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28 February 2013 @ 06:51 am
Central character per episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 10  
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) -- 1| 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

SEASON FOUR, Episodes 10-15

4.10 - After School Special | Elena Gilbert -- Other than the B-story, where Rebekah doesn't factor, she actually takes (or ties) all four categories. However, as she isn't a lead, that brings us to default mode and Elena grabs this default. She interacts with the most characters -- her phone call with Damon gives her that one, and she also drives both A and B plots. The latter more strongly as the Jeremy-training is all about getting her the cure. As for the A-plot, it revolves around the cure and Elena is a key driving force that works in her favor too. Elena is also the primary focus of almost all of the characters at various points. Finally, she began the episode not particularly happy with the state of things, and ended the episode with a realization of love and a smile.

4.11 - Catch Me If You Can | Damon Salvatore -- Damon had the closest thing to an emotional arc -- at episode's beginning, he had some degree of control and was awaiting Elena (post-love declaration), but by the end, he was locked up, under Kol's control and denied Elena's presence. He also drove the most story by putting himself in Kol's way to protect Jeremy, and then following Kol's compulsion, led to Elena and Jeremy's actions and plan-making. Damon also interacted with the most characters, and focus was on him by almost every character at some point.

4.12 - A View To A Kill | Elena Gilbert -- While Damon had the most focus -- by default as the only lead who had any central focus on them, and once more had the closest thing to an emotional arc (locked up at the top, freed from compulsion and the cell by the end), Elena captured the other two categories. Not only did she interact with the most characters, more importantly, she drove story. And she drove story in a HUGE way. Just about every single thing that happened in this episode was driven in some way by Elena and because of that she definitely gets this one.

4.13 - Into the Wild | Bonnie Bennett -- In the A-story of this episode, Shane was clearly the central character, but since he's not a lead, we go into default mode. Technically, none of the leads are actually central any more than the other, so turning to the B-story, Caroline has potential. However, that story is so tangential to the main plot that it's not central to the episode at all, so we go back to the A-story. Elena has the most character-driven interaction with more characters, but the focus overall is more on Bonnie as the needed witch whose life is threatened. She also has the closest thing to an arc with her full realization about Shady Shane. Finally, as the needed witch, Bonnie drives the story as much as Elena's desire for the cure and Jeremy's Hunter status. So, by the mightiest of defaults, Bonnie finally gets one this season.

4.14 - Down the Rabbit Hole | Bonnie Bennett -- Like last week, none of our leads had a true central focus, but unlike last week, neither did a non-lead character. In this episode, while Stefan interacted with the most characters, and Elena had the most key focus, Bonnie once again drove the most story (even if only nature of her witchy ways), but more importantly, she had the strongest arc. She began the episode with a fair degree of control, before taking over from Shane completely, but by the end, she was dying, incapacitated and helpless while Jeremy was killed. So Bonnie gets another one... and one more than Stefan this season so far.

4.15 - Stand By Me | Elena Gilbert -- It's fairly obvious that Elena is the only possible choice for the central character in this one. Bonnie interacted with more characters and drove more story, but the emotional arc and key focus was about Elena and so incredibly so that this is one of the most obvious central character choices ever.


Elena - (S1) 7 | (S2) 7 | (S3) 8 | (S4) 8 = 30
Damon - (S1) 6 | (S2) 9 | (S3) 8 | (S4) 4 = 27
Stefan - (S1) 6 | (S2) 1 | (S3) 3 | (S4) 1 = 11
Bonnie - (S1) 1 | (S2) 3 | (S3) 2 | (S4) 2 = 08
Caroline - (S1) 2 | (S2) 2 | (S3) 1 | (S4) 0 = 05

Damon led the way from the second season on, but Elena has now passed him and the two of them more than double the next closest character (Stefan). With the events of "Stand By Me," I really don't see how Elena doesn't continue to get the bulk of episodes. However with this show you never know and I do see potential for Damon or Bonnie to grab a good number. Still, Damon is the only one who has a shot of catching up, let alone surpassing Elena at this point.
Bogwitch: Meg and Mog - Mog [new]bogwitch on February 28th, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
Huh. I would have thought After School Special would have been Stefan's (I think - I remember thinking 'oh, have we just seen a Stefan episode?' and I think it was after that one).
Arabian: Stefan03arabian on February 28th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
But everything with Stefan was focused on Elena (and Damon). And he was passive, not driving any story at all. You know, typical Stefan. Plus, he didn't have an arc of any kind and didn't interact with more characters.
crowandfog: TVD: Damon/Elena and the reason is youcrowandfog on March 3rd, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
TVD is very much about Damon and Elena, isn't it? If the writers were going to bring Stefan back into the running, I thought they would have done it after 4x07 (ignoring how they really should have done it last season)--playing up Stefan's heartbreak and his relationships with Klaus and Caroline and continuing his ruthlessness regarding the search for the cure--but it just didn't happen. Now, Stefan's losing a lot of his status with me. The Main Three don't even feel like the Main Three anymore. It's almost as if Stefan's relevance comes from his participation in the love triangle and nothing more. He's important because of his relationship with Elena and his relationship with Damon and not because he makes things happen. I wonder if the writers just don't feel comfortable putting Paul Wesley at the heart of the story. They managed it in S1, so why is it so hard now? Is it the character or is the actor that keeps them from doing more? It's past weird to me now that he doesn't get the spotlight more often. Does PW still deserve to be second in the credits? No. Debatable. ;)
Arabian: Damon & Elena27arabian on March 3rd, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
No. No strike-through necessary, LOL!

I don't know what's happened. I mean it can't just be because Ian took the character and ran like crazy with it and the writers followed suit. Because there's still Nina, and she's not getting any less play. Which I think means that the lack of 100% some of us have seen from Paul and his obvious, often-stated dislike of "good" Stefan have made the writers less likely to trust him with the BIG stuff. I don't know, though. Because you're right, there really isn't a main three. It's Damon and Elena, or Elena and Damon. Stefan is very much secondary at this point, albeit more leading than Bonnie, Caroline and arguably Klaus.
prettygirl5130: pic#119743568prettygirl5130 on March 6th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)
I honestly think Paul has been phoning it in since midway through season 3 and because of this, the writerss are hesitant to give him really meaty stuff especially when it comes to triangle/ELena stuff. That's a big problem for the writers too because this show is so much about the triangle, it's the premise of the show for the most part, and if Paul is sitting around and phoning his lines in to Nina when it comes to Elena and his love for her, how do you continue to write a love story between Elena and Stefan if one of the actors isn't completely "there" in the scene?

When you contrast Paul's acting with Elena/Nina this and most of last season to Ian's portrayal of Damon's love story...there is no comparison IMO. I do think the actors inspire TV show writers a lot of the time and Ian is just easier to write for at this point. Obviously, NIna has been really inspiring too because the stuff they've been giving her this season is incredible.

Now, I will give Paul acting points when it comes to Defan scenes, because I do think both Paul and Ian work really hard at those scenes together. But, the triangle/love/angsty stuff? Yeah, Paul is completely zoned out of that stuff. IMO

Edited at 2013-03-06 04:40 am (UTC)
Arabian: Damon&Stefan04arabian on March 7th, 2013 04:22 am (UTC)
I don't disagree with any of this and I really have nothing to add because you've covered it quite well.
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2013 05:08 am (UTC)
Hey, I just found your journal and have been reading through your TVD posts. I love your analysis and positivity! I'll probably comment on your reviews at some point, but I was wondering if you'd be doing any more of these character breakdowns for the rest of season four/five?
Arabian: TVD-Cast01arabian on November 14th, 2013 01:10 pm (UTC)
I actually was working on them, and had season 04 almost done, but I honestly figured no one cared about these as the responses were getting less and less so I stopped working on them. I can try and get season 04 done this weekend and posted. And when the first break for season 05 comes up (not Thanksgiving, but after the 100th episode), I'll do that when I can.