Arabian (arabian) wrote,

3.21 - 'Before Sunset' (The Vampire Diaries)

Sorry for the delay. My first at-home-on-time Vampire Diaries viewing since 3.03 was last night .. and so, of course, I had a migraine. Of course. Also, I watched The Avengers this morning (spoiler alert: AWESOME!) ... so, yeah, just getting to this now. P I'm still having issues with the fact that Stefan has yet to (and likely will not ever) suffer any actual consequences his misdeeds. Nor will there be even a hint of fallout over the things he said and did to Elena. However, there is one episode left, so I will save that discussion mostly until after the season is over, instead I will focus on the specifics of this episode.

First of all, character MVPs tonight were easily Damon and Klaus. Damon isn't the surprise (certainly not for me), but Klaus did indeed surprise me. But I loved just about every single moment with him tonight. I, especially loved the scenes where he kept throwing different objects into the Gilbert house to push them into granting him entry, so cracked me up.


And the final bit there with him holding the can of gasoline and lit paper alternately had me laughing and wondering why the heck other vampires hadn't tried this tactic. And the best part was how disappointed he was when he couldn't go all the way. I don't watch this show with morality in mind, so I happily say, it was awesome, and so very Klaus. I mean, look at his face in that last gif. He just looks so frustrated when Stefan tells him that Elena isn't even in the house. Hee!

Then there was his inability to trust in the love of his sister, who has stood by his side and forgiven him for more than anyone else in like ever! Finally, I also loved the moment he shared with Caroline -- these two have more emotion and chemistry in their mostly wordless minute-long scene than Tyler and Caroline have in all of their scenes since his return (heck, and even before he left). It certainly doesn't help that Tyler and Caroline are being all "I love you," to each other, all the while Caroline is having these emotionally charged moments with Klaus, really shows the strength of *that* relationship. Yeah, last week was ABSOLUTELY Caroline projecting her situation onto Elena. Abso-fucking-lutely.

Which leads us to the other guy who was pretty much non-stop awesome-sauce from moment one (heh, what else is new?) ... Damon. I loved that as much as Klaus loves to throw Damon in Elena's face, even though it's not something that Damon is even aware of it, still, he has just as much fun throwing Caroline in Klaus' face. And Klaus always looked so peeved. He's so the walking definition of dishes it, but can't take it. Oh, Klaus! But, we're talking about Damon. He was so much fun in this episode. It's like the higher the stakes are, if they have a solid plan in play and he can indulge in his special brand of crazy, he's gonna go for it. Unlike the rest of them, he gets it ... they could all die any moment, so he's going to squeeze what fun he can out of the moments before death comes a'knocking.

And that included his attitude when Klaus was attacking the house. The others are all ducking, hiding -- you know, like sane people, LOL! Damon? Is all "missed me! Nyeah nyeah nyeah!" Oh, Damon. I love you so. I also about died at that look he gave Bonnie after Abby wouldn't take the blood from him. It was just ... seriously, ultra perfection.


And Bonnie didn't give him an annoyed look back, really, didn't snark at him, and even was cool with him sitting down next to her. It was awesome, and makes me tentatively hope that his unexpected healing of her has mayhaps softened her a bit towards him at last. I hope so, because I really enjoyed their scenes together. Can Damon and Bonnie have this kind relationship forever? On the same side, snarking -- but not mean-spiritedly, working together, kicking ass and taking names to get the job done. These two can be so awesome together. And dare I hope that there was a reason we had Bonnie specifically call Damon out on the fact that he saved her despite the fact that he supposedly doesn't care? Could it be that someone else is going to finally look past the surface and see all that Damon does for the town, the group, and that he does, after all, care? One can dream.

I mean, they essentially made it clear (in front of multiple people) that Damon does care about:

(a) Bonnie -- "why did you give me your blood to heal me?"
(b) Ric -- "because I'm stupid like that, like staying with my friend so he could die with dignity instead of a quick death"
(c) Jeremy -- "take the ring off, fine, keep it on to stay alive (looking to Bonnie) make sure he stays alive"
(d) Stefan -- duh
(e) Elena -- double duh

So pretty, pretty please tell me that this is a sign that the attitude crapola that is directed towards Damon on a regular basis will wain, and the gang will stop treating him like a pimple on Satan's ass. That would be one of three things that were there to be that sign indeed that things they are a'changing will make me re-evaluate my dying uber-critical love of the show.

Not one of the three, but something that would make me very, very happy as well would be a strengthening of a relationship between Damon and Jeremy. The actors (and character dynamics) just work so well together. I loved how Stefan told Jeremy to go upstairs when Klaus showed up, and Jeremy just looked at him like 'whatever, dude,' and he didn't move. Then Damon said one word ("now"), and Jeremy sent him an annoyed look, but ... he went upstairs. It just seems like Damon (and to a degree that isn't 'she's just my slightly older sister mentality,' Elena) is the only person that Jeremy listens to. He certainly didn't listen to Jenna, or Alaric, and he appears to actively dislike and absolutely not respect Stefan. (To which, I say, go Jeremy, because I just don't find Stefan very likable myself nowadays, sadly.)

Speaking of Jeremy, oh, I loved that moment with Jeremy and Bonnie. She may have been sucking face and cuddling with Jamie last week, but she and Jeremy have a bond, a connection that no one else can touch right now. I can't help it, I love them, I want these two to work their way back to each other. (With some groveling from Jeremy, of course.)

So, yeah, lovely moment with them. I just wish that I'd gotten something with Matt and Rebekah too {pouts}. Come on, it's not like Zach Roerig wasn't in the episode (hi, Matt for one dinky scene and line!) ... why, oh, why couldn't he have been cleaning up after the dance with Rebekah? (Sob! Yet another dance she didn't go to, my poor, Rebekah!) Would it have killed them to give me a little Matt/Rebekah after Esther denied me a dance with the two? (Cuz, you so know that they would have danced. Totally!) *sigh* Oh, Rebekah, she was just so ... defeated in this episode. Not even really snarking with Caroline, but that did maybe at least add to the momentarily same team moment they shared. And it was nice, seeing them not being bitchy and nasty to each other. (I'd still prefer to see Elena/Rebekah having a "moment" though. I want them to be BFFs so badly! I know, I know, if wishes were horses, I'd be saddle-sore.)

Seriously though, that scene in the beginning with Caroline, and then her begging Klaus to just leave with her (even without his precious doppelganger for his stupid hybrids), Rebekah was just so done. Done with this town, with this heartbreak, done with all of it. Oh, Rebekah. She's kept in a coffin for almost a hundred years, having been taken out just when she had discovered someone to love. When she comes back to the land of the living, it's to find that someone in love with someone else and practically every moment since then has been filled with chaos, pain, betrayal and very little happiness. And you could just see the weight of that hanging like a pall on her. It was heartbreaking, and Claire Holt continues to prove her worth. Please to be making her a regular next season. Pretty, pretty please!!! Hmm, although, maybe, kinda, sorta, we can rule her out as the Original!Mommy! ... unless, Klaus was bluffing. That's certainly possible. Hmm....

Another thing that makes me go hmm... Please explain me to me like I'm stupid why the hell Elena told Tyler to "Get Stefan" as she was BEING DRAINED OF BLOOD?!?!?!??!?!?!? For the love of all that's holy, that pretty much pissed me off on every level that is humanly possible. There's the ridiculousness of the fact that the last time she was in this very situation -- which wasn't actually that long ago! -- she was there BECAUSE Stefan (compelled or not, he still did it!) had bitten into her jugular. But, no, she wants Tyler to get Stefan. You know, that guy. The same guy, who, oh, wait, let me remember ... what is that little issue of his? Oh, yeah, right. HE'S A BLOOD JUNKIE TRYING TO DETOX! Seriously. So. Very. Stupid. And part of the anvillicious problem I had with this episode.

They did such a fantastic job setting up Damon and Elena in the first half of the season, that in order to make it "even" between Stefan and Damon when it comes to her choice, they had to essentially take Damon out of the equation for eight episodes in the second half (12-18, 20). And then ham-handedly throw Stefan back into the mix, with nary a nod to the horrific things he's done ... because no sane person with any actual character motivation would be even considering Stefan romantically AT ALL in this point in time.

I could see it down the line as a possibility because (a) this IS Elena, and (b), I can't very well buy her with Damon if I don't buy that time and attitude can open the door to romance. But now? With Stefan? No. It doesn't make sense, and in order to shoehorn Elena into making a "choice," they've ignored the reality of all that Stefan has done. I hope that something will be said in the finale. One line from her that expresses her inability to be with him right now not because she wants to be with Damon (which, obviously would be a part of it) but because she can't be with Stefan after some of the things he did. That wasn't who she fell in love with, and she's accepted that it's a part of him, but it's not a part of him she's able to love.

As of now, though, nothing of the like has even been hinted at, so I don't know. It just all feels so very 'tell, not show.' Which was essentially that entire scene on the porch. Don't get me wrong. I like that Elena was completely honest, and laid her feelings out there. My problem is that other than Julie Plec talking about Elena's choice ad nauseum in interviews, prior to Klaus' incongruous mention of Elena's choice to Stefan in last week's episode, where is this choice suddenly coming from? Why now? Why is it happening now? Why? They're in the middle of a huge crisis ... but wait, Elena's gotta decide who she wants to play snuggle bunnies with and fuck? Seriously?!

That, plus the ignoring of the Damon-side of things for most of the last half of this season, and suddenly, inexplicably shoe-horning Stefan back in as they have made that porch scene just ... not work. I felt like it was very television-triangle-ish in a way that this show actually rarely is because there are such bigger issues at stake. It was as if the show was telling the audience Elena's point of view, as opposed to showing it over the course of the last batch of episodes. And they could have. "The Murder of One" with Damon's kidnapping would have been the perfect episode to do so, but they dropped the ball there. Instead, we got very little reaction from Elena, jumping Damon in the next episode, and then making goo-goo eyes at Stefan in the following.

And because of how off they've handled this, I kept expecting Damon to go "Wait? What? I'm actually a legit option here?!" because there's certainly been nothing that showed her feelings for him truly past 3.11 beyond her attempting to satisfy her lust in 3.19 -- and yeah, with NOTHING ELSE in the two episodes that followed it, and all of the episodes preceding it after 3.11, it did play out like lust. Precisely because this change in their interaction happened AFTER she became aware that they could still save Stefan, without any obvious feelings for Damon on display. (Again, paging Damon's kidnapping in 3.18 -- PERFECT opportunity blown.)

Of course, it's not just lust. I know that Elena is in love with Damon. After all, she went to him on her own in "Heart of Darkness," whereas she had to be pushed to go to Stefan in "Do Not Go Gentle" (and, yay, for Caroline NOT waving the Stefan-flag in that final group scene!). And while Elena told Tyler to get Stefan (:roll my eyes:), it was *Damon* who went to her, Damon who saw her out. And, despite the issues I have with Elena's "choice," the fact that there is a choice to be made says something because it means that Elena's belief from before that it would always be Stefan has been completely disproven.

So there was definite good behind the choice, it is just the ham-handed way in which it's been presented in the last few episodes that bothers me so. One last issue I had with the porch scene is probably one that wasn't even intended -- unless the writers truly are trolling us in their interviews and they are playing us all.* And that issue would be Stefan and his inherent, awful selfishness coming to the fore again. Elena tearfully, honestly tells them that she doesn't want to choose one because it means she'll lose the other, and she's lost so many people that it hurts. And what is Stefan's response? To tell Damon that if Elena chooses Damon, Stefan will leave town, and then he pretty much guilted Damon into responding in kind ... essentially planning on doing the VERY THING that Elena just told them was her big fear, losing either of them. For reals. God, Stefan.

*ETA: Thanks to my lovely flist, I have a new, happy thought on the trolling, and I'm totally going with it. My big wish has been that the writers do realize how manipulative (although, I still maintain that he isn't doing it on purpose, it's just his amazing ability to completely convince himself of his "truth"), and that any lack of commentary of such is them just trolling. Now that I think about it, they certainly don't go around talking about what a dick and an asshole Damon is -- when he certainly is enough of the time. So think about it: they NEVER talk about the negative aspects of the characters and relationships (beyond the obvious Damon snapped Jeremy's neck, and even that is rarely even alluded to) because they don't want to piss off fans ... BUT, it's obviously THERE onscreen. (Sure, non-critical-thinking Stefan stans don't see, but non-critical Damon-stans don't see any negative in him either.) Doesn't that suddenly make so much more sense as to the lack of writerly-interviews commenting on Stefan's negative words/actions? It does to me, and makes me feel so much better!

Also, thanks to my flist, I actually have a different read on the scene, still showing Stefan as being selfish, and Damon being stupid for going along, but it definitely plays it as less selfishly-aware (which is how I genuinely believe that Stefan is -- dude, doesn't realize how selfish he can be). I can see Damon fully believing (and Stefan honestly thinking so as well) that Elena was just being her normal, nice, overly forgiving, big-hearted self and that, of course, she's going to choose Stefan, and of course, she's not going to say, yeah, you can go bye-bye now Damon, see ya! So this way they believe that they are giving her what she really wants which, of course, isn't fair to Elena. However, it makes sense character-wise. Stefan obviously believes that he knows Elena best and what she wants. And Damon just goes along with that because, well, based on what's been said to him (mostly from Elena, but he's certainly heard it or gotten that impression strongly from others). High-handed, but it makes sense because of (a) the time period they come from when men made all the decisions traditionally, and (b) Elena, because she hasn't wanted to deal with her feelings for Damon, has pretty much gone along with Stefan's narrative from the get-go.

Selfish as always, and no doubt, completely convinced that he's doing this for her because Stefan is GREAT at convincing himself of his own revisionist view of things. See: Telling Klaus that he would go with him, if he'd leave Elena in Mystic Falls (no doubt, a bone to the Stefan/Elena fans since he did just that for Damon last season), and rewriting history, pointing out that he did so before to keep Elena safe before. :Head meet desk: No, Stefan, you didn't leave town and all that jazz to keep Elena safe, you left town to save your brother's life, keeping Elena safe was secondary, dude! But there you go, that's Stefan for ya!

Still, I DID like the brothers' scene in the car. Even if they were completely disregarding Elena's wishes, I won't take away from the fact that they were choosing to not let another girl tear them apart. I also liked that Stefan saw right through Klaus' attempt to put a wedge between the brothers, and calmly put him down with a smug smile. Still, there was the moment when Klaus went down, and the look on Stefan's face ... I don't know, but I certainly got the impression that feelings came to the surface that Stefan had submerged. I would like to see some future exploration of the Stefan/Klaus relationship. Alas, I don't think that will happen next week what with the whole desiccation thing.

Speaking of .. erm, why didn't the gang think of this way back when they found out the spell was possible and that a witch they knew was the one who did it? I dunno, it sure looks like that would have been a good plan. Ah well. You know, this group and their lack of plan prowess. Ahem.

Okay, random thoughts ...

- Oh, that opening with the Civil War memorabilia just broke my heart because I have so dreamed of Alaric and Damon having a conversation about the war with Ric plying Damon with question after question since Damon was a soldier. Now ... it will never happen. WAH!

- Maybe I'm alone here, but, uhm, yeah, not actually overly impressed with Matt Davis. Yes, he's doing a good job with Evil!Vampire!Ric, but, any pretty good actor can do an evil character well because you have such juicy material to play with. However, when he called later to tell the gang that Klaus had Elena, technically, he's still Evil!Vampire!Ric, but yet, he sounded and looked EXACTLY like regular Ric. There was no nuance, no differentiating there. So, yeah, I still think he's a very good actor, but I'm not wowed or anything.

- I wonder ... what fresh consequences will come from doing that dark magic spell for not only Bonnie, but also Jeremy?

- Speaking of Bonnie. Kat Graham looked SO pretty in the opening scene. I just ignored the unbelievability of her make-up and hair being so fresh and lovely after all that happened and appreciated how PRETTY she looked.

- So, I wonder what the fallout will be from the council knowing about Caroline and Tyler? And, erm Ric -- since he was being all zoom-y and supernatural in front of them there.

- Finally, I seriously wonder ... are Damon and Stefan REALLY taking Klaus' body and dumping it in the Atlantic Ocean?

So, second to last episode. Not nearly as strong as season 01 and 02's penultimate episodes, but it was definitely better than last week. And I'll withhold full judgment until I see the finale. :)
Tags: caroline/klaus, damon salvatore, damon/elena, damon/stefan, ep discussion-tvd, rebekah mikaelson, rebekah/matt, stefan salvatore, the vampire diaries

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