But before I start -- 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 -- unless I accidentally get spoiled, grr. 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. :)
I really liked this one. The atmosphere in this episode was a bit different than any other. I think it was partially because there really were only two stories. We've had something similar before (such as "Klaus," "The End of the Affair" and "Ordinary People"), but there were flashbacks and different locales which made it feel, I dunno, more populated and with a broader concentration. This time, there was essentially the Gilbert home and the woods and that gave the episode a tense, narrowed focus that I think really worked. Frankly, I was riveted throughout the whole episode. This was a really great episode.
I was really surprised at how there were NO Stefan/Elena moments. I expected looks, a moment here or there, just something, anything... and it really wasn't there. Other than the fact that Rebekah, Damon and Shane clearly just assumed that once Elena gets the cure that she'll run back to Stefan, nothing pointed to Stefan and Elena's potential reunion at all. Elena remains completely convinced that she loves Damon and wants to be with him. Full-stop. She also showed zero reaction to Stefan *and* Rebekah. Unlike in "All My Children," where much of her anger did seem motivated by jealousy over Rebekah with Damon, here, it really did come across as all about the fact that Rebekah had tried to kill her.
When it became clear that Elena was going to be stuck with Stefan and Rebekah, I expected, again, to see those moments with Elena and Stefan. However, the relationship emphasis was solely on Elena and Rebekah. Of course that didn't bother me at all as I couldn't help but think that maybe we might actually be heading to a potential Elena/Rebekah friendship which I've wanted FOREVER! And that Rebekah is heading somewhere good. The two things that really gave me that hope was that Rebekah finally flat-out said that everyone keeps forgetting that she wasn't just killing Elena to kill her, but to save her family, and pointed out that it was something every one of them would have done to save their loved ones. And then she reminded Stefan that Elena was a part of killing two of Rebekah's brothers.
So, we basically got a direct defense for what Rebekah did in a way that fits with the mind frame of our heroes. And on top of that, she saved Elena's life, and agreed completely to work with Elena at the end. Which led to Elena's trademark forgiveness on display and I LOVED it. I love how once Rebekah showed Elena that she's not evil, Elena's all 'bygones' because Elena is that freaking awesome. And she really, really is. I love that we still have empathetic Elena who rushes out to help people (Jeremy, Shane, as well as Damon and Rebekah emotionally), but she also has a harder, clearer view of what's going on around her. And, of course, I love Rebekah and think she's freaking awesome too. So please, pretty, pretty please, let them wind up as friends!!
Which means that Rebekah needs to survive! And right now I'm thinking she's got a 50/50 chance of that. After last week and especially this episode, we're looking at one of two outcomes for her by season's end, I think: She's human and fully part of the group, or she's dead-dead in a terribly tragic way. Obviously, I'm hoping for the first option, and I *think* we're leaning towards that one. I hope so anyway. Partially because as much as I love Matt/Rebekah, I gotta say, damn, Stefan and Rebekah just had me all a'squee and aww and smiling. Seriously, I just don't even know, you guys! Her "crushing" his arm and them against the tree and their little snarky conversations, gah, SO adorable and cute and I love them and UGH! why so perfect?!?!?
And speaking of Stefan and Rebekah, I think that Damon was actually wrong about Stefan and why he wanted to bring Rebekah along. I don't think he did so to prove he's over Elena or to get under Damon's skin, he brought her because she wanted to be there... just as he told her in the last episode. So, yeah, I'm thinking now that Stefan was legit with Rebekah in those last few scenes. I sure hope so because I love them!
I also loved the one couply moment with Jeremy and Bonnie. That first scene with them was fantastic, her whole 'sorry, this is embarrassing' and he's all 'I don't mind,' giving her this smirk and we just needed the chicka chicka bow bow music to come into play at that moment. It's so nice seeing this slow burn beginning to build with them all over again. I just love it.
I also love Atticus Shane and his portrayer. David Alpay is just awesome. I'm not saying that I think we should keep this character around, when he's time is done, he should be done, but damn, I'm going to enjoy every moment with him until he has to go. He's just so talented, so charismatic. I think the casting department did an OUTSTANDING job with Alpay. Outside of Claire Holt (Rebekah) and Daniel Gillies (Elijah), I think that he's the best guest/recurring casting the show has done. And even as I love him, and can manage to still feel sorry for Atticus and what he's lost, I still don't trust him and I know there's shifty, sneaky stuff going on. After Elena left him all tied up, he totes smirked, folks. He smirked.
And he's flat-out admitting how he's been using/manipulating Bonnie to get what he wants, to keep himself safe. Just like whoah! I was legit surprised that he just up and admitted that, and then kept trying to manipulate Damon in a very obvious way. I also was surprised, happily so, that Bonnie is no longer trusting Shane and is (hopefully) going to start standing up to him. Quite, quite interesting. Oh, and speaking of Bonnie, yes, Damon does care about Bonnie. He's already saved her life when he didn't have to, and he so was not going to kill Shane. Had Elena not showed up right then -- just like in the premiere when she interrupted him in what she assumed was Damon about to kill Matt -- he would not have killed Shane. I just don't buy that, even less this time than I did with Matt (and I really didn't think that was the case then at all). He was creating leverage with Shane because they sure as hell needed some. Then, of course, Elena showed up and a few seconds later, Shane was left alone, smirking, getting his victory of Damon gone bye-bye. And then he took off with everything needed to get the "cure."
Ah, the cure. It was nice seeing Elena and Damon finally discuss it. What I wasn't expecting was how obvious Elena would be (not that Damon picked up on it until she blurted it out) in wanting Damon to take the cure too, to be human with her. And it struck me that as much as we've heard discussion of Stefan and Elena growing old together from so many other characters, the first time we hear Elena talking about growing old with someone, she's thinking of Damon. And I think that's what stopped him in his tracks. There's the fact that he still clearly does not believe that Elena's feelings for him are real, but I think we're also getting back to that deeply embedded belief of Damon's that not only does he not deserve Elena, but that Stefan does. Yes, Elena got that first part down pat, and I love the fact that she called him out on it, but I don't think she realized how wrapped up that insecurity is in Stefan. It's not just that Damon doesn't believe he deserves it, but he also believes that Stefan does. Stefan is still very much a part of this triangle, but I think (hope, and it's what I wanted to see happen once we got to the Damon/Elena side of things) that his place in the triangle would have more to do with Damon as opposed to Elena. Because I kinda think that Stefan may be as done with Elena as she is with him.
Of the five people talking about Stefan and Elena (of course!) getting back together once she's cured, only Elena is not having it, and Stefan doesn't seem too sure either. In fact I don't know that Stefan would want her back at this point. When Elena was on the ground at the beginning, yes, Stefan went to her, but it didn't come across as 'oh, Elena is down, I must be her hero and help her up!' It was more resigned, like it's what he should do, and of course, Elena was all 'I can get up myself, yo!' The events in "After School Special" seems to have shoved a very firm nail in the coffin of their relationship. And it's almost as if for Stefan, Elena is now, well, tainted, for lack of better word. She's no longer the sweet girl that he fell in love with for everything she wasn't (i.e., Katherine), but she's the Elena that we've heard about pre-parental-loss with a dash of vampire-bad-assedness. Interestingly enough, Rebekah -- when she's not in vengeful-cuz-I-was-screwed-again! mode -- is more the sweet, vulnerable girl in need of her hero than Elena is.
But back to Damon and Elena, I did like how Elena broached the cure discussion in the first scene, almost shy, hoping he'd give her the answer she wanted (that he'd take the cure), and then hinting at it again in the second scene by pointing out that he could take it. It was all nicely leading up to her telling him that she wanted him to take it. She wants to be with him, grow old with him. And I don't know if I can quite articulate how much I adored that section of the scene, as well as so much of the second scene. There is such a sincere, shining truth in how Elena looks at him, tells him how real her feelings are, how very much the idea of being happy with him makes her happy. (And I'll admit, I honestly don't know if it's the directional intent or I'm just such a die-hard Damon/Elena fangirl or if some of those real-life feelings are seeping in because it just feels so much more real and natural when she's talking to Damon. Like even though she was upset and begging him to want this in every line of her body, there was still this happiness at the thought of it infusing every word and I'm not sure that even the greatest actor could pull that off, but maybe, I don't know.)
*Sigh* Just look at her face! *Double sigh* But then look at his face. :( What is frustrating is that Damon is so caught up in his belief of what he doesn't deserve, what Stefan does that he's ignoring logic when it comes to this stupid sire bond. "I don't want you to be cured," he says, followed by Elena making it clear that not only does she intend to take the cure, but that she wants him to take it too. And where Shane stands in this, I have no idea. Maybe he is a part of keeping the sire bond lie alive or not. I thought maybe he wasn't when he kept pushing about Damon not wanting it because it would end the bond, but then he told Damon that maybe the feelings were real, and of course made it clear that Damon was right, he was manipulating them and trying to make Damon go bye-bye. So... maybe.
I don't know. I do know that I really, really hope the sire bond stuff is resolved by this batch of episodes because Damon and Elena are stalled and there's not much more we can do with them until it's resolved... and it's not making anyone happy (including viewers). One other thing about the cure discussion... did anyone else get the impression that Elena might eventually decide to NOT take the cure to prove she loves Damon and wants to be with him? I just got that vibe from that scene when she asked him to do that for her. I don't know. All I do know is that while I want it resolved, for the next few episodes, I'm OK with things still being up in the air because we do know that sirebond or not, the feelings are real and Elena does love Damon. Right now, this is helping them to suss out those feelings not just about each other, but their place in each other's lives and how this is all going to play out once it's resolved. Interesting, indeed.
While I do want it resolved, I have to say that this episode showed me exactly why we got the sire bond twist. I see it being used as a way to explore Damon issues and Damon/Elena issues before they really step into a relationship. And it's not only about his insecurities, and that Elena does grasp some of those insecurities -- that he doesn't believe he deserves love -- but also that she's still learning fully what those issues are (as I reasoned above that it's not just about Damon believing he doesn't deserve, but that Stefan does.) It's also about showing that as much as Damon knows and loves Elena, he doesn't fully know her, and he doesn't fully trust her.
Which brings us to him telling her that he missed being human but now he can't imagine anything more miserable. Honestly, I do think he was lying about that and I think it's because as much as he loves Elena, and he does trust her overall, I don't believe that he trusts her with his heart. And that makes perfect sense. Since he can't believe that he deserves love (and that Stefan does) and since she's spent almost every moment he knows her 'always, Stefan' pre-vampire (well, actually pre-Hunter-kill-hallucination) days, he just can't buy that it's happening.
As for not fully knowing Elena, well, that was clear too. Damon was wrong when he said that 'unicorns and rainbows' is what Elena was suggesting about the cure changing things. That is NOT what she was saying. All she is saying is that she loves Damon and the cure will not change THAT and it's not the cure that will make things fixed for them, but Damon didn't or won't get that right now. And I love , how this whole sire bond thing is opening that discussion. It keeps in line with how well the show uses plots and twists to create character-driven story; we are getting that here. The writers are using the sire bond to open discussion up about Damon, Elena and how their love will effect their hearts and lives. It's heart-breaking, but great storytelling as well and I'm excited for where this is going. (Because I do think the end result will be great for Damon and Elena and Damon.)
The Big, Bad Hybrid
Seriously, Tyler? I mean, seriously? And Caroline, let's throw one at you too... seriously? Counting your chickens before they hatch, aren't ya? You guys do NOT know what is going to happen with this cure, if it's even real, if it will actually work. And Tyler just because you surmise that IF the cure works and IF you can get it to Klaus that it will sever the bloodline connection doesn't mean that this is actually what will happen. Why, why, why would both of them, especially Tyler, stand there and insult and TAUNT Klaus? While he may have finally showed some smarts by leaving a dying Caroline in Klaus' eye line, prior to that, Tyler was just really, really stupid in this episode. I get that he's upset about his mother. Of course, I get that, but still... come on. You have a brain, use it!
While Caroline wasn't as taunting, she took way too many potshots at Klaus as well. Neither of them have any clue what is actually going to happen with this cure. So stupid. Ugh. Caroline's pretty damn lucky that she is right about the fact that Klaus has fallen for her, because otherwise, her ass would be toast. *sigh* I was really struck by something in the Klaus/Caroline scenes... I just can't with them. I know that it's coming from me as a Damon fan, I completely get that bias and am not even remotely trying to pretend it's not in play. It is. Period. I just can't with her hypocrisy. She can look at Klaus and see that he's capable of being saved, capable of being good... but Damon is pure evil? Really? Don't get me wrong, I get it. I get why she feels this way, fair or not, Damon treats her like shit and Klaus treats her like she's a goddess.
I get it. I love Caroline, I love her, flaws and all, and so I'm totally fine with her being a hypocrite, I just need it acknowledged. I need someone to call her on it, for her to own up to it and then not apologize for it because Damon treats her like shit and Klaus treats her like a goddess. That would work for me. But she needs to be called on it. Until she is, I can't with any scene between her and Klaus where she's all seeing and acknowledging his softer side because as a Damon fan, I just see red. And, frankly, the chemistry between Candice Accola and Joseph Morgan isn't strong enough to overcome that for me. The bottom-line is that as long as I only see Caroline --
a) Bitching about how evil Damon is and how different Elena is because of the sirebond and how epic Elena and Stefan are!
b) With Tyler.
c) Being giggly and flirting with Klaus and/or wanting to forget the bad things he's done.
I just can't enjoy the character as I did before. It really says something that in a scene where Caroline is dying, I felt sorry for THE EVIL GUY WHO IS WHY SHE IS DYING, but didn't really care all that much about Caroline. Morgan continues to really knock it out of the park, showing quiet, vicious dignity while Tyler gloated, taking advantage of Tyler and Caroline's idiocy, silkily taunting Tyler to finally fighting the good that is in him, the feelings that he does feel for Caroline before giving in and saving her life. Klaus and Morgan was awesome. Accola was fabulous. Caroline? Needs some freaking reckoning and some character-directional course before I can ever call her awesome again. And that makes me sad.
*Sigh* Ya'll, Tyler's never gonna die, is he? I'm gonna be stuck with him until the show's end, won't I? Damnit.
OK, random stuffies...
- No Matt. :(
- Hah, Rebekah telling Damon his purpose there is because he has a nice behind. (She's right; he does.) Haha, Damon was the eye candy, and he was fine with it, hee!
- So a Hunter snapped Damon's neck. Yeah, that happened, of course, LOL!
- Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder both looked RIDICULOUSLY pretty in that first scene together in the daylight and Elena in her cute cap.
- I was really, really surprised that after Damon and Elena kissed, the shot didn't cut away to Stefan in the shadows watching them. Surprised, but happy. :)
- When Stefan said that he wanted the cure "for me," I was so proud of him. Good answer, Stefan!
- Does it feel weird for anyone else when Damon is casually referred to as Elena's boyfriend (as Shane did)? I mean, we really never got anything even approaching official with them, just the one night (and morning) of hot sex and then boom! the sire bond axe came down and they've been keeping their distance for the most part since then. So, yeah, it just feels weird.
- And once again, there was no "I love you" face to face, and there were so many opportunities for it to happen. Yup, I still think they're saving it for 'happy/happy 'sirebond-broken/not real-whichever times.' Uh huh.
- I cracked up at Elena's "What the hell are you doing?" to Damon, and then once he left turned it on Shane: "What did you say to him?" Hah!
- It was all creepy when Bonnie was following a trail of fire that disappeared behind her. Also? Forest fire!
- So Caitlin was a witch? Hmmm........ interesting. And Shane from one year ago was a lot more sympathetic then the creepy!Professor we've come to know.
And now Shane has Bonnie and Jeremy separated from everyone else, Damon is all kidnapped (again), and Elena, Rebekah and Stefan are teaming up.... whee! I can't wait until next week!
Really, I thought this was a fantastic episode. Just stellar stuff. Caroline Dries rocks it out again!