Julie’s Diary: Vampire Diaries boss on that Christmas episode, what’s next for …

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Vampire Diaries’ midseason finale recap: Sleep in hellish torment.

It’s the holidays, which in TVD-land means murder, murder, and more murder. “The Vampire Diaries” winter finales never really go out quietly, but this season, that ending cut deep — specifically with deep wounds into not one, but both Salvatore brothers who were staked and now trapped in the vampire purgatory known as the Phoenix Stone.

Christmas came to Mystic Falls early on Thursday, just in time for The Vampire Diaries to deliver another monster of a twist by the closing moments of the midseason finale.”Silent Night” can now be added to that list of Christmas songs that give you chills – and not the good kind – thanks to a CW series. (“Arrow” put “Little Drummer Boy” on that list with its midseason finale.) The Thursday, Dec. 10 “Vampire Diaries” midseason finale introduces yet another new (but old, at the same time) couple in a flashforward, sees Stefan’s insistence to get revenge on Julian take a tragic turn and offers a look at what pregnancy hormones do to a vampire.We knew Julian (Todd Lasance) was the most dangerous baddie to ever step foot in Mystic Falls — mostly because everyone kept saying so — but now he’s put proof in the pudding.

This episode — the last few minutes in particular — felt very much like it was trying to evoke the greatness of season 4’s “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” But Julian is no Klaus, and a snowflake title card at the end can’t trick us to thinking that these episodes are comparable. And while Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is shown suffering in peril as he relives his days as a Civil War soldier, it’s unclear what tortuous acts lie in wait for Stefan (Paul Wesley).

To add to the sorrow: Good witch Bonnie (Kat Graham) was no match for Heretic witch Nora (Scarlett Byrne) when she paid the price for the kidnapping of Mary Louise (Teressa Liane). From burning questions to behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched. Sadly, Julian got the upper hand in the end when he fought off the brothers and plunged the sword with the Phoenix stone right into Damon, sending him to his own personal version of hell. But in the holiday spirit, I’ll try to keep an open mind and not be “Cold as Ice” throughout this recap. (See what I did there??) As with all things season 7, we have to start in the future. And another flash forward to three years into the future confirms what we learned earlier, that Stefan is not with Caroline (Candice King), but that he’s actually with his first love, Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore).

The two waltz into a bar to discover the town’s Santa Pub Crawl has been turned into a Christmas massacre, leaving innocent dead Santas sprawled about everywhere. Three years from now in Chicago, Stefan shares an apartment and a kiss with Valerie. (Steroline fans around the world just died a little bit inside.) He’s headed to Dallas because “she” has Damon and Caroline, but he wants Valerie to stay so she won’t be in harm’s way, too.

To find out where the story goes next, what’s going on with the three-year time jump and what Mystic Falls can look like without the brothers, THR caught up with showrunner Julie Plec. She was the ring leader of the villains when we caught up to them in the premiere and she’s been this divisive person in Damon and Stefan’s lives. The brothers were on the hunt for Julian, a.k.a. their mom’s no-good boyfriend who killed the baby Stefan didn’t know he’d fathered a couple hundred years ago. It also punishes the vampires for every sin they’ve ever committed throughout their lives, thereby making them suffer in their own personal hell of torment. What’s great about the episodes that are coming up in the next chapter is that our winter season launches with a really great concept episode that features Damon’s experiences as a result of being trapped in this personal hell.

But Damon has always had a chip on his shoulder for her and he’s had a hard time forgiving her, so that didn’t actually seem to affect the brothers too much in terms of their points of view on their mom. She has also taken to her pregnancy and the parenting classes she and Alaric are attending like they’re just like a test she can study for; no one is more prepared than she is.

But that wasn’t enough horrible news for the Salvatore brothers—because shortly after, Nora, one half of the lesbian Heretic couple, got vengeance for what the crew did to her love and stabbed Stefan too. But Lily’s death will really force the brothers to realize that they’re all that they have left and they have very different reactions to the way that she leaves them and the consequences left in the wake of her absence, especially on Damon I would say.

Later, she worries about drinking blood now that she’s pregnant, and when Alaric tries to assure her that she’s doing a great job and she’s made him happy, she turns on him before quickly leaving. Know when to instinctively push in, move, dip, tag, slide, etc., in order to make sure they are capturing not just the image, but the emotion and the beats of the story.

Yeah, well he made it very clear when he essentially spit in her face on her death bed, so now Damon is kind of walking around with that gross feeling of centuries of resentment that he has towards her, and he never got that off of his chest. Naturally, when Caroline (Candice Accola) and Alaric (Matt Davis) attend their pre-natal classes, Caroline is the Monica Gellar of the group and knows everything about everything. Clearly, the crew will come together and find a way to release the brothers from their hellish prison, but it’s going to be quite a long wait until we find out how.

Meanwhile, after the way Bonnie spent Christmas last year (alone, in the prison world), anything she does this year has to be a thousand times better, right? (Wrong. The only thing she doesn’t know is how to temper her vampiric rage and thirst right now, especially when she overhears some other moms-to-be gossiping about her across the room. She just came in with such an incredible point of view, physically and visually, and really understood the show and the story and characters and really created a small movie in the eight days that we gave her to make it.

She made us cry, too, with that beautifully emotional visit to her mom’s grave to talk about her impending motherhood and the first Christmas without Sheriff Forbes there. I had to go back and fix the above paragraph when I re-read it because instead of saying “the one who,” I wrote “the guy who.” That’s not good. The heretic has enrolled in classes and she’s looking to get involved, so Bonnie reluctantly accepts her help, even turning to her for help when it comes to Stefan and Damon’s search for Julian. She also doesn’t *really* know whether the blood she’s craving so hard is even good for the babies, and the stress of this pregnancy is making Caroline extra Caroline-ish right now. They don’t have a central compass in their lives right now, which is good story-wise, because it allows them to emerge in other stories where you’re not expecting to see them.

When Nora focuses on a Barbie and how much it looks like Mary Louise, Bonnie gives her some tough love: they broke up, Mary Louise made a bad choice and Nora should move on and be her own person. Across the industry the camera departments have, in recent years, started trying to even out the gender imbalance in their department, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. That’s when Mary Louise shows up, hoping to talk, but she’s looking for an apology from Nora and still doesn’t see that Julian is the one in the wrong, that Valerie’s “story” as she calls it, isn’t responsible. Back in the day when cameras were made of cement and marble (just kidding, they were never THAT heavy), the common belief was that women couldn’t physically do the job. Stefan and Damon track Julian down to a small Santa-filled down called Sunbury, and just when they think they’ve got a lead — a bar filled with slaughtered Santas is a pretty good indicator a vampire’s in the area — it gets better.

For Damon it won’t feel like much time at all, but in our actual present day we’ll have to wonder how much time has passed since that sword got jammed into his heart. Bonnie then finds Nora upset about that in her dorm room, and the two seem to be getting along as Nora admits that she may be a bit spoiled, especially since it’s nice having someone who thinks you’re the most amazing, beautiful girl in the world – and calls Bonnie beautiful – until she receives a text from Julian that Mary Louise has been taken. Who else but Julian himself strolls in to retrieve his accidentally abandoned cell, and he’s all the sheets to the wind, so it seems like an easy mark.

Damon pulls the plug on the mission and heads back home to follow up the day’s eggnog spree with the hard stuff, and Stefan turns to Valerie for help. Stefan and Caroline were supposed to be in this beautiful relationship and yet, we saw in the beginning of the season that she refused to speak with him and now he’s with Valerie.

It doesn’t specifically connect to the flash-forward but the fallout of their experiences absolutely impacts where their characters go to get Damon to the point where he puts himself down and to get Stefan to the point where he finds himself on the run again, waking up his brother. Given a second chance to deliver his mother’s eulogy, Damon tells her, “You were a terrible mother when you were alive and a terrible mother when you were dead.” So much for that. And, as Damon loudly expected, Caroline’s words definitely indicate that she’s not going to just drop these kiddos off at Alaric’s house and run in the other direction. “Even though they’re not mine, they’re still my responsibility, and I want — have to do this right.

Damon wants to leave, but Stefan is angry about how he’s been acting the past few weeks: He hasn’t showed any remorse for not apologizing to Lily on her deathbed. Damon enjoys the eggnog and gets on Stefan’s case a bit about who he’ll be to the babies Caroline is carrying before they find a pub full of dead Santas. Yes, absolutely, We’re now seven years later and they’ve been through a lot more present day experiences but these are patterns of behavior that have been established since they were teenagers, real teenagers. And all I want to do is just sit on our kitchen counter while you burn our dinner and ask you a million questions,” she tells her mom’s gravestone. It’s a threat that Julian plans to carry through with after Julian’s friends join them, Damon gets himself and Stefan out of there and abandons their plan and Stefan takes Mary Louise as a hostage.

The mystery of Nora is trying to predict what will make her fight for the powers of good versus her natural instincts to always be as nasty and evil as she can be. But when he shows up to the house and finds a morosely drunk Damon burning all remnants of his mother’s existence, he’s not aware of the steps Val and Stefan have taken. But that doesn’t stop Julian from trying to make a move to end Damon for all his smart talk about Jul’s dearly departed love, whom Damon could not miss less. “I would’ve killed you on-site if it weren’t for your mother.

If we’re not seeing him and he was abducted, I’m guessing it’s not good. [Laughs] Twitter went crazy last week when there was the mention of Damon being infected with werewolf venom. They’ve been together for an extremely long time and it seems that they’re a couple that has probably had their fair share of fights over the years. Julian shows up at the Salvatore Boarding House, tells Damon that “Lily’s love for her children was toxic,” and then tries to kill both her sons at once. The sneak peek for the next episode, which’ll air on Jan. 29, 2016 as the CW moves “TVD” to Fridays, shows that Caroline and Bonnie are going to do their best to salvage the lives of the Salvatores (and, of course, the flash-ahead sneak peeks remove all mystery from their pending survival).

Caroline, fresh from visiting her mother’s grave and having not-really-a-baby-mama drama all episode, shows up as Stefan is standing over Damon’s body. He’s upset because it was his fight; Damon wanted him to let it go, but Stefan couldn’t, and he got his brother trapped in a prison world because of it. Reintroducing the babies back into Alaric’s life as a way of saying all hope is not lost was something that we had talked about quite a lot before we started breaking this season, feeling what he went through was so horrific and so awful that we wanted to give him just a sliver of hope.

So we started playing with the idea of how those babies could have survived based on what happened at that wedding and we came up with this great pitch that we were going to explore via another character who we’ve never met before. We had to talk through all the emotional implications of that and realized that it gave us so much more opportunity than we’d even had in the first place. Like I said at the top, this was meant to be an powerful cliffhanger, but the problem is we’ve seen Damon and Stefan in the future: We know they get out of the prison world. At any given point you could realize that your key players are ready to move on, like what Nina [Dobrev] decided to do last year, or you could start to break a season and realize that you don’t know where to go.

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