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12 February 2017 @ 01:56 am
8.12 - 'What Are You?' (The Vampire Diaries)  
The countdown begins to the end… one hundred and sixty-seven done, four more to go and then it's bye-bye to The Vampire Diaries. {sobs incoherently}

I loved this and that made me very happy. This is the first episode since "We Have History Together" that I've felt this way about. Don't get me wrong, I loved a lot in the outings in between these two, but I had enough issues with both that they didn't earn full adoration. Not this one… this one was full-on awesome-sauce. Erm, well, OK, there was a minor issue, but it was all on its lonesome and it wasn't that big of a deal. In fact, I'm not even going to address it at the top of this write-up, but rather just discuss it amidst its story. There was so much that I really loved that I don't want to draw any specific focus away from that.

To start with… something *very* interesting happened. It was unexpected on this show, and its effect on me was surprising as well. After Stefan was arrested, the scene between him and the Rockland detective was chilling due to the commonplace nature of it. At least, it would be commonplace on so many other television shows… but not The Vampire Diaries and *that* is why it was so chilling. It was like seeing one of our characters dropped into the middle of a Law & Order episode. Stefan handcuffed in the interrogation room, the detective walking in and laying down picture after picture, describing the victims and who they lost, telling Stefan that his fingerprints matched thirty-two murders… all of it was just so surreal. For The Vampire Diaries. The law enforcement in Mystic Falls is so used to either covering up and/or working with the Supernatural elements that to see another department simply treat one of our "heroes" as exactly what he is—a serial killer—was startling.

I had a few thoughts that grew from this scene. The first was how disturbing I found Caroline's actions. We have seen our vampires compel so many people, using their compulsion to commit and cover up so much and it's just, well, another day in Mystic Falls. But this time… ooh! Seeing Caroline compel away any and everything to do with Stefan Salvatore and his horrific crimes, for the first time watching this show, it felt wrong. Having the reality of the law applied to one of our own, seeing the juxtaposition of that reality against our supernatural world really brought into light just how wrong it was.

Of course, I understand. I'm not saying that I don't. And I'm also not saying that there aren't extenuating circumstances (vampirism, ripper-dom, humanity switches and Devilish control). It is just that seeing the real world versus the supernatural was a cold splash of water. And I'm rather wondering if that was intentional. Stefan is now human. We now know that all it takes is a vial of Elena's cure-rich blood in order to return a vampire to their mortal state. This means that it's very likely that within this last handful of episodes all of our vampires will be taking the same road as Stefan… but willingly. I think it's possible that the real world coming into play now is a sign of things to come. I don't mean their roosters coming home to roost, leaving all of our murderous heroes (because, yeah, they totes all are!) to face prison-time. Instead I'm thinking that it just means that the day-in and day-out of ordinary, human lives and the lack of shortcuts (thanks to compulsion and healing vampire blood) will become more prevalent. After all, not only did we see the possible consequences of Stefan's latest killing spree, but also Stefan's injury. Caroline couldn't heal him; he required boring, non-magical modern medicine to fix him up.

Speaking of… well, there would be my one little quibble. I'm fairly certain that we lost a scene due to the episode running over length-wise. It was probably a hospital scene, detailing more clearly what I just wrote about. The reason I think we lost such a scene is because Stefan looked like he was thisclose to dying when he went into the woods (again). However, the next time we saw him, he was calmly sitting in the car, looking not much worse for the wear. Yes, Caroline mentioned the medical supplies, but it wasn't clear if she was given them or just took them. Also, where did they come from? The hospital or were they from a drugstore? Was Stefan stitched up, looked over, given medical attention? Now, yes, obviously, we did know by episode's end that he went to the hospital because Damon mentioned that Stefan was pumped with three pints of blood. So, we know what happened, but it was confusing to go from Stefan near-death to just sitting in the car, looking all fine and dandy in his next appearance. Again, not a major issue, and it was easy enough to figure what happened, but viewers shouldn't have had to figure it out. Eh.

Ah, but one awesome thing did come from the above sequence of events. Although we didn't hear that particular conversation, Damon and his current new bestie were obviously keeping each other in the loop. I mean, clearly, Stefan wouldn't have thought to call Damon and let him know how he was doing, what kind of medical care he'd received. Ah, but Caroline did! Of course she did. Throughout the episode, Damon and Caroline kept tabs on what was going on with Stefan and Bonnie, working awesomely in tandem. And didja all notice how Caroline was absolutely positive that Damon would succeed in saving his brother? Yup, like Elena (and Bonnie), Caroline Elizabeth Forbes now has faith in Damon Salvatore. SQUEE! I ♥ them!

Hmm, yeah, peeps that have faith in Damon Salvatore… let's talk a bit about someone who once upon a time felt the same, but that confidence has been shaken (unfairly) of late. Of course I'm talking about Damon's second BFF, Professor Alaric Saltzman. *sigh* Oh, Ric. Oh, Team!Bromance… surprising myself, I must admit that they still have their hooks in me. Yes, I was initially quite annoyed with Alaric for his continued uncalled-for nastiness to Damon. And the top of their first solo scene didn't do much to abate that frustration. Damon laid it on himself again. He told someone that he loves, again, that he is "selfish" and it was just… gah! Damon! Why can't he be given an out on that count from someone who cares? Why, why, why!? And this is why I was upset because he wasn't being selfish. He was saving his brother's life. Any and every single one of them have made decisions that could potentially create wider-ranging problems in order to save their loved ones. To put that solely on Damon, painting Damon—and only Damon—as selfish for doing so is not only not fair, it's not right.

However, by the end of that scene and their next one, I had a different take on that bit. Ric was frustrated about losing the journal and, as mentioned above, his faith in Damon has taken a huge hit. Despite that though—and despite that lack of faith—it was obvious when reading between the lines, and focusing on their body language, especially Ric's, that his frustration came from the fact that he wants that faith back.

See, Alaric didn't just attack Damon, nor was he sarcastic and unfeeling. Instead, he was talking *to* Damon about it. Yes, he was upset that Damon took the journal, but despite his new title as president of the 'I Hate Damon Salvatore' fan club, it was obvious that underneath all of that (unearned and totes unfair) anger, Ric still loves Damon. Damon is still his best friend. When Damon told him that he essentially knew what they would find in the journal and told Ric to follow him, the look on Ric's face was priceless. He was reminded that Damon always has a back-up plan, and despite that surface antagonism, he can't help but follow his lead. Instincts of true love die hard, yo! It was there in the next scene too.

 
 

*sigh* My residual love for Team!Bromance is apparently not so much in the residual stage but rather has been just waiting for another opportunity to bloom! Ric's little smirk when Damon didn't give him the weapon right away but instead wanted the Professor to admit that Damon had done good... oh, my heart! And then when Damon suggested a bottle of bourbon and half-assed apologies for all the crappy things they'd done to each other, and Ric couldn't help but smile (just the tiniest bit) in response, I was gone.* Did you see that Ric did smile at Damon's suggestion? *double sigh* (Can't blame him, though, Damon is so irresistible.) Seriously, I just can't help it... Matt Davis and Ian Somerhalder have such damn good chemistry! Why have they kept them apart so much and/or wrote Ric as such a dick to Damon since Davis came back?!?! ARGGHH! *double sigh* Just look at the love in Ric's eyes as he looks at Damon in the last two gifs. I ♥ them!

* Of course, first I had to sarcastically ask my cats what crappy things has Damon done to Ric since his former BFF came back from the dead? Oh, right NOT A SINGLE DAMN ONE! Ahem!

Anyhoo, two things struck me while thinking of their scenes. It really does make sense why Ric would start to give in to his feelings for Damon now. Firstly, he's been away for a bit of time, and while he's clearly still nursing that resentment (so not fair), it's also just as clearly faded a bit. Secondly (and more importantly), this is the first scene featuring just the two of them one on one since, well, since even before the murder madness. See? Ric just needed to bask in the awesome that is Damon Salvatore without anyone else around to distract him. Oh, and the other thing that I realized is that Damon flat-out told Ric he could just kill him again if he wanted to stop Damon. Guys, Ric could actually have done that! He could have staked him in the heart and sent him all marbly taking him out for hours. (As far as Ric knew, with the deal done with Cade, Damon probably would have been dead-dead!) Instead… he just went the traditional take-out a vampire route of a vervain shot which only lasts for a handful of minutes. See? The love is still there! It is!

More bro-love? Damon Salvatore and Matt Donovan. Sure, fine, whatever, Damon had an ulterior motive in offering to save Matt's life. But really… while I'm sure Damon realized that he would have an opportunity to possibly grab the journal, still he didn't want Matt to die! And so he saved him. (I will take whatever I can get when it comes to Damon and Matt, OK!)

     

On a less-duplicitous friendship note, there was Damon in relation to his most recent bestie (before Caroline, of course). Damon was so sweet about Bonnie, so understanding (well, once he found out that Elena was OK—of course, he didn't even have to say her name because at the end of the day when Damon Salvatore says "she," he's talking about Elena Gilbert). Still, once he knew that his love was still doing her Sleeping Beauty routine safe and sound, he was all about Bonnie. Awww! He got her pain, her anger, and her utter lack of desire to want to see him because seeing Damon would be too close to seeing Stefan. That was made clear with her "your brother killed him." Upon hearing that, Damon's instant reaction was to tell her that he was on his way because he realized the possible danger to her. Even after she told him (understandably, if unfairly) to stay away, he didn't back down because he needed her to be safe. Double awww! Oh, and did you notice that while she may have not wanted to see Damon (because of Stefan), Bonnie *did* take his call whereas she didn't even take Caroline's. Uh huh. Cuz Damon is her bestie.

Ah, he's grown so much. The circle of people that he cares for has so moved beyond just Elena and Stefan. There is Alaric, Matt, Caroline… and, of course, Bonnie. Knowing that Bonnie was upset, Damon was still checking on her, seeing if Caroline had talked to her. Then when talking to Stefan, although he was aware that it would take a long time, he had no doubt that Bonnie would eventually forgive Stefan because of what a good person she is. Speaking of that, words cannot describe how happy I was to hear Damon include Stefan in his statement about what a better person Bonnie was. Think about it… in season 01, he put Stefan and Bonnie in the same category. Now, seven seasons later Damon sees his brother for who he really is. Not a truly good person, but as a lost sinner who wants to do better but doesn't always succeed. And because of that it's so much easier for Damon to show how much he loves him.

And how much he loves him was so beautifully on display in this episode. We saw his effort to give Stefan as long a human life as he possibly could—damn the wishes of the others to put a risky plan above Stefan living beyond that day. His gentleness towards Stefan when he came home with such his devastated vulnerability on display, was beautiful. When he lied to Stefan about there being a chance for redemption (and so assuredly—"absolutely"), my heart broke for the both of them in the most bittersweet of ways.

 
 

Oh, Damon, he loves his brother so and he seemed so much like the older sibling to his baby brother in that scene. Of course, he would, though. He's once more breakable and there was such a hesitancy with his every word, look and step. And I couldn't help but think back to when he told Caroline that vampirism amplifies key characteristics of a person, and for him, it was empathy. Yes, I know, oh, please, Stefan, your self-centeredness was your key, dude. But let's look at that key. Stefan, unlike any vampire EVER, has just been exposed to some recent, truly heinous actions without the vampiric filter in place. He's a human now dealing with the fact that he had the capability—and followed through on more than one occasion—to be an absolute monster.

As far as we know, Elena, Katherine and Alaric are the only other vampires who have gone from vampire to human. (Yes, I know that on The Originals, so many of the Mikaelson vampires have become witches, but it's all so convoluted and has no bearing on this show so I'm not even touching it.) Elena and Alaric had a brief period of psychotic vampirism, and between the two of them killed "only" one human. Katherine… well, Katherine took too much pleasure in her vampirism and took being a mean girl to new heights. Even as a human, that attitude was so ingrained in her, it just wasn't going away after five hundred years.

My point is that Stefan is in new territory and all of that guilt that he felt as a vampire was, let's get real, for the most part selfishness. Because it made him look bad and Stefan loved his saintly projection. Now without that amplified self-absorption in place, true guilt is hitting him. In the car, Stefan was looking at the photographs of all of his victims. He took those pictures so that he could see, remember, and not forget what he did. This was not him writing names on a wall to savor in the kill. He didn't know any of these people for the most part. This wasn't about feeling guilty because people would know he did this and judge him harshly. This was Stefan facing what he did, the people he hurt, the destruction he left in his wake.

The same was true of his reaction to the realtor's daughter… again, he didn't know her. Think back on it, Stefan has only ever cared about the loss of those he cares about (or the people they care about). Even when he was in 'Saint Stefan' mode. This was a human being feeling genuine guilt and wanting to right a wrong. How Stefan dealt his blood-soaked hands, his arrest, the realtor's attack, all of it was so beautifully played by Paul Wesley. There was a fragility and vulnerability to human!Stefan, a tentativeness that showed how uncomfortable Stefan was in this weak mortal frame, how shell-shocked he was in this new condition. And, unfortunately, that hopelessness didn't only affect Stefan's state of mind, but it also weighed heavily over his attitude towards his relationship with Caroline. There was such a sense of despondency hanging over the two of them. It was just sad.

But hey, at least both Stefan and Caroline are still around. The same can't be said for Enzo. Yeah, now I'm not sure if Enzo (thus, or Tyler) is going to make it back to this earthly plane. I've made no secret of my lack of affection for Bonnie and Enzo, but I really felt for her and her lost love in this one. (I know! I'm kinda shocked myself.) I think it's because of the script by Chad Fiveashe and James Stoteraux (by the way, they've had more really great episodes now than not as great, so they are officially A-OK in my book). There were no protestations of Bonnie and Enzo's deep, eternal, forever love being the most loved love that ever loved. There was no allegorical rending of clothing. In other words, Bonnie's pain felt real, not some hyper-fantasy of what the most grieving grief that had ever grieved.

Even when she was so upset with her mother for burning Enzo's body, I was fine with it because, hello, she does love him. She believes she can feel, hear him and her mother just literally set all she physically has of him left afire. And Abby handled Bonnie's pain so well—shocker! Seriously, that was shocking! She understood Bonnie's anger and pain, and reached her by pointing out that the dark, cold place (i.e., Hell) that Enzo was in was not a place that he would ever want Bonnie to be. Because he loved her. Abby said and did all the right things. Not just in that final scene, but in all of their scenes. That actually surprised me a bit too. I was never terribly impressed with Persia White (Mrs. Joseph Morgan, by the way) in the past, but in this episode, I thought she was excellent. Maybe I've just gotten used to her in the role, I don't know, but I did love all of her scenes with Bonnie. Actually, I just loved all of Bonnie's scenes, period. I thought that everything with her worked.

So I felt for Bonnie, and for the first time in a long while, I was able to appreciate what she had with Enzo. In fact, I'm hoping that when I rewatch the series, I'll be able to just see them exactly as I complained about, but see it as intentional and that will work for me. They were in the real world for the first time and only a few months into their relationship. So, yeah, they were in the honeymoon stage. We'll see, obviously it depends on what they do with Bonnie from this point on. Like Enzo (and Tyler) staying dead-dead. I know, I know Kai (!!) just came back but I don't see that lasting. Maybe it will be just a temporary thing while Cade is roaming around Mystic Falls (of all places in the world… really, he chose Mystic Falls, Virginia?). I would be totally cool with Enzo coming back (briefly) to give Bonnie some kind of closure. Eh, he'll still probably come back for good. But, but, but… if he doesn't… maybe we'll get a hint of a future with Matt! PLEASE! Pretty, pretty please!

I mean, I cannot be the only person who watched their final scene and saw something there. Right?! If I'm wrong and it's just my bias in play then I will be sad. But… that scene! Oh, show, why must you toy with me? I've wanted Bonnie and Matt for a few seasons now and I really did think that we were heading there before the Bonnie/Enzo twuest love that ever loved this season. But then… THAT scene?! Matt waiting on her porch steps for her return just to check on her. He was so sweet and understanding, drawing on his own history (with Penny) pointing out her strength.

Bonnie: I don't think I can do this.
Matt: I do. You're one of the strongest people I know.
AWWW! MY HEART! Even his allusion to his forefather's closeness with Beatrice Bennett was a great, little bit. He offered her a bit of a tease, a story that she'll want to hear someday, something to distract her. (Oh, and I totally noticed that Bea is the first Bennett that we have met who had the same initials as Bonnie. And, Matt's ancestor and Bea totally had a thing for each other. Uh huh.) *sigh* Lastly, there were a few shots that just screamed "couple," including that gorgeously shot, final forehead kiss. If this means nothing, I will cry! (OK, not really, but I will be very bummed.)

 
 
 

Speaking of Bea, so, uhm, she had her hand on her stomach at one point in the tunnels, when she realized that she had to leave Ethan behind. So are we going to find out that Bonnie and Matt are actually distantly related?! (But going back that far it wouldn't be incest-y, right? They could still get together, though!) Or maybe that wasn't supposed to signify that (I mean, I figure they would have spelled that out explicitly). So maybe Matt and Bonnie will be the Maxwell and Bennett who have a happy ending whereas Ethan and Bea weren't able to. Or, we were supposed to get a pregnancy vibe from that moment and it will be revealed in a future episode (like really future with only four {sobs} left). In that case (*sigh*), maybe the whole point of the scene between Bonnie and Matt was to show that familial relation? Yeah, that was probably it. I'm going to cry.

So, yeah, their ancestors were pretty cool. I quite enjoyed that jaunt into the town's history. At first, I didn't understand why if they got Zach Roerig to play Ethan Maxwell—and, hey, YAY! for Roerig in old-timey stuff—why not have Kat Graham play Bea? However, I then realized that Ethan looked like "Matt" because Matt was essentially Ethan in his memories and of course, Matt would just see himself. Without Graham not playing Bea, though, it was OK because the writing of and the actress cast (Jaz Sinclair) for the character was wonderful. I thought she was delightful. Once again, one-off casting on this show does its job damn well.

The other aspect of casting where they (generally) are spot-on? Their villains. Wolé Parks is just doing a fantastic job as Cade. He doesn't act evil AT ALL; he's polite, smiles so deeply and he seems so genuine, but still manages to just drip with complete evil. Parks is just amazing, I mean, I still remember how sweet and open-hearted he was when we met him in ancient times before the villagers turned on him. There's such a difference between Arcadius and the Cade we know.

Also awesome? My precious Sybil! I was not expecting to ever see her again so this was a lovely surprise for me. Not as lovely… or should I say… AWESOME! as the return of my beloved Kai! Now, I do wish that Chris Woods' name had not been in the credits, though. I knew he was coming back, and had been spoiled that he was returning in episode 13 (or so I thought). Since he actually showed up in this one, it would have been a surprise had his name not spoiled his return in this one. Although, I do admit that I forgot about seeing his name about half-way through so it was still a bit of an unexpected squee moment when he walked in. Yes, the episode was that good! And the ending—with the awesome that is Kai!—was fantastic. Alaric and Damon's reaction to Kai's matter-of-fact attitude with his appearance was perfect. Of course Damon is just going to have a 'What the?!' reaction, while Ric would be beyond that and enraged. Kai, after all, did kill Ric's bride… on their wedding day no less. The best part, though? OMG! Kai's little hand wave at the very end! I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!

 

And on that adorable rascal, onto randoms –

- Matt's bloody feet were creepy and gross!

- So Bonnie's psychic scream of rage and pain did not enable her witchy powers. It just opened the door to Hell. That actually does make a lot of sense since Arcadius' original psychic scream of rage and pain—which was way, way more intense considering the circumstances—opened a crack and created Hell.

- Damn, Persia White (Abby) looked GORGEOUS!

     

- Arrrggghhh! Once again Damon blamed himself for Stefan being in the "mess" he was in… NO, NO, NO! Stefan had to AGREE to Cade's deal and he did so to save Caroline's kids. HELLO! Yes, Damon had the ulterior motive of not wanting to ever go to Hell, but it was a double-pronged deal. It also saved Alaric's children for goodness' sake!

- I have to say that Ethan surrounded on either side by the Sirens was pretty hot for a moment (if you ignore the situation).

 

- There they go again with Stefan "changing the deed" with the realtor for Bonnie's house. :RME:

- Oh. My. God! The show actually remembered canon about the cure… once taking it, vampire blood doesn't heal someone.

- I did like that the realtor remembered Stefan and what he did, and so attacked him when seeing him again. That made sense. I'm also glad that she's going to survive. Yay, Stefan and Caroline kept a child from being an orphan and all alone (thanks to Stefan's ripper self that set the whole situation in motion).

- So now we know how the one hundred witches burned—I LOVED that it wasn't some dastardly, evil plan that took them out. Rather, the witches chose to make that sacrifice in order to save the "village" of Mystic Falls. It was *their* choice.

- Hmm, when the Sirens were "singing" and controlling Ethan, Bea wasn't affected at all. That made me think of the third episode when Sybil didn't use her control to get Bonnie to do what she wanted. At the time, I thought it was that the Sirens couldn't control women, but now I wonder if it's just that they can't control witches who are so psychically strong themselves (whether their magic is dormant or not, like Bonnie).

- Hah! Damon is smarter than everyone else—he knew that the possibility of getting the journal was there and he took it. Also, I loved two things about "how it ends." Firstly, that Damon (of course) figured out why Cade wanted the journal, and secondly, making use of a character trait. Sybil really did tend to go on and on, so Damon knowing about the weapon and where it came from because of her talkativeness was hilarious… and made perfect sense.

- Oh, speaking of the journal, at first I thought that Damon was looking over at Ric when he was feeding Matt his blood. Nope, he was looking at the journal! Hah! And no one noticed. Oh, silly fools… you can't compete with the brain power of Damon Salvatore.

- Not only did Ian Somerhalder look really good in this episode (of course), but in that final Damon and Stefan scene, I have to say that Paul Wesley looked really good too.

- Uhm, what was up with Dorian reacting that way to Damon at the end? I would understand if he responded that way the *first* time that Damon showed up at the Armory. After all the last time he'd seen him, Damon had ripped into some innocent's throat and killed her. But that reaction came later. Weird.

- So Bonnie kidnapped Stefan, yes/yes? That so had to be her. The hooded person was short, and tasered him (so, the attackee knew that Stefan was now human). Plus, it totes made sense that Bonnie would have been waiting for Stefan to show up since either Caroline or Damon probably would have left Bonnie a message to pre-warn her (and in their mind, soften her up) that Stefan was coming over to apologize profusely for killing her boo. On the other hand, a really good comment was made that it could just be someone from Hell coming for Stefan. After all, a few minutes later we saw Kai.

Phew! Well, like I said at the top, I loved this episode. After having a few not-totally-awesome episodes in a row coming into this one, I was hopeful this would not disappoint and that hope was fulfilled. I really can't wait to see what happens next!
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2017 11:06 am (UTC)
Great recap as always. It made me realize and overthink some things I hadn't previously noted, especially in those Stefan-scenes. The lack of the hospitalscene bugged me too, especially as such a severe injury would have called for some surgery that would have taken a couple of hours -which didn't fit with the timeframe- and would have in addition required him to stay at the hospital for at least a the night if not a couple of days. So at first (before Damon's hospital-speech) I thought Stefan hadn't been to the hospital at all and Caroline wanted to heal him with antibiotics alone and I was WTF? Because that wound looked pretty much like the one he received from Caroline some eps ago that had killed him! Once we found out that he acctually received some medical treatment in the hospital I still had some problems with the lack of time that has passed. But well after last ep's realtor debacle I've lowered my expectations. Also concerning Caroline just walking into the interrogation and than blabbing on and on while there were clearly cameras in the background. I mean did she make sure they were inactivated before entering into the room. So this troubled me concerning the Stefan-storyline.

Concerning Damon's storyline in this ep I for the first time felt like he is finally a fully accepted and respected part of the scooby-gang. He was so involved in every storyline delegating and looking after everyone and not just from the background like he did in the past, but this time everyone of the others kept in contact with him, talked to him, planned with him. I, like you, was so proud how far he's come since s1. The only thing that confused me a bit was that Damon was supposed to have known from this weapon from Sybil beforehand? If so, then why did he even think about killing Cade on his own aka without the weapon in the last ep (because let's face it, if the sirens were unable to kill Cade without the weapon, then why would Damon think such primal acts as ripping out his heart or burning would work for him?)? Then why didn't he try and do everything he possibly could to find that weapon before? Of course he didn't know where to start looking for it. But why hadn't he told Ric/Dorian before? This knowledge of his just came out of the blue in this ep and didn't work with the previous eps in my opinion. It could have made better; like, at first I thought Damon had kept the one page with the code for the weapon in his possession before handing over the book so that everything would get burned but this one essential piece of paper or he would have already read the secret message himself before handing over the journal, etc. That would have been a Damon Salvatore move I could have liked and believed.

(End of part 1)
Arabian: Damon04arabian on February 12th, 2017 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: your issues with the Stefan story, I actually don't think they track. Stefan was stabbed by a very weak woman (even if she managed to put some oomph in it). If no major organs were hit (and that's certainly possible), all that likely would have been required was a stitching, pints of blood to make up for his loss, and pump him full of some pain killers. With the Cade (and Bonnie) situation, Caroline and Stefan both would have felt they needed to get back to Mystic Falls. Therefore, once those medically-necessary things were done, she would have gotten extra supplies (as she mentioned) and just compelled everyone to let them walk out of there.

As for the police station... Caroline compelled the detective to believe that Stefan had nothing to do with the murders. She told him specifically: "Please notify all the other agents and officers this was all a terrible mix-up." With that done, all cameras would see (and it would only be visual, no audio) was a young woman walk in and leave with the "wrongly accused" suspect thanks to that "terrible mix-up." Then she compelled the officer to delete every mention of Stefan Salvatore in their records. Trust me, (I worked in a police station), the show covered all the bases.

Concerning Damon's storyline in this ep I for the first time felt like he is finally a fully accepted and respected part of the scooby-gang.

Yeah, he was getting there in season 03, but then Elena became a vampire, she and Damon got together, the sire bond came into play and Damon felt like he was backed into a corner, so Elena was his only lifeline.

The only thing that confused me a bit was that Damon was supposed to have known from this weapon from Sybil beforehand?

Nope. Damon didn't know what or where it was. He just knew that Sybil had an "insurance policy." When Matt described the weapon and how it was made during his flashback to Ethan Maxwell's life, Damon realized that it was most likely the insurance police that Sybil had spoken about. Of course, he couldn't be 100% sure which is why he told Ric that the odds this was weapon were 60/40. The sixty implying that he was more convinced he was right than not.

But why hadn't he told Ric/Dorian before?

Knowing Sybil had an insurance policy is REALLY vague and could be ANYTHING: A spell, a specific person, a confluence of mystical events, etc. All he knew was that she had an insurance policy. So there was nothing to tell anyone. The only reason Damon mentioned it in THIS episode is because he found out (from Matt's memories) about this weapon made from Cade's fiery death. Therefore, it was most likely that insurance policy since Ethan told Bea: "They will not allow me to tell you what I've discovered! I cannot say! Bea! I know how we can kill the devil." Damon just connected that memory of Ethan's to the insurance policy. It made sense to me.

It could have made better; like, at first I thought Damon had kept the one page with the code for the weapon in his possession before handing over the book so that everything would get burned but this one essential piece of paper or he would have already read the secret message himself before handing over the journal, etc. That would have been a Damon Salvatore move I could have liked and believed.

I thought they might do that, but it really wouldn't have made sense. Damon was on a major time crunch. Remember that Cade told him he was cutting it close when he returned to the Boarding House and gave him the book. Therefore, Damon wouldn't have had time to look through that thick journal to find where the answer specifically was. Plus, he wouldn't have been able to find it anyway because it was written in Ethan and Bea's code. (A) He doesn't know it, and (B) he didn't have the cipher. So he would have had to go through the ENTIRE book with the cipher to find the answer. He just did not have the time for that.

Edited at 2017-02-12 04:12 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2017 11:07 am (UTC)
Part 2:

On a more positive note I really liked Matt in this ep. I'm not sure if he and Bonnie are gonna end up together. It seems like it though with the flashbacks and all. I hope that they won't rush it now though. I would be fine with like Elena waking up (whenever that will happen) and reading in the diaries that a couple of years after these events Matt and Bonnie finally got together, something like that. I don't think Bea was pregnant and even if so, as far as I understood it she died in the vault didn't she? I mean she imprisoned the sirens and than for safety measures closed the door to the vault with magic so it couldn't be opened again. So I think she sacrificed herself to prevent the sirens from escaping from the vault again.

I think you are right that Bonnie just opened up a door to hell through her grief instead of regaining her magic which I find really sad to be true. I'd just like her to be more powerful again and not as passive as she has been this whole season. Enzo calling out to her was very interesting and sad. I'm still not quite sure if that was really Enzo calling her though or again some other evil creature from hell tricking her into helping (the wrong person). But her collapsing next to Enzo makes it seem like they are bonded in some way, so I guess it really was Enzo's voice. By burning Enzo's body Abby thought she'd severed that connection but there was this shot of Bonnie touching the amulet with Enzo's blood and I think it was there for a reason to show the viewers that there still is a piece of Enzo left to connect those two. So I don't know if Bonnie'll enter hell now to save Enzo (like in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydike) and if so if she'll succeed, but I'm quite sure that somehow she'll ensure that Enzo won't stay in hell. If she won't be able to bring him back to life I'm quite sure that she'll at least manage to help him find redemption in some way so he can move on to heaven. And I personally think that the hooded figure abducting Stefan was someone else from hell who has a vendetta against Stefan. I just can't see Bonnie hurting another human being and I think that Damon was right when he said that 'Bonnie is a better person'. She might not have really forgiven Stefan for what he's done, but she wouldn't want revenge on human!Stefan. The ripper is gone forever and so there is no one left she can hold a grudge against anymore. And by turning Stefan human she in a way already got her revenge, *killing* the vampire/ripper for good. Which is why I'm quite sure that the person knocking Stefan out in that last shot will be another person from the past, maybe even someone who wants to go after Bonnie (therefore the taser) and Stefan was just in the way? That're at least my thoughts.

Looking forward to the next ep and your recap :)
Arabian: Matt02arabian on February 12th, 2017 03:22 pm (UTC)
On a more positive note I really liked Matt in this ep.

Me too! It was great having that feeling about him again.

It seems like it though with the flashbacks and all.

Ooh, you got that impression too? Yay!

I hope that they won't rush it now though.

I think if it does happen, we'll just get a hint of it... but nothing really in your face. And then we may get a flashforward a few years in the final episode where we'll see them together. Unless, Enzo does come back, then yeah, no Matt and Bonnie. :(

I don't think Bea was pregnant and even if so, as far as I understood it she died in the vault didn't she? I mean she imprisoned the sirens and than for safety measures closed the door to the vault with magic so it couldn't be opened again. So I think she sacrificed herself to prevent the sirens from escaping from the vault again.

No, she created the spell that kept the Sirens in that blocked out part of the cave (that needed no sound or sight to get through). And then when Ethan tried to kill her, she locked him in that room. She wasn't trapped. She was in the open tunnels between the Sirens who were trapped and Ethan who she locked in that room. When Sybil said she and Ethan were trapped too, she was speaking metaphorically in that they helped create the bell, therefore they killed the witches and would be trapped in Hell through all eternity. (Which was such BS!)

I'd just like her to be more powerful again and not as passive as she has been this whole season.

I would like her to get her magic ways back, but I don't think she's been passive. When she has been called upon to do something (I mean, when she could tear herself away from Enzo), she was actively doing stuff. (Getting the tuning fork, hiding the bell, etc.) Just because she wasn't using magic didn't mean that she wasn't helping.

I'm still not quite sure if that was really Enzo calling her though or again some other evil creature from hell tricking her into helping (the wrong person).

Could be, after all, that's how Damon was tricked by the Sirens and Enzo would never try to bring Bonnie to a horrible place where she might be stuck for eternity.

By burning Enzo's body Abby thought she'd severed that connection but there was this shot of Bonnie touching the amulet with Enzo's blood and I think it was there for a reason to show the viewers that there still is a piece of Enzo left to connect those two.

I don't know, I thought that was just Bonnie holding onto the last physical thing she has of his. (Not to say that it still won't come into play somehow.)

If she won't be able to bring him back to life I'm quite sure that she'll at least manage to help him find redemption in some way so he can move on to heaven.

I don't think that's about Bonnie for Enzo per se. The Sirens told Ethan that if they killed Cade, they wouldn't have to go to Hell. That makes me think that if Cade dies, so does Hell with him. So dead people who didn't go into the light to begin with will be just dead. Gone, souls free of pain.

And I personally think that the hooded figure abducting Stefan was someone else from hell who has a vendetta against Stefan.

That's a good point. We did just see Kai a few minutes later. I do disagree that Bonnie wouldn't hurt someone... in her pain before she has hurt people, just not really badly.

Edited at 2017-02-12 03:24 pm (UTC)
Matt: Ghidorahghidorah15 on February 12th, 2017 06:46 pm (UTC)
Nothing to add, truly. You covered it all very well.
Arabian: Matt & Katherine02arabian on February 13th, 2017 09:42 pm (UTC)
Well, okey-dokey, then! :)
tj2013: pic#120865641tj2013 on February 12th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
Great write-up, as usual! Thank you!

I would have liked to see how Stefan woke up, his transition back to being human, his confusion etc. Something like the scene in Blood Brothers, only backwards. But I guess we just didn't have time for that.

Damon can be so empathetic, first with Bonnie, later with Stefan, I love it when we get glimpses of him showing he cares so deeply.

My friend commented that when Stefan asked about redemption, Damon was about to shake his head, but for the sake of his little brother he said "absolutely". I hadnt caught it, but I'm still not convinced either that he believes in redemption himself.

I was surprised Enzo didn't come back right away. But I'm glad. Made his death more powerful .

Hm, when Cade dies and Hell dies sorta with him, then where do the damned souls go? Will they linger somehow in Mystic Falls? Will Katherine come back somehow?

I never read the credits while watching the first time, so Kai's appearance really made me shriek, LOL.

BTW, I thought we were now on episode 167 (and there would be 171 in total).

Edited at 2017-02-13 02:49 pm (UTC)
Arabian: Katherine03arabian on February 13th, 2017 09:43 pm (UTC)

I would have liked to see how Stefan woke up, his transition back to being human, his confusion etc. Something like the scene in Blood Brothers, only backwards. But I guess we just didn't have time for that.

I didn't even think of that because I imagine he just would have been in shock. And being a vampire, you have to feed, start losing it, get the hunger, etc. With being a human, none of that would happen. All there would be is, well, shock. And we saw him in shock.

Damon can be so empathetic, first with Bonnie, later with Stefan, I love it when we get glimpses of him showing he cares so deeply.

*sigh* I know!! ♥ ♥ My Damon!

My friend commented that when Stefan asked about redemption, Damon was about to shake his head, but for the sake of his little brother he said "absolutely". I hadnt caught it, but I'm still not convinced either that he believes in redemption himself.

Oh, yeah, he was totally lying all the way!

I was surprised Enzo didn't come back right away. But I'm glad. Made his death more powerful.

Agreed... and I know it's probably a faint, unrealistic hope but I'm really hoping now he does stay dead.

Hm, when Cade dies and Hell dies sorta with him, then where do the damned souls go? Will they linger somehow in Mystic Falls? Will Katherine come back somehow?

I honestly think they'll just be gone. Those who went into the light went to Heaven, but those who were sucked into (what we now know is Cade's created) Hell, will at least be free of soul-torment. When Cade goes bye-bye, so will his Hell, so all of those souls sucked into that darkness will be gone too. At peace. (Or maybe going into the light was the peace, and that's what those souls will get now.) I don't think they'll come back at all... that's waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many supernatural peeps--who are not all they good--being unleashed on this world.

I never read the credits while watching the first time, so Kai's appearance really made me shriek, LOL.

Yay for you!

BTW, I thought we were now on episode 167 (and there would be 171 in total).

You're right, I did the math wrong. I suck at math, LOL!
tj2013tj2013 on February 15th, 2017 08:46 am (UTC)
I've known it, of course, but slowly it really starts to hit me - only four more episodes to go? Man, I can't even imagine that. TVD has been an important part of my life for so many years now, with all the emotional ups and downs ... how am I going to live without it? Yes, I know, it's only TV. But still. Will there ever be another series like that?
Arabian: Damon & Elena54arabian on February 15th, 2017 04:40 pm (UTC)
I've known it, of course, but slowly it really starts to hit me - only four more episodes to go?

I have to admit that despite my opening text, it actually hasn't hit me yet.

TVD has been an important part of my life for so many years now, with all the emotional ups and downs ... how am I going to live without it? Yes, I know, it's only TV. But still.

Oh, I hear you... I so hear you. I have a bunch of fandom-related things I'm working on. Going through all of the write-ups, redoing a good handful of them, going through comments and adding them to my write-ups and I'm actually going to try and package them together per season as an ebook on Amazon to make a bit o' cash on (LOL!) Plus, I have these things I do call "Bloodstream Entries" where I pretty much am consolidating EVERYTHING fandom-wise I've done (central character, write-ups, icons, etc.) for each episode. So TVD will not be gone from my life even after the show ends. Until I find another couple to obsess over--because it will be a couple that rips my attention away, a great show is not enough to do it for me, LOL!--I'll still be TVD-ing away. :D

Will there ever be another series like that?

I can't imagine. I'm in my early 40's and have been a obsessive TV fan since my pre-teens, and I have NEVER loved a show like this. EVAR! The vampire Diaries is special. Uh huh.
tj2013tj2013 on February 17th, 2017 10:32 am (UTC)
I have a bunch of fandom-related things I'm working on. ... I'll still be TVD-ing away. :D

Good for you!

I have NEVER loved a show like this. EVAR! The vampire Diaries is special. Uh huh.

This!
Arabian: Damon04arabian on February 17th, 2017 07:44 pm (UTC)
So many have disappeared over the season that it's great to have a few people who have stuck all the way through the show (and STILL LOVE IT SO) like me. :)
Diana: Vampire Diaries - Comfort (E/C)butterfly on February 18th, 2017 01:06 am (UTC)
Hi! I had a chance to (finally) catch up on these last couple of episodes so I wanted to drop you a quick message before the new episode airs tonight.

(also, congrats on the new job!)

I agree that this episode was so wonderful!

I've made no secret of my lack of affection for Bonnie and Enzo, but I really felt for her and her lost love in this one. (I know! I'm kinda shocked myself.) I think it's because of the script by Chad Fiveashe and James Stoteraux (by the way, they've had more really great episodes now than not as great, so they are officially A-OK in my book). There were no protestations of Bonnie and Enzo's deep, eternal, forever love being the most loved love that ever loved. There was no allegorical rending of clothing. In other words, Bonnie's pain felt real, not some hyper-fantasy of what the most grieving grief that had ever grieved.

I think Matt comparing her loss to his helped in this regard, too -- the show comparing Bonnie and Enzo to Matt and... oh, man, I've forgotten her name, but the cop girlfriend... grounds it more in realism, too, at least for me, because Matt and Cop Girlfriend weren't (to my memory) sold as the Greatest Love That Ever Loved but just as a more regular, mundane love that was still horrifically painful for Matt to lose because losing someone you love is always horrifically painful.

ETA: It occurs to me that Matt might instead have been talking about losing Vicki in that scene! Since she's been on his mind. But that also helps, too, because again, it grounds Bonnie's loss against another loss that was treated significantly but 'normally' by the show.

(and I definitely thought of you and your torch for Matt/Bonnie during their scene!)

Agreed with you so much on the general love of the casting for villains. SO EXCITED to see what Kai is going to be up to tonight, and Cade in the real world has been a treat.

- So Bonnie's psychic scream of rage and pain did not enable her witchy powers. It just opened the door to Hell. That actually does make a lot of sense since Arcadius' original psychic scream of rage and pain—which was way, way more intense considering the circumstances—opened a crack and created Hell.

*nods*

The show continues to do a great job of having the various magic things that are possible make sense and be connected to previous magical actions/items.

I've also really loved all our past character cameos that we've had in the recent episodes! So many blasts from the past.

Edited at 2017-02-18 01:14 am (UTC)
Arabian: Elena&Caroline02arabian on February 24th, 2017 05:55 pm (UTC)
Hi! I had a chance to (finally) catch up on these last couple of episodes so I wanted to drop you a quick message before the new episode airs tonight.

HEY!

(also, congrats on the new job!)

Thank you! :)

I think Matt comparing her loss to his helped in this regard, too -- the show comparing Bonnie and Enzo to Matt and... oh, man, I've forgotten her name, but the cop girlfriend... grounds it more in realism, too, at least for me, because Matt and Cop Girlfriend weren't (to my memory) sold as the Greatest Love That Ever Loved but just as a more regular, mundane love that was still horrifically painful for Matt to lose because losing someone you love is always horrifically painful.

Penny. :) That's a really good point.

ETA: It occurs to me that Matt might instead have been talking about losing Vicki in that scene! Since she's been on his mind. But that also helps, too, because again, it grounds Bonnie's loss against another loss that was treated significantly but 'normally' by the show.

Nah, he was definitely talking about Penny. That was about losing significant others, not family.

(and I definitely thought of you and your torch for Matt/Bonnie during their scene!)

Was that because you SAW something intentional in those scenes, or just because you know of my M/B torch?

The show continues to do a great job of having the various magic things that are possible make sense and be connected to previous magical actions/items.

I know, right? I love so much how they weave their mythology past and present together. So cool!

I've also really loved all our past character cameos that we've had in the recent episodes! So many blasts from the past.

Yup, yup, yup. (Hopefully we don't get a few more, i.e., Lexi and/or Nadia.)
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on May 12th, 2017 10:40 am (UTC)
RE: 8.12
"and then it's bye-bye to The Vampire Diaries. {sobs incoherently}" - I'm still not over this.

"After Stefan was arrested, the scene between him and the Rockland detective was chilling due to the commonplace nature of it. At least, it would be commonplace on so many other television shows… but not The Vampire Diaries and *that* is why it was so chilling." - Yes, I was feeling the same way about all that. Chilling is the best word to describe it.

"all of it was just so surreal. For The Vampire Diaries. The law enforcement in Mystic Falls is so used to either covering up and/or working with the Supernatural elements that to see another department simply treat one of our "heroes" as exactly what he is—a serial killer—was startling." - It was really wonderfully done. And actually it was THE episode that finally, finally sold the cure to me. One of the last episodes of TVD ever. But I finally got it. I got why Elena (and Damon) would eventually trade eternity for just one lifetime together.

"And didja all notice how Caroline was absolutely positive that Damon would succeed in saving his brother?" - Yes! It was awesome.

"Despite that though—and despite that lack of faith—it was obvious when reading between the lines, and focusing on their body language, especially Ric's, that his frustration came from the fact that he wants that faith back." - OH I'll have to rewatch and pay more attention to this.

"Secondly (and more importantly), this is the first scene featuring just the two of them one on one since, well, since even before the murder madness." - Good point.

"Then when talking to Stefan, although he was aware that it would take a long time, he had no doubt that Bonnie would eventually forgive Stefan because of what a good person she is." - I just realized something. It's interesting how Stefan was the one "supposed to" kill Abby, and although he avoided that fate all those years ago, nevertheless he did end up killing someone Bonnie loved.

"This was Stefan facing what he did, the people he hurt, the destruction he left in his wake." - I really wasn't expecting for them to take Stefan becoming human into that direction, but all things considered, it now seems like it was the only way, the perfect way so very much in line with the entire story.

"And, unfortunately, that hopelessness didn't only affect Stefan's state of mind, but it also weighed heavily over his attitude towards his relationship with Caroline. There was such a sense of despondency hanging over the two of them. It was just sad." - I'd even say that *that* was the reason why Stefan "had to" die, and not the fact that Stefan killed Enzo (really, Julie?? Lol). I mean, I can't imagine how much time would Stefan need to truly get over all that? Would he ever? From this episode on, it just felt nigh impossible to imagine happy Stefan living a happy human life.

"I think it's because of the script by Chad Fiveashe and James Stoteraux (by the way, they've had more really great episodes now than not as great, so they are officially A-OK in my book)." - Yay! I knew you'd warm up to them ;)

"Abby said and did all the right things. Not just in that final scene, but in all of their scenes." - Yes, I liked all of their scenes too. It was so nice seeing Abby back (and back in a good, positive way) in Bonnie's life.

"However, I then realized that Ethan looked like "Matt" because Matt was essentially Ethan in his memories and of course, Matt would just see himself." - OH Thank you for this explanation! I thought it was a weird, um, casting choice (especially with, like, zero effort as far as altering his appearance in terms of hair/make up went), but now it does make sense.

"The best part, though? OMG! Kai's little hand wave at the very end!" - lol Yes! That was fantastic.
Arabian: Matt & Bonnie01arabian on May 14th, 2017 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: 8.12
"all of it was just so surreal. For The Vampire Diaries. The law enforcement in Mystic Falls is so used to either covering up and/or working with the Supernatural elements that to see another department simply treat one of our "heroes" as exactly what he is—a serial killer—was startling." - It was really wonderfully done. And actually it was THE episode that finally, finally sold the cure to me. One of the last episodes of TVD ever. But I finally got it. I got why Elena (and Damon) would eventually trade eternity for just one lifetime together.

Hmm, interesting. Really, why was that so? What was it about this that did it for you?

"Then when talking to Stefan, although he was aware that it would take a long time, he had no doubt that Bonnie would eventually forgive Stefan because of what a good person she is." - I just realized something. It's interesting how Stefan was the one "supposed to" kill Abby, and although he avoided that fate all those years ago, nevertheless he did end up killing someone Bonnie loved.

Good point.

"This was Stefan facing what he did, the people he hurt, the destruction he left in his wake." - I really wasn't expecting for them to take Stefan becoming human into that direction, but all things considered, it now seems like it was the only way, the perfect way so very much in line with the entire story.

Agreed; I wasn't expecting it either, but it's true. It really couldn't have and shouldn't have gone any other way.

"And, unfortunately, that hopelessness didn't only affect Stefan's state of mind, but it also weighed heavily over his attitude towards his relationship with Caroline. There was such a sense of despondency hanging over the two of them. It was just sad." - I'd even say that *that* was the reason why Stefan "had to" die, and not the fact that Stefan killed Enzo (really, Julie?? Lol). I mean, I can't imagine how much time would Stefan need to truly get over all that? Would he ever? From this episode on, it just felt nigh impossible to imagine happy Stefan living a happy human life.

I agree that the Enzo reason was ridiculous (LOL!), but I disagree that he wouldn't have ever found happiness. What I think is that he would have found it, but there would have always been moments creeping up on him where he would have found himself overwhelmed with the thought 'I don't deserve this.' And that would have weighed on him.

"I think it's because of the script by Chad Fiveashe and James Stoteraux (by the way, they've had more really great episodes now than not as great, so they are officially A-OK in my book)." - Yay! I knew you'd warm up to them ;)

Again, it doesn't make their earlier scripts any less problematic. I still think they had the same issues then. They just got a better hang of the characters, which is a good thing.
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on May 21st, 2017 08:44 pm (UTC)
Re: 8.12
"Really, why was that so? What was it about this that did it for you?" - I don't know, it just really felt like they drove the point home, all the not great, all the bad aspects of being a vampire. I was looking at the whole concept through the rosy glasses of eternal love before and only in this episode, so late in the story, I somehow grew to understand the gravity of all other aspects of it.

"They just got a better hang of the characters, which is a good thing." - Agreed ;)

Just a heads-up, I've started falling behind on reading a little because of RL stuff, but I'll get back into a better pace again, eventually ;) Thank you for all the new replies! I can't wait to read and reply to them all ♥
Arabian: Elena14arabian on June 12th, 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: 8.12
I don't know, it just really felt like they drove the point home, all the not great, all the bad aspects of being a vampire. I was looking at the whole concept through the rosy glasses of eternal love before and only in this episode, so late in the story, I somehow grew to understand the gravity of all other aspects of it.

Gotcha. For me, because I was always looking at it from that point of view for Elena, that I got it. And when she said in 6.02 that she found a reason that made it worthwhile (her forever love) that is actually what drove home how bad it was because it was the ONLY good thing.
Florencia: DE (Kiss) (3x10)florencia7 on June 15th, 2017 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: 8.12
"And when she said in 6.02 that she found a reason that made it worthwhile (her forever love) that is actually what drove home how bad it was because it was the ONLY good thing." - That's a good point. You're right. It was both beautiful but also sad. And very true.
Arabian: Damon & Elena08arabian on July 1st, 2017 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 8.12
Yeah, I think a lot of people who were opposed to human Elena/Damon were looking at it like you were which was just the love part of it, but I was always looking at the bigger picture, and well, you know, the narrative and what we heard the characters say. This is what we knew they wanted. I'm glad you, at least, were able to come around. YAY!
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on July 2nd, 2017 11:49 am (UTC)
Re: 8.12
"This is what we knew they wanted. I'm glad you, at least, were able to come around. YAY!" - I'm very happy about it too ^^