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03 September 2011 @ 04:15 pm
Central character per episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 5  
Discussion came up in one of my Vampire Diaries posts about Damon being the central character in "The Descent", and crowandfog came up with the idea of listing the central character from each episode to see how it played out. (You can see that list here.) She wound up picking more than one character for certain episodes, and it was interesting to see her choices, but I wanted to take it a step further. I decided to make it harder on myself and just choose one character (as the show generally has an A, B, C and sometimes a D plot going per episode), the character focused on in the A-plot, and to explain why I chose that character. I did the first 38 episodes previously (links are behind the cut), and now here are the last six episodes of season two. 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
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 2
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 3
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 4

SEASON TWO, Episodes 17-22

2.17 "Know Thy Enemy" | Bonnie Bennett -- Bonnie joins the main trio in being the only cast member to get a triple-episode arc where they are the central character. No question, Bonnie had the strongest emotional arc, and drove the most story. Sure, she didn't drive much story, but she drove more in this episode than anyone else. In fact, everyone else was fairly reactionary. Now, Elena interacted with more characters than Bonnie (or anyone else), but just barely. Also, Elena had the second strongest emotional arc with regards to her change of attitude towards Isobel and John to a degree, but Bonnie's was much more powerful. Finally, while Elena, by far, was the key focus of her scenes, and most others were focused on her, technically the focus was more on the whole sacrifice/Klaus situation. So, I'm giving this one to Bonnie, especially since it's in between two stronger Bonnie-as-central-character episodes.

2.18 "The Last Dance" | Bonnie Bennett -- Although, we see more of Bonnie's role play out as the season closes, this episode effectively ends her arc because she has fully come into her powers, fully accepts them and the accompanying responsibility. She's also intensely bad-ass in this. By far, her character drove the most story -- as she was why Elena was "allowed" by the Salvatores to be out and about, why the majority of them were at the dance, why AlariKlaus was focusing on them at the dance (to kill her) and, even though, Damon came up with the idea of the 'dead Bonnie' plan, she clearly went along with it and had to have been the one to come up with the specifics. Finally, for once, it was Bonnie's life that everyone (except for Bonnie, and Damon here and there) was focused on as opposed to Elena's, so she was definitely the primary focus of most scenes. Finally, she interacted with everyone with depth, except for Caroline and Matt.

2.19 "Klaus" | Damon Salvatore -- Really, none of the characters had an emotional arc (unless you count Damon being pissed off through most of the episode before kinda breaking down at the end there), so he gets it rather by default. Elijah definitely drove the most story, actually he pretty much drove all of it, but he isn't a lead. It was because of Elena that he was out, but she went there because of her last interaction with Damon, so that action was driven by Damon as well. Outside of Elijah, Klaus and Katherine (none of whom are leads), the characters most focused on were Elena (somewhat by Elijah, and definitely by Stefan, Damon and Jenna to a degree), but also Damon (by Elena at various points, Andie, Stefan towards the end, and even Elijah for a brief spell). And finally, Damon was tied with Elena for most interaction with the other characters, but he did have the emotional arc of sorts, and his release of Andie was rather the final act ending without a death that began in "The Return." So, Damon.

2.20 "The Last Day" | Damon Salvatore -- Damon went through a myriad of emotions in this one (fear, anger, despair, regret, hope) and his arc went from selfishness at the start because he couldn't deal with losing Elena, to selflessness at the end, saving Caroline, Tyler and Matt, willing to sacrifice himself in place of Jenna, desperate to make up for his selfish act earlier. He also drove more of the story than anyone else, outside of the obvious Klaus. It was his actions that led to Stefan and Elena's waterfall sightseeing tour, which led to Jenna being alone in the house, thus staked and turned. His decision to try and halt the sacrifice led him to saving Tyler and Caroline, bringing Matt more fully into the story, leading to their situation at episode's end. He was also seen a lot and was thus the focus of viewers. Also, he was a focus (to a degree) in the Stefan/Elena scenes, the focus of Alaric (after Jenna), the focus of Matt, Liz, Caroline and Tyler (the latter two to a degree as well), and Elijah, Klaus and Katherine spent time focused on Damon too. Finally, Damon interacted (or was at least in scenes with them) with every character we saw on screen except for Greta and Liz.

2.21 "The Sun Also Rises" | Elena Gilbert -- This is one where the central character is just barely there. Damon had the strongest emotional arc -- coming to accept his fate by the end of the episode, but the key focus was very much on Elena in almost every scene (minus the Caroline/Tyler/Matt B-plot). Damon also interacted with the majority of characters, and he drove the B-plot by his actions in the previous episode, but the entire sacrifice is driven by Elena's human existence and with the key focus on her, I'm giving this one to her.

2.22 "As I Lay Dying" | Damon Salvatore -- This episode, similar to "The Descent" is pretty much Damon all the way. Other than Jeremy getting shot and Bonnie's subsequent witchery, and the results -- which was driven by Damon's actions, Caroline's resolution with Liz -- another moment driven by Damon, almost everything that happened in this episode related in some way to Damon. He was the key focus in almost every scene, his character drove the action of every character (Stefan going to Bonnie and Klaus, Bonnie asking the witches for help, Elena going to Damon, Jeremy looking for Elena because Damon was looking for her, Jeremy getting shot -- helping Damon, Liz aiming for Damon, etc., etc.), and other than Klaus and Caroline, Damon interacted with every character for at least a brief period. Finally, the strongest emotional arc was definitely Damon's. It began in "The Return" -- another episode that was very much Damon-centric -- and the arc reached its conclusion in this episode (of sorts, obviously there's more to go, but that's for next season). So, the season began and ended with Damon as the central character.

Final tally --

Damon - 15
Elena - 14
Stefan - 7
Caroline - 4
Bonnie - 4

The first season started out as a tie focusing on Stefan and Elena, but quickly revealed itself to be about Elena's overall arc. The second season clearly was about Damon's arc. And based on the Stefan's scenes in "As I Lay Dying," I think it's a safe bet to say that season three will be Stefan's arc. I can't wait! :D (If there's interest, either from others, or, I just want to do it again, LOL, I'll probably do a write-up after the mid-season finale of season three episodes.)
crowandfog: TVD: Stefan all this timecrowandfog on September 4th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
I had completely forgotten about this! But I'm so glad to see that you've kept it up.

I think I like your choices here. Oddly though, I can't even remember what Bonnie's story was in 2x17. But I remember not being that impressed with that episode, so I'm not super surprised. It was probably my least favorite of the season.

I am very nervous about S3 because I, too, believe that Stefan's going to have a lot more focus (as well as the Originals). Since I've never been drawn to his character, I'm a little worried. While my interest in the Originals is strong, it's not strong enough to get me through 22 episodes. Hopefully, everything that will be going on with Damon/Elena and Jeremy seeing dead vampire ex-girlfriends and Caroline being adorable will keep me hooked.

So far, I've been mostly pleased with the writing for TVD.
Arabian: Stefan01arabian on September 4th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
I'd forgotten about it too. I realized the other day that I was missing several very much needed TVD tags (I did not have an Alaric Saltzman tag! A Damon/Stefan tag!!! Etc.), so I opened all of my TVD posts and checked/added tags, and came across these. And then when I was putting together my list of favorite episodes, I decided to jot down who was the central character in my top ten. And, of course, "The Sun Also Rises" and "As I Lay Dying" are in my top ten and I hadn't done those. So I did those two, and though, aww, heck, I'll finish it!

Oddly though, I can't even remember what Bonnie's story was in 2x17.

She, Jeremy and Damon went to the site of Emily's death (and the witchy massacre) so she could harness the witches' powers. (Hee, that part contained my favorite line/delivery of the episode: After the deserted door slammed in Damon's face, he shouted "Screw you too. Emily!") Later she told Jeremy that she realized she was given this gift for a reason: To help and for doing good.

I remember not being that impressed with that episode

It was the first episode back from hiatus so I was going to pretty much love it unless it was 1.01-quality, LOL!

It was probably my least favorite of the season.

Ah, this was so not my least favorite. The horrible stupidity of Elena and Stefan in "Crying Wolf" and "The Last Day" nearly ruined those episodes. Especially TLD, even with everything else being BEYOND awesome in that episode, those two made me want to scream at their utter and complete, stupid, stupid, selfish idiocy. I blame them and their dumbass sightseeing trip (IN THE MIDDLE OF SHIT GOING DOWN!) for Jenna's death and turning. Ugh. And a few other episodes really did not hold up that well on rewatch.

I am very nervous about S3 because I, too, believe that Stefan's going to have a lot more focus (as well as the Originals).

Well, Ripper-Stefan (basing it on "Under Control" and "Miss Mystic Falls") was the most interesting Stefan has ever been, and Paul did fabulous with that arc, so I'm looking forward to it for that reason. And as long as they bring my bb, Elijah, back, I'm all for the Originals. I also don't doubt that Damon and Elena (my two favorite characters) will continue to be highly featured. And as you mentioned there is the adorableness of Caroline, and the mystery of Jeremy and his ghostly vampire exes.

So far, I've been mostly pleased with the writing for TVD.

You know how far gone I am for this show and its writing, so I'm fairly confident, LOL! I hope it continues to work for you too. :)

ETA: Bonnie harnessed the witches' powers, not the witches themselves. Which would have been rather difficult as there were a hundred of them. And they'd died over a hundred years ago. Yeah.

Edited at 2011-09-04 02:06 am (UTC)
distant_autumn: Damon - shadowed by imaginary_livesdistant_autumn on September 5th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
I don't feel like I have a lot to add (not that that usually stops me from rambling on :P) but I just wanted to say that I'm really glad you did this. It's very interesting to see how the focus of the episodes has been divided out so far. And for the record, I would definitely be interested to see how things get shared out in S3, too :)

And based on the Stefan's scenes in "As I Lay Dying," I think it's a safe bet to say that season three will be Stefan's arc.

You know, I definitely assumed this too. But lately when they talk about S3, I almost get the impression that that might not be the case after all.