Excellent episode of The Vampire Diaries tonight, not the best (by any stretch), in my opinion, but another solid, solid outing. Things I loved ...
- Candice Accola continues to shine. So far, she is definitely this season's MVP.
- The Caroline/Liz scenes were easily, easily, my favorite of the episode.
- THIS is the Bonnie I love. A Bonnie who genuinely wants to do good, is good, as opposed to being a holier-than-thou judgemental bitca. She still made it clear that she doesn't like vampires, and that she hates Damon, yet, she also was the great friend to both Elena and Caroline that I missed.
- Damn, Nina Dobrev is awesome. The contrast (in action, body language, vocal intonation, everything) between Elena and Katherine in the opening scene was wonderfully done by Nina. It genuinely plays like two different actresses.
- Damon's casual knee to Mason's face after Bonnie brain aneurysmed him. Hah!
- Damon's "less dashing, less intelligent" line about Mason as compared to him ... double hah!
- Damon being his cruelest (shoving the wolfsbane in Mason's mouth) after Mason said he was jealous; and Damon clearly feeling empathy when Mason said that Katherine loved him, because he knew it was a lie.
- I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED that after Damon's little spiel to Jeremy about sucking it up or leaving, Jeremy walked away without judgement. It's like, he realized what was happening, why it had to happen, wasn't judging Damon for doing what he had to do, but knew that he couldn't witness it and so he walked away. I don't think it was cowardly, I think it was realistic, and it's one of those notes that the show plays often and so well. Embuing realism in a supernatural world.
- "Wrong boy-toy." Hee.
- I was glad that we didn't get a shot of Damon eavesdropping with or without a smirk during the break-up. It would have been so cliched and just bad.
- I loved that we did get a Damon who genuinely looked stricken on Elena's behalf over the break-up, as opposed to even remotely gloating. He does truly love her, her pain is more important than any potential possibility for him in that break-up.
- And still on that scene, the continued awesome in that neither Stefan NOR Elena blamed Damon for what happened to Katherine. I absolutely expected that because Damon is, after all, the whipping boy of the season. Of course, he blamed himself, but baby steps ... baby steps.
- Another note on that scene, as a Damon/Elena shipper, I did very much like the fact that the scene didn't end on Stefan and Elena, but rather on Damon and Elena.
- Okay, one last one -- I'm really glad that it was acknowledged quickly in the show and by the characters that the whole 'break-up' act was an incredibly stupid and selfish thing to do. SO. VERY. GLAD. Again, as I said when they started it, it wasn't out of character stupid, but it was stupid.
What I didn't like so much ...
- On the other hand, I think we were supposed to think they did it and were made stupid by love, but that is *not* how it played to me. It played to me as if they were stupid because they're dumb-ass teenagers. One of the main reasons I'm not a Stefan/Elena fan is that around Stefan, Elena loses her brain cells, and around Elena, Stefan actually becomes the 17-year old he pretends to be. Ugh.
- Full-on shippper tendencies, the show has now put Stefan and Elena back in the star-crossed lovers category. Well-done from a storytelling point of view, but very frustrating as a shipper. However, I will say that if they don't get back together immediately after Katherine is gone (either through death or departure), there goes that, and that pleases me because it does show that they aren't as rock-solid and eternally meant-to-be as they act like (which I don't buy -- to me, they have the teenage, this is forever and ever twu wuv type of love right now). And, frankly, they BETTER not get right back together because if they do, what about Damon and Elena??! I get that Stefan and Elena are the couple right now, but they've been selling this as a triangle from day one, and we've yet to really see much of anything from the Damon/Elena end.
- Alaric is awesome. Matt Davis is awesome. Damon and Alaric are awesome. FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, SHOW, USE HIM/THEM! Please. Period.
- Damon continues to be betrayed, rejected, beaten up (either emotionally or physically) or does something REALLY stupid in every. single. episode. this season. Generally, it's a mixture of all of the above. Come on, show. Ian Somerhalder, Damon, and Damon/Elena *are* the biggest draws for this show, it appears from commentary, and yet, it's as they're trying so hard to amp Paul Wesley, Stefan and Stefan/Elena back up, that they're going too far in downplaying Ian, Damon, Damon/Elena. Balance, show, it's called balance. Fine, give us this stuff with Damon, but balance it out with the cool, awesome of Damon from last season.
- Totally shallow here, but come on! Ian's hair looks fake, the inky black color has GOT to be softened. Thank goodness, he finally cut it at least (not that we've seen it on air yet, sigh), but the color needs to look more natural. It does not now. At all. And Paul Wesley, oy vey. The blonding hair makes his eyebrows and their dark, bushyness suddenly very, very noticable -- and not in a good way -- and that on top of the fact that his face is so gaunt? Is not working. *sigh*
Finally, things that did surprise me --
- Damon killing Mason.
- Jenna stabbing herself so calmly *was* truly shocking.
Things that did not surprise me --
- Mason dying. Totally expected it. But I thought it would be Katherine who did the killing.
- Matt in the final scene with Katherine; totally expected that.
But, overall, strong episode, and I continue to think that when we get to our first long hiatus, watching the episodes all together, they'll play out much more seamlessly and much stronger.