With that in mind, I'm asking please, please, please do NOT spill anything AT ALL about any upcoming episodes in comments. Thank you. :)
I dunno, I feel like I actually wanna watch this one before putting down substantial thoughts, but eh, why break a pattern, right? LOL! I didn't love it, but I kinda think that I might feel a lot more AAAAAHHH! about it upon rewatch. Without the Damon/Elena aspect, it does go down a notch in my book simply because they are my favorite thing about a show and it was rough not getting them at all when we got practically nothing in the previous episode, and only one scene (if fantastic) the episode before that. That's always painful to take as a Damon/Elena fan, but Damon/Elena do not make or break an episode for me (see my love of "Masquerade" and Ghost World" for example). Still, there was something ... slightly off in this episode. I kept thinking that it was too plot-driven without enough character-stuff, but that's ridiculous because we got fantastic character stuff with Bonnie, Elena, Caroline, and the Originals to a degree with a small dose on the Salvatore Brothers too. Perhaps it was how short so many of the scenes were; it didn't feel like things were allowed to build. And the time jumps with no scene in between. For instance, Elena is talking to Stefan in the Lockwood caves, next scene (no commercial break), she's walking into her house. There was another jump like that with Elena later in the episode too and it was just ... odd.
Then you did have some eye-raising character moments pretty much all courtesy of the lovely hypocrite that is Stefan Salvatore. I mean, really, Stefan? I can't believe the way he acted with Elena in the caves, judging her for thinking he'd murder someone after EVERYTHING THAT HE HAS DONE! And then he had the audacity to throw it back about her not accusing Damon -- who has been there for her, her friends, STEFAN! himself and the town in general awesomely in like forever. So, not cool, Stefan. Then there was the whole ridiculous notion from Klaus that Stefan and Damon both think they can protect Elena best. Okay, yeah, totally for Damon. But Stefan? On what planet has Stefan EVER protected her successfully? Like EVER!? When he was good, his way of protecting her was generally: Call Damon. When in "bad" mode, his way was ... uhm, being a total ass and, oh yeah, catching her when she deliberately fell off of some bleachers. And that's it.
I've digressed. My point is that while there was a LOT of awesome in this episode (courtesy mostly of the Originals and Damon's one-liners), there was a disconnect, a disjointedness that just felt a tad off. I just know that at the end of the episode, and at no time during the episode -- other than the Original Siblings Smackdown of Klaus, and Esther's reveal and forgiveness -- was I all a'squee and filled with the glorious OHMYGOD!ILOVEMYSHOW! that normally accompanies it. Hmm. I don't know. I really do hope that a rewatch will change this. It very well could. It's happened before. Anyhoo, onto specific areas of the show that I'm breaking down into five sections.
The best thing about this episode was easily the Originals. I mean, first of all, the most obvious awesome: Elijah! Who found the time between kicking Klaus' ass (and how awesome was that?!?!) and meeting Damon for a romantic tête à tête in golden fields ("Xoxo. / Damon.") to get a haircut. Seriously, though, that Damon/Elijah scene made my slasher-sense (which is quite weak) go off. I know that Damon flirts with anything that moves, but from Elijah's end, that finishing of Damon's note (that Elijah kept!), saying his name after the "xoxo" was just too delicious. Okay, and seriously, that ass-kicking of Klaus was really, really awesome. He just kept going at him, daring him to stake him again, and just being all-around bad-ass. Oh, how I love me some Elijah! Especially when that bad-assery just continued full-bore into the episode. Playing along with Klaus like a good brother, all the while he'd undaggered his siblings behind Klaus' back and then he calmly told Klaus what he thought of his "vulgar promises." Hee! Loved it. Love HIM so much!!
As great as the Klaus/Elijah throwdown was even better was seeing all those siblings take their turns abusing Klaus and how flummoxed by the whole situation he was. Resorting to empty threats and entreaties of family togetherness, and sounding so very much like a child. But isn't that how it goes? Surrounded by your sibling(s), who doesn't resort to childish ways? (That's certainly the case for the Salvatore brothers. But more on them later.)
Also obviously awesome: Rebekah! YAY! She's back, she's back, she's back! SQUEEE!!! So awesome seeing her again in her lovely Elena-picked red dress. On the other hand ... BOO! She wants to kill Elena, that doppelganger wench. *sigh* Rebekah embrace the bosom-buddy that could be you and Elena! EMBRACE IT! However, since we all know that she won't kill Elena, I can forgive Rebekah and just embrace her awesome. Which included her twist on "Always and forever" to Klaus. Instead of having his family with him always and forever, now he would be alone, no siblings, no hybrids. Always and forever. Cold, but so deserved.
Not that mommy dearest agrees. And, folks, have we met this season's big baddie? She certainly has Klaus-y boy shaking in his boots. I LOVED how Joseph Morgan played Klaus unable to look into his mother's eyes, fully expecting and not fighting the fact that she would kill him, and then struggling so long and so hard to meet her eyes. But I get it. She's scary. I mean, dude, she served up the Original Petrova (Tatia, okay then) via her blood to her children to punish her because she had the temerity to exist in her charming awesomeness and make her boys fall in love with her. Then she tried to kill Elena not once (by telling Klaus the Hybrid-cure was to kill Elena), but twice (through Vicki Donovan). This? Is not a nice lady. And how will she react to seeing Tatia in Elena's form, and possibly Katherine too if she shows up? And seeing two brothers once again in love with the look-alike, knowing that those brothers were in love with the first doppelganger, and her boys were in love (or at least felt *something) for that doppelganger potentially repeating the cycle of Tatia all over again. History does repeat itself after all on this show.
The Brothers and the Doppelganger2.0
What's nice to see though is that clearly OUR brothers do not want that repetition taking place again. Yes, they both love Elena, but they don't want to be torn apart again the way that Katherine did to them before. Of course, I'm still not seeing how Stefan's love is all that great. I mean, am I really supposed to just accept that Stefan loves Elena soooo much and take his comment about that feeling with any level of aww after the fuckery he's pulled? Even counting the shitty-ass way he treated her at the top of the episode? Just, yeah, no, I can't. But, I do know he loves her, I just don't think -- to use both his and Damon's words -- he deserves her, and I think he deserves her waaaaaaaaaay less than Damon at this point. I mean, in this episode, we had Stefan AGAIN taking a play out of the abusive boyfriend's handbook. I'm going to turn around and make you feel guilty for asking a perfectly valid question due to my behavior and remind me of your "betrayal." It was shifty and shitty and just pissed me off that Elena did seem to feel guilty, and slightly obsequious. Taking two steps back that I didn't think she had in last week's episode, but I felt a bit of in this scene.
I guess that's where some of my frustration with this episode came from. I felt like this scene with Stefan and Damon, and much of the Elena-discussion part of the dinner with Klaus was about equating Damon and Stefan in terms of affection relating to Elena and it felt wrong. As wrong as it would have been equating the two in season 01, or the first half or so of season 02 because Damon didn't *deserve* to be even be considered worthy of Elena's affection, let alone alongside Stefan. Right now, Stefan doesn't deserve to be alongside Damon. Not after what he's done. Not after fucking Wickery Bridge. Not two episodes later. And as a Damon/Elena fan, I will be infuriated if they start moving Stefan and Elena back into each other's romantic orbit when that fanbase had TWO YEARS of a love story, while we've kinda gotten six episodes (3.05-06/3.08-11). Not fair, no way, no how. Prove me wrong, show. PLEASE prove these sudden fears wrong and justify my faith in you. I beg of you.
Stefan is not the good guy right now and does not deserve to be welcomed back into anyone's loving bosom (except for Damon, hehehe) for quite some time. At least through the rest of this season. And it's not just his ripper, emotion-less, douchebaggery ways that are a problem. There's also his rampant idiocy rising to the fore again. Oh, Stefan. He REALLY is an idiot. He really, really is. I'm sorry, I love him, but he is! His whole attitude right now is causing way, way more harm than good (for everyone, including Elena). And he's being pissy with Damon because Damon had the audacity to *gasp* kiss the girl he ran out on months ago and since then has treated like utter crap for a few more months. I would feel more for Stefan since Damon is his brother and all had Stefan not done the same BUT WORSE while he was HUMAN to Damon over Katherine ... while Damon was still with her and not off killing people along the Eastern seaboard and being the world's biggest dick to the girl!
*Sigh* And then we had the only acknowledgement from him that his brother ISN'T an idiot being his halfhearted admission that it was a smart move to undagger Elijah. Of course, it was then followed by Stefan being pissy all over again. Still, I did love the overall sentiment of this final scene with them. Because the overall sentiment was that, yes, they don't want history to repeat (see: Damon not answering Elena's phone call right in front of Stefan), and they do love each other even if they won't say it. But the fact that they could say that love Elena to each other, I think, is actually a step in the right direction because that's certainly nothing they've ever admitted to each other (obviously more on Damon's end, but still) before now.
I also really, really liked their entire interaction during the dinner scenes. Damon was SUCH the big brother to Stefan's pissy, misbehaving younger brother. It was kinda adorable. And gave me my favorite line of the night: "Stef, remember when you killed dad, might wanna dial down the judgement til dessert." Oh, lordy, I lost it. SO LOST IT THERE! "Remember when you killed dad?" HAH! Then, of course, how quick Damon was to jump to Stefan's defense when Klaus was hurting/burning him. Oh, the love is there. They're getting SO close to admitting it to each other.
Finally, not so much about the brothers, but another moment I liked during this scenes was when Klaus casually mentioned that one of them would turn Elena into a vampire and we got no focus on Stefan because, well, why would we, we already know his thoughts on that. He wants her to be a vampire selfishly, but he doesn't want her turned because she doesn't want it and he knows it. (Well, the good Stefan anyway. Clearly, the asshole Stefan had no problem with it.) What was interesting was that we got Damon's reaction. The expression on his face read very much an almost abashed 'yup, that's the plan.' Which perfectly fits into my head-canon of Damon that, of course, were he and Elena committed to each other, she with him 100%, he would want to turn her so that they could be together forever.
The Doppelganger2.0, Family and Friends
And, boy, does it seem like Elena isn't as opposed to that idea now? I dunno. But the fact that her reaction to Bill being killed wasn't 'oh noes!' but rather an immediate jump to 'no problem! he has vampire blood, give him some human blood and he's good to go!' (Thanks to butterfly for pointing that one out to me.) She was pretty quick and cavalier to come to that conclusion. Yeah. So I do think she's actually coming around to that way of thinking, but it's a subconscious thing that she's not even aware of ... kinda like how she's been falling for Damon all along and she's just now beginning to realize that something there. But her not getting any inkling of that vampiric thought process of hers is fine because (a) Elena is denial-girl, and (b) it was in service of being a good friend to Caroline.
I mentioned above how we had some really great character stuff and that mostly popped into my head with regards to Caroline and Elena. I adored how Elena was so completely there for Caroline, and how we had that breather of a discussion where they talked about how Elena dealt with her dad dying to help Caroline try and deal a bit better. Although, I certainly did raise my brows a few times at Elena telling Caroline that she couldn't force Bill to drink blood even though Caroline wanted him to live because it was "his choice." I mean, really, Elena? You're the only one who can make a choice against their will for loved ones? Yes, yes, I know that Jeremy is underaged with his life ahead of him, and Bill is a man fully grown who's lived his life, but still, I will totally admit that, yeah, this time, there was definitely some hypocrisy on display there from Elena.
Still, the overall vibe of the scene was lovely because she was so there for Caroline, and it was a nice bit of the character's history adding a richness and depth to this aspect of the story. Which was really needed because it simply wasn't there in the Caroline/Bill scenes. And that is where what we've been seen versus shown really was evident in this episode. This is something that is normally not even remotely at play in The Vampire Diaries. Yet, it was here and, unfortunately, was mostly not good. Whereas the Elena/Caroline scenes really worked because we know these girls, we know their relationship, their friendship and love for one another, that connection was missing in the other equations.
First up, there was Caroline and Bill. We only got to know their relationship post-vampire!Caroline, and it was a Bill who did seem to hate, as well as love, Caroline, even if it was only for what she was. His protestations that he didn't hate her, he loved her, didn't affect me at all because I certainly didn't see much evidence that he loved his daughter more than he hated her vampirism. And when she said that she hated him, but didn't want him to die I was thrown out of it in both scenes because I seriously thought "when?" since we've never seen Caroline anything but loving daddy, metaphorically throwing herself prostrate at daddy's feet begging for him to love her. So when Bill died, I was not only not upset by the character's death (dude, he tortured Caroline *and* Tyler, and tried to take down my bb, Damon!), I didn't even connect with Caroline's grief because the relationship didn't feel real to me. And I admit it, I was frustrated that we finally get such a powerful moment of a human choosing to die rather than become a vampire ... and it was Bill. Who I don't give two royal fucks about. Geez. That choice should have been saved for a character that we knew and loved and would have mourned. Ah well.
The other connection that didn't quite connect for me? Matt and Elena. I loved the bridge scene between the two in "Our Town" because it was about Elena and the girl she used to be. It wasn't trying to connect Matt and Elena's past relationship and push that forward, it was her past saying goodbye. But in this episode, we're expected to be moved by this relationship that frankly has been almost entirely all tell, with very little showing. When Elena didn't call Damon when there was blood all over, when Alaric was found bleeding and dying, when she had to kill Alaric and he didn't wake up, and instead sat with Matt, taking comfort from him the whole time, it felt ... off. I didn't get why Elena was suddenly not reaching out to the one who had been her rock for months now just because ... uhm, the script didn't call for it? Sure she phoned Damon, but it was much later, after the blood was found, after she killed Ric, after Caroline's dad died, after Ric woke up. And Damon being someone she tells about major events like that AFTER THE FACT does not jibe with ANYTHING we've seen with them this season.
Plus, I'm wary and getting a scared feeling about Elena and Matt. We had the bridge scene in "Our Town," then Klaus' speech about Elena should settle down with a human (like, oh, Matt Donovan), and then Matt walking home with her, her asking him to stay with her ... well, it was worrisome. Especially when he agreed to stay with Elena and not go and see Caroline after Elena just told him her dad died. So, yeah, that was an issue for me too on top of the lack of Damon/Elena in the last few episodes, and Elena playing the guilty girlfriend with Stefan in their one scene. *sigh*
ETA: I don't really think they'll go there with Matt and Elena, and I wonder now if the whole point of this with these two was one of two reasons or maybe a mix of both. Firstly, that Damon decides it is what is best for Elena, and decides to push her in that direction. To make things right with Stefan and selflessly walk away from Elena romantically would certainly be in character for him. (Of course, I'd like then for Elena to be all 'uhm, no!') And secondly, Klaus is all pushing Matt romantically at Elena, and then as he starts to develop feelings for Caroline (speculation, but well, we know where the idea comes from), he sees that Matt is a rival for her affections and takes him out of the equation for Caroline, Elena or anyone.
However, whoa, Elena killing Alaric? Wow. And something she now has in common with Damon. It was interesting that we had that moment because it gave us two things -- one, Elena, completely and accepting fully that she's a supernatural entity, and secondly, once again, showing that she can and will do whatever she has to do to keep her "family" safe.
Not much on them because this was another less-than-stellar emotional gut-puncher simply because as great as Bonnie was in her confronting Abby, it didn't really connect because we don't know Abby. Perhaps if Bonnie had talked about her more to some degree prior to the last episode, perhaps if last week had been better written with these two? I don't know, but the only oomph! I felt from this was seeing that judgy behavior from Bonnie towards Abby that I expected in "The Ties That Bind." This was some well-deserved judgery from Bonnie that I loved! However, I will say that I liked Persia White as Abby much more in this episode and got a better sense of her character ... even if it was her selfish weakness. She, at least, felt more real to me than she did in Brian Young's outing.
And a small thing, but can i just say how much I positively adored that Damon referred to Bonnie and Abby as "my wicked witches." It literally made me go aww. Damon considers Bonnie his witch now. How far they've come!
One random this week ...
- So who is killing the council members? I had a very scary thought with Stefan's accusation about Damon, and the constant references to Damon's car that he'll become a red herring. I simply can't believe it could be him, though, because of Ric being staked. However, if Damon does become a red herring, Elena, Ric! *and* Liz better defend him! Now, since it's not him (no way, no how), then, who is it? It's just ... damn, who is doing it?!
Well, that's it. Again, it was en episode that had a LOT of awesome in it, but some disconnect that kept me from being in full OMG!AWESOME!SHOW! mode. And I miss Damon and Elena. Yes, we've gotten a lot of them this season, but it's been interspersed through so much of a Stefan, Elena/Stefan filter and we've had very little of them in the last two episodes (plus, there was a week between episodes). I want more. And I don't think I'm being greedy or impatient at all to want that more. Kevin Williamson claimed that Damon and the show "earned" getting some Damon/Elena time this season. Yeah, well, so did the Damon/Elena fanbase ... but we earned a helluva lot more than we've gotten. There better be a lot more coming. Don't disappoint cuz you know how much I love you show! :)