If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but I think I got the basics of this bad boy nailed down. Elena is NOT sire-bonded to Damon. Nope, no how, no way, no siree. I am putting together a post (with gifs and quotes and caps for fun!) of the whole enchilada, so I'll just point out why this episode specifically confirmed my 100% belief that it's not real. Before I do, I want to note that I'm not trying to disprove the sire bond because I hate it. I don't. I'm perfectly fine with it because (a) I have zero doubt that Elena loves Damon, (b) I have zero doubt that Damon would not take advantage of Elena, and (c) I'm pretty sure that if it *were* real, Damon or Elena would wind up "cured" by the end of the season, thus breaking the sire bond. So I'm not arguing its existence because emotionally it wreaks me to bits, you all know I'm totally fine with it from its first inclusion... when I figured it was real. Nope, I'm convinced it's not real because it doesn't make sense otherwise.
The writers have been planning this for a year, I find it highly improbable that something planned a year in advance would be so very sloppy with so many plot holes, question marks and flat-out contradictions... unless Elena is not sire bonded to Damon. And she is so not. How could this episode where we seemingly got even more proof that she is do so? Simple. One Professor Atticus Shane. After the episode aired, I kept thinking about the whole sire bond stuff and after much discussion with the always awesome sarcasticcheese and butterfly, I figured it out. (Full, word-explosion being saved for the post specifically devoted to this).
- 01.) Klaus wants Elena to be a human so he can continue to build his hybrid army.
02.) Damon doesn't care if Elena is human or not. There's no way that Klaus doesn't know Damon enough at this point to not get that.
03.) Stefan does care if Elena is human or not and very, very much wants her to get back there. There's no way that Klaus does not know this.
04.) Klaus introduced the idea of the sire bond to Caroline.
05.) Klaus knows that Stefan -- on the outs from Damon and Elena -- would pretty much only have Caroline to turn to.
06.) Klaus knows that Caroline is Team!Stefan when it comes to who is better for Elena, Stefan or Damon.
07.) Klaus knows that if Stefan believes that Elena is not willingly with Damon, and restoring her humanity is the only way to break that bond, he'll work even harder to do so.
08.) Caroline/Stefan -- because they hate the idea of Elena with Damon -- quickly accept the theory that Elena is sire bonded to Damon and treat it as fact.
09.) Stefan presents this "fact" to Damon.
10.) Normally, Damon would be quick to see through any logical inconsistencies, but when his emotions are heavily clouded, his quick reasoning skills go the way side. Especially when it involves his incredibly low self-esteem and his belief that no one would ever, could ever choose him willingly. So he believes it, and uses Stefan's test (and only one) to prove or disprove it.
11.) Caroline spills to Elena, presenting it as "fact."
12.) Because of the emotions involved, again, both Elena and Damon take it as fact and instead of using logic to reason through it, they go by emotions, which by virtue of the supposed sire bond, are affected.
13.) Klaus tells Stefan that he "intuited" the sire bond between Damon and Elena.
14.) Hayley is working with Shane. Hayley has an unheard tête-à-tête with Klaus. After a brief conversation with Stefan where he adroitly deflects any possible interest in why Klaus was talking to Hayley by bringing up Stefan's inner demons, Klaus heads directly to the hybrids and slaughters the hell out of them. Just like Shane wanted.
15.) Ergo, Klaus and Shane are working together.
16.) Shane is at the lake House with Damon and Elena. Shane points out to Elena that Damon is very "intuitive" (much like Klaus "intuited" the sire bond -- same word choice).
17.) Shane also makes a point to let Elena (and the AUDIENCE) know that he is aware that she and Damon have a sire bond.
18.) Damon made it a point to reference Shane's hypnotism more than a few times, thus reminding viewers of that skill set of his.
19.) Damon wants to kill Shane, has threatened to do so a lot. Elena has the biggest sway over Damon. If someone wanted to stop Damon from threatening to kill him like lots, their best bet would be to get Elena on their side so that she can convince Damon to not kill them.
20.) There are chunks of time not seen at the lake house where Shane and Elena could have had plenty o' conversations, where, oh, say Shane could have used some of his hypnotism-whammo on her to tell Elena to trust him (which she told Damon that she did), and to input some suggestion wherein she would obey Damon's direct commands to her.
Also, it gives a reason as to why -- when so many things are left unknown, bigger things, I might add, to so many characters -- Bonnie would tell Shane that Damon and Elena have a sire bond, and why Shane would randomly bring this up to Elena. Because that was weird. I thought it was weird and had a small moment of 'huh? why? what?' when the scene first aired, and it was only putting this all together that it clicked.
It also explains the inconsistencies, and why and when they do and don't track. For instance, it would make sense that Shane would have to input a simple command that would help sell the sire bond such as "obey Damon's direct orders"). This is exactly what Damon says to her: "You're gonna go home. I'm gonna stay here with Jeremy, I'm gonna help him complete the mark, I'll teach him how to hunt, I'll protect him, and we'll kill vampires without you. I'm setting you free Elena. This is what I want. This is what will make me happy." Other than saying he and Jeremy will "kill vampires without you," the only direct command to her is "you're gonna go home." Everything else is "I." It's about what he's going to do, how he's going to react, not a direct command to her. If Elena decides that she wants to be with Damon still (which I expect based on Stefan's line to her in the promo for the next episode), that explains that too. Yuppers. No sire bond for Elena. :)
Moving on and we're going bullet points tonight...
- I said that last week's episode had the best opening shot ever. This week had the best opening line ever: "This would be so much more fun if we were naked." Hee! Oh, Damon. How I love you so.
- Klaus and his pretty, abstract snowflake painting. And I love how both Caroline and Stefan saw the same thing. BECAUSE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE! No, seriously, they so are. We've got Caroline turning to, confiding in, siding with Stefan, and vice versa. They are providing emotional support for one another, keeping tabs on each other. (Much how things started to grow and progress to the state of true love beauty that Damon and Elena are ensnared in.) I'm getting a really, really good feeling about these two now, and hoping in a way I only did before with the slightest expectation of it really happening. Now? I'm growing more confident (and squeeful!) by the episode that Stefan and Caroline are it. :D
- Another pair that I adore so heartily that made me full of the FEELS galore tonight was Jeremy and Damon! Oh my! When Damon and Elena drove up, Jeremy said "they shouldn't have come." Not "she shouldn't have come," meaning he didn't want to hurt/try to kill Elena only, but "they shouldn't have come," including Damon as a vampire he didn't want to hurt/try to kill. SO MANY FEELS! That just kept growing. Jeremy being totally cool from get-go one to Damon being there (as in not being pissy or snitty about it at all). Damon coming up with the solution to create a detour and Jeremy easily waiting to see what Damon's idea was. Damon stepping forward when testing the detour as the vampire that Jeremy could try and kill, and Jeremy handing the stake to him.
And, and, and, and... let me repeat that speech of Damon's for an entirely different reason: "I'm gonna stay here with Jeremy, I'm gonna help him complete the mark, I'll teach him how to hunt, I'll protect him, and we'll kill vampires..." OH. MY. GOD! ALL THE DAMON/JEREMY FEELS IN THE UNIVERSE HERE!! And based on the preview... is that Matt?! Is that Matt that Jeremy is practice-fighting with? While Damon watches? Am I going to actually get at least one (possibly more) scenes with Damon, Jeremy and Matt?!?!? BE STILL MY BEATING HEART THAT BEATS RAPIDLY WITH JOY AND GLEE!!!
- Speaking of... Matty! Missed you, my bb! Not much of him, but I did like what we got, mostly because it really showed how beautifully they are layering things this season (which also gives credence to my theory that there is simply no way they are being this sloppy about the sire bond inconsistencies). That whole sequence with April, Caroline (OMG! HAYLEY SNAPPED HER NECK! WHOAH!), Matt and eventually Rebekah (!!!) was made of so much awesome win.
We had episode 03 create a bond of sorts between April and Rebekah, episode 05 where April was looking for a staked Rebekah, and then later Jeremy gave April the bracelet which freed her from compulsion. A few episodes later, there was 07 where Matt stepped up to the plate for April at the Miss Mystic Falls pageant thus becoming her knight in shining armor (which Caroline noticed). That is why when Caroline ran into Matt it made perfect sense that she mentioned April to him... which led to him telling her about the vervain bracelet. This was all a wonderfully laid-out chain of events that played to perfection tonight. Because of the April/Rebekah tentative friendship, the vervained bracelet, April looking for Rebekah, her hearing Caroline specifically mention exactly where Rebekah was, it then made perfect sense as to why April was there at the end to free Rebekah. (Because she will. To which I say:
- And maybe, just maybe I'll get more Matt/Rebekah scenes? Because I miss them and I love them. But, hey, at least I got some Jeremy/Bonnie lovelies tonight. Aww. Damon helping to push those two kids back together, Jeremy's sweet, shy smile, how Bonnie was so there for him, just the every way they looked at one another and were with one another. Oh, please, please give me back my sunshine and rainbows, hearts and puppies couple! PLEASE! :D
- Other duos tonight? Well, there's Klaus, Caroline and champagne (trio?). I'm torn here. Candice Accola and Joseph Morgan do have chemistry, but damn, it's still annoying how Caroline talks of Damon as the pure EVUL, but Klaus she feels for. I know, I know, and I do believe it is so going somewhere. In fact, I was even talking to kalishaka the other day and I said that I wondered if this was leading up to Klaus doing something awful that would help serve as a wake-up call. Now, I don't think tonight was actually it because (a) I just don't think Caroline will feel the hybrids as this huge loss but she'll continue to see them as abstract deaths that don't affect her (ala Chris the Hybrid, and all the kills she thinks he made, as opposed to her BFF, over the summer with Stefan), and (b) how Klaus killed Carol will probably be chalked up to an accident and thus not on him. But I think it very well may have been a precursor (to Klaus killing Tyler?! Please?! Sorry, Michael.) to that something too awful for Caroline.
- Seriously, I cannot believe that someone in this motley crew is finally acknowledging that the biggest bad may have done horrible things, but that they have ALL done horrible things, so it's OK to feel sorry for that big bad and get that they aren't only horrible. Too bad that those two talking about it aren't willing to afford that same sentiment to Damon, but instead Klaus. KLAUS! *sigh* I gripe, but I still have faith this is all leading somewhere with regards to Damon.
- I am sad. I was so hoping Tyler would die. And, man, they were setting it up so beautifully and then Tyler couldn't find Carol and I was all "damnit!, Klaus is going to kill Carol!" And he did! But more on that later. I don't hate Tyler. I don't even dislike him. And I like Michael Trevino, I just don’t feel that he's a strong enough actor to hold up against everyone else in the cast, even recurring at this point (except for the continually-proving-she's-just-not-that-g
- I also loved Stefan pretty damn hard in this episode. I felt for him through the whole thing, and *really* felt for him when Caroline couldn't even look at him when he kept repeating "how together?" even though he already knew at that point and he just wanted her to disabuse him of that knowledge. With Caroline (always a win!), with Klaus, being alpha-d up with Tyler, phoning it up with Damon, he was awesome. I love Stefan like this. (We'll just ignore the totally jerky it's-all-about-me attitude from the promo, mmkay?)
- Klaus on a murderous rampage... oh boy! Klaus slaughtering hybrid after hybrid after hybrid and so on and so forth to "O Holy Night," and then drowning a drunk Carol Lockwood to a ghostly version of "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" was all kinds of wrong. So very, very, very wrong. And so VERY, VERY, VERY awesome. SO FREAKING AWESOME! That was some sickly-twisted, beautifully-poetic work on display tonight. And I am bummed about Carol (way more than I would have been about Tyler). Susan Walters is a great actress who has done this "small" part incredible justice. She went out on a beautifully acted note. (And I'm so glad it wasn't Liz! Sorry, Carol.)
- Finally, Damon and Elena... First of all, the obvious... dangit, no Damon licking Elena's throat in the episode from the promo. *sigh* Ah well. I won't complain too much considering what we got in episode 07 and episode 08. And once I got the confusion about the why of the over-the-topness of the sire bonding scene on the pier (they're really laying it on thick where they can to sell the lie to the audience so that we get the rug pulled out from under us when the reveal comes), I loved all of their stuff... if not in the purely prurient way I did in the previous two episodes. I enjoyed their opening scene for a number of reasons. Firstly, I just loved them lying on the bed, mostly mirroring each other's poses both times.
(Hah, look at those grumpy faces in the second one! Damn you, Stefan, Caroline (Klaus and Shane)!) I also really loved how honest and open they were with each other. How they're still THEM, still Damon and Elena and how they act with one another, the snarking, Damon's cynicism against Elena's lightness. And they still talk, they still discuss things, back and forth, their sexual relationship (sadly, now on hold) has not changed how they are so real with one another. *sigh* I love that, and it just wasn't present in this scene, but in the others as well. However, before I move on... damn, how can a couple who are a couple in real life and who just shared back-to-back ridiculously steamy sex scenes still have *this* much chemistry?!
Seriously. Come on now. DAYUM! SO MUCH CHEMISTRY!!!
Ahem, moving on. So we had Damon giving into Elena (going with her to the lake house), Damon casually threatening to kill someone in front of Elena (while holding an axe no less). There was Damon not pretending to be some white-hat guy just because of the shift in their relationship, and Elena still playing the 'let's sing Kumbaya and all get along' card with a snarky Damon. Yeah, totally still them, not watered down, not sugared up, not a carbon-copy of Elena's past relationships. They are still Damon and Elena. And they continue to be so obviously THE couple.
I mean, how in any way is Damon not being painted as the one for her? The one who loves her wholly, completely, selflessly, unconditionally? He is her one. Totally. He didn't "invoke" the sire bond the night before, but he also didn't in any way take advantage of Elena after he found out about it (being a gentleman and all, aww). He wants her to get the cure so she can be normal and happy even if it means losing her, as opposed to Stefan who wants the cure for her so she will be his girlfriend again (or so he believes). Damon wants her to love him, he wants it to be real, and if it's not, by God, he's going to do right by her (and his brother who is not taking Damon's feelings and heartbreak into consideration AT ALL, oh, Stefan). And, of course, forces are conspiring against him to make him believe it's not real, even though Elena is standing before him begging him to desperately accept that for her, yes, what she feels is real. And it is, and the sire bond is not.
There are so many instances where we've seen the sire bond in play, as recently as Damon with Charlotte, and how Elena reacted to Damon's order was so unlike the others. She had this perturbed look on her face during most of her goodbye to him where she just knew that this was not right. Her mind was telling her one thing, but her body was telling her another. That is NOT how the sire bond works, we've been explicitly shown that. Your mind and your body are in concert. It's your emotions that get effected, that feel what they want to feel. Think of Tyler and Caroline when Klaus told him to bite her. Tyler's words said that he wouldn't do it, but his mind and body were in sync.
He was shocked when he bit her. His mind didn't think it was wrong what he was doing, it was his emotional reaction that was off. Elena's mind was not in agreement with her body. This sudden shift TO OBEY is never how it's been seen or described as feeling before. It just is. It's a natural response to your sire telling you to do something. Not an unnatural response that your body fights. Above, I mentioned how the only thing that Damon specifically ordered Elena to do was to go home -- and THAT is what her body was telling her to do. Damon also said: "I'm setting you free" which WOULD fall under the confines of the sire bond order/suggestion, but not a hypnotic suggestion to obey a direct command to her. And, whaddya know? An Elena who was supposedly "set free" by Damon kissed him goodbye. Yeah. See her perturbed look? And for fun, the kiss goodbye. :)
Finally, to add one more point to my whole SHANE DID IT! theory... what was the point of Damon not "setting her free" in the previous episode or even at the top of this one? If it was just for cliffhanger purposes, then it would have been done at the beginning of the episode. Instead, it was dragged out throughout the entire show where nothing happened that we didn't already know (Elena was here with Stefan in the past, she was all into him then, Damon brings alcohol with him wherever he goes, Elena thinks it's real, Damon fears it isn't real, Damon is making her happy, Damon selflessly loves her). Nothing happened that in any way changed what we, as viewers, already knew about Damon and Elena. Nope, nothing happened... except Shane was there with his hypno-herbs, hypnotic skill and knowing all about the sire bond in between the end of the last episode and this one. Uh huh.
- Go show. I was thinking they might forget that Damon had already been invited into the lake house (in 3.15), but they didn't. Yay. :)
- There were just some really, really stand-out lines tonight. Of course, there are generally plenty of great lines, but tonight, there were just a magnificent zingers all over the place. Kudos to the writers Julie Plec and Michael J. Cinequemani.
- Whee! See, Bonnie doesn't hate Damon anymore. She was pretty Zen with him being there and even told Caroline (the biggest Damon-hater so it would make sense that Bonnie would even start with the negative before dialing back) that Damon wasn't being that horrible. Yay!
- Seriously, I haven't posted/completed the chapters yet, but I swear that I have Jeremy say almost the exact same things in my fic that he did during his 'kill Elena' speech. Plus, Stefan/Caroline have a bonding moment over not hating Klaus even when they should. FOR REALS, YA'LL! There are so many little things, exact things, and vague-but-close-enough things in my fic that are happening this season that only my beta-readers will believe me at this point since I haven't posted/finished it yet.
- Whoo! Boy! Jeremy looked scrumptious in his tight, white tank. Yummy! Speaking of yummy, thank you, show, for the random shirtlessness of Damon. The point of exchanging one shirt for the other didn't make much sense without anything else going on there, so I'll just take what Ian-nudity I can get and be happy. And I am. :)
- Psst! sarcasticcheese, it wasn't going to be long until the Shane-thingie hit me. I swear!
- I'm sure many of you noticed this, but for those who didn't... hee! Normally, a blood drops from the "V" in the end title card. Not so tonight. :)
KLAUS' EXISTENTIAL, SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE! Awwwww. :)
So there we go, the first half of season 04. While I enjoyed the first three episodes, and the narrative, if not the direction of the fourth, and really liked episode 05 a LOT, episodes 06 through 09 were pretty spectacular all around. Much, much love. I love my show! I love my show! I love my show! SO HARD. But alas, that's all for 2012. See you next year! :D