I loved this episode, even if some things in it broke my heart. Okay. mostly one thing. And I'll start with that. While responding to distant_autumn's journal, I was hit with a sudden wave of paranoia that Rebekah would be taken out in the episode. *sigh* Sadly, I was right. I am not happy about it, but it made perfect sense why they did. Rebekah herself made it clear that she couldn't be trusted, that she loved Klaus as much as she hated him. Still, I do hope that the gang will un-dagger her sooner rather than later, and that she will understand why they did what they did. I hope so anyway. We've already lost Elijah; it remains a mystery when we'll see him again, so I was getting my Original jollies from Rebekah. With her out of commission too ... well, let's just say I'm going to miss her a lot. But, I get it; as much as I hate that we lost Rebekah (and Elijah back in 2.22), I understand why. The character motivations made perfect sense and I've always maintained that if the actions are in character, even if I don't like the action, I will go with the flow because the writers are being true to the character. Character is key, above it all, the most important aspect of storytelling for me. So, I love you, Rebekah, but I understand why you were staked. I just want you to come back to me very soon.
In the meantime, I'll just wax rhapsodic about how wonderful she was in her brief appearance in this episode. I genuinely was not expecting her to show up in the opening scene, and seeing her there was not only surprising, it was touching. Touching because it really does show an incredible strength of character. The revelation that Klaus killed her mother and lied to her for a millennium about it probably came closer to breaking her than anything before, and yet here she stood, determined to help our motley crew. In doing so, she was not only betraying the brother she's remained loyal to for that millennium, she was also standing up and facing her father -- a man she's blamed for her mother's death and believing that he's no longer responsible or not, those feelings just can't go away with a different set of facts added to the equation. Furthermore, this is a man who frightened her and was, at the very least, emotionally abusive to her and her family while they were human.
Yet there she stood. At once so fragile -- her eyes lost and searching, the slightest hesitancy to her speaking, to her movement -- and yet so strong because there she stood. Would she have been able to maintain that strength to follow through with the plan? Probably not. She had already shown that despite the revelation about the death of her mother, she still ferociously (and understandably) blamed her father for their situation, which put her on Klaus' side in a way still. The scene opening with Rebekah calmly sitting there, painting her nails, waiting for him to wake up, and her derisive greeting about how long it had taken him set up everything one needed to know about where she stood with him.
Yes, she was upset with Klaus (enough to help engineer his death), but she was making it perfectly clear that Mikael was not forgiven. The fact that she believed Klaus for 1,000 years is on Mikael. Had he not been the awful father and husband that she remembered, had he not painfully killed his children to "protect" them, had he not made it so easy to believe the absolute worst of him, she wouldn't have believed it. But he did. And so she did. In just a few words to her father, she made that clear. She may feel utterly betrayed by Klaus, but she still hates Mikael. Considering that betrayal, I think that it was that hatred of Mikael that kept her standing. She couldn't get satisfaction in avenging her mother's death by taking out Klaus because of how much she loves her brother, but she could get satisfaction in letting Mikael know that just because he didn't commit that sin, he still committed many others. Perhaps that is from where she was getting her strength at this juncture. I think it was.
However, she was holding on by a thin thread. That was evident in her scene with Elena. It was actually quite a beautiful one, even in the final moments as Elena was tearfully telling her she was so sorry even as she daggered her. It showed once again how well this show gets the relationship moments (romantic or otherwise). Were it not for the situation -- Operation!Kill!Klaus! -- I actually do believe that Elena and Rebekah could have become friends. All Rebekah clearly wanted was a home, a family, friends, the ability to live a young girl's life. After all, she even wore the dress that Elena had picked for her. She wanted a connection, any connection, and Elena as that someone she could connect with, someone with who she could share that desire with fit. Elena lost her mother (Rebekah must know this history by now), Elena loved Stefan, Elena understands the love of family, so it makes sense that she would seek that connection with Elena. And it makes such perfect sense especially because of who Elena is.
She is extraordinarily empathetic once she allows someone into her life, and whether it was to find out information or not, by opening that door in the last episode, Elena did allow Rebekah into her life. So this scene between them was heartbreaking: Rebekah admitting to Elena why the dance was important to her, Elena listening, and being there for Rebekah in that moment, thanking her for helping them, being a simple presence for which Rebekah could shed some of her anxiety onto, giving Rebekah the necklace. A necklace that once symbolized an unbreakable bond with Stefan that now represents a lie to her, so it's fitting that she gave it to Rebekah. Although, of course, being Elena, it wasn't just about that -- and likely was subconscious on Elena's part. It was more about Elena wanting to do something nice for Rebekah before stabbing her in the back.
One can only hope that when (it will be when!) Rebekah is un-daggered that she will accept Elena's intentions in that moment -- not wanting to harm her, but having no other choice, and trying to be good to Rebekah before she delivered the blow -- and thus will not turn fully against her. I hope so, anyway. After all, Rebekah did explicitly tell Elena to not let her know the plan because she didn't trust herself not to give it away. And had she been standing before Klaus at the wake, can there be much doubt that Rebekah wouldn't have been able to either give it away in either anger at the betrayal, or torment that he could so betray her? Not much, I imagine.
So, yes, I loved Rebekah. And, yes, she showed tremendous strength, but there was such a fragility there with no time at all for that anger and betrayal to harden. So easily could she break, and Klaus knows her better than anyone else. It was a terrible thing to betray someone helping them, but it truly did have to be done. It still hurt.
And betrayal was rampant in this episode, but all of it, every single instance was based on love. Elena betrayed Rebekah because Rebekah loved Klaus. And Katherine betrayed Damon because she loved him (and Stefan). But before I explore that a bit more, let me just say that when I watched this episode the first time, I only realized that it was Katherine when Mikael pulled "Elena" to him and threatened her life when bargaining with Klaus. In fact, when he stabbed "Elena," I actually grinned because of course it was Katherine. I have to say, though, that upon rewatch, I was mentally kicking myself. How could I *possibly* have not realized it was Katherine from the moment that she and Matt walked into the Lockwood mansion together? Because, knowing that it was her, it was so very obvious. The way she stood, the tone of her voice, the impatience there, the lack of warmth.
It was so there. And her interaction with Klaus, what was I thinking? Elena never plays scared in front of Klaus, not like that, not with anxiety, practically shaking in terror. That is how Katherine reacts to Klaus; not Elena. And that was even more obvious in the scene where Mikael held her and she faced Klaus. Of course, Katherine would have played up the fear to an over-the-top degree there because she doesn't know Elena, has no clue as to Elena's inner strength. It would never cross Katherine's mind that Elena would (and has) fearlessly faced Klaus.
It was yet another tour-de-force performance by Nina Dobrev where with just the slightest change in her stance, in her voice, in her facial expressions, she differentiated between the two characters. I honestly cannot fathom how I did not realize it was Katherine all along. I *think* it's because I was expecting a switch to happen during the night and so I kept waiting for a moment where it could happen and so when there wasn't a change in how "Elena" acted, I couldn't figure out when it was. It just didn't cross my mind that Elena would actually give up her place forefront in the big plan that would not only kill Klaus once and for all, but would "save" Stefan. So, the show totally pulled one over on me ... and I loved it!
And I have to say that I'm glad that I didn't realize it the first time because I loved how the line from Matt about it being weird that the two of them there together took on such a completely different meaning when it was Katherine as opposed to Elena. When I thought it was Elena, I thought it was a wonderful callback to the awkwardness of their dating history. Being Katherine, it was about not only that Matt was there with Katherine (!) of all people as his date, but considering how Katherine had used and compelled him. Which is another reason I didn't imagine that it was Katherine to start out with ... that Elena would even go with the idea that human, unprotected Matt would be left alone with Katherine. Someone (a.k.a. Elena) certainly has changed, accepting the lesser of two evils. That little snippet of the overall plan was another sign of how wonderful this show is in that in just a few quick moments we can get callbacks to history, see the journey (not necessarily all good) that the characters have made over the passage of time (Matt, not just Elena, in agreeing to be a part of it all).
What I also liked is that we also saw Katherine's humanity shining through, and how the show took the time with just a few lines to explain it, trusting us to recall Katherine's journey as well. It makes perfect sense that *now* her humanity is starting to truly surface. She's been on the run from Klaus so long, and so often, that it was all too easy to just keep it tamped down. However, upon her return to Mystic Falls, she -- like Damon -- become embroiled in the lives of people she cared about. Of course, in her case, those people would only be the Salvatore boys, but still. She's been in this place for so long now (even when on the run after the finale last season -- since she was tracking Stefan and Klaus), that she just hasn't been able to deny her feelings for these two. Yes, she obviously cares about Stefan more than Damon, but she does care about both of them.
I genuinely believe that she had convinced herself she didn't love Damon (thus her declaration to him in "The Return"), and it was only when she spent time with him again that she realized she'd idealized Stefan so much, keeping her distance from Damon that she'd rewritten her memories of the time in 1864, choosing to focus and believe in only her love for one of them because the less people she cares for, the less likelihood that she'd get trapped by that caring. And she was right. Had she still been clinging to that belief that it was only Stefan that she had allowed herself to truly fall for, then she would haven't gone back to Stefan, she wouldn't have given him the opportunity to save Damon because her only focus would have been on getting rid of Klaus, Damon could go to hell.
Which brings back to Katherine's betrayal. How telling is it that the one thing that Damon did not anticipate in his contingency plans -- because he really did cover just about every possible counteraction to the plan -- was that the love that others felt for him would screw things up? Because that is just something that Damon could never fathom. Even if he'd been flat-out told beforehand that his life was at risk, I honestly do not believe that it would have crossed his mind that it would change anyone's intent in seeing the plan out. Which is partly why I love how this story is playing out between Damon and Elena. It's not *just* the creation of the foundation for a real, abiding love between them, but also the foundation for repairing Damon's belief in his ability to be loved.
If Elena can love him, he can then open himself up to the possibility that others -- including his brother -- can love him too. Yes, Elena's words in the last episode made a dint, but we are talking over a century and half of lack of faith in his own worthiness to combat. For Damon to believe that Stefan let Klaus live, risking the lives of so many people, keeping Elena a pawn to Klaus' hybrid-ing simply because he couldn't let Damon die, we have to move forward with Damon and Elena. We have -- he has to! -- get to a point where he believes that he is capable of being loved. When he finds out the truth about Stefan's actions (and Katherine's part in it), if he's moved beyond the state of unrequited love with Elena, it will be a huge step in helping him accept that, yes, Stefan does love him. And him accepting that will then be a huge step in Stefan accepting that he can be forgiven even when he's not the perfect "good" brother.
As for Katherine and Damon, when I said that it will help Damon knowing that she loves him after all, I don't mean it in a way to imply that I think that Damon still loves her at all. Because I truly do not think he does, not in a current romantic fashion, at least. This episode confirmed that she is now just someone that he used to love because he was so very objective about her. He could see and easily acknowledge the good and bad things about her character, and he could even wish her well as someone that he did once genuinely love. I say that it will help him because a huge part of his self-esteem issues derives not only from his father, but his belief that he wasn't enough for Katherine (which, obviously, actually was the case), but even more so, that she didn't love him at all. It was that notion that led him to Elena that night in "The Return." He needed validation that he was worthy of being loved by someone he loved, and when Elena couldn't give that to him (not that she was obligated, but it *was* what he needed), that's why he snapped so spectacularly.
Of course, the good thing is that we are getting there. Damon is beginning to get that from Elena. She trusts him implicitly now. She trusts him so much that she was willing to remove herself from the plan that would bring an end to Klaus in her life, and "save" Stefan. She is also able to get through his defenses, and his temper tantrums with just a touch. During that final scene between them, I could not help but be reminded of the scene in "Klaus" when Damon was throwing his temper tantrum and Andie tried to be there for him and he (in a horrific and humiliating fashion) terrorized her and compelled her to leave him alone (the one good thing he did in that scene). What I found so fascinating is that Andie did that for Damon because she had been compelled to be the perfect girlfriend: be there for him, trust him, want to make him feel better, get to him when he was in his dark place, someone to discuss his plans with, someone to collaborate with -- that is the fake, perfect relationship he compelled between the two of them. And now? That is what is beginning to happen with Elena and Damon ... naturally, truly, without compulsion ... and platonically (for now).
Damon was upset, on the edge, but Elena didn't cower in fear, she didn't walk out. She didn't get angry at him, or plead in desperation with him to stop. Instead, she calmly reached straight into the middle of his anger and forced him to look at her with just a touch, with uncompelled emotion in her eyes, in her voice, and she got through to him ... just like that. With her love. True and real. She took his face in her hands (his signature move with her), she held his gaze and she got through to him by invoking their unity, their togetherness and their ability to get through anything together. Because, yes, she does love him. She is falling in love with him completely. (Anyone who doesn't see that is watching their scenes with blinders on.)
Now add onto that, last week when they shared the details of their day (as Damon had done with Andie under compulsion), and in this episode, they worked together on the plan -- no secrets from the other, full disclosure (as Damon had done with Andie at the start of the season). The type of relationship that he considers to be his version of perfect -- one that he compelled with another because he couldn't have the girl he loves -- is now becoming real ... with the girl he loves. Fascinating.
It's as if all of the negatives in past relationships they've both had -- lack of passion with Matt, dishonesty, lack of true communication, agency and partnership with Stefan, compulsion with Andie -- we are beginning to see in a positive way between Damon and Elena. Passion, communication, honesty, true agency, full togetherness, being completely and utterly real with one another ... these two have all of these things in spades. It's the parallels -- obvious and subtle -- coming home to roost here. And there were so many others. Showing the difference in the placement of the players of the triangle now, we have Damon and Elena discussing a plan and Damon keeping quiet when Stefan is in earshot, just as Stefan kept quiet about his and Elena's plan when Damon was in hearing distance in "Children of the Damned."
And in the most telling parallels that (I believe) have yet to reach their end, in "The Birthday," we had Damon place the necklace around Elena's neck, re-connecting her symbolic tie to Stefan. In this episode, as I mentioned above, Elena put it on Rebekah as if severing her connection to it, and perhaps representing a passing of the guard (as Stefan's love) from Elena to Rebekah, going full-circle back to the 20s where Stefan first saw it, upon Rebekah's neck, the girl he fell in love with then. Also in the premiere, we saw Damon furiously, passionately inform Elena that they were never getting Stefan back, not wanting to believe it himself, and Elena tearfully deny it, refusing to accept that possibility. Here, Damon said similar words to Elena, but in practically a whisper, resignation in his tone. Then without tears, not only did Elena not fight the statement, she also told Damon to let him go, that they both had to let him go. And, I still feel that Elena had actually begun to let him go in "The Reckoning" and had just about fully done so by the end of "Ghost World." Saying the words here was just that final small step for her; it seemed to me as if she was saying the words only slightly for herself, but rather more for Damon's benefit.
Now considering how last season we had the start of it begin with Damon taking Jeremy's life, then midway through the season, be anguished about doing the same (to prove a point) to Jessica, and then able to keep from doing so to Andie towards the end of the season, I do wonder if we'll see a scene towards the end of this season where Damon accepts that they haven't lost Stefan, that they have him back, and Elena accepts it as well, but accepts that it's *Damon* who hasn't lost Stefan, while she has in a romantic sense. It would certainly fit the way they layer the arcs of the season, and further highlight the relationship between Damon and Stefan. Which we saw take a major stride tonight.
I know that some have complained that it was a useless repeat to have Stefan yet again choose to save Damon when he just did it in the last episode, but I think it was important to do so. I liken it to Elena's similar speeches about having faith in Stefan in "Ghost World" after saying very much the same thing in the previous episode. Stefan and Elena are very much alike in that they both have incredibly strong levels of self-denial going on. With these two, it truly needs to be hammered home. And that is what happened here. In "Ordinary People," even after Stefan found the loophole to save Damon, he insisted that it had nothing to do with saving his brother. Now, he can't play that card anymore, no matter how well he is at lying to himself. Because he blew the entire plan, he left everyone (including Elena) at the mercy of Klaus just to save Damon and he can't say he did it to gain his freedom, because he would have gained that with Klaus' death as well. This time, he had no escape clause. What he did, he did for Damon. Period.
Plus, there are those out there who are still convinced that Stefan does not love Damon more than anyone else. This was, once again, fully driving that home. Also driven home (not that many are still not getting it judging from reviews *sigh*) is that Stefan and Elena not only cannot go back to what they were before, neither one seems particularly anxious to even take a shot at it. Elena knows that Stefan has been uncompelled, that he has his freedom (as I'm sure that Damon told her), and he didn't come to her. He didn't find her, not even to apologize, not even to beg for mercy and condemn himself for all the horror he inflicted upon her. No, she knows that Stefan chose to walk away and she didn't even comment on it. There was not one indication that her mind even went there, her concern was about the fact that he screwed up their plan by not wanting Klaus dead first and foremost, and that Damon was devastated by the failure of the plan. As for Stefan, it was the same thing. There was nothing from his end about going back to Elena. Not even the lament that he was unable to go back and face her because of all that he was done. Instead, he gave a blanket statement that seemed to encompass everyone and all that he had done wrong ... nothing specific about Elena.
Let me re-iterate this one more time. Stefan ... for the very first time, truly was given his freedom (from Klaus, from Lexi's rulebook, from being a full!ripper) and he did not choose (when he fully and completely could) to go to Elena. We didn't even get a moment -- not a single, solitary moment -- of agony, of regret, of *anything* regarding Elena. And Elena, knowing that Stefan was free from Klaus' compulsion did not spend a moment -- not a single, solitary moment -- expecting Stefan to show up, lamenting that he hadn't shown up. Yeah. Instead, Elena was concerned with comforting Damon. And Stefan was opening up to Katherine fully and completely. Will Katherine be with Stefan when the show returns? Possibly, possibly not, but I find it hard to believe that she won't be in contact with him if she's not physically with him for the execution of his plan (whatever it is).
Which brings us to Klaus. Klaus, Klaus, Klaus. I know that some (most?) feel some measure of sympathy for Klaus. I do not. I don't know if it's because of the horrific things that he has done/continues to do. (Obviously, all of 'our' vampires have done terrible things, but Klaus truly is in a sadistic, twisted league of his own.) I don't know if it's because both flashback episodes featuring him positioned his siblings in a kinder, less villainous light, while showing new levels of evil from Klaus. Or it simply could be that while he's impressed others, I just can't get on board with the acting uber-prowess of Joseph Morgan. Don't get me wrong; I like Morgan, and I think he's mostly a good actor, but other than his beautiful tears and moments here and there during his confrontation with Mikael, I wasn't impressed with his performance. Ian Somerhalder is accused of overacting (even if it's just with his eyebrows/eyes), but it fits the passionate, wild nature of Damon Salvatore (and, yes, I'm ridiculously biased). For me, much of Morgan's acting (especially in this episode) was over-the-top, but in a way that didn't work for me, didn't work for Klaus.
I felt that he chewed through almost every line of dialogue, regardless of the scene or situation. And I found myself distracted in my second watch-through with his acting tics, his eyes bulging, his jaw working, his modulation of voice that wasn't very modulated. I'm not saying he's a bad actor, because I don't for a second believe that he is. And he has moments where he is wonderful (see: beautiful tears, stillness of form when facing Mikael), but when he has to do anything beyond the vulnerable, little boy routine, I'm pulled out of the moment. I thought this the first time I watched it, and then upon reflection I figured that I was too hard on him, remembering the better moments, but again, the rewatch just re-confirmed my earlier take on his acting. However, he is good enough that he doesn't hurt the storytelling, or the overall character. He just doesn't personally give me layers to Klaus that make me want the character to do anything other than die!die!die!
And how will he die now, hmm? With Mikael and the only weapon capable of killing Klaus destroyed in Mikael's dead body, how will our anti-heroes bring about his end? Well, I think that distant_autumn called it. In her write-up for "Ordinary People," she commented:
And having finished watching, despite Mikael's current presence, I wonder if it'll be Esther. Whatever truly happened, one of them presumably really did kill her as they killed the tree. And she was the one who truly gave them life, moreso than Mikael. And despite appearing dead and gone, the ashes of that tree can still kill them, as perhaps all that is left of her might still be able to harm them. IDK, I just wonder."I'm not sure how -- actually, I have no idea, but I think that she may be right, somehow, some way, it's going to be the Original Witch -- even if it's just the essence of her -- that will bring down Klaus once and for all. After all, they destroyed the tree that was capable of killing them and yet the ashes remained, able to put them out of commission. Does it not stand to reason (at least in this show) that something of Esther remains that can take away what she gave? I think so.
Random thoughts --
- I absolutely adored the Bonnie/Elena scene. I have a younger brother, and when Bonnie said that Elena would be mad at her younger brother, but it's not the same, I just nodded, because that is so the case. When you have a situation like that, they are always your baby brother first and foremost. This show SO gets familial relationships, especially of the sibling sort, I love it so much. And that Bonnie was so awesomely cool and understanding about it, but still making it clear that, yeah, Elena and she really could not talk about it was just ... gah! We didn't see her much in this episode, but every moment Bonnie had onscreen was pure gold for me.
- As evidenced as well in her scene with Damon and Tyler. I loved how Damon was all 'what the hell?' through clenched teeth when she migraine-whammied him and she explained (sounding almost as if she was sorry that she had done so to him!) that he wasn't supposed to kill Tyler, and Damon testily responded that Tyler tried to bite him. Considering that the last time Tyler bit him, Damon came thisclose to dying, I can kinda see where he's coming from.
- Heh! Damon's almost-bored, yet still contemptuous "Here's my RSVP," heart-ripping-outage happens, "hybrid," after the hybrid tried to block Damon with a contemptuous "vampire" was awesome. I love him so. And, once again, Somerhalder proves himself the king of delivery.
- I adored two dual moments of brotherly love. The first was when Damon looked back at Stefan's prone form after Mikael bit him as he left that was echoed by Stefan looking for Damon after he stopped him from killing Klaus. It was like, they were both feeling that moment of remorse that they hadn't been honest with one another about their part in the plan. It was just a small thing, but I loved it from both brothers.
- Tyler and Caroline still bore me silly. I actually found my mind wandering during their opening scene. *sigh* I know that they are popular and it does bum me out that this is likely going to be Caroline's big love story through the run of the show because I love Caroline so much, but I do not even remotely love her with Tyler. Ah well. On the other hand, I did like their break-up scene. It was so well-written, with some great acting (especially from Candice Accola) by both actors. That little sound that Caroline made when Tyler walked out just broke my heart.
- Hah, I love this show so much. Stefan flat-out said that it wouldn't be *his* humanity that would screw up the plan, and yet, that was EXACTLY what messed it all up. Oh show.
- And another parallel: In "The Sun Also Rises," their chance to kill Klaus was foiled when Elijah did not play his part because saving Klaus was the only way he could save his family. Here, Stefan didn't play his part, and instead saved Klaus to save *his* family.
- Double hah!, even Klaus knows what's up with Damon and Elena now, as he told "Elena" that Damon's life would be forfeit if anything happened to him, counting on Elena's feelings for Damon to counteract any attempt on his life. LOVED. IT!
- *Sigh* I really did think that we were going to get a Damon/Elena kiss. Obviously, we did not -- although, I do think we were supposed to fully get the vibe that they were yet again thisclose to doing so in that final scene when Katherine called, but the moment right before Elena turned away wasn't held long enough to truly telegraph that. Anyhoo, I have to say though that I'm glad that we didn't under the circumstances because the kiss would have been wrapped up in Damon's pain over Stefan, and just wrapped up too much in Stefan in general. I can wait because it *is* coming. And it will be AWESOME!
- Another hope that was extinguished cruelly? No un-daggering of my beloved Elijah. Excuse me while I sit over in the corner weeping.
- There has been a lot of discussion about the fact that Elena had no reaction to Damon coming this close to dying had he succeeded in killing Klaus. What those people missed is that Damon wasn't stabbing him with the dagger -- which is what kills a vampire to wield, Damon was using the stake, which clearly would not kill a vampire when using. After all, Mikael was going to use it.
- Speaking of Mikael, so I was not expecting him to go out so spectacularly SO SOON! We've got THIRTEEN episodes left and Mikael is gone!
- I love you, Caroline, but stop calling Rebekah an evil vampire-slut. SHE IS NOT! Okay, I totally get why Caroline did so, but it hurt my heart whenever she called her that. Poor Rebekah!
- Finally, I loved how they used the flashbacks to build suspense, and give us our surprises. Yet, they didn't cheat, it all did make sense -- if you paid attention -- and they definitely telegraphed the Katherine switcheroo (if you really paid attention). Damon telling Elena he had a plan that didn't involve her at all, and then later him casually telling Mikael that he knew he fed on vampires thanks to Katherine.* Not to mention, of course, the little things that were off in Katherine's portrayal of Elena. As mentioned above, most notably her fear of Klaus, something Elena has never shown, unlike Katherine.
* Can I take a moment to shake my head that anyone actually thought that Katherine was dead after "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Phew, and now I'm done. So there we go. The first nine episodes of the season and I'm very happy so far. I loved this episode and I think it played with a lot of the themes and moments that have been building from the premiere, as well as bringing into focus stuff throughout the entire series. I simply cannot stress how much I love this show. There has never been another one like it for me; it is simply the best. SO MUCH LOVE. I LOVE EVERYTHING THAT THIS SHOW CHOOSES TO BE!