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05 December 2013 @ 11:22 pm
5.09 - 'The Cell' (The Vampire Diaries)  
REMINDER: I am COMPLETELY SPOILER-FREE! Please DO NOT put spoilers in your comments!

It is Thursday night. (Yes, it is *actually* still Thursday night and I am posting this. Who's shocked?) 2nd to last Vampire Diaries episode of 2013. *sigh*

Well, that was a tad disappointing. The writer of this episode, Melinda Hsu Taylor, co-wrote "Original Sin" but this is the first she's written on her own and while some things are very well done, there are other things that are just to the left of being out of character and unfortunately those things dinged this episode for more. I shall list them.

- When Damon apologized to Elena for getting her into this mess, she would have refuted that apologized and tried to take that burden from him, assuring him it wasn't his fault. She would have done this not only because that's how Elena do, but because it's true. Damon was there because Elena was investigating Megan's death, Elena caught the intention and suspicion of Maxfield, Elena asked Damon to question Maxfield. Damon was there SOLELY because Elena sent him there. It actually *was* Elena's fault. Elena was actually in this mess because she sent Damon there and then went headlong into another investigative mode without telling anyone else what she was doing, not Stefan, not Caroline, not Bonnie, not Matt, not Jeremy. So, Damon was not to blame at all. And instead of assuring Damon that he was not to blame at all, Elena just let him take the blame. So not in character. Even if he was to blame, she wouldn't have let him take the blame. But he wasn't, yet she still let him take the blame. Sooooooooo not in character.

- Katherine spouting that Stefan is the hero who always comes to save the day. Yes, Stefan believes that he has to be hero who comes to save the day and had Caroline said that line, I would have had no problem with it, however Katherine saying that? No. No, no, no, no, no. If Katherine had said some variation on Stefan believing that he's the hero who has to save the day, or Stefan always has to save the day, fine, but that he always DOES the save day? Nope. Not in character.

Speaking of... I defend The Vampire Diaries on a regular basis from complaints that it does not present Stefan as the "hero" and Damon as the "villain" in black and white. That there is show vs. tell going on. There is nuance and shades of gray, beautifully subtle and I adore those shades of gray. Not so much this episode. Hsu Taylor wrote Stefan as the hero, period, full stop, end of discussion. And Damon as the bad guy, period, full stop, end of discussion. He attacked a room full of people, couldn't stop himself and sacrificed his friend to save himself. And then he taunted a miserable kid about killing his aunt. A woman he killed while enjoying a summer of love with his unknowing girlfriend. Pretty damn shitty.

- Which brings me to: Damon is not stupid. When Damon explained his form of revenge, I bought it. It made perfect sense as to why he had killed Aaron's parents. But Aunt Sarah? That was too much, going too far and bringing the summer of love into it was just a messy, unnecessary plot point designed to shit over Damon/Elena. And timing-wise it was out of character with the Damon he has become in the last year or so. The Damon he is now wouldn't go and cavalierly kill someone like that now. He wouldn't, not without talking to Elena, not without spilling about it. He just wouldn't. He's not that guy anymore. He's just not. And to say that he is to ignore three seasons of growth. For a completely unnecessary plot point. Because you ALREADY had it!

Damon telling Aaron that he killed his parents made sense! He was directing attention away from Elena because Aaron was blaming Elena. So of course Damon was going to confess that then. Of course he was. He would protect Elena. Turn attention on to him and that was enough to justify Aaron shooting Damon. Of course! Aunt Sarah didn't need to be brought into it. And a defenseless Damon locked up in a cell next to a defenseless Elena locked up in a cell is NOT going to taunt a gun-toting, upset kid about ANOTHER family member he killed just for kicks... not when it can put Elena in danger. Oh, look, which it did! No, no, no, no! So completely and utterly out of character! DAMON SALVATORE IS NOT STUPID! And that was really, really stupid.

The other thing that I didn't like, although not out of character, was that I had hoped that this would *finally* be the episode where the gang gets together, comes up with a plan and rescues Damon. It's happened for so many other characters. Something happens to one of them and they get together to rescue the one in danger. The closer we got for Damon was in "The Murder of One," but then they dropped it to bring down the Originals and it wound up just being Stefan in the end with no one else caring. This time, it was just Elena and she didn't tell anyone, had no plan and got herself captured too! And now, based on the previews, it becomes all about rescuing Elena and Damon will no doubt become an afterthought. *sigh*

And I gotta go back to it again, I'm really NOT happy that they had to taint the summer of love. I mean, really? Did they have to do that?! Really!? Damon went off one week and killed someone to settle some revenge scheme without telling Elena leaving her blissfully ignorant and looking like a fool. Way to give Caroline's earlier comment some credence. Lovely. Ugh. Hated that so hard.

So there are my issues (although one is cleared up now-ish). However... there were many things I *did* like about the episode. So let's focus on those things now.

I do not think the intention was to portray Damon as the bad guy. It was just the comparison of Stefan-hero/Damon-villain was very broadly painted by a less than nuanced writer (oh, lord, please never let Hsu Taylor and Joshua Butler do an episode together!). I loved, loved, loved, LOVED the fact that it wasn't the five years of torture that made Damon turn his humanity off, but rather that was the only way he could make himself walk away from his friend. And I loved that Damon and Elena were clearly THE love story. Even as upset with him as she was--understandably re: summer of love taint, grr!--when Aaron shot him, she still called out his name desperately, and when he came to and realized she was gone, he called out her name desperately.

As for Stefan, the root of his problem wasn't that he couldn't get over Elena, it was that he was still in pain over the break-up. So it was about the break-up itself, not Elena. That is good. And getting it on with Katherine, is a mighty great step in getting to his closure with Katherine. And that little conversation between Katherine and Caroline about what may or may not have happened between Caroline and Stefan continues to fuel my hopes that we are definitely getting somewhere with them and they are taking the sweet, slow burning ride with them. There is clearly the hint of something there, but the friendship is still the key.

Yes, yes, yes, Caroline is awful, we hate her, blah, blah, blah because she hates Damon... but I still get it. And I still believe that this Augustine and what has happened will be the change that opens the door to her seeing that Damon is not the root of all evil and obviously she doesn't know yet what has happened. I do need the Caroline-hating-on-Damon to stop pretty dang soon or even I will lose my Caroline-love and I didn't think that would ever happen. I've been a Caroline-lover since the Pilot, ya'll! Uh huh! Anyhoo, I was quite, quite happy to see her and Katherine interacting again because ever since seeing these two mix it up I've found that I much prefer these two over Caroline and Elena of late so it was fun to get that again. Once all the dust settles, Caroline and Katherine really could be the most awesome besties ever.

Speaking of friends... man, Damon and Enzo were pretty awesome, weren't they? Other than Tessa (sobs, Janina Gavankar, you are missed!), the casting department hasn't been really striking gold all that much since my beloved Shane (sobs, David Alpay, you are missed!) but I think they may have struck again with Michael Malarkey's Enzo. In just a few scenes I was already loving Enzo and he and Damon were completely believable as tight friends. That final scene between the two when they were looking at each other between the bars and Enzo was pleading with Damon and then Damon just turned off the switch and walked away... guh, my heart broke for the both of them! I was so happy and gutted at the same time to see him at the end. And I can't wait to see both of their reactions when they are reunited.

Yuppers!

It wasn't just Damon and Enzo that were awesome, all of the flashbacks were pretty awesome. The look and feel of them, the music playing throughout. I loved how their relationship was built up and the telling was interweaved throughout the episode and how Elena prodded Damon to tell her by making it clear that she wouldn't judge him because she loved him, because they tortured him for five years (hello!) and so he told her. We got the very obvious hint of what they did to him without it being too much, and Dr. Whitmore wasn't presented as evil, but simply as detached, a scientist doing his job who saw the vampires as vermin who were being experimented upon to benefit humankind, all the while we saw the humanity of Enzo and Damon even as the vampirism was still there in moments (as they plotted their revenge) lurking. It was masterfully done.

OK, randoms....

- Haha, Katherine... now that is the way to write a diary entry!

- So, why did Katherine say that she called Rebekah? And why was there no follow-up explaining why she said she called Rebekah when Caroline showed up? I am confuzzled. Eh, thanks to collarfulls, she said "I called for back up." Ah! Makes a lot more sense.

- Very small cast in this one. Other than the extras at the party with only the cut Fell having a spotlight moment, we had Damon, Elena, Aaron, Katherine, Stefan, Caroline, Maxfield, Enzo, Whitmore and dead Salvatore relative, and the first and last don't really count. That's only 9 characters on screen and two were played by the same dang actress!

- Hmm, vampires regenerate body parts, hmm.

- What's with the Whitmore watch?

- So I was wrong (obviously) that Damon didn't kill Aaron's parents (although I allowed that it was possible), but I still think that he didn't kill Elena's. I just don't think they'll go there.

- Sorry, but Shaun Sipos (Aaron) was just kinda OK and this was his big episode to shine. Eh.

- I do still wonder how Megan fits in.

- So, we obviously still have Grayson questions to come with those little teasers to come. (And, yes, I know the title of the next episode.)

- Yeah, I didn't do any of this episode. If there are any moments you want gif-ed let me know and I'll add them to the post.

- I didn't love the episode, but totally awesome ending. Did I mention that I loved Enzo? I loved Enzo.

So it took 9 episodes, but finally one I didn't love or think that was fantastic. Sadly it was the first bona-fide DAMON episode. Bummer. Like I said above, there were just too many moments that were just a wee too much out of character, especially the Damon-is-not-stupid one that dinged the episode for me. There was a lot that was beautifully done (the flashbacks specifically, most of the Stefan/Katherine stuff), but the stuff that was wrong... ooh, boy, it was wrong. Still, it wasn't bad, it was good... it's just that this season has been so great, fantastic so far. Ah well. I'll concentrate on the good. And hey, Ian Somerhalder looked REALLY, REALLY good.
 
 
 
collarfulls: got a collarfull of chemistrycollarfulls on December 6th, 2013 07:17 am (UTC)
I don't usually comment on these (love the recaps, though!) but I wanted to say -- Katherine said she called for BACKUP, not Rebekah. I made the mistake at first, too, and then realized what she actually said. :)
Arabian: Katherine04arabian on December 6th, 2013 08:31 am (UTC)
Thank you!!!! I heard back-up now. It TOTALLY sounded like "Rebekah!"

I wish you would comment. I do wonder how many people actually read these now. :(
(no subject) - collarfulls on December 6th, 2013 08:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 6th, 2013 08:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - collarfulls on December 6th, 2013 08:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 6th, 2013 08:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - collarfulls on December 6th, 2013 09:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 6th, 2013 09:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
dancing till the world ends: tvd: perfect claritylynnenne on December 6th, 2013 07:41 am (UTC)
I loved Enzo, too, and his story with Damon was terrific. Beautifully acted, shot and edited. My favourite line of the night was when Damon tells Elena that he flipped his humanity switch: "After that, it was all okay. Everything was okay." Killer.
Arabian: Damon06arabian on December 6th, 2013 08:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, when he kept saying it was fine (he said "fine" not OK), I loved that too, partly because that's what Elena always would say that she was fine. And Damon used the same word, the same mechanism. Heartbreaking, yeah.
(Anonymous) on December 6th, 2013 12:04 pm (UTC)
My problems with Elena acting kinda OOC with letting Damon take the blame, and Katherine calling Stefan a hero (Really, show?!) are nothing to me compared to Damon killing aunt Sarah. If it's true. I hope not. I hold on to someone else killing her.

I just can't handle Damon being so ridiculously OOC. It's not who he is anymore. It sucks. Really bad. See, I can't even seem to say anymore on it. This makes me so, so sad.

I'm with you on Enzo/Damon. I've missed Dalaric so much I just hope Enzo will be Damon's friend. Only Enzo will probably want to take revenge on Damon. I did understand Damon leaving him, though. Those bars where vervained, he couldn't have gotten Enzo out of them anyway :/

OOC DAMON MAKES ME SOOOOOO SAD.

That sucks more because I liked the feel of this episode way more than the rest of this season. But that was probably because I think the Silas/Qetsiyah (though I loved her character)/Amara plot was ridiculous.
Arabian: Damon17arabian on December 8th, 2013 05:02 am (UTC)
My problems with Elena acting kinda OOC with letting Damon take the blame, and Katherine calling Stefan a hero (Really, show?!) are nothing to me compared to Damon killing aunt Sarah. If it's true. I hope not. I hold on to someone else killing her.

I'm fine with Damon killing Sarah now that I think more about it. It's more Damon taunting Aaron about it thus risking Elena's life and freedom at that moment. Damon has issues, plenty and plenty of issues and clearly never dealt with what happened to him in those five years. He simply shoved it deep down and moved on. He stook what happened to him and put it in a separate compartment from what was happening with Elena and their love. I get that. It's the taunting that drives me crazy. I'd be very surprised if he didn't kill Sarah.

I just can't handle Damon being so ridiculously OOC. It's not who he is anymore. It sucks. Really bad. See, I can't even seem to say anymore on it. This makes me so, so sad.

Oh, but it is who he is. Damon is a vampire, he's a predator. He's a killer. They all are, every single one of these vampires. That is Vampire Diaries mythology. When they feel it's justified (even Elena) they will kill. Elena just killed (another vampire, but still) in the last episode. They kill. Period. Damon feels that killing the Whitmores (for what they did to him) is justified, therefore, they need to be killed. End of story. It's justified.

I'm with you on Enzo/Damon. I've missed Dalaric so much I just hope Enzo will be Damon's friend. Only Enzo will probably want to take revenge on Damon.

I was thinking on that and wondered if possibly there will be a situation where Damon is given the opportunity to offer himself up for Enzo. It won't quite make up for it, but it could be something.

I did understand Damon leaving him, though. Those bars where vervained, he couldn't have gotten Enzo out of them anyway :/

And, hey, Enzo isn't an idiot. He may have actually realized that.

OOC DAMON MAKES ME SOOOOOO SAD.

The taunting Aaron was SOOOOOOOOO stupid.

That sucks more because I liked the feel of this episode way more than the rest of this season. But that was probably because I think the Silas/Qetsiyah (though I loved her character)/Amara plot was ridiculous.

Oh, I liked that plot a lot personally. I do think that Chris Grismer (who directed this episode) is one of the more talented directors of the show though.
bangel_4e: b1bangel_4e on December 6th, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
I loved the episode, but there are a few things that made me quite mad.

First of all, the Damon/killing/summer ruined thing...YES, I am SO very mad they ruined the summer of their dreams. SO mad. It's tainted now and I don't think Elena will EVER think of that as the summer of her dreams/life again. I just don't.
Damon killing now innocent people....uh...weird. I thought it was so weird, even if it's somewhat believable.if Damon was the person he was 5 years ago. He isn't.
Buy you know, Damon has issues...he does. That was his revenge and he kept on going, in his mindset. Those are innocent people, that revenge doesn't make sense now.
All of this is just really shitty, as you said. And it's shit over Delena. Loads of it. It bothers me quite a bit, for the summer thing. Otherwise, I could've dealt with this.

And Elena's face when Damon admitted to killing that girl while they were all happy and in love. She was disgusted and puzzled. Even if she called his name all worried. She loves him so much, that much is so clear. BUT she thought he was over these innocent killings. We all thought so. So right now, either that was just bad writing (that one can NEVER take back) or Damon still have so many issues he has to resolve.
I don't know, I feel like this might be the thing that breaks Damon and Elena apart. It's mid-season (almost) and it's bound to happen.


Katherine and Stefan. I am so happy. VERY happy. REALLY happy. And Katherine remains awesome, as always.


I got nothing more to say, really.
The show proved Caroline right when she said Elena thought Damon was good boyfriend material...he killed innocent people while they were together, now Elena can't see Damon for who he was as before and I don't know what's gonna happen.
I find myself pissed off at the writers and at Damon, actually. REALLY? After all that's happened...again with the idiotic killing? The very thing that he thought he could do better, he grew with Elena, meant really nothing? I don't know if I have to be pissed off at the writers or Damon. Ugh.

I talked with my best friend, who was a Stelena fan and now is Steferine...she said that, in her opinion, Damon is in character. She said that's also who Damon is, they tortured him, did horrible things to everyone and he was right in keeping his revenge plan, she supports that. And she said that Elena being disgusted is idiotic from her. That she should know Damon and what he has been through.
I'm trying to see things in a better light, but I'm a little discouraged. Which is weird, cause when I first watched the episode...I wasn't so mad. But then you pointed out the summer thing, how it's tainted now, and I got so mad and I hated that Caroline was right and that now everybody hates Damon even more.


But one thing I'm sure of...he didn't kill Elena's parents. That would so stupid and unnecessary and a convenient way to end the triangle forever. And I refuse to believe Damon would kill them and be with Elena all happy and falling in love and everything. That I draw the line to.

But I'm gonna brace myself regarding Delena. We're near the break-up and it's not gonna be pretty.


Edited at 2013-12-06 03:28 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
You nicely summed up my worries. They kept us waiting for four seasons, we finally have Delena together, only to be told about their wonderful summer. And even that is potentially tained now. The problem I see is that they have pushed the Delena fandom to their limit - we got tidbits thrown our way for several seasons and they keep murking up the few bigger moments (sirebond anyone? and now Damon leaving their love nest to just kill somebody?). I think the writers have to be very careful were they take the story now, because honestely I'm not sure people will keep watching if Damon at his happiest was still able to just kill somebody in cold blood. I would be hard pressed to stop watching actually. I know Damon has very dark places, and can do awful things - sadly this means I wouldn't be suprised if he was responsible for Aaron's parents death. But he shouldn't have been able to do that killing last summer! Otherwise watching 5 seasons of emotional growth burns down to nothing, all those nice little moments of redemption - waste of time!
(no subject) - arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Mitten: cupcakesugarsyringe on December 6th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. I was trying to find what bothered me about the episode and you're right, it's aunt Sarah. I don't get why he told Aaron about it. Telling him about his parents made sense as he was blaming Elena for it but aunt Sarah? Nope, I just don't get it.
As to why he killed her in the first place, I don't know how I feel about that. It seems to be too much, too cliché, but at the same time, it's a brutal but efficient way to bring back the whole Damon still killing people topic. I'd agree that the timing of it is less than perfect though.
For example, he did kill that girl at the end of his tirade about how much he wanted to be human again and as far as I remember, it never brought any consequences (or have I forgotten something?). It is a "test" on Damon and Elena's relationship but, I don't know, it doesn't feel like it's out of the blue but not entirely out of place. Damon has changed but he has, at the very least, a history of doing things like this. He's capable of good but his caracter wouldn't be as interesting if there wasn't that very dark side of him as well (I can't quite put that into words properly. I don't mean to say that he's evil, not at all). I guess it shows just how much he suffered from that whole experience (leaving his friend behind included) and that he just can't let go. Elena keeps saying that she loves all of him and "all of him" does include, afterall, outbursts like that, even though his decision to kill Sarah feels caricatural to a point.

"The other thing that I didn't like, although not out of character, was that I had hoped that this would *finally* be the episode where the gang gets together, comes up with a plan and rescues Damon. It's happened for so many other characters. Something happens to one of them and they get together to rescue the one in danger. The closer we got for Damon was in "The Murder of One," but then they dropped it to bring down the Originals and it wound up just being Stefan in the end with no one else caring. This time, it was just Elena and she didn't tell anyone, had no plan and got herself captured too! And now, based on the previews, it becomes all about rescuing Elena and Damon will no doubt become an afterthought."

THIS SO MUCH! I was SO looking forward to a rescue but... nope. It doesn't seem like it!

ps: long time lurker, I've commented a few times before but kinda left LJ for a (long) while, hence my lack of recent comments. This one is out of nowhere I know but I just had to write it. Also, English isn't my first language and I haven't used it much in a while so I hope that my comment makes sense!
Mitten: cupcakesugarsyringe on December 6th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
I rewatched the episode and noticed the scene where Damon promises Elena that he'll get her out of there. If Stefan is the one to save her, I will be so PISSED!
It's a possibility and I'm not liking it at all!
(no subject) - arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Florencia: Damon (Love)florencia7 on December 6th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
SO I have to run (I'll leave a longer comment later!!), BUT I just wanted to say: is it possible Damon was bluffing with the whole aunt Sarah thing?? Elena had kept him updated about Aaron's story & she might have as well told him (off-screen) about aunt Sarah (since she just found out about that earlier in the ep.) & so Damon used that information later to divert Aaron's attention from Elena & make him focus ALL of his anger on him. And Elena's shocked reaction was a part of the plan (her reaction "had to be real", like in S2 with Bonnie's "death").

Also, the Whitmore neverending killing spree: I'm not convinced Damon actually carried that through. If he did, why is Wes still alive? Damon's revenge plan was to always leave only one member of the family alive. If after *supposedly* killing Aaron's parents he left Aaron alive, then why leave Wes alive too? Is it possible he never actually did any of that, but knowing from Elena that everyone around Aaron was dying & because he *did* have that revenge idea back then, he made that story up to save Elena & make sure Aaron focused on him instead.

I just can't imagine Damon randomly killing so many innocent people post-Jessica scene in S2. It makes no sense, unless the point the writers are trying to make is: a) that Damon (like Stefan) still has SERIOUS issues he has to deal with, which may or may not lead to some permanent brother bonding & hence the random slight/not so slight OOC-ness of it all, OR b) that Elena doesn't love Damon because he has become a ~good guy, but rather that Elena loves Damon because Elena loves Damon, which would be a fairly valid reason (story-wise), if only it didn't feel rather OOC regardless... IF it's true ;)

OK, I need to go now but I will back ;)

♥!
Arabian: Damon & Elena28arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
Wes isn't a Whitmore. He's just Aaron's guardian, a family friend of the Whitmore's, but not a Whitmore. I have no doubt that Damon did kill the Whitmore's, Aaron's parents and Aunt Sarah. If he made a plan to do so, yeah, he's gonna carry it out.

I just can't imagine Damon randomly killing so many innocent people post-Jessica scene in S2. It makes no sense, unless the point the writers are trying to make is: a) that Damon (like Stefan) still has SERIOUS issues he has to deal with, which may or may not lead to some permanent brother bonding & hence the random slight/not so slight OOC-ness of it all, OR b) that Elena doesn't love Damon because he has become a ~good guy, but rather that Elena loves Damon because Elena loves Damon, which would be a fairly valid reason (story-wise), if only it didn't feel rather OOC regardless... IF it's true ;)

I don't think that Damon was OOC so much for killing Sarah, but more for taunting Aaron about it then and there when Elena has proven time and time again that she has proved she can get through to people. Damon has issues obviously, and has put what happened to him those five years in a separate compartment of his soul from his life with Elena, and that would include his revenge scheme. So I get that.

(no subject) - florencia7 on December 8th, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 9th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
MaelJ0714: necklacemaelj0714 on December 6th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
Well, like you, I was also a bit disappointed in this episode. I, too, was hoping we’d see the gang finally coming to Damon’s rescue and get some good Damon/Elena bonding over her putting him in the same horrible situation he’d been in for five years at the hands of her ancestors (although from what we saw, I’m not sure her grandparents were involved other than possibly attending the New Year’s Eve parties). Unfortunately, not only did we NOT get that, but got all the inconsistencies and failed scenes that you mentioned here. :(

One of the things that bothered me when watching this was that Elena seemed to concentrate more on how Damon escaped rather than what he had suffered and how it affected him personally. It felt very much like 3.18 and what you said about that episode – that regarding Damon’s being in danger, everyone thinks, “Eh, he’ll be fine.” Damon always manages to take care of himself. But upon rewatch, I realized that maybe she and others feel this way because he appears to be so nonchalant about it himself. He related what happened to himself using minimal facts, unemotional and detached. When we all know that in no way means he is ‘fine.’

On more of a positive note, I personally didn’t feel Damon was painted as the villain and Stefan as the hero. To me, Katherine’s comment that Stefan is the hero was yet another over-the-top, completely untrue statement that we have gotten all this season, particularly from Elena and Caroline. And because Katherine was, “It’s always been Stefan,” I didn’t really see it as OOC. Similarly with Damon attacking a room full of people and not being able to stop himself. That to me didn’t feel like a villainous act. TBH, the parties seemed rather gross. These people supported and funded the Whitmore’s experiments done in secret, using inhumane, barbaric methods and not for the good of mankind. They seemed to be using vampires for their own personal entertainment and to benefit their private elitist group.

I do find it interesting that the show chooses now to tell us Damon was tortured, just when Stefan is dealing with PTSD over being drowned. It shows again the stark contrast of the two brothers. We went directly from the scene of Stefan having a breakdown imprisoned in the same safe where he had drowned repeatedly for three months which is now safely in his own living room to Damon standing casually in the same prison cell mentally reliving unspeakable torture for five years with no assurances it wouldn’t be repeated. Stefan struggled with turning off his humanity (thanks to Devil!Damon) but as you pointed out, Damon never considered it until he realized he couldn’t save his friend and himself, too. Stefan told Damon and Elena that he wanted them to rescue him (which, justified or not, made them feel guilty), and we find Damon also wanted Stefan to rescue him. We know that Damon still had trust issues with Stefan in 1958 but he loved his brother and could have found comfort in him. But he had been told repeatedly by Lexi that he was no good for Stefan, he would only hurt him more. So to keep Stefan from feeling guilty, Damon dealt with it, alone, the best way he knew how. He never told anyone, just turned off his emotions and ‘everything was fine.’ Such a tragic, tragic character.

I know this is the story TVD are telling us. I just hope over the course of the next year and a half, at least one of the characters will see this. Like you, I would have liked Elena to refute Damon’s apology and been more concerned over his well-being that agonizing over what she’d just learned about her father.

cont.
Arabian: Damon10arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:44 am (UTC)
I, too, was hoping we’d see the gang finally coming to Damon’s rescue

Well, maybe they won't know that Damon is there and will rescue Elena only, and then find out after they her that Damon is there. I could see her being out of it when they get her. It could happen. I can dream!!

One of the things that bothered me when watching this was that Elena seemed to concentrate more on how Damon escaped rather than what he had suffered and how it affected him personally.

I wonder if we'll find out later from her that she was purposely trying to not think about it because it could easily happen again not just to him, but to her too.

I personally didn’t feel Damon was painted as the villain and Stefan as the hero.

I probably have to rewatch it, and I hope I get a different response, but it really did read that way to me.

To me, Katherine’s comment that Stefan is the hero was yet another over-the-top, completely untrue statement that we have gotten all this season, particularly from Elena and Caroline. And because Katherine was, “It’s always been Stefan,” I didn’t really see it as OOC.

If it had been from Elena or Caroline, I would agree, but not Katherine because she said it sincerely, consideringly as if she was stating fact while trying to figure something out. She was being sarcastic, she wasn't being snide or making some catty comment. It was as if she was basing it on, well, fact. And in five seasons we've seen Stefan actually succeed in being the hero while trying to do so about two or three times in about 50. So it was ridiculous. The problem with this episode in regards to Damon and Stefan is that it did EXACTLY what Damon fans complain about ALL THE TIME on tumblr that I defend the show against. That they paint Stefan as this true blue white knight hero with a halo who can do no wrong and everyone loves, and Damon as this black-hearted ass who screws up and makes the wrong decisions and anyone who cares for him is making the wrong decision to do so. And there is no shade of grey, no nuance. Enzo was screwed, Elena was lied to. Yes, this is NOT how the episodes normally play AT ALL. But THIS ONE did. Elena went to save her boyfriend and wound up getting strapped to a gurney about to be experimented upon because he killed the parents of the guy she brought to help save them, and then taunted the guy she brought to help save them about killing his aunt! Ugh!

Similarly with Damon attacking a room full of people and not being able to stop himself. That to me didn’t feel like a villainous act. TBH, the parties seemed rather gross. These people supported and funded the Whitmore’s experiments done in secret, using inhumane, barbaric methods and not for the good of mankind. They seemed to be using vampires for their own personal entertainment and to benefit their private elitist group.

No, I agree with you and as I said above, all of the flashback scenes were gorgeously done. I wasn't including those.

RE: The differences between Damon and Stefan and their torture/suffering, looks to me like Damon is strong and Stefan is weak.

I would have liked Elena to refute Damon’s apology

This I would have REALLY liked.

been more concerned over his well-being that agonizing over what she’d just learned about her father

I agree.
(no subject) - maelj0714 on December 9th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
MaelJ0714: necklacemaelj0714 on December 6th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Sorry this is long-- just so many thoughts about this one!!

Damon continuing his revenge by killing all but one member of the Whitmore family reminded me very much of S1 Damon who had no problem releasing 12 tomb vampires to murder the Mystic Falls townspeople as punishment for what he had suffered in losing Katherine. Nevermind that they were innocents two or three generations removed from what their ancestors had done. Like you, I thought his character had grown beyond this. I think it is showing that he is still struggling, that he believes he is not the good guy, just a reformed ‘bad guy’ who can still commit despicable acts. He told Elena that he was going to make decisions that hurt her, this is who he is and he is never going to change. I do think that she will forgive him for this (she’s certainly forgiven Stefan for worse) because she knows he is so damaged but she loves him anyway. And I think Damon will feel differently about his revenge once he discovers Enzo is alive.

On the other hand, I don’t think Caroline will have any love for Damon anytime soon, particularly after she finds out about Aaron. She is very much a love/hate character for me right now. I loved her excited little ‘See??’ and hug she gave Stefan when she saw he was better, despite that fact that her form of therapy had nothing to do with Stefan’s rehabilitation – that was all Katherine – but hated her self-righteous, superior attitude about Elena and Stefan’s own form of rehabilitation earlier. And how quickly did she end the voice message to Elena when she heard Stefan and Katherine kissing?? The absolute look of horror on her face. :D I loved it. Yes, I think there is going to be another triangle here very soon. ;)

Overall a good episode that could have been so much better. BTW – thank you for getting your comments up so quickly. That was a real treat this afternoon!
Arabian: Damon10arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:51 am (UTC)
Like you, I thought his character had grown beyond this. I think it is showing that he is still struggling, that he believes he is not the good guy, just a reformed ‘bad guy’ who can still commit despicable acts.

Yeah, that's where I'm at now. See, this is why sometimes it's better when I wait. Especially when it's an episode I have some issues with. On the other than, sometimes it's when I'm going back and forth with other people who don't like the episode that I'm able to reason out thoughts that make it make better sense for me. I'm writing a follow up post.

He told Elena that he was going to make decisions that hurt her, this is who he is and he is never going to change. I do think that she will forgive him for this (she’s certainly forgiven Stefan for worse) because she knows he is so damaged but she loves him anyway. And I think Damon will feel differently about his revenge once he discovers Enzo is alive.

Yup, agreed. I'm hoping, re: Enzo, that Damon will be put in a situation where he can save Enzo or himself again and he chooses to save Enzo. I'm also hoping that we find out that Enzo realizes that Damon couldn't save him. That Damon could have saved himself or they both would have died. On the other hand, Enzo has been tortured for 70 years now, so..........

I don’t think Caroline will have any love for Damon anytime soon

On the other hand, Caroline is a softee for tortured, broken individuals and if she finds out what Damon went through, it could/should change her mind. Someone just needs to lay it on her. All that Damon has been through, all that Damon has done for them and all that Ripper!Stefan has done that Caroline has ignored, all that Katherine has done that Caroline calmly ignores now, and that (ding!ding!ding!) Klaus has done and Caroline crushed on him!

And how quickly did she end the voice message to Elena when she heard Stefan and Katherine kissing?? The absolute look of horror on her face. :D I loved it. Yes, I think there is going to be another triangle here very soon. ;)

LOL! I still want to see Matt brought into this too, I really, really do. And then we can endgame with Matt/Fixed!Human!Katherine and Stefan/Caroline. :D

Overall a good episode that could have been so much better.

Agreed.

BTW – thank you for getting your comments up so quickly. That was a real treat this afternoon!

That's the goal from now. :)
(no subject) - maelj0714 on December 9th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maelj0714 on December 9th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that I write under anonymous. I do not have LJ account. I read you review and see why you were in a way disappointed. I was so myself. I'm so invested into DE that I always worry about them not being anymore. I always wait for the other shoe to drop and after latest episode I worry that the creators are starting to deconstruct DE and I worry that Caroline and now Katherine might actually be the voice of reason and presented thus on purpose and only us DE fans overanalyse and see everything differently and that this all time everything should actually be taken at face value. I really hope I'm wrong but that is me. I so want them to be IT as they are the couple that make sense to me but I really wonder. I cannot see SE. It just doesn't make sense from the narrative, at least till end of S04. I cannot believe the writers would let Damon kill Aaron's aunt the way they did. You have analysed it well so I don't need to go into it. Unless again he didn't and there is another story behind it... I don't know if and how Elena will forgive him or look at him... Please do hit me over my head and tell me I'm being silly. Thank you for the wonderful review as always.
Arabian: Damon & Elena34arabian on December 8th, 2013 06:57 am (UTC)
I'm sorry that I write under anonymous. I do not have LJ account.

I have these set up so that anyone can response including those without LJ accounts for this very reason. Don't apologize. :)

I read you review and see why you were in a way disappointed. I was so myself.

It's OK, I feel better about it overall now.

I'm so invested into DE that I always worry about them not being anymore. I always wait for the other shoe to drop and after latest episode I worry that the creators are starting to deconstruct DE

I think they are going to deconstruct them too, but rather, deconstruct their issues because their issues have to be dealt with and that's a good thing! I'm not even upset about the summer thing now all that much because we've been getting hints since the season started that they aren't handling the relationship aspect as well as they should be. Unlike how they were pre-relationship where they practically never lied to one another and kept secrets, they are doing it quite a bit now. And we keep finding out, yeah, they did it during the summer too. I mean, Damon kept the fact that he kept to his revenge scheme during the summer from Elena and, of course, he couldn't tell her because he didn't tell her about his five years as a lab rat. And Elena kept from Damon that she was having warm/cold and connected feelings about Stefan all summer long while she was boinking Damon senseless. No, not on the same level, but still emotionally pretty bad.

They've both been lying to each other, keeping things from each other all to "protect" the other. They've got issues. As I said to bangel_4e, I think this may be the start of deconstructing those issues. First of all Elena keeps saying that she accepts Damon, warts and all. Well, here's her chance to prove it because, yeah, Damon is not a great guy. He does kill people. He does make bad choices. He did plan a revenge scheme and stick to it. I said above to someone that he shoved it deep down and moved on. He took what happened to him and put it in a separate compartment from what was happening with Elena and their love. That makes perfect sense. And Elena knows how Damon operates. And she chose him knowing that about him. On the other hand, we have Damon. Damon needs to realize that he can't do that separation thingie. He needs to choose love over revenge. And he can't keep Elena and such revenge schemes in separate boxes. Again, that honesty they shared when they weren't together has to continue now that they are together.

I worry that Caroline and now Katherine might actually be the voice of reason and presented thus on purpose

Nah!

only us DE fans overanalyse and see everything differently and that this all time everything should actually be taken at face value.

Nah!

I cannot believe the writers would let Damon kill Aaron's aunt the way they did.

Nah, I changed my mind about that. It does make sense. It does. It is who he is. Damon is a vampire, he's a predator. He's a killer. They all are, every single one of these vampires. That is Vampire Diaries mythology. When they feel it's justified (even Elena) they will kill. Elena just killed (another vampire, but still) in the last episode. They kill. Period. Damon feels that killing the Whitmores (for what they did to him) is justified, therefore, they need to be killed. End of story. It's justified. I should have remembered that. He took what happened to him and put it in a separate compartment from what was happening with Elena and their love. That makes perfect sense. And Elena knows how Damon operates. And she chose him knowing that about him. On the other hand, we have Damon. Damon needs to realize that he can't do that separation thingie. He needs to choose love over revenge. And he can't keep Elena and such revenge schemes in separate boxes.

I don't know if and how Elena will forgive him or look at him.

Elena keeps saying that she accepts Damon, warts and all. Well, here's her chance to prove it because, yeah, Damon is not a great guy. He does kill people. He does make bad choices. So she damn well better forgive him! And he better realize that he needs to choose his love for over his revenge scheme, it's been 60 years, it's time to get over it.
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2013 10:27 pm (UTC)
I've thought about Damon's revenge ( if it will be confirmed the next episode that he was telling the truth about killing aunt Sarah - and I think that's what the writers will do ) and I've found some explanation that works for me.

What we know about Damon and his issues? He has a low self worth, feels undeserving, thinks he's a terrible person. We've thought it stems from his problematic relationships with his father - "I've never asked for your respect! - Good, cuz all I have is dissapointment!" Then there was his relationship with Katherine that added to that - "Is my love not enough?" But the 50s added a whole new meaning to the lines he have said in the shows timeline!
Like - "I don't do good, it's not in me.", " You thought I was worth saving, thank you for that." , "The only one I can count on is me!" , " I don't deserve you, but my brother does.", His speach to Jessica - "it's not gonna change anything, not gonna make me good! There's only so much hurt a man can take." , " I've made a lot of choises that have gotten me here - I deserve this, I deserve to die!"

It seems to me - Giuseppe's and Katherine's impact wasn't mostly what made Damon feel so low about the person he is. It was what he did to Enzo. He was so broken and weak that he let his friend die to save himself from that horrible pain. He flipped the switch - but before he did he realised WHAT exactly he's gonna do - run and leave a friend behind. Sure he didn't care for a long time - but deep down it had an impact on the way Damon think of himself. So my point is that he's been carrying on this revenge plan not only to punish those Augustine people for what they did to him - not only phisically but emotionally - that they broke him down to the point where he's done a despicable act of betrayal to his friend - but to somehow honor the memory of Enzo, to not forget him maybe.

Because Damon is alive thanks to Enzo. He's free. And in love. And happy. And it's because he left his friend to die back in the 50s. To me it feels like a great part of Danon's infamous self-sabotage tendencies stems from the belief that he does not deserve to be alive, more over to be HAPPY - after what price his life costed. He's made that decision and he regrets it and feels terribly guilty - and also as a crappy person - so this revenge is a way to honor his dead friend.

And as to how he can risk his relationships with Elena and go killing behind her back during their summer of love - I think his guilt and self-disgust - repressed and never dealt with - about the way he saved himself, kind of intensifies when he gets something good out of life. How can he just get over it, just let it go - when he is alive and deliriously happy and mutually in love - all because he basically killed his friend? He does not deserve any of this. To me it feels as if Damon can't let it go - especially now when he's in a loving relationships - because it would be like to betray Enzo all over again, to forget what he owes him. And I think Damon knows the risk he's running with Elena in regards to his revenge - but this is where his self-sabotage kicks-in - he subconsciously punishes himself for being happy - so he's doing something he has to do even if it may ruin everything for him. I don't know what Damon will feel when he finds out Enzo hasn't been just dead - but has suffered for 60!! years! It will be such a sucker-punch!

Maybe I'm wrong of course. Maybe I'm romanticising Damon's character too much. )) But I don't buy that he still continues this revenge solely for himself, to avenge his 5 years of pain or because he hates this people that much - even if their only fault is their last names. He would not risk his relationships with Elena for that only imo.

And I like Enzo so much! Sadly he's most definitely will want to destroy Damon - and rightfully so - but I sooo would want for them to reconcile somehow - they were so great together!
Arabian: Damon06arabian on December 8th, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
I do agree after some thought that it is in character that he killed Aunt Sarah (I'm sure he did). The taunting Aaron when Elena could have possibly talked them out of there on the other hand was INCREDIBLY stupid. Grrrr. I do agree with all you say. His self-esteem issues are incredibly deep-rooted. And I think this all will tie in not only to Damon's issues, but to Damon and Elena's romantic relationship issues that have become evident in small ways.

I'm not even upset about the summer thing now all that much because we've been getting hints since the season started that they aren't handling the relationship aspect as well as they could be. Unlike how they were pre-relationship where they practically never lied to one another and kept secrets, they are doing it quite a bit now. And we keep finding out, yeah, they did it during the summer too. I mean, Damon kept the fact that he kept to his revenge scheme during the summer from Elena and, of course, he couldn't tell her because he didn't tell her about his five years as a lab rat. And Elena kept from Damon that she was having warm/cold and connected feelings about Stefan all summer long while she was boinking Damon senseless. No, not on the same level, but still emotionally pretty bad.

They've both been lying to each other, keeping things from each other all to "protect" the other. They've got issues. As I said to bangel_4e, I think this may be the start of deconstructing those issues. First of all Elena keeps saying that she accepts Damon, warts and all. Well, here's her chance to prove it because, yeah, Damon is not a great guy. He does kill people. He does make bad choices. He did plan a revenge scheme and stick to it. I said above to someone that he shoved it deep down and moved on. He took what happened to him and put it in a separate compartment from what was happening with Elena and their love. That makes perfect sense. And Elena knows how Damon operates. And she chose him knowing that about him. On the other hand, we have Damon. Damon needs to realize that he can't do that separation thingie. He needs to choose love over revenge. And he can't keep Elena and such revenge schemes in separate boxes. Again, that honesty they shared when they weren't together has to continue now that they are together.

Because Damon is alive thanks to Enzo. He's free. And in love. And happy. And it's because he left his friend to die back in the 50s. To me it feels like a great part of Damon's infamous self-sabotage tendencies stems from the belief that he does not deserve to be alive, more over to be HAPPY...

Agreed.

To me it feels as if Damon can't let it go - especially now when he's in a loving relationships - because it would be like to betray Enzo all over again, to forget what he owes him.

This I don't agree with. I think it's what I said above. That Damon has his revenge scheme in a separate compartment, it's separated from his relationship/happiness with Elena.

He would not risk his relationships with Elena for that only imo.

It's not about a revenge scheme for himself. It's about keeping a promise to himself. It's about keeping a promise to Enzo. It's about proving that no matter what they did to him, they didn't win because he's still punishing them. It's still an ongoing experiment that he's trapped in mentally, but he's "winning" because he's taking them out one by one over and over again.

And I like Enzo so much! Sadly he's most definitely will want to destroy Damon - and rightfully so - but I sooo would want for them to reconcile somehow - they were so great together!

I'm hoping that Damon will be put in a situation where he can save Enzo or himself again and he chooses to save Enzo. I'm also hoping that we find out that Enzo realizes that Damon couldn't save him. That Damon could have saved himself or they both would have died. On the other hand, Enzo has been tortured for 70 years now, so.......... And I don't say "rightfully so." Damon could NOT have saved Enzo. It was either Enzo died and Damon lived, or both Enzo and Damon died. Damon couldn't save Enzo. He couldn't do it, he kept trying, but he couldn't get the bars apart because of the vervain on them and the heat from the fire.

Edited at 2013-12-08 07:13 am (UTC)
faith5by5_1013: The Vampire Diaries: Carolinefaith5by5_1013 on December 10th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
Katherine spouting that Stefan is the hero who always comes to save the day. Yes, Stefan believes that he has to be hero who comes to save the day and had Caroline said that line, I would have had no problem with it, however Katherine saying that? No. No, no, no, no, no. If Katherine had said some variation on Stefan believing that he's the hero who has to save the day, or Stefan always has to save the day, fine, but that he always DOES the save day? Nope. Not in character.

That really bothered me too.

I do need the Caroline-hating-on-Damon to stop pretty dang soon or even I will lose my Caroline-love and I didn't think that would ever happen.

I'm irritated at Caroline at the moment. I'm hoping you're right about your theories regarding this whole Caroline-hating-on-Damon stopping. Because Caroline is one of my favorites and I don't like this side of her.

I was quite, quite happy to see her and Katherine interacting again because ever since seeing these two mix it up I've found that I much prefer these two over Caroline and Elena of late so it was fun to get that again. Once all the dust settles, Caroline and Katherine really could be the most awesome besties ever.

Agreed!
Alisha: Star Quality Pattikalishaka on October 14th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
First, all of your complaints at the start of this recap are mostly valid. But they didn't stick with or bother me outside of the need to ruin the summer of love thing because that was just really heavy handed needing to vilify Damon shit that I am not here for.

HOWEVER I AM HERE FOR THE TWO THINGS THAT REALLY MATTERED. AND THEY MATTERED TO ME SO MUCH I FORGOT ABOUT THE SHIT CAROLINE SAID AGAIN AT THE START OF THIS EPISODE!

First! Holy shit I love this back story. I love it. I adore it. I want some more of it. I love Enzo. I love the reason he turns the switch off. I loved Enzo humming when Elena is waking up. I love how they age the location. I love the feel and atmosphere. I am so ready for where this story goes. I especially loved the little mention about how Damon didn't want to put anymore guilt on Stefan. I loved it all! I loved how they had Damon and Elena framed identically to Damon and Enzo at points. Seriously it was wonderful. Aaron was a bit lackluster though.

Second! KATHERINE AND STEFAN! I have been wanting this for so long and it was worth it. And it was perfect. I don't have words. I just want to keyboard smash. Also I really need to watch the next episode now so um....I have to go. I will ramble at you more later.

Also I finally listened to my voicemail like I am supposed to...and I love you for it!