Arabian (arabian) wrote,

4.06 - 'We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes' Take Two (The Vampire Diaries)

So I've been watching and rewatching and thinking a lot more about "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes" and liking more and more everything the episode gave us. To the point where I'm rating this episode ever and ever higher on my list of favorite episodes. It's just that good. Easily the best of the season, and one of the best of the series. This is a follow-up to my episode discussion post, and here I just highlight a few points that I didn't mention or go into more detail about in that original post.

Just a reminder: PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL ME. I'm not watching webclips. I'm not watching any episode preview other than the one that airs right after the show. I'm not looking at episode stills. I'm not reading episode synopses. I'm not reading/watching interviews or following the actor/creators TVD-related tweets.Basically, rule of thumb: If it has not aired, please do not mention it in this post. Thank you; I really appreciate it. :)

** We’ve been told that songs in key scenes matter on this show. I believe that refers to tone as well as lyrics. In the bedroom scene (AKA: the scene where Elena Gilbert was clearly, unabashedly, totally in love with Damon Salvatore and she wasn’t gonna hide it no more!), the song chosen was very good for Damon/Elena.
    Fay Wolf – “The Thread of the Thing”

    ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah oh and the whosit and the whatsit and the stories of kings and the needle and the thread of the thing and the ladder at the scene and the cutting off at the knees in a little while i see that i love the way you came on i love the way you came on to me to me ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah oh

    and the where is and the there is and the start of the fling but the riot breaks the thread of the thing and the lenses ain't clean we'll need another tv screen in a little while i see but i love the way you came on i love the way you came on i love the way you came on i love the way you came on to me to me to me to me ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah oh

    it weighs out, it weighs out.. and you know i love you i love you

Essentially, I read that this song as about a woman in love and even though she knows there will be problems, in the long run, those problems are small, inconsequential. They don’t matter because "it weighs out… and you know I love you." More than the lyrics, though, there is the musical tone. There is a tender, almost giddy quality beneath the seriousness of the beat. You can’t help but smile. The sound of it evokes love, acceptance and a feeling of rightness.

Just like what we saw in Elena’s eyes and in her smile when she looked at Damon throughout the entire scene.

** I spent the summer running season 03 – especially the second half – through my brain, trying to figure out what the show could do in the upcoming season that would make my biggest issue with that season work. My biggest issue was how Elena let all that Stefan did just slide. How could I possibly justify that and not question the show itself. After coming to the conclusion that most of my issue with the season was wrapped up in my own disappointed expectation – an expectation that was a creation of my own making and not the show’s fault – I realized that there was one thing that could happen. One thing that if the show in some way referenced, addressed, even just one line that pointed to why I think Elena did what she did, I would be happy.

I didn’t realize until I’d rewatched the episode and did tons more thinking on it that I actually did get that one thing. For me, I could justify Elena letting Stefan slide because in her mind, there was also an expiration date on her relationship with him. So she let his misdeeds, lies, etc. go because she does love him and because he was her anchor, brought her back to life after her parents’ died. But… and this is key, she always knew it wasn’t forever despite her “always Stefan.” She believed that they had two, three years tops – as Stefan himself made very clear back in “History Repeating” – so she just wanted to appreciate the good they had had and not dwell on the bad. So that worked for me, but I needed something from the writers that indicated that maybe, just maybe they got that too.

It was when Elena angrily, resentfully told Stefan that she had to wash her brother’s blood off her hands so he had to forgive her if she wasn’t in the mood to listen to him try and talk his way out of it. No, she didn’t call him out on all he’d done in the past – but I honestly never expected that we would get that on the show – but how she said it, how she worded that phrase, it definitely rang as if she was calling him out on how he had always talked his way out of things in the past.

Meaning, yes, she’s been well aware of what he’s done and she’s let it slide in the past, but not this time. Of course, I’d like a bit more, I’d like more of a condemnation of how he’s done that, but for Elena who’s rarely harsh with anyone, I’ll take it. (Because I hate having a disagreement of any kind with my beloved show. Psst! On that note: Kill Tyler, kthanxbai!)

** Season 03’s sixth episode, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was very interesting in that it took many positive things with Stefan and Elena from the first batch of episodes and gave them a less-rosy spin. At the time the episode aired, I wrote this:
    … there were so many moments that were dang-near flat-out re-enactments, or very similar in feel and tone to early Stefan/Elena scenes that built up their "epic" love. It was as if by going back there, but putting a toxic spin on the scenes, it was stripping away the heart at the beginning of their relationship.

    They bump into each other outside the bathroom as they did in Elena's first remembered meeting with Stefan. This time, she's anxious, wary and wants away from him. He's snarky and uncaring. Outside on the football field where she watched him with stars in her eyes, and he gave her the necklace, he's a jerk-off douche-bag to an unsuspecting kid, and he callously calls her a human bloodbag. The bonfire scenes were reminiscent of their bonding moments in the Pilot at the Falls, but this time, Stefan was talking down to her, chiding her, and calling attention to her jealousy over another girl close to his brother.

    And then finally there was the final scene between the two which felt familiar to me -- I found myself thinking of the scene leading to their first kiss in the second episode -- where it seemed as if Elena and he both were caught in the moment, but neither actually were. [Stefan was leading up to an insult (“Do you know how pathetic you are?”) and Elena was expecting it, when it came, she staked him in the gut.
Simply put we had all of these scenes casting a negative flashback on earlier, happier Stefan/Elena moments. This episode reminded me of that to a degree. The difference was that whereas “Smells Like Teen Spirit” contrasted early Stefan/Elena scenes with new Stefan/Elena ones, this episode contrasted Stefan/Elena scenes with Damon/Elena ones and gave those moments “done over” to Damon and Elena.

1.) In “The Departed,” Elena went over the bridge and died in Willow Lake. Here, Damon went over the bridge with Elena to save her “unlife.”

2.) “Growing Pains” opened with Elena waking up in her room to find out she was dead. With Stefan the first person she saw. Here, Elena woke up after going into the water and it was Damon (and only Damon) that she saw sitting there, waiting for her to wake up.

3.) Also in “Growing Pains,” Stefan put the ring on Elena’s finger promising forever. Here, Elena took the ring off and dropped it in the lake where Stefan let her die. And then (albeit off-screen), Damon found the ring and put it back on her hand.

4.) Finally, not quite as obvious, but I certainly was reminded of the moment in “Rose” when Elena saw her savior with a look of such happiness, and Damon thought it was him, only to realize seconds later, she was looking at Stefan. Here, when Elena saw Damon upon waking and she remembered all that had happened on the bridge, the way she looked at him when she told him that he saved her –

And when he stood up and walked over to the bed –

– certainly reminded me of that moment. And instead of Stefan being the recipient of that smile, that look of quiet joy and near-devotion… it was all for Damon.

** I was initially a little bummed at how upset Elena was in the scene with “Katherine” where she told her how Stefan couldn’t love her anymore because she was no longer the girl he fell for. She tried to deny “Katherine’s” words, she cried, she fought her, but after watching the final scene with her and Stefan and doing a lot more thinky-thoughts, it hit me. Beyond the obvious, of course, which I’d gotten the first time, that it was never Katherine saying these words, but Elena’s subconscious telling her what she already knew but just had been unable to admit.

No, watching it again, I thought back to the last real time that Stefan and Elena had broken up, in “Plan B.” Both had shed copious tears and been completely devastated. This break-up, on the other hand, featured sad, but resigned looks, just a slight tearing up and easy acceptance. And so when I rewatched the whole episode, I realized that Elena didn’t actually end things with Stefan on the porch with him.

No, she’d come to the conclusion that they were over in that conversation between herself and the Katherine-hallucination. That is why she tried to deny “her” words, that’s why she shed those tears, that’s why she sat there on the floor rocking back and forth. Because she had just given up the relationship, the love that she had been holding onto desperately for over a year. And that’s why when she saw Damon on the bridge, and in her room, she looked up at as she did. She accepted, bathed in his presence as she did. Because in her heart, she’d already said goodbye to Stefan. That discussion on the porch was just a formality.

** I went into detail about why I feel that the idea that human!Elena is all for Stefan, while vampire!Elena is for Damon is all bunk. Short version: We, the audience, already saw human!Elena falling pretty hard for Damon, she just hadn’t admitted it to herself. OK then, why is the show pushing this theme so hard? Honestly, I think it’s for the Stefan/Elena fanbase and the producer’s attempts to keep them hanging on as long as they possibly can.

They are the words – and it will remain spoken of as such until we get closer to the end of the series, I believe – because they wants to keep Stefan/Elena fans watching. I truly believe it’s as simple as that. The idea is that if they dangle that premise – that Elena only is with Damon because she's not human, if she was human, she'd be with Stefan! – they can keep the Stefan/Elena fans around until they closer to the end because they can hold onto the dream that once Elena regains her humanity, she’ll go straight back to Stefan. Which, again, I *really* don’t see happening.

They – as in Stefan/Elena, the two lyingest liars ever – can say that as long as they want to allow themselves to believe that, but these are not the characters that the audience is supposed to take their truth-cues from. For reals.

** We often talk about how this is not about the good guys, the heroes, etc. After all, our heroes are murderous vampires who kill a lot. And if they’re not vampires, they are witches or werewolves or humans aiding and abetting said vampires, witches and werewolves. That point has never been driven more home than in this one.

Chris was someone we, the viewers just met, yes, but he was a “good guy.” He was someone that Tyler – one of our heroes – cared about. And he helped them. He helped Stefan try to rescue Elena at Tyler’s urging, and at very great risk to himself. And knowing that… knowing all of that, Caroline made a deal to go out on a date with Klaus to kill Chris. Let me repeat that: Caroline decided that going on a date was a do-able price to the life of someone. Someone who was helping them. And then Stefan staked that someone who was helping them, who had *just* risked his life to hand Stefan a key to save his girlfriend. And then Jeremy – a human, not a vampire, not a werewolf – took an axe and chopped off the head of someone who had just risked his life to save Jeremy’s sister.

Our heroes are not the good guys. Our heroes? Are bad guys. All of them. They are so wrapped up in this tribal mentality thing they have where the people in their group – Elena, Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie, Jeremy, Matt and Tyler – are the only lives that are worth saving, that are not worth risking. Anyone else? Collateral damage. Wow. Just wow. And I love it. I love that the show is this dark, is willing to go this dark and is well aware of it. Tyler flat-out called Caroline out on this very thing. It’s just crazy. And awesome. But scary. When does it hit them all just how far off the beaten path their skewed morality has become? It’s really, really fascinating to me.

Bottom-line, the more I watch (and watch and watch and watch) this episode, the more I think about it, it’s amazing. There is SO MUCH CHARACTER STUFF in this, it’s mind-blowing. And where they go from here? I have no idea, but I am very, very looking forward to the journey.
Tags: damon salvatore, damon/elena, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, jeremy gilbert, stefan salvatore, the vampire diaries

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