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26 February 2011 @ 08:58 am
Central character per episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 2  
Continuing on with this project, here is part two in listing and explaining who I think the central character per episode of The Vampire Diaries is. As before, here is what I based my choice upon:
    1) Which character had the strongest emotional arc
    2) Which character drove the most story
    3) Which character had the most key focus in their scenes (and in scenes not involving them)
    4) Which character interacted with the most characters
First of all, these are the characters that I consider lead: Elena, Damon, Stefan, and the secondary leads are Caroline and Bonnie -- they've driven multiple episodes, and have been the lead B-story in more than a few episodes), They are all regular cast members and main characters (ie, even though Katherine is played by lead actress Nina Dobrev, I don't consider Katherine one of *the* main characters). Alaric, Jeremy, Vicki, Jenna, Tyler and Matt fall under the supporting roles for me. While we've seen them lead some stories, it's at the most the B-story, and more often than not, they are supporting.

- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 1


SEASON ONE, Episodes 11-20

1.11 - "Bloodlines" | Elena Gilbert -- This episode continued directly after the events of "The Turning Point," and continued Elena's trajectory. We had huge emotional arcs in two separate veins for her. She started out the episode, furious and distrusting of Stefan (for understandable reasons), and ended in Stefan's arms upon finding out that he'd saved her life and been the last one to see her parents. Concurrently, she started out distrustful of Damon (again, for very understandable reasons), and wound up pleading for his life, and bonded by the end of their scenes. Also, Elena was the main focus in many other scenes (all of Stefan's, a good majority of Damon's, some of Bonnie's, and Jenna's too) that she wasn't in. And while Elena herself didn't actually drive the story, many actions by others were in reaction to Elena herself.

1.12 - "Unpleasantville" | Elena Gilbert -- This episode basically ended the truest "start" of the triangle arc that began with Elena and Stefan in "The Turning Point," added Damon and Elena's angle to the mix in "Bloodlines" and it culminated here with Elena choosing to have BOTH Salvatore brothers at her side, protecting her. We also had plenty of focus on her -- from Stefan, Damon, Bonnie, Caroline, Noah and Anna to a lesser degree (her focus was more on Jeremy and the journal). We also had Elena starting out the episode as the typical female victim who needed to be saved by the boys, who then made her first step in fighting for herself (even if she wound up needing help from the boys anyway). She interacted with the majority of characters (Stefan, Damon, Jenna, Caroline, Bonnie, Noah, Jeremy) and focus was on her in a few scenes where she wasn't present. Like "Bloodlines," Elena herself didn't drive the story forward, but it was actions/reactions relating to her that drove plenty of story. So, another Elena one.

1.13 - "Children of the Damned" | Damon Salvatore -- So we just finished an Elena arc, and now it's Damon's. We not only get Damon as the focus of all of his scenes, but the dominant focus in the majority (if not all) of the Stefan and/or Elena scenes as they plan to betray him. We also get Damon in flashbacks to a greater degree than we do Stefan, and they are all mostly from his point of view. Also, Damon interacts with Jenna and Jeremy in a social way that is definitely new. We also get the emotional arc that comes from his working with Stefan and Elena before he finds out about their betrayal at the end. Damon also drives just about everything that happens in his, Stefan and Elena's plot, as well as driving the majority of flashbacks, and some of Jeremy's story -- pushing him to go after Anna, first for unselfish reasons, then for entirely selfish ones.

1.14 - "Fool Me Once" | Damon Salvatore -- And that emotional arc continues. He starts out angry, but hopeful with a midway stop of vulnerability with Elena before falling into an emotional abyss at Katherine's betrayal by the end. He again drives most of the story, and plays a part in not only his main plot, but in the Elena kidnapping (via Anna), and then he's the focus of and push behind the Stefan, Elena, Bonnie and Sheila scenes. He also (along with Stefan and Elena) interacts with the majority of characters, but, again, Stefan and Elena are supporting players (for the most part) to Damon's story.

1.15 - "A Few Good Men" | Damon Salvatore -- I went back and forth between Elena and Damon for this one, but eventually decided to go with Damon because he's a part of almost every aspect of this episode (except for Matt and Caroline), while Elena is a bit more removed from Alaric's point of view, and not involved with Liz at all. Everything that Stefan does is in support of both Damon and Elena, and other than her trip to visit Trudie, and making the call, everything Elena does is a reaction to others, while Damon drives much of what happens. He takes Stefan's prodding and gets information out of it, prods Alaric, bonds with and then screws up a moment with Elena, "kills" Alaric and essentially has Stefan doing clean-up after him (emotionally and physically). This one is close, though, and I went with Damon simply because we got more of an emotional arc with him than Elena, and he drove a bit more story (backstory and present-day). Plus, unlike Elena, Damon was the focus of scenes in which he wasn't present.

1.16 - "There Goes the Neighborhood" | Caroline Forbes -- Pretty much everything that happens in the main story (the double-date) is directly because of Caroline. She's why the date happens, and we get her point of view on what's happening. Much of the focus of the four characters during the date on the surface is about Elena, but it's actually mostly about how Caroline is reacting to the focus on Elena. Also, she gets the emotional arc (unsure and insecure about Matt before ending on their romantic moment in the car), and we see her reaction to Kelly both at the bar, and the Salvatore boarding house, and it has the most history because Matt is so much more a supporting character than Caroline is, especially in this story.

1.17 - "Let the Right One In" | Damon Salvatore -- Although the main focus of this episode is on Stefan's kidnapping, and all of Damon, Elena and Alaric's scenes boil down to focus on Stefan, it's more of a surface focus, whereas Damon is front-and-center in the action, driving most of what happens, and he is the focus of the viewers -- in that, one walked away not wondering if Stefan would get away because duh!, but rather how much Damon has changed in terms of being there to help -- and also the focus of Alaric -- seeing a different side of Damon, showing concern for his brother and Elena. Even the final scene which should be all about Stefan, includes (and starts in from the perspective of) Damon. Also, the main secondary plot -- finding Vicki's body -- was driven by Damon way back when as the one who killed/turned/let her go. I had originally thought Stefan for this one for sure, but we spend so little actual time on him, the true focus (in a non-abstract way, we must rescue him!, which is more about what Damon, Elena and Alaric must DO) doesn't hit until Stefan's final few scenes and begins his arc in the next episodes.

1.18 - "Under Control" | Stefan Salvatore -- This one, on the other hand, is definitely Stefan's. Most of the focus in not only his scenes, but Damon's and Elena's are all about Stefan. Even the early council scenes are driven by John's information which is based on what Stefan is doing (stealing the blood from the blood bank). We also see many a different side to Stefan, and while we don't see the end of his emotional arc, we're definitely getting into the beginning of it. And whereas last week, the final scene was more about Damon's reaction (and Stefan's shame at Damon finding him) to his drinking, this final scene is all about Stefan, even if Damon drives it by leaving the cup, it's all about Stefan's decision to go down that path and he is the sole focus as the episode ends. Stefan also is a small part of the Jeremy subplot as gives Elena advice on how to deal with that situation, and he is the focus of Alaric in a few of his scenes as well, both with Stefan and with Elena.

1.19 - "Miss Mystic Falls" | Stefan Salvatore -- Although we get a lot of focus, motivation on Elena, Damon, Caroline, and Bonnie, at the end of the day, it was Stefan that drove most of the story. Even while we got motivation and focus on the other characters listed, except for Caroline, almost everything that involves those characters is directly related to what is going on with Stefan. Even the Damon/Elena dance is predicated on Stefan not being there. And, like "Under Control," while we're not at the end, we're clearly still in the throes of Stefan's big emotional arc (which Elena had at the start and midway point of the series, and Damon just wrapped up his).

1.20 - "Blood Brothers" | Stefan Salvatore -- Like "Children of the Damned" focusing on Damon, this flashback episode centered on a Salvatore, this time it’s all about Stefan. Every Damon/Elena scene focuses mostly on Stefan, and we reach the resolution of his emotional arc. He begins the episode at his lowest point, prepared to let himself wither away and die, before being given the opportunity to end it all at sunrise. By the end, Elena has gotten him to think about the bigger picture, and save himself, which is compounded by Damon giving him absolution for his sins. Almost everything that Elena does in this episode is driven by concern over Stefan's actions (or rather, inactions), and under the surface, Damon has a continued focus on what Stefan is going through.

Tally thus far --

Elena - 6
Stefan - 6
Damon - 5
Caroline - 2
Bonnie - 1

As the show breezes past the midway point and heads to the conclusion of its first season, we see Damon's story gain focus and come just abreast of the number of Elena, and Stefan episodes. While the first half was about Elena and Stefan, this batch has effectively drawn Damon into their separate and entwined stories. And Caroline is the only character who gets at least one episode of central-focus in the second half of the season, outside of the trio.
 
 
 
x5valex5vale on February 26th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
YOu know I think that in Bloodlines, the focus was Elena, but get to know more of Damons too.

Funny..Blood Brothers is all about Stefan and I agree, but it was the episode that turned me in a Damon girl.
let me explain. I started to watch TVD two months ago, during the Xmas hiatus and I watched 33 episodes in something like a week or less. I didn't watch it when it first aired basically for lack of time (being in Italy, I have to dowload it) and because I am picky when it comes to vampires...but I am digressing. While watching I was fascinated by Damon but I think I started out as a Stefan girl, quickly turning in a bi-bro girl and then withho Blood Brothers, I was hit hard by Damon.
You are right and now I get it, I became a Damon girl the moment I realized that Stefan was not exactly how he wanted to seem... and it happened with that episode, whch I love so so much.
Arabian: Deanarabian on February 26th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
You know I think that in Bloodlines, the focus was Elena, but get to know more of Damons too.

Oh, Damon is definitely the secondary central figure, no question, but Elena just had that bit more in my opinion.

Funny..Blood Brothers is all about Stefan and I agree, but it was the episode that turned me in a Damon girl. While watching I was fascinated by Damon but I think I started out as a Stefan girl, quickly turning in a bi-bro girl and then withho Blood Brothers, I was hit hard by Damon. You are right and now I get it, I became a Damon girl the moment I realized that Stefan was not exactly how he wanted to seem... and it happened with that episode, whch I love so so much.

Huh, that's interesting that it was a Stefan-centric episode that turned you into a Damon-girl. Kinda cool. Hee.
x5valex5vale on February 27th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
The power of Damon :)
crowandfogcrowandfog on February 27th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Now that I know for sure you didn't base this on screen time and POV, it is so much easier to agree with your choices, lol! I don't always agree 100% with everything in your explanations, but I can't really argue with the characters that you chose.

We not only get Damon as the focus of all of his scenes, but the dominant focus in the majority (if not all) of the Stefan and/or Elena scenes as they plan to betray him. (Sniff, sniff)

The way they treated him in 1x13 makes me sniff, sniff, too! :( That was when I first started having issues with Stefan. Up until then, I didn't really think anything of his lies or secrets, but when he lied to Damon's face when Damon was clearly very vulnerable, it just ugh. I like Stefan's characterization in a literary way (well, not so much right now when he's completely static), but I all but lost the ability to be emotionally invested in him. I feel like Stefan at times has screwed UP his brother and not just screwed him over, and that makes me sad. It keeps me from connecting with him. (Not to mention that I don't think Paul is nearly as good at the subtleties as Ian, so there are times when he just seems so cold.)

Very, very interesting how Salvatore heavy the second half of the season is. Elena who? Because while I think "Isobel" based on your criteria might be close between Damon and Elena (who did you choose? who did you choose????), I would definitely say that Damon was the central character in "Founder's Day."


Edited at 2011-02-27 05:39 am (UTC)
Arabian: Damon04arabian on February 27th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
I decided to go with explaining the characters because there are some that I don't think really would mesh otherwise. I mean, anyone but Stefan for "Let the Right One In?" Until I stopped and thought about it, I always thought of that one being about Stefan as the central, but he really isn't.

How Stefan treats him in 1.13 was just awful; but what I love about this show is that I do get why, even if I don't like it. And that's my main things with shows, even if I don't like it, if it makes sense and is in character, I'll deal.

I don't know if I'll get to the next batch today (and going back to work, I can't promise at all if I'll finish this before next week), so I can tell you what I have for those two episodes now, if you want to know. (Explanation will come with the post, LOL!)
crowandfog: TVD: Stefan highlight of my existencecrowandfog on February 28th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
I mean, anyone but Stefan for "Let the Right One In?" Until I stopped and thought about it, I always thought of that one being about Stefan as the central, but he really isn't.

LOL, yeah, when you really think about it, Stefan is a bit of a plot device in that episode. Like, "We must all risk our lives to save the Object of Great Value!" Unlike when Elena was kidnapped in "Rose" (or one of the other times she's been kidnapped), nothing really happened on Stefan's side once he was taken. The scene of him being tortured was just a way of showing us that Harper was a good vamp while the others were bad.

How Stefan treats him in 1.13 was just awful; but what I love about this show is that I do get why, even if I don't like it. And that's my main things with shows, even if I don't like it, if it makes sense and is in character, I'll deal.

That's one of the things I love about the show, too. I like that everyone's actions make sense. Sometimes I just get all, "WHY YOU HURT THE MAN I LOVE, STEFAN?" LOL. Honestly, on this show I usually find myself split during conflicts; my logic sides with one character and my emotions side with another. Oh TVD, you might be the best show ever. Stefan often gets my logic, but he never gets my emotions, lol.

so I can tell you what I have for those two episodes now, if you want to know.

TELL ME YOUR SECRETS. Ha!
Arabian: Elena04arabian on February 28th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
I have Elena for "Isobel" and Ensemble for "Founder's Day."
crowandfog: TVD: Caroline not a little girl anymorecrowandfog on February 28th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
INTERESTING. I cannot wait to read your explanation for "Founder's Day."
Heather-Annlinsell_farm on March 8th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
Sorry that I missed this when you first posted it.

In my usual fashion, I agree with everything you've written and must say how enjoyable I find your intuition with this show. Also, your technique for deducing who the central character is makes alot of sense to me.

It was "Bloodlines" that confirmed me as a Damon-girl.

Concurrently, she started out distrustful of Damon (again, for very understandable reasons), and wound up pleading for his life, and sharing a bonding moment amid smiles by the end of their scenes.

I wonder what changed in Elena's mind (in this episode) that resulted in her altered opinion of Damon?

Thanks for all your hard work putting together this post. It was a very enjoyable read. Sorry that I didn't have more constructive comments.
Arabian: Ian & Nina(PS)03arabian on March 12th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
I wonder what changed in Elena's mind (in this episode) that resulted in her altered opinion of Damon?

I really think it's all there on the screen. She sees him as a person in his own right, the good and the bad, and not through the lens of Stefan's point of view. He becomes Damon, instead of Stefan's brother, to her.

Sorry that I didn't have more constructive comments.

Aww, don't apologize, and I like what you had to say. :)
Heather-Ann: Body languagelinsell_farm on March 15th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
She sees him as a person in his own right, the good and the bad, and not through the lens of Stefan's point of view. He becomes Damon, instead of Stefan's brother, to her.

After re-watching Bloodlines, I see exactly what you've said. Up to this point, Elena had only seen Damon through Stefan's eyes. During this episode she gets to see for herself and make up her own mind about him. Having Bree's perspective also helped, along with the fact that Damon is honest with her (especially in the wake of Stefan's lies).

Watching Damon hell-bent on finding a way to get Katherine out of the tomb but also showing geniune caring for Elena was what hooked me as a Damon-girl. The many layers of his character became much more evident in this episode, IMO. He went from obsessed, to caring, to cold-blooded killer, back to open & real (with Elena).

Ahhh, what a great episode it was.
lacrimadraconis: TVD Damon Elena caringlacrimadraconis on March 8th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree with this and I have to say it's great how they usually manage to pay every (main) character enough time throughout the over all plot.

Reading this reminded me of why I love Bloodlines so much, it's the obvious change in Damon's and Elena's relationship. I started shipping them right from the beginning but this episode made me love them as much as I do now. It was the first time that Damon actually really cared about Elena, when she was in pain getting out of the car. We had seen her get to him before but I think this was the first time we could be truly convinced he cared about her. And the same goes for Elena. Oh, these two ♥

Sorry for rambling on about D/E though I hope you don't mind. I know this post was about the single episodes and their main characters, but this came to mind.
Arabian: Damon & Elena04arabian on March 12th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree with this and I have to say it's great how they usually manage to pay every (main) character enough time throughout the over all plot.

I agree; I think they've done a great job in giving us the point of view of the main characters (well, in season one, poor Stefan pretty much has gotten left out in the cold in season two).

Sorry for rambling on about D/E though I hope you don't mind. I know this post was about the single episodes and their main characters, but this came to mind.

Hah! As if I'd EVER mind Damon/Elena rambling! &hearts
Myramidnightblack07 on March 9th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
I like all the choices and the reasoning behind them, particualrly because you also consider not only which individual has the greatest acrc/focus, but also how they drive the actions of the other characters (y)

I think I particularly liked episodes 1x11-1x14 because of the shift they produced with regards to the relationship dynamic between Elena and the brothers--particualrly because of the evolution/change in her relationship with Damon. The first time we see them truly bond is during "Bloodlines" and the first time she openly states that she'll be fine because she's with the two of them was (like you pointed out) during "Unpleasantville." And then of course we have the consequences of her subsequent betrayal (which, although I felt for Damon, I could understand why she and Stefan felt they needed to do what they did), as well as her trying to rebuild their in "History Repeating" and "Fool Me Once."

It's nice to look back at these and pick out where things took a turn and for whom and how it effected what, can't wait to read what you have for the rest of the episodes!! =)
Arabian: Katherine02arabian on March 12th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
I like all the choices and the reasoning behind them, particualrly because you also consider not only which individual has the greatest acrc/focus, but also how they drive the actions of the other characters (y)

Just when I started doing this, it just made the most sense in breaking it down.

I think I particularly liked episodes 1x11-1x14

Part of the reason I've enjoyed doing this is because it really highlighted for me how the show spent episode 10 through 14 (yeah, throwing in the SE ep of 1.10 there) really building up the strength of both the Stefan/Elena AND the Damon/Elena relationship.
Sonia MathurSonima on March 9th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
This is awesome!! I loved all the detailed analysis! Once I saw you'd given LTROI to Damon, I knew I'd agree with the rest lol. Are you gonna do a part 3? I'm curious to know how you classified season 2. I saw in your part 1, that Damon ended up being the central character in 10 episodes according to your count. That calls for 5 episodes in season 2. I can only think of four off the top my head..The Return, The Descent, Daddy Issues and The Dinner Party. Now I'm really dying to know which the fifth one is.
Arabian: Damon03arabian on March 12th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
Once I saw you'd given LTROI to Damon, I knew I'd agree with the rest lol.

It really does make sense when going by my criteria. Glad to see we agree. :)

Are you gonna do a part 3?

Yeah, I have all the episodes picked out, I just haven't written the posts yet. I'll try and get part 3 (it will be in four parts) done this week.

I can only think of four off the top my head..The Return, The Descent, Daddy Issues and The Dinner Party. Now I'm really dying to know which the fifth one is.

Hmm, going through the episodes, those are the only four I can think of too. I'll have to wait until I get home (I'm at my sister's) and look at my list, LOL!

ETA: I have him down for possibly "Kill or Be Killed" (although, I might give that to Caroline -- I need to refresh my memory on that one) and "Plan B." So he might actually have one more in my eyes, if I decide both fit Damon.

Edited at 2011-03-16 02:56 am (UTC)
bangel_4e: delena4x07 3bangel_4e on December 17th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Maybe I would have put Damon in Bloodlines too...but I really get why you put Elena. It all started with her and Stefan breakdown and the focus is a little
bit more on her.

I don't remember details about -a few good men- and -fool me once- so I can't really say anything. I agree about the others.
Ugh, I'd love to do a re-watch right now just to compare opinions :)