With that pre-cut text said, this was not my favorite episode EVAR! It felt somewhat like a filler episode, which is pretty hilarious when you think of all that happened here is what you'd generally see in a regular episode for other action-packed shows, or much more than would happen in most TV shows period, but for TVD, it was a filler episode! But it was sweet, solid filler!
I adored that Damon wasn't the fool who has been played as he appeared to be prior to the last scene. And it made perfect sense that he let Rebekah and Sage think that they played him, letting them burn the bridge because with Rebekah skulking around them -- which Damon had, naturally, picked up on -- there is no way that they could have hid getting wood from the bridge without her knowing. So it was a good plan (take that, Rebekah!) getting the Originals and Sage to think that they were safe, while Damon had back-up white oak hidden away. I love when Damon Salvatore is smarter than everyone in the room.
Oh, and on Sage, I do like her. She has a dry, sardonic quality that is interesting. We don't know much about her, but the actress, Cassidy Freeman, is making me want to know about her. And I'm curious to see what the reaction will be when Finn sees Sage again. Will it be a replay of the one not loving the other as much as was thought, ala the Damon/Katherine parallel -- and can I say how much I loved that?! Damon talking about Finn not caring as much for Sage because, while he's over Katherine, he knows exactly what it feels like to yearn and wait for a love and find out it wasn't reciprocated. On the other hand, will we find out that Finn did love Sage as much but figured that after nine hundred years, she'd moved on and/or was dead? Or could it be that he was so consumed with the guilt of what his family were and what they created that he put the greater good above their love? See, this is why I like Finn so much even though we barely saw him. There's so much potential and of interest there. And Damon's continued assessment of Finn as "creepy" cracks me up; I really need to see these two interact. I really, really do.
Interaction I'm kinda over? Sexytiems with Damon and Rebekah (and Damon and Sage … and Damon and any female who is not Elena Gilbert). Don't get me wrong, the sexytiems scenes were good, but I don't necessarily enjoy watching them anymore (despite the hot of Ian Somerhalder). I accept why Damon is getting it on with other women (keeping his distance from Elena, moving on, using his masculine wiles to get information), but I'm just not all that rah!rah!rah! about watching the scenes play out. I can see the hot, but it's in a detached way because, yeah, I just don't want to see Damon with other women. I'm a couple-girl first and foremost and my dislike has nothing to do with the story or characters. I liked Andie, I love Rebekah, I like Sage; it's simply the fact that I don't want to see Damon make out with anyone but Elena at this point. I'm over it.
With that said, the scenes with Rebekah -- particularly at the reconstruction site, and when he kissed her -- really hammered home something I've mentioned a time or two. Damon has NOT tried to seduce Elena ... like at all. He has not played her, has not played the Lothario, tried to use her attraction for him (which he damn well is aware of) against her. He's played real with her 100%, except when he's gone over the top, knowing that she could (and would) easily rebuff the obvious moves. But the standing just too close behind Rebekah, the reaching across to pick up the glass, and brushing against her at the site, and then the honeyed words at the boarding house designed to pierce right to the heart of her desire ("I don't want her, I want you") was Damon in pure, seductive, don't-know-what-hit-you mode, and he's never laid that on Elena. He's never played her like that, had he ... that girl would have been in his bed a LOOOOONG time ago, but he wouldn't have her heart. And wanting all of her, and wanting her to honestly, truthfully, completely want all of him is his heart's desire.
Still, Damon seducing. Damon dancing. Damon naked in bed. Damon naked in the shower. Damon walking around/kneeling in only an towel. I can't not be a wee squeeful about that. Because, yeah, the Ian Somerhalder is HAWT! factor. Uh huh.
On the other hand, interaction that I can never get tired of? Damon and Stefan! Although, it did take a backseat in tonight's episode, I do enjoy seeing the strains of the continued moderation tutorial from Damon for his baby bro. I do hope (and I actually am hopeful) that Stefan's success with Meredith (yay for Paul! He finally got to be in a scene with his wife!) and crowing to Damon about being in control wasn't the end of the moderation storyline. Because, dude, it can't be that easy. Still, par for the course, it certainly fits Stefan's character that he'd react as such, and Elena's as well, believing it's that simple with her look of shiny hope his way after he resisted Meredith's bloody bloodiness all over the place. But more on Elena and her interaction with the Salvatore boys later. First, I'd like to touch upon Damon and Alaric and what is going on with their friendship.
It's clear that Damon cares about Ric, and is his friend. See his showing up at the jail last week, keeping tabs on what was going on (knowing he was released), then showing up at the hospital this week, and of course, the final scene with the two where Damon was awesome. What's just as clear is that we're still not getting much from Ric's side at all. I mentioned in my write-up for last week's episode that we had three mentions of Damon being Ric's friend, but nothing reciprocal, and Damon's statement that he has no one (which would include Ric) but Stefan.
In this episode, it was a bit more of the same. Damon being there for Ric as much as he's allowing himself (what with the whole pulling away because he's believes he's not wanted thing that Damon has going on), and Ric simply not giving a damn. Still, I remain hopeful this is deliberate because of the above continued reminder that Damon is Ric's friend, and two other things in this episode. First up, there is the big factor that the ring clearly brings on vampire-hating-feelings. His whole creepy speech to Meredith about her lack of remorse, and his even creepier letter to Jeremy (!) made that crystal clear. Therefore since the ring is all vampires suck!, it makes perfect sense that Ric would be ambivalent about his BFF being a vampire and thus not respond appropriately BFF-like to said vampire BFF. Secondly, when he had the opportunity to explain to Meredith why he was friends with Damon, he didn't. Maybe, with the ring's influence, he couldn't.
So, yeah, I'm hopeful, because with the ring creating this issue, it explains Ric's attitude towards Damon popping up in "Disturbing Behavior," the first time we saw him interact with him since putting the ring back on after months of not wearing it. It also explains Alaric's continued douchiness directed at Damon despite his looking out for Ric, watching his back, healing him, helping out with Elena, and generally being a pretty damn good friend. (Okay, fine, minus the neck-snap, but in vampire-speak, a neck-snap that doesn't result in death is simply a time-out when tempers are running high.) And that good friend-ness was beautifully on display in that final scene between the two.
Damon sat by his bed to make sure that Bonnie's spell worked, ensuring (a) that Ric would be okay, and (b) that if he wasn't, Elena wouldn't be in danger. He also did so with tact (Meredith!), putting a gentle spin on why Ric needed to head on over and recuperate at his loft, as opposed to in Elena's home where the vampire(s)-loving gal would be easy access to Ric's potential vampire-hating impulses. Like last week, I liked how we got some lovely shows, instead of tells. We saw Damon's tact, Damon's growth, Damon obviously still caring for both Elena and Ric, but keeping the distance that he believes they want from him. Ah, such wonderful continued proof of the evolution of my bb! ♥
While Elena's is still very, very much a work in progress. Oh, Elena. Elena, Elena, Elena. Clearly, girl is still doing her take-two-steps-back game. I didn't find her judgmental with Stefan in the previewed clip (seeing him with the blood bag) as others had, but I did find her so with Damon. And, yeah, it's par for the course. Elena has her clearly defined boxes for the two boys. Damon is "bad," and Stefan is "good." Of course, they certainly help her maintain these strict lines with the image of themselves they present to her. What's interesting is that for the first time, Stefan is clearly trying to be honest with her, while Damon is being his most dishonest with her in that he's laying the whole assy attitude without any softening really thick even though we know he does care ... about her, about Alaric, about Stefan.
Still this attitude of his -- deliberate on Damon's part to keep that distance (like with Alaric) that he believes she wants -- is only strengthening her less than kind attitude towards him. To me, it does make sense -- although it is frustrating -- that she continues to hold such anger towards Damon. In "1912," Elena said it herself, in so many words -- "no matter what I do" -– that she doesn't want to feel what she does for him. So the best way to counteract those feelings is to hold onto her anger. Which, again, Damon is aiding and abetting by being such an ass. On the other hand, I don't think that Elena is looking to jump back into a romantic relationship with Stefan (even Damon referred to their 'in love' phase in the past tense and as we know Damon is this show's truth-teller so now we know it's fact), but rather what I reflected on after "Dangerous Liaisons."
That night was "the first time that she saw her Stefan as the evening progressed, and so that girl that blindly loved him saw a chance to recapture the happy euphoria of pretense amidst the crazy that she shared with him, and she jumped on it." If Stefan can return to the Stefan that she knew, then maybe she can return to a happier (albeit somewhat delusional) place. Elena is alone, and now more than ever. She's adrift. She lost her parents, then Jenna (and John), then Stefan, but she had the girls, and she had Jeremy and Alaric in their new family unit and Damon was there for her 100%. Now, Jeremy (!!) is gone for his own good, Bonnie needs Caroline more than her at this particular time, and she and Bonnie hadn't made inroads yet. On top of that, Alaric's a sometime psycho killer, and Damon has pulled back his emotional support (her fault, yes, for her words and actions in "Dangerous Liaisons," but still). So it makes perfect sense that when she sees that side of Stefan, she's going to hold onto it with shiny hope (see, I said I'd come back to that!). However, I didn't see her attitude toward him at any point in this episode as romantic -- even those bright eyes after he helped Meredith and resisted the blood. Whereas her interaction with Damon -- although negative -- did speak of a more romantic connection in that she (and he) are both denying their true feelings (of love and yearning) for one another.
Oh, and getting back to that sometime serial killer Alaric, let's not forget that he was also planning on indoctrinating her baby brother (!!!) into his master plan. (Which, of course, she denied. Because she is Elena, queen of the Nile!) Dude, how freaking creepy was that letter?!! Oh, lordy. I doubt that Ric ever shared any of that with him since Jeremy (!!!!) wasn't virulently anti-vampire when he left, but that it was even out there (okay, locked away in a drawer) is just … really, really creepy! But at least it led us to that phone call with JEREMY (!!!!!). Such a lovely surprise to see his beautiful baby face again, smiling, normal, heading out to hang with his friends … and wearing the EVIL SERIAL-KILLER-MAKING-RING!!!
Ah, but seeing him was lovely, if bittersweet because it really underscored where Elena is. I just don't get people hating on her; I really don't. This girl has lost so much, over and over again, and she's alone. Damon is causing her pain right now because of his self-esteem issues and hurt feelings. Yes, yes, she said something "mean" to him in a highly stressful situation, but from her point of view, she doesn't realize that he is holding back because he thinks it's what she wants. She sees someone that she cares deeply for who she believed cared for her being a total jerk and not forgiving her for one harsh comment despite the fact that she has forgiven him time and time again for SO MUCH WORSE.
Alaric has moved out to recuperate. Stefan and their love is past. Bonnie has forgiven her, but the events that led them to that point where forgiveness was needed still weigh very heavily on her mind. Caroline is being the friend to Bonnie, and despite how close she and Elena are, of the three it's always been Bonnie and Elena, and Caroline and Bonnie that had the stronger connections. And how alone Elena is right now was poignantly made clear as she was cleaning up in the kitchen and then she turned around. The camera pulled back to show this 18-year old girl standing in a big, empty room, in a big, empty house all alone.
Not as alone, but about to face a kind of devastation that Elena (fortunately) has never felt is Bonnie. Oh, Bonnie. My poor Bonnie. Abby sucks. SO HARD. So, so, so, sooooooooooo hard! What a selfish, selfish person. But, we already knew that, right? I wrote about Abby when we first met her:
I do have to say that Bonnie was a lot nicer to her mom than 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?"And, now that she doesn't have her magic, she's high-tailing it out of dodge again. So pathetic. I just have nothing more to say about her than that. She's not worth my time. Nor is she worth Bonnie's. Bonnie deserves so much more.
As much as Elena has lost, Bonnie has lost a crap-ton as well, and, unlike Elena, anyone that she has to turn to colludes with and/or is a vampire, so that comfort is at war with her nature as a witch. Still, she is such an awesome friend, and has grown so much since season 01 in her acceptance of the vampire-crazy around her. And I thought that Kat Graham did a wonderful job tonight, especially in her scenes about/with Elena. The way she paused and made herself say something nice-ish to her at the end of the phone call was so believably done. Then that final scene between her and Elena was lovely. The distance still there, before Elena tried to break it with her apology and unable to resist, Bonnie took her in her arms, forgiving Elena for what they both know isn't Elena's fault, but is all happening because of what Elena is. Just … really lovely scene, and well-played by both actresses.
Also well-played, every scene by Candice Accola, especially her scene with Abby where she used her history with her father to try and get that selfish
Oh, and speaking of her and Jamie, I was surprised to find that he and Caroline seemed to strike a natural connection that was wholly missing with Bonnie. Especially in the so-baldly (and, yes, badly) stated 'we're not related so let's make googly eyes at each other' scene. It didn't help that (a) Bonnie is in the midst of this whole thing with her witch-turned-vampire mom, and the situation with Elena, that I didn't buy her even remotely thinking of liking a boy! And (b) In their few scenes, Accola and Robert Ri'chard had chemistry, whereas I felt nothing in his scenes with Graham here or in their past interaction. It's okay, though, we saw Jeremy (!!!!!!), so maybe he's coming back soon and he'll make it up to Bonnie and I'll get my rainbows-sunshine-and-puppies couple again! They have chemistry!
Phew, onto the brief random stuffies …
- I think I figured out my Meredith-problem. They paired her with Alaric. I like Matt Davis, I do. And I like Alaric -- alas, truth be told, I can't say I love him anymore. The thing is that other than the scene where Isobel compelled Alaric at the end of "Isobel," I haven't felt anything with regards to his romantic prospects. I liked Jenna WAY MORE when she was not in her romantic storyline with Alaric. I like Meredith, but with Alaric, and their whole "romance," I'm bored. It's certainly not helped by the utter lack of chemistry between Davis and Torrey Devitto. Ah well.
- Aha! I was right about Rebekah's motivations last week. I wrote: "… poor Rebekah is still just looking for someone to bond with. Saint Stefan's a bust, Tyler is off breaking his bond to sire-Klaus, Elena stabbed her in the back, she's likely still miffed at Klaus, Kol took off, so Rebekah is giving Damon a try now." Again, ah well.
- Erm, show, could you not place the Damon/Elena scenes under the credits please? Especially when they have only one scene in the episode as happened this week *and* last week. *sigh*
- So, we did find out explanations for Ric and his arrests for fighting, but I figured there was a legitimate reason behind those for the most part. It was the whole two restraining orders that Isobel took out on him that I'm curious about. Come'on, show, spill!
- Once more for the road … JEREMY!!!!!!!
This was a fairly low-key episode, but it's one that the more you think about just gets lovelier. I really do enjoy the subtle, gentle writing of Rebecca Sonnenshine. Like her previous episodes ("Ghost World" and "Our Town"), she creates this graceful portrait that highlights where these people are emotionally. A filler one this episode may be, but it still is an engaging, solid effort that fits nicely within the season as a whole.