the hell is going on now that he is aware of the supernatural world and he would rather only face the harsh and crappy realities of his life, and not complicate it further with vampires and werewolves. Whilst this decision by Matt leaves Caroline upset it did lead to a cracking scene between herself and Tyler, they really do have fantastic chemistry.

Redemption was a recurring theme throughout the episode, first with Damon who continued his desperate bid to keep Elena from becoming a vampire. With his future still in possible jeopardy because of the werewolf bite, Damon's quest for redemption looks to be the focus of the next episode. And, rhetorical questions in last weeks' review aside, it seems pretty unlikely that the show would really kill off one of the three core characters, although I'm looking forward to seeing how they will save him.

Which brings us on to John Gilbert, a character who has been arrogant and dislikeable since he appeared toward the end of last season. Whilst I have always had a soft spot for this character (most likely because of David Anders) he has often been an irritating obstacle in the way of what Elena et al are trying to achieve. John this week got to be the character that made the "unexpected act of courage" as he sacrificed his life so Elena could live without the burden of being a vampire. The letter that he left for Elena was rather touching as it tried to explain his failings as a parent without asking for forgiveness. It certainly left me misty eyed as they went in to the double funeral scene showing how emotionally broken Elena was by the actions of her surrogate and real parents.

Thus next week is the season finale, everything is on the table. Although I would like to add that after an episode this outstanding, it's amazing there's still one more to come next week.


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