This guilty pleasure has fangs. Vampire Academy Episode 6 proved it isn’t content to be a young adult romance with supernatural creatures. Instead, the personal dynamics and political machinations took center stage this week, and the drama is heating up because of it. Peacock’s fantasy romance series is really good and only getting better.
Everyone is still reeling from the aftermath of the test that was a little too real. Rose is struggling with the death of her friend. Mikhail deserved better. It’s not just that he died unnecessarily. It is that Rose had to be the one to put him down, and now she is being rewarded. Her guilt is eating her alive. She’s supposed to get her Molinija mark for killing her first Strigoi, but the adults seem to forget that the Strigoi she killed was one of their own just minutes before his death. Ultimately Rose ran from the ceremony and refused to take anything positive from his death.
Even Lissa doesn’t understand fully what Rose is going through. They have different life experiences, so they can’t always understand what the other is dealing with. Lissa wants Rose to remember that she saved people by taking Mikhail’s life, but it will take time for her to accept that. At the same time, Lissa is moving forward with her marriage plans. Jesse might be loathsome, but he is her best chance of maintaining political clout and getting information about St. Vladimir. The royal tour gives her the prospect of doing both.
Victor and Mia were set to join her, but Mia’s actions last episode prevented that. In typical Jesse fashion, the troubled manchild with a chip on his shoulder reported her to the council. She was punished for her indiscretion, and Sonya had to take her place. That proved to be a disastrous decision. Victor had hoped to convince everyone that all life is important, whether Dhampir, Royal, or anything else. He wants to push the agenda that Dhampirs aren’t expendable. He has some sympathetic ears, but Sonya’s outburst hurt him.
There are Royals who agree with him, but Tatiana is a virus. Everything that spews from her mouth infects those around her. As much as Victor should have the upper hand being older and more respected, he is losing ground fast. As anyone can tell you fear is a strong motivator. It can strengthen bonds and propel action but also make us act selfishly and rashly. In Vampire Academy Episode 6, it appears it is empowering Tatiana’s group.
Tatiana is quickly becoming one of the scariest vampires in the series. Anita-Joy Uwajeh(Tatiana) is fantastic, showing her shrewd mind at work. She isn’t just amassing power; she is destroying lives. Everyone is at risk. It isn’t just Dhampir or humans who are expendable; it is anyone that isn’t with her. I’m not convinced all of it is to grab the crown, either. She needs the attacks to be at an all-time high to keep that power after she has snagged it. It makes no difference to her who is destroyed in the process. Unfortunately, by the end of Vampire Academy Episode 6, Sonya and Victor got that message loud and clear.
While at the first stop on the tour, Sonya used her spirit magic to see others’ auras to help Victor during the caucus. Victor needs this caucus to go well. Unfortunately, Sonya’s use of her magic comes with consequences. When Tatiana baited her by disparaging Mikhail, she was vulnerable, and her anger got the better of her. That will not help Victor’s case and undoubtedly put Sonya in grave danger. If they worked her over for not demonstrating an appropriate specialty, what will happen to her now for openly attacking an important political figure? As much as I wanted her to rip Tatiana’s throat out, I’m worried for the sensitive girl with the ungodly amount of power.
The seeds of rebellion have been sown, and it doesn’t help that every chance Tatiana and her group get, they point out just how little they care about their Dhampir protectors. The latest insult is the fascist relocation of all royals to camps for protection. After hearing about the relocation of the village Mikhail came from, she joined the group led by none other than Dimitri. This plot beat highlighted several essential things.
First, Tatiana’s faction is rounding up anyone who thinks differently than them. If their dissenters are confined to camps, they can’t affect her rule. It’s a disgusting display of casual force and is outright abusive to those who are elderly, sick, or just other thinking. Mikhail and his sister Sasha grew up there with their father, who chose to stay in the village with his Dhampir children. It is unspeakably cruel to make the man on his death bed leave his home. Sasha has refused to report back to Guardian headquarters or take her father to the camp. As a result, Dimitri has been tasked with taking her in.
Second, Rose isn’t willing to play along anymore. When the Strigoi attack later that night, she opportunistically allows Sasha to sneak away once the fight is over. Although Dimitri argues with Rose about the importance of following orders, he ultimately sides with her and tells his superiors Sasha died in the attack rather than turning her in. That decision seemed to unleash freedom in him. Although Sasha and Rose found peace with one another, she needed comfort after the last episode. She found it in Mikhail’s absolution of her actions and in Dimitri’s arms. These two continue to display electric chemistry together.
The most charismatic character of the week award goes to Adrian, the legendary playboy and art collector Lissa goes to see. She needs to see his extensive collection of St. Vladimir art. The holy figure was a spirit user, and much of the artwork depicts his powers and the dark side of using the dangerous magic. Lissa tries to compel him, and it seems to work, but Adrian is a spirit user himself. He is a snarky, electric presence on screen, and I hope we see much more of him in the future. Lissa is just beginning to realize what she can do, and his mischievous guidance would be a welcome addition, especially if things take a dark turn.
In Vampire Academy Episode 6, Joseph Ollman(Jesse) gets another chance to display his complicated character. The complex coward is a mess of a person. He is weak and selfish but also terribly sad and vulnerable. His dad is mentally and physically abusive. He takes every opportunity to belittle, embarrass and hurt his son. When Jesse talks too long with Silver, who sees his fragile ego and goads him every chance she gets, his father lashes out in one of the most painful ways possible. In turn, Jesse lashes out at the Dhampir he has some control over.
Jesse is easy to hate, but I still contend he is being developed as a redemptive hero. He is a disaster right now who endangers everyone around him, but he is capable of change, and I am most excited about seeing Jesse change for the better. He’s not ready for that change, though, and his selfish actions result in Meredith being gravely injured. If Lissa wasn’t there, several lives could have been lost, including his. We don’t have confirmation yet, but these attacks have to have been ordered by Tatiana as a way to remove Lissa from the playing field.
Lissa is beginning to lose control of the darkness, and Rose is also affected. How long before someone is hurt by the unintended consequences of using her power? Especially now that she knows she can heal others and dream walk. I am grateful she was present and had just a second to heal Meredith following the ambush, but I’m worried she is gaining power faster than she is learning how to control it. Maybe Adrian can assist with that. If not, Sonya’s inevitable tragedy might curb some of her enthusiasm. At the very least, her dead brother popping up should scare her.
Mia is shaping up to be more capable than she first appeared. Her relationship with Meredith brings her closer to Lissa, even if she doesn’t realize it yet and her growing friendship with Christian is very important. He is struggling after Lissa left him last week. He intellectually understands why Lissa is marrying Jesse, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Although he wasn’t expelled for hiding the deliveries last week, he is on thin ice. He also knows his mother is somewhere in the monster she has become.
That makes him question everything he thought he knew. They bond over their difficult parental issues as he helps Mia learn to use her magic. Along with my curiosity about his parents, I am worried about Diane. I’m not sure what concerns me about her. Perhaps the wise, kind woman seems too good to be true. I don’t trust her, but I’m captivated by her. Amanda Drew(Diane) steals every scene, and she could develop into a surrogate mother or an unexpected villain.
Vampire Academy Episode 6 sets up all the major plot points. It is a political powder keg ready to blow. As much as I enjoy the chemistry between Mia and Meredith and Dimitri and Rose, I am most interested in the Machiavellian moves that Tatiana is making. Coupled with the mystery of what is happening with the Strigoi 2.0 that are emotional and thoughtful, I am hooked. Find all our Vampire Academy coverage here.
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.