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12 October 2012 @ 02:19 am
4.01 - 'Growing Pains' (The Vampire Diaries)  
WOOHOO!!! The Vampire Diaries is here! The Vampire Diaries is here! My Thursday nights are once more complete! :D

As anyone who read my many thoughts on the finale of last season, you know that I had ... issues that I hoped would be resolved this season. Because of that I had plenty of expectations for this episode, and not many of them good. I am pleased to say that many of those expectations did not bear out. I expected Stefan and Elena's TWU WUV FOREVA! to permeate pretty much every moment either one was on screen. That didn't happen. I expected very little Damon/Elena interaction and what we did get, I expected to be negative. I expected everyone to rally around Stefan and rah!rah!rah him, and to be down on Damon for not respecting Elena's choice, wanting her to turn. None of this happened.

I actually walked away from this episode quite hopeful and, for the first time in ages, finding Stefan and Elena sweet, akin to how they felt to me in season 01. And that I think is OK because of where they both are right now, and where she is with Damon (even if Elena still lives deep down the well of denial). And I'm OK with it because I feel that that sweetness ties into their continued delusion which does not bode well. Everything that happened and they don't truly move forward. They don't grow, they don't get through things, they don't deal with what has happened. Instead, Stefan and Elena blindly march on, brushing aside reality. And a breaking point has to come. It simply has to.

So, yeah, I was OK with them -- not that I didn't still roll my eyes during just about every second. But still, I got it and so, overall, I liked this episode. I wasn't jumping out of my seat excited and didn't have any moment that made me sit up and go 'ooh! awesome!' (which I would have loved), but it was good. Rating against the other season first episodes, I'd put it behind "The Return" actually. Not that it was anywhere near as good as that episode (still my second favorite episode to date), but it was better than the Pilot and better enough overall than "The Birthday." So, yeah, I was pleased, if not ecstatic.

Let's start with Elena and the whole 'ooh! She's a vampire' stuff. The most interesting thing to me was the truth we got when she first woke up. She said that she was ready to die, that she was supposed to die and that feeds into something I've long suspected (and am actually planning on bringing into play in the fic I'm writing). I think that Elena has been ready to die for a good while underneath it all going back to her parent's death. She was supposed to die that night, but she didn't. Stefan of course brought her back from the dead emotionally but she really was never brought back to fully WANTING TO LIVE (which is completely different from not feeling dead inside). This is born out when you take into account her sacrificial tendencies in season 02 and season 03. I think she was maybe getting there in season 01, but even Stefan's love wasn't enough to bring her to that point when paired with all of the supernatural he introduced into her life. The fact that this statement came from her in such an honest moment is telling to me. (And, of course, the Damon/Elena fangirl in me has hopes and belief that it is Damon who will finally, fully make her want to LIVE again, rather than just not be dead inside.)

We'll see, but I do think it's something to think about since they did highlight that thought from her.

Overall, I liked how they did the new-transitioning vampire stuff. The camera angles, odd lighting, herky-jerkiness, reaction to things around her was all played out well. No doubt we'll continue to get stuff like that as we've been told that since it's Elena as the newly vamp as opposed to a supporting character, we'll get the full spectrum of a baby vampire. And until given another sign, I'm still holding to my belief that a vampire has to focus for super-vampire hearing to kick in. The only time we saw Elena's super-hearing kick in was when she was alone in complete silence and heard the light fixture and thus was focused on that buzzing when Jeremy came in. So I do think my theory still holds.

Speaking of Jeremy, the one aspect of the show I really, really did NOT like was that Jeremy seemed to care more about Elena being human rather than being around. I could see that vampire=bad attitude and the regret over her turning coming a few days later when the reality settles in, but when it's a choice between his sister, and only living family, being around in any capacity or being dead, you'd think in the immediate rush of her DYING!, he'd be more concerned with having her around in any capacity. Yes, it was understandable that he wanted her to be human, but for the love of God, his sister DIED! just like his parents did. I expected more of a determination to keep her no matter what, and let the negativity towards vampirism hit after her being around settles down and the reality of her being a vampire truly hits. So, yeah, that really bothered me. As did not one whiff of an assertion from Elena that she needed to transition so Jeremy wouldn't be alone. I do think the ball was dropped in the Jeremy/Elena familial relationship and that gives me a sad. :(

As for Elena as a human versus a vampire. I could be completely wrong, but this show does love its bookending season premieres with finale/near-finale parallels. In "The Return" we had Elena telling Damon she would never kiss him, and Katherine telling Damon she never loved him. In the finale, Elena kissed him and Katherine said she loved both brothers, including Damon. In "The Birthday," Elena had her heartfelt phone call with Stefan which had one of the strongest emotional punches. And in the finale, she had her heartfelt (albeit painful, yes) phone call with Damon which delivered one of the strongest emotional punches. Here we had Bonnie working to bring Elena back to life as a human, and Damon commenting on it never being done in the history of vampirism. Remember we had the reveal in season 03 that Esther was going to turn her children human (in order to kill them, but still). Taking the show's history of parallels, the vampire-human Esther information, and what we got in this premiere, I do think it's quite possible that a way will be found to turn Elena back to human near or in the finale.

One of the parallels that we saw already in play was one with the finale that I found quite interesting. She told Damon her choice in a non face-to-face conversation in "The Departed." It was emotional, it was painful, passionate and it was honest. Completely and absolutely honest. The closest thing to non-brutal honesty was the bone she threw him that if she had met him first. Now we have in this premiere, Elena told Stefan her choice in a non face-to-face conversation. And it was not passionately emotional. Yes, she was weak, but there was no passion there. Stefan wasn't, but there was no passion from his end either. And I am taking her "the best choice I ever made" comment in the exact same way I took her "If I had met you first." She believed one of them was going to die and she wanted to throw him a bone to make him feel better about a choice (his to save Matt over her which was leading to her death). The biggest difference, though, for me was the dishonesty.

We literally have Stefan say if you could see my face, you'd see that I'm smiling and she re-iterated that back to him. And other than the barest, slight quirk of one side of their lips ... NEITHER WAS SMILING. That just really, really struck me. Even when they believe one of them is going to die, they still can't be fully honest with one another. That's just not them. They like their bubble of tralalalala tip-toeing through the tulips of delusion.

The last parallel was one that I was very curious about. In "The Birthday" -- as I discovered on my rewatch -- there was the definite sign that the show was leading back to Stefan and Elena through that phone call they shared. Physically she was with Damon and they were in a good place comparatively, but she was still drawn so deeply to Stefan. In tonight's episode, I got that parallel that I truly hope bears fruit in the finale as well. The sweet stuff with Stefan and Elena I felt was akin to the Damon/Elena sweet birthday stuff from the premiere. On the other hand, the charged something that showed that Elena is still deeply drawn to Damon was there in the final scene with those two in this episode. I do think that bodes well for Damon and Elena. Which brings me to a post I made a few weeks ago about 'letting go' being the theme for Damon and Elena, and I suppose in a way to Stefan and Elena as well.

I still think, and this episode made that belief stronger, that we're going to see Elena realize that she can't let go of Damon anymore than he can let go of her, but that she and Stefan are letting each other go even if they don't want to. They're just growing apart because they aren't what they once were because both of them are not who they were when they met. Included in the lyrics that played over their rooftop scene were these: Don't go back on your default baby /I know it hurts /I can see how hard you’re trying / Don't let go now. That ties into what I'm seeing. They do want to be together. Elena does want this with Stefan because after her parents died, when they were together, it was her closest-to-happy time and Stefan represents that. He represents an anchor and stability, real or not, he does represent that. And he is her default and she his, and they are trying and she doesn't want him to let go. And she doesn't want to let go. But... But, Elena is not the young, naive girl with the moral compass screwed on straight. She's stronger, more passionate, more of an adult who is seeing the world through shades of gray she never even could have conceived of before.

And, Stefan -- thank the lord! -- is actually learning. I was so damn proud of him when he told Elena that even though he wanted to tell her that things would OK, he couldn't do that. Because that was Stefan acknowledging a reality to Elena, something that he just hasn't done before. And while one could see that as a good thing for Stefan and Elena's future -- and if I believed they were the endgame couple, I would see it as such, but since I'm sure that it's Damon and Elena that are endgame, I don't -- it's not a good thing for them for one simple reason. Stefan and Elena don't do reality. When Elena said they'll get through this the way they do everything, dealing with it one day at a time, I almost laughed. Because that's not what they do. That's what Damon does, that's what Elena does when she's with Damon. But Stefan and Elena together? They bury their heads, they ignore reality, live in their bubble until it pops and they have to deal with the consequences of reality... and then as soon as they can, they surround themselves in another bubble.

As sweet as their rooftop moment was it won't last because things aren't sweet anymore. They aren't the sweet, normal teenage couple in love they were able to pretend to be before. That's simply not their lives in a way that it still, kinda, sorta could be before the Ripper returned, before Jeremy killed, before Alaric went crazy, before Bonnie went to dark places, before the Originals permeated their lives. Before Damon and her twisty, tangible feelings for him. Hey, I could be wrong, maybe they will truly face things head-on, maybe it will be them, but considering the teeny bits of spoilers I've allowed to filter through it sure seems like Elena's vampire-stuffies are going to cause problems and Elena's still there *feelings* for Damon are not going away. And how can Elena be 100% with Stefan if she does have these still there *feelings* for Damon that are very real and deep? Simple. She can't.

They can't pretend to be the sweet, normal teenage couple in love anymore. They can't because they just aren't. But this is their time, their last hurrah, I think. Don't get me wrong, obviously, I don't like dealing with any lovey-dovey stuff with them, but that is where she's at. Elena is still in denial about Damon, and she and Stefan are still in this bubble. And next week, again, not something I'm looking forward to, but it's something that does need to play out, does need to happen. Without all beats playing out, I won't buy any kind of closure for them. And I do think we're heading towards closure (at least as much as the show is willing to give -- haha! -- until the series gets closer to its final episodes).

One of the reasons I'm cautiously optimistic is despite what we did get of Stefan and Elena in this, it was nothing like what I expected. As I mentioned above, I truly thought we'd get the AAAHHHH!TWUWUV! aspect of Stefan/Elena threading every moment of them, and yet, it was only on display -- and not even to any kind of overhyped degree -- in two scenes. Even the kitchen scene, though the two of them, didn't play out as about Stefan and Elena and their love. It was all about Elena. That could have been Damon or Matt or Jeremy in that scene with her and it would have played out exactly the same. No, their two scenes were when they were locked up and she told him she was coming back to him, and on the rooftop.

And that first scene while about her choice, it wasn't romantic. It was sad, they were lying to each other in degrees, and there was almost a passive resignation to their conversation. Not all of it, Stefan's "I love you so much," was strong, the most passionate moment I thought they shared, but overall, there was this sense of 'yes, this is what we're supposed to do and say.' Which I suppose ties into fate, destiny, whatever, but it didn't read that way. It read like 'here we are, as expected, here are our assigned lines, let's go.' I just felt like it was more about them saying goodbye than their love because it was a goodbye of sorts. And yet, again, not much passion there.Yes, yes, she was weak, she was dying, but still, I just didn't feel like they were in love. That they love each other? Absolutely. Like they have this strong history? Yuppers. But in love? No, it just wasn't there. But, again, I'm not a Stefan/Elena fan, LOL!

Their second scene about them was the rooftop scene and it was romantic and sweet, but again, it felt safe, comfortable and that thread of delusion, the lie that they deal with things one day at a time when they truly don't unless they are forced to do so was so prevalent. Yes, I keep going back to the sweet description of it, but it fits so perfectly and the problem is that things should NOT just be sweet now. They were separated for six months. Elena DIED and then almost died again forever, and this is their first kiss, post-reunion, and we got a simple kiss, an entirely un-momentous ring-giving, a refrain of skipping delusionally through their relationship again ignoring reality until it bites them in the ass, one more little kiss and then a nice-view cuddle. Sweet, nice. Nothing passionate, nothing epic, nothing GLORIOUS. Just, you know, sweet.

One final note about Stefan and Elena before I move onto (whee!) Damon and Elena. I'm still not happy about Stefan giving her the ring, but I didn't feel like they made a HUGE deal out of it. It was just a sweet moment, but nothing that felt truly weighted (at least not to me). And if Elena does turn back to human by season's end, she can give him that ring back, and that would be some pretty hefty symbolism, I think. And that is what I got overall from Stefan/Elena in this episode. They were sweet, reminiscent of how I saw them in season 01. As long as it's leading to their end (which I do think it is), I'm fine with that. Because Elena is not the same girl she was when she first met Stefan and they were sweet.

No, the girl she is now has spark and bite and fights back. Like how she was Damon. Yes, she had recovered from her weakness, but the first time in the whole episode we saw Elena ALIVE! and not falling apart was with Damon. That was a conscious choice from the show. They could have had her have that first moment with Stefan, but they didn't. Instead they chose her first moment as a vampire and ALIVE! with Damon. With spark, with fire, with passion... she was with Damon. And that was one of the two scenes that she shared with Damon (sorta) that was about Damon and Elena, matching the same total of scenes with Stefan. So good balance there. But let's back up a second. I know there had to have been significance to the fact that Damon was the first person we saw Elena vamping out with ... but what was it? I can't wrap my brain around why? Someone? Anyone have an idea? I think it's good.

Not so good, although I can appreciate the sentiment and what they were trying to get across was how Elena remembered the compulsion. I just didn't like how it was done. It felt kinda cheesy and I don't think it hit the emotion it was supposed to; I mean, I didn't feel it and I'm a Damon/Elena fan. I think we were supposed to get that Elena was shaken, that Elena saw that side of Damon and it, I dunno, moved her? But I'm just not sure.* Still, it was emotional, and it was romantic because of what Damon was saying, what Elena was remembering, how she reacted, but it just didn't full connect for me. I do think that tying Damon's comment about it in the final scene helped -- which was no doubt the plan -- but I just wished I'd felt it more fully during the reveal.

* Talking to butterfly, she mentioned how when Damon said "I don't deserve you, but my brother does," Elena present-tense reacted to that with a barely perceptible shake of her head as if denying what he was saying. Hmm, interesting.

Aha! But reveal, that along with the passion, was the key thing that differentiated the Damon/Elena scenes from the Stefan/Elena scenes. In both charged Damon/Elena scenes, things were revealed, they were honest with one another, no holding back. I know many get frustrated when it seems that Elena is so brutally honest with Damon even though it hurts him, but the truth is that Damon is the same way with her because they both know now that (a) the other can take it, expect it and that honesty is one of the best things about their relationship, and (b) that both will forgive each other, pretty much no matter what. The second is obviously the case for Stefan and Elena as well, but not so much the first one.

I also found the song choice interesting. The interpretation of the lyrics of this song seem to fall along the lines about a girl who loves one boy, but she feels for another and those feelings make her question her original choice --

Twice I turn my back on you
I fell flat on my face but didn't lose
Tell me where would I go
Tell me what led you on I'd love to know

Was it the blue night
Gone fragile
Was it about the men
In wonder steady gone under
Was it the light ways
So frightening
Was it a two wills
One mirror holding us dearer now

Thought I had an answer once
But your random ways swept me along
Colossal signs so I got lost
With so many lovers singing soft


It's a bit odd and off-kilter, but it does appear that such an interpretation is accurate.

As for the second Damon/Elena scene -- not including the Elena-as-a-vamp, which was more about, well, Elena-as-a-vamp -- it revealed a lot; it was honest, open, passionate and oh so charged. And I absolutely loved that Damon said he didn't get before about her not wanting to die, but he did and that's why he would have saved her. And I loved that he said it like that because that made it clear to me that he already knew that about Elena without Stefan having to tell him, or Elena even flat-out telling him that because he knows Elena so well. And I also find it interesting that both Elena and Damon still have no earthly clue was true selflessness is. Like in the scene from "Rose," Damon wasn't being selfish, he was being incredibly selfless. And what he said to Elena, WHY he would have saved her was incredibly selfless. In fact, it revealed even more just how selfish Stefan's act was.

Sure, he saved Matt because it was what Elena wanted, but he did it so that Elena would be happy with him. It was more important to him that Elena know that he respected her choice, rather than that he respected her life. For Damon, it would be more important to him that Elena have her life, rather than a choice because he knows that *that* is what she wanted in the bigger picture... a life, to live, to grow, to age. And STEFAN took that much bigger choice from her.

I also found my 'letting go' theme furthered along by the fact that Elena specifically said to Damon that 'he couldn't let go' even as *she* literally couldn't let him go; she kept stopping him from walking away. And I think that's key because I do think this season we're going to see Elena deal with holding on and letting go with regards to both Damon and Stefan. I really do believe so. And I think what is going to happen is that it will be Elena who finds that she can't let go of Damon. Because she shouldn't be with Damon at all right now, not if she's with Stefan.

Once Damon moved up into her dance space, she should have backed away. She didn't. Once his eyes drifted to her lips and lingered, she should have backed away, looked away. She didn't. (Oh, and note her eye movement when the camera angle switches back to her, her eyes are drifting up too meaning *she* was looking at his lips also.) She shouldn't have brought up the compulsions, choosing to only specifically mention the first one but not the second because that would have been facing what he said head-on and heaven forbid Elena actually deal with this *thing* between her and Damon. No, but she mentioned the first specifically so he would know that when she said she remembered it all, he would know that she remembered the second as well. She wanted him to know that SHE knew that he told her he loved her, that she remembered that moment. She even pushed after he said 'are we done here?' (LOVED Ian Somerhalder's delivery/body language of this line) because she wanted, needed more from him.

She wants him, she likes that he loves her, she just can't admit to herself any of these things because how does it make her look? Pretty damn bad. But it's there and it's real and it's true. And when she wouldn't stop pushing, he called her on it in so many words, deliberately recalling his supposedly selfish words from then, leaving her once again shaken and not knowing how to respond. What is really interesting is that Elena is so combative with Damon, but to me she's so combative not because she wants to fight Damon, but because she's fighting her own-can-not-deal-with feelings for him. If she fights with him, if she pisses him off, if she pushes him away she can either justify not being with him if he responds badly, or she can just not deal because she's pushed him away. She wants so much, and yet she desperately doesn't want to want and she just does not know how to deal. So she's combative.

Yes, these two are definitely the charged, connected, something-is-still-there couple. Definitely. And in this scene, Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev proved once again how insane their chemistry is. Whoo boy! Seriously, I actually wondered for a brief moment if they were going to kiss! It is just so THERE with them.

Another thing that I just thought of and am editing in ... oh my goodness!! As the scene began, Elena was saying "you were gonna kill him!" and Damon said "yup" which, by the way, I just don't believe was the case even though he said such to Elena. I know, I know, what about the honesty between Damon and Elena I was spouting about above? Well, I feel like it wasn't a lie so much as Damon just going along with her with attitude of jumping directly to believing the worst about him. And he just figured, 'whatever, I'm done, if it makes her happy, why the hell not?' I just -- I'm sorry, but this was NOT Damon Salvatore in killing mode.

Anyhoo, the actual reason for the 'oh my goodness' edit: one other thing I noted was that after Elena told Damon it was her choice, and he shouldn't get mad at Matt or Stefan. Obviously, she was specifically talking about what just happened with Matt, but at that point, Elena hadn't seen Damon get mad at Stefan. Yet she added his name ... she equated Matt and Stefan. Or rather, the WRITERS equated Matt and Stefan. You know, Matt her ex who Elena finally admitted to herself just didn't do it for her, and so much of what she said to Matt about Stefan sounded like things she probably said about Matt (shoulds rather than wants). Uh huh.

Okay, I'm going for random thoughts for the rest because this is, once again, way longer than I intended, LOL! Breaking down by character, story, etc.

- How did Elena get away after vamping? I think with her new vampire strength, she was able to bend the bars a bit, or erm, just stretch more and reach for the guard-guy and grab his keys. Works for me. Why she didn't rescue Rebekah? Hah, as if! Why she didn't rescue Stefan? Well, turnabout is fair play, hahahaha!

- Damon is awesome. Full-stop period. I just love him so.

- Speaking of Damon's awesome... didja notice? Damon was cleaning up Elena's living room. Aww, that boy, such a neatfreak. :)

- I supremely loved how Liz's words got to Damon to stop hurting Matt, and that even as he did that, she wasn't anti-Damon at all. Go team Damon/Liz!

- I also loved every second with Matt and Damon. Since Matt is now my second favorite male character on the show -- and boy totally lived up to my expectations of how he'd be -- I was thrilled seeing them interact. (More please!) I know there has been some frustration with Damon's (misdirected) anger at Matt. Clearly, I'm in the minority, because I completely understood why Damon was so mad at Matt, and I don't think that he was going to kill him. Damon wasn't truly angry at Matt. He was angry at Stefan, but because he and Stefan had basically just agreed that they weren't going to let the girl get in the way of them again, he projected that anger onto the next target -- a target who was basically asking for it (poor Matty!). It wasn't right, but it was absolutely understandable when taking into account EVERYTHING that had happened in the last 24 hours.

Another apparently minority opinion, but I don't think that Damon was actually going to kill Matt, and I don't think Elena thought he was either -- she would have been much angrier with him. To me, Damon acted so much like he did with Bill (in "Disturbing Behavior"), except he didn't cover his anger/frustration as he did with Bill. His affirmative to Elena, as I noted above, was him just going along with her as usual, 'jump to the worst conclusion when it comes to Damon' attitude. What I found heartbreaking about that whole Damon/Matt scene is how Matt basically just took it all because he feels the same way that Damon does about the situation. Oh Matty!

- Oh, and speaking of Matty! SHUT THE FUCK UP, STEFAN! Seriously, when dude went off on Matt, I wanted to smack him -- but in a good way because I like asshole-Stefan because it shows clearly that he is not a one-note-white-knight even outside of ripper-douche mode -- for two reasons. First of all, no way in hell would he have acted that with Matt in front of Elena. And that's one of the things I can't stand about Stefan and Elena... how he always tries to present himself in the best light for her, not the real Stefan, but the best version of himself he can imagine being. And that's not just not conducive for or indicative of a healthy relationship. I always like when I get continued proof of that since it feeds my interpretation of Stefan and Elena; it's a show, not a tell.

Secondly and more importantly because, dude, Stefan! It was NOT Elena's choice to save Matt's. It was yours. YOU MADE THE CHOICE. Yeah, it's what Elena wanted you to do, but it wasn't up to her. She had no power in that situation. You made the decision to do it. Own up to it, man. As for telling him to respect the choice that Elena made by being grateful every day he wakes up, again, DUDE! You made the choice. And it's not your place now to give Matt grief for feeling like shit over a choice that WAS NOT HIS when you aren't even really his friend. Elena can say that to him. Jeremy can say that to him. Not you, Stefan. Tsk, tsk.

- Oh, Rebekah. I just felt for her pretty much from beginning to end. My poor Rebekah. Still, I liked that Damon tried to attack her even knowing his odds, and as much as I love her, I'm glad she got shot before she could hurt him because, dude, Rebekah, he DID save your life. Naughty girl. I also liked that I totally read the stupid episode synopsis right (Rebekah is moved by Stefan and Elena's devotion to each other) in that she would just see them interacting and be all, hmm, people who actually care about one another ... what is this thing? since you know fucking Klaus once again showed what a douchebag tool he is. When TyKlaus opened that door and didn't even try to help Rebekah I was so pissed off. Klaus, you SUCK! And then to completely repudiate Rebekah? Klaus, you BASTARD! (OK, literally, but pejoratively also.) My poor Rebekah. I still love you. (And, yes, I'm terrible, but her "I get to watch you die all over again, my day just got a whole lot better" cracked me up.)

- Aww, the ONLY amount of concern Rebekah showed at all was for Matt likely not having "automobile insurance." Aww, Matt/Rebekah! I ♥ them.

- One more quick note about the triangle, I did find it interesting that the show began with it seeming like it was just Stefan with Elena, and then boom! there's Damon. Very indicative of what is going on overall with them. It's never just Stefan and Elena, Damon is always a part of the equation.

- I did like that Klaus wasn't trying to fool Caroline. I mean, he did tell her, and then kept trying while she kept macking on him. And it made perfect sense that he would still enjoy the action since she was giving it out. Still with that said, with all that was going on -- and obviously due to her first scene with Matt, she KNEW that Elena had died and was now transitioning -- the fact that Caroline was all about boinking her boyfriend NOW just really rubbed me the wrong way. Every other single character was focused on the main events, their friends and family and other than the one phone call from her mom that lasted about five seconds, all we saw from Caroline was my boyfriend!my boyfriend! my boyfriend! Gotta say, I'm still not liking Caroline as much as I used to. I do not want this trend to continue, but I fear it will. (On the plus side, DAMN! did Candice Accola's hair look gorgeous!)

- So Michael Trevino as Joseph Morgan's Klaus. Hmm. I was surprised because I thought he did the body language well in the first scene, but trying to do the inflections and such was a little too try-hard for me. And then it just kinda all fell apart after that. REALLY glad he's out already, even if I wasn't particularly pleased with that little plot point there.

- Exactly because it felt just like a plot point. Taking Grams out just because Klaus couldn't wait a day or so? I dunno, that bugged. Still, obviously that is setting something up with Bonnie to come and I am interested to see where they take it. And, yes, poor Bonnie. Just like Elena, again, Bonnie more than anyone else winds up getting punished. Seriously, Elena, Bonnie and Damon are the eternal whipping boy/girls of this show. At least Elena and Bonnie get some love and support though. (Let's change that up this season, guys, and give Damon some too.)

- Erm, you all know that I love Nina Dobrev to bits and I generally think she's a sensationally fantastic actress, but yeah that laughing to crying scene? Was BAAAAD! Like clichéd, CW-ridiculed levels of BAAADD! Just, yeah no. I was actually embarrassed for her in that moment. Just not good. I'm sorry, I still love her and normally think she's awesome!

- Shocker of all shockers! Stefan actually did save Elena. I really thought she wouldn't be able to reach the blood of the council dude and that Matt would come in and she'd drink from him. But no, Stefan's premeditated act to get her blood actually saved her life. I also liked Stefan/Rebekah tag-teaming to take out guard dude so seamlessly. Aww, and just because he succeeds so rarely, a special shout-out to Stef! Go Stefan!

- Another go Stefan! moment? He ACTUALLY acknowledged that Damon was right (that Elena should have fed that morning), and lo and behold! Elena didn't disagree. YIPPEE!

- Small technical complaint, I felt that there were too many quick cuts in the first twenty minutes or so of the show, it didn't allow for any emotional momentum to really build.

- Hmm, Pastor Young's blow-up plan was STUPID! I'm sure it's leading somewhere, but it just came across as stupid. I thought it was Damon who was turning on the gas, and then even better, Matt or Meredith, which would have been really cool. Because we would have had Stefan's line about Damon planning revenge, followed by Matt or Meredith actually doing the deed. That would have been shocking and would have set up Stefan, Elena, Bonnie, etc. blaming Damon before the reveal. As it was, I don't know Pastor Young, and despite the grand opening with Damon as head of the council we never got to see that in play so I just kinda feel like, eh, who cares about them. (Rather like why I've never thought "Founder's Day" is as fantastic as most because I didn't know the tomb vampires, so I didn't care.) They just didn't matter so there was no emotional heft. And blowing them all up for the next phase ... what? In heaven? I dunno. Again, I'm sure it's leading somewhere, but it just seemed kinda stupid. Hopefully the reveal down the road will make it cool and awesome in retrospect. And hey, at least the episode didn't end on Stefan and Elena on the roof! LOL!

- It likely means nothing, but I did find it interesting that Damon was the only vampire we saw in full vamp-face mode outside of Elena... despite the fact that we saw all of the other vampires in fighting mode at some point during the episode (except Caroline). Even when Rebekah attacked the guard, there were just some slight veining, no red eyes or full-vamp face. So, yeah, could mean nothing, but still only Damon and Elena went full-vampy in her first vampy episode.

- Lastly, Damon’s hair? Was good! Which leads us to THE most important thing about The Vampire Diaries that happened. WE GOT NEW PRETTY IAN SOMERHALDER ON OUR SCREENS!! WOOHOO!

Phew! OK, so the first episode of the season, yay. I didn't LOVE it. Alright, I didn't even love it. But I liked it; I was mostly pleased. I'm satisfied with how they played out the Damon/Elena and Stefan/Elena stuff and I think that both fanbases should be reasonably satisfied as they both got fair shakes. I'm cautiously hopeful that things are indeed heading where I thought they would. Now, if the season ends with Stefan and Elena together through it all and still together at the end, then obviously the show isn't writing in fairness to the story and fanbases. Rather, they are just stringing along the triangle to prolong it to the end never mind how incredibly unfair it is to Damon/Elena fanbase. In that case, my attitude will change.

However, I'm holding out until the end of this season before I give up in expecting that the writing will have any semblance of follow-through as opposed to a quick throwing together of Damon and Elena towards the end. With there being six seasons planned, going with Damon and Elena at the tail-end of this season and the last two evening things out, there would be balance. However, if things continue on so heavily with Stefan/Elena to and at the end of this season, clearly they are not going for any kind of fair balance. The most popular couple (by far) deserves to get as much (and more) than the least popular half of the triangle. Just endgame is NOT enough.

Again, though, I am hopeful, especially after this episode. We'll see.
 
 
 
Aly J.: TVD -- D/E (9)simply_aly on October 12th, 2012 07:33 am (UTC)
I love reading your reaction posts because they're just so damn insightful. I mean you have paragraphs upon paragraphs of analysis on the DES triangle and I love everything you wrote and I totally agree with pretty much everything.

I have heard from other fans that Pastor Young may have turned the whole counsel into vampires. I'm not quite sure how this is supposed to work in their favor, exactly, but it is a possibility. In his speech, he did mention forever/infinity/immortality/whatever, I don't remember exactly; and he was responsible for confiscating Damon's blood from Meredith.
Arabian: Damon & Elena20arabian on October 12th, 2012 07:56 am (UTC)
Well, thank you so much. I was really surprised with how well this made me feel and how hopeful over all. I'm glad you agreed. :)

Yeah, I'm talking to butterfly and she mentioned the vampire-possibility of the council, but yeah, doesn't make much sense, in fact, it sounds pretty stupid. But this show generally doesn't let me know with stuff like this so I'm holding out hope that will work. :)
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archangel_blood: Elena mirrorarchangel_blood on October 12th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
Hey, long time no see!

So, I just have a disclaimer to make first: TVD and I are still not on the best possible terms, so it’s very likely that I’ll be somewhat bitter and snarky for a while. If you would rather not have any of that on your LJ, just let me know; I would not want to rain on anyone’s parade, really.

I had a lot of issues with the show last season, especially the second part of it, and I kept waiting for these to be resolved or at least acknowledged. As none of this happened, I felt my perspective shift a little. I don’t think my relationship with TVD has been damaged irreparably, just changed, I guess. I used to be one of the show’s most dedicated fans and defenders; not just DE, the show as a whole. I mean, I watch live at 3am my time during the work week, what more can I say?

Now I find that I am able to take everything more lightly. This probably means I’m simply not as invested anymore, which makes me a little sad. I suppose this could change again once and if the growing pile of stale problems from seasons past have at least been addressed. We shall see.

I actually laughed during the SE scenes last night. It was so… yes, sweet, but so sweet that my teeth started aching. They were so over-the-top dramatic and cheesy with their declarations, especially in those cages, that it easily rivals Elena’s laughing/crying scene for me (which was just embarrassing, I agree). I kept expecting the fake wind, or, I don’t know, poignant slow motion and sepia colouring during their confessions. Didn’t really work for me, but I don’t get upset with their scenes anymore either. We’ll see how long this lasts.

The one thing that still manages to bug me, is that I feel TVD sends a message that is so wrong on so many levels that I just can’t. I can’t and will not ever see anything positive in assisting your young, healthy SO’s suicidal attempts on more than one occasion out of respect for their wishes. And the fact that even some DE fans see this as noble, dreamy behaviour and an integral part of SE’s “idealized” relationship is mind-boggling. If this is your ideal version of a relationship, you need to have your head checked, like pronto.

Phew. I had to get this over with. Lol

DE on the other hand haven’t lost any of their magic. I love them together, I love all nuances of their relationship, and all the different currents and bonds between them; I adore their natural understanding and the fact that neither of them can ever really let go, but they still like to pretend that they have a choice. Damon’s clearly as bitter as I am (lol), but he is there for her. He’s always been Elena’s solid connection to reality IMO, and the only one who can really take her mind off it for a while. He’s the one with the brutal truths, but just look at her asking for more last night. She started the conversation on all the tricky subjects, knowing she will not like the answers, but she went there anyway. Elena’s an incredibly strong girl, despite her death wish, which is why I love her so.

I kinda liked Trevino’s performance as Klaus’ Tyler-tux. I was skeptical but he pulled it off, I think. He did try a little too hard, but it still worked fine for me.

And how exactly did Klaus/Caroline sneak up on me, I’ve no idea, but last night I found I actually ship them hard. Eeek. Caroline has lost some of her awesomeness lately, and Klaus is still a dick, but they kinda make me want them together. How does that even make sense?

I miss Alaric. Sigh. I know he was a jerk for most of last season, but his absence in Damon’s life makes me sad.

So, that’s pretty much it. Didn’t love the episode, didn’t hate it either. I’m glad that TVD is back, and tbh I might be secretly hoping that it can win me back.
Arabian: Elena08arabian on October 12th, 2012 10:14 am (UTC)
Hey, long time no see!

Hello! I don't know if you have any interest, but I'm writing a post-season 03 fic that should deal with all of your issues! I just posted chapter 8. :)

So, I just have a disclaimer to make first: TVD and I are still not on the best possible terms, so it’s very likely that I’ll be somewhat bitter and snarky for a while. If you would rather not have any of that on your LJ, just let me know; I would not want to rain on anyone’s parade, really.

You know I felt that way and had the worst expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Part of why this worked for me is that I forced myself to stop seeing TVD from a D/E perspective because they aren't writing it from a D/E perspective, and taking into all parts, the compare/contrast -- both good and bad -- of D/E vs. S/E really heartened me.

The main thing I do agree with completely is this:

I feel TVD sends a message that is so wrong on so many levels that I just can’t. I can’t and will not ever see anything positive in assisting your young, healthy SO’s suicidal attempts on more than one occasion out of respect for their wishes. And the fact that even some DE fans see this as noble, dreamy behaviour and an integral part of SE’s “idealized” relationship is mind-boggling. If this is your ideal version of a relationship, you need to have your head checked, like pronto.

Yes. It really does bother me, but I'm still hoping we'll get something from someone (beyond Damon because Damon DID say that, he basically said I would have chosen you to LIVE!). But to be fair, Stefan wasn't in his mind actually assisting her suicide, he did plan to go back, but someone needs to point that such was a risk. I don't know, I know it's a six-year arc and I'm really taking that into stride. So until we get to maybe the sixth season, I'm going to cut them slack that the S/E issues WILL be dealt with. They just write D/E SO strong, showing such a healthy (shockingly considering all the variables) relationship that I can't believe they really don't see it.

DE on the other hand haven’t lost any of their magic. I love them together, I love all nuances of their relationship, and all the different currents and bonds between them; I adore their natural understanding and the fact that neither of them can ever really let go, but they still like to pretend that they have a choice. Damon’s clearly as bitter as I am (lol), but he is there for her. He’s always been Elena’s solid connection to reality IMO, and the only one who can really take her mind off it for a while. He’s the one with the brutal truths, but just look at her asking for more last night. She started the conversation on all the tricky subjects, knowing she will not like the answers, but she went there anyway. Elena’s an incredibly strong girl, despite her death wish, which is why I love her so.

This, this, this ... ALL OF THIS!

And how exactly did Klaus/Caroline sneak up on me, I’ve no idea, but last night I found I actually ship them hard. Eeek. Caroline has lost some of her awesomeness lately, and Klaus is still a dick, but they kinda make me want them together. How does that even make sense?

Hmm, I do like them (until I get my Stefan/Caroline, LOL), but I didn't really have any feels for them this episode.

tbh I might be secretly hoping that it can win me back.

Hah! You totally, totally do! :D

Edited at 2012-10-12 10:15 am (UTC)
(no subject) - archangel_blood on October 12th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Bogwitch: TVD - Elenabogwitch on October 12th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
Season 3 was very much more Stefan/Elena on a rewatch than when I saw it all originally. I may need time to reassess where we are going. Yet you’re right, a choice made doesn’t just erase feelings, they are there. Vampire or not, she’d have found out her feelings for Damon wouldn’t just go away because she chose Stefan. We’ll see that play out, no doubt.

About the compulsion. It felt awkward to me because of the POV. Who on earth remembers their memories from that perspective, outside looking at themselves? That "I don't deserve you, but my brother does," line (and that nod) are going to matter.

>> Elena hadn't seen Damon get mad at Stefan

I disagree, in the opening scene with the three, Damon made it very clear he wasn’t happy about what Stefan had done.

>>How did Elena get away after vamping? I think with her new vampire strength, she was able to bend the bars a bit, reach for the guard-guy and grab his keys.

Then why couldn’t Stefan or Rebekah do that with their superior strength?

>> I don't think that Damon was actually going to kill Matt

Probably not, maybe, not totally sure – I hope not. He took his time about it, so if he’d wanted Matt dead then he proably would have been. Shame. But I do like Matt more now he has some actual firm inclusion in the group and is out there doings things other than be shitty to Caroline, but he’s still last on my list. Actually from a cold, hard logic point of view, I think Stefan made the right decision saving him – he was unconscious, Elena had some sort of chance. She didn’t attempt to take it.

Poor Rebekah, indeed.

Choices! Choices! Choices! So many Choices referenced or made!
Arabian: Elena08arabian on October 12th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
I think the season 03 was that many of us took the growth of the Damon/Elena feelings as also a lessening of the Stefan/Elena feelings and that isn't what happened. It was exactly what Kevin Williamson said, it was about the leveling of the playing field. The thread of Elena's feelings for Stefan played throughout the season and didn't let up. I think we'll get that reverse here to a degree in that her feelings for Damon aren't going to let up which makes things very different. Sure, she was attracted to and cared for Damon in the first two seasons but she didn't *want* him, she didn't want to *be* with him and she certainly was nowhere near in love with him yet. Now she feels all of those things and that will make things different with Stefan.

It felt awkward to me because of the POV

That might have been it.

in the opening scene with the three, Damon made it very clear he wasn’t happy about what Stefan had done

He wasn't happy, he was snarking, but that attitude was well removed from what she saw with Matt. In that moment, mentioned Stefan specifically didn't really make sense. Elena (or the writers) were making a direct connection between Matt and Stefan.

Then why couldn’t Stefan or Rebekah do that with their superior strength?

Pfft, silly logic getting in the way of an explanation, LOL! I don't know, maybe with her strength, she was able to maneuver, get the guy closer? :shrugs:

Probably not, maybe, not totally sure

That was so not Damon in killing-mode. He doesn't play when he's angry. He either kills or gets all emotional about it. How he was with Matt was way more similar to how he was with Bill. Who he never intended to kill. He was just having stronger displaced anger-type-feelings against Matt. I just didn't see that at all as a Damon about to kill.

I think partly why I like Matt so much now is because I don't have to deal with him and Caroline. Because of his mommy-issues and her daddy-issues, the two of them romantically just brought out the worst in Matt.

Choices! Choices! Choices! So many Choices referenced or made!

That really does continue to be the recurring theme of this show, another reason why I think Elena will be turned human again, so that she can someday make the choice to become a vampire as opposed to being forced into it.
(no subject) - bogwitch on October 12th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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x5vale: torturedx5vale on October 12th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
Damon is awesome. Full-stop period. I just love him so.
can I summarize my reaction with this statement?

I agree with everything you said. I loved your parallels, you are always good at them

Basically I want to see more, now :)
Arabian: Damon13arabian on October 12th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Yeah, I'm curious to see where they're going. I really do want to get over the sexytiems coming up of Stefan and Elena, though. Grit my teeth and bear that. Ugh.
Vickie: Ian - Damon Cheerssarcasticcheese on October 12th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
WHY I LOVE DAMON SALVATORE: REASON #2: His snarky badass-ness.




This had me rolling last night. Oh Damon, you kill me.
Arabian: Damon04arabian on October 12th, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Damon remains so awesome. I love him so. :D
Cassandra Elise: damon/elena bwcassandra_elise on October 12th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting for your post, because I was sooo disappointed in last night's episode, and I needed your awesome perspective on the story. I think I set my expectations way too high for the show, so anything that I didn't like (like Tyler/Caroline or Stefan/Elena) or I felt was OTT (like that cringe-worthy laughing-til-she-cries scene with Elena) just rubbed me the wrong way.

I agree with you that Jeremy's lack of concern was upsetting. I would've liked to have seen him acknowledge the fact that at least his sister was still around, even if she was undead. I think he showed more concern for Bonnie when she died than his own sister!

Caroline and Tyler...ugh, I am so done with them. I've never liked Tyler, and their relationship is built entirely on the "forbidden" lust they have for each other. Please break them up or kill him!

Your post made me see the positive in the Damon/Elena scenes and the negative in the Stefan/Elena scenes, which is great, because I was totally bummed by all the mushy-gushy Stelena stuff. I mean, I expected it, since she DID choose him in the finale (plus, I read spoilers), but it was still off putting. You brought up some interesting interpretations that somewhat alleviated my poor shipper heart. So thanks. :)
Arabian: Damon & Elena(PR)01arabian on October 12th, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
I think it REALLY helped that I had the worst expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised. Part of why this worked for me is that I forced myself to stop seeing TVD from a D/E perspective because they aren't writing it from a D/E perspective, and taking into all parts, the compare/contrast -- both good and bad -- of D/E vs. S/E really heartened me. Writing my fic really helped me crystallize that I'm writing a D/E story that features other TVD characters. Julie & co. are writing a TVD story that features the characters of D/E.

While I can accept Stefan/Elena at this stage -- partly because the two together make me roll my eyes, but I generally don't dislike either character due to them being together -- Tyler/Caroline, on the other hand, God, I'm so done with them. You know I never liked them. And Tyler and this pairing has made Caroline SO MUCH LESS AWESOME THAN SHE WAS! Even season 01 Caroline, whom I loved. Ugh, ugh, ugh! At least we get some Stefan/Caroline interaction coming up. (Although, re: spoilers -- I really, really am going light this year. Big-time. I'm aware of episode synopsis and some stuff that filters through if you're in fandom, but I'm not digging deep, searching or even reading/looking at stuff beyond synopses and stills.)

I would've liked to have seen him acknowledge the fact that at least his sister was still around, even if she was undead. I think he showed more concern for Bonnie when she died than his own sister!

Yes! That really stood out to me too. :(

the positive in the Damon/Elena scenes

Dude, there was SO MUCH POSITIVE there. That last scene with them, so very charged.

the mushy-gushy SE stuff.

But that was part of the problem... as I said she DIED (for real and then for real real) and that's all we got? Really?

You brought up some interesting interpretations that somewhat alleviated my poor shipper heart. So thanks. :)

Good, I'm glad. And knowing the spoilers I do, it certainly looks like we are continuing to get Elena and her Damon-shaped feelings coming into play. As I said above to bogwitch, I think the thing about season 03 was that many of us took the growth of the Damon/Elena feelings as also a lessening of the Stefan/Elena feelings and that isn't what happened. It was exactly what Kevin Williamson said, it was about the leveling of the playing field. The thread of Elena's feelings for Stefan played throughout the season and didn't let up. I think we'll get that reverse here to a degree in that her feelings for Damon aren't going to let up which makes things very different. Sure, she was attracted to and cared for Damon in the first two seasons but she didn't *want* him, she didn't want to *be* with him and she certainly was nowhere near in love with him yet. Now she feels all of those things [for Damon] and that will make things different with Stefan.

Edited at 2012-10-12 03:38 pm (UTC)
A lurking goblin marionettedanceinacircle on October 12th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
I haven't read this since I haven't watched the episode yet (just started!) but I thought you would appreciate this: Hulu shows a bumper at the beginning of episodes with the shows logo and a picture or a couple seconds of video, and Vampire Diaries is now Elena and Damon standing in that lake breathing all heavy looking like they're about to do it right then and there. No Stefan at all.
Arabian: Damon & Elena(PR)04arabian on October 13th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Aww, I can't access that, but it's lovely when D/E is used as opposed to the triangle -- which makes more sense since most people are done with the triangle, and D/E are way more popular than S/E. Thanks for the heads-up. :)
vanimy: Elenavanimy on October 12th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
PART ONE

I think that more than TVD's return I like the return of your reviews and exchanging POVs. ;)

I really tried to watch this episode with an open mind, I wasn't particularly excited over TVD anymore so I watched the premiere out of duty. ;)

I have to say I do not share your view on Stefan/Elena at all.

I don't hate S/E per se even if I maintain the writers went too far in season 3, thus making any romantic reunion unbelievable. I actually like Stefan and Elena in a platonic way (see kitchen scene) but I just can't deal with them as a romantic couple anymore. I felt like watching season 2 all over again at the end, except their behavior was plain ridiculous now after season 3, hence the total lack of sweetness I felt.

Even if I see the signs you pointed out (the lying to each other in the jails, the almost resignation and lack of passion between them) I still think S/E only exist to counterbalance D/E. D/E emotional scene? Let's balance it with a romantic S/E scene, see? all ships are pleased! This is really ridiculous by now. Oh and I totally read the daylight ring being a sort of engagement ring. They couldn't have made it more obvious if they tried. I like your theory about Elena giving it back at the end of the season though. It would be really fitting.

Anyway I rolled my eyes hard at almost every S/E scene which totally took me out of the episode. Too bad, I thought there were some excellent stuff in there.

What made me roll my eyes also? How Caroline's moments seem to play in loop. Sex scene with Tyler, Check. Kidnapping? Check. Totally irrelevant to the main plot? CHECK. Do the writers even see it or has it become an inside joke we obviously don't understand?

-I really like your POV on Elena and her desire to die. SPOT ON. I really liked this tidbit of information we got.

Overall, I liked how they did the new-transitioning vampire stuff. The camera angles, odd lighting, herky-jerkiness, reaction to things around her was all played out well. No doubt we'll continue to get stuff like that as we've been told that since it's Elena as the newly vamp as opposed to a supporting character, we'll get the full spectrum of a baby vampire.

Ditto. I really liked this too.

Speaking of Jeremy, the one aspect of the show I really, really did NOT like was that Jeremy seemed to care more about Elena being human rather than being around.

Mmh, I didn't think of this. They kind of dropped the ball about Jeremy and Elena indeed.

Taking the show's history of parallels, the vampire-human Esther information, and what we got in this premiere, I do think it's quite possible that a way will be found to turn Elena back to human near or in the finale.

Agreed. I think there is a high possibility they use what was alluded to in the premiere and turn her back to human.

Now we have in this premiere, Elena told Stefan her choice in a non face-to-face conversation. And it was not passionately emotional.

Mmh, interesting point.

I still think, and this episode made that belief stronger, that we're going to see Elena realize that she can't let go of Damon anymore than he can let go of her, but that she and Stefan are letting each other go even if they don't want to.

Very interesting point again. I like this.

No, the girl she is now has spark and bite and fights back. Like how she was Damon. Yes, she had recovered from her weakness, but the first time in the whole episode we saw Elena ALIVE! and not falling apart was with Damon. That was a conscious choice from the show.

I love the way you see things I don't even notice!
Arabian: Damon & Elena(PR)01arabian on October 13th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
This may surprise you, but I actually completely agree. I do think they went way too far with S/E last season, I did roll my eyes at EVERY S/E scene. I kept reiterating the 'sweet" thing because it tied into the whole delusion. Everything that happened and they can't move forward. They don't grow, they don't get through things, they blindly march on. And a breaking point has to come. I still have to have hope that it will because I just don't see how they can write Damon and Elena and their arcs, points, emotions, calling everything out that happens good and bad with them SO SPOT-ON unless they see the blinding opposite in S/E and are just writing it that way ... as you said, to counterbalance D/E. S/E don't work and everything in this episode showed that.

I will never not maintain that I could be wrong. I am never 100% sure. The difference between the two is just so damn startling and we have three more years (including this one) to get everyone to where they need to be. With that said, yes, if we don't get the kind of balance I think they're going for my attitude will change. S/E-heavy the first 2 seasons with some D/E stuff thrown in to keep their fans happy, and then the 1st half of season 03 was D/E-heavy with some S/E stuff thrown in the mix, the 2nd half was Elena-light with neither guy ending on an S/E note. My theory is that season 04 will have the first half S/E-heavy with some D/E stuff thrown in the mix, the 2nd half will be Elena-light with neithe guy ending on an D/E note and then the last two seasons will be D/E-heavy with some S/E stuff thrown in that peters off towards the tail-end of the final season since D/E are endgame.

If the season ends with S/E together through all of it and still together at the end, then obviously they aren't writing in fairness to the story and fanbases and just stringing along the triangle to prolong it to the end never mind how incredibly unfair it is to D/E fanbase, then yeah, my attitude changes. But I'm holding out until the end of this season before I give up that the writing will have some kind of semblance of follow-through as opposed to a quick throwing together of D/E towards the end because any semblance of the balance thing would end after this season if it carries on so heavy on the S/E side. The most popular couple (by far) deserves to get as much (and more) than the last popular half of the triangle. Just endgame is NOT enough.

What made me roll my eyes also? How Caroline's moments seem to play in loop. Sex scene with Tyler, Check. Kidnapping? Check. Totally irrelevant to the main plot? CHECK.

Yup, Caroline is not working as a full-bodied character at all.

(ETA: Sorry for the edits.)

Edited at 2012-10-13 12:31 am (UTC)
(no subject) - vanimy on October 13th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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vanimy: D/E kissvanimy on October 12th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
PART TWO

Not so good, although I can appreciate the sentiment and what they were trying to get across was how Elena remembered the compulsion. I just didn't like how it was done. It felt kinda cheesy and I don't think it hit the emotion it was supposed to; I mean, I didn't feel it and I'm a Damon/Elena fan.

:o

YOU of all people didn't like this scene? Lol I can't believe it. Agree to disagree here, dear. While I didn't like the repeat of lines we already know by heart, I was really moved by the way it all played out. It was really sweet and made me melt. That kind of moment makes me go like 'this couple is endgame, folks' so yeah, I loved it.

* Talking to butterfly, she mentioned how when Damon said "I don't deserve you, but my brother does," Elena present-tense reacted to that with a barely perceptible shake of her head as if denying what he was saying. Hmm, interesting.

She's right ;) I noticed that too. She was all like 'Oh Damon, why do you believe this?'

The second D/E scene was so good. I fell a little bit more in love with Damon wanting to do anything for Elena to make her dreams and hopes come true even if she hated him in the end. Maybe I read this scene wrong but I took his line about being selfish as a jab actually, since he referred to the scene when he essentially let go of her for his brother, IDK...

She even pushed after he said 'are we done here?' (LOVED Ian Somerhalder's line reading/body language of this line) because she wanted, needed more from him.

LOVED this moment too.

And yes on that CHEMISTRY, they've still got it. Also I liked how Elena was the one who couldn't quite let go here and insisted on talking to him and making him understand.

I myself thought he could have killed Matt. *shrugs*

- Damon is awesome. Full-stop period. I just love him so.

After about thirty seconds in, I was like 'who cares if everything else sucks? Damon will continue to be this awesome all season.'

-Agreed on all accounts on that Matt/Stefan scene. Ugh.


-Felt for Rebekah in this episode and I also cracked up at her total lack of remorse on Elena being dead/dying. And I still have NO love for Klaus. God, kill him already.

- Erm, you all know that I love Nina Dobrev to bits and I generally think she's a sensationally fantastic actress, but yeah that laughing to crying scene? Was BAAAAD! Like clichéd, CW-ridiculed levels of BAAADD! Just, yeah no. I was actually embarrassed for her in that moment. Just not good. I'm sorry, I still love her and normally think she's awesome!

Oh God I thought it was just me. What a terrible acting, I felt so much second-hand embarrassment while watching this. And I also think Nina usually is a much better actress than this.

-I was wholly unimpressed with this ending scene too. We'll see.
Arabian: Damon & Elena20arabian on October 13th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, just the way they framed the compulsion remembering felt off to me. I don't kow. Maybe a rewatch of that scene will help. (I've rewatched bits of it, but it's the last scene I've rewatched the most.)

Maybe I read this scene wrong but I took his line about being selfish as a jab actually, since he referred to the scene when he essentially let go of her for his brother, IDK...

Hmm, I didn't think of it that way, and I'd like to, but Damon sincerely thought he was being selfish in the 2.08 scene which would stand to reason that he was being sincere here as well. I felt he was taking the jab of reminding her specifically of that memory too -- which she hadn't referred to -- to point out his selfishness has been around for awhile.

I liked how Elena was the one who couldn't quite let go here and insisted on talking to him and making him understand.

EXACTLY! Which brings us back to the 'letting go' motif. It's GOT to mean something, and since it is so tied up with Damon/Elena, how can it NOT be good for us?

I myself thought he could have killed Matt. *shrugs*

Oh, he could have, I just don't think he really intended to. It could have happened, but I don't think it was his intention. His attitude there reminded me of how he was with Bill, who it seemed like he was going to kill, but he never actually intended to kill.

After about thirty seconds in, I was like 'who cares if everything else sucks? Damon will continue to be this awesome all season.'

Yup ... and with GOOD HAIR!

I still have NO love for Klaus. God, kill him already.

Alas, I don't think they'll figure out how to separate the bloodline until the sixth season because while I may prefer Klaus/Caroline based purely on chemistry, my utter loathing of Caroline/Tyler and how it's hurt her character so much for me, yes, Klaus needs to die.

I felt so much second-hand embarrassment while watching this.

Yes, yes, yes, and yeah, I'm normally SUCH a fan.
(no subject) - vanimy on October 13th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on October 14th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vanimy on October 14th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on October 14th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
La vida de llorona: pic#116559343laudanumdream on October 13th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)
I love your reviews. They put mine to shame, but you're so insightful!
Arabian: Damon13arabian on October 13th, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
Thank you. I just sit down and it all comes tumbling down and half the time I'm not even sure where it comes from, LOL!
crowandfog: TVD: Damon/Elena I can'tcrowandfog on October 13th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Oh, gosh! I should know by now that you and I are going to have very different reactions to each episode, but still surprises me just how different those opinions can be sometimes. I mean, there's always something for me to agree with, like I totally agree that Stefan needed to shut up about Matt needing to earn Elena's sacrifice everyday or whatever and OMG DAMON'S HAIR WAS PRETTY. But Jeremy's response to Elena's transition was one of my favorite things of the episode. I thought he was perfect in all of his reactions, and that's clearly opposite to what you've said here. Sigh. There's so much to repsond to, but I have to call it a night, so I don't know when I'll be able to say more.

Oh! I do want to mention really quick that you say some Very Interesting Things about season premiere/finale parallels, and I can see what you mean about Elena possibly being turned back into a human. Personally, I've always thought that would be impossible for the writers to pull off without it being horribly contrived, but, at least, it wouldn't be something that they hadn't laid any groundwork for. *shrug*
Arabian: Damon & Elena18arabian on October 13th, 2012 07:20 am (UTC)
Yeah, I read yours and saw how thoroughly we disagreed. Like I COMPLETELY got where Damon was coming from. He wasn't mad at Matt, he was mad at Stefan, but because he and Stefan had basically just agreed that they weren't going to let the girl get in the way of them again, he projected that anger onto the next target -- a target who was basically asking for it (poor Matty!). It wasn't right, but it was absolutely understandable when taking into account EVERYTHING that had happened in the last 24 hours. And I just don't buy for a second that Damon was going to kill him. He acted so much like how he did with Bill, except he didn't cover his anger/frustration as he did with Bill. His 'yup' Elena I read as Damon just going along with her 'worst interpretation of Damon, it will make her happy, what the hell else is new?'

As for Jeremy, I was really frustrated with him and we obviously disagree completely there. I have no problem with him not having vampire issues, but like I said, those issues should have come after the fact. Yes, it was great and understandable that he wanted her to be human, but for the love of God, his sister DIED! just like his parents did. I just could not understand him acting that way at all.
Florencia: DE (TVD)florencia7 on October 13th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy that TVD is back, because it means that in addition to your fic updates I now have your weekly reaction posts to be looking forward too!!!!!!! ♥ Your insight always unearths all the layers the story is made of.

I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of over-the-top SE-ness in this episode. At no point I had to squeeze my eyes shut which I consider an achievement on the writing team's side lol It also felt like SE, while sweet and all, seemed drained overall, while DE was still on fire. And isn't it telling that Damon's first word in S4 was “alive”? I hope that's foreshadowing of what you mention in your post: Damon making Elena want to live”.

I'm a bit upset about Jeremy too. I feel like they sacrificed keeping him in-character in order to fit him in the scenes with Bonnie. And his “one of them” line made it seem like he was putting Klaus, Damon, Caroline, Anna, everyone in the same category of *evil them* & I expect Jeremy to know better by now, regardless of how upset/in shock/whatever he might be at a given moment.

Ohhh I so hope that you're right about the premiere-finale parallels! And doesn't the fact that thanks to the memory of 2x08 we heard ILY from Damon in 4x01 mean that by 4x22 we'll hear it from Elena? ^^

The smiling thing! I caught that! I was soooooo happy about that! Lol OK, that's mean of me but anyway haha For some reason as soon as Stefan said he was smiling I knew he wasn't going to smile. He said he was smiling because he knew that it was what Elena would want. But even that wasn't enough incentive to make him smile. Because she couldn't see him. So he didn't need to make an effort. He could just go with what was absolutely necessary, the necessary MINIMUM. & That's very telling, very in tune with my perception of Stefan. As for Elena, though, I think she actually did smile a little, and that's very Elena as well, very in-character for her to smile because she was saying she was smiling, so regardless of whether Stefan could verify it, she wanted to be true to her words.

I have to say I missed half of what SE were saying during the rooftop scene because I was too busy feeling personally offended that they were on a rooftop! LOL At least there was no fog. I would've requested a written apology if there was ;) But yes, the ring scene was very quiet, very simple, not annoying at all. And I love your idea of the ring possibly being given back in the finale. I also remember reading online articles saying that in the premiere Stefan would give Elena “her first daylight ring”. It might have just been an accidental/meaningless way of saying it, but then again maybe it wasn't and Elena, for whatever reason, will be getting another ring later this season?
Arabian: Damon & Elena(PR)01arabian on October 14th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who felt that the S/E stuff wasn't over the top. It was surpising, yes, and pleasantly so.

And isn't it telling that Damon's first word in S4 was “alive”? I hope that's foreshadowing of what you mention in your post: Damon making Elena want to live”.

OOOH! I didn't even catch that. What an AWESOME point. :)

I'm a bit upset about Jeremy too. I feel like they sacrificed keeping him in-character in order to fit him in the scenes with Bonnie.

I am boggled at the people who say that Jeremy was great and totally in character. I don't get it.

the same category of *evil them*

This.

And doesn't the fact that thanks to the memory of 2x08 we heard ILY from Damon in 4x01 mean that by 4x22 we'll hear it from Elena? ^^

Another thing I hadn't thought of and THAT? Would be awesome-sauce! :D

As for Elena, though, I think she actually did smile a little

She did which is why I mentioned the slightest quirk of the lips upward, but they both did that. So it was there, but it was so teeny that only by the broadest, kindest definition could you call it a smile. The bottom-line is that they both lied.

RE: The ring, I don't think she'll get another one, but I do hope she gives it back to him. I really do. And, yes, while obviously the underlying 'engagement' refrain was there, it was MUCH less in your face than say the Tyler/Caroline one from "The End of the Affair." It was more just a sweet gift. Yeah, sweet.
Florencia: DE (Kiss) (3x19)florencia7 on October 13th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
[ARGH ~ part 2 ~ Why do I always have to exceed LJ comments word limit??? lol]

I didn't like the song they used for Elena remembering 2x08, but maybe it will grow on me ;) I didn't like a couple of songs in the past either, but after some time I started liking them a lot, so it's possible.

I loved how Matt totally got where Damon and his anger were coming from while he couldn't get Stefan's “choice”.

”It was NOT Elena's choice to save Matt's. It was yours. YOU MADE THE CHOICE. ” - THIS ♥ I think this is very interesting: Stefan keeps stressing that it was Elena's choice + in the first scene he says that Meredith “made a choice”. So basically everyone is making choices while he's... what? A perpetually innocent bystander? A helpless tool in the hands of others?

I liked Elena's (bad, no doubt lol) crying/laughing scene for one reason: Stefan. He was so, I don't know, kind of... not really judgmental, but just not there for Elena, you know? If I was Elena, Stefan's behavior during that scene would make me feel like an idiot. I can't imagine Damon just standing there, looking sad and depressed. He would at least made fun of Elena's outburst, and THAT would have been comforting enough. At least for me it would *shrug*

”Another go Stefan! moment? He ACTUALLY acknowledged that Damon was right ” - I found it very interesting that Stefan mentioned Damon during that conversation and I think he also mentioned Damon in the kitchen scene if I remember correctly? Compare this with Stefan's name being included in most of DE conversations in 3x01. I think it's a good sign ;)

The ending was hilarious ^^ I kept thinking: “No, no, no zombies, please, no zombies, no zombies please please no zombies”. I really hope that's not what we are in for o_____O LOL

I LOVED READING YOUR THOUGHTS :):):)
Arabian: Damon & Elena20arabian on October 14th, 2012 06:41 am (UTC)
I didn't like the song they used for Elena remembering 2x08

I didn't love it, but I loved what it represented. :)

I loved how Matt totally got where Damon and his anger were coming from while he couldn't get Stefan's “choice”.

Thank you! I swear we are so in the minority here.

I think this is very interesting: Stefan keeps stressing that it was Elena's choice + in the first scene he says that Meredith “made a choice”. So basically everyone is making choices while he's... what? A perpetually innocent bystander? A helpless tool in the hands of others?

Ooh! Again, totally awesome thing and way of putting it. It's never on Stefan, he's always blameless, isn't he? He never makes the choice.

I can't imagine Damon just standing there, looking sad and depressed. He would at least made fun of Elena's outburst, and THAT would have been comforting enough.

You're absolutely right. Damon totally would have handled her breakdown so much better. (It was still really bad.)

Stefan mentioned Damon on the roof, but hmm, I'm not sure if he did in the kitchen scene, but that's OK because, as I said in my post, that wasn't an S/E scene. That was an Elena scene and anyone who cares about her could have been in his place. So in the two romantic S/E scene, Damon was mentioned. But to be fair, Stefan was mentioned in the two D/E scenes, LOL!

Hah! Zombies! That never crossed my mind.

I LOVED READING YOUR THOUGHTS :):):)

Right back atcha!
Beckbeck_liz on October 13th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
I supremely loved how Liz's words got to Damon to stop hurting Matt, and that even as he did that, she wasn't anti-Damon at all. Go team Damon/Liz!

Oddly, I think that may have been my favorite part of the episode. I'm a fan of Damon having people who will stand up to him but not hate on him. :-) I miss old Alaric that way.

Arabian: Damon&Alaric01arabian on October 14th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
It wasn't my favorite (that would be the last Damon/Elena scene, and some Rebekah moments), but yes, it was a DEFINITE highlight. Hopefully, Liz, Meredith and maybe even Bonnie (?!) -- judging from the last two episodes -- will be more on team!Damon this season.
jamdourado: pic#118144934jamdourado on October 14th, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
I was a bit disappointed, maybe because I was expecting more action but it wasn't bad, it got better after the first ten minutes.
I loved Elena's comment about Damon not letting go, it kind of remind of "when it's real, you can't walk away" and I understand Elena choosing Stefan, I think Elena sees Stefan the same way with cheer leading, it was something that mattered and could matter again, she feels they can be in love again. And I like that she is sure that she wants to be with Stefan now because the minute she realizes she is in love/chooses Damon there will be no going back.
Not gonna lie Rebekah was my favorite female on this episode, I loved all of her scenes, I wanted to cry with her when she finally realizes that Klaus never truly cared about her, poor girl, it's understandable why she got touched with stefan/elena, she never had anyone to fight for her.
Poor Bonnie, always tries to fix the mess caused by vampires and always pays a price although I didn't understand what happened with her grams, but I'm excited with her trying to do what she thinks is right and how far she is willing to go.
Arabian: Rebekah03arabian on October 14th, 2012 06:45 am (UTC)
I'm going to be boring and pretty much agree with all of this. Except for being disappointed simply because I was expecting it to be so bad in the S/E department and lacking in the D/E department that I was so pleasantly surprised. But everything else? Yup.

- Elena, Damon and 'letting go' = another 'real' motif with them.
- Elena equating Stefan with what should be, what can be, totally.
- Rebekah remains awesome-sauce!
- Poor Bonnie. Yup. :(
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for making me feel better about an episode I thought was *horrible* and I hated. I think Julie Plec is in full defence mode, proving how truly Stelena she is. And I don't blame her. I mean, I love this show but death threats? Seek help, plz, however did that.

-
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
*whoever*, sorry. (Grammar nazi by nature, I apologize)
(no subject) - arabian on October 15th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on October 15th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
I would have been really depressed by the episode if they didn't write that fight about the compulsions in the first episode, to be honest. Damon's speech and Elena's reactions was probably one of the most stunning and meaningful moments in the entire episode and i'm pretty sure this is foreshadowing Elena's journey this season in seeing and understanding Damon and even redefining what love really is. I mean, that was it right there! If the writers had waited to the second episode to address the compulsions, which is what I thought they would do for sure because they needed to reunite Stelena then I could see this being a season of Stefan and Elena figuring out their relationship for better or for worse. But, that's not what happened and these writers usually have a habit of taking the premiere and ending the season with the opposite. So if you take that into account, Elena will see and understand, and return Damon's love, rethink her decision of spending eternity with Stefan. and finally accept her undead life as a vampire through Damon's influence.
Arabian: Damon & Elena12arabian on October 15th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I worried and expected frankly that the episode would really focus on S/E as this GREAT TRUE LOVE! and it didn't really do that. Damon/Elena may not be together like Stefan/Elena are, but the feelings are definitely still there and real, and Elena is being given a full dose of reality.

Taking into account the premiere/finale equations -- think about it: S02 premiere had Elena with Stefan/hating Damon, the finale had Stefan taking off/Elena forgiving/kissing Damon. S03 premiere had Elena overall with Damon (at least working together, physically, etc.)/separated from Stefan. The finale had Elena not with Damon at all, connected by only a phone call (as S/E had been in the premiere)/with Stefan/choosing Stefan. So this premiere we have Elena with Stefan/at a distance with Damon. If they follow their pattern, well, there's a potential reversal of some degree there as well. :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 15th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on October 15th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 15th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on October 16th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
eolivet on October 25th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, I get all proud of my 50 comment posts, and then see yours -- hee!!! I bow to the master. :)

As I mentioned above, I truly thought we'd get the AAAHHHH!TWUWUV! aspect of Stefan/Elena threading every moment of them, and yet, it was only on display -- and not even to any kind of overhyped degree -- in two scenes.

See, I would've thought any OTT S/E TWU WUV3 4EVA scenes were a GOOD sign, because it would indicate S/E are still living in denial. But I see a conscious effort on behalf of the writers to deal with their issues -- by downplaying that. And that's what worries me as a D/E fan...

Because if J-Plec and the rest are determined that S/E work through their problems, and thus, strengthen their relationship, I don't see good things for D/E. :( I wanted a happy, happy, joy, joy S/E for that reason. That Stefan is the fantasy and Damon is the reality. But I hate to say what I saw here was a deconstruction of the S/E fantasy -- an effort to make them a little more "real couple" (like the scene on the roof where Stefan says things won't be OK). I want to see Elena going to Damon for the truth (and it's funny commenting on this post given "Memorial") and Stefan to escape. Because eventually you realize you can't escape from your life or run from your problems.

What this ep did solidify for me is Damon just rocks. :D I seriously LOVE him, and while I want him to get everything he wants, I also don't want him to keep waiting around if Elena is never going to make up her mind. I think I've almost transitioned (LOL) from more D/E to Damon-fan (does NOT mean I want him with anyone else, eww multi-shipping!). But if Damon just ends up being awesome and there for Elena and it doesn't rip him into little pieces on the inside, that'll be a win for me. :)

I actually liked Trevino as TyKlaus -- what I was really surprised at is he kind of got the Joseph Morgan "googly eyes at Caroline" down. There was a difference that I saw between a Tyler/Caroline makeout scene and one with TyKlaus and Caroline. I saw him give a much more nuanced performance than he did as Tyler (his little moment with Clare Holt was GREAT -- and they haven't really shared scenes, but I totally bought him as Klaus there!), so good on him. That being said, very happy Joseph Morgan is back. I'm one of the few Klaus fans left, but I just think he's a great character. :)

Agreed the Grams surprise!death was contrived -- as was the "Rose" flashback, though I sort of loved how they set it up (like Damon was talking to her at that moment, aww).

Ultimately, I ended up liking this ep better than "Memorial" (I gave Memorial a 3, and this a 4) because I thought the acting was better and unlike others, I really like the Originals and think they add something to the show. Also, this ep seemed to have less sanctimonious!Stefan and 100% less bloody vomit. But more about that later. ;)

I REALLY hope you're right about D/E, but my perspective after following a creator-championed ship that came to fruition has altered my perspective slightly, and just made me notice things I never did before. I seriously hope I'm wrong, though. SERIOUSLY. :(
Arabian: Damon04arabian on October 25th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
The thing with OTT TwuWuvness is that we've already had it. For three seasons, the second specifically. So seeing it again wouldn't have signalled that S/E were finally coming to an end, but rather that this is them, this is true love and this is what you're getting folks. Period.

That Stefan is the fantasy and Damon is the reality. But I hate to say what I saw here was a deconstruction of the S/E fantasy -- an effort to make them a little more "real couple"

I mentioned I would have worried about that IF we hadn't got what we did with Damon and Elena and IF Stefan/Elena hadn't still been living so much in delusion (because they were) and IF this wasn't the first time they were together as a couple in six months and were just... sweet. Adding all of that together, this non OTT-twu wuv-ness shows that they just don't live in that bubble anymore. And that's a GOOD thing because that specific bubble is what kept Elena from growing (not Stefan/Elena, but Elena specifically) and Elena and Damon from growing.

IF there was no Damon/Elena, then yes, this would have been great for S/E. But there is... and that makes this look like leading toward the end of S/E. And what we saw begin here and continue very strongly in "Memorial" was an S/E who even when attempting to "face reality" still can't really do it. We basically had the delusional bubble... WITHOUT the OTT twu-wuvness that we had in season 02. This is a GOOD thing... especially when the only passionate moments Elena had were with Damon.

RE: Trevino. Honestly, I don't think I can be objective at this point. I WANT TYLER GONE. He is ruining Caroline. Period.

I thought the acting was better

I can't with that if only for that HORRIBLE scene with the crying to laughing. It was so bad. And, yeah, again, not a Trevino fan.

this ep seemed to have less sanctimonious!Stefan

I didn't see Stefan as sanctimonious, but hypocritical and asshole-ish, but he was such BECAUSE he sees Elena is NOT the Elena that he tiptoed through the tulips with in delusional OTT-Twu-Wuv bubbles. Again, GOOD thing for us. REALLY GOOD.

I REALLY hope you're right about D/E

After seeing how many nuances I got correctly in my fic, and seeing in "Memorial," Julie Plec (with a new writer to the show, therefore, it was pretty much all on her character-wise) highlight EVERY single aspect of S/E that is a problem as such, while still showing them glossing over in their delusion, I'm even more convinced that yeah, I know this show, I know these characters, I'm right about the direction.
distant_autumn: Elena - Keep On - sietepecadosdistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 11:43 am (UTC)
Part 1
I actually walked away from this episode quite hopeful and, for the first time in ages, finding Stefan and Elena sweet, akin to how they felt to me in season 01.

You know what? It probably didn't come across much from my own episode reaction post (because I obviously got way into discussing the unhealthiness of what they were doing and how destructive it is, etc.) but just in terms of how I found their scenes to watch, I actually totally agree with you. For example, the rooftop scene at the end was genuinely, well... cute to me, even though they were still mired in denial and Stefan was projecting his own issues and so on and so forth. Whereas during much of S2 and all of S3, particularly the latter half of it, S/E scenes were pretty torturous for me. Which was actually a real shame, because I love both characters so much and love the show so much that I didn't enjoy how nails-on-a-chalkboard I was finding all of their scenes together. Now that they're back to acting like none of S3 happened, they're back to a sweeter kind of vibe and that's a lot more bearable to watch. Particularly, of course, because you can hear the clanging chimes of relationship doom hanging over their every scene, ha.

Everything that happened and they don't truly move forward. They don't grow, they don't get through things, they don't deal with what has happened. Instead, Stefan and Elena blindly march on, brushing aside reality. And a breaking point has to come. It simply has to.

Yeah, nothing to add, just quoting this to agree with you.

The most interesting thing to me was the truth we got when she first woke up. She said that she was ready to die, that she was supposed to die and that feeds into something I've long suspected (and am actually planning on bringing into play in the fic I'm writing). I think that Elena has been ready to die for a good while underneath it all going back to her parent's death. She was supposed to die that night, but she didn't

Again, I completely agree. The only thing that surprised me about that moment was that she was so blunt about admitting to it, but yeah. I think she feels like it was all her fault and she should've died that night, and also like the further away she gets from being the girl she was before that first accident, the less worthy she is of being alive because it feels to her like she's letting down the girl she used to be and that (from her POV) her parents died for.

Stefan of course brought her back from the dead emotionally but she really was never brought back to fully WANTING TO LIVE (which is completely different from not feeling dead inside). This is born out when you take into account her sacrificial tendencies in season 02 and season 03.

Yup. I think her and Stefan did in a lot of ways help each other figure out how to live again, but there's a big, big difference between that, and truly feeling alive and happy to be so. Also, I think they both used it as a band-aid and as a temporary fix and it did help them both initially, it gave them both a bit of a lift out of the depression both were in. But that couldn't last and all their individual issues rapidly came rising to the surface again, which in Elena's case was stuff like her depression and survivor's guilt, which did indeed lead directly to the sacrificial tendencies you mentioned.

Edited at 2015-03-13 11:47 am (UTC)
Arabian: Elena03arabian on March 23rd, 2015 10:48 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1
You know what? It probably didn't come across much from my own episode reaction post (because I obviously got way into discussing the unhealthiness of what they were doing and how destructive it is, etc.) but just in terms of how I found their scenes to watch, I actually totally agree with you. For example, the rooftop scene at the end was genuinely, well... cute to me, even though they were still mired in denial and Stefan was projecting his own issues and so on and so forth. Whereas during much of S2 and all of S3, particularly the latter half of it, S/E scenes were pretty torturous for me.

Exactly. I LOATHED them so very, very hard in S2 (especially) and the idea of them in s3 killed me dead, but what we saw in this episode was really akin to the surface S/E I liked in s1.

Now that they're back to acting like none of S3 happened, they're back to a sweeter kind of vibe and that's a lot more bearable to watch. Particularly, of course, because you can hear the clanging chimes of relationship doom hanging over their every scene, ha.

YES! And the "the clanging chimes of relationship doom hanging over their every scene" is honestly a big part of why I can handle their scenes too, I must confess, LOL!

Again, I completely agree. The only thing that surprised me about that moment was that she was so blunt about admitting to it

I guess I wasn't surprised that she admitted wanting to die because of the shock that she was finally supposed to die, damnit and it didn't happen. I think it was just the circumstance of it. Remember, being a vampire, her emotions are pushed to the surface and heightened.

the less worthy she is of being alive because it feels to her like she's letting down the girl she used to be and that (from her POV) her parents died for.

SO VERY TRUE! Seriously, you and I, we know this show and their characters so damn well.

I think her and Stefan did in a lot of ways help each other figure out how to live again, but there's a big, big difference between that, and truly feeling alive and happy to be so.

Uh huh.

Also, I think they both used it as a band-aid and as a temporary fix and it did help them both initially, it gave them both a bit of a lift out of the depression both were in. But that couldn't last and all their individual issues rapidly came rising to the surface again

I think I talk about this at some point this season reflecting back to something in "Haunted." I believe it's during some defense of Elena, but I don't remember which episode. You'll get to it though. Make sure you read the in-between posts too.

which in Elena's case was stuff like her depression and survivor's guilt, which did indeed lead directly to the sacrificial tendencies you mentioned.

You're agreeing with me and I'm agreeing with you because yup, yup, yup!
Re: Part 1 - distant_autumn on March 27th, 2015 07:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 1 - arabian on April 1st, 2015 04:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part 1 - distant_autumn on April 7th, 2015 09:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Re: Part 1 - arabian on April 8th, 2015 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
distant_autumn: Elena - Lion Hearted Girl  by summerlovedistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 12:06 pm (UTC)
Part 2
the Damon/Elena fangirl in me has hopes and belief that it is Damon who will finally, fully make her want to LIVE again, rather than just not be dead inside

That's what I'm thinking will happen too. I mean, she's just very literally come back to life because of him (via his blood) so I've got to believe that the show is going to follow through on that in other less literal ways. So yeah, I think Damon's very much going to be tied to her rediscovering her love for life and also, I really don't think it's a coincidence that the show has long made it a point to talk about how being a vampire makes emotions more intense. They feel everything more fully, live life at a greater intensity, which means that when Elena finds her happiness, she's going to feel happier than she could ever have imagined feeling. And again, that's only something that can happen BECAUSE OF Damon. Via his blood, yes, but there's obviously a lot of symbolism attached to all that, and I absolutely think the show intends for the message to be that it's not just going to be about his blood, it's about Damon himself and the impact he has had and will continue to have on her life. All of which is a long way of saying yep, I agree with you :D

I liked how they did the new-transitioning vampire stuff. The camera angles, odd lighting, herky-jerkiness, reaction to things around her was all played out well

Yeah, I liked that a lot. The moments of disorientation and her heightened senses kicking in, etc. were really effective, I thought.

Speaking of Jeremy, the one aspect of the show I really, really did NOT like was that Jeremy seemed to care more about Elena being human rather than being around. I could see that vampire=bad attitude and the regret over her turning coming a few days later when the reality settles in, but when it's a choice between his sister, and only living family, being around in any capacity or being dead, you'd think in the immediate rush of her DYING!, he'd be more concerned with having her around in any capacity. Yes, it was understandable that he wanted her to be human, but for the love of God, his sister DIED! just like his parents did. I expected more of a determination to keep her no matter what, and let the negativity towards vampirism hit after her being around settles down and the reality of her being a vampire truly hits. So, yeah, that really bothered me.

Ha, as you know, I liked Jeremy in this episode. Well, no, let me rephrase: I liked how much of a teenager he was. I hated it in the sense that he was pretty insensitive with regard to Elena's feelings and yeah, his priorities were more than a little messed up, but it essentially was another one of those times (like in 3.10 and 3.21) where I was just like "Oh, Jeremy. You teenager, you." Because he really is. And to reiterate my previous comments, I do also wonder if his anti-vampire stance that's been bubbling away for the past half season is going anywhere, and if that might be why the writers leaned so hard on him being focused on the vampire = bad thing.

I did expect him to be more focused on being relieved that she was alive and happy about that, but yeah. It did work for me as a characterisation choice, but as I said in response to your comments on my post, I do get why it didn't work for you.

As did not one whiff of an assertion from Elena that she needed to transition so Jeremy wouldn't be alone.

Hmm, I kind of got that vibe from the moment on the roof at the end, where she talked about being a sister, though? And also just with her being so "it's going to be okay" with Jeremy, because I think we can infer from that that yeah, Jeremy will have had an impact on her decision-making process. To be honest, though, I really liked them keeping the focus on Elena's shift from "I was ready to die" at the beginning of the episode to "I get to live" at the end, and having that just be about her. Like, objectively we know that things like Jeremy being left alone would've been a factor for Elena, but Elena actually wanting to live by the end of the episode was such a powerful moment to me, that I was actually glad they didn't lean too hard on how much other factors (like Jeremy) might've influenced that change in attitude.
distant_autumn: Bonnie - Fire by smokeandsongdistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
Part 3
As for Elena as a human versus a vampire. I could be completely wrong, but this show does love its bookending season premieres with finale/near-finale parallels [...] Here we had Bonnie working to bring Elena back to life as a human, and Damon commenting on it never being done in the history of vampirism. Remember we had the reveal in season 03 that Esther was going to turn her children human (in order to kill them, but still). Taking the show's history of parallels, the vampire-human Esther information, and what we got in this premiere, I do think it's quite possible that a way will be found to turn Elena back to human near or in the finale.

Totally agree about the show loving it's bookend parallels, for all the reasons you stated. And for all the reasons you said, I definitely think it's very possible that a way of turning Elena human again will come up again in the finale. Although what I don't expect is for it to actually happen. I feel like the show is being very clear on Elena becoming a vampire being a metaphor for her growing up, and so I just don't see them undoing it because, well, that would ruin the metaphor, ha. So, yeah. It's absolutely something I think there's a very good chance the show will explore, but I don't think she'll actually end up human again. What I'd ideally like to see (because it's all about me and what I want :P) is Elena coming to terms with being a vampire over the course of the season, ultimately embracing it, and then come the season finale, being given the choice (because it's just not a season finale if Elena doesn't have a big choice to make, heh) of turning human again and rejecting it. I feel like that would be a really nice way to bring the season full circle from the opening of this episode, where she was so appalled at being alive and at the idea of becoming a vampire. It'd just be a really neat premiere to finale parallel to have her go from hating the idea of being a vampire and trying desperately to stay human, to accepting being a vampire and rejecting the idea of going back to being human. Plus, from a shippy agenda perspective, I feel like that would be a good thing for us, because obviously it was Damon's blood that caused her to become a vampire and so I think it would convey a kind of acceptance of her love for him and how he's a part of her now, a part that she doesn't want to lose.

...Not that I'm getting ahead of myself at all. Hee!

She told Damon her choice in a non face-to-face conversation in "The Departed." It was emotional, it was painful, passionate and it was honest. Completely and absolutely honest. The closest thing to non-brutal honesty was the bone she threw him that if she had met him first. Now we have in this premiere, Elena told Stefan her choice in a non face-to-face conversation. And it was not passionately emotional. Yes, she was weak, but there was no passion there. Stefan wasn't, but there was no passion from his end either.

Yeah, particularly when you factor in how life-and-death that moment was, the lack of passionate intensity was very telling. As was the fact that she centred that conversation around her wanting to give Stefan hope, rather than making it about (romantic) love. I mean, it's not like she turned around and said "I picked you because I'm madly in love with you and couldn't resist you a moment longer, Stefan!" She waited until she was about to die and then framed it in terms of wanting him to have hope. So telling.

And I am taking her "the best choice I ever made" comment in the exact same way I took her "If I had met you first." She believed one of them was going to die and she wanted to throw him a bone to make him feel better about a choice (his to save Matt over her which was leading to her death).

I didn't think of it that way when I was watching, but I like that idea and as you say, it would make for a great parallel.

The biggest difference, though, for me was the dishonesty.

Absolutely.



distant_autumn: Bonnie - Smiling by imaginary_livesdistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 01:33 pm (UTC)
Part 4
We literally have Stefan say if you could see my face, you'd see that I'm smiling and she re-iterated that back to him. And other than the barest, slight quirk of one side of their lips ... NEITHER WAS SMILING. That just really, really struck me. Even when they believe one of them is going to die, they still can't be fully honest with one another. That's just not them.

I know, right? It's so telling that even with death imminent, they're still playing pretend with each other. I also felt like it was a nice commentary on the fact that playing pretend isn't making either of them truly happy anymore, no matter what they might be trying to tell themselves or each other.

we're going to see Elena realize that she can't let go of Damon anymore than he can let go of her, but that she and Stefan are letting each other go even if they don't want to.

That's such a great way of putting it and yeah, I agree.

They're just growing apart because they aren't what they once were because both of them are not who they were when they met.

Yep, this.

They do want to be together.

More than that, I'd say that Elena wants to want to be with him (if that makes sense). I was going to say that in comparison, Stefan really does want to be with her, but while I think that's mainly true, I do also think there's an aspect of, hmm... him feeling like, if he's not with her, then who is he? If they weren't together then he might actually have to truly start trying to figure that out, and so I think even Stefan has his reasons aside from his love for her for being so invested in wanting to be with her.

He represents an anchor and stability, real or not, he does represent that. And he is her default and she his, and they are trying and she doesn't want him to let go. And she doesn't want to let go. But... But, Elena is not the young, naive girl with the moral compass screwed on straight. She's stronger, more passionate, more of an adult who is seeing the world through shades of gray she never even could have conceived of before.

Yep, all of this. Really well put.

As sweet as their rooftop moment was it won't last because things aren't sweet anymore. They aren't the sweet, normal teenage couple in love they were able to pretend to be before. That's simply not their lives in a way that it still, kinda, sorta could be before the Ripper returned, before Jeremy killed, before Alaric went crazy, before Bonnie went to dark places, before the Originals permeated their lives. Before Damon and her twisty, tangible feelings for him.

This. All of these characters have been through so much and changed so much, and pretending that they haven't is never something that goes well for any of them. It's like how Caroline initially tried to pretend nothing had changed with Matt. And look how that turned out. Uh huh. Exactly. Stefan and Elena have both changed too much and pretending that that isn't the case, or that her feelings haven't changed, is going to prove impossible.

Without all beats playing out, I won't buy any kind of closure for them. And I do think we're heading towards closure (at least as much as the show is willing to give -- haha! -- until the series gets closer to its final episodes).

Exactly. They need to attempt this precisely in order to find out that they can't go back and that it's over for them.

Edited at 2015-03-13 01:46 pm (UTC)
distant_autumn: Caroline - woods by lipglossingdistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 01:53 pm (UTC)
Part 5
And that first scene while about her choice, it wasn't romantic. It was sad, they were lying to each other in degrees, and there was almost a passive resignation to their conversation. [...] overall, there was this sense of 'yes, this is what we're supposed to do and say.' [...] I just felt like it was more about them saying goodbye than their love because it was a goodbye of sorts. And yet, again, not much passion there.Yes, yes, she was weak, she was dying, but still, I just didn't feel like they were in love. That they love each other? Absolutely. Like they have this strong history? Yuppers. But in love? No, it just wasn't there.

I'm sorry, I feel like I'm just saying "I totally agree" a lot in my comments here, but I can't help it because we remain brain-twins on so many things about this show. So, yeah. Once again, I'm in full agreement! :D

I keep going back to the sweet description of it, but it fits so perfectly and the problem is that things should NOT just be sweet now. They were separated for six months. Elena DIED and then almost died again forever, and this is their first kiss, post-reunion, and we got a simple kiss, an entirely un-momentous ring-giving, a refrain of skipping delusionally through their relationship again ignoring reality until it bites them in the ass, one more little kiss and then a nice-view cuddle. Sweet, nice. Nothing passionate, nothing epic, nothing GLORIOUS. Just, you know, sweet.

Precisely. It was like they were back in early S1 again. And that did make it a sweet moment (even if a facepalmy one, because of all the denial floating around) but it didn't make it a real one. They were playing pretend. And not only that, but as you say, there was nothing about any of it that felt intense or passionate. It was like they'd never been apart, instead of some kind of ~epic~ romantic reunion. And it's so very deliberate on the part of the writers, because of course they know exactly how to write a big romantic scene when they want to. They just don't want to in this case, because it's so very not what Stefan and Elena's relationship is about. Not ever, and particularly not now.

And if Elena does turn back to human by season's end, she can give him that ring back, and that would be some pretty hefty symbolism, I think.

Hmm, I have to say that I really don't want her to turn back, but that's a very good point, it would be.

And that is what I got overall from Stefan/Elena in this episode. They were sweet, reminiscent of how I saw them in season 01. As long as it's leading to their end (which I do think it is), I'm fine with that. Because Elena is not the same girl she was when she first met Stefan and they were sweet.

Yep, and not only that, but Stefan's not the same guy. They've both changed too much.

No, the girl she is now has spark and bite and fights back. Like how she was Damon. Yes, she had recovered from her weakness, but the first time in the whole episode we saw Elena ALIVE! and not falling apart was with Damon. That was a conscious choice from the show.They could have had her have that first moment with Stefan, but they didn't. Instead they chose her first moment as a vampire and ALIVE! with Damon. With spark, with fire, with passion... she was with Damon.

Oh my goodness, I know! The way she went from spending several scenes with Stefan, with her life draining away from her bit by bit, to sparking with life and passion and fire the moment she interacted with Damon? So telling and so very clearly deliberate on the part of the writers. I loved it. Also, how telling was it that they didn't bother to give Stefan and Elena a big reunion moment after they made it out of those cages? Instead of some big sweeping romantic reunion after they finally made it out of there, she goes and jumps on Damon while Stefan is left behind in the barn.
distant_autumn: Damon - Hmm by ebsolutelydistant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 01:58 pm (UTC)
Part 6
But let's back up a second. I know there had to have been significance to the fact that Damon was the first person we saw Elena vamping out with ... but what was it? I can't wrap my brain around why? Someone? Anyone have an idea? I think it's good.

Gah, I can't believe I didn't pick up on that, but you're right, he was! I think it's perhaps significant in the sense of Damon being the first (and arguably so far the only) person to see who Elena truly is and all the ways that she's changed and the person that she's growing into. He sees her, even the (from her POV) "ugly" parts of her that she tries to keep from others. And it's not just about him having insight into her, it's also about the fact that she lets him know those parts of herself.

Not so good, although I can appreciate the sentiment and what they were trying to get across was how Elena remembered the compulsion. I just didn't like how it was done. It felt kinda cheesy and I don't think it hit the emotion it was supposed to; I mean, I didn't feel it and I'm a Damon/Elena fan. I think we were supposed to get that Elena was shaken, that Elena saw that side of Damon and it, I dunno, moved her? But I'm just not sure.* Still, it was emotional, and it was romantic because of what Damon was saying, what Elena was remembering, how she reacted, but it just didn't full connect for me. I do think that tying Damon's comment about it in the final scene helped -- which was no doubt the plan -- but I just wished I'd felt it more fully during the reveal.

Gasp! We disagree on something! Hee. But seriously, as you know, I actually loved how they handled that. I won't get into detail on my feelings about it here, because obviously I rambled at length about it in my own episode reaction post, but yeah. It really worked for me :P

* Talking to butterfly, she mentioned how when Damon said "I don't deserve you, but my brother does," Elena present-tense reacted to that with a barely perceptible shake of her head as if denying what he was saying. Hmm, interesting.

Oh, wow, that is interesting. I missed that.

In both charged Damon/Elena scenes, things were revealed, they were honest with one another, no holding back. I know many get frustrated when it seems that Elena is so brutally honest with Damon even though it hurts him, but the truth is that Damon is the same way with her because they both know now that (a) the other can take it, expect it and that honesty is one of the best things about their relationship

Yeah, one of the reasons I loved the fact that they argued in this episode was because it did involve them genuinely communicating in real, honest ways, even when it was painful to them both. Compared to Stefan and Elena, who spent the entire episode hiding in the land of denial. As ever, Damon and Elena are real with each other in ways that Stefan and Elena simply aren't able to be.

I also found the song choice interesting. The interpretation of the lyrics of this song seem to fall along the lines about a girl who loves one boy, but she feels for another and those feelings make her question her original choice

Ooh, really? I didn't pick up on the song lyrics during the scene, but that's interesting.


distant_autumn: Damon - Shadowed by  riotbabyy233distant_autumn on March 13th, 2015 02:03 pm (UTC)
Part 7
I absolutely loved that Damon said he didn't get before about her not wanting to die, but he did and that's why he would have saved her. And I loved that he said it like that because that made it clear to me that he already knew that about Elena without Stefan having to tell him, or Elena even flat-out telling him that because he knows Elena so well. And I also find it interesting that both Elena and Damon still have no earthly clue was true selflessness is. Like in the scene from "Rose," Damon wasn't being selfish, he was being incredibly selfless. And what he said to Elena, WHY he would have saved her was incredibly selfless. In fact, it revealed even more just how selfish Stefan's act was. Sure, he saved Matt because it was what Elena wanted, but he did it so that Elena would be happy with him. It was more important to him that Elena know that he respected her choice, rather than that he respected her life. For Damon, it would be more important to him that Elena have her life, rather than a choice because he knows that *that* is what she wanted in the bigger picture... a life, to live, to grow, to age. And STEFAN took that much bigger choice from her.

EXACTLY. Beautifully put, I completely agree with everything you say here.

I also found my 'letting go' theme furthered along by the fact that Elena specifically said to Damon that 'he couldn't let go' even as *she* literally couldn't let him go; she kept stopping him from walking away.

Hee, yes! I was cracking up at him keeping trying to walk away and her first physically chasing after him and then using words to keep him there. "You're so bad at letting go, Damon! But just stay here and keeping talking to me, please, because I can't actually let you go." Oh, Elena. Heh.

Because she shouldn't be with Damon at all right now, not if she's with Stefan.

Right? Like, she's JUST got back together with Stefan. And where is she, not five minutes later? Having an emotionally intense, tension-filled, USTy conversation with Damon again. Nothing about that suggests she's remotely capable of truly letting Damon got and committing to Stefan. Quite the reverse, in fact.

Once Damon moved up into her dance space, she should have backed away. She didn't. Once his eyes drifted to her lips and lingered, she should have backed away, looked away. She didn't. (Oh, and note her eye movement when the camera angle switches back to her, her eyes are drifting up too meaning *she* was looking at his lips also.)

Yeah, this. If she was serious about letting go of Damon, she would've instantly put a stop to all of that. But instead...

She shouldn't have brought up the compulsions, choosing to only specifically mention the first one but not the second because that would have been facing what he said head-on and heaven forbid Elena actually deal with this *thing* between her and Damon. No, but she mentioned the first specifically so he would know that when she said she remembered it all, he would know that she remembered the second as well. She wanted him to know that SHE knew that he told her he loved her, that she remembered that moment.

Yeah, and it's another thing that she shouldn't really have done, because you don't let someone go or commit to your relationship with your another person by essentially being like "hey, remember the first time you told me you were in love with me? 'Cause I sure do!" But she can't help it, she has to talk to him about it.

She even pushed after he said 'are we done here?' (LOVED Ian Somerhalder's delivery/body language of this line) because she wanted, needed more from him.

This this this ♥!