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23 April 2010 @ 01:06 am
1.19 - 'Miss Mystic Falls' (The Vampire Diaries)  
Woohoo! My first live viewing of The Vampire Diaries was a unique experience for me. Every time I've bulk watched a series and then caught up with the new episodes, that first live viewing doesn't feature my favorite aspect of said show. For example: First episode of Veronica Mars I watched live? No Logan. First live episode of The Big Bang Theory? No Sheldon and Penny scenes. So this was unique and wonderful. But, of course, TVD is always wonderful. Damn, this show kicks ass!

I said in my write-up of the whole show that as Stefan, Paul Wesley, was a bit stiff, but I have to say he's proven me wrong. This whole new side of Stefan has brought out some wonderful acting by him, and it's being handled beautifully. Not just by him, but the writers as well. It's such a fascinating take; that for Stefan, human blood is like a hard drug to him. Seeing him spiral more and more out of control has been heartbreaking and horrifying. When he was facing Elena in the woods, eyes wild and crazed, blood dripping from his mouth in copious amounts, and her aghast reaction, it was just like a sucker punch.

Now, I'm not a Stefan/Elena fan (they're a bit too boring for me, and I find that the actors lack in chemistry big-time), but I don't dislike them. In fact, I can enjoy them at times, like in this episode. In the Stefan and Elena practice dance scene, I thought that they were adorable and it contrasted so magnificently with the Damon and Elena dance later. The playful flirting during the rehearsal versus the unexpected tension and chemistry on display during Damon and Elena's dance was evident. Seriously, that edge of unintentional flirting was intense. Having both pairings share the same romantic dance highlighted the difference between the two. Even if Stefan was hopped up on human blood, the sweetness and innocence that underscores their relationship was present. While the passion and tension between Damon and Elena was highlighted in their turn on the dance floor.

Ah, that dance. The chemistry was palpable between them. It was filled with a simmering tension that both dearly felt. Seriously, the whole scene from beginning to end was wonderful, and just made me squeal with an insane amount of squee. It practically left me breathless and not just because of that chemistry so on display during the dance, but the so many details that were there.

     

- Damon playing her hero by stepping up.
- Damon *not* making jokes or snarky commentary while doing so.
- The reactions from Jenna and Alaric; hers a mild curiosity, his a bewildered worry because he knows that something is up.
- Elena's reaction to Damon. It sure didn't seem like she was thinking about Stefan or anything else but Damon while dancing with him.
- The fact that, of course, Damon would know how to dance that style. And that he was dancing with Elena in this old-style dance, with her fancy dress and softly-curled hair... three things that were much more reminiscent of Katherine than the Elena he knows.

Does that last bit mean that I think that Damon was reacting to the similarities as opposed to just Elena herself? Not consciously. However, there was a subtext of his attraction for Katherine there that I don't think he's even aware of. But it's just a subtext and certainly not the overriding measure of his feelings for Elena, which the last scene made clear.

     

It revealed, in my opinion, a depth of feeling that was completely beyond egging on Stefan, memories of Katherine, and his friendship with Elena. Damon had no intention of sticking around to wait for Stefan to come to. I don't doubt that he loves his brother—despite their tumultuous history—but Damon is not a soft, caring, stick-around kinda guy. Also, there's still a lot of baggage that goes with that relationship, so, as far as he's concerned what he's done the last few days (telling Elena about Stefan's problems, confronting him about it, protecting him and going after him to clean up his mess, going along with Elena's plan) has been more than enough. So he didn't stay because of Stefan; he was literally turning to walk away, pausing only long enough to wait for Elena. It was only after she said she was staying and slid down that he decided to stay. Fully and completely for Elena. That brings me back to my earlier point that while there may have been an underlying, subconscious pull to the Katherine-similarity of Elena during the dance, that it was just a tiny pull. Unlike Stefan--who appears to be more drawn to the fact that Elena is NOT Katherine, for Damon, it is who ELENA is that has drawn Damon to her.

Oh, this episode... phew! As a Damon/Elena fan, I just loved how this one – penned by Caroline Dries and Bryan Oh—did seem to elevate their relationship to a somewhat deeper level. Elena, and the viewer, saw Damon as the hero when he stepped up for her, and stayed by her side at the end.

The Damon/Elena-ness is just one of the reasons I love this episode so. Another wonderful aspect of it was how a more teenaged-based function (the Miss Mystic Falls pageant for the older teen girls) touched upon the high school settings, but in a way that offered some wonderful characterization. Elena completely forgetting about something that she likely would have been excited about the year before due to the death of her parents and the supernatural crazy of her life compared to Caroline's reaction. For her, this was an incredibly important event for her young life, and something that she had worked hard for leading up to it. Through their conversations with others and each other, we learned a bit more about Elena's mother and her relationship with Elena. We also found out just how much of a black sheep that Liz Forbes is in her family, and how Caroline desperately aspires away from that distinction.

And then there was the wonderful character stuff with Stefan, and Bonnie. First, Bonnie: Kat Graham did a marvelous job portraying the tightly controlled rage that was just simmering beneath the surface over the vampire-driven events that had led to her Gram's death. How she bonded with Caroline, how she distanced herself from Elena, her reaction to Stefan and Damon all made so much sense. It was interesting how Elena realized there was something wrong, but didn’t know where it was coming from, while Stefan seemed to absolutely get it... which was kinda awesome as I sorta semi-ship Stefan and Bonnie and those two have more chemistry than does he and Elena. So that tension between them is very intriguing.

Alongside the strong character stuff, we also got one of those moments that play out differently and wonderfully on this show as opposed to most others. It was at the close of the pageant when Caroline won the title. It wasn't because Elena was off dealing with vampire boyfriends gone amok. Nope, Elena was standing up on that platform right next to her when Caroline won fair and square because she earned it. And she was genuinely smiling and applauding Caroline's win, as Caroline turned first to Elena to celebrate with her. It was the show, yet again, showing us that friendship is as important as the romantic entanglements. And friendship ran a strong current throughout the episode. We saw different sides of through the reveal of the growing closeness between Caroline and Bonnie due to the increasing distance between Bonnie and Elena. And, of course, there was Caroline putting aside her deep desire to win to encourage Elena to stay in the competition (even though she fully believed that Elena would win) because she knew how much it meant to Miranda, and thus Elena.

Okay, enough rambling analysis, some random thoughts ...

- I loved that while Jeremy was upset (understandably) with Elena for all she kept from him and the mind-wiping, he acknowledged that he basically understood why she did part of it because he's glad he doesn't remember some of the horror. Wonderful way of not going cliché, show.

- I'm sorry, but it so must be said again: CAROLINE WON! And not because Elena was pulled out of the running for some vampire!drama-related reason, Caroline won fair and square because she is AWESOME! and totally deserved to win.

- I thought it was cool that alongside Damon threatening John Gilbert—which was a reminder of just how "bad" Damon can be, we had concerned scenes with Stefan, and so many moments with Elena that showed Damon as more than just the bad brother. It was definitely an interesting twist seeing him in more of that "good" brother role for once.

- Speaking of threatening John... I loved Damon's when John threatened to tell on Damon. "I'll kill all of the council members, sever your arm, pull your ring off and then kill you." Blah, blah, blah, yes, Damon is so bad, but it was nicely, erm, realistic to see him put this human in his place. Damon IS a vicious killer and has been around for a century and a half. He should be able to tell Gilbert what's what. The thing is, though, that while this scene reminded us of this truth about Damon (in case Ian Somerhalder's charm and hotness and/or sizzling chemistry with Nina Dobrev had made one forget), the fact that it was paired with the concerned scenes with Stefan, and all of those moments detailed above with Elena, shows that Damon is more than just the bad brother. We're seeing dimensions to all of the characters... including Damon.

DAMN! I love this show! And, oh, this episode! There was literally not one moment that did not work 100% for me.

And next week? Stefan tries to commit vampire-suicide. Oh Stefan.
 
 
 
Tasha: Iantash81 on April 25th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
This post won't be long, because I am just catching up on everything net wise right now after being away, but a big fat WORD to your whole post. I guess I should not be surprised, it seems that we think eye to eye on most of our shared fandoms.

I`m loving your analysis of this show so far (and hope they continue), I started watching VD later on much like yourself, so I am just getting my feet wet when it comes to this show. I just watched the last episode this evening, and I must say, it`s becoming one of my top new obsessions.

Arabian: Ian Somerhalder01arabian on April 27th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I guess I should not be surprised, it seems that we think eye to eye on most of our shared fandoms.

Very true, LOL!

I just watched the last episode this evening, and I must say, it`s becoming one of my top new obsessions.

I really love it. :D
gidget_84gidget_84 on April 30th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Yay, a fellow Vampire diaries watcher!

I just watched last nights episode, which was awesome, of course. These last few weeks episodes have made me all happy complete with hand flail lol.

Awesome analysis on this one, can't wait for you to see this weeks episode.

May I friend you?

Arabian: Damon & Elena01arabian on May 1st, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
Thank you -- feel free to friend me.

I did watch the episode, I just haven't written it up. I may rewatch it though and do something then. :)
eolivet on December 11th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Ooh, now I can visit each of these posts individually from now on after I finish an ep! Yay! :)

This was an excellent ep, I agree. One thing that struck me (having been "spoiled" about the dance from...heck, even if I didn't watch any TVD clips, I would've seen it in the Tubey Awards) was the dance instructor's description of it as Stefan and Elena were rehearsing (I've mangled the quote, like five times trying to remember it) -- but something about how the not touching in the dance was key. And to me, that's the key to Damon/Elena right now (at this point in the show). That dance was a total metaphor for their relationship as it stood in 1x19. It's all not touching. Coming close, but always maintaining that distance. That formality. Wanting to touch? Maybe. But never crossing that line.

(And this could be my lack of sleep talking, but I also noticed Stefan [in rehearsal] grabs Elena, closes that distance, gets that contact. But that's not this dance. Elena never could've danced this actual dance with Stefan -- it doesn't fit the two of them. They've touched. They're anything but formal. There's no need to keep a distance.)

I loved all the Damon parts of this ep -- the one part that slightly bothered me was the end. Elena sounded like she was making excuses for Stefan ("Oh, it's not you -- it's the blood. This isn't who you really are") and Elena is usually the first one to call people out for doing wrong. It's like she made an exception, 'cause it was Stefan.

And the Elena-stabbing-Stefan-with-a-needle-after-comforting-him really reminded me of Buffy stabbing Angel with a sword after kissing him in that show's S2 finale. So, it took me a little bit out of the moment.

Really excellent ep overall, though. 1x14 is probably still my favorite, but this is very high up on the list. :D
Arabian: Damon & Elena02arabian on December 11th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Ooh, now I can visit each of these posts individually from now on after I finish an ep! Yay! :)

Or, erm, not. This is the only episode of season 1 that I did this for. I have a lot of season wrap-up posts, and various posts that talk about aspects of the whole season in detail, but I didn't start doing the episode write-ups regularly until season two. Sorry. :(

Yes, the contrast of Stefan/Elena rehearsing and Damon/Elena dancing was fantastic in every way, and pretty much highlighted the differences in the pairings. And why I so prefer Damon/Elena.

Elena sounded like she was making excuses for Stefan

I didn't see it that way because I didn't think they were excuses. It was true. That isn't Stefan; it's like a person on hard drugs, the horrible things they say and do aren't them, they are a product of the drug in their system and the desperate need for more of it. Stefan's actions were the result of being a junkie basically; that's not who he is when he's not on the junk.

Ah, the Angel/Buffy parallels. Wait until next episode. (Which has my LEAST favorite TVD-related moment ever, which I actually only realized recently why I dislike it so intensely.*) I've never been even remotely a B/A fan, so I didn't flash back to that at all. And I guess, a needle prick and a sword plunge don't compare to me. Buh, ah, just wait until episode 20.

* After you've watched that episode, this post reveals that moment I so can't stand and why.

But back once more to that dance. ONE WHOLE MINUTE! Can you believe we got one whole minute of them just dancing, having eye sex and melting our tv screens?!?!?!?
eolivet on December 11th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
That isn't Stefan; it's like a person on hard drugs, the horrible things they say and do aren't them, they are a product of the drug in their system and the desperate need for more of it.

But my problem with that is there's no personal responsibility for it. I guess this gets into messy issues of addiction (and those eps were clearly a metaphor for that). To me, it was written to deflect Stefan's bad deeds and blame it all on the blood, not his personality -- ignoring the fact that, after Elena's initial force-feeding, the blood didn't just jump out of the bloodbank and into his mouth/veins. He had to take that action, and IMHO, that is a result of his personality. Whether he likes it or not, being an addict is part of his personality.

And it seemed like Elena has pretty much been about accountability -- I mean, she certainly is with Damon, and Jeremy -- like in 1x07 (?) when she told him he could keep getting high, and she'd just keep dragging him to meetings and basically making his life hell until he quit. I just didn't like her handwaving Stefan's behavior when (IMHO) she wouldn't seem to tolerate it from anyone else.

(Unless she was lying, and saying all that stuff to get him to trust her, so she could stab him. But the show never made it clear, so I wasn't sure...)

And I just finished ep 20, and boy do I have no memory of Buffy/Angel, because I didn't see anything that reminded me of them, save for apparently the iconic scene at the end of the BtVS S2 finale.

But 1x20 was a character study, of both Stefan and Damon, and I eat those up with a spoon (though I'm realizing in my internal rankings, this probably comes in at #3 vs. #2, because...how could i forget 1x17?! :p )

Can you believe we got one whole minute of them just dancing, having eye sex and melting our tv screens?!?!?!?

It was THAT SHORT?! It felt like sooooo much longer!!! Wow. :)
Arabian: One Angry Loganarabian on December 11th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying. I guess I've even fallen into the trap of St. Stefan can do no wrong. Yeah, Elena lets him slide. (Think back to 1.11; she never really got any closure on the whole Katherine thing, and him stalking her was just ignored.)

I did love that aspect of Stefan and Damon, but I was really bugged by that one scene, and I wanted Damon to be the one to bring Stefan back, not Elena. And while I liked aspects of Elena's speech to Stefan, it was just too much oh!woeisme!EmoStefan! boy. It's like what Damon said, Stefan taking on all of the bad things and making it all about him. (That's my favorite Damon scene, by the way, the "I own my bad shit, not you.") But the emo!Stefan, and the predictable Stefan/Elena scene -- which was so reminiscent of the Angel/Buffy scene from "Amends" that it was only missing snow -- plus, that scene (one of the only times I genuinely was pissed at Elena) really hit me hard.

I mean, I watch the episode and I'm loving it, and then we get to the last ten/fifteen minutes, and other than that KICKASS Damon scene, I'm just rolling my eyes because I'm supposed to be feeling bad for all Stefan, and I don't. I feel for Damon, and once again, no one else seems to give even the slightest shit.

Yeah, for some reasons, BB just brings up anger in me like no other TVD episode does, LOL!

Hah, one minute in tv-time devoted to something like that is uber-long! AND I LOVED IT!
eolivet on December 11th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
I wanted Damon to be the one to bring Stefan back, not Elena.

I agree, but I sort of understand it (other than the need to rip off "Amends" -- thank you. I kind of have no memory of that ep except the snow ;) Seeing Damon would've reminded Stefan of the past (in which he was currently wallowing). It had to be Elena, so he could be reminded of the swell guy he became after that.

Stefan taking on all of the bad things and making it all about him.

One thing that really struck me about the scene where Damon turns is, to me, it's the last scene we ever see where Stefan plays the classic "younger brother" to Damon's "older brother." There, Stefan is the impulsive one, talking about how awesome and cool vampire super powers are and "C'mon, Damon, try it, please, please, please" and Damon being the "responsible" one, like "Are you nuts?!" And yet, he still goes along with it -- almost to appease his younger brother. Classic older brother behavior.

Yet, for most of the series, I've always had a hard time remembering Stefan is the younger than Damon. Stefan has always seemed like the older, more "responsible" one, and Damon is the impulsive wild child. It's like they switched roles when they became vampires. Absolutely fascinating stuff.

What was the most important part about one of the scenes near the end was Damon saying he had guilt, he just ignored it most of the time. That's huge, IMHO, in terms of his character. The whole "on/off switch" thing. And for the first time, I got an idea of what Damon sort of goes through, or did at this point in the season. He has no desire to be here, he wants to be with Katherine, he's miserable without her. It's his version of hell: he gets to be a vampire, but without Katherine -- the whole reason he wanted to be a vampire in the first place. Like some one-sided Gift of the Magi scenario.

I have a feeling the show had to build up all the emo!Stefan, Stefan/Elena (where Stefan is always at his best) stuff because the flashbacks really did not paint Stefan in such a good light. It struck me as more of that "sweeping his bad deeds under the rug" like you pointed out (and I noticed, too!) at the end of 1x10 (?) -- the "I was your stalker, but I totally saved your life!" stuff.

I'd be lying if I said I liked any of those "Stefan is the bestest, most wonderful, most awesome vampire who ever lived" scenes, but I understood them. I looked at it as these were the words they were telling us...but we'd certainly seen enough actions (in the flashbacks) for viewers to get that Stefan still has A LOT of unresolved issues. And if that great Damon scene at the end proved anything, it's that Damon knows who he himself is. Stefan I get the feeling only knows who he himself wants to be.

(Hee, sorry -- I LOVE character studies. Also, the Damon/Elena scenes in this ep were FABULOUS. The phone, "What?" and the golden retriever puppy blood? Gold. ;)
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on June 15th, 2017 03:02 pm (UTC)
RE: 1.19
“My first live viewing of The Vampire Diaries was a unique experience for me.” - OH So that was your first live viewing! That's awesome ♥ (Mine was 2x18, so it also included a DE dance ;)

“Having both pairings share the same romantic dance highlighted the difference between the two.” - Yes, it was a memorable juxtaposition.

“So he didn't stay because of Stefan; he was literally turning to walk away, pausing only long enough to wait for Elena. It was only after she said she was staying and slid down that he decided to stay. Fully and completely for Elena.” - I love this scene, the atmosphere, and that gorgeous shot at the end.

“Unlike Stefan--who appears to be more drawn to the fact that Elena is NOT Katherine, for Damon, it is who ELENA is that has drawn Damon to her.” - Well said.

“And she was genuinely smiling and applauding Caroline's win, as Caroline turned first to Elena to celebrate with her.” - It was a lovely moment.

“I loved that while Jeremy was upset (understandably) with Elena for all she kept from him and the mind-wiping, he acknowledged that he basically understood why she did part of it because he's glad he doesn't remember some of the horror.” - Yes, it was a nice touch to have him get that at least. On a side note, the inconvenient thing I just realized is that now that Damon and Elena are human, Jeremy will have to become better at baseball all on his own ;)

“I'm sorry, but it so must be said again: CAROLINE WON!” - Heh, yes! And it will never be forgotten. I love how it was highlighted that it was such an important moment for Caroline through repeated references to her win in later seasons.
Arabian: Damon & Elena02arabian on July 1st, 2017 05:11 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.19
“My first live viewing of The Vampire Diaries was a unique experience for me.” - OH So that was your first live viewing! That's awesome ♥ (Mine was 2x18, so it also included a DE dance ;)

That is cool. :)

“And she was genuinely smiling and applauding Caroline's win, as Caroline turned first to Elena to celebrate with her.” - It was a lovely moment.

How anyone can't love Elena is beyond me.

“I loved that while Jeremy was upset (understandably) with Elena for all she kept from him and the mind-wiping, he acknowledged that he basically understood why she did part of it because he's glad he doesn't remember some of the horror.” - Yes, it was a nice touch to have him get that at least. On a side note, the inconvenient thing I just realized is that now that Damon and Elena are human, Jeremy will have to become better at baseball all on his own ;)

And school... and pretty much everything fails at which is apparently art, vampire hunting and getting girls. LOL!

“I'm sorry, but it so must be said again: CAROLINE WON!” - Heh, yes! And it will never be forgotten. I love how it was highlighted that it was such an important moment for Caroline through repeated references to her win in later seasons.

Yup, it mattered to her so much and it wasn't forgotten. :D