After last week's boom!boom!boom!GO! episode, this one was a lot more laidback. Low-key is the word that best describes it. Which isn't really all that bad a thing, and it certainly worked for the Stefan/Elena scenes. However, because of that feel, it lacked a sense of urgency -- with the exception of Elena being stalked by Brady, but even that didn't have the heart-pumping horror-movie feel of Elena being stalked by Rose in "The Descent." Just compare Caroline's torture last week to Damon's this week. Yes, Damon is a different sort and would handle it differently, but still, there was simply no urgency. I love Caroline, but I adore Damon to kibbles and bits, and I think I winced on his behalf maybe twice.
*Sigh* This is not to say that this wasn't a good episode, or disappointing. It wasn't; it was very good. It just wasn't great or OMG!AWESOME!
Breaking this down, I wanna start on my favorite aspect of the episode -- the epic bromance of Damon and Alaric. WOOHOO!! FINALLY! Some good quality scenes between the two. Yeah, baby! From their first scene together, they were just awesome. Alaric correcting Damon that they don't call it "action news," followed by Damon's shrug and, "I know, I like saying it." Hee!
And then, awww!, the two of them just sitting around, knocking back a few drinks together, talking about their girlfriends -- Alaric imploring Damon to just not kill his, and lamenting about his non-stop fibbing to his own lady love, discussing the awesome of Elijah's hair, just, you know, two buddies hanging out. I. LOVED. IT. And going back, hah!
Alaric: Just don't kill her, please.As funny as the exchange is because you've got Alaric here asking Damon (with a please, no less) to not kill someone, it gets better in an absolutely horrible way, but still hilarious. He's not asking him to not do it because, you know, it's WRONG TO KILL PEOPLE!, but no, he's asking him because ... she's friends with his girlfriend. Oh. My. God! Having Damon as his BFF is making Alaric so morally bankrupt. And, yet, because this is fictional, I'm finding it absolutely hysterical. Ahem, moving on.
Damon: If I did, who'd report her death?
Alaric: Just don't do it. She's friends with Jenna. It's bad enough I'm lying to her about everything else.
Then in their final scene, as Alaric is (once again) lying to Jenna, Damon is cleaning up the post-torture mess, and accidentally bumped the bloody rug, then whispered "Sorry" to Alaric. So adorable! I. REALLY. LOVED. IT!
I also REALLY, REALLY LOVED Elena's continued bad-assery! Grabbing the knife before stepping outside, stabbing Brady, running away from her attacker, taking his taunt ("I can smell you") and using it to her advantage (pulling her shirt off as a decoy), fake-shutting the door, burying another weapon in his back. YOU GO, ELENA WITH YOUR BAD-ASS SELF! YOU GO, GIRL!!! Oh, and screw you, Stefan.
Okay, so I figured out that my issue is not with everyone not wanting her to do this, because it is stupid when looked at logically. It's a case of she WILL die, her friends MIGHT die, and the whole curse thing being lifted could be very, very bad for humanity in general. I'm frustrated that no one seems to be responding to her decision with logic. Ie, she WILL die, they MIGHT die, and that there is much more at stake here than just her life or her friends. Instead, they're disregarding her completely and just telling her off about it. So I guess that's my big issue ... HOW they're telling her. They're treating her like a child. Clearly she's freaking out, and no one is being cool about it with her, instead they're just telling her "NO, ELENA! YOU'RE BAD!" not, "Elena, think this through." So, yeah, it's the how that's sticking in my craw.
Speaking of that bit there, the reveal that Elijah planned for Elena to die was a bit ... anti-climactic, yes? And, I'm sorry, but I gotta blame the director -- a first-timer on this show, David Von Ancken -- and Steven R. McQueen. I just expected a much bigger reaction to that. At least we had the surprise and glittering with tears eyes of Bonnie, but Jeremy's slight head-shake and 'nooo' didn't register as shock to me, but mild bumminess, and, yeah, we needed A LOT more in this moment. Like I said above, low-key was the keyword this episode, and I gotta say I was not impressed with Von Ancken for that reason. A lot of really cool stuff happened this episode, but it didn't FEEL like it. And this was just one of those such moments, and if the director didn't push that sense of urgency, that emotion, McQueen could have tried to put more in it. Katerina Graham did, even if it was just unshed tears glassing up her eyes, stunned, unhappy silence.
Alright, backing up, I suppose, I should talk about Stefan and Elena and their weekend getaway. First of all, Jenna, you know how much of a dick I (and everyone else in Mystic Falls) think(s) that John is, right? So why you gotta go make me side with him over you? If Elena wants to get away from John (understandable, see definition of dick: John Gilbert), then okay her to extend her slumber party with her best friends, but okaying a weekend getaway between her underage niece and her boyfriend? Just, no, Jenna. No. As for the Stefan/Elena scenes? Well, objectively speaking, they were good scenes, and I'll be shocked if their fans didn't love them to bits. But for me as someone who is NOT a fan of the couple -- I'm so beyond over them at this point, it's not even funny -- quite a few moments just highlighted issues I have with them.
Like how they pretend to be normal. Like their glaring lack of communication, and I could NOT believe that Stefan actually said when ELENA is ready to discuss those icky-vampire-things they don't talk about, they'll talk about it. When Elena is ready, Stefan? Because you've tried to be so open and forthcoming, and she's just shut you down at every turn. Uh huh. Riiiiiight. Oh, yeah, and finally, the fact that they're such morons together. In the midst of all of this crazy, they go away, with threats hanging over everyone's heads? If Stefan had been there, do you think the vampires would have gotten the jump on Damon like that? Nope. But, yeah, Stefan was too busy having a romantic getaway with his girlfriend. Oy vey.
One thing that did confuse me a bit (mostly because it didn't fit with any tension between them at all) was the lyrics -- which were quite audible -- that played during one of their scenes. These were the lyrics that stood out the most to me:
It's like we've been drifting alongJust very, very interesting if it's supposed to be foreshadowing, because, again, it didn't fit those scenes, but did play over them "playing house."
Pretending like nothing's wrong, yeah
We play the game, keep up the charade
But when the river runs dry we're on different sides
Moving on, so that scene with Tyler and Matt was supposed to absolutely bring to mind the parallels between the two of them and Caroline, and Damon, Elena and Stefan, right? If so, it just made me sad because in about five episodes, they've managed to create a more well-angled triangle between those three than with the original triangle. I think one of my big problems with the Stefan/Elena scenes in tonight's episode is that they are still playing as if Elena has no feelings for anyone but Stefan, and that's all and good if it was just supposed to be that they are *the* couple, but this show has been sold as a triangle from day one, and when my half of the so-called triangle is getting a three-second hands-on-biceps-hold and the other half is getting I love yous, romantic moments on a dock, make-outs in doorways, on counters, against walls, a season and a half into the series, it's getting frustrating.
Sure, we get moments and hints that Elena feels that something more for Damon, but they're so submerged, and there's no sign of it anywhere in her scenes with Stefan where a twinge when Damon's name comes up would be a crumb at least, well, yeah, it gets old. It just doesn't feel like we're moving anywhere towards an actual triangle, and sure the show is doing well, but we don't know how long it's going to be around. I'd like to see some movement not just in drips and drops in the Damon/Elena scenes, but also some tension, some fracturing, some guilt, some something! in the Stefan/Elena scenes to show that something is happening.
Finally, Tyler's story. I thought they did some interesting back and forth with him. And I liked that it was finding out the truth about Elena's part that got him to back down, and I really liked that Elena hugged him ... even after it was clear he had to have had something to do with Stefan being bloody. It shows that, yeah, Elena REALLY is that empathetic a person, it's not just all about throwing the Damon/Elena shippers crumbs. But back to Tyler. I think they did a great job of getting us to feel for his predicament even after he stole Caroline's phone, and set the werewolves onto Elena and Stefan's trail, and shot Stefan. Now what will happen with him leaving with Jules? I dunno, but I'm certainly curious. And I was quite surprised. I wonder if we'll get a few Tyler-free episodes, or if we'll just see him elsewhere.
Speaking of Jules, I was pretty meh on the actress when she first appeared and remained so until last week's episode, but I'm really liking her now. I think it took a bit of time to get us where we needed to be to feel anything for her, but I'm intrigued by her, and finding the actress really working it now. So yay!
Alright, random thoughts time!
- I really do like Jeremy and Bonnie, but I gotta say, I wasn't impressed by their big kiss (although, I did like Bonnie's "wow" when it was over). It just didn't work for me. Ah well.
- I loved that we had so many moments of Elena remembering her mother and father. So often when tragedies pre-date a show, they are forgotten as the series progresses. We don't forget about Elena and Jeremy's parents, and that they lost them. It doesn't always show up, but it does enough that it's a believable, realistic, continuing thread.
- Aww, the one teeny bit of Damon/Elena-ness in the episode, Elijah saved Damon because he's one of the people that Elena cares about/loves and thus is under Elijah's protection as part of their deal. Awww!
- Speaking of Elijah. Hah! I loved Damon mocking the use of "Smith" as Elijah's last name. Hee.
- John is such a dick; he really is. I loved, loved, loved how Alaric just let all of his comments roll off his back. He was so unaffected by John's posturing that he didn't even mention it to his buddy, Damon, during their fireside chat.
- I loved Damon's "If you only knew the irony" when Jules asked a chair-bound Damon about the whereabouts of the moonstone in the living area of the Salvatore boarding house. Awesome!
- I got such a kick out of Damon's OOH! expression after Elijah's heart-rippage free-for-all, because when Elijah did his first (that we saw) double-heart-rippage in "The Sacrifice," I wrote this:
BWAH! And then he did a dual-heart-rippage. I gotta say, I half-expected Damon to say either "Hey! That's my trip." Or "Yo, dude. Cool, I give you mad props." (Okay, Damon would never say either, but it was fun to imagine.)Damon's expression here matched up nicely with the second bit of imagined dialogue I had. Hah.
- Oh, speaking of heart-rippage. Yeah, I'll admit it, I was annoyed when Stefan did it to Brady. Damnit! That's Damon (and Elijah's) thing. Whyjda have to go and give that to Stefan too? :pouts:
- Oh, man! Damon's over-the-top Ward Cleaver-ish behavior with Andie was cracking me up. So hilariously over-the-top. Oh, Damon.
- It must be said. Any scene with Luka automatically becomes boring ... even with the magnificence of Caroline on screen. Now that is just serious anti-charisma going on there. If the guy manages to boring up a scene with Damon, we know that he should be kept from ever acting again. I'm sorry, mean, I know, but it's so how I see it. SO BORING.
- Not boring? All three girls in bed, and Elena falling off. Heh. That gave me a chuckle.
- Finally, I want to end on noting a lovely, if sad, moment. When Carol Lockwood picked up that envelope from Tyler and then looked up and around, I have to hand it to Susan Walters. She really had a moment there. In a few brief seconds, she managed to convey her pain, and the clear remembrance of having lost her husband only a few months before so beautifully. Ah, it really got to me.
ETA - Oh, man, it took reading butterfly's post to remember one of my favorite things: Nerdy werewolf dude calling Katherine "Kathy." I cracked up every. single. time. BWAH! "Kathy!"
And one more ETA thanks to butterfly and a different post by her - I knew that one of the kisses between Stefan and Elena was Paul's stunt double because he couldn't pick Nina up because of his broken ankle. Well, it was clearly the kiss after he comes in the house and lifts her up, and that was so the hottest kiss I've ever seen between Stefan and Elena. Yeah. But I didn't even register while watching it, duh, not Paul. LOL! Nina and Paul just don't have sexy chemistry. Even Stefan/Katherine -- by virtue of the story have more chemistry in the tale -- aren't really sexy, sexy, but with Stefan and Elena, yeah, no. I feel nothing.
So yeah, very good episode, if not one of their best. So I kinda hope they don't use this director guy again. The Vampire Diaries is many things. Low-key is not one of them.
Still ... woohoo!! DAMON AND ALARIC BROMANCE FOR THE WIN!!!