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25 October 2013 @ 04:34 am
5.04 - 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' (The Vampire Diaries)  
Another Thursday night, another Vampire Diaries and I feel fine! WHEEE!

Well, tonight proved something definitively. Staying away from tumblr, spoilers, speculation, etc. has been the right call. I slipped a bit in the last week because I did let worries seep in a wee due to the promo. I let it get to me, so I broke a bit. Sure enough, comments from media, crew, writers and naysaying speculation non-stop led me to expect the very worst tonight so I was not looking forward to the episode. And aha! I was right last week; there was absolutely nothing to worry about at all in the episode with regards to Stefan and Elena. Nothing at all.

Everything that happened between them was about their past and about her present happiness in her life—which she has found with Damon—and nothing to do with any great love she shares with Stefan. It was a lovely bit of walk down memory lane for Stefan/Elena fans (who will likely see it for more, whatever), but really that’s all it was. Even the use of “Gravity” was telling in that it was a replay of an earlier song used for the pair. Their love story is so in the past that they don’t even get a new love song. That is what that scene, in fact what all of their scenes were about… memories.

That big moment, the one that was teased in the promo was that as well. She touched his face, not in some beautiful, romantic gesture, but because she was trying to use tactile memory to prod his recall. And when he held onto her hand and pulled her to him, she got caught up in the moment of the memory. And that is all it was; it wasn’t the feelings that she was caught in, but the *moment* and *memory* and there is a big difference there. Her feelings for him are akin to what she feels for Matt now. Her happiness that she felt isn’t because she is in love with him, but because the happiness that she found with Damon was close to being restored.

Remember before finding out about Stefan in the safe, Elena was happier than she’d been in literally years. Stefan in the safe was this dark cloud in her bright, blue sky. Once he gets his memory back, it’s blue skies again, but even without that, the fact that he’s once more on solid ground, he’s back in Mystic Falls, he’s home and that dark cloud is now only a pale grey. So, of course she’s going to be smiling and happy. It’s about Stefan, yes, but not because she’s in love with him but because she cares about him just as she does anyone else in their inner circle. We all heard her—she put Stefan in the exact same category as Matt, as the rest of those she cares about. He’s someone she loves, but he’s not *the* one she loves.

So knowing that, seeing that play out clearly, I did actually enjoy the Stefan/Elena scenes. There was just nothing there that pointed to a future unless you're a delusional Stefan/Elena fan. Everything we saw with them was purely nostalgia. Elena was trying to help a friend. Period. And because I saw absolutely zero threat to the Damon and Elena relationship I could enjoy seeing a happy!Elena. And good thing too because clearly that’s gone now. I get that Jeremy had to tell about Bonnie. Obviously I get that, and I’m glad that Damon didn’t keep it from Elena, but man, happy!Elena is gone, gone, gone now. *sigh* I really, really loved happy!Elena. Seeing her trying to remember which direction she bumped into Stefan coming out of the men’s room (*snort* yeah, what an epic first meeting, LOL!) or jumping on or falling off the roof with laughter, with smiles, with happiness on her face was great. *sigh* I’m gonna miss that girl. R.I.P. Happy!Elena. :( I’m sure Damon will still be able to pull smiles out of her, but it won’t be the same until crazy-cakes Quetsiyah manages to bring Bonnie back (yes, I’m banking on that, damnit!).

Speaking of dead!Bonnie… while I loved the first and final scene dealing with her death, I had some problem with the in-between scenes and the lack of others. So let’s deal with those first. I know that we got the second scene with Damon and Elena and that one was beautiful, wonderfully acted, really wrenching, well-done by Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham. (Bonnie watching the outside, blurry and at a distance, the obvious but heartbreaking metaphor for the distance she is from those she loves.)

 

However, that first small scene with Damon so baldly telling Elena that Bonnie was dead just felt wrong, for lack of a better word. It just didn’t feel right that Damon without any kind of preparation at all would just throw that out there. I mean, Jeremy prepared Damon, laid it out—which we’ve seen over and over that's how Elena’s brain works, she works things out, she makes sense of things like Damon—why wouldn't Damon have done something similar for Elena? Why not set her down, give her a drink, do something. But to just say "Bonnie's dead, Elena." I echoed Elena's 'whu?" And then it went to commercial and I was all "what the hell?" because really? That's how Damon tells her? Like that? And why wasn’t Jeremy there too? It just… was not good.

A better alternative would have been him sitting her down, softly telling her, "Elena, you need to listen to me." Him looking at her with those beautiful, sincere eyes of his. "This is going to be hard." {Pause, holding, squeezing her hand.} "Bonnie is dead, Elena." Just one more line there, a couple more actions, the getting her to sit down, the hand holds, preparing her for the ordeal. But just standing there, then "Bonnie's dead, Elena." It didn't work for me. Didn't work. I've watched it a few times now, and it just strikes me as flat-out wrong every time. Tonally, it was just wrong. The phrasing, the pausing was wrong. For me, it wasn't about Damon. It wasn't even about Elena. It wasn't about the characters, it was about the execution of the scene. It was poorly done in my opinion. I don't just watch the show with the characters in mind, but with the directing, writing and editing choices. I believe that while what Damon did was in character overall, the writing and direction was off and just the slightest bit I suggested above would have worked so much better for that moment.

*Sigh* And then it jumps to the next day, and Caroline knows so we miss out on her finding out and don’t see any kind of scene between her and Elena. Which we should have. One of my absolute favorite things about this show is that the friendship/families are almost always as important (and in the case of Damon and Stefan as important) as the love stories so to miss out on Elena and Caroline mourning the loss of Bonnie together for the first time was just unfathomable. I really do not understand that decision.

I mean, I like Caroline and Jesse, they’re sweet, but that scene with them studying could have been cut for an Elena/Caroline scene. Or, oh, the opening scene in the car with Stefan and Damon where Stefan recited a page of his journal that Elena read in episode 03 two seasons ago (yes, I remember). We should have had an Elena/Caroline scene alone, the two of them about Bonnie. We also should have had a scene with Jeremy and Elena… about Bonnie. And, oh Matt and Jeremy. Matt and Elena. So many permutations of these friends that should have been touched upon that were ignored so Stefan could have his zillionth ‘why, yes, I’m an asshole-pity-party’ tour!? Really?

Because, yes, Stefan had another ‘I’m an asshole-pity-party’ tour Did we really need the car scene with Damon? No. Or the bar scene with Damon? No. Or the tomb scene with Damon at that length? No. Or all of the Stefan/Elena scenes at that length? No. Or the length of the Stefan/Jesse scene? No. Anything to shave time off here and there so that we could have had more fall-out with the friends dealing with Bonnie’s death.

Now to be fair, we may get stuff in the next few episodes and it may be wonderful and it may in retrospect take away all but my frustration with how Damon told Elena about Bonnie because I just can’t see anything taking that away because that was just so wrong. I mean… wrong. However… the final scene with the friends was so, so, so, so *right* in just about every single possible way it could possibly be right. It was so, so, so, so right.

It was beautiful. Everything was just perfect. Just perfect. Perfection. From Caroline carrying the pom-poms which signified the cheerleading which was *their* thing to Matt having the whistle signifying the summer lifeguard jobs that was *their* thing. The grimmoire that Damon put in that cracked me up because, of course, what else would their thing be? But my favorite was Elena and the feathers. Those made me smile through my tears. Those feathers… ah, that still remains my favorite Elena/Bonnie scene, and one of my favorite moments from the show ever. Season 01, episode 08 (“162 Candles”) when Bonnie tells Elena that she’s a witch. The difference in seeing those feathers float then and here is heartbreaking.

 

And there was the way they did Bonnie speaking to them through Jeremy. Beginning with Jere speaking and then transitioning to Bonnie moving to them, talking and then the both of them speaking, and then just Bonnie and then the both again was very effective. And all the while, Elena, Caroline and Matt were looking at Jeremy as he spoke, but you could tell that they could feel Bonnie’s presence. It was beautifully done and it *conveyed* Bonnie’s presence, we could feel them feel her. And I loved what she said to every single one of them, how specific and perfect it was. Elena needed to not take the burden of taking care of the others, but she had to try to be happy and live her life. Caroline needed to be keep being Caroline. Matt needed to let go of his anger, because he does have the tendency to do that and hold on. And then there was Damon who she had no message for and I’m glad she didn’t because he didn’t deserve one, not from her even if he did deserve to be there and I’m glad that Stefan wasn’t there, because he didn’t deserve to be there not at this juncture. And I’m glad that Tyler (yes, I’m actually typing this, ya’ll!) was there. (I KNOW!) But I really am. When Bonnie said his name, and Caroline turned and he walked up, I smiled and Caroline ran to him and hugged him, I nodded to myself and thought, yeah, he should be here. Because he should.

Now, I just hope next week, he and Caroline put the official kibosh on their relationship. :D Because, yeah, her and Stefan need to be gettin’ to some gettin’ on because didja hear? Stefan thinks she’s hot. Uh huh.

 

Despite the above, sadly, I wasn’t overwhelmed with Stefan/Caroline feels. I did like that he thinks she’s hot. And I did like parts of their final scene (namely the hand-hold and the smiles at the end, see gifs below), but I had a few problems with their scenes too. Mainly… that after Caroline poured her heart out about losing her friend and her boyfriend basically deserting her, Stefan’s response was, oh, but it’s OK you have me. And I immediately flashed back to “Do Not Go Gentle” when Elena was falling apart and Stefan’s response was not that she had her brother, her friends, including him, but that “you have ME, only ME, just ME!!” And, fucker turns around and does the same thing to Caroline and here he is walking about with a one-day old memory and yet his self-absorbed, all-about-me mentality remains intact! GOD, Stefan, it's always JUST ABOUT YOU! Seriously, his entire world really does just revolve around one Stefan Salvatore. He is a planet unto himself. Stefan, Stefan, Stefan. :bangs head against desk:

Stefan, boo, why such an asshole? I mean, come on! Now, honestly, I might not have jumped straight to that had it not just come after that *lovely* (hint: that was sarcasm!) scene with Damon and Elena. However it had, and I was not happy with my Steffy-poo at this point. Let’s take a look at the situation here, mm'kay? Damon and Elena had basically dropped everything to help him and he then chose to crap all over them without actually knowing what the hell had happened. Instead he was basing his little pissy-pout on an extrapolation of events based on the barest of information upon which he then chose to make himself the victim and Damon the bad guy and Elena unworthy of support and trust. And now, he’s taking his toys and he’s going somewhere else to play, so there! Stefan, Stefan, Stefan! Again, boo, why such an asshole?

Sigh. But hey, at least, it means that the boarding house will remain the domain of Damon/Elena and Jeremy, and Damon and Jeremy while Elena is off at college. Speaking of… Damon and Jeremy. OH. MY. HEART!

SERIOUSLY! I DO NOT THINK I CAN HANDLE ALL THE DAMON/JEREMY FEELINGS THAT THIS SHOW IS GIVING ME THIS SEASON, YOU GUYS!!! It is just too beautiful for words!!!! Jeremy told Damon. Jeremy told Damon first! Because he trusts Damon. And then Damon heard it in his voice. When Jeremy said “People need to know,” Damon could hear it in his voice and he realized that Jeremy has been carrying this burden on his own all summer long. The way he just looked at him, the way he just walked to him and then he—then he.. GAWD!! He just hugged him and he cupped his head, and he practically stroked his hair. And it was …. OH. MY. GOD!

THE FEELS! IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!

 

Ahem. OK, so going back to Stefan and Caroline. So obviously, yes, I am upset with Stefan right now, but they are clearly doing some lovely set-up. Stefan doesn’t remember everything so he is seeing all things in a new light, including Caroline and we know he sees her in a “hot” light, and a trustworthy one. I don’t think that Tyler is going to be sticking around, and lord knows what’s going to happen with Jesse. I don’t expect things to happen quickly with Stefan and Caroline, but we’re clearly heading somewhere. Me likey!

 

I actually don’t have much to say about Damon and Elena because there really wasn’t much with them. I think they’re pretty solid. Damon showed a great amount of trust in simply leaving her alone with Stefan without a qualm. Obviously, I would have been happier had she not even been caught in the moment of the memory, but that lasted all of two seconds and absolutely nothing happened. And Damon also was awesome in telling her the truth about Bonnie right away. Ooh, I did like how Damon brushed her arm as he left the tomb though, just a small little moment, but niiiice. :)


Do I think that this whole situation with Stefan is done and over, finito with? Of course not. Elena does still care for Stefan. And I do think that she shouldn’t have even tried the memory lane trip with him because things are too fresh with him especially with the whole doppelganger thingie, so stuff will happen. And that will cause situations to arise, no doubt. And we will see how our duo handles it, but Damon’s been doing pretty durn good. :)

Alrighty then, heading into random thoughts –

- Hmm, Jeremy doing shirtless push-ups, it's not only witches from the other side who thank you. :D

- Alas, our streak of shirtless Damon ended with this episode. :(

- I did like how nonchalant Jesse acted after he kissed Caroline, but poor guy doesn’t stand a chance now I suppose with Tyler back and with this thing with Stefan starting up. Hmm.

- Oh, yeah, and now that he’s gonna be a vampire thanks to freaky, creepy Dr. Westfield!! OK, yeah, that ending certainly surprised me like whoah! I was *not* expecting anything like that!

- I am SO impressed with Zach Roerig. When playing creepy Gregor dude, everything about him changed. His body language, how he walked, his facial tics, everything. Impressive, and freaking scary.

- Uhm, four episodes in and I’ve had no Matt/Damon scenes. Wah! I know that Matt has been Damon’s proper little minion and followed orders, but I want to see them interact.

- Oh, another Matt note. Hmm, so I guess the Matt-seeing-dead-people was a one-time deal that was restricted to Vicki then.

- When Elena said about Stefan "He can't stay like this,” I just shook my head. *sigh* She still doesn't get it. This IS kinda the real Stefan. He can be a petty little shit when hurt. He’s not the most awesome dude that you think he is. The Stefan who played compassionate and sweet, understanding and always "respecting your choices" was as he once told her, the Stefan who was in love with her, i.e. the Stefan who wanted her to see only the best side of him and not the real Stefan, the complete Stefan, the good and the bad Stefan. How she can still be so blind about him is mind-boggling. Elena, Elena, Elena. What is not mind-boggling is why I could never, ever, ever ship this pair.

- When Stefan says things like “Damon stole his girl, blah, blah, blah” I feel as if it's like by putting the words in Stefan's mouth it allows the Stefan/Elena fans to still feel justified and keeps them hanging on even though it's not the truth. That way the writers aren’t being untrue to the story they are telling, but they are allowing one (small) faction of their (deluded) fanbase to keep holding on.

- I loved the final two shots of the memorial for Bonnie because they were beautiful framed. First of Jeremy and Bonnie's ghostly hand that we didn't see, and then did, and then the mourners in the frame of those clasped hands.

 

So another episode and this season continues to rock and intrigue. I did miss Katherine though. I did not miss Silas and Nadia though. (I also missed crazy-cakes Quetsiyah. She’s awesome!) I just hope I’m right and that we get some friends-mourning-Bonnie scenes in the next few episodes to make up for what we did NOT get in this episode.
 
 
 
Arabian: Elena05arabian on October 27th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC)
Exactly, she would have given into the feelings, but she didn't.

she was tempted to kiss him, but to make him remember.

See, I don't think she was tempted to kiss him. I think she was just caught up in the moment, like I said. Any temptation was in that memory, and the pull of the whole doppelganger thing.

PS. I LOVE YOUR REVIEWS...they always make me feel positive :)

Thank you. :)
bangel_4e: elenabangel_4e on October 27th, 2013 11:01 am (UTC)
Yes, the temptation clearly was connected to the memory..no doubt about that.
And I'm still so glad she said she was with Damon :)
Arabian: Damon04arabian on October 28th, 2013 03:25 am (UTC)
Me too, because reality and the present broke through the memory. :D