MYSTIC FALLS --
Damon, Stefan and the torture of Elena. Look, I know it sucks and it's not something I'm looking forward to (because I don't like to see characters I love in pain), but I don't have a problem with it story or character-wise at all. And I say this as a HUGE Elena fan. I just don't think it's this awful thing to do to Elena because I believe it's what she would want them to do. Namely, anything and everything possible to get her flip switched back on. The heart of who Elena is lies with her humanity, her passion, her unending ability to forgive, to accept, to love, to empathize. That is what makes Elena Gilbert who she is, the person she wants to be, the girl that all of these people love and are willing to lay their lives down for. The Elena with her switch flipped off--while still Elena--is not the full entity of who Elena Gilbert is. With her switch flipped, she has turned off the key component that fully makes Elena... Elena. Her heart. So, absolutely, one thousand times, yes, Elena would prefer to be tortured and get back to her true self rather than live as she has been with her switch off.
Yes, Elena keeps saying over and over again that she doesn't want her switch turned back on, but it's NOT what Elena wants. And her loved ones not listening to that is not them ignoring her agency, it's them being true to who Elena fully is. And this is not Elena--the full package Elena. Again, Elena is empathetic, is caring, is compassionate and once her switch comes back on, it will be devastating to her knowing about not only the life she's taken, but how horrible she's been to the most important people in her life. Elena LOVES Bonnie and Caroline like they were her family and she LITERALLY tried to kill both of them.
This is NOT what the real, full Elena would want. Period. And if her loved ones didn't do EVERYTHING they could (including something that SHE was willing to go along with to bring Stefan's humanity back last year), she wouldn't understand it because as her loved ones they should know that she would NOT want to not care because CARING is at the heart of who Elena is.
Speaking of heart--the rug can certainly be pulled out, but it does appear as if Katherine meant it when she told Elijah that she loved him. She waited for him, she went to him and even after he was willing to give up the cure without buying her freedom she still wanted to be with him and go off on an adventure together.
And Elijah said goodbye. *sob*
Yeah, it was sad, but considering the circumstances, I was OK with it. Since Katherine is played by the lead actress on The Vampire Diaries whose lead character is actually not Katherine, while I'm sure we'll see Katherine and Elijah interact again in crossover episodes, there's just no logistical way that Nina Dobrev could appear regularly on The Originals (or whatever they wind up calling the show if it's picked up) so there had to be an end of sorts for Katherine and Elijah.
What I loved though is that it wasn't an end. Katherine and Elijah still clearly love each other. And it sure seems real on Katherine's part. It's just... *sigh* Family just comes first for Elijah and that's entirely understandable and totally in character. So I am OK with it... mostly because to me their goodbye was a pause, not a full-stop. And, hey, they still have eternity to get together for their time. It's something they both do want... even, especially Katherine. So it can totally still happen. I just love them so much!
Gah, and then that whispered "Katerina." Sigh. Oh my heart!
NEW ORLEANS --
I found it interesting that although Klaus is undeniably a villain, he's "our" villain and so I sided with him over Marcel. Even as Klaus was whining and throwing his Klaus-y temper tantrums, I sided with Klaus. And I enjoyed Klaus. All of him, from his trying to keep his temper under control, his confusion with how things were going down in New Orleans, his clear proud/envious feelings towards Marcel, his shock over Haley and the baby (!), losing his temper, his sibling interactions. Yeah, I pretty much did enjoy Klaus lots in this. He was still Klaus, but at the center of the show it was easier to feel for him more.
Oh, yeah, that baby (!) bit. Holy crap!! I'd been enjoying the episode up until that moment, but when that happened, I leaned forward, surprise and wonder running through me. AWE-SOME! I loved the twist, the loophole because it DID make sense. And while I'm still not Phoebe Tonkin's biggest fan--her first scene in the bar was rather weak--I actually did think she did a very nice job in that whole sequence with the witches, Elijah and Klaus. Also really nice was Klaus hearing the baby's heartbeat. Nicely powerful moment there.
ETA: There have been so many complaints about this (sigh), I'm going to address a few of the main ones.
1.) Klaus is "dead" so how can his sperm be viable?
2.) Klaus as daddy? BWAH! Bad comedy written all over it.
To which I say... Klaus isn't dead, technically he's undead. He has blood pumping through his veins, he can breathe, etc., so I don't see how the little guys working doesn't make sense either. I mean, really, none of it's real so you can play with the mythology all you want and they went with the werewolf dynamic paired with a werewolf girl. Worked for me. Now if they played the pregnancy/birth/baby for laughs, it would be a problem, but I don't see it playing out like that at all. And considering how time moves on this show, it won't be until the 3rd season that she actually has the baby... if she even does. She could lose it, but then it will be out there, the knowledge that with a werewolf female, Klaus (or a hybrid in general maybe) can conceive. And if/when a baby does show up, I highly doubt that The Vampire Diaries/The Originals will handle it the way just about any other show would. That darkness is knit into the fabric of the show.
I also loved all of the scenes between Elijah and Klaus. There were two in particular that I loved, the first simply for the opening exchange which was my favorite the episode: "What an entirely unwelcome surprise."/"what an entirely unsurprising welcome." Hahahaha! Loved it. The second was when Elijah was trying to convince him that this baby (!) was a chance for them to start over, and he got up in Klaus' face and there was this long pause and I KNEW that Klaus was going to say "no." And of course he did because anything else would have been out of character.
And then came the confrontation between Marcel and Klaus where Marcel claimed to be the King of New Orleans, and Klaus was able to bury any desire to not be alone (that the baby (!) represented) under the more Klaus-acceptable that an heir was needed if he was going to be king. Which I also loved by the way. Only an over-the-top character like Klaus could get away with saying "I want to be king" and have it work. And it totally did for me.
You know what else totally worked? Elijah and all of his awesome Elijah-ness. So smooth, so elegant, such a gentleman. Ah, he is perfection. It's the way that Daniel Gillies speaks, the careful precision of his pauses, his phrasing, the hint of emotion piping through every now and then. It's the way he moves with such grace and ease as if he has all the time in the world... which of course he does. Elijah, the gentleman vampire, I love him so.
- Not many of the New Orleans characters made much of an impression beyond Marcel. He's interesting; he can sing, is good-looking and to me I see him as the villain since he's "against" Klaus.
- I liked the set-up overall because it did feel like this was a long game that could easily be played out over the course of a series.
- I was happy that both Elijah and Klaus showed their dominance over everyone else because they should! They are Originals and so seeing them calmly take care of business in their own very different ways easily and cleanly was well-done. (As was Elijah's off-hand, 'oh, if Marcel is the problem, I'll just kill him, pfft.')
- I am intrigued to learn how Marcel could possibly be controlling the witches. Hmmm............
- So what's gonna happen to get Rebekah going to New Orleans? I completely get why she doesn't right now. After the way Klaus has treated her, not a surprise at all. So what's gonna happen? I really hope it's not repudiation from Matt or Elena. I'd like for it to be because Klaus actually does something to show Rebekah that he is redeemable, that Elijah is right and there is a sliver of humanity left, and that Klaus does indeed love his sister.
- Speaking of Rebekah, I was surprised there was so little of her in the episode. I thought she'd be joining them in New Orleans. *sigh* I know that all signs point to her joining the spin-off, but until it's absolute fact, I will still dream that she'll stick around in Mystic Falls. I know, I know, it won't happen. Double *sigh*
- Finally back to Elena. I couldn't help it, I laughed at Elena's "let's see who breaks first, me or you" as she looked calmly at both brothers. I know that I said above it's not the full Elena we have now, and I stand by that, but this is still a PART of who Elena is. The part that is strong, stubborn and completely and utterly take-no-prisoners-kickass.
- And on a more serious note, I did think it was interesting that she looked at Stefan last and I wonder if it's because she thinks (at this point at least) that Stefan is the weaker of the two? Hmmmm............
Phew, pretty dang short TVD post-episode write-up, but then this wasn't really a TVD episode now was it? Hmm, so the backdoor Pilot has come and gone. I liked and look forward to seeing more in New Orleans and the baby (!) news... next season in its own timeslot. Now I just can't wait to stay put in Mystic Falls next week! Still, yeah, I liked it. A LOT!