In case you haven’t been paying attention, Tatiana is the worst. And not in the God I have to have you no matter what you do Daemon Targaryen way. It’s more in the, why doesn’t someone just leave her in the sun to fry kind of way. If the first four episodes set up the main players, Vampire Academy Episode 5 solidified who we are supposed to hate. As Team Victor, aka Team Lissa, tries to protect their interests and loves, the political landscape gets even murkier. One great fight scene, a declaration of political intention, and the hook-up we all knew was coming highlighted a pivotal midpoint episode.
It should be no surprise to anyone when the council’s decision, influenced by Tatiana’s fear mongering, came back to bite them literary. The training exercise for the top Dhampir candidates was supposed to be an exercise. It should have been a test to see what weaknesses needed to be shored up in the most promising recruits. Instead, it turned into a blood bath and the death of one of the sweetest Guardians. In the aftermath, Tatiana’s faction grew more convinced they were right regardless of the lives lost, and a newly invigorated Victor entered the race for the Monarchy.
The top recruits were all vying to be selected to join the Royal tour. They are in if they can survive the night with their blood packs intact. Unfortunately, the Strigoi unleashed on them isn’t interested in war games. Not only did the council decide at the last minute, but they didn’t even alert the Guardians sent to test the recruits. This set up a disastrous situation resulting in Mikhail’s, among others, death. Tatiana and those who think like her view the Dhampir as dispensable. They are simply tools to be used and thrown away. This dynamic is present before Tatiana but becomes more glaring each day. When the people you depend on to protect you realize you could care less about them, though, it begins to create a rift.
This is especially true when a faction of the Morio led by Lissa and Victor wants fundamental change. When they learn what is happening and can’t stop it, Lissa takes matters into her own hands. Dhampir should protect Morio, but Lissa, Mia, and Christain think differently. Teaming up with lovestruck Mason and broken and abusive Jesse, who is the only one with a car and time on his hands, they set off to be heroes. Unfortunately, they get there too late to save everyone but are able to help Rose and Dimitri. The gorgeous, well-choreographed fight scene was a feast for the eyes. It also revealed Lissa’s growing powers.
As a spirit user, she can compel others and a host of other talents she hadn’t experienced yet. All that changed in Vampire Academy Episode 5, when she displayed her healing powers. She was able to heal Dean and Rose, but Rose is justifiable worried. Since the two women are connected, Rose feels Lissa’s emotions and knows her longtime friend isn’t the same. She is emotionally turbulent, and she could lose control. But, we also know incredible power comes at an incredible price. I wonder what price she will have to pay? For now, she is convinced if St. Vladimir was a savior and a spirit user, it must not be dangerous. I guess, for now, ignorance is bliss.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sonya is devastated after learning of Mikhail’s death and decides she isn’t going to lose another person she loves. She healed Victor, but the experience left her drained and depressed. When she tried to commit suicide, her birds carried her back to safety. The ambiguous scene leaves many questions. Did Sonya try to kill herself, or did she know the birds would save her? Did the birds save her on their own, or did Sonya influence them? Why did they all die? The darkness Sonya talks about isn’t metaphorical. Her eyes literary turn black, and now that Lissa’s powers have developed, so do hers and Rose’s by proxy. How this darkness will affect each of them remains to be seen.
Easily the most interesting characters are the most complex. Rose and Lissa may be the primary protagonists, but Jesse, Mia, Mason, and Meredith have the most potential. Rhian Blundell(Meredith) and Mia McKenna-Bruce(Mia) have a fascinating romance blossoming. Meredith is so controlled and tough, while Mia is unbridled rage, resentment, and rebellion. When Jesse tries to bully Meredith, Mia uses her magic to strangle him. She will have to answer for her indiscretion but watching it was fun.
I predict Jesse will have the most satisfying character arc. The bad boy with uncontrollable anger issues and a massive cowardly lion complex is ripe with possibilities. Joseph Ollman’s (Jesse) square jaw is bruising to be broken or strengthened. I’m betting on the latter. He will get a redemptive arc similar to Steve on Stranger Things. I’m not suggesting he becomes a saint, but I do think he will reveal more layers as the season progresses. Ollman plays the abused young man with such simmering emotion you know he is a ticking time bomb.
Unfortunately, that means that poor sweet Mason may be headed for the funeral pyre. This series has already shown a propensity to sacrifice the kindest of their own, and after Mason’s selfless and heartbreaking declaration to Rose, things don’t look good for him. Despite the desperation of his words Andrew Liner(Mason) keeps things from being too cloying. Now that Dimitri and Rose have given in to their desires, there isn’t much need for Mason other than audience manipulation.
Dimitri and Rose aren’t the only ones to find themselves in bed together. Lissa has decided to marry Jesse to secure her place on the council, which means she and Christian can’t be together. The fire magic specialist has proven himself effective in a fight and well balanced. Lissa needs him even if she doesn’t realize it yet.
Vampire Academy Episode 5 set up many pieces that can be used in future plot beats. There is a coming war, and it won’t be pretty. Let’s hope Lissa and Sonya learn to use their power for good without losing themselves in the process. Find all our Vampire Academy coverage here. New episodes are released weekly on Peacock.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.