This episode wasn't a let-down per se, it was way too good to fall anywhere under that heading. It was a great episode and had one of my first OOOH! moments of this season, but it wasn't as good as last week's (or the episode prior). However, the last one was my second favorite episode in the series' run so far, and the one prior to that is probably in my top 20 of favorites on this show. So this is not a ding to say it's not as good, because the previous two were mind-blowingly awesome. This one was just... awesome.
THE SIRE BOND
First of all, I do believe that we have definitive proof that Elena was indeed sired by Damon.
Moving on... so I was mostly right with my final conjecture on the sire bond. I wrote (in an ETA) after last week's episode:
- I'm at the point now where I think the sire bond is there and real but it's there and real ONLY because Damon and Elena love each other. When Julie said that they kept the hybrid stuff front and center for people to reference, I realized it wasn't so that people could remember it, but that so people could realize 'wait a minute! there are way too many differences here! it can't be what Stefan and Caroline are saying it is!' And, of course, Klaus would lead them to think otherwise because he knows that Damon doesn't care if Elena is human or vampire, but Stefan does.
Plus, I think it's interesting that the only mutual-love-siring we know of (Finn/Sage and Lexi/Lee) were incredibly strong and lasting. I mean Sage stayed true to her love for Finn even being without him for NINE HUNDRED YEARS! So I'm thinking that the sire bond is rare among vampires because it's really only when it's true love on both parts. Because, really, how many people would GENUINELY agree to DIE and LIVE FOREVER with someone else willingly? Only someone who truly loved. But to create the sire bond it probably has to be mutual.
At first, I was ready to call false at the idea that Charlotte was ANOTHER sire bond, but then I realized something. If Damon does just casually make vampires as we've seen (Isobel, Vicki, now this Charlotte), then in 150 years, he's probably made a LOT of vampires and if out of all of those vampires, only one was sired to him before Elena? Well, then, yeah, he would classify that as rare. And it then explains exactly why Damon -- and only Damon -- recognized what was going on with Tyler. This was the pertinent dialogue from that scene:
- Damon: He's been sired.
Damon: Sired. He feels loyal to Klaus because Klaus's blood created him.
Elena: Loyal how?
Damon He'll seek acceptance from his master. It's really rare.
What we do know is that the sire bond is based on feelings that were there before. Tyler told Elena as much, and the witch, Nandi, flat-out said that the feelings ("human feelings") had to be there before the turning to both Damon and Stefan. Stefan's reaction was, of course, predictable and telling. He processed the information, had a moment of contemplative sad, then decided that it didn't fit in with the reality in which he wanted to live and so he locked it away never to be spoken of again because he doesn't want to deal with the Elena-does-have-feelings-for-Damon side of the equation. Thus he never brought it up to Damon, and he never mentioned it to Caroline.
Think about it, just moments after that conversation he actually said to Damon that once the sire bond is broken even if she doesn't have the same feelings for Stefan (which, of course, he believes she will because Stefan *never* makes concessions about Elena choosing/loving/wanting someone unless he believes that she will choose, love, want only him), it will at least be her choice. Never mind that Nandi JUST told them that if Elena is sire bonded to Damon, it is because she already had those feelings of lurve for him. Oh, Stefan. Speaking of ...
STEFAN, O SELFLESS ONE!
First off, I will be positive. I still love Stefan (I always will love Stefan!), and I completely get why he's acting this way and it's completely in character. And I love that he wasn't trying to be a douche to Damon in their two scenes at the boarding house, he was actually being really sweet. And he *did* apologize for his jerky comment to Damon about Damon being wrong for Elena. So, yeah, Stef, you get some props. Now onto the non-prop-worthy moments, i.e., everything else....
Hah! OMG! There were two things that Stefan said that made me bark out in laughter at his complete and utter blind hypocrisy, and that he spewed both comments with complete sincerity and belief in self was truly pure Stefan at his faux-saintly worst. Ugh! The first was when he actually said that Damon only does things he thinks are right for him, as opposed to right. As if Stefan does the opposite. Right? Stefan who makes decisions for everyone else that fits his worldview, his opinion, his belief in what is right... as opposed to the actual rightness of things.
Nope, it's only Stefan's interpretation of right that counts. Like, oh, how it was perfectly acceptable to offer up a human sacrifice for Jeremy -- an unwilling, freaking out 16-year old boy -- to kill. It's acceptable because it fit Stefan's interpretation of right (i.e., it's "right" that Elena love me and only me and not big brother so there!), but it's not acceptable for Damon to sacrifice twelve humans for what Damon thinks is the right thing to do. And you know what? It wasn't right what Damon did. It was TERRIBLE and awful and dreadful, even if they were not good people (as Damon hinted at when he balked at Lexi's automatic assumption that the twelve he killed were innocent). But you know what else? Just as what Damon did was terrible, awful and dreadful so was what Stefan did to murderer-guy and poor Jeremy THE DAY BEFORE he made this sanctimonious statement to Damon about what he, Stefan, would consider acceptable! Pfft.
The second thing that Stefan said was to Caroline when he so beatifically told her that he felt sorry for Damon. Oh, Stefan, being so noble that he actually equated Damon's love with his. How considerate of him. Erm, except not. Because you can't really equate their love because, uhm, yeah, Stefan? If we're playing the game of who loves Elena selflessly more? Damon wins. HANDS FUCKING DOWN. Damon is the selfless one with Elena.
He's the one who walked away time and time again, respecting her choice to be with you because she loved you. That was Damon. You are the one who every time there's a sign that Elena cares about Damon throws a little hissy-fit and pulls some shit to make sure that Elena doesn't go down that road. Damon is the one who constantly talks you up because he knows that you love Elena and Elena loves you. You're the one who disparages and talks trash about your brother every time Elena makes it clear she feels for him. Damon is the one who steps back and respects her choices (once he learned his lesson). You only respect her choices when to do so fits your agenda and makes your happy happy.
As sarcasticcheese pointed out, if Stefan truly selflessly loved Elena as he loves to claim, then once he heard those completely unbiased words from that witch that the feelings Elena feels for Damon are real, are based on her feelings that developed as a human, then he should have stepped back and wished Damon and Elena all the best. Because if he selflessly loved both of them, he would selflessly want them both to be happy with the person they love. But, no, Stefan, you are not selfless, so you won't do that. And you will be pissed off when Damon doesn't walk away because of course he won't because (a) they now all know that the feelings are REAL and THERE before the turning, (b) Elena is begging him NOT to walk away, and (c) if Damon were to break the sire bond he'd have to leave Mystic Falls and, yeah, Ian Somerhalder is not leaving The Vampire Diaries, LOL! So yeah, Stefan will be pissed, never mind that Damon is making this call hugely because IT IS ELENA'S CHOICE.
YEAH, ELENA'S CHOICE? THAT WOULD BE DAMON.
Just a brief bit here, as I talked about him with Stefan, the sire bond and here and there throughout the post. Firstly, really fantastic shot to open an episode with thus far. Seriously, best opening shot ever. (I know, I just went and looked at every other one, and nope, this is it.)
Did I lie?
Secondly, oh, Damon-- man, the thing that ripped me the most for him was his speech to Elena about how he's the selfish one, taking what he wants. Because, really, he is NOT. He isn't selfish, not when it matters. He's put aside his desires plenty of times, he's helped others plenty of times, he makes good choices PLENTY of times. Still he sees himself as the worst. Damon just has *the* worst opinion of himself, but it makes sense. After all, he started out with low self-esteem thanks to daddy dearest. And now, how can he not think that he sucks when no one ever brings up and/or gives credit for all of the good that he does do,and instead just constantly harps on the bad over and over again? Poor bb, Damon! Elena, go kiss and make it better!
LEXI SUCKS! A LOT! A LOT *LOT* LOT! LIKE LOTS OF LOT!
Any regular readers of my write-ups know how I feel about Lexi. If you're new, a quick introduction. I was meh on her first appearance, flat-out didn't like her in her second, pretty much loathed her in third (torturing someone to do your bidding ain't curing them). After the fourth? Well, to put it succinctly, my thoughts on her in this episode were: DIE! YOU FUCKING BITCH! DIE! Ahem. Really, I do not like her. You think Bonnie is judgmental? You think Caroline is? What about this bitch? She meets Damon for two seconds, decides that 'eh, he can figure out how to be a vampire on his own, I'm gonna take care of the special snowflake that is Stefan Salvatore and leave this one to his own devices.'
Then when she next meets him (here), we find out that Stefan told her some trumped-up story about Damon forcing him to feed, never mind that, no, Damon was just trying to have fun with his brother, didn't know about the whole Ripper thing. Did Lexi know that, though? Nope. Just assumed the worst of Damon. Took every rotten thing that Stefan said about Damon as little brothers with issues about their big brothers are wont to do as the gospel truth and proceeded to treat Damon like dog doo-doo.
Seriously, it was NOT Katherine that kept Stefan and Damon from finding their way back to each other. Nope, it was this bitch. Note how even though Katherine is still around, and even though both brothers are hot to trot for Elena, they're still functioning better than they have in decades. Hmm, what is new to the equation in the last year or so here? Oh, right. LEXI IS GONE. She's the one who's been fueling Stefan's issues with Damon *and* the one who has kept him from actually dealing with his blood issues, thus creating the Ripper that became Stefan. Cannot stand her.
And it can never go without saying, yes, Damon staked her, boofuckinghoo. You know what Damon also did when he staked Lexi? HE SAVED SHERIFF FORBES LIFE! Yeah, remember that? Breaking free from the deputies, Lexi could have made a run for it, instead she decided to go after Liz. Had Damon not intervened -- yes, prepared to do so, but if she'd run, no intervening would have been necessary -- Liz, Caroline's mother, would have been killed by dear, sweet Lexi. Hate that bitch so hard.
THE TRIO OF BESTIES -- THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The first scene with the girls was great, even though that greatness mostly revolved around the fact that Elena was clearly all about THE SEX WITH DAMON WAS FANTASTIC AND I WANT TO SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! The rushing in late, the messy hair, the glow, the silly smile, the barely-there-attentiveness, the fact that Damon so completely rocked her world that she forgot that her brother wants to kill her. And then the BEST PART!, Elena seeing Damon and how she all but vamp-sped to get to him. So, yeah, I loved that scene, but not really for the besties.
However, I did enjoy the girls just letting loose and having fun all for them! There was some great stuff there, and OK, some not so great stuff. The not so great was Caroline's continued bitching about Damon. I do wish that Elena had mentioned that Damon didn't want to sleep with Caroline (again) or Bonnie or Matt when he saved their lives, however, Elena is clearly very much in a DAMON IS ALL MINE AND I AM ALL HIS! frame of mind, so it makes sense that she would only be concentrating on how he's always been there for her (and that's why she lurrves him so). And I did like her throwing at Caroline how quick she jumped into bed with him in her face, and then was basically all "GURL! YOU'RE DISRESPECTING MY MAN! GET OUT!"
And then on the plus side, even their fight just flew to the wayside when they were in danger. All three of them working together, using their various strengths... including Elena's willingness to sacrifice herself for her friends. Because, yeah, Elena is STILL Elena. (No, Stefan, and Caroline, she has NOT completely changed at all. She just wants to be with Damon now instead of Stefan.) It was proof positive that Elena is still the same girl she was before she became a vampire when she offered herself up in torture in exchange for a friend. THAT is Elena. Plus, I did love when Caroline hugged her, and when Elena didn't respond, Caroline said "If you don't hug me back soon, this is gonna get really awkward really fast," followed by Elena explaining that Caroline had pinned her hands. Hee.
Hopefully, her words to Elena stick to some degree. Obviously, it's not going to happen overnight (judging by her snitty attitude about Damon with Stefan at the end of the show), but hopefully, gradually, we'll get somewhere. And I'm happy to say there was a moment where I was preemptively ready to spork Caroline though my television, but her actual comment made me simply nod. It was when she began with her "One thing you can say about Ripper Stefan," (and here was where I cringed and narrowed my eyes) "is that he wasn't a manslut." (and here's where I nodded, because, yeah, true enough.)
And I think Bonnie will get there with Damon too, if she's not already there. I mean, yeah, Elena said that they both hate Damon, but we actually didn't get that pretty much at all from Bonnie. She was a bit 'really?' about her sleeping with him, but she wasn't nasty about it, nor did she say anything negative about Damon at all. I was quite proud of her. And I thought she was uber-adorable through the whole episode. With her "spirit tea" and her dancing and video taking and renewed witchy-pride and her cute little crush on the (evil) professor. (Elena's reference to Shane as "the hottie creepy professor" cracked me up because of how nonjudgmental it was despite the "creepy" part and just how she combined all the nicknames for him into one, LOL!) And this moment of Bonnie's just made me grin, she was so cute (and put Caroline in her place at the same time)!
One more thing about Bonnie, I mentioned at the top of the post that this episode provided the first "Ooh!" moment for me -- it was when Bonnie happily revealed what Professor Shane calls the magic he's teaching her: "Expression." Which we know, as delivered oh so casually earlier, from Nandi that it's not even dark magic, it's *worse* than dark magic. Oooh!!! Loved it.
- Are you sitting down? You should be because I'm about to be shocking. I actually thought Tyler (and Michael Trevino) was really great in the fight scene at the pool table, and the whole hybrids deal was pretty dang cool. That scene just worked really, really well. Of course, by the time they were all kneeling predictably, I was over it, but still that scene was great. Alas, with that kneeling, I'm sadly fearing that Tyler will be with us to the very end. Damnit.
- OK, if I have to stick with Tyler, can we at least get rid of Hayley? Because Phoebe Tonkin is not a good actress. Sneer all you want, girly-girl, that's not A+ acting. She was blessed with the
- Yeah, Shane is so not a good guy. And I'm thinking that the Pastor and them all dying has something to do with Shane's plan that's going to lead to people (including Silas?) being resurrected with the help of "Expression" brought upon by the power of twelve murdered hybrid souls? Is that it? I think. Maybe? I don't know.
- Good casting for this episode, I thought. I like Madeline Zima (even if it's mostly reserved from her younger Nanny days), and I thought she brought the right amount of pathos to the role. I also thought it was interesting that for the first time EVER that a sex interest for Damon was introduced and there was NO sexytiems -- not even in the flashback. Heck, the show even when out of their way to not show the one time where something actually happened by instead having Damon tell Stefan that Charlotte had kissed him. It's almost like they wanted to honor the fact that Damon is with Elena now and thus us Damon/Elena fans really don't need to see him sucking face or getting it on with anyone else right now. Hmm.... Anyhoo, I thought she did a lovely job. Her line delivery on "you said to show no mercy, I thought you'd be happy" was fabulous, and the entire bit where she was talking about counting bricks being her song for Damon was heartbreaking. Good job.
Also great was Adina Porter as Nandi. Of course, I'm a bit biased in that I've seen that actress in several (very different) things and she is always 100% awesome in everything. She didn't disappoint here.
- Very pretty bra/panty set Elena was wearing in the opening scene (beneath Damon's shirt from the previous night that she ripped off of him).
- Hee! Liked that Val (Nandi's mother) called Damon "pretty one." Hee.
- Aww, no Matt. Or Jeremy. Or Matt and Jeremy bonding at the Gilbert house. Shirtless. :(
- No Klaus, too. I can live with that.
- Not particularly thrilled with the Stefan/Caroline conversations, but I still love seeing Caroline and Stefan so much together!
So, great episode, I loved it, even if it wasn't as fabulous as the last two, but those two were stellar-- oh, wait... Am I forgetting something? Hmm, what it is... what? What? Oh, right...
THE UBER-HOTNESS AND OH!MY!HEART!-NESS OF DAMON AND ELENA!
I loved them. I loved him. I loved her. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! SQUEE!
Seriously, so much love -- the callbacks to "real" and "right" as they pertain to Damon and Elena and their history ("real" going back to season 01, and "right" (and their "right now") going back to last season) add a depth and show that, yes, indeed, they have been layering and building this relationship from that early on. Honestly, after this episode if anyone truly does not see that Damon and Elena are THE story, THE couple, they're not paying attention, they've never watched a television show or they just don't want to hope despite all visual and audio evidence to the contrary proving that yes, DAMON AND ELENA ARE THE COUPLE. For example, beyond the early season 01 break-up/make-up/break-up/make-up of Stefan and Elena where they remained pretty solid, their first break-up was in episode four of season 02 ("Memory Lane") and it was a fake one, but I noted in my write-up of that episode:
- I think it's telling that the show didn't make their "break-up" a cliffhanger of sorts, but resolved and told the truth to viewers right away. It seems that by doing so, they pretty much made it clear that they know that the Stefan/Elena relationship is not a draw.
Admittedly, I did have a few quibbles with their stuff tonight, one of them that went bye-bye while talking to sarcasticcheese, the other is still hanging on and if anyone wants to unquibble it for me, please do so. The first that I've resolved was Damon pulling the 'don't tell Elena/lie of omission' card. That upset me at first because (a) that's Stefan's thing -- but of course, Damon owned up to what he was doing, and (b), the idea that now Damon is in some sort of romantic relationship with her, he's resorting to those tactics which I abhorred in the Stefan/Elena relationship. However, I realized that this was very similar to what happened in "Bad Moon Rising." I wrote there:
- It's interesting, the only reason that I even entertained the idea that Damon had indeed seen the ring is because Damon told Elena that he had, and one of the keys of their relationship is that he does not lie to her. He never has. And yet, he lied to her in the car. [But] I get why Damon lied to her this time, for the first time. When she hated him before, he wasn't in love with her, her being a significant part of his life was not important so doing anything to get her to like him, including lying, didn't matter. Now, however, he's floundering. He messed up. Big-time. And even 'big-time' is a major understatement. He simply doesn't know what to do to fix this and he desperately wants to fix it.
My other, unresolved, quibble was Elena telling the girls that she was "falling in love with Damon." I don't know, I just really would have preferred had she said that she was just "falling for him" as opposed to the "in love" part. Her not saying the latter would just have gone along with the narrative flow that Elena is still in denial to some degree to just how long and how strong her feelings for him are. I mean, girl is way past falling, she done fell a long time ago and she can't get up. So a small quibble, but yeah, if anyone has thoughts on that, do tell!
Pretty much everything else I loved. Starting with that final, heartbreaking scene. I talked a bit about it above with regards to the cliffhanger aspect of it, but the whole thing, man, the whole thing was just heartbreaking. Elena in near-tears, pre-devastation even as she was telling Damon that she's happy, and those near-tears and near-devastation was because she didn't want him to take her happiness away. She was happy with him, like she's seen him so happy the previous morning. And it was glorious and beautiful and so lovely not just to see Damon so happy, and not even just to hear Damon admit without hesitation that he was happy. But it was also that Elena was there to see it, to witness it, to know that it was because of her and that in turn made *her* happier. SQUEE! I LOVE MY OTP! That glowing contentment and joy on his face was mirrored on hers just about every moment we saw her until Caroline started in on her judgmental Damon crap. And, of course, things went downhill from there, but here in the end, she was fighting not just for her and Damon, but for her happiness.
And he so wants to give her that happiness, he so wants to believe that he makes her happy, and he so wants to be happy himself. Because he loves her and he wants her to love him. He wants what she feels, what they are to be real, and he still doesn't quite believe it, doesn't believe that he deserves it and that's why he is so quick to think that it probably isn't real. I said above that Damon won't go along with what he promised Stefan, and I really don't think he will, but Stefan's wrong. It's not because he doesn't love Elena as much as Stefan (note to Stefan: it's the other way around, dude), or because he's selfish with her. In fact it's the opposite.
Damon will break that promise to Stefan *because* he loves Elena. Because he would be selfish to deny her what she is begging him for. And we all know that if it were reversed, that if it were Stefan who was in this situation with Elena, both he and Caroline would be crowing about how this is proof of just how epic their twu wuv is. So, no, Damon isn't being selfish because this isn't about doing what he wants, or what Stefan wants. It's about doing what Elena wants. And Elena wants to do Damon. Period. For him to walk away and deny her would be selfish. So that's why he won't. :Nods:
Of course, Stefan doesn't get that, won't get that because Stefan doesn't see Damon when he's with Elena (and vice versa), and Stefan certainly, absolutely does NOT know Damon half as well as he thinks. Had he seen Damon's expression when Elena drank that blood bag down, Damon realizing that there was truth to what Stefan had theorized, he would have known that for Damon this isn't about getting what he wants. This is about getting an Elena who wants him. For real.
Moving on, or rather backwards, to more of the awesome Damon/Elena in this episode. There was also that adorable second scene as Damon walked her to the door, making sure she has what she needs, using unnecessary apparel to steal one more kiss, just adorable. And, of course, as mentioned above we had the callback to "right" and that they are finally "right now." Squee! And Damon's victory 'yes" was cute and Elena's happy-happy all aglow around him was adorable. And I just love them so.
Oh, and Elena wanting to let Stefan know right away (because it shouldn't be a secret) was great too because, yeah, she doesn't want she and Damon to be a secret, but I totally get -- and she totally got -- why Damon wanted that one more day. He wants to be able to be at peace (to a degree) with Stefan and be at happy peace within himself because he (hallelujah!) has Elena. That's understandable. And then Stefan showed up and totally caught the tension, but likely figured it was all about him and not because they were just talking about not telling him that they were doing each other and hard ALL NIGHT AND MORNING LONG!
Speaking of ... you didn't think I wasn't gonna go there, right? As if! I'll just mostly repeat what I said in the post with the edited love scene. Hah! I knew we'd get a second love scene, but so soon? Damn. And hotter/racier than the first? DAYUM! And I'm totally fine with the continued Stefan/Caroline intercuts because they are basically giving us Damon/Elena sexytiems while still making us hold out for the GOOOOOD stuff. I'm down with that. I just think this is BRILLIANT. We still get some ultra hot scenes, but are still hanging on, not completely satisfied (unlike Damon/Elena!) because we're now waiting for THE uninterrupted, full-on, full scale love scene. (Yup, ANOTHER ONE will be coming!)
But in the meantime, we're getting THIS kind of hotness. HOLY SMOKERS! The chest and belly kisses, the hand on the boob, straying downward, the thrusting, the "O" faces, the bloody scratching down the back, which jeebus, help me, was sooo hot. Why was that so hot?! Seriously. Dayum. The whole thing (especially when edited to just their stuff) was so, so, soooooooooooo hot. I mean... yeah, this hotness:
So, yeah, that happened. Uh huh.
I liked this episode. A LOT. :D