Arabian (arabian) wrote,

5.07 - 'Death and the Maiden' (The Vampire Diaries)

Saturday morning and I'm finally getting my Vampire Diaries write-up done. Phew! Good episode. :)

I was talking to a friend about the show and had said that I thought it was a very strong episode and that I had only one issue with it. And then I proceeded to rant about that one issue, blah, blah, blah. Later, I added bits and pieces of that rant to my previously jotted down notes for my post. And then I rewatched the episode. When I got to that section, I was prepared to get annoyed anew, girded with my self-righteous indignation all set on high, but it deflated pretty damn quickly because I had forgotten a few key things when venting about my one issue. So I'm going to address that first because my friend had the same problem and there may be others out there who were bothered by it as well. And, hey, this might help; it certainly helped me and now I'm pretty much walking away with this episode 98% happy. (The 2% we'll discuss in a bit and it has nothing to do with the writing or direction of this particular episode.)

So towards the latter half of the episode, Elena tells Stefan that he probably knows her better than anyone else. And *that* is what upset me. I mean, really? That's just BS. What about her brother? Or Matt? Bonnie, Caroline? Hello?! And, yeah, Damon? Hell, even putting that aside, saying something like that in front of her BOYFRIEND?!?!? with his Stefan-shaped issues–especially involving Elena–and then putting THAT aside, there's the fact that there wasn't even a reaction shot from Damon after Elena said that. Just no. So wrong.

OK, so that's what I thought after watching the episode once, ranting to my friend about it 24 hours later and then jotting thoughts down post-rant. After rewatching the episode, I picked up on a few things I had noticed the first go-round but forgot and/or missed the significance of when thinking back upon the episode. Namely: Stefan was rather a jerk to Elena to begin with. She was doing her whole, 'I'm stubborn, I'm not giving up ever' about bringing Bonnie back and Stefan was like 'duh, are you even listening?' in a fairly insulting tone.

*That* was when Elena turned to him and was like, 'uhm, dude, you got your memories back, you know me, probably better than anyone, you know I won't give up.' And, yes, the actual words (not my take on them, LOL) were sweet, but the tone, her expression and body language all read 'dude, you are such an ass. You know me. Hey, I never gave up on you despite all the shit you pulled, hello! Kindly sit down and shut the fuck up.'

It wasn't about 'oh, Stefan, you know my heart and soul above all others' and angels descended from high and crowned their love with glory. It was 'Stefan, stop being a dick, do a little recall and get with the fucking program.' THAT is why she said it and THAT is why we didn't get a reaction shot from Damon. He got exactly where she was coming from and exactly what her point was. She was pissed at Stefan and she was reminding him of whom she was which she wouldn't have to do if she actually believed that he knew her better than anyone else.

However, we *did* get a Damon reaction shot… after Stefan's next comment when he continued to be a jerky-boy telling Elena that she put her hope in the wrong things and wrong people. Looking towards Damon. Tsk, tsk. Oh, Stefan. So, I take back my one issue with the episode. Yay! Leaving us with a perfect episode pretty much. Double yay! My 2% lay with the fact that I still am getting a wee tired of the lack of Damon/Elena-ness and the focus on Stefan/Elena even if it's not romantic with them. However, while that (along with the lack of Damon and Stefan interaction) bothered me mostly throughout the episode, I actually was OK with it by the end because of the last couple of scenes. *But* if this continues through the next episode, I am done being understanding.

The one thing that cannot be corrected is Olga Fonda. Casting people, why, why, why did you cast her? Ugh. She is just terrible. Katherine Pierce would never, never, NEVER have a daughter that lame. Just not possible. Elena Gilbert would never be the offspring of a great-great-great-x-mother whatever that lame. Just not possible. I demand a DNA test. Wait, screw it. It can be corrected. I don't care. Recast Nadia. Please. I'll take it. Fonda is so bad. She's just so bad. Ugh. At least she's heading out to Prague for a while and we'll hopefully be spared her "acting" for a while.

OK, no more complaints since everything else was soooo good. Starting with the other new casting addition this season that we sadly also lost this episode and even more unfortunately will not be getting back. (Why couldn't they have cast Janina Gavankar as Nadia?!?!?) Quetsiyah/Tessa is no more. Waaah! Excuse me while I sob in the corner. {SOB} Yes, we might see her on the other side and flashbacks, so there's a chance she'll come back, but still, the chances are slim. *sigh* I know she's a petty, vindictive, awful, terrible, selfish person. I know this. I don't care. She's fictional, so I don't care. I LOVE HER!

I also love Katherine and Caroline together. I loved their little moment where they acknowledged that Katherine murdered Caroline and they hate each other, but it was so obvious that they did kinda bond. Aww, I loved that. So, you know, at first I kinda thought that Katherine was leaving Mystic Falls, but I guess she's not, so that's good (maybe we'll get more Caroline/Katherine scenes!!!), but what's gonna happen with her whole aging thing? (Ooh, kudos to florencia7, she called that in last week's comments.) I wonder if she's gonna try and get Bonnie to help her. But what could possibly ever compel Bonnie to help Katherine? Hmm…

Ooh, speaking of Bonnie. So… yeah. Bonnie's getting a haircut next week. If you didn't see the previews, it's cute and sassy. Oh, yeah, I guess we should probably talk about the whole anchoring thingie. Yeah. Obviously there had to be a twist. Ouchie. Of course, previously mentioned petty, vindictive, awful, terrible, selfish Tessa wasn't gonna mention that whole little bit about the excruciating pain that Bonnie was going to undergo on a regular basis whenever a supernatural baddie passes through her.* Poor Bonnie. But, hey, she's here, even if that's no way to live, so I'm guessing by season's end, she is going to either be pulled completely to one side or the other, probably the living side (better be the living side).

*Hmm, I wonder if this will cut down on Damon's casual killing of supernatural baddies?

Still, she's here. It was one of those predictable things. We knew it was gonna work. But it was a lovely earned moment, when Jeremy reached out and then they realized they could feel each other, then Elena calling her name cuz she and Caroline see her! Awww. The girls embracing, Caroline being Caroline and going on about their original college plans and in perfect unison Elena and Bonnie saying her name. Just, ugh, so perfect!

Also perfect—although I didn't realize it was perfect until the final scenes featuring the trio—was how the Damon/Elena/Stefan dynamic is being handled. (I just want to make a note here as I often do in episodes written by Rebecca Sonnenshine that I love her beautiful character writing.) In last week's write-up, an anon poster mentioned her frustration with the lack of Damon/Stefan interaction and how the show was missing out on taking advantage of some good brother bonding. I argued that it made narrative sense at this point and that we had time still to explore them. While watching most of the Stefan/Elena scenes and during the dearth of Damon/Stefan scenes this episode, I found myself thinking about that discussion and thought that her point was valid here and we should be seeing Damon trying to draw Stefan out. And then we got the last batch of scenes.

We had Elena actually having to tell Damon that Stefan was on the edge because Damon didn't realize it, or couldn't allow himself to realize it. Damon's face when Stefan looked past Elena and said "both of you," that he wanted her and Damon to find him just so clicked with me. We've heard Elena say over and over how guilty she feels about having the summer of her life while Stefan was in that safe drowning over and over again, while we've only heard Damon even hint at that guilt once. But we know how deeply Damon can and does feel guilt and yet no one—not even Elena, because she's too busy feeling her own—has taken into account how deeply scarred Damon is by what happened. Because it's not just that he had this amazing summer while Stefan suffered horribly. Damon had this amazing summer with a girl that totally wrongly so but one that Damon still considers Stefan's girl at heart… while Stefan suffered horribly. So Damon doesn't know how to act with his brother.

And on top of that, this is a totally new situation for them. Damon's never been the victor. He's never been "the chosen one." It's always been Stefan. So that's why he's keeping his distance. And it all came into focus for me in that scene with Elena when she asked him to go look for Stefan and then the one when Stefan admitted he wanted them to find him. The dynamic is completely off-kilter. He took his girl, he didn't save him and he's the winner, Stefan's the loser. In a 170 years, it's NEVER been this way. When it comes to Stefan, Damon feels confused, a bit lost and guilty. He doesn't know how to act with his brother anymore.

And then there were the Stefan/Elena scenes. Until that scene with Stefan and Elena towards the end, I was frustrated with her being all peppy and so determined to help him. It's like, ugh! he's not your boyfriend anymore, Elena. He's not your responsibility. But then in the end she flat-out admitted that it was entirely for selfish reasons. She felt guilty because she was so happy during the summer, she was so in love with Damon, and now she had Bonnie back, all she needed was Stefan to be better so that she could reclaim her happiness about her perfect summer without any regret. She wanted Stefan to be better so she could be happy about her summer of love with Damon. So her helping Stefan was all about Damon.

However, now that we have that set-up done. Now that we have Stefan more or less back in place as normal and we can begin to deal with the fall-out of the summer… can we have Damon and Elena now? Please? I hope so. Because it's time. The pieces are in place now. We can start building to good stuff here. I mean, I think… I could be totally wrong, but I think we could be heading towards a blow-up of sorts within the triangle and Stefan could have some eruption of rage. Damon and Elena (understandably) have been keeping their relationship on the backburner lately because of all of this going on, however things are more or less going back to "normal" now. And Elena is going back to school so they'll have some separation, thus when she comes back, passionate reunions will ensure. Tessa did make that comment about the three of them living in that big house together so I could see that being a little hint of a stirring of the pot. On top of that we have Stefan's vampire-heightened emotions reaching a boiling point, as mentioned by Silas, so, yes, I could see things blowing up big-time in the next couple of episodes. It is November sweeps…

Alrighty, random thoughts …

- Aww, we had a few moments of Damon and Elena finishing each other's sentences. Double aww.

- Heh, I liked that Elena is confident and has enough sass in her now to show-off to Katherine that she can take a little pain (in the bloodletting scene). Hehehe.

- "The cute one's here." Oh, Katherine, never change.

- Wow. Three Nina's. Yeah. Wow. Amara was as different from Katherine as Katherine is from Elena as Elena is from Amara and so on and so forth. Fantastic job. I mean just look at this image here. Same actress, but the body language in just the stance of the three characters is completely different. Amazing.


- That opening scene with Silas and the couple was HI-larious. Awful, of course, but HI-larious. As I've mentioned before, it took four episodes (more counting last season) for the writers and Paul Wesley to make Silas feel like a legitimate, stand-on-its-own-character, but Silas finally became a real boy and he sure was fun. And now he's gone. Ah well. At least Tessa is happy. {SOBS *My Tessa!*}

- Ah, we didn't see them interact much (although, whee! Jeremy was sitting on the couch next to Damon when they he told him and Elena about the plan to anchor Bonnie), but there was this moment that I loved. When Bonnie went to tell Jeremy that it wasn't going to work because Amara was dying, Jeremy's response was an incredulous "that's impossible. Damon's—" And I literally had to choke back a giggle despite the seriousness of the moment because I love Jeremy's hero-worship for Damon. I love that Jeremy believes that if Damon is doing something to stop it, then of course it's impossible for that thing to not work. And of course Jeremy was right.

- So yeah, the doppelganger's deal is clearly is that if they are meant to do anything, it is to end in tragedy, uh huh. I mean, Silas and Amara started it all and their ending was kinda reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and that was a tragedy, folks. Yeah. But, man, she didn't even die in Silas' arms. Or even his doppelganger's. She was in Damon's.

- I liked that this time (for the first freaking time!) everyone played their part: Elena got Tessa back into the mix to finish the spell, kept her from dying after Silas tried to kill her. Caroline brought Katherine to the party. Damon kept Amara alive long enough for the spell to be completed. Stefan (yes, Stefan!!) killed Silas. Go team!

- Hmm, the Jeremy/Bonnie fireplace kiss was staged almost identical to the Damon/Elena fireplace kiss. Intentional or just a nice, romantic shot? Jeremy following in pseudo-mommy/daddy's footsteps? Things that make you go hmmm…

- I liked that Stefan just simply admitted, even though it was selfish, that he wanted it to be Elena and Damon to find him in the safe. It wasn't done to guilt them; it was done without embellishment. It was just an honest admission that showed Stefan allowing himself to be seen (evne to Elena) as not perfect, not the "good brother," just himself, honestly and without pretense. I thought it was a really good first step at just being Stefan… the real Stefan.

- Katherine to Dr. Maxfield–"just personality," LOL! Again, Katherine, never change.

- Aha, so now we know. If a vampire's blood won't heal Katherine, a vampire's bite wouldn't work to turn her either. Yeah, she's gonna be talking to Bonnie, ain't she? What is she going to do?!! (TALK TO MATT!!! I know that won't solve anything, but my inexplicable Katherine/Matt shipping remains, OK!)

- Speaking of… MATT!! Three episodes without my Matty!! Wah! Well, sigh, at least they are getting all of the Matt-less episodes out of the way now.

- Oh, Damon, you crafty, sexy boy. I loved him playing Tessa with the whole 'You were right about the doppelgangers always ending up together. How does it feel to say I told you so' spiel, knowing it was the thing to say to get her to help them. Damon knows how to play people like fiddles. He's such a master.

- So it wasn't a twist ending, we knew it was still gonna effect him. It was more of an emotional gut-punch, but since Stefan isn't exactly the show's most popular character, I think the Stefan-overload needs to kinda start underloading any episode now. Just saying. I love him, but I need a wee bit more Damon and I know others definitely do.

- So what's gonna happen with Jesse? Come on, show, don't leave me in suspense. I do like Jesse.

- Caroline looks soooo pretty in yellow.

- I love this episode title.

- Yes, I know, no gifs this week. Give me Damon/Elena, I'll give you gifs, dangit!

So this was a REALLY fantastic episode. Like most of Rebecca Sonnenshine episodes, a rewatch enhances the viewing. The first time around it's a strong episode, subsequent viewings just improve it tenfold over and over. Strong characterization, tight narrative and just superb all-around. Loved it. (Now give me some Damon/Elena next week and I'll be a VERY happy camper!)
Tags: bonnie bennett, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/elena, damon/jeremy, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, jeremy gilbert, jeremy/bonnie, katherine pierce, nina dobrev, stefan salvatore, the vampire diaries, tv

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