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The Vampire Diaries is an American fantasy-drama television series which was first broadcast on The CW from 2020 to 2020, airing 171 episodes over 8 seasons. Great characterisation, excellent storylines, fantastic strong lead female and well paced. So, next summer, will there be a. The Vampire Diaries season 1 episodes list: Episode #1: Pilot (air date: 2020-09-10) In the series opener, a Virginia high-school student, Elena, falls for a new boy in class who is actually a centuries-old vampire struggling to live peacefully among humans.
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I am 23 years old, live in San Diego, and make $18/hr working as a fundraiser
My parents pay for my food and don’t charge me rent (for now) since I am home and taking care of my family. My finances are in a weird place because I don’t spend money on much right now, but prepandemic I was in a relationship so my expenses looked different then (spent a lot on restaurants, entertainment, and gas) so it’s hard to predict what my budget will look like when I go back to where I normally live. I am privileged to have the support of my parents even though I am also supporting them through labor. I don’t mention it much in the diary but I make all my mom’s food, take her to appointments, and do whatever she needs when she asks. I hope this peek into the life and finances of someone who is in a weird life transition is interesting and will be a cool reflection for when I get back on track.
Section One: Assets and Debt
Retirement Balance: $0 (planning to open a Roth IRA end of this yeaearly 2021 once I beef up my emergency fund)
Savings account balance: $~12,000 (although 10,000 is earmarked for student loan repayment when interest starts on January 1) For now, I have it sitting in a HYSA and plan to save up an additional $3,000 for emergencies before starting a retirement account.
Checking account balance: $500
Credit card debt: $0 pay in full every month - put almost all expenses on card to earn rewards but never spend more than I earn
Student loan debt: currently $10,000 for a BA in history. Was $19,000 when I graduated a year and a half ago but I used all my savings from working in college to pay a chunk off and eliminate some of the mental burden. Currently plan to pay the rest off when repayment starts next year. Curious if anyone has thoughts on the possibility for loan forgiveness in the near future? Would hate to pay it off and then have debt be forgiven soon after.
Section Two: Income
Income Progression: I've been working as a fundraiser since my sophomore year of college. I started out at $11/hour and was promoted several times to earn $14/hour when I graduated.
My current job pays $18/hour and I was told a couple of months ago at my annual review that the president would be evaluating raises in a couple of months (meaning now? I think?) and that my manager would advocate for a merit raise for me but to not get my hopes up as COVID has impacted non-profits substantially.
Main Job Monthly Take Home:
$2,700 per month. I selected to have my benefits be included in my paycheck rather than put in a 403b (with no matching opportunities) or health insurance since I’ll stay on my parents plan until I’m 26.
Side gig: I occasionally will receive money for participating in focus groups for movies that haven’t been released yet. It’s not much, maybe $30/month and I do it more as a hobby than for any payment.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent: $1,200 per month for a private bedroom/bathroom/patio with two other housemates. Have been paying rent even though I moved back in with my parents since mid-April. I spoke with my landlord and got permission to break my lease a month early and get my security deposit back but that’s not until next month. My parents have not been charging me rent while I have been home, but will start making me pay a small “rent” (probably $400 which was the equivalent of groceries and take out I was spending pre-COVID) when my lease is up but we haven’t agreed on a firm number yet.
Savings contribution - whatever is left in my bank account after paying rent
Donations- I will occasionally donate to the nonprofit I work for, but don’t have room in my budget for regular contributions. I had emailed an animal shelter about volunteering weekly but then COVID happened and I never heard back. Looking to be more involved when my life gets more normal.
Electric: $0 rental uses solar panels
Other utilities: ~$55/month
Cellphone: $0 parents pay
Subscriptions: This money diary forced me to see if I still had Amazon Prime and yep - it charged me and I didn’t know. $119/year and I asked for a reminder before it renews so next year I won’t make the same mistake. I mooch off my parents for Netflix, was gifted a Hulu subscription last year, and refuse to pay for music streaming.
Car payment / insurance : I drive a car that is as old as I am. No payments and to be honest I don’t know what I pay for insurance? It is an expense I pay for myself, though. In the pandemic I fill up my tank maybe once a month but pre-pandemic it was every 2 weeks or so.
Regular therapy: $0. I go weekly but since it’s a telehealth appointment my insurance covers the copay (would be $30 if it was in-person)
Day 1 Monday
7:00 - Wake up and drink iced coffee. I have a convoluted way of making it which includes making hot coffee in a Keurig, putting it in the fridge, and then moving it in to the freezer for another 20 minutes before drinking it. The crazy thing is that I have a cold brew filter, but it is sitting in a bag in the closet with other thing my ex-boyfriend gave me back when we broke up. I chat with my mom in the morning until I need to start work.
8:30 - clock in to my job and start work.
10 - have a staff meeting through Zoom. So stressful even though I never have to talk. It’s a lot of effort even though all I have to do is sit and listen. My office has the mindset that if your camera is off then your internet must not be working and something is wrong.
11:45 - make a chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie for my mom and myself. I’m doing an informal IF diet which basically means I really try to avoid eating breakfast on weekdays. I don’t get hungry until much later most days anyways so it’s not a hardship. I also get anxious as I’m packing up to leave about leaving my mom alone for half the day. She hasn’t been alone this long in awhile and I hope I’ve thought through all the stuff that I should do for her before I leave.
12 - make the hour drive to my office to pick up a huge pile of letters and envelopes that I need to stuff for my job. Blast the radio and sing along so that my voice is hoarse when I get to the office. My job has been cool that I had to move away to quarantine and make any trips to the office optional for me. I still go whenever I can because I need the break and I want to be a team player.
2 - have a check-in call with my supervisor. I give her a brief overview of my homelife right now so she understands why I might need more notice before traveling for work. She is incredibly supportive and reaffirms that as long as I’m getting my work done, it doesn’t matter the timing and I can be flexible with my hours. As an hourly employee working from home during the pandemic, I occasionally feel guilty about clocking-in but then not realistically being able to start working for another hour or so. Her reassurance that it’s okay makes me feel better. She also suggests looking into FMLA if things with my mom ever get worse.
3:30 - Stop by Del Taco for a snack while dropping off donation solicitation letters to companies. ($5.37 for a large fry, a shitload of hot sauce, and a small Cherry Coke, but guilty pleasure food is priceless imo)
4:30- Get home the same time my dad does. My mom did well on her own.
6:00 - my dad and I team up to make a meal kit meal of chicken and vegetables. Is surprisingly yummy even though I messed up the crema big time. Turns out a tablespoon of water makes a big difference when it was only supposed to be a teaspoon…
7:00 - family has been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer at dinner for the past month and a half. Currently on season 3. Eat some hot cheetos as a dessert
8:30- take a long shower
9:00- get a message from my group of long distance friends. We have a “Virtual Sleepover Series” where we FaceTime every two weeks and have a designated topic to talk about before hand. One person hosts and preps the questions before hand. I find out that next week’s topic will be anything and everything sex. Excited to hear about my friends’ thoughts and experiences, but am nervous that I’ll have to do this call in my car so my parents don’t hear me! This seems well thought out though and my friend that is hosting even created a google form so that we can ask her questions anonymously and she can spend the time to research them.
10:30 - fall asleep
Day 2 Tuesday
6:45 - wake up unusually anxious with nothing to attribute it to.
8:00 - finally get out of bed and make coffee. I notice that my jaw hurts and put 2 and 2 together that I must have been clenching my jaw in my sleep. clock in to work.
10:00 - Put a castor oil blend in my hair and distribute it through until it’s practically dripping in oil. Once a week I like to do this and pick a day when I don’t have any Zoom calls so I can be a greaseball. I tie up my hair and let it marinate and then wash it out at night.
12:45 - do a masked up drive to a local deli to pick up sandwiches for my mom and I. My workload has increased dramatically at work the past few weeks and it’s been hard for me to handle. I do a lot of manual data entry and take it personally when my mistakes come back to me. My supervisor checks in with me on my workload and I admit to her how stressed I am about the amount of human error. She is a saint and reminds me that I’m doing a good job and that our organization is a team and has checks in place so that if one person makes a mistake, another will catch it so nothing bad can happen. I’m not usually so stressed at work so the fact that my supervisor has had to do so much morale boosting for me is unusual but I’m really thankful to have her. I get back from the deli and my mom notices that my skin has broken out in red splotches. My skin is so fair that any time I’m emotional it’s super evident and I can’t hide it. ($26.30 for two people but my mom Venmo’s me the full amount)
3:00 - I eat the last of the hot cheetos and drink my first ever La Croix. Find out that pamplemousse isn’t a gibberish marketing word for a flavor but actually means grapefruit. Mind blown.
3:30 - stuff some of the envelopes that I picked up yesterday while watching The Home Edit on Netflix.
5:15 - stop working for the day. Go on an hour long walk while listening to a podcast by a comedian.
6:00- drive to pick up dinner for my family and eat pasta and salad. Watch Buffy
8:00 -wash out the oil that’s been in my hair all day and do a hair mask in the shower and put some more oil in my hair post-shower while it’s damp. It’s very silky and happy.
8:30 - listen to ASMR on Youtube since today has been a particularly stressful day and read on my laptop until I go to sleep around 11pm.
Day 3 Wednesday
8:00 wake up refreshed and make iced coffee.
8:30 clock-in to work and tackle more of the envelope stuffing.
10:00 - My organization has a big one-day fundraiser today and we have already met our goal. I get more tasks relating to this event that are time sensitive. Oh joy.
11:00- am starving and can’t wait another hour. Eat the second half of my pasta from last night and eat a bunch of baby carrots to round it out.
1pm - eat a slice of leftover pizza we had from sunday night. Bring a La Croix with me into the bedroom and shut the door so I can make calls while my mom watches murder mysteries loudly in another room. Make a bunch of thank-you calls to donors.
5:00 - after stuffing envelopes for a couple of hours, I call it a night and go for a walk. Listen to Brene Brown while I’m walking. She is a quarantine discovery for me and I am so glad I’ve found her. I have always loved consuming self-help material and she balances the academia side with humor and realism so well.
6:00- Help my dad make another meal-kit dinner. It’s really tasty and we watch Buffy and have a good night together.
8:30- take a shower and hop in bed. I get out my laptop and do some job searching. I like that my job has purpose and is meaningful but I need a job with more social interaction with people my age. I’m the youngest person there by 10 years and it’s hard to connect when everyone is in a different phase of life than me. Also, my role is more data driven than anything and I’ve realized how much I dislike it.
Fall asleep around 10:30
Day 4 Thursday
6:45 - get up a little earlier than usual and make coffee. Today my hours are pushed back by an hour because I have a meeting planned that goes until 6 and they discourage overtime. I spend the extra hour in the morning working on my resume and job searching.
9:30 - clock in to work and prepare for a meeting.
11am - have a department meeting via Zoom that goes relatively well. I never have much to contribute to these meetings because I don’t have the experience to add much to anything that isn’t directly part of my role. I am working on speaking up a little more in meetings, especially because I think it would help my case for a raise.
12- make nachos for my mom and I with refried beans and a lot of hot sauce. So tasty but I feel so bloated afterwards. Maybe not the best decision after all…
12:30- get back to work and finally finishing stuffing all the letters! Check my phone to see that my grandma is beating me at Words With Friends.
5:00- have the meeting where all I have to do is stay on mute the whole time and take notes. Is a crack up when a leader of the community is speaking and her young son is in the background stripping. He started fully dressed and is in his underwear running around by the end. I do not envy the life of parents who have to balance work and home.
6:00 my dad gets back from work and brings home dinner. I get breakfast for dinner with biscuits and gravy with home fries and a piece of chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert. A carb dream… Watch Buffy as per usual.
8:30 get the urge to check my ex’s social media. Instead, I look up articles about why you shouldn’t look at ex’s social media. A line about not spending the energy on someone who is not in your life really resonated with me. I think about how I’ve been waiting for the right time to give my ex something of his that was left with me. There will never be a right time. I text him to see if he needs the thing back. He doesn’t but it turns into a conversation about our feelings. We were each other’s first significant relationship and broke up still loving each other but he was not emotionally available to continue a serious relationship. We had a period after we broke up where we texted and saw each other but then it fell apart when he asked if I was okay with a FWB situation. That really hurt me and we hadn’t talked since. He tells me that he wants to stay connected with me but that it’s hard to reach out because he feels really guilty about mistakes he made. Going to have to unpack this conversation in therapy…but feel weirdly better because the angry silence was eating me up and so even a hard conversation gives me closure.
Day 5 Friday
7:30 wake up and make coffee, the usual routine
8:30- clock-in and start typing up the minutes from the meeting last night.
11- my mom needs me to take her to a weekly doctor’s appointment. I load up her wheelchair in the car and drive her. I drink La Croix while I’m in the car waiting for her. We pick up lunch from an Italian place on the way back and I drop off the letters at the post office. We get home and watch an episode of the Home Edit while eating lunch. I had these hours blocked in my calendar as unavailable but I still get urgent work messages. Luckily I’m not too busy while I’m waiting around so I can answer them. ($30 for two but my mom Venmo’s me in full)
2- make some more thank you calls and have some calls with colleagues as well.
2:30- get a text from my therapist that she has a doctor’s appointment and has to reschedule our appointment that would have started in 2.5 hours from now. I sort of take it as a compliment that she doesn’t think of me as a flight risk, but it seems pretty unprofessional as a therapist to cancel so last minute. Every session I’ve had with her, she is either 5 minutes late or needs to reschedule. I like her as a person but am starting to get a weird feeling about her inability to schedule.
4:30- was supposed to have a Netflix party with some friends to watch The Devil All the Time tonight. I get a text that it is being rescheduled until next week. People are just in the mood to reschedule on me, I guess!
5- finish up work and take a walk since I don’t have to go to therapy anymore. Listen to another comedy podcast.
6- get back and help my dad with a meal-kit dinner. Pre-my mom being sick, my dad did zero cooking so having to cook is a new experience for him. He gets easily overwhelmed and when it gets time to plate the dinner he freaks out and storms off to the living room. I finish the dinner and we eat and watch Buffy and pretend like nothing happened.
8:00 - take a shower and work on job searching. Go to sleep around 10:30.
Day 6 Saturday
7am- wake up and in the mood to get coffee. I can hear that my family is up and I try and see if my dad can sneak away for a leisurely drive to go to a far-away Dunkin’ in our pajamas. There ends up being a lot of negotiating and a grocery store trip is tacked on to the outing so I hop in the car in a bad mood. Nothing a massive coffee and a cake donut can’t fix.
8:30 - watch Buffy in the morning (this is as exciting as my pandemic life gets).
10am- go through my parents’ produce drawer in the fridge and throw away a massive amount of spoiled food. I’m coming from the broke college student mindset and can’t imagine buying so much food that I’ll never eat. I don’t buy the food (although I do help plan the meals) so I have learned to pick my battles. Still sad as I throw way a grocery bag full of food.
12:30- notice my hands are shaking from the caffeine and lack of food. Make myself a sandwich with prosciutto and blueberry chèvre, all ingredients from Trader Joe’s. Would normally put spinach in there to round it out but that was something that went bad.
1:30-type up my Money Diary. During this time of instability and life transitions, personal finance has been a source of comfort as something that I can control and is forward-thinking. I consume a lot of personal finance content on Youtube and Reddit and it makes me happy. As I type I start to get worried that I include identifying information. True story: a few months ago I was looking around a niche professional subreddit and was reading a post about salaries. Based on the identifying information and the username of a comment I figure out that I had found my manager’s Reddit account and read what she said her salary is. This is how I know that there’s room in my organization for me to get a raise - thanks Reddit!
3:30- see that I got paid yesterday and move $1,000 to my HYSA.
4- Go on an hour and a half walk with my dad. He shows me a new path and we chit chat.
6- Make a meal-kit dinner and watch Buffy. I drink a couple glasses of wine while making and eating dinner and get buzzed and super goofy. I run to make a bag of popcorn and promptly spill half of it on the floor like a giggly idiot. My parent’s dog looks at me in disbelief that he gets to eat so much popcorn.
8:30- still giggly, I put on a clay face mask while my mom has on a sheet mask and we try and talk while our faces are practically immobile. It’s a nice moment and I enjoy it but it’s sad that I’ve had so few of these moments lately. I start overanalyzing why that is and catch myself before I start down the rabbit hole and try to enjoy it for what it is.
10- go to bed with smooth skin and a happy family
Day 7 Sunday
8:30- wake up, make scrambled eggs for the family while my dad makes bacon. I make my iced coffee.
I spend most of the morning applying to a couple of jobs and tracking my application for others I’ve already sent in.
12:30- my dad grabs lunch and I get a California burrito. Food coma commences.
1- A friend texts me to ask for tips about how to negotiate a raise as a department. At my previous job, I wrote a letter to my manager signed by my whole department asking for a collective raise. It worked. I am still extremely hesitant to give any advice that isn’t sharing what I did because I realize my situation was extremely unusual. I’d hate to say something that causes her to put her job at risk.
3- Go on a walk even though it’s 90 degrees and listen to another podcast episode. I start feeling really sad about the monotony of my days. I am trying to find things to spice up my days, but my whole family is high-risk so I have to be really conservative with how I choose to be in public. It doesn’t help that I occasionally read things online that refer to time right now as post-pandemic. What world are they living in?
5- I shower and start making dinner. Tonight it’s a southwestern fish taco and coleslaw. We don’t watch Buffy! We watch Father of the Bride instead.
10 - go to bed and ward off the Sunday Scaries.
At the end of each day please tally up your daily expenses. Then at the end of your diary please tally up all expenses in the following categories:
Food - $5.37 wow, that’s really it.
Lastly, reflect on your diary! How do you feel about your spending? Was this a normal week for you? Has this inspired you to make changes or has it given you a “wow I’m doing pretty good” confidence boost? Is there anything you’re actively working on? No need to answer any or all these questions but just use this space to write any thoughts you have!
This is accurate for what I have been spending during the pandemic with my family. I will spend money on clothes maybe once a month but that’s max $60. Prepandemic, I was spending about what I was making with bills and debt repayment. I am grateful to have a family to lean on during hard times and that they feel like they can lean on me. This exercise made me realize that I do more than what I give myself credit for. In my mind, all I do is work and eat. I am using this time in limbo to really evaluate what my values are and set myself up for success when I can start going back out into the world again. I want to be in a job that makes me happier and surround myself around friends that I feel really close to. I’ve been reading R29 MDs for years but have moved to Reddit for more personal finance knowledge. It gives me some reassurance that I have the means to accomplish what I want. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions, financially or otherwise. Thank you for reading!
TVD: A Color Analysis
This might seem like low-hanging fruit, but the inaugural season of The Vampire Diaries positively drips with red in a way its successors do not. If you go back and watch you’ll notice a slightly different camera filter, which gives prominence to a lot of grays and other washed-out tones (probably a consequence of the show’s early goal to capitalize on the entertainment boom that was late-2000s adolescent angst), so the presence of red always stands out. I mainly think back to the pilot for my justification of this one; from Elena’s iconic outfit—you know the one, with the rolled up leather jacket sleeves, low-waisted flare jeans, and a red top—to the deep reds of the lockers, letter jackets, and cheerleading uniforms of the high school. Our attention is also drawn to blood, in an innocent and introductory way not seen on later seasons, when blood is constantly being both voluntarily and involuntarily spilled; during Elena and Stefan’s meet-cute in the graveyard she scrapes her knee, the bright red blood immediately commands the mise en scène. Over the course of the season, the show gets less cheesy and grows into itself, but the deeply contrasting reds remain—I think of Vicki covered in blood in her red vampire costume, the drops of blood on Harper’s dusty grey jacket that allows him to escape the tomb, etc. Personally, I always preferred the visual vibe of TVD compared to the bizarre high-contrast and blinding whites of the first Twilight movie, but much of season one finds a happy middle ground.
Season 2: Grey
This one is probably the most difficult for me to explain. I suppose werewolves, to which we are first introduced in season two, are gray, but there’s definitely more to it than that. The whole season, in my opinion, feels very anxious and dread-filled once it’s revealed that Klaus is coming, so in memory I view it as sort of a descent into darkness from the previous season. Old, worn stone features prominently, from the roughly hewn rock of the Lockwood cellar where Tyler turns for the first time to one of my favorite scenes in the whole series: Damon walking away past the tombstones after Jenna’s funeral, knowing he’s about to die. I think the general structure of the season also contributes to my perception of its overall color; after the initial drama with Mason and Katherine, the plot turns to the inevitable arrival of Klaus, who we don’t even actually see until episode 19. I feel as though this simultaneously focused yet uncertain footing of the characters may contribute to my “grey” impression. Like I said, this was difficult to explain, so if you disagree with my take, let’s discuss!
Season 3: Brown
Hear me out on this one. I originally remembered season three as sort of a dark red, but after rewatching more recently I was struck by the rich chestnut and mahogany colors that dominate many of the episodes. The Salvatore mansion at night, lit beautifully by perfectly dusky amber lights, is what I associate with most of this season (perhaps because of the one scene where Damon and Elena are in each other’s faces arguing in front of the fire and they both look so hot and every time I watch it I futilely scream “KISS! KISS! KIIISSS!” at the TV), and also the Mikaelson mansion when they have the party—plus Elena’s dress omg—and Esther tells Elena her plan. This is by far my favorite season of the show, not just because of its superbly consistent writing being able to maintain essentially a single antagonist for the whole duration, but also the deep, engrossing character-building that occurs, both with the main gang and the Mikaelson family, much of which takes place in gorgeous dark-wood houses with impeccable mood lighting. Another significant brown element is bourbon, the basis of Damon and Alaric’s beautiful friendship that culminates with the “final” drink they have together in the cemetery. Also, I don’t know if Nina’s hair or eyes have ever looked better, and they are the deepest brown of all. Richness is par for the course in season three, so to me it makes sense that it’s brown.
Season 4: Blue
Blue is easy for me personally to ascribe to season four, but more difficult to justify. I suppose it’s cheating, but when I think about the season I always return to the scene at the end of the season three finale, when Elena’s body is lying in the morgue before she comes back to life, a deeply somber and blue aesthetic. This continues throughout the season, a great deal of which feels much colder and “cleaner” than those preceding it. The several episodes that take place on the Nova Scotia Cure island certainly contribute to this, with the rather bleak, stark climate of northern North America accentuating the dark blues and blacks worn by the characters. I also frequently think of the Miss Mystic party scene, with all of the blue suits and the water of the lake that Klaus and Caroline walk next to (and what a cute scene with them too oml); the episode in which Damon takes humanity-less Elena to New York, and when Elena and Rebekah track Katherine to the town where she’s hiding out. If I think about it, some of the blueness might again come from the structure of the season, which in contrast to season three is more scattered and piecemeal, so I guess my brain connects it all in a colder way.
Season 5: Yellow
Season five begins in the bright heat of summer, opening with Elena’s monologue about how she’s had the best summer of her life as “Unbelievers” plays and sunlight streams through the windows. My thoughts also frequently turn to the scene in which Stefan and Elena are trapped in Qetsiyah’s house; as she explains to them why she created the Other Side, everything is drenched in bright yellow light. Additionally, the flashbacks to Ancient Greece have a yellowish camera filter. To me, the whole season has a sort of whimsicality to it that wasn’t really present before; multiple plot lines are opened and closed over its duration, everyone is spread between Whitmore and Mystic Falls (perhaps the beginning of the larger geographic scope of the show that especially grows in season seven) so to me things feel lighter, freer, sunnier; yellower. A lot of the Whitmore scenes are also particularly yellowish; the costume party scene, for example, as well as the flashbacks to Damon and Enzo’s tenure at Augustine.
Season 6: Dark Red / Maroon
The majority of this season takes place at Whitmore and its medical school after Mystic Falls becomes uninhabitable for many of the main characters, where the students, including Elena, wear polos that are dark red or maroon (I’m not good with color names, we’ll go with dark red for the sake of the following point). This is most likely the main source of my pick, but I think the dark red motif works thematically as well, representing a season that returns to many of the aspects that fans loved about season one—while I don’t see this connection as strongly as others, I’ve heard it from several friends who have watched the show and disliked seasons four and five—but with a darker and more mature lean. I think it also captures both the chaos and the intense grief that saturate the final two episodes: there’s plenty of bright, fresh blood spilled, but it’s frequently imbued with the shadowy weight of so much tragedy and loss that has come before.
Season 7: Orange
This one is obvious, at least to me. The majority of season seven deals, directly and indirectly, with the Phoenix Stone, which until its real name is known is often called the “Hell stone.” In contrast to the “real” Hell discovered in season eight, the “Hell” of the Phoenix Stone is fiery and confrontational, repeatedly assaulting its occupants with their worst fears and insecurities. The Phoenix is a remarkably fitting metaphor for many aspects of season seven. After Elena’s departure the show needed to drastically change to sustain itself, essentially being reborn from the ashes; characters repeatedly atone for and redeem themselves of their sins; even the three-year period between the present and the flash-forwards in which Damon desiccates feels like its own death in a way. Fire itself is a constant motif as well, from Damon’s hallucinated cremation of Elena’s body to the burning of Mystic Falls while it suffers under Julian’s control. Season seven was far from my favorite at first, but after several rewatches I’d name it as my second favorite after three; it's very different, a necessity after Nina’s leaving, but still feels like the same show despite the greatly expanded geographic setting and the jarring juxtaposition of the flash-forwards.
Season 8: Green
Season eight is a polarizing but undeniably visually gorgeous season that wraps up the show with what is probably its most grandiose plot arc. The initial scenes with Damon and Enzo in Sibyl’s warehouse are bathed in a dank, sickly green glow, contributing to the overall atmosphere of misery and desolation that hovers over the first half of the season. This reaches its height with Damon’s murder of Tyler, a senseless act that sets the tone for the rest of the episodes and introduces a theme of uncompromising mortality. Tyler’s funeral is beautifully shot, saturated in the deep greens of the forest and the light dappling through the leaves. The blacks of the gang’s suits and other funeral attire are sublimely tinted by this green, a motif that features heavily in episode nine’s Miss Mystic pageant scenes. This is fitting, because the green I associate with season eight always leans toward black, the cold, sharp darkness evoked by the visuals and descriptions of Hell.