Arabian (arabian) wrote,

3.18 - 'The Murder of One' (The Vampire Diaries)

I did watch this last night, but as I said, I'm going with the delay in writing these reaction posts now. Here be the result. :)

Expectations are a bitch. It's really as simple as that. Even without the episode preview that featured the close moment between Damon and Elena, and the still of Elena seemingly rescuing Damon -- which with lighting and low video quality looked like they could be from two different scenes, I still had an expectation that the gang, or at least Stefan, Elena and Alaric, would rescue Damon. I hoped that it would be a reverse of the Stefan rescue in "Let the Right One In," which led me to expect much more than what we got. I had this expectation that the rescue would occupy enough of the episode because whenever anyone else in the gang is kidnapped and/or tortured (Stefan, Caroline, Elena) and others are aware of it, there is a high level of urgency and much discussion and airtime devoted to rescuing said person who's been kidnapped.

But, yeah, expectations are a bitch, especially when they don't really track with the reality of the show. Damon always gets himself in and out of jams. People rarely ever have to go and rescue him. The attack from Lee in "Bloodlines," the fire he was trapped in during "Founder's Day," and the werewolf bite setting in during "As I Lay Dying," are the only times, and the first was before anyone but Stefan cared about him, the second a quick-rescue and then Damon was pretty much fine right away. Then the last one only had Elena seeing him in a weakened state, and that's all it was ... a weakened state. He didn't appear in pain or physically messed up and bloody. He was weak in the square, and then really sweaty on top of that in the bed. Which goes to that as much as Damon gets hurt, beaten upon, etc., the others don't see him that way, and he certainly never would let them think upon and/or linger on him in such a way because that would be a weakness he isn't comfortable letting anyone see.

Plus, Caroline and Bonnie don't like him. Alaric, hopefully still under the effects of the ring, doesn't appear to like Damon all that much either. Stefan is once more consumed by Kill!Klaus! and so nothing else matters. It's only when that plan falls through and Damon is still in danger that Stefan moved to rescue Damon. And Elena? Well, we've seen in the past three and half episodes that Damon has rebuilt the walls around his heart, and is trying to keep Elena at bay by pushing her away as much as possible. And it's working. I believe that Elena has begun resurrecting her own walls. The Damon who was there for her so completely, the Damon that she'd been falling so hard for disappeared when a more normal Stefan came back into the picture, and so to save her own heart from hurt, she's now done the same thing that Damon has. She's put her emotions and feelings for him behind a wall so that he can't hurt her. A telling moment was during the scenarios session. Damon walked over to her and put his hands on her arms, pulling her over to play Klaus, and she reacted immediately, rolling her eyes and then began to pull away from him to the point where Damon noticed and made a quick conciliatory gesture.


Whereas these two have had very comfortable physical interaction in the past, that's all gone now. She does NOT want to get close to him, emotionally or physically, because she doesn't want to get hurt again -- as she was after he slept with Rebekah. Fair or not, she felt betrayed, and the hurt was all over her in All My Children, and so just as he'd been pulling away, she has to now. He wants to push her away, okay, he's succeeding. And then again we go back to my first point that Damon ALWAYS gets out of scrapes, and since we didn't see a reaction to Damon all bloody and messed up from anyone, I think it's a safe assumption that Stefan had blood bags for him in the car, and that Damon had at least buttoned his shirt, covering up the blood that would have stained his chest and abdomen when he entered the house. Therefore, Elena wasn't even pushed for a reaction because she didn't see him in that state almost assuredly.

And, truthfully, we did get reactions. Elena did want to put the Kill!Klaus! plan on hold to rescue Damon, and was thrown from it because of Stefan's refusal to help. Did it suck from a Damon/Elena fangirl point of view who wanted to see her rush off to try and formulate her own plan? Of course it did, still, repeating myself, but it *is* true: Damon ALWAYS gets out of scrapes, and no one ever sees the results of any torture that is inflicted upon him by others. Beyond Lee trying to kill Damon in "Bloodlines" and Bonnie setting him afire in "Brave New World," Elena's never actually seen him in true physical pain that was being intentionally inflicted upon him (ie, not the effects of the werewolf bite). And Damon roused from those torturous events fairly quickly with a snarky comeback and nonchalant attitude. So, it makes sense that when she's resurrected walls to keep her distance, and when they are in the middle of a plan that should ostensibly take care of the Originals, thus rescuing Damon in one fell swoop, they stick to that plan.

And Bonnie was clearly horrified by the sight of Damon, but what she could do? She was already in an incredibly emotional fragile state (forced to do Klaus' bidding to save Jeremy and Abby) stacked atop an already incredibly emotional fragile state (Abby abandoning her again) and *that* was stacked upon an already emotional state (Abby killed and turned). Plus, would Klaus and/or Rebekah really have let her rescue Damon right in front of them? Of course not. It was a game, and Klaus would have just as likely killed her had she not walked away. But the first thing she did when free and clear was to call Elena and let her know about Damon. She didn't call specifically about the unlinking spell because she didn't know that was going on. She called to tell Elena that Klaus had Damon. And then she broke down. Oh, Bonnie.

Also, once Stefan knew the Originals had been unlinked and that the others were still around, there was a definite urgency from him to rescue Damon. Urgency that Elena didn't even recognize for what it was because she's so recently seen Stefan at his worst and thought he was heading there again. Looking at it from Elena's point of view, she'd already lost *her* Damon, and she was finally getting *her* Stefan back ... she didn't want to lose that side of both of them. And, yet again, Damon ALWAYS gets out of scrapes. Of course, he'd be fine. It wasn't as if Bonnie told Elena or anyone else just how she had seen Damon. And none of them knew the depths to which Rebekah would go to punish Damon. Whatever it was, it was Damon, he could take it. He always does.

Now with all of this said, there was a section that no amount of rationalization could make work for me. That would be the part after Sage and Troy died. Prior to their arrival, Stefan had urgently been heading out to save Damon. Sage and Rory show up, they fight, then they die. We come back and all sense of urgency to save Damon was gone, wiped clean from the room. Instead, they are all literally standing/sitting around trying to work out a mystery ... WHILE DAMON IS STILL BEING HELD BY REBEKAH AND KLAUS! The solving of the mystery should have waited until afterwards. Heck, even taking into account the timing of a television show and how points and reveals are relayed, at least have Stefan tell the others to figure it out while he went after Damon. Then give us a pacing Elena, or some sign of worry about Damon, with the trying to figure out the mystery being done mostly as a distraction.

Those scenes just left me feeling a huge WTF!? when all other less urgent moments about Damon's kidnapping I could justify. Not that one. And all other rationalization aside, the reason this episode did still hurt from a fangirl-point of view is because my heart was breaking for Damon throughout. He was going through so much physical and emotional torture and the reaction from everyone else -- understandable enough when taking everything into account -- made it feel like his kidnapping was an afterthought once they took care of the important stuff. As if Damon's suffering wasn't important. {Sobs}

Partly why it was so painful is that it's what Damon would have expected, and it completely confirmed his perception in "1912," when he told Stefan that he was all that Damon had. So pain aside, I am looking at the events that happened here as part of the bigger story. Based on the preview for the next episode, Damon seems shocked to the core that Elena COULD have feelings for him and that reaction wouldn't make sense had we seen her with him, reacting to the torture, rushing into the fray heedlessly to save him. Even though, he so clearly wants to believe that such a thing is possible, as the show, yet again, let us see what was in Damon's heart. He wanted Elena to come and rescue him; he wanted Elena to offer a part of herself with no hesitation to save him. He wanted Elena to care. Which, of course, we already knew. But just in case anyone had any doubt that his feelings, his love for her, had lessened due to the events of "Dangerous Liaisons" ... nope. (If I'm going to have a non-lovey-dovey Damon/Elena gif, I'm going with a couple of lovey-dovey ones as well, even if it's hallucinated.)


Sigh. Now, we just need to get this from Elena. And I do believe it is coming. While I had a slight issue with the Stefan and Elena scene at the end in that I saw nothing in this episode or anything previously (other than the brief moment at the end of "The Reckoning") that would explain Stefan suddenly seeing that Elena is in love with Damon, I absolutely loved Elena's response. Because that is exactly what I would expect her to say. Elena has her own expectation of what love is. She thought she loved Matt, but it was just puppy love, based on their many years as friends. She loves Stefan, but she believed it was the all-encompassing, forever and always, kind of love. Yet, in "The Last Day," she told Stefan that she didn't even know what love was. That line was so very telling to me. Yes, she backtracked immediately, but she said it. When she thought she would die, when she was being as honest as she'd ever been with Stefan, she told him -- the boy she claimed she would love always -- that she wasn't even sure that she knew what love was. And then we get to Damon. What she feels for him, how she feels it for him, and all of the bad and ugly mixed in with the good and sweet doesn't fit her definition of love as she's known it. So then what does she feel for him? She has no idea because it isn't what she felt for Matt, and it's not what she feels for Stefan, and she was so sure it was love with Matt ... until she wasn't and then she met Stefan. And she was so sure it was forever love with Stefan ... until these months with Damon and what's been happening under the surface all along building between them. So she does not know. She really, really doesn't know.

However, I go back to wishing we had one moment, one something -- stronger than the conversation outside with Stefan -- that led to Stefan realizing Elena is in love with Damon. I loved that Stefan took that step outside of denial-ville to see that, but I just wish we'd SEEN what moment clicked for him. And I don't know who to blame for that lack ... the writing? the direction? the acting? Could there have been a moment, a look, a hitching of breath, a line in that earlier scene or even in the scene when Stefan was rushing off to save Damon that would have given me that click moment from Stefan? Yes, there could and should have been. But I'll take what the scene gave us at least because the entire conversation played completely true to where I believe both Stefan and Elena are right now.

Elena's "I never stopped loving you," I didn't read in the slightest as Elena essentially saying 'I'll get back together with you, boo. Just say the word.' Stefan was acting the closest to how he did when he returned in "The New Deal" through "The Ties That Bind," and that was a very, very scary, unpredictable Stefan who is a hop and a skip away from Ripper!Stefan. Elena does not want to see the return of that Stefan, and so she was concerned about that, more than the situation with Damon, yes, because (I know, dead horse, but ...) Damon always gets out of scrapes. Physically, he'll heal, but if Stefan steps over that ledge again, will he come back this time? Her "I never stopped loving you," I read, as her attempt to get him to realize that he didn't lose everything.

She was telling him that he hadn't lost her, that she did still love him. Which, she does. Of course she does. I've never doubted that Elena still loved him, but note how Elena said "love," and Stefan said "also in love with," implying that HE believes she's still in love with him (which I don't believe). And his earlier statement essentially saying that it's because of his absence and how he pushed her away that she fell for Damon gave us the in-denial side of Stefan we all know and not necessarily love. It's just that for the first time it was tempered with that huge step he took in admitting that Elena was in love with Damon. I absolutely believe that had Stefan not brought up Damon, and had instead talked about them getting back together, Elena -- despite her declaration that she never stopped loving him -- would have hemmed and hawed, talked about how he has stuff he needs to work through, that she's his friend, and she'll stand by him, but that rushing into things was not the best idea ... etc., so on and so forth.

Elena said what she did because she thought it was what he needed to hear to keep him from tipping over the edge again. And notice, that even as she said it, she wasn't impassioned, and she made no physical move to match her words. There was no reaching out to touch his face, even his hand or arm as Elena is wont to do. She was merely offering it as a statement of fact, but she did so without an ounce of passion. There was no love with a capital L in her voice. They were just words -- words of fact -- but just words designed to keep him on an even keel, her relaying her feelings at a base point that would get the job done. She is *not* in love with him anymore, even if she does still love him. And interestingly enough, Stefan showed little reaction, passionate or otherwise, to those words himself. His response was relayed in almost the same manner as hers, but with just a tad more emotion. Yes, you love me, as I love you, but ... you're in love with my brother. That was the focal point of his bringing the subject up.

Stefan wasn't bringing up their love because he thinks they should get back together, he was using it as a jumping point to bring up how she's in love with Damon. And Elena didn't respond with her statement of love because she thinks they should get back together, but rather as a salve to keep Stefan from going back into Ripper!land. And once Stefan brought Damon into the discussion, per usual as of late, Elena lost train of any other thought and focused on that. Were she still in love with Stefan, and not in love with Damon, she would have continued to push Stefan about them and their love. Now, instead, she was caught completely on what is going on between her and Damon. It wasn't Stefan and Elena's love, and certainly not their relationship, that was the focus of that conversation. It was Damon and Elena's love.

Which we'll see some more exploration in the next episode (woohoo! lovely preview of an episode that's waaaaaaaaaaaay too far away) while they tap into Jeremy's ghostly communication skills to get some more information on the bloodlines. Ooh, those bloodlines, very interesting. I love this twist, and it's one I've played with to a degree in my mind, but I honestly never thought they'd go there. I love that they did. One Original is going to have to survive if we want all of our vampires (minus Tyler possibly, eh) to live. I'd say Klaus since Joseph Morgan is a regular cast member, and that saves Tyler too (eh). In addition, it keeps the whole doppelganger thing running. And as much as I do like Elijah, it would rather kill some suspense if he was the only Original around what with his whole Zen morality that only occasionally takes dips into the nasty side.

Honestly, I think that Rebekah would be the funniest and most unpredictable one simply because, man, just imagine it? If they want to live they need to keep this petulant, spoiled brat with a propensity for threats and torture around who would have no reason to not kill Elena if Klaus is gone. Whoo, boy! Alas, despite the fun of Rebekah as their generations-old vampire mommy, I do think that whichever direction they go, she is pretty much aTruly!Dead!Original!walking. I think it's probably going to be Klaus, though. If for no other reason than his not wanting Elena to turn (or be with a vampire period because he wants her to procreate... and ew!) would add a series-long, icky obstacle to the Elena/Damon (or fine, Elena/Stefan) relationship.

Plus, I don't think they'd let go of the doppelganger angle when there still is much left unexplored there. Also, if Klaus isn't the daddy, Damon will have no problem staking his ass even if it kills Tyler as long as Elena remains safe from Klaus' clutches, so, yeah, I don't see how it's not going to be Klaus. Unless they plan on killing Tyler? Y/y? Hmm.... Elijah could still stick around since he wouldn't cause them any obvious problems or want to kill Elena, and could potentially help keep Klaus in check. But, yeah, I'm betting on it being Klaus. But, man, oh man, how is Klaus redeemed in any way to keep the Klaus/Caroline potential relationship open? I'm just not seeing it now at all. Other than turning Caroline to the dark side -- which would be mondo-cool, and would tie into her admitting to Alaric that she liked killing Carter -- I can't see my sunshine, B+ girl with Klaus. No way, no how, no matter how sweet and puppy-eyed at her he is. Klaus is an evil, unmitigated bad guy. Although, I did like how they brought up the friendship angle from Klaus' point-of-view again between him and Stefan, where Klaus basically told Stefan he was allowing Stefan to hate him so that he didn't have to hate himself. And, of course, Klaus being the clueless one that he is, doesn't get that being an irredeemable, evil asshole is not a way to win and keep friends. But, what can you expect? He is a sociopath. Period. Sure he feels all warm fuzzies for his little buddy, and puppy love for the pretty girl, but it doesn't take that evil away.

And Rebekah is right alongside him. I love her. I do; I love her evil and her crazy, and her petulant, spoiled brattiness, and her vulnerability and desire to just be loved. Claire Holt is wonderful. Truly. Ah, that moment where she revealed that she did believe that Damon had true feelings for her (oh, Rebekah) broke my heart because it was so swiftly, so beautifully played, but ... Rebekah *is* an evil, crazy, petulant, spoiled, bratty, vindictive, little bitch. She really, really is. No one, NO ONE, can ever be safe with her. And that means, my love for Stefan/Rebekah must be stricken away! Which leaves ... dun, dun, dun! STEFAN AND CAROLINE!!! (It always comes back to them, doesn't it?) And, ooh, ooh, they shared a two-line conversation in this episode and she acknowledged him with her preference for well-adjusted Stefan. Not that he ever really was, dear, but still ... I'll take what I can get. :)

Speaking of Caroline, I enjoyed her (first, I'm pretty sure) one on one scene with Alaric. Mostly from her end, as he's still on my shitlist. I love her honesty with the vampire situation. She may be closer to Stefan, but she's definitely more accepting of her situation as a vampire like Damon than Stefan is. Alas, as much as I enjoyed Caroline, and Candice Accola's lovely performance, I'm getting quite tired of Ric not caring about Damon. Damon is kidnapped and tortured and all we get from Ric is, "You're still alive?" Yes, it wouldn't have been bothersome at all when they were friends, but when we're constantly getting obvious signs from Damon's end that he cares, while Ric continues to treat Damon like he barely tolerates him, it's not funny any longer. However, I'm holding out hope that Ric's continued crappy treatment of Damon is a hint to us that Bonnie's herbs aren't 100% doing their job. Because, dude, I can't deal with Ric's continued crappy treatment of my bb Damon much longer.

One other thing regarding Alaric and his vampire-hating alter-ego: I've read a few different people complain about the cliffhanger at the end of the episode, and I don't quite get the issue with it as those comments appeared to miss the main point of why it was cliffhangery. The cliffhanger wasn't that Ric's alter-ego was coming out to play still. The cliffhanger was that Rebekah/Klaus had let Damon and Stefan go on the condition that (from Rebekah's end) she won't kill both brothers, and (from Klaus' end) he won't wage war upon everyone that Stefan loves IF they bring ALL the stakes back. With Ric's vampire-hating alter-ego having hid the stake, they are screwed because Ric doesn't know where it is, and the vampire-hating alter-ego won't give it up. Even if they bring that Ric out and threaten him, he won't give up its location if it means that Damon and Stefan (vampires) will die, and that he has a weapon that could potentially eradicate TONS of other vampires. So by that stake being hidden as it was, the brothers have a ticking death time clock against them from Rebekah, and everyone that Stefan cares about -- which, technically, would honestly be ... uhm, okay, no one as Stefan only cares about Damon and Elena ... and Rebekah will kill Damon, while Klaus will kidnap/keep Elena hostage. So, yeah, Damon and Stefan will die at the cruel, hard hands of Rebekah if they don't retrieve that stake, and Elena will truly become just Klaus' human blood bag. And they have absolutely NO WAY of getting it from alter-ego Ric. Yes, they'll obviously get out of it, but the cliffhanger question is how?

Okay, then, onto randoms --

- I was bummed about Elena not mentioning Damon in her list to Caroline about supernaturals who didn't have a choice, but butterfly gave me a much better point of view about that. The fact that she DIDN'T mention Damon is actually on the plus side because it showed that she REALLY paid attention to him on his deathbed. Damon told her that he blamed Stefan so long for his turning, but he admitted to Elena then that it was his choice. He chose to drink Katherine's blood willingly, he chose to become a vampire to be with her. Just because circumstances played out differently at the end didn't detract from the fact that out of all of the supernatural creatures we know (outside of the dead Isobel), Damon is the only one who made the willing, conscious choice to become a vampire. He wasn't compelled to drink her blood, as Stefan was. He wasn't forced to do so to save his life, as Katherine was. He wasn't turned by someone else against his will, as Caroline was. He wasn't born into it ala Elena and Bonnie, for instance. He chose to become this supernatural creature. And that is why Elena didn't mention him.

- I still say the moonstone in the soap dish was brilliant, but I liked that the writers could still tease themselves about people mocking it. But seriously, Katherine looked EVERYWHERE for that thing. She found the moonstone by pure happenstance. On what planet would Damon suddenly figure that Katherine would go into his bathroom to wash her hands? It was a fabulous hiding spot. I will maintain that till the end!

- The playing out the different scenarios at the top of the show was a lot of fun, but I didn't like Caroline saying Rebekah was desperate in sleeping with Damon because Caroline did the exact same thing, and it just had an uncomfortable undertone. And then it was further worsened when we got a reaction shot of Elena laughing at Damon about it. Still, I did like that Damon now has a nickname for Matt. Busboy. Heh.

- So I'm taking Elena's conversation with Stefan to imply that she has forgiven him for his actions on Wickery Bridge. (Sure something may still come with it, but I'm not pinning any hope to it.) And I've decided to be okay with it because it truly is in character. Elena forgave Bonnie for lying to her and nearly getting Stefan and Damon, thus Stefan nearly again, killed. She forgave Caroline for lying to her and setting her and Stefan up at Katherine's bidding. She forgave Tyler for nearly turning her into werewolf-dinner and bringing Brady to the lakehouse with the very real chance that he would have killed Stefan and nearly killed her. She forgave Elijah for ruining their first grand!kill!Klaus plan, and for kidnapping and siccing his crazy sister on her. She forgave Rose for kidnapping and slapping her around. Then we get to the biggie! She forgave Damon for using Caroline as a sex/chew toy, and for chomping on Bonnie, nearly killing her, and for force-feeding his blood to turn her into a vampire against her will, oh, and the biggest biggie of all ... for SNAPPING HER BROTHER'S NECK. Had Jeremy not been wearing the ring, he would have been killed, most likely turned into a vampire, but still ... DEAD. Elena Gilbert is a forgiver, and she doesn't hold grudges. That's who she is. If she hadn't forgiven Stefan for what he did to her, it would have been out of character. This girl has a threshold for forgiveness that is ridiculous insane, but it's very well-established.

- I mentioned Bonnie above, but I wanted to touch upon her again. When she started to break on the phone, and then just lost it once she hung up -- gah, it was so heartbreaking. I just ... man, Kat Graham cries so prettily and so heartrendingly. Whenever Bonnie loses it, it's just gutwrenching. Oh, Bonnie.

- Jeremy again!!! Yay!! (Even if only in product placement.) And the fact that he's being used as a tool to control Bonnie is giving me renewed hope that my sunshine-and-puppies couple still have a shot! WHEE!!

- Heh, I LOVED the episode title. Yup, it was the murder of one, when it was meant to be them all. Clever.

- So, I was right to be a hopeful romantic about Sage/Finn. Erm, yay? Just so sad. They waited nine hundred years for each other (her more than him what with his whole coffin/staked downtime), and got a few hours before he was killed. And then Sage went bye-bye right afterwards. Ah well, maybe they'll reunite in ghost world! Hopeful romantic optimism for the win!

- Once again, the plan massively fails because Damon is out of the loop. Damon would have thought of all contingencies. Stefan? Not so much. When Elena was unable continuously to not get a hold of Bonnie, he would have been suspicious. Stefan? Not so much. Damon would have taken into account that Stefan probably would have been vervain-free. Stefan? Not so much. Damon would have broken down a few stakes to make smaller ones so that the number remained the same. Stefan? Not so much. Boo, leave the plan-making to your brother.

- Finally on completely shallow notes: Claire Holt looked absolutely GORGEOUS in this episode. I love, love, LOVE her hair like that. Also gorgeous and with fairly good-looking hair? Ian Somerhalder. Even cut up and bleeding, he's still so very, very pretty. *Sigh*

Phew! So, taking the Damon, Damon/Elena fangirl-sensibility out of it, this was a great episode ... but for that one section that inexplicably lacked any sense of urgency. It did hurt a bit as a fangirl, I'll admit, but I'm holding out hope that heading into the homestretch, we'll be rewarded. A few more weeks of reruns and then our final four episodes of the season are coming! And, maybe, just maybe I am buying into those potentially-nasty expectations again, but looking at the season as a whole, it points to some good Damon/Elena ... it really, really does. It is what makes the most narrative sense, and this show does follow it's narrative logic. :)
Tags: bonnie bennett, candice accola, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/elena, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, gifs, jeremy/bonnie, rebekah mikaelson, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv

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