Vampire Diaries Season Six Finale Recap – Goodbye Elena, Hello Steroline

I have a hard time letting go. Of people. Of moments of time. Of things I love. Even TV shows, as silly as they may sound. When they’re over — for the season or for good — I am usually stuck in those last moments for a little while, thinking, processing. And just when I think to myself “Ok D, time to move on, you’re being silly,” I think no. That’s what they are about. Shows, and books, and movies, and music, they are meant to make us feel. To think. To watch and question and discuss the lives of others because in doing so, we may better understand ourselves, our own lives, and the world around us. Yeah, TV does that, at least for me.

Say what you will but TV has turned out some of the most powerful performances I’ve seen on a screen, TV or silver.  The end scene from last year’s season finale of The Originals. The series finale of Being Human, when Aidan gets his door. The closing sequence of Lost’s grand exit. Those were some of the most thought provoking, heart wrenching moments for me.  And that’s just a few that I like. There are countless others, but those are a few that no matter when I watch get me every. single. time.

So, what’s the most recent finale to grab my heart? Last week’s finale of The Vampire Diaries, “I’m thinking Of You All the While.” Saying Goodbye to Elena …I will admit, it got to me. And not just because we were saying goodbye to Nina Dobrev, but because we were saying goodbye to that chapter of the series (and some will say the series ultimate demise because which show can go on with the exit of its main character) and moving on to a new one.  It will no doubt be a new show without its main character, and after the traumatic events at Jo and Alaric’s wedding, I’m curious how the show can go anywhere but into darkness. I have always loved the Salvatore brothers and do think their story is at the heart of the show, so it’s anyone’s bet really.

I’m into this show. And no, not in that “I am almost 40 and think I am a teen” kind of way. I am into it because it’s a really, really good show. Julie Plec is an amazing writer and has done a great good job over the past six years turning this little show that could, into a dramatic, exciting, heart warming, sad, comedic, and emotional program that makes the lives of vampires and witches and werewolves something you can’t help but watch. You want the characters to find their slice of happiness. You wanted Elena to be human again. You wanted Damon to save Bonnie, even though it meant saying goodbye to his soul mate for the next 60+ years. You wanted Stefan to proclaim his love for Caroline, and for Tyler to trigger his werewolf curse and move on. And Kai – the villain we loved to hate – we wanted him to die, but knew it meant that with it, meant having no way of freeing Elena from his spell unless it meant the death of her best friend. And the goodbye scenes between Elena and her friends… So. Many. Feels.  Each a throwback to some of the shows first moments.

Damon and Elena’s last scene together, that dance…what can I say. I had a lump in my throat. It was everything we wanted for these two since their first dance back in season one. It was the moment of tenderness between two who fought hard to be together and when it mattered most, wanted just one more dance to be together before having to say goodbye for what would feel like forever. But we know it wasn’t  forever. Just a few decades. Or until Bonnie dies. And since Ms. Dobrev has left the show, that’s most likely when the series comes to a close since Kai snuck in that sneaky little clause that if anyone tried to break it, both would die.  (But on a side note for a moment: if anyone did want to try to break it, I know of two powerful witches over on The Originals who despite being relegated to ash will most likely reappear again sometime, as always, and hey, they could try their magic on Klaus’ spell. They are the mother of witches and vampires after all). But back to the dance…It was beautifully shot and the music, Ross Copperman’s Hunger – so perfect. Not to mention, a sneak peek at the next epic love that will pull us in, Stefan and Caroline. Wow, how far has this show come in six years for that to happen.

I know there are many who will stop watching – without Dobrev there’s no triangle, no Katherine Pierce, no love for Damon to center his every action around. But I am. I want to know where Julie Plec will take us. With the introduction of Heretics (vampire/witch hybrids) we know she is capable of taking us somewhere  we never thought possible – I mean really, she figured out the perfect way to allow Nina Dobrev her exit and not by killing the character. And then there’s TVD’s spin-off The Originals. That show is incredible.. And with the focus being on the Salvatore brothers — their  at the heart of the show for me, since the beginning — it’s anyone’s bet really. I think we’re in for quite a ride.

Until next fall, you can find me listening to the season six soundtrack and watching that exquisite dance over and over, thinking of it “All the While.”

Being Human has heart – Series Finale Recap

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It’s only been a few days since I finished the fourth and final season of SyFy’s Being Human. I didn’t catch it when it first returned earlier this year so like I’ve done with countless shows before, I recorded the rest of the season, patiently waited for a marathon to catch the first couple I missed, and then binge watched once I had every episode.

That was last week.

It’s a  new week, and I’m still a melancholy mess.

It’s like GoT’s “Red Wedding” all over. Except happier.

To say I’m having a hard time letting go is a bit of an understatement. The last season was just that good and I can’t believe it’s over. Maybe if I had watched over the course of thirteen weeks, it would be easier to say goodbye to the little SyFy hit that captured my heart. But no, I power watched. I lived season 4 in only a few hours and I didn’t have each week to process what was happening. So sigh…I have to do it here, before my heart runs astray and I’m stuck in La La Land for another week.

What can I say about this last season other than it was absolutely incredible – full of solid writing, standup acting from the series’ stars Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, and Kristen Hager, and chalk full of surprises, clever twists, and stunningly beautiful story wrap ups for its characters. It was so much more than I thought it was capable of. They really pulled out all the stops and the last season with many scenes that took my breath in powerful, unexpected ways. Unlike many series finales over the years, I’m not left wondering what could have been had the show continued for another season or two because it went out on top with sublimely perfect moments for the show’s couples Josh and Nora, and Aidan and Sally. And from what I understand, this is exactly what the cast wanted for this last season, ever since it was announced early last year that this season would be its last.

When Being Human began its run in 2011, its unique storyline resonated with audiences. Based on the British show of the same name airing on the BBC 2008– 13, the show explored the friendship among three supernatural roommates – Josh (a werewolf), Aidan (a vampire) and Sally (a ghost), and later Nora (Josh’s finance then wife, also a werewolf), as the four tried to explore the notion of hanging onto their humanity in a supernatural world. It was by far a clever twist on the plethora of supernatural shows hitting around the same time, and after its freshman season, the show proved that yeah, it was an interesting concept worthy of a watch.

I missed a few episodes in the first two seasons, but watched religiously in seasons 3 and 4 as the show delved deeper into exploring the simple question – what is it to be human – as we learned more about Aidan’s past life, the family he lost; Josh and Nora’s try at a normal relationship and then, marriage; and Sally’s return from the other side, only to be cast back again with the ability to travel through time and live at different moments in time, including the one where she was human again – giving her the chance to be with Aidan in every way possible.

Gah! Aidan and Sally. What can you say about them? I love them separately – Meaghan Rath delivering most of the season’s best lines – and I love them together. I loved every episode of season 4 truly, but Episode 8 “Rewind, Rewind” was one of my absolutely favorites. The way it was shot. The storyline. And the scenes between Aidan and Sally were so damn good! Not to mention, there were some really lovely moments between the two couples.

Here, let me just pause and give kudos to the group that scored the last season. The playlist is absolutely incredible; many of the season’s best scenes anchored by incredible music like this gem from Stumbleine, “Beat My Heart Skips (ft. Coma)” featured at the end of Episode 10 when Nora tells Aidan that Sally is in love with him. Or, the scene where Aidan gets his door (one of the most significant moments of the entire series in my opinion) at the end of the penultimate episode featuring “I’m Not Falling Asleep,” by Andy Shauf. And the lovely, lovely end scene backed by Royal Wood’s sublime “You Can’t Go Back.”

What else is there to say about Being Human, the little SyFy show that could, but this: werewolves Josh and Nora were infuriating at times, vampire Aidan self destructive and emo beyond believe at others, and ghost Sally, whose attempts to help always, always backfired! Each had their flaws. Each was forced to live with their supernatural-ness, even though it was not of their own design. Yet despite all of this, I was never annoyed. I never waned. It was a perfect little show and it spoke to my heart in a funny, aching way. The simple silly premise, this SyFy show about four supernaturals, with its modest budget and eclectic actors, turned out to be a wonderful surprise that regardless of story rooted in fiction, reminded us every week at the end of the day, we might not be immortal. We may might not change when the moon is full. We might not become best friends with a ghost. But we live and love and lose, just as Josh, Nora, Aidan and Sally, and that as simple as it sounds, is what it means to be human.

So, let’s end this on a high note. From my episode 9, “Too Far, Fast Forward” – “We Are the Wild Ones,” by Nina.

Sayonara TrueBlood

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Last month’s series finale of HBO’s TrueBlood ended the way it should – Bill six feet under, Eric and Pam immortal partners in crime, and Sookie, well… knocked up and barefoot in Louisiana. It may have differed from the books but for a series that has seen its share of highs and lows, the season and its final episode did the series — which when it first arrived six years ago, rocked us into the supernatural in a sexy, graphic, comedic and crazy way — justice. Series creator Alan Ball and the show’s writers should be proud. Heck, all of us watchers that religiously tuned in the first two solid seasons, weathered the dreadful third and fourth, and hung on through seasons five and six praying it would return to its original magic, should be proud.

All in all, I am pleased with the way the season began and concluded. It was nice to spend time with each character and for our vamp friends, learn more about their life before Bon Temps and in some cases, before immortality. Getting to know Bill better was interesting: who he was in the Old South, a man of honor and charm, helped us to understand his desire for the “Final Death.” Also, while it seemed strange at first, the last episode helped to clarify why exactly it was he needed Sookie be the one to take him there. Giving her the chance to finally be free of Bill Compton and the danger he posed was a nod to his former honorable self. At same time, I did think it was a bit unfair of him to ask that of her. Staking your first and some argue, true love? He had to understand why that would be hard for her.  Nonetheless, thank goodness we got to that point and Bill did have his Final Death because he…was getting annoying. From mysterious, to self righteous, to smarmy…I have never been a fan of the character of Bill Compton and I for one — despite their last moments in the grave together aiming for poignant and touching —  couldn’t help but clap when he died, followed by “Finally. He’s dead. Good riddance, next.” To this point however, let me just say that THAT would have been a perfect ending: Sookie walking out of the cemetery, covered in blood. That last minute or two wrap up (not really an epilogue, but for all intensive purposes, an epilogue), showing what life looks like in the future, was weird and cheesy.

Now Pam and Eric on the other hand – I love them. Let me rephrase that…I LOVE THEM! From the beginning I have been an Eric fan. And no not just because he’s hot, because well, yeah, he is. But because he was interesting, and less annoying than emo Bill; an aggressive, but controlled demeanor with a penchant for sex, driven by a deeply hidden loss that you couldn’t quite put your finger on but knew was there. A balance of extremes portrayed perfectly by the delicious Alexander Skarsgård. Eric’s final scene (before that awkward epilogue) was classic Northman, showing his comedic side – head banging in the Yakuza’s car, with the gang stacked up dead in the backseat. The backseat of their car as he drives it listening to their music! I laughed hard when I saw that, and continue to laugh when I see it now.

I’ve also been a huge fan of Eric’s progeny Pam – her quick, dry wit, and formidable fashion, made her my favorite female character on the show. Her connection to Eric was at times comedic, other times raw; their respect and trust for one another forged over a hundred years. Her barbs were classic, and her rough exterior shaken only when it came to his safety was played with the perfect blend of strength by the gorgeous Kristin Bauer van Straten.

When it came to Eric and Pam I finally got my wish: the chance to see what they were like before Bon Temps, who they had been over the years to each other and others outside their bond, and for curiosity sake, were they ever together together? Through the last season we had small glimpses of the Viking Eric Northman and his Victorian era madam, Pamela Swynford De Beaufort. But it was in the last episode we finally we got a glimpse of just how strong their companionship was. Just what the two had been through together. And the connection shared. A deep bond that not only a vampire has for their progeny, but that which is shared between best friends and sometimes lovers. I KNOW! I was just as surprised to hear of this — albeit a small reference in a string of dialogue with Japan’s Yakuza band — but it was a good surprise, so thank you show writers for satisfying my curiosity. In the last episode it was clear to me their bond was that of trust and admiration and love, yes, a love,  that  no matter what game is played – like Pam claiming the idea for Fantgasia as her own – is returned with not the question of “Do you still love me?” but returned simply with, “Always.”

When you’re immortal, always is a long time.  

Jessica and Hoyt getting back together wasn’t a total surprise. Given Hoyt’s lifelong friendship with Jason I was hoping they would repair that relationship, which they did. So I was glad to see they brought he and Jess back together. It was nice to see a happily ever after there. Proof that even if you’re a bloodsucking vampire, happy endings are possible.

Jason was well, Jason Stackhouse, so he got the girl – not the one we thought show writers were leading us to the entire season – but one that turned him from eternal bachelor into family man. Full circle Stackhouse.

And Sarah Newlin…what else is there to say about the lovely Anna Camp other than she was left standing, albeit it in chains as Pam’s blood whore, her future bleak. A fitting ending some would say.

Last but not least La La…the fabulous Lafayette,  I was glad to see remained standing. He’d been through enough these past six years and deserved some happiness. I was relived to see he rode off into the future, glitter eyeshadow and all, with his lover man in tow.

The rest of the cast was solid throughout the last season, their ending performances sweet, reminding us why we were so excited about the show when it landed back in 2008.  I will miss the show, but glad it came to an end. Better to go out on top than dwindling.

 

 

 

 

‘The Originals’ Season Finale Recap: Life, Love, Loyalty and Hope

A few weeks ago I said I was quitting my blog.

I tried.

It lasted a few weeks.

I’m back.

I don’t like quitting.

So, if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you can thank CW’s show The Originals because they’re the inspiration for my return. How you say? Well, if you watch the show then you know it was incredible – so much so there was no other outlet I could think of to share just how much I loved it than here, and with you, my lovely readers.

So, Nightstand woke up. It was a short nap.

Now, let’s dive in. The Originals….

Anyone who knows me, knows I love stories of the supernatural. I love the supernatural because it’s not real. And we all need an escape from life sometimes. A break from the tough moments. The moments that break you. The moments that test your strength. The moments that remind you how frail humanity can be.

But those moments also teach you. They teach you about yourself. Your strength. Your ability to persevere, no matter how hard the battle. That humanity is incredibly strong and beautiful. And for that reason, I love the supernatural because often the stories centered in the supernatural world are just that: they’re about strength of character, of love, of life. About family. About the ties that bind us and keep us connected, no matter how crazy the world can be. Stories that are, incredibly human.

So yes, life is tough. But it’s also inescapably humbling, and breathtaking, and completely unexpected and beautiful with the most delightful joy in unexpected places.

I enjoy both aspects. I’m a dichotomy. But then again I never promised to be anything else than what I am. And that is someone that laughs, that cries, that loves. I fall, I get up, I move on. I am if nothing, incredibly human.

That’s why last night’s season one finale of The Originals got to me. It reached into my heart and squeezed tight. There was so much life in that one hour — even though witches were squaring off against vampires and werewolves, and plotting the sacrifice of a newborn hybrid, while turning the city of New Orleans into a supernatural war zone —  that at one point I had to pause everything I had seen so far, and catch my breath for the remainder of it.

You may think I’m crazy but any fan of the show knows, last night’s finale was OFF THE HOOK CRAZY GOOD. It answered so many questions, brought so many relationships and story lines full circle. It connected what I thought were loose ends that were due to kinks being worked out in its freshman season and tied everything together perfectly, showing us that every story line, every episode had tracked to this one hour, setting in motion story lines that would unravel next season and well into future ones. For this finale I have to say to producer Julie Plec… Well done, well mother lovin’ done (and that pun on the “mother” was intentional.) You promised it would be mind blowing and well, consider my mind completely blown. There were so many moments that were palpable I actually found myself holding my breath. That scene with Hayley and Hope…. I can’t. even. take it. It hit me like a ton of bricks in a really, really profound way, sending chills up my spine.

In an hour we got to see a monster who has terrorized just about everyone he has ever known, be brought to his knees by his newborn daughter.  We saw a family bond that had been broken, with little hope of repair, mend with new commitment and loyalty.  We learned  the ties that bind us, have the power to bring us back…sometimes even from the dead.

We were also introduced to new characters, the return of some original ones (catch the pun there?), and a feeling of hope, thanks to the arrival of one sweet baby girl of the same name. The episode was sheer poetry and by far, the best episode of the season not to mention, perhaps the best show of all seasons of the Vampire Diaries (its sister show) and The Originals combined.

Now sadly, we must wait to see how everything unfurls next season and I will be left wondering all summer… will Elijah and Hayley finally get together? Will Esther and her son (presumably Finn) make their way out of the bodies they stole and be put out of their misery so sweet baby Hope can return? Will Rebekah return for good (Claire Holt is divine), or will she head to somewhere close say, Mystic Falls, so we can see her lovely face more often? That scene by the way – with Rebekah and Klaus – was sheer magic. Their bond has always been complicated, but the fact he trusts her, above all others to keep his daugher safe, speaks volumes about the soul that lies in the heart of Klaus, reminding you that despite everything they have done, has always, and will always be, for their family.

 

So much to ponder. Let the countdown to next fall begin.

Until then, check out The Originals soundtrack. There’s been some great artists featured this year. Here’s two of my favorites from the finale .

“Open Hands” by Ingrid Michaelson

“Shallows” by Daughter

You blow my mind Banshee…see you in 2015

Banshee-S1-BD_01Banshee is in one word, bad ass.

I started watching the Cinemax original series last year when it first debuted and was hooked after the first episode. The concept — ex-con assumes the identity of the town’s new sheriff (Lucas Hood) to hide from a Ukrainian crime lord named Rabbit — sounded  intriguing, in a TV world that was growing overwhelmingly supernatural. Set in the small town of Banshee in Pennsylvania — amid Amish country and land of fictional Native American tribe, the Kinaho  — the show is what I call a mix The Sopranos, meets Six Feet Under, meets Boardwalk Empire. (A brain child of Alan Ball, I expect nothing less.) Nothing about the seemingly simple premise is what it seems. Banshee creators have managed to do in two ten-episode seasons, what many shows, sans a  few, fail to do in five or more. It keeps you  guessing and on the edge of your seat with high octane action week after week that leaves you tweeting: holy shit! Did that just happen ?!?! 

Everything about Banshee is sublime. The writing is incredible, acting superior, and its ten episode season the right mix of energy and storyline that leaves you breathless, panting for more. I can’t believe Season 2 is over already. Seems like it just started. And when I said leaves you panting, I meant it. Let’s just say, there is plenty of skin… and heat. And tweeting, yes tweeting. Banshee creators have used transmedia storytelling (a concept that’s been talked about for years by PR and marketing folks – like moi!)  to bring the world of Banshee, PA to life, which includes back story content on the show’s characters  on the show’s website (such as video and graphic novel), the main story, and real time engagement from the show’s actors on Twitter every week. Yeah, you heard that right. The  show’s creators and actors actually engage online every week with the group of fans, otherwise known as #fanshees and us girls who dig the show, #fansheegirls.  I sadly missed out on a lot of this activity this season. A busy couple of months meant my Banshee time was relegated to the weekend (and after hours when the 5yo was asleep). However, the team at Banshee and its followers do engage after the show airs and throughout the weekend, so I still got a little engagement. I fully plan to be back next season, Friday night plans be damned!

Let me stop here for a moment to wax poetic about the cast of Banshee. Everyone is great, but Antony Starr (Sheriff Hood), Ivana Milicevic (Carrie/Anna), Ulrich Thomsen (Kai), Frankie Faison (Sugar), Hoon Lee (Job) and Matt Rauch (creepy Clay Burton) take the cake. I can’t say enough about each of them. Each of these actors bring a mix of grit, emotion, and physicality that pushes everything we know of good programs to the limit, delivering beyond excellence. We believe Ivana is Carrie. We believe Starr is Hood. Their pain, and lost years, are our pain and lost years. The time Hood served, every horror he experienced behind bars, we can identify with. And Anna’s ferocity to protect her family – I don’t have to tell any mother out there anything about that because if pushed, we would not just push back but fight and fight hard – and Anna fights with every force of her ability, to protect her children and I identify with that. Its palpable. Its excruciating. Its spine tingling. And I just. can’t. get. enough.

Moments from this season I can’t seem to shake:

  • Episode 5, “The Truth About Unicorns” – this episode had to be one of the most incredible pieces of television I have ever seen (right up there with the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones). Deviating from the madness of Banshee for nearly an entire episode,  Hood and Anna are given a chance to look back and see what life may have been had he not been sent to jail fifteen years ago. A life where they make it out of the crime ridden world they both reside, and live free from Rabbit, free from fear. A world where we finally see what both of them have been thinking about since the show started: a world where he becomes a father, where fifteen years in prison is spent instead, living and laughing and loving.  The way it was shot and the editing was a huge part of what made it feel part of another world, and it underscored my believe that everything about Banshee, in front of the cameras and behind, is superbly done. And while it was meant to be dreamy, the reality check was harsh:  that which was dreamed, never was and will never be. It gave me goosebumps.
  • Emmett and the Loss of Life  – when Emmett’s wife was kicked in the stomach, which lead to her losing their child, I wept silently. To lose  someone you never met, but had high hopes for, no matter the stage of your pregnancy, weeks or months, is a pain you never get over. I also wept for the destruction it caused in Emmett, bringing years of resentment for the society he was born into but would never truly feel he belonged, bubbling to the surface. His actions led to the horribly raw death of both he and his wife. Their beautiful hearts were cut short way too soon and I don’t blame Demetrius Grosse (the actor whom portrays Emmett) from being angry about his character’s death. I would be too. And I was.
  • Kai and His Niece Sitting in a Tree, Hopefully Not K-I-S-S-I-N-G – it sure did look like they were going there. Where? Just where I said, there. And if they really are going there, I can’t. I just can’t. But the view into the whole Amish world is fascinating and the relationship between Kai and his mother is something to explore. And his niece, damn it if in all her freakishness, she isn’t turning into a bit of a Boss herself? Which leads me to Clay.
  • Creepy Clay Burton – I love Matt Rauch. He’s a great actor. And while he says very little (if anything at all), when he’s around, you know it’s not good. So the scene in the hotel room, where he is cleaning up the mess left behind by Kai’s niece’s tryst with Jason Hood? Well its a moment of creepy, but brilliant acting and directing.
  • The Son of Lucas Hood – If the son of the real Sheriff Hood came and went, whose to say the baby mamma isn’t far behind?
  • So Long Alex Longshadow – to be honest, he was a prick. Chief Benjamin Longshadow would  have been better putting his daughter Nola at the head of the tribe. She’s tough, smart, has a set of steel balls that are unlike her brother’s, and she’s gorgeous. However, Alex’s death in the finale seemed random and a bit maniacal and did spur on the return of Chayton Littlestone. And with a first name that is the same as my son’s middle (different spelling, but also Native American in origin and ancestry) he can’t be too bad. Or can he? Dude is vicious. He is bad, and more.
  • The Lives Not Lived of Lucas Hood – In the finale, Lucas’ response of “none really” to Carrie’s question “how many lives have you lived?” begs the question, what else does Hood have in his past. A past that is pre Carrie. Pre Rabbit. Pre prison. Is there a new world we are going to be introduced to now that Rabbit is dead, the secret of Dava’s father is out, and Kai out of prison? We can only guess. And wait.

How many days again until season 3? All I know is we have to wait until 2015. 2015!! Such a long time. What will we do? Oh that’s right, we will wait until the first glimpse of next season starts to circulate next year. Until then, we always have trailers from this season.