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06 January 2017 @ 02:40 pm
1.18 - 'Under Control' (The Vampire Diaries)  
See? Totally made up for it! :)

And the awesome of this show continues. Now this episode was not as outstanding as the previous, "Let the Right One In," though that one was damn near a masterpiece. "Under Control" still managed to be an excellent episode. Let's get right to it.

So, Stefan Salvatore has a drinking problem… gotcha. I guess Stefan's dedication to the animal diet is less about being a good vampire and more about his issues when he's on the human stuff. To be fair, the fact that he's aware of what he's like on the good stuff thus avoids it is him being a good vampire. Now, we've seen quite a few vampires on this show so far and no one has acted as Stefan has. It really does feel like he is an alcoholic version of one; it's as if he can't handle his blood. For example, there was the scene where he bumped into that attitude-guy and went into overkill mode making him apologize. He just kept going and going, and when he ran into the guy later, Stefan was all ready to chomp down on him.

On the other hand, we saw a Stefan with big smiles and as the life of the party. That is definitely not the Stefan we are used to it. Seeing him so unfettered by his general air of guilt and saintliness was nice, though. If you ignore that he was basically drunk on blood. But, yeah, it was nice so Damon's reaction to his brother like that was understandable. He was smiling while watching Stefan dance, having a good time. Damon really does love him and he just wants to see him stop being so bottled up. It reminded me of what we saw all the way back in the second episode, "The Night of the Comet." I wrote about their rooftop scene:

What was really interesting though is that while Damon may claim to hate Stefan, it was obvious that what Damon wants is a relationship with his brother... the two of them just living the high of the vampire lifestyle together.
We can see shades of that in Damon's response to a blood-drinking, fun-having Stefan. Still, it was even better to see that Damon does get by episode's end that this looser Stefan is not a healthy Stefan. And that final scene was just brilliant. I loved how it was such a contrast to the start of the episode when Damon "accidentally" left his glass of blood in a mocking, not-so-nice way. He did that before realizing just how bad human blood was for his brother.

Stefan's refusal to drink human blood is not just a haloed choice for him, but one he has chosen because it keeps him in check. It's like an addiction, he knows it and he's been abstaining for that reason. Yet again, though, hmm, that's a wee bit o'information he never thought necessary to share with Elena? Shocker? Not at all. Oh, Stefan. These two are just not meant for the long haul, are they? Stefan and Elena cling to one other, telling each other how much they love each other. Isn't that sweet? Sure, fine, whatever. But there's a big ole dose of bitter there as well. It is a good thing that he *did* finally tell her, but what is not good at all is that he didn't want to tell her and that it took him falling apart and nearly killing someone before he did. It's reading like Stefan can't be honest with her. We've already gotten pretty clear signs that he doesn't truly want to show Elena his true self and this is another whopping one.

On the other hand, Elena does want to see, know who he really is—even if it will be hard, but he doesn't trust her, himself or their love enough to show her and that really is not good. These two have such a horrible foundation for a relationship (seeing as it was built entirely on lies) and now the layers that they are building are built on lack of faith and mistrust. No, no, not good at all.

*sigh* And in the end, he drinks more human blood. I'm guessing I'll have no takers for a bet on whether or not he is going to tell Elena, huh? Of course he won't… because he is ashamed of his actions, of who he is. Stefan is ashamed that he is a vampire and he's spent their entire relationship extolling that he's better than, he's *not* like that, so when he "backslides" in his opinion, he can't show her that. Stefan just can't present any image to her that's less than perfect one more time. He already showed her a less-than shiny halo once. He certainly can't do that again. She might not love him anymore. It's pretty obvious that Stefan Salvatore is having a hard time loving himself. How, why would he believe that anyone else—especially Elena—could love him, the real, flawed individual? Gah, Stefan is so messed up.

To be fair, I might be wrong. He did tell her about what happened earlier that night, so he might be honest with her again, but I just don't think he will. It doesn't fit his pattern. We'll see. After all, he already kinda, sorta broke it by telling her this go-round.

Another pattern that was sorta broken was Stefan and Elena making out like they're characters in Sweet Valley High. Seriously, that pre-Stefan-freak-out make-out was the hottest I have ever seen them. Alas, it actually made it clear, though, why I'm just not into them—aside from my whole couple issues. It's all about the chemistry. Stefan and Elena come across as so long-time relationship-like. There is no spark, no fire, no... passion. Like I said regarding their big love scene in "The Turning Point," PG, these two are the sexing definition of PG. And it is really all about who Stefan and Elena are as characters.

I think that Stefan and Katherine have had some pretty hot moments, and now in this one—when he is controlled by his bloodlust—he and Elena were, by far, the most heated they've ever gotten. But that "controlled by his bloodlust" is rather key here. Stefan wasn't "being himself." As himself with Elena, they are sweet and cuddly, and all that jazz, but they just aren't passionate. I like my couples passionate. So, yeah, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley can generate some heat, it just is very rarely in evidence as Stefan and Elena.

Of course, you'd think with all of the lying that goes on in that relationship that there would be more tension, a push-pull, or something. But nope. All of that tension that one would think would affect those two doesn't, instead we see it with Damon and Elena. Instead of trying to get to the heart of what the hell was going on with him, she questioned Stefan once… and then turned to Damon to find out the truth. *sigh* See this is what comes of Elena pretending that Stefan is a normal guy. This is what comes of Stefan letting her pretend that he is a normal guy and Stefan trying to pretend he is a normal guy. As I mentioned in "There Goes the Neighborhood," Stefan is not normal; he is a vampire.

Damon was totally right what he told her when he was in her bedroom—even though, yeah, he was a bit of an ass about it. Still, he was RIGHT! Stefan is indeed like Damon because, like Damon, he *is* a vampire. That means that Stefan has the same urges and desires that Damon has because (ding! ding! ding!) he is a vampire. However, Stefan and Elena have been skipping along through the tulips trying to pretend that he is not. So silly. No, not silly. Stupid.

But back to the important thing here... Damon was in Elena's bedroom. That folks, was cuteness *and* chemistry. This is why—on a purely shallow level—I ship Damon and Elena and I do not ship Stefan and Elena. Stefan and Elena can bring the cute, but they cannot and do not bring the chemistry. Ah, but Damon and Elena, my babies, you bring all the goods. The playful 'No, I will not come to your bedroom, Elena' to Jeremy and her rolling her eyes, the teddy bear stuff (so cute!), the pulling her bra out, her putting it back quickly all the while they WERE having a serious conversation.. It was delightful and insightful. Whoo!, then boom, they were this close and there was this sizzle, this heat. I loves it!

 
 
 
 

Their other scene was just as wonderful but in a different way. There was a nice bit of bonding going on at the party when Elena went to Damon to clue him in on Stefan's odd behavior. It quickly turned into talking about Jeremy and his inquiries into Vicki's death. To me, it felt like a moment of connection over wayward brothers in a small way without either even realizing it. It also showed how openly the two can talk to one another about anything. Of course, I also loved Damon picking, sniffing and then giving Elena a rose, but honestly, I'm still not sure the point of it. It didn't fit with his comments, before, during or after he gave it to her. The only thing I can come up with is that Damon noticed the rose, it was beautiful, it had a lovely scent and he was standing next to the beautiful, lovely Elena so naturally, the romantic in him without thought or pause, offered it to her. Nothing deeper than that. Or was it? Aha! I think I have figured it out.

 

That was Damon, the romantic—which we know he is because of his Katherine past—coming to the fore. And, again without even thinking about it, he offered the rose to Elena. The rose, a symbol of passion and love… he offered it to Elena. This was a romantic gesture, subconscious or not, it was. I think the point of that moment was to show that whether he realizes it or not, Damon has definitively begun to think of Elena in a romantic light. And whether she realizes it or not (and I definitely do not think she does), Elena accepting the rose, again, without thinking about it, showed that there is a small part of her that sees the romantic suitor in him. Uh huh.

On a decidedly platonic note, I also loved the moment when Damon saw Sheriff Forbes out of uniform and complimented her. I really like their little growing friendship. Damnit, it's REAL! I want to believe.

     

Just like I want to believe that Alaric is growing to not hate, maybe even sorta, if you squint, like Damon just a teeny bit! Please! Ian Somerhalder and Matt Davis work so damn well together. And Damon and Ric are like a well-oiled machine, finding stuff out, getting shit done. Well, almost done. How were they to know that Uncle Daddy John Sark had a ring just like Alaric? Uncle Daddy John Sark what, you say? OK, lemme break this down. John Gilbert is Jeremy's uncle, and by the end of the episode I was like: 'Oh man, John is Elena's father, isn't he?' Of course he is. Totally. It is *such* a soapy thing—and trust me, I know of soaps, but it all makes sense. That is why Grayson and Miranda (Jeremy and "Elena's" parents) adopted Elena. (Hah, so she is a Gilbert, Jeremy! We'll get to that in a bit.) Finally, he is portrayed by actor David Anders, who is best known as the uber-cool villain Sark from Alias. Thus, Uncle Daddy John Sark!

Oh, and that whole not quite getting shit done? Yeah, that would refer to my big 'Whoah!' moment of the episode. I mean, damn, when Damon just all casual-like killed John, throwing him over the freaking balcony, I was genuinely shocked. And then… and then… and then, dude just strolled back into the party like no big. Of course once the shock passed, I figured that he had an Alaric-like-ring (which he did) but still, DAMN! The funniest bit was that Uncle John Daddy Sark did not even seem perturbed about his murder. But, hey, maybe that's because it has happened before. After all, everybody hates him. Ah, Anders plays such a great bad guy, and I mean, obviously this dude is a bad guy, right? Seriously, he's a human who is not scared of Damon Salvatore even though he knows who and, more importantly, what he is.

Plus, yeah, there was the whole casual dropping of his extracurricular activities with Jenna. Oh, Jenna, you do not have good taste in men. Well, except for Alaric—but he's still kinda hung up on his undead wife, so yeah… point stands. Oy, but that John, yeah, he is a dick. Still, hey, Jenna, at least, has seen through his colors. I legit laughed out loud at her response to his arrival.

John: Can you at least pretend that you're happy to see me?
Jenna: {Over enthusiastically<} Oh, my God, John! It's so good to see you. How have you been? {Drops the enthusiasm} No, I can't.
 

LOL! I love Jenna. Oh poor, clueless Jenna. (TELL HER, ELENA!)

Hey, at least Jeremy seems mildly happy to see his uncle. Of course that could all be an act! After all, he is stealth pretense mode right now. Don't think that I didn't recognize his "I'm fine" when Elena asked how he was after he found her diary. That was so reminiscent of Elena's mantra from the Pilot. Yes, it was. *sigh* Still, it's nice that non-drughead Jeremy is not an idiot. He picked up on the fact that Elena was hiding something from their conversation about Vicki. Of course that led to him searching her room, which isn't totally cool like at all, but hey, her lying to him, having vampires compel his memories away, etc. is not totally cool either.

So now he knows. He knows it all. Not just about Vicki, but that Elena is all up on the vampire situation, and has been keeping it from him. Oh poor, non-clueless Jeremy. And, I'm going to say it: Oh, Vicki. No, she did not deserve Jeremy, but neither did she deserve what happened to her. I'm glad that at least someone cares enough to question it. Jeremy Gilbert is a good, young man. (Really, just like Elena overall… their parents did a good job raising these kids.)

Speaking of these two as children of the same parents, words cannot express how much I loved Elena and Jeremy talking about her being adopted, but I'll try. I love how family and friendships matter on this show as much as the romantic entanglements and this scene highlighted why. The honesty, the openness, the love, it was just so on target between this brother and sister. And the dialogue was perfect. There were two specific bits that hit it so right, one heartwarming, the other humorous.

 


Jeremy: Why were you worried about what I thought?
Elena: Because… I don't know. It's weird. Going your whole life thinking you're related by blood to someone.
Jeremy: Does it bug you that we're not?
Elena: No, Jere… you're my brother, that's all that matters.
*sigh* My heart! And then this:

Elena: Gilberts aren't crazy.
Jeremy: Easy for you to say, you're not one
Elena: Ouch.
Hah! Loved it. And circling back to what I wrote above… aha!, if I'm right and John Gilbert is her father, then, welp, yup, she is indeed a Gilbert too. Crazy they may be, but other than John, they seem like good people.

Unlike, oh the Lockwoods. Oh, Tyler. His father, the mayor, really is a King Douche. No, Tyler isn't a favorite of mine, but as the season has progressed and we've gotten more insight into why Tyler is like he is, I've grown to appreciate the character more. And, man, the way his dad treats him just makes me feel so bad for him. And because of why Tyler is who he is, I totally got why he hooked up with his best friend's mother. Oy. It made sense… Tyler and Kelly, both, are supremely needy and fucked-up people. Of course, she's also 20+ years older than him and that's where it gets really skeevy because he is also under 18. Kelly, Kelly, Kelly!

Which brings us—once more—to Poor Matt… as upset with him as I have been about Caroline (oh, and we get some of that in this too), I still feel for him with regards to Kelly. That scene between them when he kicked her out was heartbreaking. (Fantastic acting from both Zach Roerig and Melinda Clarke.) As upsetting as it was, though, I absolutely get why Matt packed her stuff up and just got her the hell out of dodge. She's been back for such a short amount of time and she's already flaked out on a job, embarrassed him multiple times, given his girlfriend a hard time, and now she is macking on his best friend. Oh, Kelly. Oh, Matt. Oh wait, did I mention that one of the issues Matt had with his mother was giving his girlfriend a hard time? Silly me, he didn't have a problem with that. Ugh, Matt! This whole conversation made me see red on behalf of Caroline:

Matt: Thank you by the way, for just… for everything you did at Vicki's funeral and the memorial. I couldn't have done it without you.
Elena: Of course Matt. {Pause} So, was Caroline still baking for you guys, around the clock?
Matt: She finally went to her dad, which is a good thing because my mom was going to strangle her if she dropped off one more lasagna.
*sigh, sigh, sigh* See, this is why I do not like Matt with Caroline. He's all 'oh, Elena... I wuv you, you are so wonderful and I can't live without you. Ugh, Caroline, she's sooooo annoying!' My queen Caroline deserves better! And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Time for random stuffs—

- I loved this bit between Damon and Stefan (mostly because of Damon's response, hah!):

Stefan I really liked you a whole lot better when you hated everybody.
Damon: Oh I still do. I just love that they love me.
- Stefan seeing Kelly with the tears and the blood was awful, and terrible and yet kind of beautiful in its morbid creepiness. And then, oh, Stefan, pulling himself away, but once he got outside, licking her blood off of his finger like it was a most-needed fix. :shivers:

- Oh, Damon, he had gotten his hopes up that Katherine maybe did care for him after all. He had convinced himself that she was the one who had sent Isobel to him... but alas, no. It was just Uncle Daddy John Sark. Poor Damon.

- Ooh, boy, when that guy that Stefan compelled to apologize kept on doing it once he saw him outside was… interesting. Interesting because even though he was apologizing, he was still giving off plenty of attitude. Hmm…

- Ah! So the Gilbert family is really deep in this council business and always has been. John has Grayson's ring because he gave Isobel his which she then gifted to Alaric as a token of her affection.

- I just love the moments where you can so clearly see that despite everything, Damon and Stefan *do* love each other. We got a few of those in this one. Oh, my brothers Salvatore!

This was a really fantastic episode, definitely on par with my earlier favorites (exceeded by "Let the Right One In' because that one is in a class all its own). I adored all of the Damon and Elena scenes, but there was also Stefan's bloody arc, and Damon's interactions with Sheriff Forbes, Uncle Daddy John Sark and Alaric. Best of all was the Damon and Stefan stuff, from the mocking at the top of the episode to the sincere offering at the end. So good!
 
 
 
tj2013: pic#120865641tj2013 on January 10th, 2017 09:12 pm (UTC)
When Damon is leaving Elena's room, he is doing that "m-hm" again. Seriously - Ian rocks!

Oh man ... the blossoming friendship of Liz and Damon. So adorable.
Arabian: Damon&Liz02arabian on January 16th, 2017 03:27 pm (UTC)
When Damon is leaving Elena's room, he is doing that "m-hm" again. Seriously - Ian rocks!

He did it in the most recent episode too! It's when he's in the hospital bed, I think.

Oh man ... the blossoming friendship of Liz and Damon. So adorable.

I love them so much and I'm so glad that the show continued to develop them. YAY!
Sajen FreybergSajen Freyberg on May 12th, 2017 03:59 am (UTC)
I loved so much of this episode.

I don't really think the rose scene, as much as I love it, has any real deeper meaning, I'm not entirely sure it was scripted. I don't know why but I always get the feeling watching that scene that it was completely unscripted and an unconscious move on Ian's part that they decided to leave in because it was completely sweet.
Arabian: Damon & Elena28arabian on May 14th, 2017 02:56 pm (UTC)
It was scripted or directed; they aren't going to have something like that in there without intention. And sweet on Ian's part wouldn't fit the character of Damon to Elena at that point without some deeper meaning. It had to have intention behind it. It mattered. And there was such an emphasis put on it. Him playing with the flower, sniffing it, handing it to Elena, Elena holding it, looking at, looking at him. It was not a throwaway moment.
Florencia: Damon (Love)florencia7 on June 11th, 2017 11:52 am (UTC)
RE: 1.18
“We've already gotten pretty clear signs that he doesn't truly want to show Elena his true self and this is another whopping one.” - Yes, this has always been one of the most glaring signs that they weren't meant to be. If you can't or don't want or are afraid to be yourself with someone, it's just not going to work.

“It was delightful and insightful.” - Yes, it was awesome! On a side note, I think they should release an all-seasons DVD with a news flash strip at the bottom of the screen for all DE scenes that would just be saying “getting married in... + countdown”. Because thinking of that will make all their scenes even more fun to watch! ^^

“The rose, a symbol of passion and love… he offered it to Elena. This was a romantic gesture, subconscious or not, it was. I think the point of that moment was to show that whether he realizes it or not, Damon has definitively begun to think of Elena in a romantic light. And whether she realizes it or not (and I definitely do not think she does), Elena accepting the rose, again, without thinking about it, showed that there is a small part of her that sees the romantic suitor in him.” - Yes, I think that was it. You explained it beautifully.

“On a decidedly platonic note, I also loved the moment when Damon saw Sheriff Forbes out of uniform and complimented her.” - Yes, that was a lovely moment.

“I legit laughed out loud at her response to his arrival.” - It was hilarious!

“The honesty, the openness, the love, it was just so on target between this brother and sister.” - Yes, that scene was really wonderful.

“*sigh, sigh, sigh* See, this is why I do not like Matt with Caroline.” - Remembering those early episodes makes me understand better why I always had a problem with Matt. Somehow later on I forgot that it was all rooted in his treatment of Caroline, but yeah, that's where it came from and somehow never went 100% away.

PS. So... I only have 4 episodes of S1 and 1 episode of S8 to catch up on! Yay! :)
Arabian: Damon & Elena28arabian on July 1st, 2017 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.18
“We've already gotten pretty clear signs that he doesn't truly want to show Elena his true self and this is another whopping one.” - Yes, this has always been one of the most glaring signs that they weren't meant to be. If you can't or don't want or are afraid to be yourself with someone, it's just not going to work.

Yeah, again, I really wish I had kept up with this after I did it for the first episode I watched live 1.19. I would have done it for 20-22. And then gone back and done it for 1-18. I probably would have gone into season 02 with a much less worried frame of mind about Stefan and Elena. Even with the planned Stefan/Damon in Ghost World watching over a happy Elena with Matt (or something other human), that still pointed to a NOT happy endgame for Stefan and Elena. Clearly, that was NEVER the plan.

“It was delightful and insightful.” - Yes, it was awesome! On a side note, I think they should release an all-seasons DVD with a news flash strip at the bottom of the screen for all DE scenes that would just be saying “getting married in... + countdown”. Because thinking of that will make all their scenes even more fun to watch! ^^

LOL!

“The rose, a symbol of passion and love… he offered it to Elena. This was a romantic gesture, subconscious or not, it was. I think the point of that moment was to show that whether he realizes it or not, Damon has definitively begun to think of Elena in a romantic light. And whether she realizes it or not (and I definitely do not think she does), Elena accepting the rose, again, without thinking about it, showed that there is a small part of her that sees the romantic suitor in him.” - Yes, I think that was it. You explained it beautifully.

I mean, I could be completely overthinking it, I really, really could... but it did seem interesting.

“*sigh, sigh, sigh* See, this is why I do not like Matt with Caroline.” - Remembering those early episodes makes me understand better why I always had a problem with Matt. Somehow later on I forgot that it was all rooted in his treatment of Caroline, but yeah, that's where it came from and somehow never went 100% away.

But like with Stefan it comes from a deep, well-written character narrative. Think of Kelly, in many ways she's a lot like Caroline. Needy, pathetic, needing a man's validation, judgmental and catty of other females who aren't her friends. That's Caroline. (Think of how she talked about other females, even through to season 03, how she spoke of Rebekah, using very demeaning terms.) Fortunately, she had Liz whom she finally grew to appreciate and respect. She had Elena and Bonnie who stood by her. She became a vampire which was the best thing to happen to her because it made her re-evaluate the important things in life. Matt grew up with Kelly, and then had the messiness of Vicki who was also needy, pathetic and needed male validation. So that's the type of female he's used to. He wanted Elena--who was different, but she didn't want him. So there was Caroline, more like he was used to, but what he was attracted to (because it was what he was familiar to) was also what he couldn't respect. However, like Caroline, because of the crazy supernatural world they found themselves in, he grew up, he learned to respect and figure things out. (And, wow, I am so going to bring this into play when I do these new write-ups. How I never saw this connection before, I do not know!

PS. So... I only have 4 episodes of S1 and 1 episode of S8 to catch up on! Yay! :)

I'm working on responding! :)
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on July 2nd, 2017 12:20 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.18
"And, wow, I am so going to bring this into play when I do these new write-ups. How I never saw this connection before, I do not know!" - You must! This analysis was brilliant! I've never seen that connection before either but now it seems SO CLEAR!!! You're so very right.
Arabian: Matt03arabian on July 2nd, 2017 01:18 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.18
I know, right?!?! How I missed this before is so beyond me. Again, this is why I'm glad I write these and why the feedback from other people helps sooo much.