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21 April 2016 @ 02:19 pm
7.18 - 'One Way Or Another' (The Vampire Diaries)  
It's this new schedule, guys! It just isn't conducive with getting the write-ups out on time. (OK, plus the damn sinus infection didn't help this week.) Anyhoo, here we go.

I wasn't really sure what to write about this one honestly because it was my least favorite episode in a long while. It just wasn't the non-stop 'pooh-pooh on Damon' party that pervaded the episode. (*sigh*). It just wasn't the Stefan missing in action. I'm sorry but that actor (Ryan Dorsey) "playing" Stefan was so-so. And while Paul Wesley did a fantastic job playing Ambrose, it's STEFAN as played by Paul Wesley that I love and I didn't get my Steffy-boo this episode so I missed him until the end. It just wasn't that it came off of the heels of two FANTASTIC episodes that came off of the heels of a run of really great episodes. It was the fact that, well, this just wasn't the bestest episode, period.

However, I then talked to a friend who didn't like the episode all that much because (*RME*) she hates Stefan and believes that Stefan doesn't love Damon enough and is selfish and awful and never, ever, EVER does anything for Damon and Damon always does everything ever in the history of ever for Stefan and that Stefan is the worst brother in the history of ever and Damon is the best brother in the history of ever and I'm thinking do you actually *watch* this show? And also she hates Bonnie and Damon's friendship soooo much.

It's toxic; it's the worst. Bonnie treats Damon so horribly and terribly and Damon has done SO MUCH for Bonnie and Bonnie has NEVER done anything for Damon, and they are just the most shitty, awful friends in the history of ever, and blah, blah, blah. Basically, everyone on the show should bow down before Damon and exalt him to the highest and kick everyone else in the face because they are *such* meanies to the perfect, wonderful, kind, perfection that is Damon, I guess. Clearly, I don't see eye to eye with her on much (all) of this.

Sigh, I guess I just had to get that out. Anyhoo, the point is that I was talking to this person and—by the way, I've asked her repeatedly to not talk about The Vampire Diaries with me because we clearly do not agree about it but I'm glad we did this time BECAUSE—I totally got it! What the point of this episode was. Where I believe we are going now. Damon is hitting rock bottom of sorts. He's getting to that place with Alaric, with Stefan, with Bonnie (especially), possibly with my Matt (as part of the gang) that he got to with Elena... where he can show the real Damon Salvatore. Case in point. Well, two cases in point (or is it case in points?):

1. Think back to "Heart of Darkness," Elena found out that Damon had given Rose a peaceful death. She wondered why he hadn't told her and he explained that he didn't want people to know about the good in him because then they had expectations. It, of course, boiled down to that if people hated Damon it was because they were hating the dick-Damon persona he put out without the better angels of his nature side on display. So if they hated him, it wasn't the real Damon so it couldn't really hurt him.

2. And now think of what Bonnie said to Damon the last time she saw him before this episode in episode 14, "I Would For You." She asked if they were friends and Damon brushed it off with a joke.

Damon: Of course, Bonnie. We don't actively try and kill each other anymore.
Bonnie: No. I'm not doing that. No insults. No jokes.
That was Bonnie basically asking for Damon to drop the act, to be real with her. And, of course, he tried, but it was too late. She was too hurt and angry that he'd just walked away without a word and was leaving her basically alone in the world again. (Caroline was already in Dallas at this point, and Matt was angry all the time and so anti-supernatural everything.)

So where does that leave us now? Damon fucked up with Stefan. He did. He told Stefan he was giving him a 'get out of jail free' card. He was taking the mark and Stefan was not going to have be on the run anymore, destined to die. And then within an hour was like 'Oopsie, changed my mind!' However, he already started making amends there. And Stefan loves Damon like whoa, so we'll be good there. With the others, I think it now will be the case of Damon doing with them what he did with Elena... opening himself up, showing who he really is. I think we're finally at that point.

Like I've already said about this season, it feel like it's a preparation for human!Damon, and opening up to his friends surely seems like an important step in the journey to truly recapture who he needs to be as a man, a good man, before he becomes human again. So as upsetting as it was to watch (especially the Alaric stuff—more on that in a bit), I do believe that the point is to get Damon to open up to Bonnie, to Stefan, maybe even Matt so that they can see the real Damon. Bonnie has seen pockets of that Damon—enough to become his best friend, just as Elena did enough to fall in love with him—but he kept up too many barriers. And like Elena pushed him away so many times, so has Bonnie now.

The difference is that with Damon and Elena it was a love story, Elena has infinite, incredible, insane amounts of patience and a forgiving heart that frankly is cray-cray, and she has plenty of people who love and support her. Bonnie is suffering from PTSD, has lost pretty much everyone and Bonnie is just done putting up with shit. So she slammed the door on Damon in a way that Elena never really did. But, like Stefan, Bonnie loves Damon... so she'll forgive him because he will open up to her and they'll be besties again. Yay!

As for Alaric. Grr. I just— Where to start? This goes back to season 6. Alaric was just *not* a good friend to Damon, and he's been missing in action in that department pretty much as well most of this season as well. So to see him continue to be a shit to Damon, whining about wanting to get back to Dallas—where Caroline and the girls aren't even at, blaming ALL OF THIS on Damon is frustrating. Yes, yes, some of it is Damon's fault, but not all of it for goodness' sake, and it would be nice if Ric at least stopped acting like it. I get the narrative (see above), I just continue to be frustrated with the entire fail of how they've written Ric and Matt Davis' return. The less said about it, the better at this point. :grumble grumble:

Finally, the couples... Bonnie and Enzo, and Stefan and Valerie. Let's start with the latter. Really? Just because Stefan is free now to go after his ex-girlfriend who, oh, by the way is ENGAGED to someone else and Valerie feels that Stefan wasn't scared properly in the "right" way when he thought she was going to die (what even?!) she breaks up with him after two years. Like really?!? That was really stupid, show. Like STUPID. Come on. Just have Stefan cry out Caroline's name or something. He's not perfect; we know he's not perfect. It's OK if he breaks Valerie's heart and gives her a legitimate reason to break her heart and break up with him. Because that nonsense was just stupid-ass bullshit.

Bonnie and Enzo, sorry, I don't think they have a lick of chemistry. Ah well. And, dear lord, they can NOT be a couple we're supposed to root for when we didn't see them fall in love and we come back three years later and Enzo's all broken up over what he did to her, and Bonnie's more upset over Damon pissing her off than anything else. So, yeah, I'm still sticking with Bonnie and Matt. Maybe a triangle with Enzo? Or quadrangle with Bonnie, Matt, Enzo and Rayna? I'm open to that.

Randoms —

- I don't have a problem with the specialness of Bennett witches for one reason: They are descended from Quetsiya (TESSA!) herself, and when Esther made her children into vampires, the witch Ayana who helped her was also a Bennett witch so clearly that line has some powerful mojo and serious history.

- A Lucy mention! I loved her, does this mean we'll see her again? I'd love it.

- Other than the lack of chemistry and investment with Bonnie and Enzo, I did think the mental facility scenes were good. Bonnie making "friends" with Virginia St. John and finding out (to some degree) why the armory was so desperate to track her down. And now comes the mystery... DUN DUN DUN. What is in the dungeon?!

- OK, Mary Louise was taking the pills for 3 years, I get why they killed her and it's worrisome, but it sounds like Bonnie was only taking them for a handful of weeks so it seems, uhm, do-able to fix her, right? Of course.

- I'm still surprised at how much I didn't love this episode since Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote it, BUT she only wrote the teleplay. The story was written by a newcomer to The Vampire Diaries, Penny Cox. So, yeah that's why I think it wasn't as good as Sonnenshine episodes normally are. (Note: It's not like I didn't like it, I did. I just ADORED the last episode and LOVED the episode before and really enjoyed the batch of episodes before that.)

- I continue to like Rayna. I hope we can continue to bring her more into the Scooby Gang's actions... in a non-kill them kind of way.

- So I'm guessing Valerie is gone now. Hmm. Well, that was rather anti-climactic if so. OK, then.

So good episode, but just not comparative to the recent ones, still I believe that what is happening with the down with Damon narrative is setting it up for Damon to finally opening up to some of the others as he finally did with Elena. So YAY if that is the case.
 
 
 
ThroughAnAmberFocus: Vampire Diaries Damon Thinkingamberfocus on April 21st, 2016 11:29 pm (UTC)
It definitely had the feel of putting down a foundation for what's upcoming, but it felt a little disjointed in how it did it, like someone forgot to smooth down the edges. I like Bonnie and Enzo in theory, but I do feel like they cheated us out of their relationship, so either flashbacks will be necessary or they need to spend some time making us believe in them. I really missed Caroline. I know maternity leave and all that, but I still miss her. When Caroline is not in an episode, it makes the gaping hole of Elena's departure far more obvious.
Arabian: Elena-Caroline & Bonnie02arabian on April 30th, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC)
It definitely had the feel of putting down a foundation for what's upcoming, but it felt a little disjointed in how it did it, like someone forgot to smooth down the edges.


Yeah, yeah. That works.

I like Bonnie and Enzo in theory, but I do feel like they cheated us out of their relationship, so either flashbacks will be necessary

Oh, I have zero doubt that is coming. They did that with Stefan/Valerie, so I'm sure it's coming with Enzo/Bonnie, we'll get something with Matt and Penny (snore) and probably something with Alaric/Caroline too.

I really missed Caroline. I know maternity leave and all that, but I still miss her. When Caroline is not in an episode, it makes the gaping hole of Elena's departure far more obvious.

It's not so much just missing Caroline, it's missing Caroline AND Bonnie. Why on Earth they decided to have Bonnie-less episodes while Candice King was on maternity leave is COMPLETELY beyond me. I mean, really?!?
tj2013tj2013 on April 22nd, 2016 10:51 am (UTC)
I quite liked the espisode, especially the little shoutout to Lucy (I always hoped she would come back somehow)

I don' think we're going to get more insight in the Bonnie-Enzo-lovestory, which is a real bummer. I would have liked to see their feelings evolve.

The real Ric must be ss somewhere on the other side. Because this is simply a shadow of the Ric we knew.

Damon once told Caroline at the beginning of Season 2: "relationships are all about communication." He was (or is( always very perceptive when others were concerned, but he himself has still to learn this lesson.

Someone actually slammed the door in his face (reminded me of Elena's line in the Season 2 finale, LOL). I get why Bonnie did this. But I hope their friendship goes deep enough to mend this.

Thanks for posting! Hope you feel better by now.

Arabian: Bonnie04arabian on April 30th, 2016 03:44 pm (UTC)
I quite liked the espisode

Well, sure I liked the episode--I like every episode of TVD--I just didn't really like it or love it.

especially the little shoutout to Lucy (I always hoped she would come back somehow)

I loved that! Loved me some Lucy!

I don' think we're going to get more insight in the Bonnie-Enzo-lovestory, which is a real bummer. I would have liked to see their feelings evolve.

Of course we will! We got a whole flashback episode for Stefan/Valerie. Of course we'll get a flashback episode for Bonnie/Enzo. I said that for that write-up episode. It makes perfect sense. How else are we going to know what happened with them, and have any type of connection to them?

The real Ric must be ss somewhere on the other side. Because this is simply a shadow of the Ric we knew.

*sigh* Right?

Damon once told Caroline at the beginning of Season 2: "relationships are all about communication." He was (or is( always very perceptive when others were concerned, but he himself has still to learn this lesson.

He learned it with Elena. He just needs to learn it with people not named Elena Gilbert.

Someone actually slammed the door in his face (reminded me of Elena's line in the Season 2 finale, LOL). I get why Bonnie did this. But I hope their friendship goes deep enough to mend this.

I have faith!
jairem08jairem08 on April 26th, 2016 11:15 am (UTC)
Thank you for the post - as always
Whenever you post or have time.
Hope at least the migraines got out of your way.

I do hope Elena will be back ....
Arabian: Damon & Elena33arabian on April 30th, 2016 03:47 pm (UTC)
Migraine is gone. Thank you.

I do hope Elena will be back ....

Elena may not be there in person, but she is there constantly in Damon's heart, and her spirit and presence has filled many a moment. She actually has been mentioned quite frequently and has been from the first episode of the season and in almost every episode since (in fact, only 4 episodes has she not been mentioned or alluded to in the entire season). You really should watch the season. The Damon and Elena love story has continued to move along strongly throughout this season.
(Anonymous) on March 5th, 2017 11:57 am (UTC)
RE: 7.18
"I wasn't really sure what to write about this one honestly because it was my least favorite episode in a long while." - I can't even remember my least favorite episode, because I'm so happy to be back watching that I pretty much love everything lol Even my occasional Stefan rants are filled with underlying affection, I hope that goes without saying ;)

"Damon is hitting rock bottom of sorts. He's getting to that place with Alaric, with Stefan, with Bonnie (especially), possibly with my Matt (as part of the gang) that he got to with Elena... where he can show the real Damon Salvatore." - I hope so and it certainly looks like you were right all along.

"So if they hated him, it wasn't the real Damon so it couldn't really hurt him." - That's a brilliant point. Well said!

"That was Bonnie basically asking for Damon to drop the act, to be real with her. And, of course, he tried, but it was too late." - I just have to stop and say (although I'm sure it's obvious haha) that I love love love love love every moment of your analysis. You always make me love and appreciate our show even more ♥

"He was taking the mark and Stefan was not going to have be on the run anymore, destined to die. And then within an hour was like 'Oopsie, changed my mind!' However, he already started making amends there." - Exactly. And I still think that he was entitled to a moment of reconsideration. Moment being a key word here. Because it WAS Damon's idea to begin with. He really wanted to do it. It wasn't until he realized his future with Elena was at stake that he panicked.

"With the others, I think it now will be the case of Damon doing with them what he did with Elena... opening himself up, showing who he really is. I think we're finally at that point." - I think we are ♥

"As for Alaric. Grr. I just— Where to start?" - Well, from the perspective of someone who recently watched 8x07 I'd say there's probably no point in starting at all lol RIP, Dalaric. Although I'm trying to hold onto hope that there's something symbolic about the parallel of Damon killing Alaric in S1 and now Alaric killing Damon in S8. Both times the person doing the killing was surprised to discover it didn't really work, and I'm trying to believe the similarity was intentional and maybe a clean slate is in the making?

"It's OK if he breaks Valerie's heart and gives her a legitimate reason to break her heart and break up with him." - Have you met Stefan? He's never broke anyone's heart! Katherine was compelling him, Rebekah was, um, "daggered away" from him against her will, the poor guy just had to break up with Elena because she slept with Damon, and Enzo killed Ivy.

"I'm still surprised at how much I didn't love this episode since Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote it" - I actually often had mixed feelings about her episodes, so I'm not that surprised. Or maybe not mixed every time, but there was that Elena moment in “Ghost World” that I just found memorably out of character.

"So I'm guessing Valerie is gone now. Hmm. Well, that was rather anti-climactic if so. OK, then." - I'm guessing she will either make a dramatic entrance or dies dramatically well into S8. It was a little strange, the way she suddenly left the scene.
Arabian: Bonnie09arabian on April 30th, 2017 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: 7.18
I just have to stop and say (although I'm sure it's obvious haha) that I love love love love love every moment of your analysis. You always make me love and appreciate our show even more ♥

Thank you. :)

I still think that he was entitled to a moment of reconsideration. Moment being a key word here. Because it WAS Damon's idea to begin with. He really wanted to do it. It wasn't until he realized his future with Elena was at stake that he panicked.

Exactly, moment being the key word. Damon took way, way, WAY more than a moment. He figured it out from Rayna, was knocked out, was woken up by Valerie, knocked her out, took her on a drive, argued with her and Stefan about how he would figure out something else and ONLY decided to take the mark when it was pretty much do or die at the very last instant for Stefan. And by that instant it was too late to take the mark. Had he only taken a moment, he would have had time to take the mark. He took way more than a moment.

Although I'm trying to hold onto hope that there's something symbolic about the parallel of Damon killing Alaric in S1 and now Alaric killing Damon in S8. Both times the person doing the killing was surprised to discover it didn't really work, and I'm trying to believe the similarity was intentional and maybe a clean slate is in the making?/i>

Alas, we both know that hope done been pretty much sunk like a stone. *sigh*

I actually often had mixed feelings about her episodes, so I'm not that surprised.

Really? I generally love Sonnenshine's stuff.

Or maybe not mixed every time, but there was that Elena moment in “Ghost World” that I just found memorably out of character.

What moment? I loved Elena in that episode.

"So I'm guessing Valerie is gone now. Hmm. Well, that was rather anti-climactic if so. OK, then." - I'm guessing she will either make a dramatic entrance or dies dramatically well into S8. It was a little strange, the way she suddenly left the scene.

Ironically, Julie and co. LOVED how they wrote Valerie's exit. I don't--I don't get it.