Very interesting that this episode truly only focused on seven characters, with only very brief appearances by Alaric, Carol Lockwood and the two witches (Maddox and Greta). I honestly can't think of another episode that featured so few characters (Damon, Stefan, Elena, Klaus, Elijah, Jenna and Katherine). However, it really worked for this one. I remember thinking halfway through that the episode actually felt like watching a movie, it was so centered and, well, focused.
To begin with, I found Stefan quite fascinating in this episode. Almost all of his actions (minus the Jenna scenes), seemed motivated not by protecting Elena, but rather showing Damon up. All of his 'this is Elena's choice/respecting her decisions' read to me more like posturing and proving to Damon what an awesome boyfriend he is. Considering the last scene with Stefan and Damon in "The Last Dance," it certainly makes sense. I don't doubt that Stefan loves Elena, or that he does genuinely want to protect her, keep her safe, however, it was yet another episode that made me feel as if in the big picture -- whether he realizes it or not, and I don't think he does at all -- Stefan is the most important equation in the Stefan/Elena relationship to Stefan. As long as he looks good, as long as his feelings, desires, self-image is maintained, he can deal with everything else.
I mean, thinking back on when he was at his darkest, it was when his self-image was battered (the whole blood-drug arc from late season one), he was losing out on his desire (Elena breaking up with him in "Plan B"), etc., it certainly fits a pattern. I just do think that Stefan is inherently a selfish person. Not in a catty, bitchy way, but just in that -- going back to points made in some other TVD-post of mine -- he has always been the chosen one. He was his father's favorite son, Katherine chose Stefan publicly (and now, of course, we know, over all), Elena chooses Stefan, heck, even Damon has Stefan in a special position. And because of that, despite being such a good guy -- and he totally is, he's a great person with a great heart -- he is selfish, and he automatically assumes that it all boils down to him. His last line of the episode gave credence to that. Damon's attitude, Stefan put down to "he's angry at me." And I was just 'oh, Stefan, dude! Not everything is about you. It's not about you!' But Stefan just doesn't see that because through so much of his life it has been about him.
So what was it about? Damon's (a) losing control, and (b) being denied the one role he's allowed himself to believe he can have in Elena's life -- as her protector. He's not her boyfriend, he's barely her friend at this point, and Stefan is right, she doesn't respect his methods (or him). And that was the perfect point to drive home with from Stefan's end in getting under Damon's skin. Damon already believes that he'll never have her love or her heart, so if Stefan had said that -- which I think everyone, including Damon, thought he would say -- he would have just responded with some sarcastic jibe. Respect though, that's different and it is worse. Because Damon is using his distraction, and busting his ass, breaking all of these rules, controlling his monstrous impulses, trying to be 'the better man' as much as possible to keep Elena safe ... and not only is he not getting any credit for it, he's actively getting chastised and looked down upon for doing so. And with those two words Stefan basically revealed that last delusion of what Damon thought he could be for Elena, something that Damon believed that not even Stefan could be.
His "Go to hell" to Elena (and the others) confused me at first, but the rewatch made it all perfectly clear. Stefan had just brought that point home, and now here comes Elena with Elijah in tow, essentially saying that yeah, I've got this bigger, bad-ass vampire in my backpocket who knows all the secrets, can save my friend and me! And from Damon's end, it felt like yet another rejection, a repudiation. The one thing he's allowing himself to be, that he's convinced himself only he can do (be the one to keep Elena safe), was just cleanly taken away from him, and from a beaming Elena no less -- who clearly has NO clue. She's standing there, with a satisfied smile on her face, youthfully proud of herself for finding another way, never even thinking -- not that she has to, or should think of Damon's widdle, hurt feelings, LOL! -- how Damon would take it. So, his rejection of all of them made perfect sense. And I loved how of the three of them, Elijah was the only one who seemed to get what was going on with Damon. But more on my bb Elijah later. Back to Damon and those widdle, hurt feelings and the fall-out.
I've read praise and awws over Andie sticking around, and how great it was that Damon didn't kill her, but I have to say that I did not come away from that scene feeling any of that. First of all, I really can not wait until we find out what the full deal with the compulsion is. Is it all the time, is it only some of the time? We're getting conflicting stories from what's on the show and what's in the press. So I'm curious. If she is constantly under some form of compulsion, then I have a completely different read on both Damon and Andie in that final scene. With that compulsion in place, leading her to pathetically stick around, throw herself at a man who is emotionally abusing the hell out of her (more on that later too), you have to look at the source of her actions.
If she's operating under Damon's compulsion, then her actions are being mandated by whatever Damon has laid down as a general, state of things compulsion ... which means that Damon himself believes that sticking around for emotional abuse is a way of showing you care. And that is just sad. And so clearly, obviously learned at not only the feet of Katherine, but also his father. This is a guy, who as a human, was clearly emotionally abused by the people he loved the most. Except for Stefan. Or is he an exception? Stefan does tend to stick those emotional daggers into Damon's gut on a regular basis, something that Damon has never managed to quite do to Stefan. The difference between Stefan, and Guiseppe and Katherine, of course, is that any emotionally abusive manipulation that has come from Stefan towards Damon -- for the most part -- is NOT intentional. However, intentional or not, it's the perception that matters here. And if Damon perceives that he's received a similar enough type of treatment from Stefan that he did from his father and Katherine, it certainly makes sense that he'd color all forms of love with emotional abuse.
My gosh, he is one fucked-up wounded puppy, isn't he? But he was still a monster in that final scene with Andie. I did not feel sorry for him even as I got why he did what he did, and yes, it's good that he didn't kill her, but he was monstrous and in a way that I didn't feel during the final scene in "The Descent" (ironically enough since he did kill the girl then). This felt more like Damon having a temper tantrum, as opposed to an existential crisis. I love my boy dearly, but Damon needs to do some growing up. Yes, he never gets what he wants, but maybe if he stopped being such a snotty, vicious little baby about it every time he doesn't, things might turn around. Because it is not the same as it was in 1865. He has Elena and Alaric, she may not know (as far as Damon believes) that he is a vampire, but he has Liz also. And there is Stefan who, despite everything, still clearly loves him. So, yeah, Damon, get over it, grow up and start accepting that there are people now who genuinely care about you without the emotional abuse being a part of the equation.
Now, that's if Andie IS under some form of compulsion overall (which writing all of that, I'm going with that she is), because if she is not? Oy vey. I did not love Andie, I did not cheer Andie ... at all. If this was her not acting under any form of compulsion, I found her nothing but pathetic. That she would put up with that kind of emotional, followed by physical, abuse from Damon was horrifying to watch. But that physical abuse -- and its vampiric form -- really leads me to believe that there is some form of general compulsion. The specific compulsions (ie, "you didn't compel me to go") are just that: about specific words and actions.
Okay, backing up a bit to Damon's abuse of Andie. I'm treading in murky, controversial waters here, but if this isn't an episode to bring it up, I'm not sure when I will. Yes, how Damon treated Caroline was terrible. Yes, the way he treats Andie is horrific. I still don't see it in the terms of reality that many others do. Damon is a vampire. He is not the only vampire we've seen this way. Isobel used, abused and treated her humans like play-toys, to do with according to her whim. Klaus and Elijah (before he began to care for Katherine) saw her as merely a tool with which to achieve their ends. She didn't matter to them as a person at all. It was only when Elijah began to care for her as an individual that he began to see her as an individual and not a tool or plaything.
Anna had absolutely no problem using, treating humans as her tools to get what she wanted, and when she needed some help, she turned some guy just because. It was only after she began to care for Jeremy, that like Elijah, she saw him as an individual and not a tool. And then we have Stefan, who does casually compel humans to do things for him. More importantly, when he sees Damon treating humans this way (Caroline in "Friday Night Bites," and this episode with Andie), he offers a token statement of protest, and then he's done. When Elena confronted Stefan about Damon's treatment of Caroline in FNB, Stefan "knew" that it wasn't awesome behavior, but it wasn't something that he really thought was that a big of deal. Because he's a vampire. He's not a human, no vampire is. They approach humans with a different mindset, until they allow themselves to care about them and see them as actual individuals.
I'm not saying it's cool how Damon treats them; I don't like it. I long for the day when the show has Damon actively pursuing and/or with Elena, and thus he has to relearn how to properly treat human beings -- because he so will have to when he gets to that point with Elena. (And, yes, I do think that it will be Elena who makes him realize that, yeah, he has to relearn that behavior and put it into practice.) I'm just saying that I personally can not compare the portrayal of a supernatural vampire's treatment of humans -- he can be as awful to males as he is females -- to the portrayal of a non-supernatural, reality-based human's treatment of another human, or even to an abusive human in real life. That's just me, and my perspective. I can not compare the two -- one has no basis in reality, the other is a very sad reality. I realize that some people don't see it that way and I respect their point of view; I just don't share it.
Phew! Moving on to more fun topics! Mainly: Elijah! What I loved most about this episode was the glorious return of Elijah! All hail Daniel Gillies. I really think the casting department screwed up, LOL! Gillies is so magnificent, charming, charismatic, compelling, scene-stealing and all-around awesome, that I'm not sure there was any actor they could have cast as Klaus that could have topped Gillies' portrayal of Elijah. I'm not saying that Joseph Morgan is doing a bad job, and we still haven't see him truly in modern times, but, well, he's no Elijah.
But that's okay, because we have Elijah, yay! And I'm calling it now, the show realizes how incredibly awesome Gillies and Elijah are and while we're losing someone in the cast, I'm thinking that we're gaining someone next season and his name is Daniel Gillies. For an episode named "Klaus" (and funny how "Rose" didn't do much for that character, but offering Elijah's introduction as well left viewers hungry for more of him), this episode was all about Elijah. And not just about Elijah, but -- for lack of a better word -- humanizing him. After this episode, he's no longer the bad guy. He's the tortured puppy of his cheerfully evil, casually sadistic brother.
Oh, and the parallels between the original vampire brothers (Elijah and Klaus) and our current vampire bros (Damon and Stefan) were plentiful and awesome, but so not a retread. There were aspects of Stefan and Klaus that were similar. Being younger or not, Stefan is so the favored one, as was/is Klaus. Also, like 1865 and present-day Katherine, the doppelganger chose Klaus over his brother. And you could see Elijah reacting to that, and getting that frustration and disappointment from Damon in that final scene with the four of them. However, like Stefan, Elijah came across as more the "good" brother, opposed to Klaus and Damon's snarky, hedonistic and bad-bad-boy style. So well-written and crafted.
You know, I stupidly told sarcasticcheese that this was one of the weakest of the Kevin Williamson/Julie Plec-penned episodes. Clearly, I was on crack. Damn, is there a ridiculous amount of awesome depth and character intricacy, plot development, etc. here. Anyhoo, moving on ...
Speaking of the brother parallel -- including Elijah as the "good brother -- I do also wonder if Elijah's comment to Elena about not caring for the doppelganger this time (while looking right at Elena) was foreshadowing. Provided, of course, that I'm right and that Elijah will be sticking around next season as a full cast member -- and he damn well should!, I wonder if once Stefan and Elena are broken up (and once it happens, I do think it will be for good), he will be moved into a triangle with Caroline and Tyler (if he survives), while Elijah is moved into a triangle with not only Damon and Elena, but possibly a side triangle with Stefan and Katherine. I don't know, but it would certainly work for me as Daniel Gillies has way more chemistry with Nina Dobrev than does Paul Wesley (but not as much as Nina and Ian Somerhalder, of course, this is me). And, yeah, after this episode, I'm officially shipping Elijah and Katherine. Damon and Elena, Stefan and Caroline, and Elijah and Katherine. Make it happen, show! (Hee!) (For anyone who's interested, there's a Katherine/Elijah comm now -- kat_elijah.)
Clearly, something is brewing. The Vampire Diaries does not throw random similarities in for no reason. So, reason for thinking that a Stefan/Katherine/Elijah triangle is possible? This:
There's Stefan and Katherine from season one's "Lost Girls," and five hundred years before, Elijah and Katherine. You're not going to tell me that this was not a deliberate, foreshadowing move (of some sort) on the show's part. Uh huh. Maybe, maybe that foreshadowing I mentioned above (re: Elijah having feelings for Elena down the line) won't be happening, but rather it was that Elijah will rediscover his feelings for Katherine, thus leading (somehow) to an Elijah/Katherine/Stefan triangle. Or maybe even a quad with Caroline thrown in if Tyler and/or Matt dies. I know, I know, I'm just so excited about the possibilities. Seeing Stefan involved within a pairing, triangle, quad with Katherine and/or Caroline will be so much more fun and interesting as a Stefan fan who finds him senselessly static and boring with Elena. Snore. And, yeah, if it frees Elena up to finally deal with her way too deeply submerged Damon feelings, that works for me!
Ahem, and now we're onto my former Elijah-hoped for pairing lady: Jenna. Yeah, not seeing that happen now, but I'm all about Elijah with Katherine now, so that's cool. But I still want to talk about Jenna. I loved that kitchen scene with her, KlausAlaric and Stefan so much. So well done, so well-written, directed, acted, fantastic crafting all-around. At first, it seemed as if the line from the preview ("Do you believe in vampires, Jenna?") was just a tease and that he actually wasn't going to spill, but he went on and on, and the tension was just getting higher and higher. Finally, it culminated (or so I thought) with Jenna telling Alaric to get out, and her tone of voice was just this wonderful blend of anger, resignation, self-pity and confusion -- once again, Sara Canning was aces, please do not kill Jenna, just figure out someway to spotlight this actress! And then AlaricKlaus pulled the knife on her, tension racheted up even higher! and I was all "Whoah!" And then Stefan did the zoomy-wooshing thing, another rachet, another "WHOAH!" and then Stefan went all vampire-facey and growly and I was all "AWESOME!"
So, so well-done. I loved it.
And I think I would have loved the Jenna/Elena scene more had I not been spoiled by a certain actress (coughcough *DawnOlivieri* coughcough) leaking that scene and thus killing the impact. Yes, yes, I shouldn't have broken down and read the script page, but how was I supposed to know that it would contain such an emotionally-charged, been-building-up-to-it since episode six of the first season scene? I didn't. Ah, such is the life of a spoiler whore. Still, it was a very well-done scene and Jenna's lament that she was supposed to be protecting Elena broke my heart. I did however have one quibble. I truly wish that Elena's responses when asked if Jeremy and John knew were more explanatory. Had Elena said "he read my diary," about Jeremy, and "he already knew" about John that would have answered Jenna's question, but not made it seem as if they all deliberately chose to tell each other and yet leave Jenna in the dark. Still, small quibble. Okay, fine, one more. Actually seeing the follow-up scene between Jenna and Elena would have been nice, but time and plot needs make it an understandable cut. :(
So, Klaus is a werevamp. Cool. Very, very cool. And can I just say how much I absolutely adore that the sun and moon curse was all made up. LOLOLOLOLOL! I've read much bitching on the internet about how stupid, and needlessly convoluted the curse is, how many plot-holes are contained within, and that it's just lame. Only to find out that it was made-up by Klaus. Again, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! And clearly this was all planned (and not a reaction to the complaints) because of the werewolf groundwork that's been set up all season long. I don't think I can properly express how much I adore the writing, plotting, intricacy of this show.
And this leads me to another bit of speculation (as clearly I was totally -- happily! -- wrong about Damon not being on Elena's protect list), Damon will get bitten in the second to last, or last episode of the season. Klaus will bite him. And we will see what happens with a werewolf bite, because we haven't seen it to its conclusion. Damon staked Rose before she died, and for all we know that is what has always happened with past were-bitten vampires. They were either killed during their rabid state, or by those who care to ease their suffering under the assumption that, of course, they would die. Or, the original "Elena" from hence all the doppelgangers come from was perhaps the witch who put the curse on Klaus in the first place, and thus her blood would save Damon. Things that make you go hmmm.........
Alrighty then, almost done with this novel, onto random, quick thoughts:
- Still thinking on the original Nina Dobrev-portrayed character ... who was she? Klaus' half-sister? The wife of his father? The wife of one of his father's children?
- Nice foreshadowing early in the episode when Klaus explained that Niklaus was the name his father gave him, but he went by a different name. Showed a disdain for the man who wasn't actually his father.
- Okay, so the originals were, erm, originally human. So, uhm, how did they become vampires then?
- All in the delivery, baby. "She's lost it." Bwahahahahaha!! Oh, Damon, I love you so.
- I found it interesting -- yes, I found a lot of things interesting in this episode -- that when Elena said "Stop!" when the boys were fighting, they immediately, and I mean immediately, stopped. Don't know why it struck me so, but it did.
- It's a first, I not only ADORED someone's hair in a flashback, I prefer it to the modern-day look. Oh, Elijah, bring back your 1492 hair, pretty, pretty please.
- Not so impressed with Klaus' though. Joseph Morgan looked MUCH better in the few seconds we saw him at the end than in all the flashbacks, in my opinion.
- Hah! Alaric's confused "Elena?" and then slump/face plant. And I can "Hah!" because he's clearly not dead (yet? *bites nails in worry*) judging from next week's preview.
- Okay, yes, Nina Dobrev is hot. And, as Katherine, they REALLY highlight her hotness, but I don't get the point of us watching Katherine randomly dance around for 30-40 seconds. Damnit, I could have had more of the Jenna/Elena stuff in that time!
- So is Greta under compulsion or is she just a happy camper for Klaus willingly? And if so, damn, Jonas and Luka so died for nothing. Sheesh! And, whee! I knew it was Lisa Tucker from American Idol, but I didn't realize that I would recognize her that obviously. Based on this little bit, she's a better actress than singer, and she wasn't a bad singer at all. (She just stupidly took on Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" while it was still in active play on the radio, and with her rendition, butchered it. Ahem.)
- Wow, Stefan is a really heavy sleeper. Elena clearly didn't even go to bed, and Stefan wasn't aware of it.
- Giving some shallow here: Damn, Damon looked really hot this episode. Yummy!
- Hmm, so in the short preview, Elijah said "I believe the term you're looking for is OMG." Yet, in the extended preview he said, "I believe the term you're looking for is OMFG." But in the episode last night, he used the first phrase. Man, I was looking forward to the second. Ah well.
- Okay, so was anyone else all, "Stefan, I know that you're pissed at Klaus, but that's Alaric's pretty body you're kicking the crap out of it, dude!"
- I loved the reveal of how a vampire is like when they somehow wind up in a house they weren't invited to enter. That was just really cool. (As was the shot of Elijah on his knee, looking up at Elena, once outside.)
- Anyone else noticing how Damon is constantly referring to Elena as Stefan's "girlfriend." Like a lot now? I wonder if it's part of his coping mechanism/distraction, as a way of reminding himself she's off-limits. Because, yeah, his control in that aspect is slipping. This was the first time he flat-out told Stefan in all seriousness that yes, he wants Elena. He's always side-stepped it or made a joke before. So yeah, things are definitely starting to reach a breaking point.
And I can't wait until they explode! WOOHOO!!