?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
17 May 2012 @ 12:47 pm
Central character per episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 8  
Discussion came up in one of my Vampire Diaries posts about Damon being the central character in "The Descent", and crowandfog came up with the idea of listing the central character from each episode to see how it played out. (You can see that list here.) She wound up picking more than one character for certain episodes, and it was interesting to see her choices, but I wanted to take it a step further. I decided to make it harder on myself and just choose one character (as the show generally has an A, B, C and sometimes a D plot going per episode), the character focused on in the A-plot (unless a lead wasn't the central figure of that plot, but rather a recurring character was highlighted; in that case I then moved to plot B), and to explain why I chose that character using the following parameters:

1) Which character had the strongest emotional arc?
2) Which character drove the most story?
3) Which character had the most key focus in their scenes (and in scenes not involving them)?
4) Which character interacted with the most characters?

First of all, these are the characters that I consider lead: Elena, Damon, Stefan, and the secondary leads are Caroline and Bonnie -- they've driven multiple episodes, and have been the lead B-story in more than a few episodes). They are all regular cast members and main characters (ie, even though Katherine is played by lead actress Nina Dobrev, I don't consider Katherine one of the main characters). Alaric, Jeremy, Vicki, Jenna, Tyler, Klaus and Matt fall under the supporting roles for me. While we've seen them lead some stories, it's generally the B-story, and more often than not, they are supporting.

- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 1
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 2
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 3
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 4
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 5
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 6
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 7

SEASON THREE, Episodes 16-22

3.16 - 1912 | Damon Salvatore -- This one goes to Damon, barely. So barely that if someone wants to sway me to handing it to Stefan, I'm liable to do so if convinced. Stefan is the one who has the emotional arc, and a fairly huge one, from episode's beginning to end. However, Damon drives a lot of the story, namely all of the stuff with Stefan, as well it is his actions that lead to the Elena/Matt conversation about the boys. He also interacts with the most characters, and is the focus of the most characters, and more of a focus. In other words, while Rebekah and Elena focus on Stefan, both are more focused on Damon. So, this one goes to Damon ... again, barely.

3.17 - Break On Through | Damon Salvatore -- Here goes another one to Damon. While the emotional arc definitely belongs to Bonnie (of the leads, as Alaric is supporting), Damon scores in the other three categories. And even though Bonnie had that first one, we didn't even see the full fall-out (ala her finding out that that Abby abandoned her again). Damon drives the entire white oak arc, has a hand (if only in the start and close) of the ring saga, and as the one who turned Abby, technically, he set *that* arc in motion. As well, Damon is the focus of and has the interaction with the most characters. So, yeah, Damon again.

3.18 - The Murder of One | Stefan Salvatore -- Other than Damon being the focus of more characters, Stefan definitely is the central character here. He drove the most story in that once Damon was kidnapped, he made the decision for the plan of attack in taking out the Originals, and then when that fell through, took on the task of rescuing Damon himself. Stefan also interacted with the most characters, and he had the biggest (and actually only) emotional arc, beginning the episode still driven to a large degree by his anger towards Klaus before letting it go by the end. So Stefan scores another.

3.19 - Heart of Darkness | Elena Gilbert -- Other than Stefan driving the most story (his push to get Evilalaric to come out and play, and sending Damon with Elena to get Jeremy), Elena definitely had the biggest emotional arc, convinced at the beginning that she really didn't feel *that* much for Damon, and a bundle of confusion brought on by a reminder of his softer side, passion and some hard truths at the end. She also interacted with the most characters, and was the focus more than Damon, Alaric or Stefan in scenes.

3.20 - Do Not Go Gentle | Elena Gilbert -- Like with a few episodes in the past, none of our leads were actually the central character. In this case, it was a supporting character, Alaric, who really was the lead. However, going just by our leads, it handily falls to Elena. She began the episode smiling and attempting a nice, normal day. By the end, she had lost someone else close to her and had broken down in tears. She didn't drive much story, but, of the leads, Elena was the key focus of others, and she tied with Damon for the most character interaction. So, by a technicality, Elena nabs another episode.

3.21 - Before Sunrise | Elena Gilbert -- Like the last episode, Elena is the central character, but unlike "Do Not Go Gentle," this one is absolutely her. She drives the most story by virtue of the fact that everything everyone does (except for Rebekah and Caroline) is tied to her, because of her. Also, every character, even Caroline and Rebekah to a degree, is focused on her, and except for Bonnie and Rebekah, Elena interacts with every character. She doesn't experience much of an emotional arc, but really, no other character does either. Everything else is definitely Elena.

3.22 - The Departed | Elena Gilbert -- For the first time, the finale's central character was *not* one Damon Salvatore. Elena nabbed this one handily. By far, her character had the strongest emotional arc as she struggled to figure out which brother she was going to be with for now. Her decision to bring Klaus back, is what led to the storage facility shenanigans, and Matt and Jeremy's plan to take her out of town, which led to the events on the bridge. She was the key focus of every character (except for Tyler, Caroline and Bonnie), and she interacted with the most characters (including flashbacks). So the season ended with Elena as focal point.

CURRENT TALLY --

Damon - (S1) 6 | (S2) 9 | (S3) 8 = 23
Elena - (S1) 7 | (S2) 7 | (S3) 8 = 22
Stefan - (S1) 6 | (S2) 1 | (S3) 3 = 10
Bonnie - (S1) 1 | (S2) 3 | (S3) 2 = 06
Caroline - (S1) 2 | (S2) 2 | (S3) 1 = 05

At the half-way point, I wrote that "even though Damon is featured as the central character the most in this first batch, he doesn't feel like an overall central character. That feeling is more there for Stefan or Elena. At this point, I'm leaning towards the season going to Elena." Then, Elena was only three episodes in the count behind Damon, and while she didn't take the lead, she did tie things up with him for this season, and is only one episode behind him in the overall count now. This season was definitely about Elena's journey, but it was the just first part of her journey, her growth, and I think it's very possible that next season will fall to her as well. But, really, one can never tell. After all, the season 02 finale certainly pointed to a Stefan-heavy season, and, well, look at his count. However it was intended, this show has definitely come to focus most heavily on two players, and not three.
 
 
 
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assybadboy_fangirl on May 17th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
I agree 3x16 is Damon-centric. Even though it's about Stefan's issues, it's about how Damon feels about it, so I'd give it to him too. Not gonna talk you out of it :D

The last four going to Elena makes sense because Julie said the end of the season would be all about her POV. You're reasoning for everything else rings true to me.
Arabian: DE & Alaric01arabian on May 18th, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC)
Even though it's about Stefan's issues, it's about how Damon feels about it

That's very true.

The last four going to Elena makes sense because Julie said the end of the season would be all about her POV.

Even if HoD really was more about Alaric, of the leads, she did get the main focus.

I really am curious to see who the main focus next season will be. We had Elena (s01), Damon (s02), Elena (s03). I don't think it will be Stefan at all, and unless the first half of season 04 changes, I'd actually put him more in the Bonnie/Caroline category of secondary leads. Elena Gilbert and Damon Salvatore really are THE lead characters.

Edited at 2012-05-18 01:19 pm (UTC)
Diana: Vampire Diaries - Bonnie is satisfiedbutterfly on May 19th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, if it weren't for S1, he wouldn't count as one of the main leads at all. If it were only S2&3, Bonnie would actually be ahead of him in episodes, which is interesting.
Arabian: Bonnie02arabian on May 20th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
Yup, he's just not very central at all. He's almost exclusively reactionary. The one positive for him this season is that all three episodes that were his for undeniably his and that wasn't the case last season.
Florenciaflorencia7 on May 18th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
I just LOVE reading your analyses! This is so fun & interesting.
Arabian: Damon & Elena20arabian on May 19th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
(Anonymous) on May 19th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
So I feel like I'm creeping right now because I discovered your central character per episode lists by chance and have been following them and your livejournal ever since. TVD is my favorite show and Damon is my all time favorite TV character, so I especially appreciate reading what I feel is spot-on about the show. I know that you worry that your bias towards Damon might have skewed your results with Stefan as the central character, but I think you're right.

Stefan may have as much (or even more) screentime as Elena and Damon, but he is a very different type of character. The way you decide who the central character is relies partially on character interaction, effect on the plot, and emotional arc which is why Stefan does not get as many episodes. Now recent writers' choices that I disagree with aside, I generally like Stefan. He functions as a wonderful foil to Damon and adds an aspect of nobility that I think is important to the plot and dynamic. Elena and Damon are somewhat similar in that their main objective is always the safety and happiness of their loved ones (though Elena definitely puts more weight into morality and the sanctity of life.) Stefan however is different because he values ideals and morals and noble thoughts. He isn't selfless so much as possesses a strict honor and moral code; he does things because they are the "right" thing to do. I believe this stems from his past guilt and goal to atone. As a result, I feel he adds something to the dynamic of the trio, but the fact is he is a very static character. He's established and not growing which is why he has very little emotional arcs. Elena, Bonnie and Caroline have recently joined the supernatural world and are also very young; they are growing. Damon started the series at his lowest point and is always rediscovering the parts of himself and his humanity that he thought he lost. Stefan on the other hand began the series at his moral best so the only way to go is down. Julie Plec and co. decided they did not want him to become less of their perfect hero which makes him stagnant. That's why when he begins character arcs he doesn't seem to finish them. If he were to, it would threaten to change the character they fell in love with from the first season. That's why they treat his bloodlust problem as a sort of alter ego and not a character flaw. Also, Stefan is a far more passive character (normally, with the exception of his revenge scheme against Klaus,) so he rarely drives the plot and interacts with more characters. Damon's the impulsive one prone to acting first; he's the one doing, Stefan's the one thinking. Most of Stefan's scenes (especially his bigger ones) are only with Elena. Recently, a case could be made for Klaus as well but it has shown to have little effect on Stefan, so it's more that Klaus' emotional scenes are with Stefan than vice versa. As a result, Stefan is more confined in what he does. I think this was different in season one when the writers were still deciding which character would develop in which way.

Unfortunately, in Julie Plec's desire to make Stefan every bit the hero he was introduced as, she has made him more of a "love interest" type of character than a fully dynamic one like Elena, Damon and even Bonnie and Caroline. Had Julie Plec elected to have Stefan's descent to darkness this season have more real and lasting effects and not swept under the rug, I think it would have been the major turning point Stefan's characterization needed to have him join the ranks of dynamic characters with the others. It's like when writers decide to add tragic backstories to villains. Sometimes, it makes the villains understandable and more complex, but sometimes it feels forced and added to justify or make the audience sympathetic. Likewise, had the writers been willing to pull no punches with Stefan's arc this season, he would have come off as more of a character (but perhaps less of a hero which is what I think they wanted to avoid.)

Hope I didn't creep you out and thanks for posting this and all your great TVD reviews and icons. ;-)
Arabian: Stefan02arabian on May 20th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
So I feel like I'm creeping right now

Aww, not at all. But you should so get an lj account and join in the discussion. I liked reading what you had to say. :)

TVD is my favorite show and Damon is my all time favorite TV character

I don't know if Damon is my all-time favorite, but he's definitely in the top five.

I know that you worry that your bias towards Damon might have skewed your results with Stefan as the central character, but I think you're right.

I really do; I always go back and re-look over the Damon picked ones because he has so many, and Stefan has so few ... but the bottom line is that Damon just really is more often the central character, and Stefan is not.

Stefan may have as much (or even more) screentime as Elena and Damon, but he is a very different type of character.

I actually don't think that's case but for a few episodes. He's generally not big-screentime guy either. It's definitely Elena, then probably Damon.

Now recent writers' choices that I disagree with aside, I generally like Stefan.

Me too.

He functions as a wonderful foil to Damon and adds an aspect of nobility that I think is important to the plot and dynamic.

I would more call it perceived nobility, because so many of Stefan's choices/actions, etc. are actually selfish and not very noble at all.

Stefan however is different because he values ideals and morals and noble thoughts. He isn't selfless so much as possesses a strict honor and moral code; he does things because they are the "right" thing to do.

But it's HIS definition of right which is based on his own selfish viewpoint. I do love Stefan, but noble he is not. Not by a long shot. He believes he is because he wants to be and he says all the right words, and gives the puppy-dog look of sorrow, but, again, most of those choices are based on his selfish view of what is right.

the fact is he is a very static character. He's established and not growing which is why he has very little emotional arcs.

This is true; I do hope it gets rectified because he NEEDS to start growing.

Julie Plec and co. decided they did not want him to become less of their perfect hero which makes him stagnant.

I don't know, she's actually said it's a journey for both Damon and Stefan to get to a middle ground. Stefan does have someplace definitely to go beyond down, because where he's at now is screwed up. He makes choices not because they are right, but because they are perceptions of what he believes should be right. That's completely different.

it would threaten to change the character they fell in love with from the first season.

Yeah, I disagree, Julie's made it clear that they know that Stefan has a journey to go through. He needs to find a middle ground.

That's why they treat his bloodlust problem as a sort of alter ego and not a character flaw.

I've never got either actually, but rather that it's an addiction for him. He even tried to claim that in HOD, and Ric pretty much shot it down with his 'this is part of me' not buying into Stefan's new narrative.

I think this was different in season one when the writers were still deciding which character would develop in which way.

And I see that the character is still developing, but I do agree that right now Stefan is a passive character.

Had Julie Plec elected to have Stefan's descent to darkness this season have more real and lasting effects and not swept under the rug, I think it would have been the major turning point Stefan's characterization needed to have him join the ranks of dynamic characters with the others.

I'm still holding out hope that there is a longer arc at play here. There have been too many lines/comments that indicate that all is not right with Stefan's choices. If the series ends and Stefan is still treated as, written as *this* guy, I'll concede. But until then, I now believe there is a six-year arc going on here, and Stefan's is going to take a long while to reach it's full fruition.

Hope I didn't creep you out and thanks for posting this and all your great TVD reviews and icons. ;-)

Not at all, and thank you. Hope you're okay that I don't quite agree with how you view Stefan. :)

Edited at 2012-05-20 11:33 am (UTC)