Arabian (arabian) wrote,

2.07 - 'Masquerade' (The Vampire Diaries)

Ah, so I did manage a rewatch and here be my thoughts. Warning, I really went on and on .... Phew!

This episode was so good; it was just totally hitting on all cylinders ... and this is even without a single, solitary Damon/Elena scene! Why was it so awesome? Let me tell you. First off, Nina Fucking Dobrev! It really is a shame that she is likely to never get her due for what an absolutely outstanding job she's been doing, and not just as Katherine, but also as Elena. She's taken a good girl who isn't flashy or showy with quips and OTT badassery and made her a warm, likable, empathetic heroine and that's damn hard to do. Then, on top of that, there's Katherine. Katherine, who is flashy, showy, with quips and OTT badassery, as well as a hefty dose of slinky, sassy sex appeal and she completely rocks that role too. And this episode showcased both so well. I was especially impressed by her final scene as Katherine in the tomb, the way she was yelling "you need me!" and hitting, scrabbling at the rock foundation was raw and gut-wrenching and so very well done.

On the other end, I also got a kick out of Katherine's voracious and playful boy-hungry attitude. Amidst all her scheming and killing, she finds those moments to appreciate the hotness surrounding her (Matt, Stefan, Damon and even Jeremy -- the 'you're so hot/so dashing/when did you get so hot?' caressing of ties, slinking her way to and from the objects of her lust was hysterical). Speaking of Katherine and her boys, I'm pretty die-hard firmly on the Stefan/Caroline train at this point -- damn you, episodes two and three! -- but I couldn't help but get a little affected by my past Stefan/Katherine love when she was reminiscing about her stalking Stefan days, followed by the almost sweet, yet saucy mouthed 'I love you.'

Aww, but poor, baby Damon! He wasn't overtly affected by that, but we did get that moment where you could tell it stuck in his craw just that little bit. But, on the other hand, yay for Damon! Another episode this season (that makes two!) where he was completely on target, nothing stupid, didn't get kicked down really emotionally or physically beyond what made sense (ie, Katherine kicking both his and Stefan's ass ... she is quite a bit older!), and best of all we had that magnificent final scene. Nina Dobrev did a fantastic job, but so did Ian Somerhalder. And it was just beautiful poetic justice that it was Damon taking care of Katherine, and how! Locking her away in the tomb. How awesomely sweet was that? I loved that touch so very much. And the look and sigh on his face after he'd closed the door and turned his back on her was just fantastic. There was regret, there was pain, but there was also determination and relief. And all through the episode he proved his words to Stefan, he didn't hesitate. He never hesitated with regards to Katherine ... only when Elena was on the line.

Ooh, and speaking of Elena, I noticed one little bit upon rewatch that made me sit up and slightly squee. When Jeremy returned from letting the boys know that everything they did to Katherine was affecting Elena, he asked if she was okay, and her response was "are they?" Did you catch that? They as in *Damon* as well as Stefan. Aww, see, even in the midst of her pain, without stopping to think of how she should feel, her instinct was to make sure that not only Stefan, but also that Damon was okay. Awww.

And that was nice and just one of many small touches, despite a complete (grr!) lack of interaction between the two, showing a whole thread of Damon and Elena-ness running through the episode. Katherine calling out the fact that both Stefan and Damon worship at Elena's altar, with no reaction from either brother before flat-out wondering if it bothered Stefan that his brother was in love with his girlfriend. (Psst! Katherine ... ex-girlfriend. Remember, you won that battle!) Her coy little offer to Damon for a kiss letting him know that Elena would feel that too, and the best part was that slight moment where you so know that Damon was considering it, hah!

Of course, on the other hand, he didn't even hesitate when perhaps maybe he should have. After pouring her the drink and holding the stake on her, he did say that he would stake her when the spell was lifted, but, would he have even had that opportunity? It sure looked like it was Stefan who stopped him from actually staking her in that moment, effecting Elena or not. Ah, Damon, you really do have trigger control issues, doncha? But other than that one moment, and he might have held back in the last moment (he does have the reflexes, lol!) he really did hold off for Elena's benefit. And then we go back to the tomb. Moments before, Elena told Stefan that she wanted to feel safe and protected, and we then had that bit of parallel where Damon told Katherine that if Elena was in danger, he would protect her. Say it with me ... awww! Finally, there was one more interesting note in that we had Katherine label Damon's feeling for her as "obsession" and not love, while doing that very thing with regards to what he felt for Elena. I liked that.

Now, aside from Damon's looovve for Elena, I also liked the bits with Stefan. I loved him genuinely pushing Stefan to stick with the plan. He didn't resort to jibes and quips, he laid it out there and ended with the "I got your back." That's a phrase that is used so often as a joke these days, and to hear it said with such sincerity was a beautiful brotherly moment, and I always cherish those. Even if I don't always cherish Stefan. Oh, Stefan. I know that many have been all loving Stefan this season, but I'm pretty much in the same place I've always been with him. Loving him, yes, but also so clearly seeing his misguidedly seflish hero complex, and hypocritical, my way is the highway version of do-gooding.

It was that side of him that prompted my one and only eye-roll of the night, and eye-rolls very rarely accompany this show ... unless it's Stefan, or more of the adolescent bs love for the ages of Stefan and Elena. This time, it was thanks to his righteous smirk and statement about how he was going to be the one to kill Katherine, and not Damon. Yeah, because Stefan is the white knight hero who's going to take her out cuz she made his little girlfriend break up with him. You know that is what it's about, not about the decades of pain she's caused Damon, not about about the people she killed, not about what had just happened to Jenna, no, it's all about Katherine causing a kink in the grand delusion of the greatest romance ever lived that has him all hepped up. It's just, dude, if anyone and I mean *anyone* that we've met should get the pleasure of staking the bitch, it's the guy she's pretty much done her damndest to destroy emotionally for over a century. Excuse me while I roll my eyes once more at the memory.

With that said, I still absolutely ADORE this exchange all due to the awesome of Stefan:

Bonnie: What's going on?
Jeremy: We're gonna kill Katherine.
Stefan: I can explain.
Bonnie: Please.
Stefan: {Pause} We're gonna kill Katherine.
Hee! I don't care how many times we saw it in the preview, it never loses its punch. The timing was fantastic, and Stefan's little firm nod after he says it is just the clincher. Love it.

You know what, or rather who, I also love? Caroline. So much frickin' love for Caroline. Prior to season two and her turn to the undead, Caroline was already one of my favorite characters. I said about her in this post:

I love Caroline hard. Period. I didn't love her right away, but by the end of the first episode when she told Bonnie with absolute, and heartbreaking, conviction that it was a competition, she won me over. Just like that. I love that she can be thoughtless and tactless, airheaded and ditzy. She can also be a total bitch (see: treatment of her mother), she can be a coward (see: running away when the witchy stuff got wild), but she also has a HUGE heart and the girl just wants to be loved. I also like that she can seem so pathetic. I know that sounds terrible, but we rarely see a teenage girl portrayed as such. Caroline is *not* pathetic, but she believes that she is, and that is the brilliance of the writing and Candice Accola's performance. We can see the awesome even when she doesn't see it, and we understand why she doesn't get it.

She should be the popular girl; she tries so hard, and we see proof of that enough to know it's true. Yet, she gets beaten down. Her dad left the family, she's Bonnie's 2nd-choice BFF (well, once upon a time!), guys she likes don't pick her. She throws herself into a sexual relationship with an older guy who (let's take the vampire-bit out of the equation) treats her like crap. And she takes it. Yes, Damon compelled her with regards to the whole vampire stuff, but she was fully aware when he told her to stop talking, told her she was useless, etc. And she took it! Oh, Caroline! You deserve so much better. And sadly, I don't think that Matt is it because at the end of the day, Caroline is right. Elena is still his first choice. Were she to drop the Salvatore brothers and beckon, Matt would go a'running. But she's still awesome, and I love seeing her mature into that awesome, and begin to recognize it in herself. Caroline winning the Miss Mystic Falls pageant was one of my biggest "yay!" moments of the series. Girl deserved it. You go, Caroline!
And all that I loved about her then has just been magnified and brought to the forefront, and this episode continued to show why she is so unbelievably awesome in things both little and big that showcased the good and not-so-good aspects of her character. Yes, she's a vampire now, but she's still the insecure teenage girl who in retelling a story makes it about her and her neuroses (I got such a kick out of her saying "cuz I'm a doofus" in present-day, as we clearly see flashback Caroline thinking that exact thing while looking at herself in the mirror). Then, of course, later, she used that selfish, neurotic part of herself to fool Katherine -- who clearly does not realize the awesome that resides inside one Miss Caroline Forbes. And fool her so well she did, and I so, so, sooo loved her "I did it!" and the pride and glee on her face. Go Caroline!

Not so "Go!" for me? Caroline and Tyler. Obviously, they're heading somewhere with that. I will say that they are already more interesting than Matt and Caroline whose adolescent love drama makes Stefan and Elena adolescent love drama look, well, less adolescent, if still pretty adolescent. Eh, we'll see what happens with Tyler and Caroline, and maybe they'll grow on me, but damnit, show, the bathroom scene in "Brand New World" and all of their interaction in "Bad Moon Rising" just made me fall so hard for Stefan and Caroline. So wah! I want Stefan and Caroline! They're uber-adorable and can do uber-intensity.

Also surprisingly adorable, well, okay, heading in the direction of possible adorable was Jeremy and Bonnie. I expected to be completely squicked out by them because of the fact that Bonnie and Elena have been best friends forever, and Jeremy is Elena's little brother, thus naturally Bonnie would always see him as such. However, they've kept them mostly apart on the show and the dialogue from Bonnie made it clear that she hadn't really looked at Jeremy in a long time. In her mind, he was still Elena's kid brother, but because of his newly-found confidence, the craziness of the events and them working together on this plan, for the first time she was seeing him as he is now. And she saw that he was hot, LOL! That well-crafted realization, and well as the sweet chemistry, did make their interactions kinda rather cute and charming.

So, erm, then looking at Jeremy's romantic past ... I guess this means that Bonnie is gonna die before the season's out? Which a few episodes ago wouldn't have bothered me all that much because despite once upon a time being a favorite character of mine, Bonnie has long since left that position. However, the last few episodes have really brought back the Bonnie I love. I have no problem with her hating Damon, hating the whole vampire thing, but I missed the Bonnie who loved Elena and Caroline, the Bonnie with a heart and heartbreaking empathy. We started to really get that return last week, and this one really brought her back. Which we saw in so many ways tonight. Helping out with the plan, albeit with understandable reluctance, doing all she could to help Elena. I even called out a 'Go Bonnie!' when she went to confront the other witch with such determination. And that final scene between her and Lucy was fantastic. Bonnie crying that she hates this and doesn't want to be in the middle either, but Lucy telling her that she's where she needs to be because she's on the side of the good. Ah, so well-written, directed and acted. This is so very much the Bonnie I loved in season one. Yay. But damnit! Jeremy likes her, so, of course, she's gonna die. Ah well, maybe her death will make Jeremy realize women aren't for him and take a closer gander at the love of his life, Tyler.

Backing up a bit, I want to talk about Lucy. Great job with the character, good writing and acting. I really liked her in just this one outing, and I'm glad that it certainly looks like we will see her again. (Which, I suppose, we'll have to since once Jeremy's latest love dies, we'll need another witch.) My favorite part was when she sincerely apologized to Damon and Stefan about her part in what happened, and then turned to walk away with a sassy flip of her hair. Just awesome.

Other awesome tidbits and random thoughts ...

- Ah, boys and their toys. Hee! Plus, Damon and Caroline's look when Alaric was showing them his vampire-hunting tools, and then his casual explanation ("You wanted me to show you how to to kill vampires") Damon's way. Double hee!

- As Katherine was straightening her hair to impersonate her "dull-as-dishwater doppelganger," I had the whiny thought once more that it was so bummy that they decided to straighten Nina Dobrev's naturally curly/wavy hair as Elena instead of going with that look for Katherine. The amount of time that poor girl spends in hair and make-up just to straighten her damn hair for every scene when she's not playing Katherine must be such a pain. Not to mention that the curls/waves look way nicer (in my opinion) than the flat-ironed, unnaturally straight look.

- I loved Damon's little dancing walk when he joined Stefan at the ball. Hey, I'll take what dancing Damon I can get, thank you very much.

- I knew Aimee was gonna die. I never explicitly said it, but I was sure hinting at it in my episode four write-up when I said: Hmm, what's up with this Aimee character? Three episodes out of five already. I wonder what will happen with her.... What did surprise me was *how* she died. Dude, Katherine. I mean, DUDE!

- Also surprising? When Elena began to bleed from Katherine's wounds. It totally made me gasp. At first, yes, I did think it had to do with the doppelganger aspect, but I'm glad it wasn't that supernatural, but rather a connecting spell that Katherine set up for tonight. Speaking of, so Elena's in danger and needs to be protected as the doppelganger, Katherine? Hmm, interesting.

- Okay, I don't get it. Katherine complained that the sweet and polite Damon was a bore, but, uhm, Stefan is sweet and polite (and certainly was even moreso in 1864) and yet, she's all into him? Wha huh? Does not compute. Yeah, show, still trying to figure out why Katherine even bothered with Damon, let alone planned to turn him if she found him (a) a bore, (b) not hot -- taking into account her questioning when he got hot (clearly, girl is blind as a bat!) and (c) his obsession with her inconvenient.

- Speaking of 1864, though, I liked Damon's sarcastic "right away, Miss Katherine," and the touch of how that recall unwittingly set him off, ready to stake her with such ferociousness.

- I did like the foreshadowing of Sarah dying quite similarly to the accidental fall from the previous episode with her.

- So, clearly, vampires can not hear heartbeats? We've gotten absolutely no indication that Damon or Stefan can (or can not) tell the difference between Katherine and Elena due to a heartbeat (or lack thereof), and in tonight's episode, Caroline had to feel for a pulse on Sarah to verify that she was dead. Okay. Show, please to be explaining this one. Super-hearing, and yet, they can't hear heartbeats when they're right up in someone's grill?

- sarcasticcheese brought up a very interesting point: Why did the boys leave the moonstone with Katherine in the tomb? I figured it was Damon's idea of an additional torturous taunt, but knowing how badly she wanted it, it doesn't make much sense to leave it with her. And speaking of the moonstone, I'm thinking it must have something to do with taking the curse from vampires too, but then that begs the question of why Katherine would go to such trouble when she can already go out in the sun thanks to her necklace. Unless the moonstone completely removes the vampire curse and makes one a human again? But then *that* begs the question of why would Katherine care about that? She clearly relishes being a vampire. So, yeah, lots of unanswered questions here.

- Why, oh, why does my beloved Alaric continue to be so very sidelined this season? I assume (and hope) that we will definitely see his storyline pick up as the season progresses, but I frankly do not understand why it hasn't been happening all season. The guy was the ONLY recurring cast member popular enough to become a regular cast member, you'd think that would be a hint to Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec to actually use the guy. Grrrrrrr.

- And another grr, because the little bit he was used in this episode showed him as THE WORST KEEPER EVER. Come on, Alaric! You know Elena well enough to know that she's not just going to "let this one go." And so when she says she's going to bed, you don't even glance her way to make sure she's going upstairs? Oh, Alaric.

- However to end on a non-grumpy note because I so adored this episode ... damn, the editing and writing was absolutely fabulous of the group getting their plan together and the plan then in play. The cuts were just brilliant, building up the tension, telling and showing the story and interplay. Just fantastic. Go show.

I really, really loved this episode. Easily the best one since "The Return." And I'm not sure yet, but I may even like it more than the premiere. I know that it's the first episode since that one that I want to keep watching again. This one could be a top-tenner for sure. So fabulous, and most of that is owing to the awesome fabulosity of Nina Dobrev. Girl is so completely rocking it! Love her, and so, so, soooooooo much love for this show.
Tags: alaric saltzman, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/elena, damon/katherine, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, jeremy/bonnie, katherine pierce, nina dobrev, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, stefan/katherine, the vampire diaries, tv

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