Okay, the short version of tonight's review of The Vampire Diaries is as follows:
Ahem. Now the long version. First of all, I'm wondering with all of the filming delays they had, if "The Descent" was supposed to be the mid-season finale. Because as opposed to the one Rose cliffhanger (which not many cared that much about), "The Descent" had John showing up, Tyler finding out about other vampires/Mason's death, and, of course, Damon's return to the dark side. And then this episode played out so much more like the return from hiatus episodes play which is boom!boom!boom! keep-'em-coming. I dunno, but it makes a lot of sense in my opinion.
Anyhoo, about tonight's episode. Lordy, I don't even know where to start!
Okay, let’s start with the most important thing. "Daddy Issues" set a precedent that should be followed from here on out. Every episode should begin and end with a naked Ian Somerhalder. Yes, this is simply a must. Uh huh. ;) They did make one mistake, though. The stupid credits ran over naked Damon in the shower. Not cool. For that? The credits should have waited until he was dressed or it had moved onto another scene. Although, I am grateful for the naked Damon, and the Damon not fully having his towel wrapped around his naked body when he walked out, and the low position of said towel. Grateful and pleased.
Hee! Okay, seriously (no, wait, I was serious, that would be totally awesome to begin/end episodes with naked Ian!), the bounty of such unexpected Damon/Elena stuff was fantastic! And not just bounty, but some very, very interesting undercurrents that I can't help but believe promise good things for us shippers to come. I had posted a snippet from a Nina Dobrev interview where she essentially said that Elena wouldn't care about Damon and Andie Starr!Action News!, but either she was lying or had completely forgotten this scene, LOL! Elena was so very much aware of the fact that another female was hitting on Damon. I'm not saying that she was jealous, because (a) there was really nothing to be jealous of there, and (b) it is too soon. However, she was aware and she didn't look particularly pleased. And then when Damon came over and said he was swearing off women for a while which was good for women everywhere, he just looked at her for a moment too long, their gazes locked and it was just one of a few charged moments of awareness that we got in this episode, followed swiftly by a millisecond of, well, not quite guilt, but not that too removed from that emotion on Elena's part as she quickly looked away.
And that was the third of four pretty durn awesome scenes we had with them tonight! Including the first two which had such fun, yet (yup!) charged undertones. Leading into the last which was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Seriously awesome. Her hand on his arm, their eyes locked, him telling her to stop. And she reacts by dropping her hand, and then him telling her to stop expecting him to do the right thing because she is the one asking. Gah! Then she goes ahead and does it anyway and you so know, you just sooooo know that the more she asks him, the harder it becomes for him to not do it. And direct, specific requests? Heck, I don't think he can even begin to resist those. And then Uncle-Daddy John bursts in in all protective mode with "what's going on here?" And, woohoo!, we got our most charged Elena/dropping eyes moment as she said "nothing" and John even called her out on it that it didn't look like nothing. Uh huh. Tension so thick between those two you could cut it with a knife. Helped considerably by the fact that Damon took forever to take his eyes off of Elena; it's like he physically could not for a few seconds there. Ooh! so hot.
Oh, and when talking to John later, she tells him that she still hasn't forgiven him for what he did to Stefan *and Damon.* Woo to the hoo! Oh, yeah, baby!
Speaking of forgiveness, yeah, clearly Elena has pretty much completely forgiven Damon. All touchy-feely, all laying the smackdown on others (okay, other, ie. John) for hurting Damon, believing the better man is there inside of Damon. Aww, just warms the cockles of my shipper-loving heart. &hearts
Now, that final scene with Damon and Andie. Wow, that played out so much differently than I was expecting. It started out sexy with the kissing and the bubbles and all that, but even the tone of dialogue was so lightweight and casual. Then came Damon's confessional. I admit when I heard that Damon was going to be using Andie as sort of a therapist for discussion of his feelings, etc., I told myself to expect it would be about the bigger picture with only a slight possibility of an Elena reference, and I was fine with that. But having so much of it boil down to Elena, having Damon flat-out say, you're a distraction (and Andie being like 'yeah, cool, I'll be your booty call, you're hot!' was amusing*) just made my shipper heart do the happy dance.
* Yeah, totally the actress. When Rose pretty much offered up the same arrangement (with the main difference -- okay, other than being a vampire -- being that she knew who Damon was in love with), it just came across as, I dunno, kinda, yeah, okay, and why? Just kinda needy, I guess. But with Andie, it came across as cool and casual. I thought I remembered liking this actress (Dawn Olivieri) from her brief role on True Blood, and I was right because I certainly liked her here. She hit so many great notes in this scene, all varied and right on target. The fun, casual flirtiness in the beginning, followed by the wry acceptance of the "good" ones being taken (hah!), and then when Damon casually mentioned that he killed people, man, she was spot on. There was this flash on her face of clearly waiting for the joke, and then when it didn't come, the fear and near immobilization before she finally began backing away ... and then he compelled her. And she just kept on going, back to casual, with just a slight dazedness to her tone. But she was thinking, not some mindless automaton as she offered up the idea that this is the man that Damon is now, because love changes people.
Yeah, I really liked the actress.
Going back to my original statement about how different I expected the scene to play out, I thought it would be sexy, a little funny probably with Damon confessing or heartbreaking along the lines of the final scene in last week's episode, but nope. It was flat-out creepy! When Damon said he liked to kill people, it was in his nature, who he was, it was just creepy as he's sitting there in a bubble bath, drinking wine. Finally, shutting her up when she made a statement that he didn't like (rather reminded me of him telling Caroline to stop talking when she commented that Stefan and Elena were so cute together in "Family Ties"), going for the distraction ... and then the bite. Seeing all of that gushing blood down her back, yeah, it was definitely supposed to be creepy. Job well done, show. :shivers:
One thing I did find very interesting was how Damon just blew off the idea of the other guy being the problem. And Damon clearly wasn't putting on a show or deflecting here, that much was evident by all he said. (Remember, other than the compulsion moment where he had to say it once in "Rose," he has never admitted aloud to anyone that he's in love with Elena, but he did so here with no qualm because he'd clearly made the decision to either (a) compel her or (b) kill her). So, if Damon was being completely honest, then it's quite interesting that he doesn't consider Stefan a reason at all as to why he can't be with Elena. And, honestly, judging at how quickly Elena forgave him, and all of those charged moments between them, I can't really say I blame him. He's never actually tried to woo/seduce/win her over, etc., and it's obvious based on enough statements from him and others, that he's had plenty of experience with women and he knows just how irresistible he can be. (And, come on, he looks *just* like Ian Somerhalder. Definitely a plus there.)
I did like that we're continuing to get such an awesome exploration of Damon's existential crisis. His constant reminders to everyone (Stefan, Elena, John) that he's a "good guy" now. Oh, Damon, you're so fucked up right now. Sooo fucked up.
What's also fucked up? How so completely in the dark poor Jenna is. When she told Alaric that she couldn't see how anyone could keep a secret like that (Uncle John is Daddy John), I just shook my head. Oh, Jenna, you have no idea. And while we may have not had much of him (sniff, sniff), Matt Davis really delivered with his reaction shots to her in that scene. You could feel his pain for keeping her so in the dark. She really has no clue.
Just like Matty-boy. Oh, such a cliche of Caroline telling him she was hanging with the one person who was in his eyeline. Oh, Caroline. Oh, Matt. I'm still mad at him for how he treated Caroline post-accident, but I can't help but feel for him because (like Jenna), he just has absolutely no clue how fucked up this whole thing is.
And fucked up, it is! Man, oh, man, that werewolf/vampire showdown was AWESOME! SO FRICKING AWESOME! Best part, hands down one of THE coolest moments on the show so far was when random werewolf comes flying off the roof, and Damon rips his heart out mid-flight. Werewolf comes crashing down, Damon stands there with bloody heart in hand. So disgustingly bad-ass! I LOVED IT! Stefan got some good knocks in as well, I called out a few 'go, Stefan!'s. Oh, yes, I did! The whole thing was just splendidly done. And a couple of random funnies (courtesy of Damon): who killed Mason? Damon speaks up right away: "Uh, that'd be me," pointing to himself. Hee. And then in a 'we got this' undertone to Stefan, "we can take 'em." Hah!
I almost didn't even have time to lament poor Caroline's torture because so much was happening, but lament I did. Several 'poor Caroline!'s escaped me too. Shot in the head, in the chest, toothpicks shot into her neck, vervain sprayed at her. Oh, Caroline! And boo to you, Tyler! I don't know, I'm really beginning to think that at the end of the day, Tyler's gonna be a bad guy. This is Caroline, a girl he's known his ENTIRE LIFE!, a girl who he just found out risked her life to comfort him through the change, a girl who's been there for him at a time when he desperately, desperately needed it and he just stands there? Doesn't fight? Finds her in LOCKED IN A FRIGGIN' CAGE! and waited a few seconds too many (in my opinion) before letting her out? Yeah, that was a bit much. And I completely understand Caroline's rage, but I couldn't help but think that it was not the bestest move ever. Because, of course, it sent him flying right back into the arms of his werewolf brethren. Uh huh.
Speaking of the werewolves. I actually really like what they're doing with Jules, and I do think that Michaela McManus is doing a good job because I honestly think that we are supposed to want that bitch to die in a fire. Yeah. Who should also die in a fire is Brady, but, but, but, he's so hot, it can wait a bit, right?
Back to Caroline, I loved her after-reaction not just to Tyler when he showed up, but how she handled herself with talking to Stefan. Some really lovely dialogue, and subtle acting from Candice Accola there. And, of course, I also so loved all the stuff with Stefan and Caroline we got -- it seems so long since we've had stuff with them! How he was all in uber-protective mode over her when he found out Jules had her, something we've ever only seen with regards to Damon and Elena. But now Caroline is included. Awww! And walking her home, their scene at the door, "you don't have to pretend with me," Aww! My shipper heart just went pitter-pat. I'm sorry, I just don't think that Accola and Michael Trevino have even a tenth of the chemistry that she and Paul Wesley do. They are just uberly delightful together, so good, they're sparkly and adorable and make me smile.
And on a totally shallow note, oh my God, Paul Wesley looked SO GOOD in this episode. Soo good! And on a non-shallow note, so the whole theory that Stefan's assy ways last week was the human-blood drinking come to the fore in small ways was pretty much disproven in this episode. He's totally back to being Saint Stefan. Ah well. Twas a good theory.
Finally (in the non-random thoughts section), whoah, John and Katherine? Uhm, didn't she cut off his fingers? Sure seems like he's forgiven her handily (haha, I amuse myself). Well, considering how easily Elena has forgiven Damon for snapping Jeremy's neck, I'd say like father, like daughter? Seriously, I was not expecting John to show up, and for a second, I thought they might kiss, which was followed by 'Ew! Gross! She looks like his daughter.' And then I thought, wow, that gives a whole new meaning to the title, "Daddy Issues." But they didn't go there.
At least not yet.
Still, very interesting how Katherine, Isobel and John do all seem to be working together. And I like that it's bringing back that bit of information we got in "Isobel," when she told Damon she was sent by Katherine. It also means that just because John didn't know that Pearl was Katherine's best friend, doesn't mean he didn't really know Katherine, just that Katherine didn't tell him about Pearl -- which isn't really a surprise. And I did really like how once again we see that Damon and Elena are on the same page in not trusting John at all, while Stefan is more believing of it ... and it looks like Damon and Elena are right. But, of course, with this show, you never know.
Phew! Okay, random thoughts ...
- You know that an episode is COMPLETELY awesome when there are only two things you don't like, and they're both utterly nit-picky or small things. The first? Damon's in the shower, all hot and naked and wet and naked and wet and, sorry, where was I? Right. Damon. Shower. Naked. Wet. Ahem. Five seconds later, he walks into his bedroom and, lo and behold, his hair is dry. Come on. Or is that some new vampire benefit? Their hair dries in a matter of seconds! Maybe he shook his head really, really, vampire-fast in those few seconds before grabbing a towel? Yeah, that's the ticket!
- Ah, so Damon (and likely Caroline) is drinking the vervain too. Nice, I really like that, and I liked how they casually, believably got that information out there as a follow-up to Stefan's vervain-diet reveal last week.
- Hah! Damon's, "watch out, Stefan, I might get a hero hairdo of my own and steal your thunder," cracked me up so much! "Hero hairdo." HEE!
- They only had two scenes and didn't even speak in one of them, but Jeremy and Bonnie were adorable!
- Katherine's looking not dessicated at all, so I've decided that she heard someone walking by the tomb above ground, screamed for help, and some random innocent came down. Katherine drank some blood, and compelled said person to keep coming back for more on a regular basis.
- The alternate title for this episode? "Everybody Hates John."
- That was such a wonderful scene between John and Elena with the giving of the charm bracelet (although now I'm wondering if there's some goobley-gook magic connected to it) and her real parents, but I was slightly pulled out of it for a very silly reason, LOL! There's been much talk of Ian Somerhalder and his gift for the perfect, single tear threatening Jensen Ackles' holding of that title. Well, towards the end of the scene, a perfect, single tear ran down one of Elena's cheek and I couldn't help but wonder if Nina Dobrev was going for the female title? LMAO!
- Speaking of tears. Grr, Stefan/Elena. I was thisclose to tearing up when Elena and Bonnie showed up at Caroline (at Stefan's behest because he knows what Caroline needs best, awww!) and they talked about doing a slumber party and they all hugged and it was awesome and great. And then stupid Elena had to go and look at Stefan and they did the whole 'I love you' thing and it was just NOT the right moment, show! This was about the girls! Their friendship. Their love! Stupid Stefan/Elena. Although, I will say I do get why the Stefan/Elena base are getting some good stuff in the next episode considering that this episode and the one before had barely any Stefan/Elena interaction, and was chockful of meaningful Damon/Elena stuffies. See? I can be fair, LOL!
- Nina SO needs to have her hair up on the show more often because Elena was just looking so gorgeous in this episode, and it seemed moreso than usual just because that hairstyle was so flattering.
- Wow, Damon has really made good in-roads with Jenna if she's hooking him up with her friends, and she even gave him Andie's number later.
ETA: Or, erm, this was just a small part of it. It was mostly to keep him from Elena probably, LOL! Pointed out by badboy_fangirl and butterfly, I caught the onscreen proof of that pretty much upon rewatch.
- Ooh, and speaking of, they sure did change the introduction of this character. The sides had Damon walking in the middle of a news report she was doing, and messing up her take, then her flirting with him even though he had just done so. I liked how this was done much better, if only for the fact that it showed that ... wow, Damon has really made good in-roads with Jenna!
- When I saw Jonas walking forward and chilling the werewolves, I immediately thought, well, he works for Elijah, and Elijah promised Elena he'd keep her friends safe. Cool that I was right.
- So, we may or may not know how to kill an Original. With John, well, you never know if he's telling the truth or not.
- I still wish that we could see it in action, but the fact that Damon Salvatore is the head of the Mystic Falls Anti-Vampire Council never does not crack me up so hard. Carol's line about it just made me grin and grin.
As did this whole episode. Oh yes! This is my OMG!AWESOME!ILOVETHISSHOWSOMUCH! show. I know it was only two episodes ago that I felt the same (episode 10, "The Sacrifice"), but that was like, eight weeks ago, yo! "By the Light of the Moon" was mostly disappointing, and "The Descent" was good with some outstanding scenes, but a bit slow and not OMG!AWESOME! I missed that Thursday feeling. So very glad to have it back.
So, yeah ...