Arabian (arabian) wrote,

3.12 - 'The Ties That Bind (The Vampire Diaries)

The Vampire Diaries was on tonight. You know what that means? Lots and lots of words (including more profanity than usual) behind the cut. SQUEE!

I'd like to be all joy and squee over Elijah's return, but being spoiled for it did really kinda ruin that. Obviously, I'm beyond thrilled that he's back, but the OMG!ELIJAH!SQUEE! just wasn't there in the moment. So moving onto other things. This episode wasn't bad by any stretch, and it was nowhere near the fail that was "Disturbing Behavior" in terms of narrative flow, but it was easily the weakest episode *since* Disturbing Behavior" -- and that episode was written by Brian Young. Guess who wrote this episode? Brian Young. *sigh* At least, the characterization was overall better this go-round. Still ... the good news is that because this was not an OMG!Episode, this write-up will not be as long as usual. Really. I swear.

(Done! Aha! See? I'm normally in the 3,000+ word count. This one was under 2,300! :D)

The original draft of this post contained multiple CAPSLOCK rantings about 'why can't my bb Damon be treated better?' But I'm letting most of them go and consolidating in a less CAPSLOCK rant confined to one paragraph. It wasn't so much that Damon was treated badly, it was that Bonnie (nor Elena) showed any gratitude that, of his own free will, Damon chose to help Bonnie out and cut down on the mom-finding-venture by hours. It was that Alaric is continuing to be a bit of a douche to Damon, and this was really pronounced because Damon was genuinely looking out for Ric, and again, no gratitude. It was partly because Tyler has done some horrible things and it's glossed over by Bill. Bill was horrible to Caroline, and it's glossed over period. And Stefan. Stefan, Stefan, Stefan has done some truly horrendous things and Bonnie has not only not given him any attitude or anger, but she hasn't even given him a tenth of the attitude she almost regularly graces Damon with. And, finally, on top of all of that, Stefan was his usual, selfish self and was an asshole about Damon.

When he said Elena was better than Damon, I said aloud, "you asshole." Not that it isn't true, because it is. And yes, he followed it up with the statement that neither of them were, but it's the principal of the matter. Damon has been BUSTING HIS ASS for almost a year now protecting Elena, protecting her friends, protecting his brother, protecting the town to a degree with only a few relapses (and for a vampire who lived on the evil side of things for over a hundred years, that's damn good). On the other hand, Stefan basically did shit when he was "good" and is creating all kind of horrible emotional, physical, psychological damage now that he's "bad." Despite this, Damon has never been negative about Stefan outside of snark. Ever. He has always defended him, always had his back.

Yes, Stefan loves Damon more than anyone else in the history of ever. That's not in dispute. However, he still has always been the chosen one and this is where his selfishness comes in. His comment didn't read to me as Stefan being all noble about Damon (because, fuck that shit! Where was that nobility when he was with Elena?), it's about dogging his brother because Elena is his and she can't choose Damon over him. Because Stefan is the chosen one. Always. And as the chosen one, no matter how much he adores Damon, he still seems incapable of seeing (or at least acknowledging) the good that is in Damon. There's always a catch, always a but .... So yeah, Stefan ... selfish asshole. (I still love you, though, boo!)

And, in my mind, it's actually *also* the flipside of the triangle. It's not just that he can't deal with Damon being the chosen one for once, it's also that Elena isn't supposed to choose Damon. That's for Stefan to do. It's clear to me that Damon is the most awesome thing like EVAR for Stefan, but he's all Stefan's. Only Stefan gets to have that part of Damon, see that part of Damon. As jealous as he over Elena (and I do think he wouldn't react this way if it was anyone other than Damon), he's just as jealous over Damon. And as much as Elena shouldn't want Damon because Stefan is the chosen one, it's just as much that Elena can't have Damon because Damon is his.

And a bit more about that lovely statement of Stefan's, it struck me anew that this again goes to the core of why Damon has such major self-esteem issues. His dad was the biggest asshole, Katherine chose Stefan over Damon, Lexi sent Damon on his way without a qualm while taking care of the special snowflake that is Stefan, and Stefan is pretty damn good at always seeing the bad in Damon. No wonder the guy has self-esteem issues out the wazoo. Which were in play in his scene with Stefan at the end. Stefan had no right to hit Damon here, none at all. Stefan is what screwed the pooch with Elena BIG-TIME, and it's been months (at least six to seven by the show's timeline). Yet, Damon clearly felt he deserved it, but then we already know that Damon feels guilty about it all. He shouldn't. Elena shouldn't. The only one who should feel guilty at this point is Stefan, who again, screwed the pooch all on his own!

Regarding the Stefan and Elena stuff, well, I was actually okay with it for a variety of reasons. First off, their first scene in the barn again played off of that abusive boyfriend angle. Stefan upset about something, kicking the chair over violently, Elena jumping. And then, even when we had the slight intimacy of her removing the wood from him, I didn't mind that and her even doing it despite what he did to her on the bridge because that is who Elena is. She is extraordinarily empathetic. Even to jerks. (For example, see: Damon in too many episodes to count; see: Tyler in "Crying Wolf.")

I did think that how she told Stefan (by saying "I kissed Damon" as opposed to "Damon kissed me") was partly to piss him off, partly to make him jealous, partly to get some rise out of him and show that he still loved her because she does still love him (of course she does), and partly because she did feel guilty. She did feel that he deserved to know because of the whole convoluted, complicated mess that is their relationship. And I think she chose to describe the kiss as her action because in this moment, with Stefan, she couldn't lie about the fact that the key wasn't that Damon kissed her, it was that she kissed him (back). Yet, she didn't get any kind of reaction from Stefan that she was expecting. And I thought the dialogue choice was interesting after she told him and he didn't respond. She laid her hands almost on his chest and said "there, all done." Maybe I'm just being hopeful but it read to me as if it could be signifying them, their relationship. One can dream.

ETA: Reading archangel_blood's post reminded me of something I forgot. Elena's final scene with Alaric seemed to also signal her acceptance that she's ready to move on from Stefan, and that it's okay. Yes, she was talking to him about Jenna, but it was obvious that she was also speaking of herself.

Although I still never want to see Elena take his ass back, I do like that he apologized and acknowledged that he went too far, and how awesomely she took it. She said thank you quietly and that was it. I also liked that Elena saved herself and him. Ripping at the ropes, ascertaining that Jaime couldn't hurt her, ripping free, grabbing the gun and knocking him out ... just awesome. I mean, that was supremely bad-ass. You go, Elena! It was a good note as well that Stefan noted how awesomely she took control, how she has changed, how she was stronger, and I couldn't help but think -- yeah, she's stronger without you holding her back and constantly trying to keep the pretense alive that you're "normal" teenagers. She's stronger because she has someone by her side who respects her, who accepts that she is awesome all the time, strong when she needs to be, able to give herself a break when she needs. Someone who sees her as the strong, young woman she so completely is. In case you were wondering, that someone is Damon. :)

Speaking of... I thought there one scene was cute. And considering Elena denied him road-trip time (she knows how much he loves those!) and in not the nicest way, I think he was justified in spilling about the kiss, thus ensuring that even if he wasn't there on the trip, she'd spend some of her time thinking about him. Because Bonnie wouldn't let it go. And she didn't. And I was surprised that her only comment was to ask if Damon was a good kisser. Nothing about his evil, evil ways or what are you thinking? or being judgmental, just 'was it good?' (And it was. Oh yeah!)

However, that actually does make sense (unlike the Caroline-hate-on in "Disturbing Behavior") because Damon and Bonnie have been working towards an understanding through season 02 and this season so far. So seeing that understanding result in her not ragging on him was lovely ... and logical. Also of interesting note with regards to Bonnie was the fact that she asked about what was up with the two of them which took me a little aback at first because Damon and Elena act that way around each other quite a bit. And then just as quickly, I recalled how often I've noted that it's only ever been Alaric who's seen these two in these moments. Bonnie has officially joined the club!

But she's not the happiest camper right now. Oh Bonnie, and now we find out the backstory with her mom. Eek! (But when will we meet dad? Who is IN Mystic Falls!) I do have to say that Bonnie was a lot nicer to her mom that could have been warranted under the circumstances: "Well, honey, see I abandoned you because I'm selfish. But hey, I guess I'll try and make up for it with a little magic now, mmkay?" Oh my! Poor Bonnie! But, while I felt for Bonnie, I didn't really feel as much emotion as I thought I would.

I don't know, maybe the scenes would have played better with a stronger actress because I really wasn't terribly impressed with this actress, Persia White. Or it could have been Young's script. He really isn't the strongest in delivering the emotional marks, so while I tend to blame the actor over the writer when I don't feel for a character on this show, in this case, I'm waiting until we see White at play again. I'm not super-hopeful though when the most interesting thing about the character's reveal was that she's the one who locked Mikael up, and that Mikael was a-doppelganger-hunting a few years back (and that's why she locked Mikael up). Ah well, we'll see what happens next week.

And if it will include more of Tyler turning, I'm not really looking forward to it. Because, yeah, we definitely saw enough of that tonight. Seriously, way too much. We've seen him turn; it was horrible and graphic and we really felt for Tyler, but this episode and all of the time spent on Tyler turning was kinda yawn-worthy because ... been-there/done-that. On top of that, I had a few issues with those he was sharing scenes with. Erm, the last episode with Bill (THAT BRIAN YOUNG WROTE!) ended with Bill basically telling Caroline: "Suck it, bitch, you're dead and I can't ever fully love you again. I'm right, you're wrong, nanananananana!" but a tad nicer and with less profanity and in-your-face-ness. And now, he's all, sweet smiles and "we've all made mistakes." Dude, you tortured your daughter for hours and then told her she wasn't okay and never would be. And now everything's all cool? What? And Caroline, Caroline, Caroline, why are you still so controlled by the males in your life. Why do you fall back on the weak, useless role around them when you are so much better, so much stronger, so much more awesome!? Hmm, maybe Klaus will appreciate that and bring that out in her. We don't know yet though because we were denied any Caroline/Klaus interaction! To which I say: WAH! I was looking forward to that to further judge their shipping potential. Grrr......

On the other hand, not grr.... was Damon. Oh, how do I love him so! So very much. Damon was awesome. With Bonnie and Elena. With the coffins, and his flirty little "leverage"-ing with Klaus. Damon was even awesome with Dr. Fell, and with his BFF, who is playing the role of BFF very, very badly. Dude, Ric! Damon was H-E-L-P-I-N-G you. He was actually being a good best friend. And you continued to be all jerky, snarky-without-affection-dude. I am not liking. Stop it.

Honestly, at this point, I don't know if we're supposed to still be seeing a pissed off Ric at Damon (which doesn't fly with the end of "Ghost World," and the scenes in "Ordinary People"), or if we're getting only the snark because Damon and Ric do that so well, but the writers are forgetting that we need the moments of affection also. Or even if (and I hate even typing this, but I really am confuzzled), it's Matt Davis choosing to play the Alaric/Damon scenes without that affection, and as if Ric is still mad at Damon. (Never mind that he never apologized for his jerkiness in "Disturbing Behavior.") I mean, Damon snarks and says not so nice things to Alaric, but Ian Somerhalder plays it with the bit of flirt, and it's clear that Damon *does* care for Alaric. But I'm not getting that from Ric (through either the dialogue or the performance). Seriously, you all know how much I adore me some Ric/Damon BFFness, but I actually thought during this episode that Damon needed to dump Ric and find a new BFF because Ric is SERIOUSLY sucking (no, not like that!) at the job.

Not sucking at their job, though, is Dr. Meredith Fell. She's even going above and beyond the call of duty in saving lives. I must say I REALLY liked the surprising twist with Meredith. Her taking Damon down to get his blood so she could save patients??! So freaking awesome! She's kinda already on their team without anyone knowing it -- in that she makes the "wrong" choices for the "right" reasons. Go Meredith. Unfortunately, I'm really not feeling her and Alaric, and I'm kinda annoyed that they are rushing through them so fast. They met two episodes ago, sharing one scene, shared two more in the last episode, shared a few in this and then they're already kissing?! I mean, come on, give the viewers a chance to give a crap about them. Oh wait, Stefan and Elena moved even faster. But at least they had more build-up in those two episodes. I know it's been awhile Ric, but, yeah, show, let us care about them first please. (And, erm, it didn't help that there was more tension and chemistry in the scene with Meredith and Damon! Oh, Ian, you chemistry-generator-you!)

Okay then, uhm, that's it. Yeah, no random thoughts tonight. So, not the bestest episode, and one of the few weaker ones this season -- really obvious when coming off of seven FANTASTIC episodes -- but it was still good, and it definitely had some great stuff in it. Most notably the return of MY BELOVED ELIJAH!!!!!! (*Sigh* I just really, really wish I hadn't been spoiled. Man, the show hadn't even aired on the West Coast yet when I was spoiled!) :Pouts: And we have to wait two weeks for the next new episode. :Pouts again: I hate when my show leaves me.

And once more for the road: AAAAAHHHHH!!! MY BELOVED ELIJAH!!!

BTW: The icon has nothing to do with this episode, but I just made it -- based on my delusional hopeful speculation on a future Stefan/Caroline/Klaus triangle from the last episode -- and I wanted to use it. :)
Tags: caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, stefan salvatore, the vampire diaries, tv

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