Vampire Diaries
We'll Always Have Bourbon Street

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: N/A | 16 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
My Sister's Keeper
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Dear Daughter,

As I worked to find an angle for my "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street" recap, I realized I didn't even want to write it. Watching it hasn't made me immune to all its troubling issues; instead, it has made them all the more glaring.

After I showed you my recaplet on Friday afternoon, you said that you see my point about all the ways in which the male characters wield power over the female characters, but you don't think that is the point of the episode. I had a similar exchange with a young woman (older than you, way younger than I) on Twitter, who sees WAHBS as being more about power in general, rather than male power in particular. She doesn't think the male/female issues are the point.

You are right. She is right. You're both right. You're right, in that the episode isn't about sexual politics. And just as I'm sure Julie Plec and Co. are not raving racists, I'm equally certain they haven't set out to wreak some sexist agenda. That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't disgusting sexual politics on display in WAHBS. It doesn't mean there aren't feminist problems with WAHBS. It overflows with them. That you don't see it -- and that you don't think it matters -- is practically all I can think about. Because right now, I regret that I ever let you watch this show.

Perhaps it was the vampires that first tipped me off, but what Plec et al. are making here is art, not reality. I get that, I do. I more than get it -- I appreciate it. I don't want more reality; I get enough of that in... reality. I don't want them to turn this emotionally complex story into a feminist morality tale.

Furthermore, to my knowledge, Williamson and Plec never set out to do what Joss Whedon did with Buffy -- i.e. set up a pretty little blonde victim from monster movies of yore to take back the night -- so it's not like they're betraying their mission statement. And frankly, I don't mind a little sexism in my fantasy drama. That is to say, because fantasy characters live under impossible circumstances in fantastical worlds, we need some way with which to connect to them. A compelling fantasy drama -- one that works -- should evoke mundane, real-world emotions. Fantasy characters should still be people (not necessarily humans, but people) whose emotions, reactions and responses share something with our own. That's the only way they're going to resonate with us.

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Vampire Diaries

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