So, to start with I will focus on the whole doppelganger-shadowself stuff. Katherine is key, I believe. Frankly, I find it amusing that a certain fandom is pretty much completely ignoring her and very interesting that the characters are as well… but the writers most certainly are not. And that was quite, quite clear to me. The most obvious case in point (and there are a few points to be made, thank you very much) was the fact that Katherine had the exact same dream as Elena.
The episode begins with Elena having this dream that seems to play at Stefan playing the Ripper, and then he tells his victim to run away, heads outside starts to burn up—horrific, terrible, let's get Elena all worked up and torn up inside, right? Work her guilt and latent feelings of love for Stefan up to a towering, fever pitch, right? Uh huh, uh huh… and then Katherine heads in, clearly upset because *she* had the exact same dream.
So what does that mean then? If Elena's feelings for Stefan were to be worked up, then why wouldn't Katherine's? She loved him. She was with him. She kept choosing him over and over and over again. Right? Right? Right? Hmmm. Then we come to the little writer moment that *really* caught my attention. When Damon shows up at Quetsiyah's to save Stefan, she wonders where Katherine is because she was supposed to be with Damon. After all that's why she sent Katherine the dream supposedly. OK, so there we have it. Plot-driven reason as to why Katherine was sent the dream, had nothing to do with *her* feelings for Stefan, of course… but, then two seconds later, that plot-driven reason is thrown out the window when Quetsiyah pretty much shrugs and is all ‘eh, I can do it without her.'
This tells me that the supposed plot-driven reason was just a MacGuffin to throw off the scent. Right now the show wants viewers to focus on Elena as Stefan's "true love." But, hello!?!?, nowhere in all of Quetsiyah—OK, you know, what I'm going with Tessa, way easier, she's right!—Tessa's mad ravings did she say that it is ELENA who is Stefan's true love (except to get under Damon's skin, but hey, who doesn't do that to get under Damon's skin, amirite?). It's simply shadow selves finding shadow selves and you know what? Katherine is as much of a shadow self of Amara as is Elena. And remember, Katherine was the first person to use the phrase "shadow self." On most shows, I wouldn't think that matters so much, but on this show, little things like that often do.
Elena is not the only shadow self that Stefan is fated to love who is around, Katherine is too. And as we saw in this episode, Katherine got the same dream that Elena did. And Katherine reminded us in this episode, she still cares about Stefan, in fact, she pointed out that her level of feelings for Stefan were on par with Elena's. And we just got a full episode in which her storyline covered a fair amount of that episode that highlighted her slowly emerging humanity. *And* we even saw part of a spark of that humanity in her scene with Elena in this episode... which means it's a continuing plot point.
Finally, don't you all find it a tad interesting that this story with Silas and Stefan and Elena and Amara and doppelgangers is playing out when Katherine is playing SUCH a huge part of the show… possibly the largest role she's played on the show to date? I certainly do. And I simply cannot believe that it's not intentional. Just you wait, I think it's very, very likely that Elena and Stefan's great, fated love is the red herring of all of this. Because here's one other key thing to remember: Stefan and Katherine are the one love story that has been introduced on this show that has yet to receive anything close to closure. Uh huh.
ETA: I can NOT believe that I forgot this. Someone pointed out below that in the flashback, Silas told Amara "When I look at you, I see an angel." In one of the flashbacks in "Memory Lane," Stefan told Katherine, "I look at you and I see an angel." Pretty telling, that Stefan used almost the exact words to Katherine that Silas had said to Amara. I could be wrong as I am not even remotely a Stefan/Elena aficionado, but I don't believe he's ever said anything similar to Elena.
Continuing talk of Katherine… we also may get the number one answer related to her new state with the arrival of Tessa. Can she become a vampire again? I wonder when they'll have the chance to ask our dear, crazy-cakes Tessa, and I do hope they have that chance. And another couple of questions to ask her… will she be able to make other cures? For Elena? For Stefan? Tyler? (If so, will he be easier to kill? KThanxBai!) For Damon? If there's more than one and Elena wants it, will he take it to be with Elena? What about Bonnie coming back now? Is Tessa alive, has she managed to bring herself back and if she has, can she do the same for Bonnie?
And for me the viewer, will we see Tessa again? And pretty please let the answer be yes, because, my goodness was she freaking entertaining as all get-out. Damn, that girl can act! Janina Gavankar effortlessly came on-screen and pretty much owned the hour and I say this even while staring at the pretty of Ian Somerhalder. (Admittedly this was a pretty low-key Damon hour, which happens very rarely.) She not only can act, she's dang charismatic. As I was sitting there in awe at the utter crazy-cakes on display, I was feeling sympathy for her, in awe at her brilliance, and just jaw-dropping at how completely, well, fucked up this chick is! And I just did not want to stop watching her.
Even if she really, really was crazy. But, hey, at least she was well aware of the crazy! And speaking of that, let us talk about her whole spiel to Damon about the whole soulmates of the shadow selves. So, let's say that part of her psychosis is not, well, psychotic.
Uhm, the fact that the Silas and Amara doppelgangers keep finding each other over the course of *two thousand freaking years* and yet have never gotten it together, well, doesn't that kinda say that maybe they aren't, erm, soulmates meant to be together? But rather that they're being, oh, I dunno, punished throughout time or something? Maybe their punishment is to fall in love and then feel the loss of that love because of how they hurt and betrayed Quetsiyah. Just something to kinda ponder maybe, I think. Considering the whole long-ass passage of time where they just can't get it right… could be fate telling them something, ya think?
What I don't think, I know, is something that I mentioned in the last episode write-up that I was fine with “whatever connection Stefan and Elena share, however far it goes back, [because] Damon and Elena's love was strong enough to overcome it.” This episode takes that one step further and actually made it that much stronger because it's not just Stefan and Elena, it's countless doppelgangers, shadowselves, it's countless Silas and Amara stand-ins. Basically that's all Stefan and Elena are to each other… Silas and Amara stand-ins… lovers who were never meant to be, who never got a happy ending and who it appears that time has continued to punish for two thousand years.
Damon and Elena? They are a one-in-a-lifetime. They are the real thing. They have fought to be together. They have overcome this fated destiny, this pre-ordained punishment… their love is real. And they are not going to let the rantings of some two thousand year old witch dictate their life, their love. And I love seeing that. I love seeing *Damon* fighting for them, for their love…. Because she is his life. *sigh*
As much as I loved that scene, loved that Damon is fighting for them, it wasn't my favorite scene with them because I can't help but think that Damon was trying to convince himself as much as Elena. He wants to believe that they can overcome destiny, but I so heard fear in his voice. Which makes sense, he finally got the girl, but Stefan wasn't around and now not only is he back, but there's some all-powerful witch telling him that Elena was fated to be with Stefan. Of course it's gonna mess with his already fragile self-esteem issues.
So while it was lovely to hear him say he isn't just giving up, the fear was there, so yeah, it was painful to hear. However, the scene that I unabashedly loved was in the bar when Elena was taking charge, telling Damon to go after Stefan while she went after Katherine. I loved how he pulled her hand to him, I don't know why, just how he needed to know she'd be safe. And then when she started to take off again, how he used his words to stop her, frustration clear in his tone, but he wasn't forcing her, he just needed her to listen to him, and so she did, she stopped and she listened.
And then he talked about how precious she was, every strand of her hair being worth more than all of her Katherine and the look she beamed at him and he told her to kiss him and she did and AHHHH! It was just so beautiful. I loved it so much. So, so, so much.
I think the show has done an excellent job in showing that Katherine is not really able to get under Elena's skin. Damon has really made it clear that he is completely head over heels for Elena and so completely over Katherine, so Elena is not jealous of her. Katherine tries to drive a wedge when it comes to Stefan, and I think that bothers Elena a little, but I don't think it's because she has romantic feelings for him, but because she knows that Damon worries about that. Other than that, frankly, I think Katherine's biggest power over Elena is that she simply annoys her. Oh, Katherine.
Like when she just walks into their bedroom. Admittedly, I would have preferred to see more sexytiems in the bed, but I never don't enjoy seeing naked!Damon, especially when he looks that good—and yes, I totes grabbed this first gif because of how good he looked. And I grabbed the second because, hee! funny, Elena and funny Damon, always fun. Not much for the sexy or romantic in the bed there, but I did like the honesty all-around. And that is very, very good. Good Damon and Elena. Good, good, good! Now for the pretty! And the funny!
And the randoms…
- Wow, there were only ten characters (and two of them included Jo the bartender and Amara who was in one split-second of a scene) and five of those characters were split between three actors. I think this may be the lowest character count of any episode.
- The sign of a good episode? Until the preview showed Jeremy, I didn't even realize that he, Bonnie and Caroline weren't in the episode and you all know how much I love them!
- So, Silas wants Katherine so he can what drain the blood from her body to synthesize the cure? That's really creepy. And totally Silas-like. Yeah, he's about as whacked-out as Tessa at this point.
- Zach Roerig did really good with the creepy-European Traveler guy voice and pissed-off murdered dude. I'm not terribly worried about Matt biting it, and am confident that Nadia's plan will fail miserably. At this point, while I know that the big three are undeniably safe… I think that one Mr. Matt Donovan will be the other one that either makes it the end of this show's run alive and kicking *or* he'll die in the second to the last frame. Because, you know, The Vampire Diaries. And then I will cry. HARD!
- Speaking of Matt, I really like how they used Matt and Rebekah's summer sexcapades to weave Matt into this Silas story pretty organically. Niiiice.
- Not so nice? I'm not terribly fond of the actress, Olga Fonda, playing Nadia. She's just not doing it for me. Unlike the sublime Janina Gavankar, Fonda is just NOT cutting it for me at all. I keep trying to cut her some slack, and it ain't happening.
- However, I am interested in the Travelers. What are they? They've been around for at least two thousand years now. Silas was one, as was Quetsiyah. And now Nadia is one as well. Very interesting. What do they do, what is their mission? I am muy curious.
- I had assumed in last week's write-up that we would find out how Stefan got out of the safe and we did indeedy and it made perfect sense. Thank you, show. I love when you reward my faith. :)
- So, no Ripper!Stefan, eh? I'm a wee disappointed. On one hand I wish they hadn't set that up, but on the other hand it was a fair set-up. Still, yeah, I'm disappointed.
- On the other other hand, Stefan with no memory? Fun! At least, I hope so! Oh, and next week's preview? I refuse to get worked up about that. There is no way there's not something hinky going on there. I don't buy that Elena's gonna be all up in Stefan's grill like that without something going on when she's with Damon as she is now. Elena just isn't built that way. Period. Even if she *was* in love with Stefan, she wouldn't do that since she is Damon's girlfriend, but it doesn't matter because she's not in love with Stefan. She's in love with Damon. Period. Full-stop. End of discussion. Thank you very much. So, yes, something hinky is going on, thank you, CW promo-monkeys and your silly, fan-baiting ways of sucktitude. :)
- Ooh, great episode title!
- OK, I'm saving my two notes of negativity for the end. I'm sorry, but yeah, this season has officially put the nail in the coffin for any high praise I might have ever had for Paul Wesley as an actor. He's fine, don't get me wrong, but not great. Nope, pretty one-note. He simply has not risen to the occasion at all as Silas in my opinion. And seeing him as Silas from 2,000 years ago before he turned evil and bitter, well, he was a Greek (Roman?) Stefan. No difference. Same damn character. When you've got someone like Nina Fucking Dobrev differentiating her characters from human to vampire to human pretending to be vampire to vampire pretending to be human in several different centuries, etc. flawlessly, it's just glaring in contrast. Sorry, Paul. You do not even remotely measure up. At all. Nope.
- The one writing negative I have is the tired cliché of Elena running in to save Stefan and not seeing Damon in the corner so she was worrying over Stefan and not helping Damon. I mean, really? I hate stuff like that, so lame. Because does anyone with a brain cell honestly think that if she had seen her boyfriend she wouldn't have been, ‘Oh, Damon! What happened? Are you alright?' and she wouldn't have rushed his side? Of course she would have. So I hate crap like that. Manufactured drama that this show is normally better than.
But…. Other than that, I quite enjoyed this episode a lot. I mean, really how could I not? To sum up what we learned: Damon and Elena are once-in-a-lifetime, Stefan and Elena? Eh, dime a dozen. As I said at the top, it took me forever to post because sinus infection, medicine made me very, very sleepy. So far, this season has been very interesting and giving us a lot of information, but in very subtle, read-between-the-lines ways. I like. :) And I'm very, very, very much enjoying. Great, great episode all-around. :D