As a Vampire Diaries fan, I think this was a very solid episode, with excellent narrative flow and great set-up for upcoming episodes. As a Damon fan, to put it simply ... I was pissed. This is the fourth episode (out of four episodes this season) in a row that has presented Damon as a loser-boy. And this one was the worst of the lot because ...
a) He only had the one really good one-liner ("Really? That's surprising. I'm a dick."), and that really sucks because a good chunk of Damon's dialogue generally belongs in the quotable quotes section.
b) We had Damon look like a fool in 1864 and present-day Mystic Falls. We had Damon metaphorically fall on his face in front of Mason. We had Damon being insulted and looked down upon behind his back (Katherine -- "Damon was typical Damon"). We had Damon being kept out of the dark (Stefan and Elena's "break")*. We had Damon rejected and insulted again by Elena (still deserved though, dude did snap her brother's neck). When the least 'you suck, Damon!' moments came from a guy he just officially met (Mason) and Jenna, you know it's not a good episode for Damon.
* I could be wrong, but I will say that I think there might be a possibility that Damon wasn't fooled. He had just the slightest considering look on his face, and he did tell Katherine that he wasn't jealous over her, implying that he was jealous about Elena and Stefan. And why would he be thinking that right then after he just heard them break-up unless he suspected there was something fishy? So, I think Damon may have realized that they are faking this. (Which, honestly, unless they actually plan on staying apart and truly making it look real is a pretty stupid plan because Katherine is *not* stupid and will see through it like nobody's business.)
c) The loserville Damon edit was paired with 'and angels descended down from on high and annointed Stefan as one of their own.' Look, I love Stefan; I loved him last season when many found him boring and either too Angel-esque or Edward-ish. But the saintly halo placed upon Stefan from every frickin' person on the planet while Damon is kicked over and over again shoved down our throats side by side was just too much. *sigh* (Paul Wesley was still great though, love him!)
With that said, I do get the narrative flow, and as a Damon/Elena shipper who is so not into Stefan/Elena, I think it's telling that the show didn't make their "break-up" a cliffhanger of sorts, but resolved and told the truth to viewers right away. It seems that by doing so, they pretty much made it clear that they know that the Stefan/Elena relationship is not a draw. But I've gone off-point. I do get the narrative flow, and I do believe that they are deliberately trying to get Damon to his lowest point. You'd think it was there at the end of "The Return," but I don't think so because Damon slipped right back into his snarky, pretending not-to-care ways showing that while he gets the gist of it, he doesn't really, truly get the totality of it. He even told Elena last week that she hated him before, but grew to like him, so she could again ... as if there's any comparison to his past actions in Elena's eyes.
So I think that's part of this process. Get Damon to really, truly get it. Also, he's floundering. He genuinely wants to protect Elena, his brother, this town. He genuinely loves all three, and yet, other than the council members who don't know the truth of what he is, no one gives a damn about him. He wants to help, and yet he knows deep-down that everyone -- with the maybe exception of Stefan, and because of their history it doesn't carry the weight it should -- would be happier if he was gone. So Damon doesn't really know how to act, and so he's making mistakes, he's kinda clueless. I get it; I get the narrative flow.
:pouts: It still sucks as a Damon fan.
Random points --
- I freaking love Mason. He. is. Awesome. Taylor Kinney is fabulous. Go casting department.
- I rolled my eyes SO VERY HARD at the Ford Fiesta product placement. Geez.
- So, I think it was supposed to be surprising that Katherine was really here for Stefan; she's doing this because she genuinely wants Stefan back, she genuinely loves him. Paired with Stefan telling Elena that Katherine wasn't really back for him with Katherine recalling that memory which was for no one else's benefit, I do believe we can take it as truth. I do think that was supposed to be a bit of a twist. However, I've been convinced that Katherine truly loved Stefan -- or as much as she's capable -- since that opening scene of "Blood Brothers" and I've said as much before, so, yeah, not surprising to me at all.
- I LOVED the shot of Caroline and Stefan sitting at the tables alone. I might icon that. :)
- On that note ... wah! No real Stefan/Caroline moments in this episode. Boo!
- I liked that Elena DID know that something was up simply because she knows Caroline so well.
- I continue to be shocked at how much better the chemistry between Paul and Nina is when she's playing Katherine.
- So, Damon? Katherine never compelled you? Yeah, wrong dude.
- Speaking of Damon and Katherine though, I did love that in their scene together, Damon really just did not seem to give a shit. I don't doubt that there is still something there, but the events of the premiere seem to have broken the main thrust of the spell she had him under. On the other hand, Stefan is still clearly affected by her. sarcasticcheese commented that it seems like they are showing the parallel of Elena denying feeling anything but hate for Damon with Stefan denying the same re: Katherine. And in both cases, I do think we have enough evidence to know that they are lying to themselves.
- Sigh, Alaric and Damon again, but no bromantic moments to squee about, just a few glances. Not enough, show! I want more. I want more!
- No Jeremy. Two in a row! WAH!! (No Bonnie; didn't miss her at all.) Hmm, just realized while typing, no Matt either. Guess, I didn't miss him either.
- While I wasn't OHMYGOD!This episode is awesome, I do think it's a good sign that other than the premiere -- which really was a continuation of the finale, more resolution for season one stuffies, while the episodes that have followed are set-up, laying the groundwork for this season -- episodes two through four, quality-wise, I'd put about the same level of episodes five through ten of season one. Those were the ones where the show really began to find its footing and get good and lay the groundwork for the rush of OHMYGOD!episodes (basically eleven through episode one of season two) that followed. So I'm not complaining.
- I wish that the CW promo department did not include the cheek kiss in the preview because that small moment really was the best of Stefan's dream and having that spoiled and leading up to so much speculation -- that frankly was all-around way more awesome from a Damon/Elena fan point of view -- kinda sucked. With that said, it was interesting that Katherine feels that Stefan's biggest fear with regards to Elena is not her death, but rather that she'll be with Damon. Hmm.... Of course, on the other hand, she did say that she was using that to show him how she felt, but that still shows that she believes knowing Stefan as well as she does that *he* believes that the possibility of Elena choosing Damon is there.
- And still, cheek-kiss! Full-on kiss (even if interrupted by Stefan's pain) and cute Damon/Elena, even if not real! Plus, SQUEE!!! (yeah, there were a few squee-worthy moments!) Damon/Elena kitchen scene. WOOHOO! Always, always a win!
- I am a tad disappointed that all we got from Jenna regarding the porch-kiss witness was that *Damon* couldn't keep his paws off of "Elena." From Jenna's point of view that night, "Elena" was pawing with fine reciprocation. Still, I did love that despite all of that, and without able to use compulsion, Damon did begin to make inroads with Jenna. Yay, go Damon.
- And go Nina! Nina Dobrev continues to do an AMAZING job distinguishing between the two characters. I loved, loved, loved how in the dual scene, as Elena she was facing Katherine head-on, but Katherine had her head cocked slightly, head pointed down a bit as if looking down upon the lesser Elena. And it's something that Nina does often as Katherine; awesome acting choice that fits the character perfectly.
So all in all, it was a good episode, I just was bummed as a Damon fan, and I do think that cast/crew (Ian, Nina, Julie, IAN!, I'm looking at you and your tweets) did hype it up too much. I was expecting to be overwhelmed because of that hype; as it was, I was a teeny bit underwhelmed. Ah well. I do believe that upon rewatch when the season is over and we've gotten the Damon pay-off (as I do think we'll get), it will be a perfect fit. I just trust the creative team behind this show so much; I am so their bitch.