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17 December 2012 @ 01:47 am
Central character per episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 9  
Discussion came up in one of my Vampire Diaries posts about Damon being the central character in "The Descent", and crowandfog came up with the idea of listing the central character from each episode to see how it played out. (You can see that list here.) She wound up picking more than one character for certain episodes, and it was interesting to see her choices, but I wanted to take it a step further. I decided to make it harder on myself and just choose one character (as the show generally has an A, B, C and sometimes a D plot going per episode), the character focused on in the A-plot (unless a lead wasn't the central figure of that plot, but rather a recurring character was highlighted; in that case I then moved to plot B), and to explain why I chose that character using the following parameters:

1) Which character had the strongest emotional arc?
2) Which character drove the most story?
3) Which character had the most key focus in their scenes (and in scenes not involving them)?
4) Which character interacted with the most characters?

First of all, these are the characters that I consider lead: Elena, Damon, Stefan, and the secondary leads are Caroline and Bonnie -- they've driven multiple episodes, and have been the lead B-story in more than a few episodes). They are all regular cast members and main characters (ie, even though Katherine is played by lead actress Nina Dobrev, I don't consider Katherine one of the main characters). Alaric, Jeremy, Vicki, Jenna, Tyler, Klaus and Matt fall under the supporting roles for me. While we've seen them lead some stories, it's generally the B-story, and more often than not, they are supporting.

- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 1
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 2
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 3
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 4
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 5
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 6
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 7
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 8

SEASON FOUR, Episodes 01-09

4.01 - Growing Pains | Elena Gilbert -- Other than the B-story which revolved around Klaus possessing Tyler and the C-story about the Council -- which dovetailed into Elena's story, everything was very, very much about Elena. She easily had the strongest emotional arc as she came to terms with her vampirism. She drove the most story in that every character (except for the above mentioned arc-characters) was focused on her vampirism and how to deal with it. That tied into the key focus. Every single character except for Tyler at least thought/talked about Elena at some point-- while Damon, Stefan and Matt were solely focused on her. Damon technically interacted with more characters (if you count the two deputies), but of the main players (including Pastor Young in this episode), he and Elena were tied. With Elena handily taking the lead in all other categories, this one is most definitely hers.

4.02 - Memorial | Elena Gilbert -- And, again, this one goes to Elena. Elena's blood issues drove the most story, she was the key focus of most characters at some point and as she continued dealing with the fall-out of her vampirism, she had the emotional arc where she at least found a measure of peace at the end. Once again, she was tied with Damon for interaction with the most characters, but again, with the other categories going to her, she easily takes it.

4.03 - The Rager | Elena Gilbert -- Chalk up another one for Elena. With her vampire state being explored so thoroughly, we're just seeing so much focus on her from most of the characters, and her vampirism and the effect on her is driving so much story. And we saw another emotional arc for her in this one, starting out convinced she was in control before losing it at the end and agreeing to try a different route. Like the first two episodes, she and Damon interacted with the same number of characters, but with the other three again going to Elena, yup... another one.

4.04 - The Five | Elena Gilbert -- Prepared to be amazed... it's Elena again. Right now, there is such a focus on her vampirism that no one else is grabbing the central role. In this episode, she was not only focused on by most characters but there were two separate veins (hehehe) of focus. From Damon and Bonnie's end, her current vampire state, and Stefan, Klaus, and to a lesser degree, Rebekah, were focused on her potential return to the living state. However, for the first time, she didn't drive the most story. That role went to Stefan whose inability to help Elena control her blood-intake helped lead to her day-trip with Damon, and Stefan was the driving force behind what happened in the B-story about the Five (even if it was somewhat passive). He also had the most character interaction, but with Elena -- once again -- snagging the first two categories so decidedly (and coming in second in the drives-story category), she takes another one.

4.05 - The Killer | Stefan Salvatore -- Sorry, Elena, Stefan snags this one. Stefan's devious plans and secrets drove pretty much all that happened in this episode with the exception of Bonnie's barely-there B-story. Stefan was also the focus of the majority of characters at different points, with Damon and Elena focused on him quite a lot (when they weren't focused on each other or Jeremy). Elena had the strongest emotional journey simply because by the end of the episode she had killed someone. However, Stefan had the second strongest arc with his hope burning high at the top before dropping to despair at the end. He also interacted with the majority of characters. So, here ya go, Stefan, first one of the season.

4.06 - We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes | Elena Gilbert -- Despite the fact that every episode since 3.22 -- except for last week's -- has been about Elena, none of the other episodes come close to being as centrally about Elena as this one. Even the B- and C- story (Caroline/Tyler and the hybrids, Shane/Bonnie) tied in heavily to Elena's story. She easily had not only the strongest emotional arc, but also possibly the strongest emotional arc a character ever has had in one episode. She drove the story in that her state is what literally drove the actions of every other character. As well, every single character was focused on her. She did tie with Stefan on most character interactions, but again, everything else is so beyond completely her. So hard.

4.07 - My Brother's Keeper | Damon Salvatore -- This is just about a tie in every way between Damon and Elena actually. I'm choosing to go with Damon because of the emotional arc... even though both came to a new place by the end. However, Elena began the episode having a fair idea that she wanted Damon and in the end she got there. Damon, on the other hand, was unaware of where things stood with Elena and so his emotional arc hit a few more beats. The focus was fairly equal on both characters and while Elena's decision drove a fair bit of story, it was her decision about Damon that was key. Lastly, they both interacted with the same number of characters. So because Damon had a bit more of an emotional arc, this one goes to him. I do find it interesting though that the episode that features their first time having sex is one that features both practically tied for central character. That doesn't happen often.

4.08 - We'll Always Have Bourbon Street | Damon Salvatore -- Whereas it was almost a draw between Damon and Elena in the last episode, with this one, it definitely goes to Damon all the way. Yes, Elena had an emotional arc, but Damon's was more central and focused upon. Him being Elena's sire bond (supposedly) is also what drove the bulk of the story, and actually found purchase in all of the other stories at play. Elena did interact with the most characters, but, as with the other two categories, Damon was also the most focused upon character. Other than the hybrid story, Damon was the focus of all of the other characters at one point or another. So Damon gets his first, full-on central character episode of the season.

4.09 - O Come, All Ye Faithful | Damon Salvatore -- And here's his second. This is actually one of those episodes where of our five leads, the central character isn't so much one, but rather the character who was featured just a little more. The true central character was Tyler, but he's in my supporting cast list, so that leaves us with Damon again. Although where he wound up at the end is where he was headed at the top, he was clearly warring with himself throughout the whole episode. And while everyone else reacted to what was going on (minus Tyler, and also Klaus), Damon drove events by suggesting the solution to the Jeremy conundrum, threatening Shane which brought out new information, lying to Stefan and setting Elena free. Most of the episode's focus was on Elena (and non-lead Klaus), and Caroline (and non-lead Tyler) had the most character interaction, but Damon with the arc and the story drive claims another.

CURRENT TALLY --

Damon - (S1) 6 | (S2) 9 | (S3) 8 | (S4) 2 = 26
Elena - (S1) 7 | (S2) 7 | (S3) 8 | (S4) 5 = 27
Stefan - (S1) 6 | (S2) 1 | (S3) 3 | (S4) 1 = 11
Bonnie - (S1) 1 | (S2) 3 | (S3) 2 | (S4) 0 = 06
Caroline - (S1) 2 | (S2) 2 | (S3) 1 | (S4) 0 = 05

Well, with Elena's turn to the vamp-side, her character took the lead for the first time since "Crying Wolf." The first four episodes were so completely hers that no other character was even a consideration. However, despite that early lead, Damon is now just one episode behind her and with the direction of the story it's anyone's guess who will have that lead by the next batch of these. It also looks like Stefan's story, and possibly Caroline's is beginning to rev up, but, at this point, I honestly can't seen any other character aside from Damon or Elena ever taking the lead again.
 
 
 
Florencia: DE (4x07) (Dance)florencia7 on December 17th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
OH I was so happy when I saw this post! I was so looking forward to reading it! :D

I guess we could've expected the first few episodes to belong to Elena, but now that the transition is kind of/mostly out of the way, the rest of the season may go in a couple of different ways & it will surely be interesting to see where it goes.

"I do find it interesting though that the episode that features their first time having sex is one that features both practically tied for central character. That doesn't happen often." - That's true & I LOVE that it is so.

I re-watched 1x10 for comparison (the things we have to do for research! lol) & this stands out even more. The SE scene in 1x10 seems to be all about Stefan. Even if the camera focuses on Elena - it's about Stefan, about her acceptance of him. Elena may be the central character in 1x10, but the SE scene has that for Stefan vibe, even if yes, it's also about Elena "coming back to life", so to speak.

Another interesting difference is that the 4x07 DE scene seems to be VERY deliberate in keeping both Damon & Elena extremely even throughout: first of all, dancing itself is all about balance, then Damon kisses Elena first but it's her who deepens the kiss; they both get to have one another pinned against the wall and in the final collection of shots we get both of them being on top interchangeably, both of them kissing down each other's chests, etc. It's like the show is trying to make it very clear that they are on equal terms, equally involved in what is happening. Whereas in 1x10, other than leading Stefan upstairs by the hand (aww!... um, actually, no, I don't find it aww-worthy at all, for some reason), Elena never seems in control (she's never on top, technically speaking). And last but not least, there is A LOT less kissing ;)

One more thing, SE conversation at the end of 1x11, when Elena confronts Stefan about Katherine she asks Stefan "What am I to you? Who am I to you?" And his first, immediate answer is: "You are not Katherine." I think it's extremely interesting, the choice of words here, because it seems to emphasize the fact that for Stefan it's more important what/who Elena is NOT than what/who she IS.

Sorry about the rant. Hiatuses always put me in the overanalyzing mode haha
Arabian: Damon & Elena23arabian on December 18th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
the rest of the season may go in a couple of different ways & it will surely be interesting to see where it goes.

Yeah, I could see it continuing through with Elena, fighting against the sire bond thing. Damon dealing with the sire bond. Or even Stefan going through his issues, potentially (hopefully) hitting rock-bottom. Even Bonnie with her growing story (with Jeremy and the dark witchiness) could get more, and of course, Caroline is clearly very much in the mix with the two main stories (Damon/Elena/Stefan -- she's essentially become the non-romantic fourth member making it almost a quad at this point) as well as the hybrid/Tyler/Klaus story. Plus, with her and Stefan talking about Klaus as they did, that's also potentially opening up a connection with those three.

RE: S/E 1.10 -- I watched that after 4.08 too just to compare how the love scenes were done, LOL! I hadn't noticed what you did, but you're totally right. Elena was absolutely the submissive young girl as opposed to the equality of passion, giving/taking with Damon.

" And his first, immediate answer is: "You are not Katherine."

I've long said that while I don't doubt that Stefan loves Elena, it's always been wrapped up in not who Elena is, but rather who she is not (Katherine).
bangel_4e: damonloveisasinbangel_4e on December 17th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
I'm a sucker for this stuff. I enjoy reading things like this so gonna dive in ;)
Arabian: Damon07arabian on December 18th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoy. :)
Bogwitch: Shrek - Pussbogwitch on December 17th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Agreed, though |I think you are bit mean not counting Tyler. :)
Arabian: TVD-Cast01arabian on December 18th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
That's not me being mean. During season 02, I added him as a lead, however ... as I wrote in part 6 --

"First of all, these are the characters that I consider lead: Elena, Damon, Stefan, and the secondary leads are Tyler (even if it only started in season two), Caroline and Bonnie -- they've driven multiple episodes, and have been the lead B-story in more than a few episodes). They are all regular cast members and main characters (ie, even though Katherine is played by lead actress Nina Dobrev, I don't consider Katherine one of the main characters). Alaric, Jeremy, Vicki, Jenna, Tyler, Klaus and Matt fall under the supporting roles for me. While we've seen them lead some stories, it's generally the B-story, and more often than not, they are supporting.

I wanted to note before I continue that I've made a few changes with regards to my parameters. First off, we are nearly halfway through season 03 and Tyler remains mostly supporting, and at the lower rung of the supporting ladder (with Matt the only one on a consistent basis less central than he). He did take the lead in two episodes in season 02, but the fact that the werewolf arc was such a huge storyline, yet he was featured as the central character in only two episodes, and wasn't much beyond secondary in only a handful of other episodes all season long? Well, I'm officially removing him from my lead characters list. The two I had him listed for were "By The Light of the Moon" (2.11), and "Crying Wolf" (2.14). Going with the leads, I'm giving both to Elena."


Since that point, he's had one, maybe two other episodes that would have given him the lead. Alaric had episodes where he was the lead, as has Katherine, and Rebekah, Klaus, even Elijah. But unless it's an ongoing consistent thing, the character doesn't fit the parameters. Not only has he only been the central character in 3-4 episodes of the entire series' run, there's only a small handful of episodes where he was even the secondary lead. While Caroline and Bonnie have only a handful of central character leads, there are a lot of episodes where they have the secondary lead which is why I've never removed them from the list.
Bogwitchbogwitch on December 18th, 2012 08:35 am (UTC)
Okay, point taken. ;D
Arabian: Doylearabian on December 19th, 2012 08:42 am (UTC)
I know I'm not Tyler's biggest fan (to say the least, LOL), but I really do try and be impartial when it comes to these. :)
x5vale: does it feel wrong?x5vale on December 18th, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
I guess this very much tells us what this show is about.

Thank you.

Your ability to analyze this show never ceases to amaze me.
Arabian: Damon & Elena04arabian on December 19th, 2012 08:43 am (UTC)
My ability to be so wordy and thinky-thought about every aspect of this show still amazes me! I'm used to just being coupe-girl analyzing, but this show has me so wrapped up!

Glad you liked this (and thanks for commenting).
wiccabuffy: Buffy - Default/name/scythewiccabuffy on December 19th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
Curious how Bonnie & Caroline are considered main characters but Tyler wouldn't be........?
Arabian: TVD-Cast01arabian on December 19th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
Because not only do they get central character episodes per season (it didn't start for Tyler until season 02 and he only had two the entire season despite the huge werewolf story), but they are often the B-lead story. Tyler (prior to the last batch of episodes this season) rarely got the B-lead story. There are quite a few episodes throughout the season where Bonnie and Caroline just miss getting that central character title because the three mains have that much more. No other character on the show is in that position.

I explained about Tyler when I decided to take him the lead list at --

First off, we are nearly halfway through season 03 and Tyler remains mostly supporting, and at the lower rung of the supporting ladder (with Matt the only one on a consistent basis less central than he). He did take the lead in two episodes in season 02, but the fact that the werewolf arc was such a huge storyline, yet he was featured as the central character in only two episodes, and wasn't much beyond secondary in only a handful of other episodes all season long? Well, I'm officially removing him from my lead characters list. The two I had him listed for were "By The Light of the Moon" (2.11), and "Crying Wolf" (2.14). Going with the leads, I'm giving both to Elena."

He appears more of a leading character right now, but that's only been the last three episodes this season. During the series run, he's been less lead than all of the other main characters other than Matt. And I'll note that this is the first time (post this batch of episodes in season 04 -- essentially episodes 7-9 -- and he wouldn't be the lead in any of them other than 09, giving him a grand total of three episodes the entire series' run, and a small handful of B-story leads) that anyone has questioned why he isn't a lead.


Edited at 2012-12-19 09:43 pm (UTC)
vanimy: Damonvanimy on January 5th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC)
I agree on Tyler not being a main character, I wouldn't be surprised if he was killed off this season actually. He disappeared for entire episodes in both seasons 2 and 3 to deal with his issues as wolf. Those issues should have been shown on screen but instead he dealt with his turning then his sire bond elsewhere and off screen. You don't treat a main character this way.

I always love your thought-out analyses. So this is Elena's season for now. I think the sire bond storyline will benefit both Damon and Elena's characters so I can see the same pattern for the rest of the season. One could think Stefan's storyline could also be important in the next part of the season (journey towards self-acceptance) but I doubt it. Season 3 was supposed to be HIS time with the first half of the season all about bringing him back but he only had few episodes focused on him. Damon has been the main male lead for a long time now and I can't see it changing anytime soon.
Arabian: DE & Stefan01arabian on January 6th, 2013 05:39 am (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if he was killed off this season actually

Don't you get my hopes up! (I'm sorry, but Trevino brings down the overall acting caliber of the main cast. It's not the character, Tyler is a great character, it's the acting. He's not... bad -- for the most part, it's just that all the other series regulars and a few of the heavy recurring players are so much better.)

He disappeared for entire episodes in both seasons 2 and 3 to deal with his issues as wolf. Those issues should have been shown on screen but instead he dealt with his turning then his sire bond elsewhere and off screen. You don't treat a main character this way.

The next time someone questions why Tyler isn't a lead, I'm stealing this answer. So perfect.

I think the sire bond storyline will benefit both Damon and Elena's characters so I can see the same pattern for the rest of the season. One could think Stefan's storyline could also be important in the next part of the season (journey towards self-acceptance) but I doubt it.

I don't know, when it comes to the vague stuff, you can generally count on what Julie says and she said that we're moving to Stefan's point of view about stuff, so we'll see. It really has been some time since Stefan got some consistent central characters goodies, so I do think it's time. Regardless, yeah, I can't see him ever taking that lead male from Damon. I do think that by the end of the season it will be him again, but Elena could take it. It's possible.
vanimy: Damon/Stefanvanimy on January 6th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Don't you get my hopes up! (I'm sorry, but Trevino brings down the overall acting caliber of the main cast. It's not the character, Tyler is a great character, it's the acting. He's not... bad -- for the most part, it's just that all the other series regulars and a few of the heavy recurring players are so much better.)

LMAO!! I kind of wish Tyler is next on the death list because you just know someone is going to die near the end of the season and I don't want any of the remaining characters to die (except Klaus but he just won't die). Also I think his character's reaching a natural conclusion.

And yeah, agreed on Trevino's acting. That being said next to Tonkin he seems to shine lol.

The next time someone questions why Tyler isn't a lead, I'm stealing this answer. So perfect.

heh, thanks, steal away. ;)

I don't know, when it comes to the vague stuff, you can generally count on what Julie says and she said that we're moving to Stefan's point of view about stuff, so we'll see. It really has been some time since Stefan got some consistent central characters goodies, so I do think it's time.

Yeah, I saw that interview too, TW I said one could think Stefan's going to be important in the next part of the season but I'm really doubtful about that. Season 3 was supposed to be all about him when you read the interviews and in the end a lot of it was about Elena and Damon. So while I do believe we're going to see more of Stefan in the upcoming episodes I think it'll be still less than Elena and Damon. *shrugs* But yeah, we'll see. I wouldn't mind a little focus on Stefan actually.
Arabian: Damon&Stefan01arabian on January 9th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
I kind of wish Tyler is next on the death list because you just know someone is going to die near the end of the season and I don't want any of the remaining characters to die (except Klaus but he just won't die). Also I think his character's reaching a natural conclusion.

This, this, all of this!

TW I said one...

I've always wondered, what does the TW stand for?

Season 3 was supposed to be all about him when you read the interviews and in the end a lot of it was about Elena and Damon. So while I do believe we're going to see more of Stefan in the upcoming episodes I think it'll be still less than Elena and Damon. *shrugs* But yeah, we'll see. I wouldn't mind a little focus on Stefan actually.

I agree; the bottom-line is that Paul Wesley as good as he is is just not 'leading man' material, at least not with this role. It could change with another. After all, no one would have watched Ian on Lost and thought he was leading man material, and yet, here he is.

I don't know, the way that Damon (and Elena) are more interesting to watch.... I think they're more interesting to write too.
vanimy: Elenavanimy on January 22nd, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
God, I forgot to respond to this... Sorry!

TW stands for That's why ;)